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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!

 

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.

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.