Focus on Developing People

Focus on Developing People

Focus on Developing People

 

Unless you plan on living forever (I have a member who does), someday you will exit your company. Your company’s value will be significantly impacted by how well the company runs without you, as the CEO.

Do you believe that your company must change as fast as the rest of the world to just maintain your current competitive position?  Want to beat your competition?  Then you have to change faster than they do. And, that is dependent upon how well you develop your executive team and how well your executive leadership develops their people.

“How shall I train my supervisors and managers?” asked a member.

“How well do your employees listen?  How effective is conflict in your organization?” I ask. 

“Not very.”

“Start with those two.” I recommend.

Daniel Goleman and his work with emotional and social intelligence and Mark Goulston in his book “Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely AnyoneFocus on Developing People” describe neurons that act as mirrors.  These cells allow us to create another’s experience in our mind.  Each time we feel empathy for others, it creates a need in us to be mirrored back; to have other’s demonstrate empathy toward our feelings.  To adeptly mirror, we must first listen. I’m not talking about the type of listening that most people do.  I’m talking about empathic listening: listening with all of our senses.  If you want to see some specific examples, I recommend reading Stephen Covey’s Seek First to Understand chapter in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleFocus on Developing People.”  

Let’s talk about the “C” word.  The lack of conflict can lead to disastrous results, such as in the case study of the Challenger. The The Abilene Paradox and Other Meditations on ManagementFocus on Developing People, is a story where a group of people collectively decide to take a trip for ice cream. The paradox is that, as individuals, no one wanted to go. If one person would have said what he was really thinking, the group would have made a different decision.  I have seen and experienced where lack of conflict resulted in some stupid and costly decisions.  I guarantee the same thing happens in your organization.

You go first.  Learn how to really listen.  Learn how to engage in productive conflict.  See what happens in your business and personal life.  Then role model and teach all your employees.

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2 thoughts on “Focus on Developing People”

  1. Bob Fritz says:

    I think you’ve got to develop happiness. Curiously, happiness has only been studied for about 10 years (before that the PhDs only studied unhappiness). After basic survival needs are met, four things cause happiness:

    1. Perceived control over one’s circumstances. This is why workers are given responsibility for a whole group of tasks and not treated like automatons. Wealth is only peripherally involved in this item.

    2. Perceived progress. Try to let employees know what tasks they have to master to get promoted, or a raise or bonus.

    3. Sense of connectedness. Hire other good employees. Do fun things for bonding.

    4. Sense of mission. Where do they fit in the larger picture? “People will crawl over broken glass for an idea but not for a number.”–J.P. Murray

    Those four things and nothing else create happiness. And when you think on it long enough, success does not cause happiness. Happiness causes success!! Happy employees cause your success.

    I am indebted to Tony Hsieh (founder of Zappo’s) and Deepak Chopra for telling me this last week at the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs. Boy did I get psyched!

  2. I enjoyed Bob Fritz comments regarding Tony’s writings on happiness. They are all the more profound juxtaposed with the premise on confilct positied by Cheryl.

    Remarkably, a little productive conflict can go a long way toward creating happiness. Counter-intuitive? Perhaps, but it’s true. From time to time you may find that members of your team, or worse, your key employees or direct reports choose to behave in ways that are unproductive or disruptive to your culture. You have two options: 1) ignore them and accept that “everybody’s different,” or, 2) confront them. In this context, confrontation doesn’t intimate hostility. In fact, productive conflict rarely presents itself as hostile, degrading or mean-sprited. Rather, an open and honest communication regarding the misbehavior is almost always a good start for developing shared values.

    When you can muster the courage to have that first conversation, your personal happiness rapidly expands and your work environment becomes more enjoyable and productive.

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