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September 5, 2017

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Ep. 102: How to Do Truly Great Work in Your Organization (feat. David Sturt, O.C. Tanner)by Zenger Folkman

David Sturt, author of Great Work and Executive Vice President at O.C. Tanner, joins Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman in this edition of the Zenger Folkman podcast series to discuss his research into how people can make a difference—what they think about, what they do, and how their leaders help them achieve extraordinary results.

Sturt regularly consults with industry leaders and speaks at conferences in the U.S., Canada, and the UK. He has studied and analyzed the effects of people being recognized for great work and has distilled that information in his new book, Great Work: How To Make A Difference People Love from McGraw-Hill.

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eBook: How to Do Truly Great Work in Your Organization (feat. David Sturt, O.C. Tanner)by Zenger Folkman

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David Sturt, author of Great Work and Executive Vice President at O.C. Tanner, joins Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman in this edition of the Zenger Folkman podcast series to discuss his research into how people can make a difference—what they think about, what they do, and how their leaders help them achieve extraordinary results.

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Six Keys To Becoming A Great Persuaderby Zenger Folkman

Most of us have been in a situation where we need to persuade others to accept our position or approach. When this happens to me, I will often ruminate in my mind how the conversation might go. I imagine that my colleague will state their position, to which I will respond with such great power and amazing insight that every observer will be persuaded to my position. However, when the time comes to persuade others to my point of view, I typically find that it’s much more difficult than anticipated.

I was recently asked to coach a CEO on his presentation skills in delivering a very critical proposal to a high-ranking official. While I had a lot of ideas and opinions on skills that are important, to provide the best guidance I turned to our research to determine what the most persuasive leaders do.

In one of Zenger Folkman’s assessments, we measure how effective leaders are at clearly communicating and persuading others to their position. Using a dataset of 330 senior leaders in an organization, I looked at which behaviors enabled leaders to be more persuasive. After identifying the top 20 individual behaviors I then used a factor analysis to find the top six dimensions, which reveal that the most persuasive leaders exemplify the following behaviors:

1. More Listening Than Talking. My immediate inclination to persuade others to accept my position is to talk, talk, talk. However, taking the time to listen first is a much more effective strategy. The best persuaders want to understand the opinions and concerns of others before presenting their point of view. Those who try to persuade first often bring out the disagreement from others, causing a debate to occur and people to start choosing sides. Once people are entrenched in their position, persuading them to change is almost impossible. By listening first, leaders understand the disagreements and concerns of others. This gives them the opportunity to either modify their proposal or at least empathize with the concerns of others.

2. More Cooperative Than Competitive. Often leaders who try hard to persuade others to their position create competition between groups or individuals. Rather than looking for an integrated solution, they often create a distinctive solution that only fits the needs of one group. Those who are most effective at persuading others look for ways to cooperate; they create the bigger tent and make sure that it covers everyone. One of the greatest advantages of any organization is its ability to get groups and individuals to work together. The synergy created by collaboration can create significant value for the organization. Leaders who have a strong motive to increase collaborative efforts in the organization are far more persuasive. The lone wolves that set themselves up to win at the expense of everyone else have a difficult time getting support for their proposals.

3. More Strategic Than Tactical. It’s very easy for those trying to persuade others to get tactical early in the persuasion process. This is a mistake! People need to first understand the why before they agree to the how. Taking the time to link a persuasive idea to the strategy and vision of an organization helps everyone understand the big picture along with the pros, cons, and tradeoffs. People are willing to endure a few cons and tradeoffs if they see how this new idea or process helps the organization achieve its strategic objectives.

