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William A. Schiemann

The Three Keys to Employee and Company Fulfillment

Who wouldn’t like to be more fulfilled? If you’re not feeling totally fulfilled, you’re not alone. Even if you are fulfilled, the odds are that many of your managers and employees are not, according to new study conducted by Metrus Institute. In fact, few Millennials and only some Gen Xers describe their lives as fulfilled.

In the study, life fulfillment is defined as achieving one’s dreams and creating a lifestyle that brings exceptional happiness and inner peace. The good news is that you can control a good deal of this, and even more importantly, you can positively influence the fulfillment, productivity and retention of people in your organization. Bottom line, there are three big factors that drive fulfillment: actions aligned with vision; the right capabilities and engagement or passion.

Aligned Vision

First, do your employees see a vision and a sense of purpose for your organization, and most importantly, is it synced with their own vision and values? Fulfilled people not only have a purpose or vision of the future, but it is also aligned with their job and employer. They have a clear sense of where they are headed (or would like to head) in life, and how their current job fits into that broader framework. Unfulfilled people struggle with misalignment between who they are and what they do every day. People who are not aligned with your organization’s purpose or vision are either biding their time or actually working at cross-purposes.

Most people I have coached can actually articulate such a vision when they take a little time out of busy, programmed lives to think about it. Goals could include discovering the next great drug, having a large loving family, becoming a vice president, achieving financial security, having great friendships, finding a life partner, and yes, even becoming a CEO. When those goals are aligned with the organization, we see higher productivity and business results.

Leaders do themselves a disservice when they don’t understand people’s personal vision and values and how they jibe with the company’s vision and core values or culture. When the two are highly aligned, we see that spark where employees are rowing hard in the same direction to execute the business strategies quickly and effectively. When that happens, you don’t need a lot of rules because people make judgments that are in sync with what the business needs and how the business operates to get there.

In hiring talent at any level, especially senior managers and executives, this ‘fit’ is critical. When fit is low, it is like a rowing team in which every person in rowing at a different pace or even in a different direction. A good test of this is to ask about priorities. In survey research that we do at the Metrus Institute, one of the telling questions is how people view different priorities. Highly aligned organizations execute their strategies rapidly, with little waste, while others look like they are rowing in gelatin.

Capabilities

The second key ingredient is Capabilities. It asks the question, who are you and what do you need to succeed? What are your skills, experiences, knowledge and abilities? And, are those capabilities sufficient to succeed in your current and desired roles? While it is great having life goals, without the building blocks, they are unlikely to be achieved. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had skills and interests in both piano and political science. Despite an ability that allowed her, later in life, to play on stage with Yo-Yo Ma at a televised event in Washington, she realized early on that she could not make a career as a virtuoso pianist. But she could be a virtuoso political figure. She had all the building blocks for that with the right education, credentials and experience.
Amazingly, one of the paradoxes of the corporate world is that mature organizations often choke off the capabilities needed to succeed. Today, the most important resource for most organizations is the right talent to get the job done. And yet over four-fifths of CEOs I talk to decry their talent pipeline—they don’t have the people in place for succession or critical backup for key roles.

Talent fit is also important. Here is where fulfillment becomes important. People who are being asked to learn new skills or knowledge in areas that are not very interesting to them or don’t fit into their life or career plan will find excuses to avoid the training or not absorb it in a meaningful way. It you are not a technology geek, picture being asked to sit in a software class. You could do it if you were being pushed to do it, but you wouldn’t love it or retain much. The same holds for great leadership skills. People who accept promotions to managers primarily for pay or position, but not because they like bringing out the best in people, usually fail in the long run. They need to be good leaders that others will follow, not just because they have a title.

Engagement

The third component of fulfillment is Engagement. Have you ever met a successful person who didn’t seem to be totally absorbed in what he or she does? All of the highly fulfilled people that I researched had a passion for their mission and purpose in life, along with the actions needed to get there. They loved what they did and continuously learned from it.

What doesn’t work is having a dream, but not enjoying the journey. I interviewed a Millennial who said he wanted to be rich and that he could have taken a job on Wall Street. I asked why he didn’t and he said he didn’t want to work 90 hours a week. He was still looking (unsuccessfully) for other ways to “get rich”. Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers quotes the research of Anders Ericsson that shows that many of the champions we admire have become successful through hours and hours of practice – 10,000 in fact. That’s a lot of time invested in something if you don’t enjoy it. It’s hard to picture tennis great Roger Federer or Olympian gold medalist Michael Phelps being successful if they didn’t enjoy tennis or swimming and were just doing it to be famous.

