Sunday, November 20, 2011

How to Show Gratitude in the Workplace

Originally Found on

Does your organization have a culture of gratitude? Each day there are countless opportunities to show gratitude to others in the workplace. Supervisors, leaders, and coworkers can all help build a culture of gratitude by acknowledging the contributions of those around them in specific and genuine ways. Here are some ways to foster gratitude in the workplace:
  1. Formal recognition programs are a common way employers build a culture of gratitude in the workplace. Formal annual, quarterly, monthly, or even weekly awards can help build a culture of recognizing the behaviors and results your organization seeks.
  2. Having a method of peer recognition is important in developing appreciation among coworkers. Create a program or initiative that encourages peers to recognize and thank one another for their help.
  3. On-the-spot rewards and recognition allow employees to be recognized at any time by supervisors, management, or even peers through some small reward, such as a gift card, ticket to local event, or other valued recognition. Spontaneous rewards and recognition can be welcome surprises for employees.
  4. While your organization may have recognition programs in place, if your supervisors and managers are not using them, they likely won’t be effective in helping to drive a culture of gratitude. Many organizations train their management staff on the importance of recognizing employees and how to use the tools and programs provided by the organization.
  5. Making celebrations a part of your organization’s activities is another way to build a culture of gratitude – as well as fun and enjoyment. Coordinate a few celebrations throughout the year to show appreciation to your whole staff. Some organizations even go so far as to celebrate personal events like birthdays, weddings, and births.
  6. Although it sounds simple, many workplaces forget to say thank you – especially to their most valuable assets: top performers. Saying thank you via email, phone call, voice-message, card, e-card, or in-person, or taking an employee out for coffee or lunch to say “thanks” can be very meaningful.
  7. When developing a culture of gratitude, remember that formal programs are only part of the equation. It’s equally as important to create new habits, expectations, and norms throughout the organization to develop a culture of gratitude – and this typically starts at the top. Encourage leaders and managers to lead the way in thanking an employee each time they do something exceptional or of assistance to them, and to post or communicate successes publicly – through newsletters, interoffice mail or email, on bulletin boards, and at department or staff meetings.
A culture of gratitude can change your workplace into a positive, uplifting, and collaborative environment – eliciting more enthusiasm, engagement, and positive relationships. Use the weeks ahead to plan a strategy to make your workplace one in which giving thanks happens year-round.

Friday, November 4, 2011

10 Management Tips from US Airways' Hub

by Ted Reed - Originally found on TheStreet

In a down economy, the US Airways(LCC_) hub in Charlotte has been an oasis of growth as well as a model of efficiency. For that, many credit a station manager who knows how to get the most from her employees.

Terri Pope, Charlotte station manager since 2000 and US Airways vice president for airport customer service, "knows how to get people to buy in," said Cinde Monsam, senior manager for station administration and one of Pope's four direct reports.

"What I learned from her and what she does better than anyone else is that she reads the needs of people, not just her employees but also her managers," said Monsam. "She knows when to push for an idea and when to back off, because she listens to people's voices. The loyalty she inspires by doing that is incredible."

Terri Pope
Terri Pope

Recent growth has pushed US Airways' Charlotte departures to about 640 from about 400 in 2004, making Charlotte/Douglas the country's 11th biggest airport as well as the carrier's most profitable hub. US Airways employs 6,500 in Charlotte: Pope directly oversees 2,000 who work in the airport. Additionally, as the airline's highest ranking Charlotte official, she is the face of US Airways in Charlotte.

At a recent meeting, where US Airways Charlotte managers reviewed their 2010 performance, Pope concluded by saying that that a few years ago, she was not so proud of that role. The carrier underwent two bankruptcies and often ranked badly in on-time performance and other operational metrics. "We were looked upon perhaps not as highly as we should have been," Pope said.

But now, "When I walk into chamber meetings or corporate headquarters or any meeting, I just glow when someone asks me what I do," she said. And quickly, she credited her staff. "I can't tell you how much I respect you, for what you bring to this wonderful hub of ours." That's one insight into what makes Terri Pope a unique leader: she puts employees first. Here are her ten guidelines:

1. Listen. "The biggest thing is that you can be honest with her, without feeling that she will be mad, even when she disagrees," said Mike Bryant, director of operations and planning. "She has her vision, she lays it out. I might not agree, but she makes me feel comfortable enough to say it.

Said Pope: "I don't think there's an intimidating bone in my body. Why would you need to intimidate anyone to get what you want?" Pope has fired dozens of people, she acknowledges, for violations including stealing, lack of attendance and disciplinary failings. Each one, she said, "is a failure on my part."

2. Don't Micro-Manage."She has expectations, but she doesn't tell you how to get there," Bryant said. "As long as you meet the goal, you don't have to go Terri's way." As an example, Bryant has had to allocate gate usage in a way that favors gates US Airways leases long-term over gates controlled by the airport, which cost more to use.

Pope "allows us to run our departments like we are running our own businesses," said Rich Ashlin, director of customer service. "She stands at a distance, but she is there as a resource. Said Pope: "It's up to them to sell their ideas to me. If they do that successfully, we go with it."

3. Remember, You Run Into Everybody Again. James McDonald, director of ramp operations, interviewed with Pope four times for four jobs before she finally offered him one. The first time was in West Palm Beach, the second at Washington National, the last two in Charlotte. "Terri and I go back a long way," he said. At each interview, "She was cordial and nice and made me feel comfortable," he said. After the DCA interview, Pope called to explain that he needed more experience. "She made it personal," he said. "She made it seem like it mattered. She is all about results and performance, but she does it with calm, with guidance and support."

4. Take Pleasure in Employees' Achievements. "I'm 53," Pope said. "I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life. I think it's because, when you first start out, and for many years, you think it's about you. As you get older and wiser, you realize it's not about you at all. It's about how you can help people achieve their goals. "I've got so many leaders here -- I hope I've had a little to do with them achieving their goals. I have extremely high expectations and I'm hard to please, but I'm also very forgiving."

5. Sense of Humor. On Sept. 27, 2005, the day US Airways and America West completed their merger, Rich Ashlin flew from Phoenix to Charlotte to start work as director of customer service. "I got off the plane and there was a cavalcade of baggage carts through the airport," she said. "Terri was in one of them, dressed as Queen Charlotte. It was hysterical."

6. Make Each Person Feel Special. Charlotte spokeswoman Michelle Mohr recalls the day in 2007 when she began work in Charlotte after moving from Phoenix. She barely knew a soul and did not know what to expect. When she arrived at work, Pope had put a vase full of flowers on her desk. "It was one of the nicest, warmest things ever," Mohr said. "It was so unexpected." Said Pope: "I know what it is to be new. "

7. Admit Your Mistakes. In April 2010 US Airways decided to suspend Charlotte-Honolulu service just four months after it began. "I hoped it was going to work," Pope said. "We had an extra aircraft, a 767 - why not utilize it? Besides, if we're successful, it benefits a lot of people. Heart-wise, I wanted to do it, even though brain-wise, I didn't know. So we gave it a shot. But if something is not working, we are not afraid to make a change."

8. Embrace Technology. Airports have benefited immensely and visibly from technology improvements. Since November 2008, US Airways has scanned bags as they are loaded onto planes and as they come off, so the carrier always knows where the bags are. "Before, we made an educated guess," Pope said. US Airways has also redesigned airport kiosks to have more functions and be easier to use, and it has developed, gate readers enabling a single person to board an entire aircraft. "We used to be a manual airline," Pope said. "Now, we have so many great technologies."

