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In Business We Trust

I just read the 2019 EDELMAN TRUST BAROMETER Global Report https://www.edelman.com/sites/g/files/aatuss191/files/2019-01/2019_Edelman_Trust_Barometer_Global_Report.pdf

It is an interesting 65-page research report with implications for all executives. Trust is today’s business currency, especially when it comes to managing people.  I believe the most fundamental shift in the workplace is The Death of Control. And, if you can’t control someone, you had better be able to trust them!

Let me share a few of the findings I find most interesting.

1 . The good news is that trust in US companies is on the rise. Even though Gallup says two-thirds of employees are disengaged, 80% of US employees trust their employer, the highest level in some time. The US score is “middle of the pack” in terms of employees trusting their employers in different countries, so there is plenty of room for improvement!

2. Top five communications topics that are most effective in increasing employer trust:

  • Societal Impact- The organization’s contributions for the betterment of society 3.78
  • Values- The organization’s values 3.24
  • The Future- The organization’s vision for the future 3.12
  • Purpose- The organization’s mission and purpose 2.85
  • Operations- Operational decisions, including decisions that may affect my job 2.62

To what extent are you making an effort to communicate and brand these factors? Does the CEO talk about them? Do you? Are these factors marketed on the career page of your website, in your employee newsletter and on the walls of your company?

3. Those companies that focus on creating trusting relationship see significant benefits.

Percent of employees who engage in these types of behaviors on behalf of their employer

(Low trust environment/high trust environment/trust difference):

  • Advocacy 39/78/+39
  • Loyalty 36/74/+38
  • Engagement 38/71/+33
  • Commitment 53/83/+31

Trust drives desired behaviors. While it may feel like a “soft subject” it has bottom-line implications.

4. According to the report, the New Employer-Employee Contract focuses on…

  • Leading Change: Be aspirational – Address concerns about the personal impact of change – Train the workforce of the future.
  • Empowering Employees: Give them a voice – Create opportunities for shared action- Empower them with information.
  • Starting Locally: Solve problems at home – Improve societal conditions in the local communities in which you operate – Live your values.
  • CEO Leadership: Engage directly – Be visible and show a personal commitment, inside and outside the organization.

Remember, your effectiveness as a leader has much to do with who you can trust…and who can trust you.

5. Last, is a checklist of how trusting employees view their company. Isn’t this how you want employees thinking and feeling about your company!

Loyalty items

  • I want to stay working for this organization for many years
  • I publicly support decisions taken by the organization’s leadership

Advocacy items

  • I would recommend our products or services to others
  • I would defend the organization if I see or hear it being criticized
  • I recommend this organization as an employer to others

Commitment items

  • I want to do the best possible job for our customers or clients
  • I am committed to helping the organization achieve its strategy and goals
  • I feel motivated to perform at my best
  • I do more than what’s expected to help them succeed

Engagement items

  • I behave in a way that epitomizes the organization’s values
  • I support the organization’s social causes and community activities
  • I offer suggestions for improving the organization’s processes, products or services
  • I would feel comfortable in speaking up if I were to see the organization engaging in wrong-doing
  • I participate in the organization’s social media activities
  • I would feel comfortable pressuring management to weigh in on important social and political issues if I thought remaining silent would hurt the reputation of the organization
  • I feel a sense of pride in my organization

Excellent checklist and one that can be turned into an annual survey or series of surveys at your company!

Conclusion-All of the above should feel right. So, what is the resistance to doing any of it? If time and money aren’t legitimate excuses, then what is?

In addition to the benefits of trust mentioned above, my 30 plus years of being an employment lawyer also tells me people who trust each other don’t sue each other. Trust is a great risk-management factor as well.