Optimizing Your Talent Investments

One of the continuing gaps for most companies is strong people optimization skills—obtaining the most benefit from the investments in finding and developing people and their talent. In tests we do of leadership, fewer than 20% of leaders have highly aligned, capable and engaged employees, resulting in not only sub-par performance, but often poorer quality, lower customer satisfaction and higher turnover. And, this finding occurs in nearly every organization. The best managers hire people with goals and values that are aligned with the organization, help them develop skills that are in sync with both career and organizational needs, and bringing out the passion in their people. Keep in mind that most new talent in your organization is 100% engaged on the day they are hired, but if you are like most businesses, engagement drops significantly in the first two years, often sooner. Managers who cannot optimize the people investments they are given need to be retooled or replaced.

Here are a couple of things you can do to find out if your people are being fulfilled and as a result performing at their best in your organization:

  • Conduct a survey or audit of all of your managerial units on alignment, capabilities and engagement. Engagement alone is not enough if people’s priorities, values and capabilities are not aligned.
  • Do a quick check survey or pulse across your organization to see how many people understand the 2-4 key business priorities or imperative. You may be shocked at gaps in this understanding, even at very senior levels.
  • Invest in hiring the right people—those capable of being aligned and engaged in your culture in addition to having the right skills. It is better to wait longer to hire someone who meets these criteria than to spend your life correcting misfits.

Now go optimize your talent — it’s the engine that drives strategy execution. And don’t forget about your own fulfillment!


About the Author

William A. SchiemannWilliam A. Schiemann, Ph.D. is CEO of Metrus Group. He is a thought leader in human resources, employee engagement, and fulfillment and author of Fulfilled! Critical Choices: Work, Home, Life, scheduled to be released October 1, 2016. For more information follow Dr. Schiemann on Twitter, @wschiemann and connect with him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/wmschiemann.

James C. Crimmins

4 Fundamental Lessons for Leaders

The first lesson of leadership: it is not about you.

The essence of leadership is the ability to influence others. And all successful leaders realize what Dale Carnegie explained: “The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”

Being a leader means understanding what others desire. You won’t figure that out by self-analysis. What motivates people to follow you is not something within you. It is something within them.

It’s difficult to get people to want something they don’t already want. But people, of course, want all sorts of things. They want healthy children, an attractive appearance, security, recognition, adventure, etc. It is much easier to focus people on one particular desire that can be fulfilled by doing what the leader suggests.

People will follow you because they see in you the easiest path to get where they want to go.

The second lesson of leadership: debate facts, not feelings.

The most motivating of desires are feelings. Effective leaders show people how to feel the way they would like to feel. Feelings motivate at a more basic level. Feeling smart is more motivating than saving a little money. Feeling sexy is more motivating than losing some weight. Feeling like a good parent is more motivating than serving oatmeal.

Feelings have the advantage of being immediate. While drinking milk may lead to strong bones eventually, you can feel healthy with the first glass. People pursue an immediate feeling more enthusiastically than a delayed fact.

Feelings also have the advantage of being certain. While the politician you support may or may not be able to accomplish what you hope, casting a vote will certainly make you feel like you’re doing your part. People pursue what’s certain more passionately than what’s likely.

Leaders elevate their promise, and show people how to feel the way they would like to feel.

The third lesson of leadership: actions matter, reasons don’t.

People pay little attention to what would-be leaders say, believing they will say most anything to get ahead. But people are convinced what would-be leaders do reveals their true selves. In fact, people pay close attention to how others act and ignore why they act that way.

Leaders can’t persuasively claim to be tough, calm, determined, or kind. What leaders say, particularly about themselves, is irrelevant. The only way leaders can convince people that they have those qualities is to act tough, calm, determined, or kind. As far as followers are concerned, leaders are what they do no matter why they do it. If leaders act tough, people will believe they are tough even if, in reality, the leaders are milquetoasts.