9. Learn From Employees. As West Palm Beach station manager in the 1990s, Pope was intimidated by an older man who was a lead ramp agent. "He thought he knew everything, he was crotchety, and he challenged me every step of the way," she said. "He though females had no right to be in this business, much less young females -- I was 35. We had heated discussions. But many times, he was right. I was inexperienced." Today, she said, the now-retired employee sends a Christmas card each year.

10. Be Approachable. "You have to be someone employees can talk to," Pope said. "That's why (CEO Doug Parker) is successful. If employees can't talk to you, then you don't know what's going on." Parker meets regularly with employees, including half a dozen times a year in Charlotte.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beyond Performance - Leaders Get Results!

I really encourage everyone in a leadership role to read, "Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage" by Colin Price, Scott Keller. Their book focuses on organizational health, which they define as the ability of any organization to align, execute, and renew itself faster than your competitors can. According to the authors, as we work more and socialize less, our sense of meaning and identity is increasingly derived from the workplace. More and more people are looking for that sense of “belonging, which was originally defined by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need.

Job satisfaction in the US has dropped from 61% in 1987 to less than 45% in 2009. Productivity during the same period has increased more slowly than in any fifteen year period since 1950.

As our economies emerge from the recession, the ability to lead and manage organizations in a way that motivates employees to be more productive than ever is extremely important. In other words, the health of any organization must encompass all the human elements required to achieve sustainable success.

The process for organizational health is defined by the authors as the Five A’s;
• Aspire – Where do we want to go?
• Assess – How ready are we to go there?
• Architect – What do we need to do to get there?
• Act – How do we manage the journey?
• Advance – How do we keep moving forward?

These five stages should be translated into a specific challenge for performance and organizational health. The authors continue to break down the process into nine key elements that must be implemented to achieve sustained growth and success. The integration of a strong vision and a well-defined business strategy that is meaningful to the employee and supported by the culture and climate of the organization is a must. To be able to execute this process, the organization must have high capabilities, effective management processes, and high employee motivation. The organization’s ability to be adaptable to both situation and the external environment will also fortify the relationship with the customer, vendor and community.

The real key to organizational health appears to be the alignment of personal goals with those of the organization. This alignment produces a highly self-motivated workforce that will demonstrate engagement and productivity improvement. We build this alignment by shifting an employee’s mindset – their attitude. It is well documented that leaders are the catalysts for performance and leadership must be present at every organizational level and not just at the top.

Our Leadership and Management Development Programs are all based on the philosophy or belief that to improve the health of your organization, you must start improving the health of your workforce, one employee at a time. I believe that the “real” performance model starts with attitude and ends with the desired results

Real Performance Model Attitude Activity Skills and Competencies Results
We teach employees and managers to be better leaders and to get results. Please call 609.390.2830 or contact us here to find out more about the Total Leadership Model®, the only development plan designed for today’s leaders and the development of future leaders.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to Plan for the Future of Your Business with the Help of Employees

The opportunity to change the structure of the company toward a more versatile or bureaucratic structure can now be determined by your management team. The importance of the way your employees perceive your company and the way they think it should be, cannot be denied. These gaps between the actual and the ideal should be given special attention, and can provide your management team with ideas that can be developed and expanded in strategic planning sessions. Assessments can provide a most valuable tool that puts the management team on notice and causes them to consider change within the organization. These changes may never be apparent without this assessment, because it is unbiased, confidential, and provides a comprehensive diagnosis of an organization.

This is certainly needed in our highly competitive environment.
Isn't it about time you got your camera out and took a snapshot of your company?

Organizational Assessment Tools are one of the instruments available to provide any management team with a real photograph of their company today, and it also allows them to let the employees paint the picture of the company that they would like to see in the future. These assessment tools are relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of employee turnover, especially on the management level.

The Organizational Needs Inventory (ONI) is an example of such an assessment tool that provides a comprehensive analysis of an organization from the perspective of its employees with regard to the three areas which management experts regard as critical: Predominant Leadership Style, Organizational Culture, and Structure. These assessments provide a comprehensive diagnosis of the organization today through the eyes and ears of the employees. Any management team worth its salt will welcome a snapshot of their company today so they can properly determine the appropriately plan for the future with a clearer sense of direction and purpose.

This assessment tool will allow the management team to establish training and development programs that will not only produce the skills required, but the attitudes and work habits needed to move the company in the direction they desire relative to its mission and vision. It is not an easy task to change an organization and its people swiftly so please commit your organization to a time investment. The most important factor to remember is that this change is being planned, rather than just randomly happening.

It is also very important to learn the dominant leadership style present within your company. Once your predominant leadership style is acknowledged, the velocity of change will be proportionate to the support and direction offered by the management team of the company. The first step is to establish goal - setting measures with appropriate target dates to insure the proper direction of this change and to increase motivation internally.

The determination of your organization's culture should provide management with a better picture of the organization's effectiveness and allow them to develop an implementation plan that can be achieved in a reasonable time frame, while promoting teamwork at the same time.

The organization's culture today may reflect a low trust level. The results of this assessment will help you work on the cause and develop methods and plans to improve results, enabling the company to succeed in its overall goals and objectives.To see a free sample of an assessment your company would be using please contact us

(Painting by Jennifer Sandquist)

Monday, October 17, 2011

How to Properly Use Performance Appraisals

I was reading an article titled, “Bias Found in Employee Appraisals” on It elaborated on the fact that new research shows vast discrepancies in employee appraisals by workers who report to two bosses.

Performance Appraisals have always shown bias from one manager to another. Many consulting firms even recommend that companies not spend money on the training and development of their managers regarding the delivery of an employee appraisal by a manager. If we don’t train to develop consistency in delivery, then how can we ever have a Performance Appraisal System without bias?

Small business owners and managers, listen up, it’s time to realize that the Performance Appraisal Process is the best means to communicate workplace expectations with the employee and that employee engagement is key to retention moving forward.

  • Managers must utilize a system for monitoring performance on a day to day, month to month basis and not just wait for the annual performance appraisal process for the data to appear. A Performance Log or file must be maintained throughout the year to note successes, learning opportunities, behavioral tendencies, etc. The Performance Appraisal Process must be more objective than subjective and certainly results-oriented. It must be based on the job description or role assigned to the employee as the role is defined today, not five years ago. It must reflect technical skills as well as performance skills that demonstrate an above average performance in that position.

  • Clear expectations must be defined. Clarity and good communication are key management skills for this to succeed. We must communicate workplace expectations in a clear, decisive, and definitive manner with the creation of a development plan for the employee. All managers must be willing to coach and mentor the employee to high performance through the use of a solid Developmental Plan of Action. I have always believed that the formulation of a developmental plan for a high achiever is one of the most difficult tasks a manager can undertake. And it certainly shouldn’t be….it should be the opposite.

Both bias and the dreaded “Performance Appraisal” mentality must be eliminated from the equation…discuss expectations, monitor performance daily, and make employee engagement a priority. If you do that, the bias and subjectivity will be removed.

