Where is Your Diversity?

diversity

“We need diversity of thought in the world to face the new challenges.” — Tim Berners-Lee

As the United States, as well as many other parts of the world, struggles for acceptance of diversity, as leaders, the success of our organizations depend on that very diversity. The very things that we see in others that cause many to fear, and some to even hate, are the very things we need to face new challenges in a new and changing world. We no longer operate in an isolated environment; now that everything we do is on a global scale; diversity plays a bigger role than ever before. We need to value diversity of thought, diversity of perspective, and diversity of background. So, where is your diversity?

At the top?

If I were to look at your management team, would I see diversity? If your management team is all cut from the same fabric, always of one mind, your results will be limited to what that one mind can comprehend. This usually results in maintaining the status quo and limiting any forward movement that is progressive or innovative.

At the table?

If I were to look in on your operation meetings, would I see diversity? If you do not encourage a diverse variety of voices to take a seat at the table, your organization will develop tunnel vision. Who is to say how many opportunities you will miss out on when your vision is limited.

In the ranks?

If I were to walk around your organization, would I see diversity out on the floor? Every one of your employees need to feel included and a sense of community. I hope your community does not all look and think the same. I also hope that the lower ranks are not the only place where diversity is evident in your organization. This limits diverse input and influence as well as cripples your organizational culture.

Front and Center

Diversity is needed at every level of the organization to really be affective. You need it at the top in members of your management team. You really need it at the table where new ideas and solutions to problems are being brainstormed. And, you need it in the ranks where everyone is respected and accepted for the personal value they add to the organization. You need your diversity front and center. If I were to enter your organization would I find evidence that you value diversity of thought, diversity of perspective, and diversity of background? Or would I see one way of looking, one way of thinking, and one way of behaving around every corner? Put your diversity front and center starting today!

© 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.

Four Tips for Sparking Innovation in Your Organization

spark innovation

For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.” — Margaret Heffernan

The status quo never leads to success. Success stems from questioning what we think we know, from following thoughts down alleys that frighten us, and from considering possibilities that, at first, sound outrageous. When we step outside of our comfort zone, that is where true innovation happens. So, how can you spark innovation not only within yourself, but in your organization as a whole?

Human interaction

It’s easy to get caught up in our own thoughts. It is through conversations with others that we are exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking. We spend the majority of our time in the workplace focused on accomplishing specific tasks. While completing these tasks is pertinent to achieving personal and organizational goals, it is also important that we make time to interact with colleagues. This interaction can expose us to new ideas and give novel concepts an arena to percolate. Human interaction is necessary to spark innovation in your organization.

Conflict

Conflict can be beneficial when we take the opportunity to look at the root cause. What do we agree on? What do we disagree on? This provides the opportunity for us to consider where we might be right, but also, where we might be wrong. For conflict to be beneficial, it should never be personal. It should not be about the other person, it should be about ideas and perspectives. Progress will never be made if we all think alike; it is through our differences that we discover new ideas and ways of accomplishing our goals. Conflict can serve as a catalyst for sparking innovation in your organization.

Argument

Arguing is the way we hash out differing perspectives and opinions. This, of course, must be done with absolute respect for the experiences and knowledge that others bring to the table in order to be productive. We all have something different to contribute to the conversation, this is what makes the whole more valuable than the sum of its parts. It is when several parties are able to argue their points of view, consider other possibilities, and then compromise that true innovation starts to emerge.

Debate

Debate gives us the opportunity to look at our reasoning. Are we logical, rational, and realistic? Or, are we operating from a point of bias or habit? It’s only though getting outside of our comfort zone and habitual way of thinking that we can start fostering the spark of innovation. Healthy debate challenges our way of thinking and behaving. This is where original ideas spring up and where, working together, we can nurture these new ideas and come up with something fantastic.

Always Have Their Back

As a leader, possibly the most important role you can play in sparking innovation in your organization is to always have your employees’ back. Fear of failure, criticism and the repercussions that can accompany failure deter many employees from thinking beyond the status quo, from what is to what is possible. Encourage human interaction. Support constructive conflict. Value respectful argument. And, encourage lively debate. Set the example and then give your employees your full support. Sparking innovative thinking is good for the individual, it’s good for the team, and it’s a valuable necessity for the organization.

What will you do today to spark innovation in your organization?

© 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.