4. More Pull (Inspiring) Than Push (Hard Driving). Looking at 360-degree assessment data from over 70,000 leaders, we discovered the 76% of leaders were rated higher on their ability to push (drive for results) than their ability to pull (inspire and motivate others). When most people think about how to persuade others their knee jerk reaction is to push harder (e.g., “tell them what to do and give orders”). Pushing results in compliance but often sacrifices commitment. Leaders who are effective at inspiring are able to achieve both commitment and compliance, create excitement and energy in others, and are successful at enlisting others in a mission or cause. People take action and make changes because they want to, rather than they have to. To learn your preferences for pushing or pulling, we invite you to participate in Zenger Folkman’s Preferences for Motivating self-assessment.  To take the assessment visit: http://zengerfolkman.com/preferences-for-motivating/

5. More Open Minded Than Closed. The best persuaders keep an open mind. They realize that customers, competitors, preferences, and interests change over time and these changes will impact projects, recommendations, and strategies. When people believe that a leader is not open to new information, often they will not share any opposing information with them, leaving that leader in the dark. Those who are most open-minded thank others for their disagreements and differences of opinion. The open-minded continue to see the value of diverse opinions and perspectives.

6. More Conflict Resolvers Than Conflict Creators. The greatest persuaders resolve conflict rather by maintaining the attitude that disagreements do not necessarily lead to conflict. The best persuaders are great friends with their biggest critics. They engage in healthy debate which may eventually modify their position, or provide the persuader ideas on what might bring those who disagree over to their position.

There will come a time where you want to persuade others to your position. As you look at these six keys, it’s clear that utilizing a few of them will cause others to be less defensive about their position and open to discussion. Perhaps the great persuaders are those who are have the most understanding of both sides of an issue — they may still have a very strong position, but understanding those who disagree puts them in a significantly better position to persuade.

 

This article was originally published on Forbes.

 

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7 Tips For Coaching Someone More Experienced Than Youby Zenger Folkman

 

Today organizations are encouraging more frequent conversations between bosses and their subordinates, which are perceived as being far more effective than the traditional annual performance review. However, many have found that such conversations can become awkward when the subordinate is a seasoned professional; that person is extremely experienced, highly competent, possesses high self-esteem, and nearly always wants to be treated as an equal. Applying the research of Daniel Pink from his book Drive, this individual invariably has high mastery of their work, wants to have greater autonomy, and is longing for greater purpose and meaning from their job.

The business world has adopted the term “coaching” to describe these periodic, frequent discussions between a boss and subordinate. I submit that the first thing that must happen for the boss who is coaching a seasoned subordinate is to develop a totally new mindset regarding the nature and meaning of business coaching.

In the athletic world, coaches are more knowledgeable and experienced in the sport than the athletes. The coach is passing on information to a novice player and is often highly authoritarian. That information is intended to help the player perform at a higher level.

In a business setting, that sports conception of coaching must be dispelled – erased – dramatically reformed. Instead, the definition of business coaching is: "Interactions that help the person being coached to expand awareness, discover superior solutions, and make and implement better decisions." Note that there is no hint of advice giving or instructing. It is about expanding someone’s conception of a practice or problem, discovery by the person being coached of better solutions, and finally, implementation of those better decisions.

Coaching conversations in business typically have two purposes. The first is to improve the subordinate’s future performance. Rather than this happening because of fresh new ideas and suggestions, it is often the outcome of the subordinate developing higher aspirations and leaving the conversation feeling inspired to put forth even higher effort. They also may have considered and selected better ways to accomplish their work, these decisions having come from within, not without.

The second prong of these discussions is about the person’s career. This purpose is to improve this employee’s retention and their career advancement. It includes the manager knowing the individual's career aspirations and how they can assist in this person’s career advancement. It provides an opportunity for the manager to convey interest and concern for the person's long-term career progress.

With the above as a brief backdrop on business coaching, I offer seven tips for ways these objectives can be consistently obtained:

1. Focus on the future. Make the conversation forward-looking versus a look in the rearview mirror. The author Edward Everett Hale described his formula for a happy life as:

“Look up and not down;

Look forward and not back;

Look out and not in;

Lend a hand!”

This is a good perspective for a coaching conversation. Ensuring that the discussion is forward-looking, upward focused, externally oriented, and designed to be helpful will ensure its success.