We need to tell people that we are interested in their performance and career direction. We must focus on their performance in respect to the competencies needed to do an above average job in their current role but help them develop a plan of action that will enhance their performance skills to reflect the achievement of a higher position in the future. What competencies will we need from our employees five years from now? That is what we should be focusing on with our people development processes. Isn’t it time to put the “whip” away and start moving people forward by providing the opportunity to succeed with their career objectives…all through the proper use of the Performance Appraisal Process. Don’t make it an event…it is a process.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coaching - The Most Overlooked Employee Benefit

Companies are saying that executive coaching has become their secret weapon when it comes to acquiring talent. BMW of Canada recently introduced a program that included the hiring of coaches to incorporate training into a leadership – development program.

Coaching can certainly compliment leadership training in any organization and it can be a needed incentive to elevate performance and provide a competitive edge by providing another perk or reason to join. In my experience, I have found Coaching to be a key component to retaining a good to great manager or leader. Coaches can be the link between personal direction and work/life balance while expanding the communication link between the business strategy and the employee by promoting good leadership skills.

Coaching is one of the most cost effective measures for improving productivity, enhancing performance, elevating morale, and supporting human resources with the hiring and selection process and their retention objectives. Turnover costs amount to approximately 1/3 of the salary for the position that needs to be replaced and goes up to about half when you loose a key employee.

The cost of coaching rarely exceeds 10% of the loss associated with employee turnover. You decide; would you rather expense $5000 to support an above average employee or spend $50,000 on replacing them? Coaching is much more than cost-savings for a company or organization. It is a process that supports the people development portion of any business while improving the organization’s effectiveness. Those are
two major components of any company striving to go as Jim Collins says, from “Good to Great”.

A Coach with Leadership Training experience is an unbeatable combination. Helping people reach their potential is the key ingredient for business success.

Most human resource managers that I have talked to state that they do not have any of the following:
1) Succession Plan
2) Mentor Program
3) an External Coaching Program (Executive or otherwise).

Leadership Training and Coaching are two components that can really change the fhnancial situation of a company but are often put aside because it may draw attention to the real costs of turnover and how reducing such can dramatically affect the bottom line. I just can’t image in this time of economic downturn that most companies aren’t willing to look at innovative ways to attract employees and most importantly, retain good employees. I think most companies should use
the term “talent maintenance” instead of “talent management”. There are very few companies that focus on people potential and their development. Which plan do you have in place, “maintenance or management”? It’s time for YOUR secret weapon. . .
A coach with Leadership Training in his background.
Our Coaching Services are designed to push you or the team to the next level by engaging in conversations that will provide inspiration and commitment resulting in goal achievement. Learn More

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Employee Engagement is Performance and Productivity

Managers have more impact on engagement then their companies.

In Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to be the Best…and Learn from the Worst by Robert Sutton, the author noted that about 75% of today's workforce reports that their immediate supervisor is the most stressful part of their job. It has also noted by several surveys including the initial work by Gallup that immediate supervisors have far more impact on engagement and productivity than whether their companies are rates as great or lousy places to work.

We believe that the immediate supervisor is an integral component to productivity and performance. We also believe that the value of the immediate supervisor is under estimated and their level of competence is over estimated. In a recent survey, we have concluded that the majority of supervisors and/or managers in mid-size and small companies have no formal leadership or management training. Image how a well trained boss can enhance the success of your company.

Our Leadership and Management Development Courses teach people the practical application for the skills and competencies that make great managers. As stated in his book, Robert Sutton says that the two “acid test” for great bosses is 1) whether people want to work for the boss and would they enthusiastically choose to do so again, and 2) is the boss hypersensitive to how others feel about them and the work their people do. They are compassionate, competent, and empathetic.

Leadership is learned and we teach people how to be “Good Bosses” while allowing them to apply the learned material immediately in the workplace using our “adult action-leaning” process. We also measure results with a defined ROI and guarantee. For the development of your future leaders, call 609.390.2830 for more information or click here on our Leadership Courses and Workshops.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm a manager, I don't need training. Right?

Training for anyone who is new to managing a team is critical. It can be difficult to transition from exclusively being an individual contributor to driving team performance. This often requires very different skills, which perhaps they may not even know what is required of them.

There is a real need in many organizations to help new managers learn to manage their expectations of time management, so that they continue to contribute as individuals, but also are able to lead their teams successfully.

But your managers have been managing for a while now, they don't need training right? More than likely, they do need it.

Great managers are not born, they learn how to understand different personalities and give their employees opportunities to shine. Like we've said before, the fact that managers need to
communicate the business strategy while translating it to define the full value of everyone’s role, responsibility, and actions needed to create a successful company, their plates are full and generally do not focus on their needs as a manager.

It is well documented what skills and competencies are needed for managers to be high achievers; but when I talk to most middle managers, they tell me that they have had little or no formal training. We are entrusting the success of our companies to people who do not know what it takes to provide positive feedback, cascading communication channels, an engaging work environment and everything else it takes to make a successful company. We assume that exemplary performance at a lower level or specific role will automatically make them highly productive managers.

So what is the next step? Training needs analysis, multiple webinars on communication and employee engagement? Here at Innovative Leadership, we believe in human interaction. We recommend a program made for adults with blended learning with real case studies, videos, and class interaction. Plus, learning from facilitators that have walked the walk and talked the talk. They know what you're managers are going through.

Innovative Leadership offers "The Making of An Effective Manager (ELD)" Course quarterly and this Leadership and Management Development Course teaches the participants methods (like identifying an informal leader) and principles of communication, handling the difficult employee and more while providing the vehicles and tools for them to use in the workplace to improve productivity and performance. After this 9 session program, they gain confidence to make the right decisions and know how to motivate and retain employees. Please call 609.390.2830 for more course information and enrollment forms or click here for more information.


Article written by Richard J. Hohmann Jr., Lead Coach for Innovative Leadership, a strategic partner with Fitzpatrick, Bongiovanni, & Kelly, PC, and also a member of the Collaboration Team for Leadership Management International. Richard can also speak at your next organization’s meeting, to invite him to speak call 609-390-2830. For Management Training Solutions click here:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Talk Tough to a Poor Performer

Delivering negative feedback is one of the toughest jobs managers face. So they avoid the issue, hoping that performance problems will evaporate on their own. They won't. Here are some tips that will make delivering feedback a bit easier:
  • Stay away from ancient history - Some managers allow a subordinate to mess up a few times without saying anything. Then, they explode with a list of offenses a mile long. It's better to address each incident as it happens or let it go. Read "Good Boss Bad Boss" by Robert Sutton
  • Be clear, but not combative - Don't dance around the problem. When you discipline a subordinate, both of you should walk away with a clear understanding of the issue and an action plan for a solution.
  • Don't act overly optimistic - or the employee will come away with the feeling that everything is ok. You need to convey the seriousness of the feedback you're delivering and the ramifications if the person doesn't improve.
Adapted from "Delivering Bad News with Grace and Effectiveness" Emory Mulling - Atlanta Business Chronicle

Every great athlete has a coach, so should every top business performer. Coaching can help get you to a higher level of performance or it can help you achieve your goal in a more timely fashion. Contact Innovative Leadership for Business Coaching for CEO's, Management, and Teams. More info

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How To Track Performance for Growth

Every goal – organizational or personal – needs a deadline or target date. Without a deadline, there is no pressure to perform at top capacity. Deadlines provide a motivational “push.” Once people discover what they can do, that new level of productivity becomes a constant challenge for achievement giving your business a much needed edge.

