New 17-Second Survey. One Question. Organizational Excellence.

Organizational Excellence.

Do you have it? If so, how exactly do you excel?

Everyday we hear dismal story after story about the economy and what’s lacking in the workplace.

Last night I thought, Let’s hear about what the heck you’re doing right out there today.

So here’s the new Glowan 17-Second Survey.

One question: What does your organization excel at today?

When you have a free 17 seconds, click on the above link or excellence badge and take the survey.

Thank you!


On another note, don’t forget:

If you’d like to learn more about developing emotional intelligence, join us for a Webinar on October 28, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. PT (1:00 p.m. ET).

Be better and brighter.


The Relationship Between Accountability and Responsibility

The Relationship between accountability and responsibility is an interesting one that has perplexed me for years.  Organizations and leaders are looking for accountability for performance.  I have always believed that accountability is assigned and responsibility is taken.   In order to be truly accountable, you must take personal responsibility. What do you think?

I have been reading an incredible book by Ira Challef, he nails this context for accountability and responsibility  in his book The Courageous Follower: Standing Up to and for Our Leaders:

“By assuming responsibility for our organization and its activities, we can develop a true partnership with our leader and sense of community with our group. This is how we maximize our own contribution to the common purpose. Assuming responsibility requires courage because we then become responsible for the outcomes – we can’t lay the blame for our action or inaction elsewhere. But before we can assume responsibility for the organization, we must assume responsibility for ourselves”

Assuming responsibility for ourselves?  Yes, individuals, teams, leaders, managers and organizations!   It all begins with each of us being accountable and responsible for our behaviors, actions, and decisions. The people I know who do more of this than less are my kind of people!  I want to  be led by them, I trust them!   It does take courage to be authentic, have high integrity and tell the truth!   When organizations place an emphasis on self development as means to high performance the dividends are always there. In fact, organizations that have a priority for creating a culture of self responsibility and accountability return more than 17% value to shareholders than those who do not.

Our work with leaders is based on this premise of self responsibility and accountability. Our L3 Leadership Process begins with L1 Total Life Leadership, which enables self discovery, reflection, assessment and personal planning to leverage self responsibility and personal accountability as means to high level performance at work and in life.

We have seen so many good things happen when leaders create a culture of accountability and responsibility.  Remember accountability is assigned, responsibility is a choice!   When you have a culture that understands this– very good things can happen.

Influencing with integrity requires 3 types of committment

“So, you have to get this project done today.”

No response.

“I’m not going to ask you again. The client is breathing down my neck. Just do it.”

Crickets chirp (meaning, still no response).

And then.

“I’ll try to get to it today, but I’m pretty busy with other work. Why don’t you ask someone else on the team?”

Even though the person you’re asking is the one with the legacy experience on this client account.

This is a similar conversation I’ve heard time and time again — the fact that you’ve got a regular employee trying to “manage” a contractor.

But it goes beyond that. I’ve managed many contract workers over the years and know that there are big differences between how you “lead” contractors versus regular employees, although there is one big similarity on how you get them all to work together collaboratively.

In many industries in U.S., contract workers — i.e., the contingent workforce — has been on the rise. According to a recent article by Dr. John Sullivan titled Measuring Performance Across Your Total Workforce, the contingent labor force in the U.S. is 20-25%, and that still may be conservative.

According to Dr. Sullivan:

When you take service provider labor into consideration, it’s quite possible that more than 50% of the work executed for your organization to deliver its goods and services to market is accomplished by a non employee. The migration to a more contingent workforce didn’t happen overnight. Following every economic contraction in the last 30 years, the use of contingent labor as a component of the total workforce has increased, often by double-digit year over year rates.

More than 50%! And while he goes on to discuss how organizations must do a better job on contingent talent management, performance management and workforce planning, I’m just going to deal with influencing.

Yes, influencing. With integrity.

Contingent labor is vital to organizational flexibility in this crazy non-stop world of topsy-turvy business. But we as leaders of all shapes, sizes and stages, and individual “regular” contributors as well as freelancers and service providers, must all learn to influence one another with integrity in order to get work done on time and on budget. That’s one of six Smart Skills™ we encourage folks to develop in their organizations.

Sounds fanciful and touchy-feely, but what the heck does it mean?

Influencing is about getting people throughout an organization to collaborate on various projects and initiatives; in some cases, even when they cannot see the direct benefit to their own organization. It’s about hitting the target collectively with limited if any negative friction.

