engagement

Leading in a Changing Workplace

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

Much has been written with regards to the changing face of the workplace.  With the replacement of Boomers (born before 1964) by Millennials (1977 – 1995), new challenges are being presented as to how best manage and lead this seemingly more complex collective.  Part of the challenge is the fact that many of the leaders and managers are in fact Boomers and those reporting to them are Millennials, so there is an obvious disconnect between “old and new”.  To better understand this, it might be helpful to trace back a little into the past and assess these characteristics chronologically, under these changing circumstances.

1940 – 1970

This was an era characterized by motivation through money and/or fear (carrot and stick), and because it was primarily during the industrial age, when any advancement in productivity was king, it worked pretty well.  It also fed off the basis that you left your brain at the door, as it was more about a physical contribution.

1970 – 2000

As the landscape of business began to shift from industrial to informational so too did the need to move from physical to intellectual labor.  People were now expected to use their brain as the need for more educated workers emerged.  With that the old carrot and stick became much less effective, and leadership had to adapt to a system of involvement, support and truly understanding what motivated people.

2000 – Today

Most recently, a newer workforce has emerged, that not alone is intellectually based (better educated overall), but is also influenced by technology and a very different world view.  These employees want engagement and challenge within a creative process and consequently leadership has had to redefine itself once again.  Leaders have had to become coaches and have the ability to skillfully guide people and help facilitate an outcome.

So, if you are a leader, you are most likely dealing with different workforce generations.  Rather than feel exasperated and helpless that “these people” just don’t get it, embrace it and adapt accordingly, which will allow you to get the best from everybody.

Help Yourself by Helping Others

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

teamwork 2In a recent Harvard Business Review article by Cassie Mogilner of UPenn’s Wharton School, the hypothesis presented suggested that the more you spend time helping others, the more productive you actually become. This of course is counter intuitive, as surely time consumed helping other people is time taken away from what you should be doing yourself. However human behavior very often defies logic. The case that is being made suggests that by helping others in small ways you feel more fulfilled and time actually appears to become more expansive to complete what you need to do.

This is quite similar to an earlier piece of research whereby people who spent money helping others were much happier than those who spent it on themselves. If you feel good and energized you are more likely to be engaged and therefore committed to whatever you have to do. It feeds the old mantra that those who help others are also helping themselves.

So how does this translate into the world of work? Imagine an environment where everybody is extremely cooperative and helpful to each other; that sounds reasonable. Working as part of a team is one instant way that organizations can flourish; it forces these types of helping exchanges, even for the doubters. Or what about the leaders who claim they are too busy? This theory also supports them by encouraging more time spent helping and coaching their people. When they do, inevitably they feel much better.

People are by nature communal; they function best and at their optimal when interacting with others. By ensuring they function as part of a group and are afforded opportunities to continuously help others can only serve to improve overall levels of productivity and engagement within your organization.

Keys to “Non Profits” Success

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

success 2With so many non profit organizations vying for limited financial resources, what separates all of these very worthy causes into those who flourish and those who flounder? In addition, with so many volunteers being involved, what are the fundamental requirements to ensuring these organizations sustain and succeed? There are four.

1. Leadership

Within a volunteer body, if there is not a strong leadership presence the whole thing falls apart rapidly. However the style and approach is critically important. The best analogy is a conductor of an orchestra. Alone, there is no music but with appropriate direction towards the musicians, amazing things can happen. And one of the primary responsibilities of any good leader is to clearly provide a sense of ….

2. Purpose

This is so often overlooked and speaks to the question of WHY. Why are we here, why do we help this organization, why do we work so hard? With purpose, intrinsic motivators such as fulfillment, satisfaction and other positive feelings prevail. Without it, people will offer a minimum in terms of their unique talents and may give rise to the possible minimization of the critical element of….

3. Engagement

People at a very basic level need to feel a sense of belonging; that their voices are heard and that their ideas are considered. When they do, they are enthusiastic about their experience, they feel it’s time being well spent and because of this engaging environment, they are far more likely to spring into…..