A good tracking system is one of the most useful tools for helping individuals meet goals and grow. Progress can be demonstrated only by comparing the past and the present and tracking is the best method of evaluating both the quantity and the quality of performance for individuals, for a department or work group, or for the overall organization.

How to choose a tracking system that meets your needs:
• Appropriate measurement. Make sure the tracking tool measures each important aspect of the activity. If your goal is to reduce the number of days between the receipt and shipping of orders, you won’t be happy to discover that the time interval was cut from three days to one if you also learn that the error rate rose from one percent to eight percent. In this case, a tracking plan should include both speed and accuracy.

• Easy to use. The measurement tool should not add significantly to the workload. If every worker must spend an hour a day just filling in the report, you lose a good deal of valuable time that could have been used in more productive efforts.

• Easy to interpret. Tracking tools should present the facts visibly in a form that quickly reveals the pertinent facts. Charts, graphs, and summary reports with side-by-side comparisons to the last reporting period are easy to read and interpret. What you learn from the reports helps you decide what to do next. Make sure tracking information is used to advance the goals program.

Providing Feedback on Performance
Because attitudes and behavior are so closely associated, it is often possible to change attitude by first changing behavior. When people try out new behavior patterns and discover that they are more satisfactory than established patterns, they gradually change their attitudes to match the new behaviors. Even when attitudes are favorable for success, employees sometimes do not know just what behaviors are appropriate expressions of those attitudes.

One of the best teaching tools is giving feedback on performance. Generally people respond to praise and recognition, but when they continue negative behavior, you might need to use a negative injunction. The purpose of a negative injunction is to stop negative behavior that creates an obstacle to reaching organizational goals or is counterproductive to getting a job done well. As you plan to provide feedback on performance to your employees, you will achieve the best possible results by following some simple guidelines: Click Here to Read Available for a limited time.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Are you liable for harassment that takes place in your business?

Litigation cases in the area of Workplace Harassment are continuing to increase. How do you define harassment in the workplace? It’s not as simple as it used to be. It is now defined as any type of unwelcome action toward an employee that leads to difficulty in performing assigned tasks or causes the employee to feel he or she is working in a hostile environment.

There are three phases to an employee filing an litigation case. First, there is unwelcome and offensive conduct. The harassment may be based on such factors as race, gender, culture, age, sexual orientation, or religious preference. Bullying and retaliation are also forms of workplace harassment.Second, the employee must voice his or her objection to the behavior, allowing the offending individual or individuals to correct their workplace behavior. Last, the conduct must be of a nature that makes an impact on the ability of the employee to carry out his or her duties in an efficient and responsible manner. Some forms of workplace harassment are more common than others. Unwanted sexual advances by peers or supervisors is the most oft cited form of workplace harassment but other forms are also on the rise.

Where does this leave you as an employer or manager? Are you liable for harassment that takes place in your business?

Yes, you as the employer are automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in a negative employment action such as termination, failure to promote or hire, and loss of wages. If the supervisor's harassment results in a hostile work environment, the employer can avoid liability only if it can prove that: 1) it reasonably tried to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior; and 2) the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.

The employer will be liable for harassment by non-supervisory employees or non-employees over whom it has control (e.g., independent contractors or customers on the premises), if it knew, or should have known about the harassment and failed to take prompt and appropriate corrective action.When investigating allegations of harassment, the EEOC looks at the entire record: including the nature of the conduct, and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. A determination of whether harassment is severe or pervasive enough to be illegal is made on a case-by-case basis.

Innovative Leadership of the Delaware Valley, LLC offers the following Workshops that help your organization and management team avoid liability with this area of concern:
    • Workplace Harassment – This workshop is designed to teach managers and employees how to recognize, prevent, and manage workplace harassment including sexual harassment, bullying, retaliation, and more. This workshop provides a comprehensive overview of the legal and practical definitions and offers specific case studies to support the recommended actions.
    • How to conduct a Workplace Harassment Investigation – This workshop identifies the step by step process of a Workplace Harassment investigation from start to finish. Participants will take away all the tools to conduct their own investigation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How to Find Leaders in the Workplace

In a department or work group of any size, smaller groups begin to form along the lines of common needs and desires. You can often observe these groups during breaks or lunch time. Workers enjoy being together because of similar interests, problems, work, or other factors. This is where your informal leader emerges. When you recognize these informal leaders, you can use their power and influence to enhance the results and productivity of the group. You can antagonize informal leaders and their followers and see productivity sabotaged, or you can harness the power of informal groups to increase productivity.

Although informal leaders are not designated by the organization, they frequently wield extensive power and influence because of their ability to help other team members satisfy needs and reach goals. They are automatically sought out for advice and help when a colleague experiences a problem. They often are outstanding team members with common sense, loyalty, and can contribute a great deal to your company’s success when you delegate to them and help them develop their abilities even further.

Occasionally, however, informal leaders are troublemakers who seek followers to satisfy their own desire for power and glory. They may work against the goals of the organization. But most are competent and possess a great deal of undeveloped potential. Whether they become an asset or a liability to your department depends on your ability to help them find a constructive way to satisfy their needs for personal growth. Otherwise, they may become disgruntled troublemakers, or may move on to another job in an attempt to cure a vague dissatisfaction with the work situation.

In an atmosphere where people are motivated to produce at their peak, a great deal of friendly competition evolves and productivity goes up. You must look to these outstanding individuals as leaders, for they are prime candidates for accepting delegation. Not only will they perform well at whatever tasks you assign, but they also encourage other team members towards an attitude favorable to accepting delegation. Because of the influence of this outstanding person, other team members are also willing to learn new jobs and accept new responsibilities.

In contrast, people who feel mistreated and fearful may distrust high producers. They fear that management expects everyone to produce at that high level. Groups of disgruntled individuals sometimes follow an informal leader in using various pressures to force the top producer down to a lower standard. Derogatory terms are powerful demotivators when applied to those who exceed group standards. One of the worst punishments of all can be rejection by other team members.

In such situations, you need to identify their informal leaders and find a way to neutralize their power. These leaders may be people with high potential whose basic needs and goals are not being met. As a leader, you are responsible for knowing these people well enough to discover their unsatisfied needs and helping them motivate themselves to become productive. Directing the energy of these groups into constructive work can turn the force and authority of informal groups into a benefit for the organization.

You can enhance your career success by reinforcing your formal authority with appropriate action to fulfill these leadership functions:

Acceptance by the group. A leader is trusted by the group members to have genuine understanding and empathy for their problems.

Risk taking. A leader takes whatever risks might be involved in expressing group grievances to management and seeking solutions for them.

Communication. The leader contributes to the security of the group by providing information. The informal leader may provide inaccurate information based on rumors. You are, in contrast, a channel for accurate information and thus give employees the feeling of security they need. Using these powerful strategies expands your influence and encourages maximum motivation among your team members.

Innovative Leadership offers "The Making of An Effective Manager (ELD)" Course quarterly and this Leadership and Management Development Course teaches the participants methods (like identifying an informal leader) and principles of communication, handling the difficult employee and more while providing the vehicles and tools for them to use in the workplace to improve productivity and performance. Please call 609.390.2830 for more course information and enrollment forms or click here

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How To Understand Behaviors at Work

Understanding the reasoning behind certain actions – why people act as they do – can help you deal effectively with people when they seem completely irrational to you. All behavior is designed to satisfy some need, and even unproductive behavior in the workplace usually arises from some unmet, internal personal need.