No One is Perfect: Stop Expecting Perfection

perfection

“Strive for continuous improvement instead of perfection.” — Kim Collins

None of us are perfect but I cannot even begin to count the number of managers I have worked for who expected perfection from their employees. This unrealistic expectation does far more harm than good. So, what impact does expecting perfection have on employee performance?

Frustration

When our best is never good enough, we quickly become frustrated. Your employees know that you are not perfect, they know that their colleagues are not perfect, so why is it that perfection is expected from them? It is a bar set far too high to ever reach. Instead of frustrating employees with the expectation of perfection, how about encouraging them to focus on continuous improvement; baby steps can take you a long way.

Lack of motivation

When frustration becomes a daily occurrence, we begin to lose the motivation to even bother striving to improve. When faced with unattainable expectations your employees will eventually tire of feeling like they are constantly swimming upstream. Setting small, attainable goals for your employees will not only get them from where they are to where you want them to be, it will also build their confidence and fuel their motivation.

Settling

Once we have lost the motivation to strive for excellence, we begin to settle for the status quo. The status quo never leads anyone to success; it feeds the mindset of good enough is good enough. While employees need to be made to feel that their contributions are valuable, you never want them to settle for stagnating at their current level of performance. This is where your encouragement and appreciation makes all the difference; help them to continue to make progress without overwhelming them with the unrealistic expectation of perfection.

Progress not Perfection

The key to success is progress, not perfection. Many will say that excellence is the enemy of perfection. I say that getting stuck in the good enough is good enough mindset leads to maintaining the status quo and status quo is the enemy of progress. Perfection is an unrealistic expectation. To further complicate the issue, the definition of perfection varies from person to person. Stop imposing the frustration of such an expectation on your employees. Fire up their motivation rather than stifling it. Encourage the small steps of progress that deter the tendency to settle. Continuous improvement should be the goal. What are you going to do to encourage and reward progress in your employees today?

© 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 Happens When No One Communicates?

no communication

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” — Tony Robbins

Recently my son and his fiancé bought a new home. Several of us were pitching in to help them move. What should have been a simple task, especially since they had not acquired much at this point, turned into a chaotic, time consuming ordeal. Why? Simple, no one was communicating with anyone else. Everyone assumed that we were all on the same page and knew the plan. It turned out that there were six different pages and six different plans. My son and his fiancé weren’t even on the same page. If lack of communication can disrupt a simple, short-term task, what happens in your organization when no one communicates?

Differing priorities

As Tony Robbins points out in the above quote, we each perceive the world differently. Our perceptions help us to identify our priorities. When no one communicates, we all start making the assumption that we see the situation from the same perspective and therefore have the same priorities. Big mistake; without clear communication everyone becomes focused on what they determine are the priorities. When everyone has differing priorities it becomes difficult to get tasks completed in a timely manner.

Working against each other

An unintentional byproduct of differing priorities and lack of communication is that everyone seems to be working against each other. While each is focused on what is most important based on their view of the world, it is often to the detriment of others trying to accomplish their own priorities. Instead of working together, lack of communication breeds an “every man for himself” attitude.

Finger pointing

Once an atmosphere of “every man for himself” is created the finger pointing starts. Everyone thinks they are the ones following the plan. If things aren’t going according to the plan, it’s someone else’s fault. Just as in my son’s moving fiasco, the problem is there is NO shared plan, just a bunch of separate plans all interfering with each other.

Get on the Same Page: Communicate

The problems created by lack of communication compound over time. They start to wreak havoc in your operations and cause confusion and frustration. Yet, these problems are so easy to fix. Start communicating. Make sure everyone knows the plan and shares the same priorities. When you communicate and everyone is on the same page, simple tasks remain simple tasks, and long-term goals stay on-track.

What will you do today to improve communication in your organization?

© 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.

Things That Motivate Employees More Than Money-Guest Post by Fretty Francis

moneyA bigger motivation than money is hard to believe, but it does exist. The kick that we get from being applauded is priceless. Only a person with true leadership qualities can create an engaged workforce. Offering rewards and opportunities before it’s too late is really important. Nurturing your employees with the skills that they require to attain future challenges is where the success of your company lies. If your business is facing failures consistently, then it is partially your fault. In such situations the bosses certainly lack the required skills and should consider working on their own skill development before blaming the employees. After all, a true leader is the one who is humble enough to admit their mistakes. Makes sense, right?

Yelling at your staffs can never improve the situation; rather it will worsen your bond with them. Once they build a negative perception about you, it will probably never change, and this will affect their performance.