By identifying with a leader, followers get to, in a sense, clothe themselves in the character of that leader. People who want to feel confident follow leaders they perceive as confident. People who want to feel smart follow leaders they perceive as smart. In political campaigns, people literally clothe themselves in the apparel of leaders to share in their qualities.

Leaders act the way followers would like to feel.

The fourth lesson of leadership: let followers take small steps.

How do leaders develop loyal, sometimes rabid, followers? It doesn’t happen in one step. People don’t go from 0 to 60 without passing through the speeds in between.

Smart leaders encourage others to begin by taking a small step in the leaders’ direction. People who have taken a small step look at things differently than they did before. Putting a small, discrete sign for a candidate in your window will make you look at that candidate more favorably than before and you will be more willing to accept a large sign on your front lawn. If someone agrees with you on a small issue, they will be more likely to agree with you on a bigger issue. Persuasion experts refer to this as the “Foot in the Door” technique. Getting that first movement in a leader’s direction is the hardest. That step changes the way things look to the follower and subsequent steps come more easily.

Leaders depend completely on followers’ enthusiasm. Lessons in leadership focus on understanding what potential followers want and how they think.


About the Author

James C. CrimminsJames C. Crimmins is the author of 7 Secrets of Persuasion: Leading-Edge Neuromarketing Techniques to Influence Anyone (Career Press, Sept 2016).

Hank Moore

Public Service Announcements

Non-profit organizations and the causes they promote are greatly served by enlightening the public. Public education is an important part of the charge for those organizations.

The earliest PSAs promoted the selling of war bonds and were shown in movie theatres during World War I and II. The campaigns included: “Loose lips sink ships” and “Keep them rolling.” With the advent of radio in the 1920s and its popularity in the 1930s and 1940s, it was a natural sign-off for national shows to include public service messages. Local stations began airing PSAs during their programming to fill the holes when they had not sold all the commercial availabilities. Then, there were Community Calendar shows. Every disc jockey had their favorite causes, and talk shows often featured representatives of non-profit organizations to discuss their services.

When television hit in the late 1940s, public service advertising was institutionalized. PSAs were aired, just as had been done on radio. Local TV stations promoted non-profit organizations via recorded and live spots, ID slides and crawls of calendar items in local communities.

Some of the famous campaigns included annual United Way appeals, Smokey the Bear (“Only you can prevent forest fires”), McGruff, the dog (“Take a bite out of crime”), the United Negro College Fund (“A mind is a terrible thing to lose”), Just Say No to Drugs, the American Cancer Society (“Fight cancer with a check-up and a check”), anti-smoking campaigns, voter awareness, vaccinations, immunizations, educational programs, etc.

Many of the famous PSA campaigns were created by The Advertising Council. This was a consortium of advertising agencies who lent their creativity on a volunteer basis to a variety of causes. These ads won awards for creativity and spurred participating agencies to serve their clients and communities by their volunteer service. Other PSAs were devised by public relations agencies and the non-profit organizations themselves.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America was founded in New York City in 1985. It was a consortium of advertising agencies who produced public service messages discouraging drug use. It coordinated campaigns with the federal government in its efforts to stem the spread of illegal drugs.

PSAs have had a massive impact on our culture. They steered many people into lives committed to community stewardship and leadership. In the old days, broadcasting was regulated. Stations had to reapply for their licenses from the Federal Communications Commission every three years. We were required to keep Public Files of correspondence from the listeners and community stakeholders. We were required to perform Community Ascertainment, a process by which we interviewed leaders on problems of the municipality and how our station might help to address them. Through all that, I became enamored with community service, developing trust relationships with stakeholders.

Newspapers began contributing space to non-profit causes back in the 1930s, plus writing stories on many of the programs. Community newspapers followed suit in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

The billboard industry began offering free public service facings to non-profit organizations in the 1960s. As public opposition to billboards as environmental blockages increased, its industry made efforts to work with non-profit organizations to get their words out. In the 1990s, I testified to my city council on behalf of the billboard industry. I stated that they would never get rid of the signs, and their best strategy would be to work with the industry, assuring that local non-profits would be served through PSA boards.

Then came my next time to testify, and recalling this incident makes me sad. I testified before the U.S. Congress, begging them NOT to deregulate broadcasting. I was there in support of non-profit organizations and said that deregulation would be a death-knell to public service advertising on radio and TV. I said that unless the FCC requires PSA quotas to broadcasters, they would not deliver the time. I opined that a handful of mega-corporations would ultimately own broadcasting frequencies and would not have the same public service commitment as did the “mom and pop” broadcasters that they purchased. Sadly, history has proven me to be correct.