The satisfaction of psychological needs is just as important as physical needs but frequently more difficult. People usually first try to satisfy needs by direct action. They work hard to appear successful, exercise to look stronger and more confident, or read books to increase knowledge. For most, the direct approach works. Some individuals, however, grew up with or have life experiences that expand many unsatisfied needs that they now feel generally inferior, guilty, or unworthy. A direct approach is usually only temporary and insufficient. As a result, people with low self-esteem build defenses.

As a manager, CEO, or supervisor learning to recognize defenses will help you refer people for help to find alternative ways to satisfy their needs. As you direct employees to resources for addressing their problems, you not only help them improve their quality of life, but you also prevent defensive behavior in the workplace.

Some of the most common defenses are easy to recognize. Recognizing these defensive behaviors helps you know how to best respond:

Aggression - An aggressive person strikes out in an attempt – often subconscious – to destroy the source of frustration. Aggression is a sign of inner fear – not bravery. Because in our society an actual physical release of hostility is generally unacceptable behavior, people may resort instead to gossip, slander, or ridicule as a means of venting hostility in a more socially acceptable fashion. Regard any new surge in aggressive behavior or attitudes as a warning of underlying problems. Use the “tell me about it” method; confront the behavior or negative attitudes.

Daydreaming - In spite of adequate training and above average ability, some people persist in escaping from the drab world of reality into a dream world where life is a bed of roses. Team members who persistently daydream rather than work are exhibiting behavior more characteristic of adolescence than of adulthood. You can often cure daydreaming by helping individuals learn to set short-term goals and gradually establish a pattern of success.

Repression - This protects the self-image by rejecting thoughts that are unpleasant or would cause guilt or shame. Some repression may be positive, but an overdose results in intense fears and debilitating feelings of inferiority. Some repressed experiences produce feelings of guilt expressed through self-criticism – or even an apparent desire to provoke punishment. Help team members exhibiting excess guilt, inferiority, or negativism to begin believing in themselves more. Give praise for specific successes whenever possible.

Rationalization – This is someone who explains failure by making excuses. Why is production down? The raw materials were bad. Why they were not promoted? It was strictly favoritism! Rationalization is an attempt to boost the self-image by “lying to oneself.” People who rationalize must learn to admit their faults and overcome them. A good system of feedback – both positive and corrective – helps to establish a climate in which team members feel secure enough to acknowledge weaknesses and to develop a plan for growth.

Compartmentalization – This is a way of controlling anxiety and guilt feelings by separating contradictory ideas in the conscious mind. Employees who firmly believe it is wrong to steal might use compartmentalization to justify carrying off company property to make up for salaries they believe are too low. Reasoning with people who compartmentalize is a waste of time and energy. But appealing to their emotions will bolster their egos and more likely nurture a commitment to desired behavior.

Understanding and identifying these behaviors will help you become sensitive to defensiveness and turn it into cooperation in the workplace.

Remember, the best predictor of future performance is present in the ways and means that they addressed a similar situation in their work environment in the past. Understanding your own behavior and the behavioral style of your employees will allow you to not only recognize some of these defensive actions earlier, but maybe just prevent the incident before it even occurs.

For more information on our courses and workshops that allow you to use behavioral styles to your advantage as a manager or employee, please call us at 609.390.2830.

Innovative Leadership of the Delaware Valley, LLC offers the Everything DiSC® Management Workshop designed to help managers realize the impact of their personal behavioral style on the people you work with. This Workshop teaches participants about their behavioral strengths and challenges as managers and how to adapt to meet the needs of the people they manage – making everyone more productive and effective.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Seven Questions the Demonstrate Engagement

After reading the “The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations that Win, Susan R. Meisinger, former CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, comments in an article that the difficulty that organizations face when trying to engage people who are all motivated by different things, is to shift your view of engagement from not simply “being present” but look at engagement as “being emotionally and socially present”. She feels if HR wants to help their leadership team and employees find greater meaning in their roles within the company, they need to do more than ensure that everyone has a best friend at work or has been coached about their future career with the last 60 days.

I agree with Susan that HR professionals who are charged with elevating employee engagement need to read this book to better understanding of the why’s of the seven questions. The book will offer them new insights into ways to increase their own engagement – or to increase the abundance in their lives – and increasing the value they bring to their own organization. As Susan states, it’s engagement with a different view.

So when are you going out on into the workplace to ask these questions?

  1. Who am I?
  1. Where am I going?
  1. Whom do I travel with?
  1. How do I build a positive work environment?
  1. What challenges interest me?
  1. How do I change, learn and grow?
  1. What delights me?

It’s time to learn if we do have an engaged workforce or not…..Get moving.

The questions listed above were presented in a recent book by Dave and Cindy Ulrich, The why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations that Win; their book focuses on how leaders engage their workforce but also their customers, vendors, community and investors.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What is the biggest Leadership Obstacle to Middle Management?

I am starting to realize that the biggest obstacle to middle management is without question, senior management. Most managers today show a greater loyalty to their department while the loyalty and respect for senior management is waning. The result becomes a real disconnect between upper and middle management. This disconnect is directly related to employee engagement.

Upper management is responsible for providing the direction of the company. This strategic responsibility is quite a task but senior management expects total commitment to the vision, mission, and strategic business objectives from their middle management and all employees and it is unreal. This lack of commitment is demonstrated in most employee surveys or employee engagement data. It is well documented that the American worker tends to trust their immediate supervisor as opposed to the company’s senior leaders.

How to Provide Direction to Middle Management:
  1. Senior officers, you need get out of your office and be with your day to day decision makers - In a previous article, I noted that observation and open discussion with managers and staff are competencies or skills that senior managers tend to avoid. Senior management must eliminate the lack of trust and to do that they must inspire their management team and staff to believe in the direction, etc. Getting buy in from your middle management team is imperative for sustained growth.
  2. Mentor middle management - The middle managers must feel appreciated and the best way to do that is to be mentored by a senior manager, which moves the mid-level manger toward the strategy side of the equation. The middle management of any organization must comprehend the business strategy for them to be able translate the direction that is easily understood by the entire work force. If this cascading flow of communication gets interrupted, then it becomes impossible for anyone within any organization to connect the dots resulting in employee disengagement.
  3. Develop middle management - It is well documented what skills and competencies are needed for managers to be high achievers; but when I talk to most middle managers, they tell me that they have had little or no formal training. We are entrusting the success of our companies to people who do not know what it takes to provide positive feedback, cascading communication channels, an engaging work environment and everything else it takes to make a successful company. We assume that exemplary performance at a lower level or specific role will automatically make them highly productive managers.

I hate to tell you but leaders and great managers are made not born. In most employee surveys and/or engagement data, we find that most concerns of employees focus on their immediate supervisor not doing what they should be doing….communicating the business strategy while translating it to define the full value of everyone’s role, responsibility, and actions needed to create a successful company.

With the rapid departing of the baby boomers and disengagement still hovering around 30 percent, isn’t it time to focus on developing your future leaders. This leadership must be developed in the middle of the company and mentored upward so that the strategy and implantation will always do exactly what it is intended to do……bring the desired results.

Now is the time for senior management to act and gain success in their company through developing their management and then the middle management’s individual productivity results in organizational effectiveness. It’s not magic but it is a necessity.