This is huge. It’s one thing to top-down command “inside” full-time or part-time staff to do your bidding, but in many states you best be really careful on how you treat contractors, because they aren’t the same. (I’ve had a few remind me of that one.)

And does top-down commanding really get the exciting productive work done that retains your best talent and drives revenue?

No. Plus, have you ever managed a project, or worked on one, where there are multiple players from various parts of the organization, contractors, even service providers?

That takes influence finesse. Influencing with integrity requires you to get others to:

  1. Commit Actively – Influencing is not just a situational activity but rather part of an active strategy to build relationships, credibility and reputation. In project management, it is common to work for and with many of the same people repeatedly, over a period of time. The building of relationships is critical to the ability to influence, now and in the future.
  2. Commit Publicly – When agreements are made with others (to go in a particular direction, support an initiative, or provide resources, etc.) it is vital to have their commitment announced publicly. For your efforts to pay off, others must know and honor the commitment, as well as recognize the collaboration and the power that it represents.
  3. Commit Voluntarily – The essence of influencing is getting others to volunteer to support your efforts. When you win someone over, they must feel that they have not been manipulated or coerced into a position but rather helped to see the wisdom of participating.

Get to that committing.

Be better and brighter.

The real human power that influences and moves us

L3 Leadership Tip: Take some time today to get off the ground Monday morning…rested, focused and with a high performance attitude for the coming week.

You came across our Facebook page on Sunday night after viewing pictures of your sister’s kids crying in the arm’s of some unrecognizable Disney character. For some reason your sister had shared one of our posts on her page. You then read our tip and it got you jazzed. You even “liked” the page when you don’t usually waste your time with that nonsense.

Now you’re ready to take on the week. Your team is presenting your brainchild first thing Monday morning — a new online customer service strategy that’s going to save the firm tons of cash and improve customer retention.

Ah, the proverbial Monday morning…

First, before you even leave the house, the 300-year-old family Calico pees on the kitchen floor and since your wife is busy getting the kids ready for school, you’re “it” on the clean-up duty even though you were actually leaving on time today.

Second, now that you’re running late, you zoom around slow pokes on the roads and highways, spill your coffee in your lap in the process, and then lose your cell phone in the passenger side floorboard while it’s ringing and ringing and ringing to the tune “Like a G6” by Far East Movement that your teenage son keeps adding to your phone and you keep deleting.

And third, as soon as you get to the office you find out what the missed calls on your phone were about — the fact that the network is down and irate customers are crawling through the phone lines. And then your not-so-favorite employee really needs to talk about the raise you’ve already told him he’s never going to get.

Now it’s time to give your presentation. Your C-suite colleagues don’t want to push it out. You’re going to have to wing it without the Internet.

What I’m feeling changes how the world appears.

How the world appears changes what I’m feeling.

Now it’s time to be authentically present. More than ever.

Take a moment to be in the moment. Check yourself. Understand all that’s come before is transitory. You’ve been working on this with your leadership coach for months.

You know it takes a lifetime to learn to become authentically present, but you’ve come a long way “baby” and your new found emotionally intelligent adaptability has really helped improve your work/life integration — and your mind, body and values.

Your colleagues sense it, which is why they have the greatest confidence you’ll adapt, reset and pull the presentation off.

The Tibetan term for authentic presence literally translates to “a field of power.” When we’re with people who are authentically present we can really feel that power. It’s not the positional power of rank and authority, it’s the real human power that influences and moves us.

Learn to be authentically present. The return knows no bounds.

Be better and brighter.

L3-TV: Coaching culture and 1-on-1s

It was the number 3 response for our people development survey.

Internal coaching.

Riffing off my early post on becoming a LeaderCoach, this video post is all about developing a coaching culture and making sure you schedule regular one-on-one meetings with your direct reports. And if you’re a entrepreneur and/or a consultant, then make sure you’re having them with your mentors.

Be better and brighter.

Become a LeaderCoach. Future smiley faces are counting on us.

I dreamt of millennial emoticons running rampant and ruling the world…

Then I awoke with strangely contorted facial expressions. *sigh*

Last week I attended a Chief Learning Officer Webinar titled The Effectiveness of Leaders as Coaches. The presentation was given by Karie Willyerd, CEO of Jambok, an informal social learning platform and who was also formerly chief learning officer for Sun Microsystems.

According to the the Future Workplace stats, 50% of the workforce in 2020 will be Millennials, eclipsing Gen X.