Here are 12 effective ways to bridge the gap between bosses and the employees:

  1. Honest and generous with praise works in your favor- Be specific while you praise your employee and let them know you notice their efforts in details. You should always try your best to match the praise to their efforts. This may sound like a very simple concept, but embracing their potential should be your goal, rather than just expecting positive results. Try giving regular praise to your employees based on their valuable traits and soon you will see them praising each other, which is a good sign for a happy work culture.
  2. Get rid of managers for a change- Project managers maybe too good at handling their responsibilities but sometimes it is good consider their team handling responsibilities without a leader. Empowering your staff can give you surprisingly exceptional results. Without a leader they become more responsible and will work together on an equal level.
  3. Share your ideas with them- Nobody likes to be told what to do and what not to do, and therefore it is always advisable to share your ideas and make them theirs. This is quite simple because all you need to do is ask them their views about your ideas. This will boost their confidence to approach you with new ideas without hesitation.
  4. Give equal priority to each employee- A project becomes a success when each member of the team does their bit irrespective of the hindrances. Everyone should get equal credit for their contribution and feel proud for the team as a whole. This will make them realize that everyone is important and will never let success get to their head.
  5. A surprise lunch from the boss- Simply walk up to them and invites them for lunch and surprises them. Let them know you appreciate their work and they did impress you with their dedication. If you just hired new employees then, a surprise lunch is a great icebreaker for new team members. This is an awesome way to build trust and to establish a great rapport.
  6. Criticism will kill the enthusiasm- Never judge your employees based on something that is least important. Criticism is never fun on the receiving end, especially when you do it in front of others. An underperformer needs motivation, not a mulish boss who sabotages their confidence at every level. The more you support the less they focus on clock watching and become more productive.
  7. Share rewards first and then expect- Rewards can be in any form apart from increment and this is the time you make use of your creativity. Gift them free movie tickets, free gym membership, dinner reservations, salon or spa coupons, trophies and plaques. There are so many things that you can give them and let them know that you appreciate their efforts. This will motivate them to work harder on their future projects even before you asking them to do so.
  8. Comfort matters- Does comfort matters to you? Same is the case with your employees and bunch of little things can make a big difference. A fully stocked fridge, a comfortable couch (for a short nap occasionally) or allowing them to work from home if possible are all necessary perks. Comfort at workplace is the cornerstone of productivity.
  9. Flexible working hours- Everyone has a different “productive time of the day” and expecting employees to be actively working for the entire day is unreasonable. This can only waste time, so allow them to set their working hours (with valid reason). This will definitely elevate their performance and they won’t let you down.
  10. Throw a killer company party- Show interest in celebrations, just like you are enthusiastic about starting a new project. Celebrate when your employees perform well, organize birthday parties or raise a toast if you got a big client as your big breakthrough. Never underestimate the power of celebrations, as it brings positivity.
  11. Performer of the month- Although this is a very classic method of recognition, but it is still one of the favorites among the employees. Choose some star performers as nominees in different departments (categories). Pick all the outstanding employees and reward them for their magic behind the scenes.

Final thoughts: – Great things come to those who wait, and keeping patience with your employees can be a game changer. Be a generous boss by giving your attention to employees and you can learn from them. Review and analyze your employee performance through Performance Management System and give rewards to employees who have given sweat and blood to your business.

 

Author Bio:

Fretty Francis is currently a Software Analyst at SoftwareSuggest. She is passionate about HR, performance management, asset management, CRM among other things. In her free time you can find her either reading about tech stuff or listening to music.

better life“I firmly believe that if your environment works for you and your family, it translates into a better life.” — Candice Olson

I once had a friend whose mother had advised her to only date a man if her life with him would be better than the life she would have without him. I was a little taken aback those many years ago that her mother would even suggest that it was someone else’s responsibility to make her life better. I have since changed my view a little bit. I do believe that there are people who hold certain positions whose responsibility it becomes to make peoples’ lives better. Leadership is one of those positions. So, as a leader, are your employees’ lives better because of you than they would be if you weren’t their leader?

Do they have your support?

When employees do not have the support of their leader it always feels like they are fighting an uphill battle. This battle never ends and it is exhausting. Exhaustion diminishes employees’ quality of life rather than enhancing it. Give them the support they need so the constant battle comes to an end.

Do they feel safe?