PS if you have not done so, I encourage you to take a look at the videos I did on my LinkedIn page about moving from Control to Trust  https://www.linkedin.com/in/donphin

Investigation and Lie Detection

“The liar was the hottest to defend his veracity, the coward his courage, the ill-bred his gentlemanliness, and the cad his honor.” 
― Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

There is a great deal of literature available to help determine whether someone you are speaking with, perhaps during an investigation, or during a game of poker, is lying to you. What follows are some of the “tells” the trained eye will look for:

  • Eye contact avoidance.
  • Liars use less hands and arms. Often on their lap, folded, closed body posture.
  • Palms down on the table or clenched.
  • Arms and legs crossed.
  • Touching face, playing with hair.
  • Partial shrug.
  • Inconsistent words, gestures, and emotions.
  • What was the initial reaction?
  • Timing of gestures.
  • The surprise wears off quickly.
  • The tight smile; the small smile.
  • Head moves mechanically.
  • The guilty usually go on the defensive; the honest on the offensive.
  • The head shifts.
  • Slumped posture.
  • Liars generally won’t touch you or point fingers.
  • Liars feel the need to give a lot of details.
  • Liars often repeat the question to gain time.
  • Liars use your words.
  • The Freudian slip.
  • Discomfort with silence.
  • The guilty usually engage in body “awayness.” They will put up barriers.
  • Guilty people try too hard to convince. “I would never…”, “I wouldn’t lie,” “To tell you the truth…”
  • “I need time to think.”
  • They look to be relieved that the questioning is over.
  • Look for the out of left field response
  • They make an effort to change the subject.
  • The guilty will engage in moral superiority.
  • They will answer the question with a statement first.

When you are hot on the liar’s trail, you can say things like:

  • Let them know the advantages of coming clean.
  • On a scale of 1-10 where might you fit in …
  • What else could you have done?
  • Talk about it as if it is already an established fact.
  • Stare at them and be silent. Give them a reason to tell the truth.
  • Ask them if “this is the whole story?”
  • I know this happened… what I want to know is what your intentions were?
  • Was this an innocent mistake or a calculated effort?
  • Expand their statement.
  • I know there are two sides to every story…

Liars feast off of amateurs, which is one reason I don’t play poker, and a good reason for you to hire a pro when dealing with workplace investigations!

 

A Laundry List of Fun Ideas You Can Apply at Your Company

There are plenty of fun ways to make work enjoyable, reinforce your culture and increase retention, engagement, and productivity in the process. Here’s just a few. What fun things has your company done? Please do share!

  1. Bring your _______ to work day (dog, parent, kid, spouse, therapist).
  2. Celebrate change – bury the past in a ceremony.
  3. Assign vision, mission or value “keepers”.
  4. Be a customer for a day.
  5. Bring in a motivational speaker.
  6. Community service – your employees can help in schools, shelters, with the elderly, at rescue centers, support the PBS fund drive, non-profit, create a clothing drive, sponsor a community day, give them a day off for volunteer work.
  7. Customers – Any form of recognition, thank you notes, t-shirts, thank you calls, candy bars, referral bonuses.
  8. Line a wall with pictures drawn by employee’s children or grandchildren, inspirational quotes, personal vision and mission statements.
  9. Send thank you cards home…maybe even with a gift card.
  10. Feed them – potluck lunches, healthy salads, ice cream trucks, popcorn trucks, cookie-baking contest.
  11. Fun – Create a mascot, fun committee, red nose day, poem contest, company rock band, sports teams, pass the trophy, company song or dance, costume day, wig day, hat day, tie day, sweater day, scavenger hunt, fill in the blank joke contest, company crossword puzzle.
  12. Holiday parties – There’s a holiday every month that you can turn into some type of theme party. Let your fun committee put it together!
  13. Create one page “how I make a difference” form where employees show how their work makes a difference on a single sheet of paper. No rules how they do that.
  14. Create some team videos, attain a customer video testimonial.
  15. Miscellaneous – Create a wishes box, time capsule, business cards for everyone, a haiku contest.

Those are just a few of my ideas. What are yours?

