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January 16, 2017

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Steal These 3 ‘Speed’ Strategies For Leadership And Business Successby Zenger Folkman

“You just don’t understand” a manager from a university said. “Our situation is different. We are all doing the jobs of two people.” I turned to the rest of the audience I was speaking to and asked, “How many of you are being asked to do more work with less staff?” Every hand went up. Clearly his situation was not unique. Across all industries and countries, employees are being asked to do the same thing, Universally, people are being asked to accomplish more in less time and with fewer resources.

The Need For Speed

Recently, when analyzing Zenger Folkman’s 360-degree feedback data for several clients, searching for clues about what distinguished their stronger leaders from those who were less effective, we noticed a new factor consistently emerging: Speed. The better leaders moved at a quicker pace. They more rapidly saw trends. They were quick to identify and solve problems.

However, to be more precise, my colleague Joe Folkman and I determined that what made these leaders so effective was not merely that they acted quickly. Instead, it was the combination of operating at a fast tempo and simultaneously producing work of high quality. Their creation of greater value came from a quicker pace that didn’t compromise quality.

I was surprised at how frequently this showed up as a power predictor, not only for a leader’s effectiveness but also for the entire organization’s success. With so many leaders feeling the pressure of “too much to do and not enough time,” could speed be the answer? It is even possible for people to consciously increase their speed?

We've studied 51,137 leaders on two dimensions: the leaders’ ability to do things fast, and to do things right. Leaders who were effective at doing things fast (above the 75th percentile), but not highly effective at doing things right (below the 75th percentile), had a 2% probability of being one of their organization’s leader in the top 10 percent in overall effectiveness.

On the other hand, those leaders who were rated highly at doing things right (above 75th percentile), but not doing things fast (below 75th percentile), had only a 3% probability of being in that top decile category.

But now for the unexpected kicker: Leaders who were rated highly at doing things fast) and right(top quartile on both) had a 96% probability of being an extraordinary leader.

Speed alone is of little advantage. Work must be accurate. It was this combination of doing things fast and right that created the magic.

How Speed And Quality Differ

Speed and quality are both important, but they are different. We are emphasizing the importance of speed and spending less time talking about quality. Why? Because we see quality as akin to an “on and off” switch. You either have it or you don’t. If you have the required quality to satisfy a customer’s requirements and expectations, then doing a lot more often doesn’t create more value.

Speed, on the other hand, is a rheostat. It can be turned up to a higher and higher level and so long as quality is not compromised, it continues to produce ever increasing value for the firm. We think increasing speed is something the huge majority can do.

Accelerating Pace

If you want to truly understand how to increase pace without comprising quality, then you need to learn from those leaders who do it best. The research from Zenger Folkman’s database on more than 75,000 leaders shows many different successful approaches to improving leadership speed.

Read the rest of the article on Forbes.

December 20, 2016

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Ep. 81: The 11 Components of a “Best-of-Class” 360° Assessmentby Zenger Folkman

360-degree assessments have become a common practice today. In fact, 85% of Fortune 500 organizations use multi-rater feedback (360s) as the backbone of their leadership development programs. Why are these assessments so important? Because leaders receive information that they would otherwise never receive.

There are hosts of 360s on the market today and not all are equal. There may be similarities but there are also some major differences. So, when choosing a tool, what should you look for? What are the most important components in a 360?

During this webinar tomorrow, Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman discuss the 11 components of a “Best of Class” 360 Assessment. Participants will:

  • Learn what the 11 components are.
  • Receive a brief explanation of each of these 11 features & benefits.
  • Learn how the competencies and items were empirically derived.
  • See a response scale that avoids a false positive.
  • Review and compare scores to a high standard (75th and 90th percentile norms).
  • See how a leader’s current impact on direct reports is measured.
  • Identify the competencies that are most important.
  • Learn and understand our unique strengths-based emphasis.