Article written by Richard J. Hohmann Jr., Lead Coach for Innovative Leadership, a strategic partner with Fitzpatrick, Bongiovanni, & Kelly, PC, and also a member of the Collaboration Team for Leadership Management International. Richard can also speak at your next organization’s meeting, to invite him to speak call 609-390-2830. For Management Training Solutions click here:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Managers: Ask for Bad News

Don't allow bad news to blindside you. If you do, you'll have to shift priorities ina hurry to handle any promlems that arise unexpectedly.

Here are some tips to ensure you get the bad news in time to do something about it:

  • Develop Independent sources of information. Cultivate informal contacts elsewhere in your organization. Take customer calls at the call center. Talk to your front-line staff.
  • Push for depth. Does one element of a report seem a little off? Search for the reason why. That "off" fact or figure could alert you to a major problem.
  • Create a "truth-telling" culture. Assign a "worse-case scenario" team to every analysis. Get everyone used to "facing the truth." Caution: Truth telling doesn't mean shooting down less than perfect ideas.
  • Take action. If what your staff tell you just languishes, they won't come forward. Mobilize your resources and tackle the problem immediately.
Adapted from "How to Get Bad News to the Top" by Scott Kirsner

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Understanding Human Behavior

Understanding human motivation enables you to achieve results through people, while understanding team members and their behavior implies that you care about them and have their best interests at heart. Investing the time and effort required to understand human behavior and to motivate employees offers readily observable benefits:
• Reduction in personnel turnover
• Identification of effective motivational leadership methods
• Increase in employee productivity, creativity, and loyalty.

Human beings are complicated, and there are no simplistic rules for understanding their behavior. Certain principles, however, provide insight into why people behave in certain ways. One way of looking at human behavior is to see it as caused by needs and wants. and can be classified into four types that are called the Four P’s: protection, pleasure, profit, and pride.

The need for protection is expressed in the universal desire for a feeling of security, safety, and protection from danger, from confusion, from domination and loss of freedom, from pain and poor health, and from uncertainty. This need is also expressed in a desire for a feeling of freedom from all kinds of loss—including loss of status, reputation, time, money, or opportunity. In very practical terms, this need demands that team members perform at their best, yet feel free from the fear of losing their jobs at the whim of an unpredictable leader.

Pleasure reflects the need and desire for comfort, convenience, companionship of others, or participation in enjoyable activities. Pleasure also includes feelings of assurance and a sense of belonging. Receiving attention fulfills a pleasure need because we all want recognition and approval from others. A sense of achievement is also an important pleasure need; all of us want to feel that we are capable of accomplishing and completing worthwhile goals.

The desire for profit is seen in the concern for monetary gain, increased earnings, and other financial advantages. Some individuals are motivated more than others by the desire for profit, but nearly everyone has this need to some extent. Thrift and avoidance of waste are also expressions of the desire for profit.

A sense of pride is fostered by feelings of self-esteem as well as feelings of significance and respect from others. As you treat others in ways that make them feel good about themselves, you are meeting their need for pride. People want to feel respected, to enjoy equality with others, and to achieve prestige in groups they consider important.

What is the best motivator?

All three basic approaches to motivation (fear, incentive, and attitude) have been available since the early beginnings of organized society. Both fear and incentive motivation have consistently proven to be temporary because they are external. Fear ceases to exist if the power to inflict punishment is gone. But it also ceases to motivate action if people find out they can live with the punishment, or if it is an empty threat. A team member who is careless about following established procedures learns that the only punishment is an angry reprimand; it may be easier to tune out the lecture than to follow the rules exactly. Fear is successful as a motivator only if the pressure is constant and power to punish is exercised.

Incentive motivation loses its power when the promised rewards are perceived either as unattainable or as unappealing. When employees consistently earn a promised reward over a period of time, that reward is expected. It no longer appears desirable enough to inspire extra effort. In fact, it is soon looked upon as a right instead of a special reward. Unfortunately, incentives must become progressively more impressive to continue to motivate. Both fear and incentive motivation fall short because they are externally controlled and temporary.

Attitude motivation, on the other hand, is a permanent force for producing desired behavior. It has the additional advantage of being internally produced and controlled. It continues to be effective whether the individual is working alone or in a group. Attitude motivation grows out of an individual’s dreams and desires. It is a function of the need to belong, to achieve, and to use the innate talents with which the individual is endowed. motivating people is basically a matter of showing them how to develop the power of self-motivation and then demonstrating to them the desirability of using that power to accomplish a purpose. Admittedly, it takes longer to start the process of achievement in your organization through attitude motivation than you might produce through either fear or incentive. But once team members experience the sense of fulfillment that comes through the use of attitude motivation, they are permanently sold on making full use of their potential.

Encourage the Cooperation of Others

By Richard Hohmann, VP of Innovative Leadership

“Since the first recorded history, leaders have attempted to discover new ways to attract the willing cooperation of others.”

Leaders fill many different types of positions and perform widely diverse functions. But the chief task of leadership is the same for all: to motivate people who will then use their skills and effort to achieve the goals of the organization. The operative word in that definition is motivate. The attention given to motivation is not new. Since the first recorded history, leaders have attempted to discover new ways to attract the willing cooperation of others. Records of their attempts—along with accounts of their successes and failures—have filled countless volumes, but all of the different methods discovered can be sorted into three basic categories: fear, incentive, and attitude.

. Motivation through fear
The oldest method of motivation is fear. In primitive society, the strongest person became the ruler. Physical strength was originally the source of power, and weaker members of the group followed orders because they feared the physical punishment that was sure to result from refusal to conform. As society became more organized, other types of power came into play: Social, economic, and political pressures forced obedience. Even today, the business world uses fear to motivate people to behave in desired ways. Rules and policies threaten various sanctions for undesirable behavior all the way from a memo of censure placed in the personnel file to denial of increased pay to outright dismissal.

2. Motivation through incentive
Although fear is often a powerful motivator, many would-be leaders who lack the personal power to demand obedience look for other methods of producing the cooperation they want. They realized that every behavior is the result of a desire either to gain a benefit or to avoid a loss. Because of this lack of power, they offer an incentive—the promise of some gain to those who complied. Incentive motivation is generally regarded as a more enlightened strategy than fear. Families and schools use the promise of rewards to coax children to perform. Organizations offer people awards, prizes, and privileges for certain achievements.

3. Motivation through attitude
The master method of motivation is attitude. When people are willing to perform because they personally believe that a particular course of action is right, they are self-motivated. It is then unnecessary for anyone else to “motivate” them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

10 Tips to Effective Communication

Manager’s today are dealing with 3 different generations in the workforce but that doesn’t change how managers should communicate with their employees. Everything a manager does involve communicating. Communication is needed to increase effectiveness, efficiency, customer satisfaction, improve quality and create innovative opportunities.

The Gallop Poll has demonstrated that as a nation, we engage our workers less than any other workforce in the world. We need to engage our workers so they realize their value in the success of the business strategy of the company or organization. In other words, we need to make them feel that they are part of the decision making process and contribute significantly to the success of our organization. This will also help us retain our better employees.

On top of that, if we can improve feedback, we certainly will help retain our good employees. Remember, people don’t leave a good company, they leave a bad manager. The number one reason for an employee leaving a company is lack of feedback from their immediate supervisor. So the number one factor in regard to Talent Management – Communication.

