When Things Don’t Go as Planned

Plan

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower

Even the best laid plans go sideways once in a while. In fact, you can almost always count on something not going according to plan. This is why Dwight D. Eisenhower’s above quote is so meaningful; you can’t count on the plan, but planning is everything. Here’s why:

Preparedness

Planning allows you to be prepared. If you know where you are, and you know where you want to end up, then you can start looking at the options for getting there. There is almost always more than one way to achieve a goal. The thought and research that goes into planning helps you to understand the multiple options available to you.

Flexibility

Flexibility is the key to responding instead of reacting when things don’t go according to plan. If you become dead-set on following your plan; step by step; from beginning to end, you will lack the flexibility necessary to adapt the plan to new or unforeseen circumstances. It is this flexibility that allows you to continue moving forward toward your goal even when your plan falls short.

Team strength

Planning gives you the opportunity to assess the strength of each of your team members. Knowing their strengths in advance gives you an advantage when things start going sideways. Who will be your best pinch-hitter in different situations when things don’t go according to plan? Don’t leave yourself scrambling at the last minute trying to figure out what to do; know who to turn to when the going gets tough.

Roll with the Punches

The key is to plan, but also plan for your plan to break-down along the way. Be prepared, build flexibility into your plan, and know your team member’s strengths. When things don’t go as planned, fall back on your planning and roll with the punches.

© 2017 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Motivation vs. Inspiration

Motivation vs inspiration“Excellence endures and sustains. It goes beyond motivation into the realms of inspiration.” —Azim Premji

Webster’s definition of motivation is the process of motivating through force, stimulus, or influence. Inspiration is defined as the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions. The words motivate and inspire are often used interchangeably but, they have very different meanings. So, do you want to motivate your employees or so you want to inspire them?

      The external

I think of motivation as an external force. Picture the carrot or the whip in getting the behavior you want. When you motivate employees, you get them to perform purely to receive a reward or to avoid punishment.

            The internal

I think of inspiration as an internal force. Picture excitement, pride, and being part of something bigger that influences behavior. When you inspire your employees they perform because they are internally driven to make a meaningful contribution.

Why it Matters

Motivation can provide a great incentive for achieving short-term results. But, for the long-haul, do you want employees going through the motions purely to receive a reward or to avoid punishment? Or, would you like employees who are loyal to you, dedicated to doing a good job because they are proud of their contributions, and inspired to be part of something great? The fact is, both motivation and inspiration play an important role in leadership. Motivate employees to achieve short-term goals; inspire employees to reach far beyond your vision.

So, what are you going to do?

© 2017 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Why are Some Employees Underachieving?

Underachieve“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” —Mario Andretti

When looking at employee achievement it’s easy to assume that some people have it and some people just don’t. But, what if that weren’t true? What if you, as a leader, had the ability to turn every employee into an achiever? You really need to ask yourself, “Why are some employees underachieving?”

Right position

The first question to ask yourself is, “Do I have the right person in the right position?” The best employee can underachieve when placed in a position that is not a good fit for their strengths. This quickly spirals into the employee losing confidence in their own abilities and management underestimating what this employee is truly capable of.

Desire

Another thing to look at is desire. We all want to do something that gives us a sense of accomplishment, something worth waking up for in the morning. When an employee feels that their contribution makes a real difference they have the desire to keep adding value. If they feel like they are going through meaningless motions just to earn a paycheck, they quickly lose the desire to put forth their best efforts.

Commitment

How committed are your employees? Well, one good gauge of their commitment to the organization is how committed you, as a leader are to them. Commitment is a two-way street; just because you pay an employee to perform a task does not buy you their commitment. Do they feel secure in their job? Do they feel appreciated? When employees do not feel that you are committed to them, they quickly lose any aspiration to be fully invested in their jobs or the organization.

Encouragement

Even the most unskilled employee might surprise you if you offer them encouragement. We all struggle sometimes. It might be lack of training or experience; it might be low self-confidence; it might be struggles in our personal life that cause us to lose focus, but a little encouragement from a trusted and respected leader can help turn a poor performer into an outstanding performer.