2. Joint discovery versus a one-way speech. If the coaching process is exploratory and examining the future, there can be no hint of the manager talking down as a high school athletic coach might to a teenage student. It cannot smack of a parent-child relationship. The conversation is ideally completely horizontal; it is a conversation between two peers. One simple measure is the "air time test" which asks what percentage of the time is the manager talking versus the subordinate. Ideally 80% would be the subordinate’s share of the talk time.

3. Emphasize listening. The subordinate talking 80% of the time will be totally useless unless the manager is intently listening to what is said. Listening is not simply being quiet while the other person talks; it necessitates focus and is evidenced by facial expression and body language. In a recent Harvard Business Review article I explained that a great listener is “someone you can bounce ideas off of — and rather than absorbing your ideas and energy, they amplify, energize, and clarify your thinking. They make you feel better not merely passively absorbing, but by actively supporting. This lets you gain energy and height, just like someone jumping on a trampoline.”

4. Ask insightful questions. These are not "gotcha questions" but sincere inquiries that expand the way both parties can think about the subordinate’s future performance. Nothing conveys true listening better than asking insightful questions.

5. Avoid criticism. Unless the subordinate is being put on a performance plan for faltering performance, the wise coach carefully avoids saying anything that would be interpreted as criticism. Why? Perceived criticism invariably breeds defensiveness, which in turn leads to performance decline. If the purpose of coaching is to elevate performance and enhance the person's career, criticism is best avoided.

6. Seek permission before giving advice and suggestions. As a manager, you may have observed some behavior that gets in your subordinate’s way or something that could be initiated. It will usually be best received if you say something like, “Fred, I have an observation that I think could be helpful to you. Would you like to hear it? Is now a good time?” We know there’s some pressure for the person to say “Yes,” but this is what you might say if you wanted to give a senior executive some useful feedback. It conveys respect and treats them with dignity.

7. Set follow-up discussions. Coaching conversations can be interpreted as merely casual chatter unless the manager conveys a serious desire to have ongoing discussions to ensure that agreements about future actions are indeed going to be implemented. Scheduling further meetings sends a powerful signal that the manager is genuinely interested in this individual’s career and future performance.

Following these seven tips will go far in making coaching conversations with a highly seasoned colleague be productive and set the stage for many more.

To learn more about the specific research behind these seven tips you can download my white paper, Coaching as a Management Style.

This article was originally published on Forbes.

 

August 28, 2017

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3 Ways To Drive For Results And Still Be Likableby Zenger Folkman

Most bosses want to be a hero, a mentor, and a friend to those that report to them. A recent Bloomberg article told a story of one boss, Richard Laermer, who decided to let his employees regularly work from home.

“"We hire adults, they shouldn't be tied to the office five days a week," said Laermer, who owns a New York-based public relations firm. "I always assumed that you can get your work done anywhere, as long as you actually get it done.” Unfortunately, for his company and situation, he was wrong. “Employees took advantage of the perk,” Laermer said. One was unavailable for hours at a time. Another wouldn't communicate with coworkers all day. “The last straw,” he said, “was when someone refused to come in for a meeting because she had plans to go to the Hamptons.”” Laermer wanted to find a way to keep his employees motivated and happy. Frequently, many find that efforts like this don’t work

There are many leaders that feel if they want to drive for results it will negatively impact their relationships with employees. While being a demanding leader often strains relationships, I’ve found from a recent study that there are ways for leaders to drive for results while remaining likable.

1. Employees like leaders who are able to communicate clear strategy and direction.

People are willing to drive for results when they clearly understand what is being asked of them. Relationships become strained when employees feel confused and frustrated about the vision and strategy.

Florence May Chadwick was the first woman to swim the English Channel. During one of her swims from Catalina Island to the California coastline she ran into trouble. A thick fog rolled in and she could no longer see her end point. As result, she began to doubt herself and gave up. Once out of the water she learned she was only one mile from the coastline. On her second attempt the same fog rolled in, but this time Florence pressed forward with a vision of the coastline that she couldn’t see. That vision helped her achieve her goal.