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December 19, 2016

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Great Leaders Move Fastby Zenger Folkman

There is a saying, “It takes two to tango.” That is true in many areas of life, and it happens to be true about an important dimension of leadership — speed. But that speed is not effective unless it is accompanied by a second dimension — quality.

Consider the following data to paint a more precise picture. In a study of more than 51,000 leaders, Zenger Folkman examined two dimensions: the leader’s ability to do things fast and the leader’s ability to do things right.

Leaders who were effective at doing things fast (above the 75th percentile) but not highly effective at doing things right (below the 75th percentile), had a 2 percent probability of being an extraordinary leader, defined as being in the top 10 percent of leaders.

On the other hand, leaders who were rated highly at doing things right (above 75th percentile), but not doing things fast (below 75th percentile), were nearly the same. This group had a 3 percent probability of being an extraordinary leader. However, those leaders rated highly at doing thing both fast and right had a 96 percent probability of being an extraordinary leader.

However, these two elements are not cut from the same cloth. Quality needs to exist to a certain level. Once that standard is met, there is usually no payoff in constantly improving quality. For example, if an automotive plant is stamping out door panels, and each panel meets the standard for measurement, contour and lack of surface blemishes, further quality emphasis does not produce greater value. Speed, on the other hand, is different. It has the potential for nearly limitless improvement. As long as the plant maintains quality, producing door panels at a faster rate does indeed create greater value.

Applying this principle to leadership behavior is not difficult. If a leader moves at an extremely rapid pace to get things done, but is sloppy or makes subpar decisions, that leader creates little value. Speed alone is of little advantage. Work must be accurate.

However, leaders who execute, respond and make decisions quickly and correctly will be perceived as more effective leaders than those who do not. In contrast, the leader who makes sound decisions, but who moves at a plodding pace, may create some value. But that level of value creation is far below a comparable leader in the same role who makes decisions, takes initiative, reacts to customers and drives better work processes at a brisk, ever increasing pace.

Read the rest of the article on CLO Media.

December 7, 2016

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Infographic: 8 Steps to Being a Better Boss in 2017by Zenger Folkman

It is, as some say, “the most wonderful time of the year.” While workers look forward to festive parties and Holiday gifts, there is one present organizations can provide that rises to the top of the heap. No, it isn’t the latest computing tablet or a bigger and better game station. By far, the best gift to an employee, anytime during the year, is to have a really great boss.

In order to take a closer look at the “best bosses,” we analyzed 360-degree feedback data for some 45,000 leaders. We were struck with the wide variation in perceptions. Employees viewed some bosses as amazing leaders while others were, in a word, terrible.

The bosses who dedicate their limited time to developing others this year not only improves their relationships with employees, but also increases the productivity and profitability of their organizations. As you contemplate your Holiday gifts this year, remember, it’s not too late to strive to be the “best boss”. Pick one of the behaviors above and turn it into a strength. We promise it will be the best gift your employees and organization could receive.

Download the infographic to learn the 8 behaviors that we have found in the best bosses.

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November 29, 2016

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Ep. 80: 8 Critical Behaviors that Leverage Accountabilityby Zenger Folkman

Raise the bar on your leadership effectiveness! Imagine an organization where everyone takes responsibility for achieving good results. An organization where people have a personal sense of ownership, and there is little finger-pointing when things go wrong.

If every leader were able to inspire accountability in others, it would not only better leverage leadership, but it would significantly increase bottom line results. What can a leader do to create a greater sense of accountability in others?

Join Dr. Joe Folkman to learn:

  • The 8 BEHAVIORS that increase accountability.
  • How we can get better at inspiring and motivating.
  • How to improve accountability within organizations.

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November 21, 2016

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eBook: Emotional Agility – Master Challenges Without Getting Derailed (feat. Dr. Susan David)by Zenger Folkman

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Dr. Susan David (PhD), psychologist on faculty at the Harvard Medical School, co-founder and co-director of the Harvard/McLean Institute of Coaching, and CEO of Evidence Based Psychology, joins Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman in this edition of the Zenger Folkman eBook series.