Support

Any employee can slip backward into becoming an underachiever if they do not have the support they need. No one can succeed when left all on their own; we need a team, a support structure. And, as the leader, you are the foundation of that support structure. Knowing that someone has your back, that someone is cheering you on goes a long way in turning underachievers into achievers.

Your Role

Underachievement is often not an employee problem, but a leadership problem. As a leader, it is your responsibility is to ensure you have the right people in the right positions. You must give them meaningful work that inspires the desire to contribute even more. You must be committed to them so they will be committed to you. You must offer encouragement. And, they must know they have your support. What if you could turn every employee into an achiever?

© 2017 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

What Will They Say at Your Retirement Party?

retirement-party“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” —Warren Buffett

A principal of the architectural firm that I work with recently retired. As I listened to his colleagues speak and watched the video interviews with employees, managers, clients, and fellow principals I started to wonder, “What will people say when I retire?” Have you ever given it any thought? Here are a few of the things that contribute to your reputation and what others will have to say at your retirement party.

What did they see?

Actions speak louder than words. Were your actions authentic? Were you willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty? Did you set a good example for others to follow? People are always watching; your behaviors have a great impact on others and their perception of you. What did they see?

What did they hear?

Were you true to your word? How did you speak of others? Were your words encouraging or were they biting? Was your communication style open and honest? Was it consistent regardless of who you were speaking with? What did they hear?

How did they feel?

Did they know you cared? Was there a sense of mutual trust and respect? Were you willing to invest your time and resources into helping them become the best they could be? How did you make them feel?

What Will They Say?

When that day finally comes and people gather together to acknowledge the contributions you have made to their work lives, what will they say? What did they see? Were your actions authentic? What did they hear? Were your words encouraging or biting? How did they feel? Did they know you cared? Your legacy lasts far longer than the years you put into any position. What will you leave behind in the hearts and minds of those you worked with?

© 2017 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Are You Playing To Your Strengths?

playing to strength

Focusing on our own strengths is what, in fact, makes us strong. – Simon Sinek

A recent story in the Gallup Business Journal revealed that only twenty percent of U.S. Workers think that their jobs use their strengths. It said, “Identifying strengths and fulfilling natural potential has never been more important for students and employees. In the United States alone, just 13% of workers say they find their work meaningful, and a mere 20% think they’re in jobs that use their talents”.

The fact that so many companies are failing to tap into the strengths of their employees is troubling. How can these companies expect to compete when the best that their employees have to offer is going unutilized? Is it any wonder then that only 13% of workers say that their work is not meaningful?

Bridging the gap between unsatisfied employees and those who actually do play to their strengths is a leadership challenge that must be tackled. Here are a few things that we, as leaders, need to do:

Know strengths before you hire

Knowing a potential employee’s strengths before hiring is just common sense. Why would you even consider someone for a position if that person does not possess the skill sets needed or without knowing whether or not that person would be playing to their strengths? Why set someone up to be unfulfilled, miserable, and ultimately fail? When hiring, don’t drop the ball; find out what strengths the candidate possesses and place them accordingly.

Reevaluate strengths on a regular basis

Our hope is that our employees are continually growing and improving. It is important that you reevaluate employees’ strengths on a regular basis. Are they ready for more responsibility? Would they benefit from gaining experience in a new area? Is the position where they serve still a good fit? Make sure your knowledge on where employees’ strength lie is always up-to-date. Make ongoing training a part of their empowering process.

Don’t allow the position to define the person, let the person define the position

A cookie-cutter approach to filling positions within your organization typically centers around the “duties” of the job. While that is important to understand, the position must not define the person. In the final analysis, you are hiring a person, not a position. A person will only be fulfilled when he or she plays to their strengths. This is what matters most. Hire qualified employees, put them in positions where they can best utilize their strengths, and then get out of the way and allow them to make the position their own.

People will thrive when they play to their strengths

People find their work meaningful when they are playing to their strengths. When they feel they are contributing in meaningful ways they will produce at higher levels and everyone wins. The right people in wrong positions will only lead to low morale and poor performance. Make sure you know where your employees’ strengths lie and then give them the opportunity to utilize those strengths in defining their position and contribution to the organization.

