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February 16, 2017

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eBook: The Power of Continuous Feedback (feat. Steffen Maier, Co-founder and CMO of Impraise )by Zenger Folkman

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Steffen Maier, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Impraise, joins Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman in this edition of the Zenger Folkman podcast series to discuss continuous feedback, its relationship to pay, and how it can replace annual performance reviews to open learning and development opportunities for individuals and help define their career paths. Impraise is a platform for actionable, timely feedback among managers and co-workers.

February 13, 2017

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Ep. 84: The Power of Continuous Feedback (feat. Steffen Maier, Impraise)by Zenger Folkman

In today’s episode, Steffen Maier, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Impraise, joins Dr. Jack Zenger in this edition of the Zenger Folkman podcast series to discuss continuous feedback, its relationship to pay, and how it can replace annual performance reviews to open learning and development opportunities for individuals and help define their career paths.

Impraise is a web-based and mobile solution for actionable, timely feedback at work. Today’s workplace still relies on outdated methods for providing feedback. Annual performance reviews are too inefficient and lacking to provide actionable feedback that helps employees improve continuously. Impraise turns performance reviews into an easy process by enabling users to give and receive valuable feedback in real-time and when it’s most helpful. With Impraise, employees can better analyze their strengths and learning opportunities, track their progress and pursue their personal and professional goals all year long. Managers can easily set up 360 degree feedback for their team or themselves, resulting in more meaningful 1-on-1s and more engaged people.

Download "The Power of Continuous Feedback" eBook.

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February 10, 2017

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Newly Hired? Here’s How To Be Sure You Succeedby Zenger Folkman

In the medical world, “transplant rejection” occurs when transplanted tissue is rejected by the recipient's immune system, destroying the transplanted tissue. Not surprisingly, this concept applies to a sizable portion of executives hired from outside an organization as well. These executives are hired because of their stellar records and experience in another organization, but the tendency in most organizations is to subtly and unintentionally reject the new hire.

The graph below shows 360 evaluations of executives by years of experience in their organization. Even though these new executives walked in the organization with excellent credentials, the newest hires were consistently rated as significantly below average by their managers, peers, direct reports and other respondents. For executives who are thinking about making a transition (or those who recently have made a transition) this is a significant concern. Typical estimates for failure rates of newly hired executives can range as high as 40% or more.

As I looked at the data on this group of 31 newly hired executives I discovered that not all of them were rated poorly. Four were rated in the top quartile in overall leadership effectiveness, but 11 (more than a third) were rated in the bottom quartile. Note that it generally takes at least three years for the newly-hired executive to overcome the negative bias of being new and no longer viewed with suspicion.

I was curious about what the executives who made successful transitions did differently from those who were rated the lowest, so I analyzed the data. While this is not a large sample, the results identified 10 useful clues about making a successful transition from one organization to another.

1. Is a role model and honors commitments. Leaders who were highly rated were perceived as having high levels of honesty and integrity. When they made a promise to others they kept it. When a new leader takes over an organization, people worry about job security and the ways they may be personally impacted by the new leader. While it’s seldom spoken aloud, people fear that you will treat them badly. The best leaders made a strong and visible effort to be candid and honest and to treat others fairly.

2. Willing to go above and beyond. For many people, when they reach a senior position in an organization they feel they can rest a bit on their laurels and don’t need to hustle like they did in their early career. Unfortunately, the hustle you displayed in your previous organization doesn’t count in your new position. You are starting fresh, and you need to earn the respect of others. Leaders who took initiative and hit the ground running were rated much higher than those who did not.

3. Is trusted by others. Trust must be earned and moving into an executive position in a new organization automatically puts you into an inherent place of mistrust. This is not to be confused with being distrusted. The best executives worked hard to build positive relationships with others, to be consistent in their words and actions, and to leverage their insights and knowledge to earn trust as quickly as possible over time.

Read the rest of the article on Forbes.

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3 Simple Ways To Improve Your Innovation Skillsby Zenger Folkman

A careful analysis of Zenger Folkman’s database of more than a million 360 degree feedback instruments revealed that a leader’s speed was a powerful predictor of overall leadership effectiveness. It goes without saying, that being quick is of little value, unless accompanied by doing things right. But once the necessary quality standard is met and maintained, then an increased pace produced high dividends. I’ve called that combination “leadership speed." These leaders set themselves apart from the rest in a number of ways. For example:

1. Those leaders who were rated in the top quartile on our speed index, were rated substantially higher in their overall leadership skills. Those who were in the top quartile on speed were rated on their overall effectiveness at the 83rd percentile, whereas those leaders who were below the top quartile were at the 40th.

2. Leaders who were in the lowest 10% on speed had 16% of their employees who described themselves as highly committed to the organization; whereas those in the top 10% had 64% of their employees who rated themselves as highly committed to the organization.

3. More than two-thirds of employees at all levels agree with the statement “If this organization were to move faster, it would substantially influence our success.”

How do these leaders accomplish their work quickly and with high quality? In further examining the database, my colleague Joe Folkman and I looked for the behaviors that went hand-in-hand with this optimum combination of speed and quality. We discovered that the most highly correlated other behavior was “innovation.” Innovation appeared to strongly impact the speed and efficiency of everyday work.