Walking the Training Talk

I just finished reading my bi-monthly issue of Training Magazine. It highlighted the top 125 company training programs in the country. Some insights I gathered:

  1. 1. Most employees want at least two hours of training per month. If the employee desire is roughly 24 hours of training per year and they earn $50,000 then you have to deliver that training, including their cost of attendance at roughly $50 per hour, or $1200 year or 2.4% of payroll…and as you will see, that’s on the lower end of the budget for great companies.
  2. Unfortunately, less than 80% of employees get two hours of training per month. Is it the time? The money? A philosophy that training is not needed to perform at peak levels? If you are super concerned about time or money then make sure the training produces results.
  3. Employees want training to learn new skills, grow in their career, and be more productive. Don’t you want that too? Everyone wins when you train well. I just read an interesting survey on Lifetime Learning done by Pew.The info from that could be yet an additional article.
  4. Employees continue to acknowledge feedback as the greatest engagement factor. Meaning training alone, without feedback, is wasted time and money.
  5. While employees have shorter and shorter attention spans and prefer shorter training sessions, studies show that training is more effective when longer in duration. I say make the training fit the need. Sometimes micro-learning is perfect. Others times a deep dive is required.
  6. The average training spend has increased by at least 10% per year over the last five years. Have you kept pace? As George Gilder reminds us, we are in a knowledge economy, no matter what job we do.
  7. Most award winning companies say their training budget as a percentage of payroll is between 2% and 4%. There are outlier companies such as Quicken Loans which devote 8.3% of its payroll budget to training. What percentage of payroll do you devote to training?
  8. The vast majority have tuition reimbursement plans.
  9. Great training is a mix. Some online, some just-in-time, mentoring, Kaizen groups, presenters, trainers, TED talks, etc. Training is only limited by a company’s creativity.

There’s the general landscape. No doubt half of all companies train better than the other half, 10% do a great job of it and 1% do a world class job. Where do you stand?

If you walk the training talk then brand that fact on your about page, your hiring page, during your interview process and then execute it on or during orientation and throughout their career. This will improve your ability to hire and retain productive employees.

The Power of Peers

I have had the wonderful opportunity to present to over 350 Vistage CEO groups nationwide. I’ve had a firsthand opportunity to see the Power of Peers in action. Now I am a Chair for the first Vistage HR group in California.

When looking to build any peer group the 5 part formula is:

  • Select the right peers—this involves reflection on whether you are well suited for a group experience, and whether a particular group is right for you.
  • Create a safe environment—conversations must be confidential and free from judgmentalism.
  • Utilize a smart guide—maximizing the potential of any group depends on great leadership.
  • Foster valuable interaction—conversations must be directed to what really matters to help members achieve their goals.
  • Be accountable—your fellow members will expect you to do what you say you will do.

I was first introduced to the concept of peer groups in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. He discusses the value of The Mastermind group. It is an invaluable part of the success formula.

Whether you join Vistage or a similar group you can put Peer Power to use at work, at home and in the community.

How do you take advantage of the Power of Peers?

Leadership and Self-Deception

The book Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute was a wake-up call for me. The deception is this: because my self-talk is I care my actions show I care.

Not so fast.

When giving presentations I challenge leaders to give me an example of how they showed someone they cared about them…and no, a paycheck doesn’t count. Usually a great deal of silence follows as they explore their memories for such an example. Some will talk about how they showed up for employees facing medical or family situations. For the rest, like it was for me, it is a wake-up call. We get our deception.

Unfortunately, when we run 75 miles an hour, it’s hard to show people we care for them because heck, we don’t even show ourselves we care for ourselves. We become numb and we engage in ongoing criticism as supposed to anything positive.

Check your head: when is the last time you showed somebody at work you care about them?

Go into your day intending to show people you care about them. How can you do that? Some ideas:

  1. Check in with any family concerns.
  2. Check in with how they are doing at work.
  3. Tell them something you admire about them.
  4. Listen to them with full presence.
  5. Go to lunch or take a walk with them.
  6. Write a personal note.

How will you show somebody you care about them today? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

The Future of Work

Ask yourself this: how will AI, robots and other advanced technologies affect the future of my work or that of my loved ones? Am I prepared for it?