That’s me (Gen X). And some of you as well.

And that means a lot of inexperienced individuals will be thrust into leadership positions, managing many who are older than they are.

Buying a canned training program and dumping it into the laps of your manager trainees and telling them to learn isn’t going to cut it. Even though this happens a lot in today’s SMB world.

What we need (and will need) is much more leader-led development. We call it being a LeaderCoach. Time and again studies show that high work satisfaction and fulfillment are strongly correlated to how the manager or leader relates to key employees. Coaching is a bridge to improved relationships, retention, employee engagement, productivity and developing future leaders.

According to Karie, the benefits of leader-led development include:

  • Cost – embedding development in work avoids costly face-to-face formal development programs
  • Time – the pace of change is so significant that leaders are able to provide development real time
  • Context – leaders can add meaning and context to learning
  • Scalability – learning functions typically do not have the resources to address the volume of learning needs

It doesn’t take a lot to develop this culture. When I was at HRmarketer, we went from annual performance reviews to empowered and shared career development to regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings to continuous informal learning to a mentoring environment. In essence, everybody became a LeaderCoach of sorts to help development any new employees/interns we brought onboard.

Becoming a LeaderCoach helps you:

  1. Understand the challenges facing their organization with regard to increasing the performance of their people
  2. Identify the key people in which they want to invest time and energy
  3. Define their role as leader in retaining high performers
  4. Cultivate a collaborative approach to the coaching relationship
  5. Develop finer coaching skills like identifying the natural talents of key employees
  6. Learn to identify “coaching moments” to take advantage of real-time coaching opportunities

But to get to leader-led development — to become a LeaderCoach — we have to ensure we’re doing that ourselves.

That we’re leading ourselves first with emotional intelligence. Remember to keep the sweet spot in the flow.

Future smiley faces are counting on us.

Be better and brighter.

8 ways to regulate molten balls of unchecked emotion

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.” –Aristotle

Imagine a small molten ball of unchecked emotion that can only thrash and scream in your arms.

It can’t communicate. It can’t take care of itself.

It can’t stop.

Even if it’s only for 5 minutes, 15 minutes or even more, with enough repetition it can take its toll.

Creating yet another much larger molten ball of unchecked emotion that spreads like volcanic wildfire that can then all go to hell in a hand basket immediately if not sooner.

And that’s what it can be like with a newborn and a toddler in the house.

Now imagine that playing out in the workplace (or maybe you’ve lived it or are living it).

If we leave ourselves unchecked, we are chaos:

  • More than 28 percent of companies with 250 to 999 employees said they had an incident of workplace violence over a year period.
  • 37 percent of all Americans report being bullied now or at some point in their careers.
  • The annual cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence is estimated as $727.8 million with over 7.9 million paid workdays lost per year.

These are only a few examples and isn’t even taking into account less extreme examples of poor interpersonal communication, ineffective supervision and leadership, low employee engagement, little to no training and development programs, little to no personal responsibility and self-policing.

But oh how we like a little drama in our humdrum daily lives. We love the Rodan (Oracle) versus Mothra (HP) battles. We love the political races raciness and toxicity.

And then there’s the soundbite I keep hearing everywhere:

“Shouldn’t character count?”

No sh!t, Sherlock.

Mood and emotional reaction affects behavior and performance. Behavior and performance affects mood and emotional reaction.

What if we behaved better, had more self-awareness and self-management? What if our leadership created a culture where that behavior is rewarded?

That’s the trick with the treat, isn’t it?

Take these eight brief suggestions for example.

The Ability to Pause. Perceive. Prepare. Plan.

  1. Take time to analyze, problem solve, solution find before responding to significant challenges
  2. Learn to “catch” your emotions before they trigger
  3. Plan and prepare for difficult situations from lessons learned by self and others
  4. Develop flexibility in dealing with changing situations and obstacles
  5. Discipline yourself, reshape your responses and redirect your reactions
  6. Take care of your body, mind and heart
  7. Focus on trustworthiness: consistency, align to core values, tell the truth
  8. Let others know what you need from them

As the kids say, check yourself before you wreck yourself and others.

We’re all responsible for leading self, but some of us lead with others in teams and some of us lead others in entire organizations big and small.

We need to employ personal responsibility and emotional intelligence in our places of work. Those are the co-workers I want.

If you’d like to learn more about developing emotional intelligence, join us for a Webinar on October 28, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. PT (1:00 p.m. ET).

Be better and brighter.