How do we communicate?
• Verbal
– One-on-One
– Meetings
– Groups or Teams
– Telephone
• Written
– Letter
– Memo
– E Mail
• Non-verbal
– Body Language

As a manager, you must remember that sending an email can easily be misinterpreted. Face to face meetings or just interaction is being replaced by emails, against common belief, this actually decreases productivity.

Here are 10 tips to effective communication
1. Connect personally with employees
2. Plan your presentation with the outcome in mind
3. Make it real communication; eliminate perception
4. Use a variety of communication pathways and vehicles
5. Give people multiple opportunities to share their concerns, ask questions, and offer ideas
6. Don’t confuse Process with Communication
7. Be genuine and develop trust
8. Be an active listener
9. Keep a sense of humor and develop comfortable relations
10. Communicate ideas not feelings or judgment

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

5 Tips for Fun in the Workplace

  • Once a quarter, set aside a day where all the employees, including the manager and the boss, have to dress up as some fictional or cartoon character, or as anything theme everyone decides on. Award the “best dressed person” with a gift card to a local dining favorite. Such days will lighten up the atmosphere at work and ease out the tension.
  • Put games such as chess, pool table, carom, monopoly, etc. for refreshment. Employees who finish their work early can refresh themselves with such recreational games. Also choose a corner in the office to put some gymnastic equipment. A small workout could do wonders to the mind.
  • In lunch breaks or on specific Fridays, organize a karaoke session. Get a karaoke machine in the office and let the employees go wild. For maximum fun, let the managers and bosses be the contestants and employees the judges so that the higher authorities can get a taste of their own medicine!
  • Once every quarter, the entire office should take a long lunch break to a fancy restaurant and maybe go out for a movie, as well.
  • Create a cartoons and joke board. All employees could collect and share their favorite cartoons and jokes and put it up on the board.
Get all the employees to participate in ways to add fun in the workplace. Let the “fun crew” go wild with creativity, meeting once or twice a month, since there is no limit to ideas in which you can infuse a lot of fun in the office. However, every week or every month, the members of the “fun crew” should change so that there is always a fresh rotation of fun ideas!

Adapted from Careers

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why Email Marketing? Five Great Reasons

by Michelle Keegan1, Constant Contact Email Marketing Expert Sign up Here

Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to businesses of all types and sizes. No matter how you define success, you can achieve outstanding results with email marketing while investing only a small amount of time and an even smaller amount of money.

"54% of small businesses surveyed rated e-mail as the top online promotion to drive site visitors and customers to their web sites and storefronts." Source: DMA Interactive

"I think over time we'll see small businesses adopting e-mail marketing because it has the inherent advantages of being 'faster, cheaper and easier' to execute. Coupled with the potential to target more precisely than today's solo or shared mailers, there's a real win for the small business owner." Source: Neal Polachek, senior vice president of The Kelsey Group.

So, Why Email Marketing?

  1. It's Inexpensive
    Email marketing is an affordable way to stretch a tight marketing budget - and whose isn't these days? Unlike direct mail, there is virtually no production, materials or postage expense. Email marketing is 20 times more cost effective than direct mail, and can cost as little as fractions of a penny per email.

    "Previously, we were sending these kinds of mailings through first-class postal mail," said Robin Parker, owner of Studio: Dance, Arts & More. "With several hundred members and prospects, that really adds up quickly. Email marketing is much less expensive than sending out postcards or flyers. We save about $4,000 just in materials and postage."
  2. It's Effective
    Email marketing enables you to proactively communicate with your existing customers and prospects instead of passively waiting for them to return to your Web site or storefront. It is a highly effective way to increase sales, drive site or store traffic and develop loyalty.

    • Increasing sales
      "In response to our first campaign, WatchZone received 100 online orders - all from a segment of 15,000 current customers," said Shavi Mahtani, CEO of, a leading site for fashion and sport watches at discount prices. "The average sale was about $150 per order. We were very happy with that result. Frankly, it exceeded our expectations."
    • Driving traffic
      "The increase in traffic was substantial," said Travis Erickson, controller for, online "Pro Shop" for golf enthusiasts. "We've noticed that even if the recipient isn't interested in, say, our golfing irons promotion, they'll think, 'Wow, that's a great price - I wonder what else they have on sale?'"
    • Building Loyalty
      "We're technically not an e-business," said Robin Parker, owner of Studio: Dance, Arts & More, "but we're using email marketing to capture the names of site visitors so that we can provide them with information, news, and schedules that make their lives easier. That helps us build and retain loyal members. We believe email marketing will increase the lifetime value of our members by encouraging more frequent visits to the studio and strengthening our relationships with our members."
  3. It's Immediate

    Email marketing generates an immediate response. The call to action is clear: "Click here to take advantage of this offer", or "to learn more about this service". Initial campaign response generally occurs within 48 hours of the time the email campaign is sent.

    "Orders pour in within 24 hours after I send my newsletters," said CEO, Au-Co Mai. "In an economy where most companies are suffering, I can't believe that I'm actually thriving and breaking revenue goals every month."

  4. It's Targeted
    You can easily segment your lists using a variety of criteria or interest groups so that your promotions go to the individuals most likely to respond to your offer.

    "Because many of our customers are collectors, they are only interested in hearing about the newest collectible arrivals," said Lars Mohlin, President, House of Ascot, a mail order gift and collectible business. "While others are looking for promotions, the collectors often dislike receiving mail messages offering discounts. We target email campaigns to our subscribers' opt-in interest categories, this has resulted in a 40%-50% jump in revenue."
  5. It's Easy

    There are Web-based email marketing products for small and medium businesses. Most include professional HTML templates, list segmentation and targeting capabilities, as well as, automatic tracking and reporting. So, you are free to concentrate on your unique message.
    "This is definitely something a non-techie can do," said Shavi Mahtani, CEO of "It took us about 45 minutes - start to finish - to build and compose our e-mail. And each campaign since then has taken less time to set up."

    "I don't need a Webmaster or a technical person to handle my newsletters anymore," said Raphael Baekeland, general manager of "My product manager and I can do everything very easily."

Sign up Now with Constant Contact

Employee Engagement is a Unique Experience Leading to Motivation

By Richard Hohmann, VP of Innovative Leadership of the Delaware Valley

Tim Rutledge, Author of “Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty” defines engagement as employees who are attracted to, inspired by, committed to and fascinated by their work”.

The various levels of engagement involve certain ingredients that do make a difference:
• Relationship Building
• Goal-orientation
• Passion, and
• Forward Thinking

Many HR professionals use the following metrics to determine engagement:
• Individual Performance
• Organizational Productivity
• Employee Retention and Turnover
• Customer-orientation and brand loyalty

It has been shown that engagement has both a rational and emotional commitment. The latest statistics have demonstrated that 31% of our workforce is engaged and 17% are disengaged (BlessingWhite – 2011). Over half of the workers exhibit some disengagement. The statistics demonstrate that we are all accountable for our own engagement level but people in a management role must coach and/or mentor their direct reports to a higher level of engagement while managing their own engagement. Executives must not only set the tone for high morale but manage their own engagement plus shoulder the responsibilities of managers and staff.

This new body of work demonstrates a strong correlation between engagement levels and age, role and position, and tenure. It might be time for focus on generational diversity in the workplace. Unfortunately, the survey also shows that the majority of employees today are looking for new opportunities within and outside of their own company. Many companies are projecting that many of their good people will be leaving once the economy turns around. This survey also demonstrates that engaged employees stay for what they give and the disengaged stay for what they get. Doesn’t that say it all!