Because it will affect us, whether you are 60 and thinking about working for at least the next 10 years or if you are 24 and just getting started in your career.

In a recent blog post I shared my Workplaces of the Future Checklist.

I also encourage you to watch these five TED videos discussing the subject.

A renaissance — the coming end of human work | Kevin Surace

How the future of work is not “Jobs” | Rudy Karsan

How to Become Relevant when a Robot Takes Your Job | Pablos Holman

Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? | David Autor

Jobs of the future and how we can prepare for them | AvinashMeetoo

What you will learn is the change coming our way is happening super-fast! More so than the vast majority of people realize.

It all comes down to thinking, doing and feeling. Technology will replace or effect non-cognitive, repetitive tasks first (like vacuuming or cooking hamburgers). Then the non-cognitive non- repetitive tasks(like estimating the cost of auto-repair or simple tax returns). Then it will attack the cognitive repetitive tasks (including things like financial planning, data analysis, surgery and legal briefs).

The jobs that will remain for most will be cognitive, non-repetitive jobs like sales reps, teachers, therapists, nurses, entertainers and entrepreneurs.

My caution remains this: don’t think this won’t be affecting your job! Jump on the front of this curve and you will benefit greatly.  Lag behind and you can get quickly turned into a dinosaur…no matter your age.

Remember, you will either eat technology or be eaten by it!

Again, if you haven’t done so check out my Workplaces of the Future Checklist

All the best, Don

PS want to bring the GreatHR Executive program to your town? Check out the feedback from my most recent workshop.

Negotiation Strategies

Every day we are negotiating. Whether on a sales call, seeking a raise or dealing with our kids. I recently read James Altucher’s book Reinvent Yourself and he shared what he learned about negotiating from his interview with Chris Voss, the former lead hostage negotiator for the FBI. Chris wrote a book about negotiation called Never Split The Difference. Here are negotiation strategies gathered from James’ interview with Chris. Many of the same points I learned negotiating as an attorney.

  1. The most important question is to ask somebody “How?” For example “How am I supposed to get a million dollars by tomorrow?” Open ended questions such as “How” or “What” get people to keep talking.
  2. Everybody tries to get a “Yes” first. Chris says get them to say “No” first. For example “No, I don’t want this project to fail.”
  3. List the negatives on your side. It shows you can empathize with them. In my trial lawyer days, I always brought out the opponent’s arguments before they got a chance to do so. It built credibility with the jury along the way.
  4. Try to show they may be powerless – If the negotiation is not going your way you can say “Sounds like there’s nothing you can do.” People resist the idea of being powerless.
  5. Use silence- people can’t stand silence. As the saying goes “let the silence do the heavy lifting”. Be quiet long enough and they will come up with something to say.
  6. When it comes to numbers in a deal Chris recommends letting them come up with the numbers first and stresses the importance of using very specific numbers.
  7. He also encourages us to make our list bigger than theirs. Say you are going into a negotiation with your CEO for your dept. agenda; if you go in with one option and then they say “no” where does that leave you? If however you go in with five and they say “no” to 3 you are way ahead of the game.
  8. Figure out your terms and conditions in advance. Don’t wing it.
  9. Chris also talks about mirroring, the power of information and using the deepest voice you can when negotiating.
  10. I can add to this list the importance of being able to walk away from the table. You must go into a negotiation with a Plan B. If you are stuck with only one option you have the weaker position. Knowing your “outs” is an important part of being a good negotiator.

There you have it, wisdom for your next negotiation!

All the best, Don

PS Has the person at your company that handles HR signed up for my Great HR program yet? www.greathr.com

Do You Have Your Hiring Act Together?

“The number one secret to having a great company is to make sure your managers hire great employees.” – Jim Collins

How good are you at hiring? Better than the competition? Most important how good do you want to be? Top 25%?  Top10%?

Everyone tells me about how hard it is to find talent today. The mistake with that thought is the part about “finding” employees as opposed to “attracting” them.