November 18, 2016

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Ep. 79: Emotional Agility – Master Challenges Without Getting Derailed (feat. Dr. Susan David)by Zenger Folkman

Dr. Susan David (PhD), psychologist on faculty at the Harvard Medical School, co-founder and co-director of the Harvard/McLean Institute of Coaching, and CEO of Evidence Based Psychology, joins Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman in this edition of the Zenger Folkman podcast series.

Dr. David has worked with senior leadership of hundreds of organizations, including the United Nations, Ernst & Young, and The World Economic Forum. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including the Harvard Business Review, Time, Fast Company, and The Wall Street Journal. An in-demand speaker and advisor, she is the author of Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life.

Download the eBook for "Emotional Agility - Master Challenges Without Getting Derailed"

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November 17, 2016

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The Traits of Leaders Who Do Things Fast and Wellby Zenger Folkman

leadership-speedAn exceptional leader we know would occasionally get a question from his direct reports in a variety of forms but with the common message, “Do you want this done fast or right?” His answer was always the same: “Yes!” He chose not to compromise on either dimension. For this leader and for most highly effective leaders we know, making mistakes is not an option. But neither is slowing down.

Over the last few years we’ve been increasingly interested in the impact of a leader’s preference for speed versus a “slow and steady” mode of operation. It’s clear that overall, organizational processes, communications, and human interactions in the world are speeding up. Many organizations are looking for ways to become more agile. Perhaps leaders worry that their organizations cannot move faster if their employees operate slowly.

We created an assessment to measure an individual’s preference for moving at a slow or fast pace. In the assessment, we also measured preference for quality versus quantity. After gathering data on more than 5,000 leaders across the globe, we discovered a strong tendency for those with a fast pace to also have a strong preference toward quantity rather than quality of work. Fifty-eight percent of respondents have this preference. We also noticed that 19% had a stronger quality focus and a slower pace. This group was concerned that working faster could create errors or mistakes. Their tendency was to slow down in order to maintain high quality. (If you would like to evaluate your own pace and see how you compare, you can take it here. It’s free but we ask for your email address.)

We meet many groups that, when challenged to work faster, worry doing so will cause errors and poor quality. The group we were interested in for this research, however, was the people who preferred a faster pace but also had a quality focus. Is this really possible? And what does it take for a leader to have both high quality and fast pace?

To research this question, we turned to another data set, one that includes information on more than 75,000 leaders. This data set contained 360-degree assessments with ratings from an average of 13 raters. In the dataset we measured a leader’s speed and their quality of output. We identified a group of leaders who were in the top quartile on both speed and quality and compared this group to all other leaders in the database. We computed statistical tests on 49 leadership behaviors. We sought to identify the most differentiating behaviors of leaders who were rated as having high levels of both speed and quality. What did they do differently from other leaders? All of the 49 behaviors were statistically significant, so we were searching for those that differentiated most powerfully.

The analysis identified seven unique factors that appear to identify what it takes to combine these two seemingly contradictory critical leadership goals. Continued on Harvard Business Review.


November 8, 2016

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Infographic: The Power of Profound Strengthsby Zenger Folkman

Our research proves that profound strengths can not only be developed, but are essential to producing great leaders!

Download the infographic to learn more about our workshop, The Extraordinary Leader™.

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November 1, 2016

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Ep. 78: Focus on Strengths — What Extraordinary Leaders Do Differentlyby Zenger Folkman

Given the pressing need for highly effective leaders in today’s recovering economy, organizations are wise to seek the most direct way to develop strong leaders.

During this podcast, Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman will discuss their research which proves that having strengths is what differentiates great leaders from their less effective counterparts. They’ll also offer proof that great leaders can indeed be developed and that using a strengths-based development process is the fastest way to move from “good” to “great.”

Join Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman to discover:

  • Why focusing on strengths is far more effective than a preoccupation with fixing weaknesses, which is promoted in most traditional development programs.
  • How building strengths greatly differs from correcting weaknesses.
  • A unique process for developing strengths.

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