Just like Florence, employees need to have a clear vision in order to stimulate them to achieve great results.

2. Employees are more driven and fulfilled by stretch goals.

There is a paradox between satisfaction and effort. If you ask people what would make them happier, most will request a break, less work, or a vacation. However, our research has shown that the experiences that do the most to build satisfaction are challenging assignments, accomplishing difficult tasks, and making the impossible possible.

One such leader who excels at setting stretch goals is the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. The idea of offering free shipping that was fast, predictable, and included in a yearly membership fee not only seemed crazy, but was a nightmare for the logistics department. In the first year Amazon lost millions in revenue and there was no evidence this gamble would pay off. However, the increased site traffic made the marketplace work, and the data they accumulated boosted their sales efforts. This stretch goal shaped Amazon into what it is today.

The easy path isn’t very satisfying or rewarding. To get results, set goals that will truly stretch people.

3. Employees deliver results to leaders who inspire them.

Micromanaging people doesn’t stimulate them to go the extra mile. Leaders who inspire employees can unleash an energy within people to do their best work. It isn’t about pushing people, it’s about pulling them.

In a tale told by Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, during the First World War there was a small group of Hungarian soldiers stationed in the Alps. A younger lieutenant sent a small group out on a scouting mission. Shortly after their departure there was a terrible storm and the group was lost. After three long days the lieutenant was relieved and surprised when the squad returned. “How did you survive and find your way back?” he asked. The leader of scouts explained they were lost in the snow, had given up hope, and resigned themselves to die. Then one of the men found a map in his pocket and with it they believed they could now find their way back. They then handed the lieutenant their valued map – which was of the Pyrenees mountains, not the Alps!

It wasn’t the map that saved this group of people by providing accurate directions. Instead, this group had a leader who used that map to inspire them to keep going and not give up. Often you may think that your ability to motivate others is not perfect or inspiring, but neither was a map of the Pyrenees mountains.

You don’t have to choose between being a results-driven leader and a people person. There are multiple ways to get what you need and still be a boss your employees want to work for. My research has shown that leaders who utilize these behaviors both increase the probability of delivering great results and creating a positive, engaged work environment.

This article was originally published on Forbes.

 

August 25, 2017

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Infographic: Do You Need to Increase Talent Management Agility?by Zenger Folkman

Rapid changes in the workforce have only intensified the need for organizations to transform talent management. Do you have Talent Management Agility? 2017’s Leadership Summit will inspire new ideas for actively building and adapting talent management practices to meet the current and future needs of the business.

Download the infographic to learn more about this topic. Visit the Leadership Summit
website to learn more and register.
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August 23, 2017

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Ep. 101: YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL! — What Leaders Can Do To Deliver Superior Results and Build Positive Relationshipsby Zenger Folkman

What is the secret? What do leaders who are highly-skilled at delivering results and building positive relationships do that is different?

To find the answer, we analyzed our expansive database and discovered six "behavioral bridges" that differentiated these leaders. (A behavioral bridge is a capability that enables leaders to achieve both results and positive relationships.)

The frustration for many leaders is that an emphasis on one of these capabilites may negatively impact the other. For example: when leaders push too hard to deliver superior results, it can negatively impact their relationships with team members. Other leaders attempt to build a positive team environment, only to find that projects lag behind schedule and results suffer. These "behavior bridges" are the secret to skills that accomplish both outcomes.

Join Dr. Joe Folkman as he shares his exciting research findings and reveals these powerful behavioral bridges!

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August 19, 2017

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Listening And Speaking: The Leader’s Paradoxby Zenger Folkman

Picture a well-known exceptional leader. We often think of these leaders within the context of them talking; perhaps giving an inspiring speech that rallies the troops, facilitating a discussion, or providing clear direction. However, Zenger Folkman's research has found that leaders with a preference for listening are rated as significantly more effective than those who spend the majority of their time holding forth.