When we find our self in desperate hiring situations we can make big mistakes. We will hire somebody we like just so we can get it over with…and go back to our more important jobs. We can forget hiring is the most important job a manager will ever do. (See Collins above.)

Just one bad hire can set a company backwards. When I ask the CEO’s I speak to “how much did our last bad hire cost you?” They start at $50,000.  They have often said more than a million dollars!

That’s just one bad hire.

Here’s a short checklist of things you should be considering if you want to hire great employees.

    1. Get super clear about who you want to hire. Is that desire in writing and driven to a checklist? Then test and assess towards those criteria. Bottom line is if you want an experienced 3rd baseman, with a .300 plus batting average, who is good in the locker room too…you must hire for that!
    2. Do what you can on your social media sites, web page, etc. to brand a great employment experience story. Like they do at Zappos or Southwest Airlines or In-N-Out Hamburger.
    3. Take a checklist approach to hiring. Checklist are one of the best ways to avoid system variances. And bad hires. You can see my hiring checklist template here.
    4. Create a great hiring experience. From the moment an applicant looks at your website until the moment they are hired.
    5. Make sure your managers know how to treat and interview job applicants. Do they know how to prepare for interviews? Do they have the skills required to do them? Do they know what compliance questions to avoid? Do they know how to rank and rate job applicants?
    6. Last, have a good follow up process with job candidates so they know where they stand. Nothing is more frustrating than putting in a resume and not hearing back within a few days. How’s about they hear back within 24 hours! Don’t lose a great candidate due to indifference.

None of this is rocket science… yet half the companies hire better than the other half. Then there’s those rare companies who hire in the top 10%… and build great companies in the process.

What Will You Do to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

“Only the mediocre are ever truly comfortable.” Paulo Coelho
“If it’s not hard, it’s soft.” – Ice Cube.It is soooo easy to get comfortable. On the couch…and with your job, your company, your marriage, your health, etc.

We all seek comfort and security. It feels so safe. Like being cradled.

But… it is a trap! It’s how you grow old and irrelevant…at any age. It will deaden your motivation, engagement and drive. It will eliminate the dreams of your youth. You will become a zombie…in your comfortableness. Breathing all right; but not alive.

When we are too comfortable for too long we are guaranteed to get run over by people or companies not interested in being comfortable!

Yes… I hear you say…but I put so much effort to get this point why would I put that at risk?

My answer is so you live a full life. To the end. So you have no regrets or remorse about playing all in.  So you set an example.

We all have our comfort zones. My question is what will you dare to do to get out of your comfort zone??

  • Will you dare to have a great career?
  • Will you dare to try a new project?
  • Will you dare to have a great marriage?
  • Will you dare to do a great job of saving and investing money?
  • Will you dare to do a great job of managing your health?

A great filtering question to ask: Is this thought or action based out of a desire to avoid pain and discomfort?  Or, is it based out of a desire for continuous growth?

While jumping out of planes is one way to do things, you don’t have to leap out of the comfort zone. Just take one step at a time. That builds muscle and confidence.

And don’t worry. You don’t have to go off into orbit. You’ll know if you’ve gone too far. But you will never know where that boundary is until you meet it!

Here’s 10 ideas for your daring to step out of your comfort zone:

  1. Go to lunch with somebody very different from you.
  2. Say “no” to doing something. Eliminate, automate or delegate it.
  3. Wear something funky, fun, bright, unique. Give them something to talk about.
  4. Go to the library for three hours of uninterrupted time, where there are no distractions and flush that idea out.
  5. Find a group that likes to do fun an different things.
  6. Stop saying you are busy. Doing what? Filling up space?
  7. Show one person per day you care about them for 30 straight days.
  8. Send 5 handwritten notes.
  9. Read or watch something different. Remember, profound thoughts, those aha’s, come from outside your comfort zone.
  10. Make your own list of 10 things you will do over the next 10 days to get out of your comfort zone.

Please let me know what you’ve dared do to push your boundaries!

 

PS if you are in SoCal get thee or thy HR person to my Great HR workshop in June. More info here. That will get you outside your comfort zone!