It is certainly important for HR professionals and the executive officers of the company to focus on activities that close the gap between the decision makers and the staff. We must get everyone on the same page and have management respond instead of react.

Contact us for our Top Ten Solutions for Disengagement
…this is an ideal document to discuss with your executive leadership team. Remember, in previous studies, it has been shown that 96% of engaged employees trust their leaders and only 46% of the disengaged employees trust their leaders. Isn’t it time that your company’s leadership team focus on Motivation – the end result of Engagement.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How To Solve Problems with Success - 7 Steps

When a problem arises, the preliminary steps lead up to a decision about which a possible solution will be implemented. Problem solving may involve a relatively insignificant item, or it may concern a serious issue with the possibility of a major impact on the entire organization. The larger and more important the problem, the more time and detail go into each step of the problem-solving process. For minor problems, several of the steps may be accomplished mentally in only a few seconds.

But the process always includes these steps:
1. Define the problem. Take time to discover the nature of the real problem when something is obviously wrong. Define the problem clearly in terms of one or more organizational or personal goals.
2. List criteria for selecting a solution. Establish guidelines for evaluating possible solutions and making a decision by referring to specific organizational goals and priorities. The criteria might include impact on product quality, cost limits, personnel changes, the leader’s time allotment, and a target date for choosing a solution to be implemented.
3. Collect information. Considering time and expense, identify the particular type of information that must be assembled and set a deadline for collecting it. Asking open-end questions and listening carefully are generally good information-gathering techniques. Ask others how they would solve the problem and why they would take that approach.
4. Develop possible solutions. Examine all of the data collected and record all possible solutions suggested by the data. List as many possible solutions as you or the group can generate by brainstorming. The brainstorming process is most effective when it is completely uninhibited and free from any critical analysis.
5. Analyze possible solutions. Allow time for ideas to “incubate.” Work on other problems and come back to the original one with a new perspective. When you accept traditional assumptions about what can be done, you limit the ability to find creative solutions. Alter assumptions about what can be accomplished, and you open your mind to new possibilities for solving specific problems.
6. Make the decision. When as much information as feasible has been gathered and considered, assume the responsibility for making a decision, or for leading team members to choose the best possible solution.
7. Implement the solution and follow up. Since the process is problem solving rather than decision making alone, a plan for implementation must be developed to carry the job through to completion. Assign responsibility for each action step. Set up a schedule and follow it to make sure the problem is being solved. Make appropriate adjustments along the way to ensure successful problem solving.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Working Together to Achieve Goals

To gain full mastery of your attitudes, your time, and your life, immerses yourself in a total program of personal and organizational goals. Many personal goals involve items money can buy, and your career is the means for earning that money. Other personal goals focus on satisfying such intangible needs as security, ego satisfaction, and self-fulfillment that are inevitably tied to the work environment. When you recognize this relationship both intellectually and emotionally, you realize that productivity leads to the satisfaction of both your personal needs and your professional success.

Reaching business goals requires the cooperation of everyone in the organization. Ideally, everyone plays an appropriate part in choosing business goals, planning for their achievement, and working out the action steps. Few organizations, however, are ideal. Some business goals may be handed down to you with little opportunity for your input. You may find it easy to be wholeheartedly committed to the achievement of these goals, but it is possible that you might find yourself in partial disagreement with a particular goal or plan. At this point, carefully examine your priorities and values to determine exactly how you can contribute to the achievement of the stated goals and how you can grow personally by doing so – even though you might have preferred to see the organization move in another direction. Express your ideas about particular organizational goals and plans to the right person at the right time. Only in the case of a serious clash between your personal values and those of the organization will you find it impossible to contribute appropriately. With careful consideration, you can gain insights into ways to contribute to the productivity and long-term success of the company.

One element to consider in both personal and organizational goal setting is the time investment required. Most organizations develop more ideas for profit and expansion than they have the resources to carry out. Consequently, some criteria must be established for choosing profitable ventures. Traditionally, these decisions are based on projected return on in-vestment of capital. Obviously, though, some projects that promise high financial return require more time on the part of team members than others. In strategic planning, organizations must consider not only the amount of capital required for undertaking a new project and the expected return on investment, but they must also plan realistically for the amount of time required of key people to implement and supervise the project. Some projects that promise a high return on the investment of capital are impractical when the amount of time required by certain team members is considered.

To ensure adequate time to undertake exciting new projects, all members of the organization need to practice time-proven goal-setting principles of effective personal productivity. This is one strategy that always pays big dividends!

How the Goal-Setting Process Works

Goal setting is the most powerful process available to improve your personal productivity. Without planning and goal setting, all the desire that can be aroused in the limitless potential of the human spirit is wasted like the random lightning of a summer storm. It squanders its force in one flash across the heavens and is lost in the void of space without utility, purpose, or direction. It goes unharnessed and unused, its potential power wasted. Ironically, the contrast resulting from its sudden brilliance seems to leave behind an even darker future once the momentary glare fades.

In striking contrast, goal setting – supported by careful planning – provides a sense of direction to keep you focused on the most important activities. Goals serve as a filter to eliminate extraneous demands. Goals bring to life order, meaning, and purpose that sustain interest and motivation over a long period of time. Goals evoke your noblest qualities; they express your desire to achieve, to improve your life, and to be more effective, more productive, and more successful tomorrow than you are today.

Goal setting is the most powerful action you can take to improve your personal productivity. Simply defined, the goal-setting process is the process of:

  • Developing a mission statement for your life.
  • Writing a specific goal(s) that supports your mission.
  • Listing the benefits of achieving the goal.
  • Anticipating possible obstacles and solutions.
  • Writing detailed action steps and deadlines to achieve the goal.
  • Integrating the action steps into your planning system.
  • Determining a method of tracking your progress.
  • Writing affirmations to support your belief in your ability to accomplish the goal.
  • Developing a visual representation that effectively reminds you of your goal.

Although success carries different meanings to different people, there is a definition that fits your dreams as well as those of everyone else:

Success is the progressive realization of
worthwhile, predetermined personal goals.

Success does not come by accident; you cannot buy it, inherit it, or even marry into it. Success depends on following a lifelong practice of goal setting and continuous growth – the process of “progressive realization.” Success also depends on seeking predetermined goals. Although many worthwhile achievements come as side effects of some other activity or purpose, they are, nevertheless, a direct consequence of the pursuit of predetermined goals. The full, ultimate effect of reaching a specific goal is not always clearly visible now, but the important point to recognize is that achievement and increased personal productivity invariably arise as a direct consequence of striving toward predetermined goals.

The sole purpose of the goal-setting process is to guide you on the entire journey from wish to fulfillment. The steps in the process are simple but not simplistic, comprehensive but not complex. Be patient and keep an open mind until the overall pattern of activity begins to unfold. Just remember that you are what you are today because of events that unfolded over time and your choices in response to those events. When you wish to change, to alter attitudes or habits, or to develop new personality traits that will increase your effectiveness, that, too, takes time. Individual pace may vary, but the sequential process of goal setting does not; so follow the plan as outlined. When you internalize the goal-setting process, your goals create a magnetic attraction that draws you toward their achievement.

Innovative Leadership of the Delaware Valley, LLC is a partner of LMI
Leadership Management® Institute*
Reprinted with permission