Although most tend to picture senior leaders as talking rather than listening, my colleague Joe Folkman and I also found that leaders at a higher organizational level preferred listening more than supervisors lower down in the hierarchy. The graph below shows the percentage of leaders with a preference for listening.

Our Research

We recently analyzed the self-assessment results from 577 leaders on their preference for talking versus listening. We identified 104 leaders with a strong preference for talking and compared their results to 135 leaders who preferred listening.

We also collected effectiveness ratings on these leaders, using evaluations from managers, peers, direct reports, and others. On average, leaders were rated by 13 different raters. We measured leadership effectiveness on 16 differentiating competencies and examined the average rating from all rater groups.

We found that leaders with a strong self-preference for listening were rated as significantly more effective on 13 of the 16 competencies. The graph below shows the results for the two groups. All of these data were highly significant.

The Listening Advantage

The data is extremely compelling, showing that a preference for listening (and listening before talking) is directly tied to a leader’s effectiveness. Steven R. Covey, in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, expressed this principle in his advice to “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Few doubted the wisdom of this advice; our results provide clear and metric evidence of the power of effective listening.

As we talk to leaders about how to be an effective listener, we frequently find that people know the typical tips and advice for listening better. The question then becomes, “If you know how to listen, why aren’t you doing it better?”

The short answer is, leaders don’t actually know how to effectively listen. To that end, here are a few tips we’ve compiled on ways to be better listeners.

7 Ways to Become a More Effective Listener

  1. When you have something important you want to say, wait for the optimum time. Having a good thought is important; injecting it at exactly the right moment can be important as well.
  2. Ask good questions. Good listening is much more than remaining silent while the other person talks. It requires asking good questions and showing genuine interest in people’s responses as well.
  3. Be a trampoline, not a sponge. Good listening goes beyond being able to repeat exactly what another person says; it also requires providing a new perspective. You are adding energy to the conversation. Become a trampoline by propelling the energy forward.
  4. Ask for feedback from others. The best listeners provide feedback to other people that includes interest, excitement, reactions, disagreements, and suggestions. Because the best conversations are not one-way, the ultimate dialog happens when both parties gain new information and perspective. The highest form of this principle comes from asking for feedback from the other person.
  5. Be curious. At the heart of good listening is the genuine interest that one person has in someone else’s ideas and story.
  6. Be aware of what your face is saying. Everyone has likely had another person read the wrong conclusions into an email or memo. The miscommunication is often cleared up by picking up the phone or, even better, by conversing with someone face-to-face. 80% of communication comes from the tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions that transmit all elements of the communication in whole.
  7. Trust that listening intently, prior to fully stating your position, will get you more than talking.

No matter your place in the organizational hierarchy, the message is clear: effective listening skills will propel your success.

This article was originally published on Forbes.

August 17, 2017

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eBook: The Role of an Elder in Modern Business (feat. Chip Conley, Airbnb)by Zenger Folkman

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Chip Conley, author of Emotional Equations and former Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy at Airbnb, joins Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman in this edition of the Zenger Folkman podcast series to discuss the role of an elder in offering advice and direction to those of a younger generation. He draws on his person experiences as an adviser to the CEO of Airbnb and the lessons he learned along the way.

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Ep. 100: The Role of an Elder in Modern Business (feat. Chip Conley, Airbnb)by Zenger Folkman

Chip Conley, author of Emotional Equations and former Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy at Airbnb, joins Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman in this edition of the Zenger Folkman podcast series to discuss the role of an elder in offering advice and direction to those of a younger generation. He draws on his person experiences as an adviser to the CEO of Airbnb and the lessons he learned along the way.

A bestselling author, hospitality entrepreneur, disruptive business rebel, and social change agent, Chip Conley is a leader at the forefront of the sharing economy. At age 26, he founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality, which he ran for 24 years and built it into the 2nd largest boutique hotel brand in the world. In 2013 he accepted an invitation from the founders of Airbnb to help transform a promising home sharing start-up into what is today the world’s largest hospitality brand.

Download the free eBook for this episode: "The Role of an Elder in Modern Business"

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