4. Action

Yes this is where the rubber meets the road. With action, “stuff” gets done, money is raised, donations are forthcoming, the needy are helped and most important the purpose gets fulfilled.

Although this is presented in the context of a non profit “volunteer” organization, quite frankly all of the above is very relevant in a “for profit” environment as well.

Purpose – Key to Successful Execution

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

alignMuch has been written on the whole subject of engagement and motivation. Its cornerstone is anchored in the idea of alignment; a connection between what is being done and what it actually means to the person. However if somebody is performing a task but doesn’t quite understand how their contribution fits into the overall objective, something is missing. This is often referred to as purpose.

Daniel Pink in his work around this subject highlights purpose as being key to performance so long in is in tandem with mastery (knowledge) of what you do and the autonomy (freedom) to carry out the task. But purpose is something that many misunderstand or it feels like this intangible that you can’t quite get your head around. But in truth, it’s the basic requirement, and in many respects, it’s the elementary price of entry. Within Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it probably belongs somewhere between love/belonging and esteem.

Let’s break down purpose into 4 simple building blocks that will help better understand its criticality. For illustrative purpose, let’s use the task of removing snow from your street, which is very apt for most New Englanders around this time. Four things need to be present to ensure the existence of purpose.

  1. Intent – it’s the what – remove the snow
  2. Consequence – it’s the why – people / cars can move freely
  3. Knowledge Required – it’s the how – ability and equipment to execute
  4. Recognition – satisfaction / reward associated with completion

Every task from the most basic to advanced must in some way include these characteristics of purpose. Think about an assignment, a project, a trip or anything that requires you to optimize your motivation level to ensure a successful outcome. Then ask yourself, what is the intent, the consequence, the knowledge required and the recognition. If you can answer all these questions satisfactorily, you have nailed the purpose and will most likely achieve a successful outcome.

Range of Engagement

by necoaching necoaching 1 Comment

No matter what you do, there is always some form of motivation that drives your level of engagement. Some are influenced by internal influences (within the person) and other are more associated with external factors (other people). With the workforce, this has applicability in terms of how employees are motivated and, consequently, at what level they might perform. With this in mind, let’s assess the various levels of engagement necessary to support an outcome? This can be best illustrated by drawing, in part, from the iPEC Coaching Range of Engagement Model.

engagementLevel 1 – Have to

This implies that an external force is being applied and that there is limited or no choice. When somebody is in this mode, they are not fully vested in the outcome, will only do what they have to and unless you continue to apply the force, nothing additional will happen. Fear of consequence drives this level. People also tend to blame others and feel as though they are victims of their circumstances with perceived little or no control. Energy levels are low and people will only do what is asked of them.

Level 2 – Need to

In this situation, there is a limited amount of power coming from within but some external force is still at work. These two combined factors compel the individual to have some choice that might be either consequential or to their benefit. This reflects where many people actually exist within their organizations where the benefit of rewards (pay, promotion, etc) is often in conflict with the fear of consequence (being disciplined or losing one’s job). This see saw affect depletes energy and very often takes away from people giving of their best.

Level 3 – Choose to

This is the ideal situation and is where individuals perform at their best. Even though the other drivers exist, at this level of engagement the true power comes from within. When you are a player rather than a victim, you put yourself in a position of choice; you are able and willing to roll with whatever happens. Entrepreneurs are drawn to this as their likelihood of success is directly related to their ability to achieve optimal performance. This level is characterized by high levels of energy, resiliency, not being adverse to risk and feeling passionate about what you are doing.