Because of deregulation, non-profit organizations were forced to buy time on radio and TV. Many got corporate sponsors to pay the freight. Others cut into programs and services in order to fund marketing. That is exhibited when you see every competing educational institution buying airtime to promote their services to the community. I performed a management study for my state comptroller’s office. I reviewed the costs of public awareness campaigns on behalf of state agencies. I opined that agencies felt compelled to spend funds to compete with each other in the arena of marketing.

New forms of public service announcements have emerged to take the place of lost free time on radio and TV. In the 1980s, I started producing filler ads for community newspapers. They were laid out in the style of paid advertising and were furnished as camera-ready copy for newspapers, in the most-needed space fillers as the newspapers had. Thus, they were used.

In the 21st Century, I believe that the future for public service announcements lies on-line. Every non-profit has its own website, and most have blogs in order to disseminate public awareness messages. Many non-profit organizations are producing videos for YouTube.

Now for something new, yet I’ve been advocating this since 1997. I believe that corporate websites are the most untapped source for public service messages. I encourage corporations to have a Community Corner on their homepages. Highlight the causes that they support. Put filler ads for non-profit groups on their websites. Encourage their customers and stakeholders to support their designated causes. Non-profit organizations need the support of Cause Related Marketing.

Here are some final tips for non-profit organizations in constructing their public service campaigns:

  • Carefully choose your topic. Create plausible narratives.
  • Research the marketplace and your cause for support.
  • Consider your audience. Get reactions from your audiences.
  • Get the attention of stakeholders carefully and tastefully.

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

S. Chris Edmonds

Your Most Important Business Strategy Is Culture

How healthy is the quality of your business culture? Does your work environment ensure every player – leader, team member, customer, even supplier – is treated with trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction?

When I engage business leaders in discussion about their culture, most shrug their shoulders. “Our culture is OK,” most of them say. The reality is that most leaders don’t pay attention to the quality of their culture.

Deloitte’s recent Global Human Capital Trends report, found that “few factors contribute more to business success than culture.” 87 percent of business leaders who responded to their survey believe that culture is important. 54 percent believe culture is very important.

If that’s the case, why don’t leaders make culture a priority? They don’t know how. They’ve never been asked to manage culture. Deloitte’s study found that only 28 percent of respondents believe they understand their current culture well. Only 19 percent believe they have the “right” culture.

This data shows that most leaders don’t know what to look for. Few leaders know what to do if they discover their culture isn’t healthy.

What leaders do know is managing results. They invest more time, energy, and attention in results than they do in their business culture, yet culture drives everything that happens in their organization – for better or worse.

Don’t get me wrong – results are definitely important. But they’re not the only important thing. In fact, managing results is exactly HALF the leader’s job.

The other half? Managing the quality of their work culture.

Those leaders that invest time and energy in the quality of their culture reap tremendous benefits. A purposeful, positive, productive culture boosts employee engagement by 40 percent, customer service by 40 percent, and results and profits by 35 percent. I can prove it.

How can leaders create a healthy work culture? By making values – the way people treat each other – as important as results.

Just as leaders create clear performance expectations then hold people accountable for delivering those expectations, leaders must create clear values expectations and hold people – including themselves – accountable for acting in alignment with those values, every day.

To make values observable, tangible, and measurable requires that values – ideas like “integrity” or “teamwork” – be defined in behavioral terms. Why? Behaviors are measurable.

If you define your integrity value with a measurable behavior like “I keep my promises” or “I do what I say I will do,” everyone will know how they’re expected to behave to ensure they’re demonstrating that value, daily.

By formalizing values in behavioral terms, then requiring all leaders to model those behaviors themselves, you build credibility for your values. You build credibility in your leaders. And you model the purposeful, positive, productive culture you want.

In the absence of formalized values, your culture is one of default rather than one of design. Don’t leave the quality of your work culture to chance.

Make culture one of your critical business strategies – and implement valued behaviors as a means to creating a purposeful, positive, productive culture.