Everyone has the basic need to feel safe. As a leader, it is your responsibility to provide a consistent environment where employee know what to expect. Knowing what to expect provides a level of security. If employees work in a chaotic, inconsistent environment they can never feel at ease. Provide employees with a sense of safety so they can feel comfortable in their work environment.

Can they trust you?

Lack of trust will overshadow every other step you take, as a leader, to improve the lives of your employees. Employees need to know that you are looking out for their best interests. Leadership is never about the leader and employees will quickly start to see through your façade into your hidden agendas. Make sure your words, actions, and intentions are authentic. Be transparent so that your employees never have a reason to question your motives.

Do you have respect for their lives?

It’s easy to become so focused on reaching organizational goals that you forget that your employees have lives outside of work. Their personal lives: families, friends, hobbies, and communities are just as important to them as their work lives. If you want employees to give 100% while they are in the workplace, you must provide them with ample opportunity to give 100% to their personal lives also. Everyone needs balance, even you.

Are you dedicated to serving them?

Leadership is about service, period. Your employees are not there to serve you; you are there to serve them. You can look at this as a blessing or a curse. If you see it as a curse you are in the wrong position. As a leader, you must provide guidance and support so that employees can be successful. Their success should be your main focus.

What Type of Work Environment are You Creating?

Are you creating a work environment where employees feel supported? Is there a consistency that gives them a sense of safety and security? Are you transparent and authentic so that employees have no reason to question if they can trust you or not? Do you have respect for their personal lives and the attention they need to give to matters outside of the workplace? Are you dedicated to serving your employees? These factors contribute to you, as a leader, giving your employees a better life. Is there any greater legacy you can leave than having made a positive impact on the quality of life of every employee that has worked with you?

What will you start doing today to improve the lives of your employees?

 

 

© 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 Undervaluing Your Employees?

Undervalue“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” —Malcolm Forbes

I see the impact of the above Malcolm Forbes quote in almost every organization I work with. Leaders tend to put more emphasis on what employees are not than on what they are. Are you undervaluing your employees? Here are a few of the most common causes for undervaluing what your employees really have to offer.

Trust in the wrong people

One of the biggest barriers to valuing the contributions of your employees is that you are trusting the wrong people’s opinion. You need to recognize that many managers and supervisors have their own personal agendas. Often, some of your best employees are viewed as threats or competition rather than valued assets. I know that most of you are thinking that this is not an issue in your organization; I guarantee that it is.

Poor internal systems

Another obstacle to placing the value on your employees that they deserve is poor internal processes and systems. When you have a weak link in your process, the blame for failure is often misplaced on the employees working within that system. Before you devalue the contributions that your employees are making to the success of the organization, make sure you haven’t built failure into your processes.

Lack of information

Access to information is another factor that has a huge impact on the perception of how valuable an employee is. When employees lack the pertinent information they need their deliverables are seen as deficient. I can’t tell you how many times I hear leaders tell me that their employees should be asking the questions. The problem with this thinking is that, more times than not, they don’t know what they don’t know. It is the responsibility of management to make sure employees have all of the information they need. Make sure that your employees have the information, tools, resources, and support necessary to do their jobs effectively.

Looking at the wrong things

Everyone has strengths and everyone has weakness. Would you want to be judged solely on your weaknesses? Of course not, so make sure you are not doing this to your employees. Make sure you are basing your evaluation of their value as much if not more on their strengths rather than their areas of weakness.

Disengagement

Employees do become less productive when they are not engaged in their work. This does not necessarily make them less valuable to the organization. The key is to figure out how to keep employees engaged and making meaningful contributions to the success of the organization. Disengagement is often the result of having little or no opportunity for professional growth and a lack of appreciation for the hard work employees are actually putting forth. Don’t start to undervalue your employees before you make sure you are keeping them engaged.

Keep Your Finger on the Pulse of Employee Value

You cannot base the value of an employee solely on the opinion of others; others have personal agendas. You cannot hold employees accountable for your poor processes and systems; make sure you build systems that work. You cannot expect exceptional work from employees who are not given the information and tools they need to do their jobs; remember, you can’t expect them to know what they don’t know they don’t know. Do not judge employee solely on their areas of weakness; you wouldn’t want to be judged on yours. And, don’t write off an employee’s value just because they have become disengaged; it’s your responsibility to offer an engaging work environment with ample opportunities for growth. As a leader, it is your responsibility to keep your finger on the pulse of employee value. Value is an individual property; it is not a determination that you can leave in the hands of others. Make sure you are valuing employees for what they are.

 

 

© 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.