Leading the New Workplace

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

Much has been written with regards to the changing face of the workplace.  With the replacement of Boomers by Gen Y’s and Millenials, new challenges are being presented as to how best  manage and lead this seemingly more complex collective.  Part of the challenge is the fact that many of the leaders and managers are in fact Boomers and so there is an apparent disconnect between “old and new”.  To better understand this it might be helpful to trace back a little into the past and assess these characteristics chronologically under these changing circumstances.

leadership1920 – 1970

This was an era characterized by motivation through money and/or fear and because it was primarily during the industrial age when any advancement in productivity was a plus, it worked pretty effectively.  It also fed off the basis that you left your brain at the door as it was more about a physical contribution.

1970 – 2000

As the landscape of business began to shift from industrial to informational so too did the need to move from physical to intellectual labor.  People were now expected to use their brain as the need for more educated workers emerged.  With that the old carrot and stick became much less effective and leadership had to adapt to a system of involvement, support and truly understanding what motivated people.

1990 – Today

Most recently, a newer workforce has emerged that not alone is intellectually based but is also influenced by technology and a very different world view.   These are the later Gen Y’s and Millenials.  These people want engagement and challenge within a creative process and consequently leadership has had to redefine itself once again.  Leaders have had to become coaches and have the ability to skillfully guide people and help facilitate an outcome.

How things have changed?

Success Requirements at Non Profits

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

With so many non profit organizations vying for limited financial resources, what separates all of these very worthy causes into those who flourish and those who flounder? In addition, with so many volunteers being involved, what are the fundamental requirements to ensuring these organizations sustain and succeed?  There are four.

1. Leadership

Within a volunteer body, if there is not a strong leadership presence the whole thing falls apart rapidly. However the style and approach is critically important. The best analogy is a conductor of an orchestra. Alone, there is no music but with appropriate direction towards the musicians, amazing things can happen. And one of the primary responsibilities of any good leader is to clearly provide a sense of …. Read more

Giving

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

In the book, “The Go – Giver” which is an obvious twist on “the Go – Getter”, writers Bob Burg and John David Mann offer some very novel principles on the merits of giving. Essentially the message from this book is that by giving unconditionally it comes back tenfold. On some intuitive level we perhaps knew this but now we have pretty credible writers as well as numerous academic researchers (Feeling Good about Giving – Harvard Business School: Anik, Aknin et al) supporting the fact that giving enhances happiness, which ultimately leads to personal and professional success.

Within the world of work, the idea of giving feels alien to many. Competition can foster this but giving also has a role. What might happen if your referred a client to the competition because you didn’t have that exact capability. Believe it or not, you would feel good about being able to help and I’m pretty sure the client and the competitor would be suitably impressed with your ability “to give”. Read more

A Business Case for Helping Others

by necoaching necoaching 1 Comment

In a recent Harvard Business Review article by Cassie Mogilner of UPenn’s Wharton School, the hypothesis presented suggested that the more you spend time helping others, the more productive you actually become. This of course is counter intuitive, as surely time consumed helping other people is time taken away from what you should be doing yourself. However human behavior very often defies logic. The case that is being made suggests that by helping others in small ways you feel more fulfilled and time actually appears to become more expansive to complete what you need to do.

This is quite similar to an earlier piece of research whereby people who spent money helping others were much happier than those who spent it on themselves. If you feel good and energized you are more likely to be engaged and therefore committed to whatever you have to do. It feeds the old mantra that those who help others are also helping themselves. Read more

Team vs Individual

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

Throughout the Olympic experience it is interesting to watch the dynamic unfold between individual athletes and those belonging to teams as they rise or fall at these lofty heights. For an individual it seems more work and less play, whereas for a team the other way around. Mark Twain once wrote that “work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do and play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do”. So how does this play (no pun intended) out in terms of performance and success of individual versus teams?

Nature intended for people to co-exist and interact. So the idea of performing in an individual sport is almost counter intuitive to this. Despite the presence of coaches (assuming you are an Olympian) this can be a very lonely existence. Motivation comes from within, dedication and commitment is essential, all of which leads to a very singular focus on success. Yet when that gold comes, it can sometimes be anti climatic. Who do you share it with other than perhaps your coaches and family? But they don’t really know how you are feeling. You had to work so hard. Read more

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