About the Author

S. Chris EdmondsS. Chris Edmonds is a sought-after speaker, author of the Amazon best seller The Culture Engine, an executive consultant and founder and CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group. Named one of Inc. Magazine’s 100 Great Leadership Speakers and a featured presenter at SXSW 2015, Chris’ blog, podcasts, research, and videos are enjoyed by thousands at Driving Results Through Culture. Check out his daily quotes on organizational culture, servant leadership, and workplace inspiration on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Harbir Singh

The Strategic Leader’s Roadmap

The financial situation for Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Company could not have been more dismal in 1998. The company had chalked up losses in seven of the past eight years, and it was now paying a billion dollars annually just to service its $19-billion debt.

Not that Nissan’s management had not been trying to make the right decisions to staunch the losses. It had earlier set an ambitious target of taking a quarter of Japan’s auto market, but to achieve that, the chief executive had said that the old way of making and selling cars would no longer suffice. A new strategy was required.

The CEO called for a redoubled effort to resurrect its ailing American arm, a market where customers had been flocking to sports utility vehicles. The company, the Nissan chief had urged, must also focus more on earnings than sales, slash its car “platforms,” and close its least profitable models. In short, he had warned, the company could never recover if it continued doing business the same old way. And his new way seemed the right way – providing he could deliver on it. But so far he had not. Nissan’s market share in Japan had stalled at just 16 percent, it was faring little better abroad, and losses were mounting everywhere.

Nissan sought an international partner, finally hooking up with France’s Renault. Renault agreed to infuse $5.4 billion into Nissan, but in return it required more than 36 percent of the company’s ownership and a commitment from Nissan to appoint Renault executive Carlos Ghosn as Nissan’s chief operating officer. With that, Renault inserted a very different kind of leader into the top ranks of Nissan – more confident, more determined, and more resolute.

Carlos Ghosn make clear that he had come to Japan “not for the good of Renault but for the good of Nissan,” and that would entail a new combination of not only a more aggressive execution of the company’s strategy but also a more demanding manager in charge of it. Under his leadership, Ghosn said, the struggling automaker would return to profitability in a year and halve its debt a year later. The company would close three assembly plants in Japan, increase factory utilization from 53 to 77 percent, cut suppliers by nearly half, eliminate 14 percent of the workforce, and reduce administrative costs by 20 percent.

Fifteen years later, Nissan under Ghosn’s strategy and leadership was indeed back on its feet. It had more than recovered to now outperform its industry in Japan, China, Europe, and even North America.

Nissan’s experience reminds us that firms with good strategy but weak leadership can remain rudderless. We also know that firms with good leadership but weak strategy can lurch directionless. Neither a restructuring strategy nor a turnaround leader alone could have engineered Nissan’s historic rebound. It required an individual who could both think and act strategically, a person who brought a strong sense for strategy and a personal capacity to lead its execution.

Becoming a strategic leader is an acquired capacity that can, in our view, be mastered by managers at all levels. As a prerequisite, it is important for aspirants to first appreciate the separate principles of strategy and leadership and then to combine them. We provide a six-step checklist for doing so:

The Strategic Leader’s Checklist

  • Integrate Strategy and Leadership. Master the elements of strategy and leadership both separately as a combined whole.
  • Learn to Lead Strategically. Pursue directed learning, one-on-one coaching, and instructive experience to develop an integrated understanding of strategy and leadership.
  • Ensure Strategic Fit. Arrange a strong match between the strategic challenges of a managerial position and the individual with the leadership skills to fill it.
  • Convey Strategic Intent. Communicate strategic intent throughout the organization and empower others to implement the strategy.
  • Layer Leadership. Ensure that leaders at every level are capable of appreciating strategic intent and implementing it.
  • Decide Deliberatively. Focus on both short- and long-term objectives, press for disciplined analysis, and bring the future into the present.

Adapted from The Strategic Leader’s Roadmap: 6 Steps for Integrating Leadership and Strategy, by Michael Useem and Harbir Singh, copyright 2016. Reprinted by permission of Wharton Digital Press.


About the Authors

Harbir SinghHarbir Singh is Professor of Management, Co-Director of the Mack Institute for Innovation Management, and Vice Dean of Global Initiatives at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael UseemMichael Useem is Professor of Management, Director of the Leadership Center, and Faculty Director of the McNulty Leadership Program at the Wharton School.