What are the qualities that are the precursors to some people being highly innovative and not being confined by the past? Something prompts them to break out of the mold, to see their world in new and fresh ways, and to have the courage to try something new. There are obviously many opinions on this question. Our data provides three insights:

1. Willingness To Change

It starts with a restlessness and willingness to to consider change. Many people can think of a new, faster, more efficient way to get things done. However, change takes energy, discipline, and a willingness to do something never done before. For many activities that will ultimately make us more efficient, there is a learning curve. When we change from a method we’ve mastered to a new process, we are invariably awkward at first. The new tool makes us feel at best uncomfortable and at worst incompetent. It takes time and practice for us to return to our previous level of skill, but over time we see the value of change and perhaps even wonder why we labored so heavily on inferior approaches before. This willingness to change is often driven by a fearless loyalty to doing what’s right for the organization and customer. Pleasing the boss or some other higher level executive takes a back seat to doing the right thing for the project or the company. One respondent said, “For innovation to exist, you have to feel inspired.” This comes from a clear sense of purpose and meaning to their work.

2. Not Settling For Good Enough

The people who were most likely to be innovative were those who weren’t satisfied with good performance but were relentlessly looking for ways to raise the bar. They had a philosophy of “you commit suicide when you settle for second best.” They recruited exceptionally talented people who would challenge them and their organization. They avoided bumblers, wheel spinners, and phonies. However, the most innovative people were constantly looking for better methods and options. They excelled by setting stretch goals. These goals required people to go far beyond working harder, but required them to find new methods in order to achieve the goal. The challenge of meeting the goal was often framed as “getting to the next level.”

Think about your own situation. Which activities take more time than they should. How could they become more efficient?

3. Assembling An Innovative Community

The Medicis were a very prominent, well-to-do family of bankers. In the fifteenth century they brought together and funded many of the great artists, philosophers, architects, and financiers in Florence, Italy. The Medici Effect refers to the burst of innovation and creativity that results from bringing together great people from a variety of different fields. The innovative works of many of these individuals launched the Renaissance. Few innovations are original ideas that no one else has ever had in times past. Many innovations are ideas or approaches borrowed from one discipline and applied to another. Exposing yourself to new and diverse fields can profoundly impact your ability to discover an innovative approach that will increase your speed or the pace of an organization. The success of this community relies on a climate of reciprocal trust. The highly innovative leaders were differentiated by their warm, collaborative relationships within their group. They made themselves highly accessible. Colleagues knew that their leader would cover their back versus stabbing them in the back. People were never punished for honest, well-intended mistakes.

The wonderful thing about using innovation to increase speed is that when you implement it well, it becomes an independent and powerful force that propels the organization forward. It augments leaders and increases their performance. Knowing this, a key question to ask yourself in 2017 is: “What is holding me back from being more innovative?” Your delay may be limiting you more than you know.

Read the article on Forbes.

February 7, 2017

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Ep. 83: The Tango of Speed and Quality— The Key to Achieving Both!by Zenger Folkman

Over the past few decades there has been a dramatic increase in the pace of daily activities. In order to stay competitive and profitable, companies and their leaders have looked for ways to get products to market faster, make changes quicker, and be on top of the latest information.

But will working faster cause errors and poor quality?

To research this, we wanted to study people who preferred a faster pace but also had a quality focus. We looked at 360-degree assessments on 75,000 leaders. We identified a group of leaders who scored in the top quartile on both speed and quality and compared this group to all other leaders in the database to discover:

  • What were the highly differentiating behaviors of leaders who were rated as having high levels of both speed and quality?
  • What did they do that other leaders did not?

The results of our analysis isolated seven unique factors that identify what it takes to combine these two seemingly contradictory yet critical leadership goals.

Join Jack and Joe as they reveal the key behaviors that leaders who are the best at both speed and quality possess.

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January 23, 2017

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Ep. 82: Chutes and Ladders: Driving Corporate Innovation through Personal Disruption (feat. Whitney Johnson)by Zenger Folkman

Whitney Johnson, one of the world’s most influential management thinkers, joins Dr. Jack Zenger in this edition of the Zenger Folkman podcast series to discuss personal disruption and how it affects corporate innovation.

Johnson was a finalist for the Top Thinkers on Talent at the biennial Thinkers50 ceremony in London. She co-founded Rose Park Advisors, alongside Clayton Christensen, professor at the Harvard Business School. She is a frequent contributor to and writer for the Harvard Business Review and is a LinkedInfluencer.

Johnson is the author of the critically acclaimed book Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work and Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream.

Download the eBook for "Chutes and Ladders: Driving Corporate Innovation through Personal Disruption."

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eBook: Chutes and Ladders: Driving Corporate Innovation through Personal Disruption (feat. Whitney Johnson)by Zenger Folkman

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Whitney Johnson, one of the world’s most influential management thinkers, joins Dr. Jack Zenger in this edition of the Zenger Folkman eBook series to discuss personal disruption and how it affects corporate innovation.

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.

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