The fact that only 20% of employees are in jobs where they believe that their talents are being used is a sign of deficient leadership. This trend can be reversed but it has to start with a fresh approach to your leadership and recognition and respect for what employee strengths can contribute to the organization.

Employee engagement can be a challenge on good days. Don’t complicate things from an organizational standpoint by not allowing people to play to their strengths. Unleash their potential to be their best.

© 2017 Doug Dickerson & Liz Stincelli

You can find out more about Doug Dickerson by visiting https://dougdickerson.wordpress.com. Or follow him on Twitter @DougDickersonSC.

Are You Setting Your Employees up for Failure?

setting-failure“Employee loyalty begins with employer loyalty. Your employees should know that if they do the job they were hired to do with a reasonable amount of competence and efficiency, you will support them.” —Harvey Mackay

Mistakes happen. As a leader, it is your response to mistakes that has the greatest impact. Your response will either set your employees up to succeed or set them up for failure. Whether intentional or unintentional, are you setting your employees up to fail?

Training

As leaders, we get busy and it is easy to think that good enough is good enough when it comes to employee training. This is a quick way to set an employee up for failure. First off, employees should have ongoing access to training. Second, determination of what type and how much training is needed should be a two-way conversation between you and the employee. And, this is not a one-time conversation. Checking in with your employees to see how they feel they are doing and in what areas they think they would benefit from additional training is a great way to help your employees succeed.

Autonomy

No one thrives in a micromanagement environment. If you do not want to set your employees up for failure, stand back and give them some autonomy. If you have provided them with the best training and they know they have your support, they should be ready to tackle tasks and challenges on their own. They are not children and they do not need you to babysit them every step of the way.

Trust

When you give employees autonomy they start to feel trusted by you to do their jobs and make decisions on their own. Trust is a two-way street. As you demonstrate that you trust your employees enough to give them autonomy and that you are willing to invest in their success by giving them the training they need, they will start to trust you as a leader. If you want them to succeed, show them that you have their backs. When you trust and support each other, everyone wins.

Opportunity

If you want your employees to succeed, you must give them the opportunity to learn and grow. No one thrives when they are stagnant. Your employees want to know that not only are there ample opportunities for them in your organization, but that you will support and encourage them to pursue these opportunities.

Set Them Up for Success

Glen Mazzara, the American television writer and producer, explained, “It’s better to grow your employees, steer them into a place that they can learn and succeed, and want to work hard and be loyal, than to have a revolving door of employees. That’s demoralizing.” No one wins when employees fail. Give them all the training they need and want. Give them autonomy over their own work. Show them that not only are you worthy of their trust, but that you trust them in return. Make sure they have ample opportunity to learn and grow within your organization. Start setting your employees up for success instead of failure.

© 2017 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.

Listen to the Silence

listen-to-the-silence“Silence is as deep as eternity, speech as shallow as time.” —Thomas Carlyle

We’re always being taught the importance of listening to what others have to say. Well, I have another suggestion to add; listen to the silence. There can be as much gleaned from what is not being said as in what is being said. Can you listen and learn?

Eliminate distractions

We run into distractions at every turn. There is no way to even experience the silence unless we can eliminate these distractions temporarily. When we are able to focus on the present moment, we might notice silence where we would hope to hear communication, we might see avoidance where we should see engagement.

What are you missing?

With all the noise surrounding us on a daily basis, what are we missing? Noise, in and of its self, can be a distraction. Who are we not seeing or hearing from? What information is being withheld? Recognizing what we are missing can be far more important than what we know.

See clearly

Listening to the silence helps us to see clearly. Are things running as smoothly as we think they are when we are preoccupied with all the noise? We know what we can hear being said, but what is missing? One of the most important skills in leadership is the ability to see clearly; we cannot address what we do not see.

Listen

When it is quiet, we can be present in the moment, and in that moment we can recognize what we are missing. Take time to eliminate the distractions. Become aware of what are you missing. Listen in order to see what is happening in your organization more clearly, with your people, and to your culture. Embrace the silence and learn.

© 2017 Elizabeth Stincelli

Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at stincelliadvisors@gmail.com.