Conflict is “the lifeblood of high performing organisations”


By Elisabeth Goodman, 28th April 2018

I’ve just been reading booklet number 10: Conflict Management, in the “Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman et al.

The authors have some powerful insights on the benefits of conflict and how to address or facilitate it constructively, both as an individual participant, and as a team leader.

The benefits of conflict

George Kolrieser is the originator of the quote in the title of this blog: conflict is the “lifeblood of high performing organisations”.

He and Amy Gallo give a great overview of the benefits that conflict can bring to groups as well as to individuals.  Their views are a confirmation of why “storming” is such a vital step in the stages of team development.

Stages of team development_Elisabeth Goodman

Stages of team development, adapted from Tuckman

Conflict is the result of the discussions and disagreements that arise from diverse points of view.

For a group, when conflict is handled effectively, people will have the courage to speak up, take risks and listen to and consider other’s perspectives.  In such a climate, conflict will generate energy, creativity, change, improved performance, innovation and a more strongly bonded team.

For individuals who accept conflict as something positive, it will give them:

  • better results – because they are considering others’ viewpoints
  • learning and development – through self-reflection on their reactions to conflict as well as understanding of others’
  • improved relationships – through being open to conflict, and the strength they gain each time they respond positively to it
  • job satisfaction – through not feeling worried or stressed about conflict at work

“Put the fish on the table”

This metaphor is also supplied by George Kolrieser.  It comes from Sicily, where fishermen will lay their catch out on a table and deal with all the messy preparation of it together. (The opposite metaphor would be to let the fish rot under the table.)

catania160

“Put the fish on the table” – photo from http://galenf.com/Sicily/catania160.jpg

In this situation, as George Kolrieser describes, the people involved are openly raising and discussing the issues involved.  They are seeking a win:win resolution, without aggression or hostility.

This approach to conflict resolution is founded on achieving a common goal, or, as Richard Boyatzis puts it, an “overarching objective”.

The people involved are able to feel and demonstrate respect for each other – although they don’t have to like each other!

How individuals can address conflict

The following approach is my take on those described in the booklet by Amy Gallo, George Pitagorsky and Matthew Lippincott.

Addressing conflict

  1. Be self-aware.  This is about taking time to assess how you are feeling: your emotional response to the situation; stepping-back.
  2. Adjust your mindset. Considering the conflict as an opportunity rather than a problem; one where you can help others as well as yourself.
  3. Consider the other’s perspectives.  Show your interest in what they have to say; ask diplomatic questions; empathise; treat it as a learning opportunity.  Be aware that the organisational context may have some bearing on their perspective.
  4. Prepare your response.  Think about what the common goal might be.  Choose an appropriate time and place to have the discussion.
  5. Achieve closure.  Make sure that both parties reach agreement on a decision and on the resultant action, and that they follow-through.

Amy Gallo has some additional useful tips on how an individual can help themselves by unloading their emotions before having a discussion – perhaps with a ‘neutral’ third party.  They can also practise the discussion with a third party.  And of course it’s important to know when to take time out to deal with your emotions and calm down.

How leaders can facilitate conflict resolution

George Kolrieser’s “secure base leadership” concept is about providing individuals with both a safe and challenging environment to work within.  This applies to how they help their team members deal with conflict, as well as to day-to-day management.

Leaders can create a climate for positive conflict by:

  1. Positively promoting the differences within the team
  2. Helping people to get to know each other in a deeper way (which is why face-to-face team building activities are so valuable)
  3. Encouraging and supporting people to speak up
  4. Personally accepting conflict, risk-taking and failure as promoters of growth

They can facilitate discussions to deal with conflict by:

  1. Recognising when conflict is happening, and acting on it early
  2. Learning to put their own emotions aside (keeping their emotions “under wraps”)
  3. Tuning in to what the individuals are experiencing emotionally, their ideas and perspectives
  4. Facilitating the conversation – using all the strategies described for the individual in the section above

Conclusion

Dealing with conflict is not easy!  So much of it is learning to separate automatic emotional responses from the issues involved.  Those issues may be to do with the relationship of the ‘protagonists’ and/or with a particular topic.

However, like just about anything in life, the more we learn to deal with conflict, the more we will learn about ourselves and others, and the better we will get at reaping the associated benefits!

And sometimes… it may just be about choosing the battles we want to fight, as well as when and how to do so…

Notes

About the author. Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting., a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, with a focus on the Life Sciences. (We support our clients through courses, workshops and personal one-to-one coaching.)  Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  RiverRhee is a support supplier for One Nucleus and a CPD provider for CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals). Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of CILIP and of APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

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Coaching and mentoring – an interpretation


By Elisabeth Goodman, 22nd March 2018

The 9th ‘building block’ or ‘primer’, in Daniel Goleman et al’s series for Emotional Intelligence is all about the coach and mentor role of leaders.  The style of these primers is very discursive, with chapters from several experts in the field.

I mapped out the key points that emerged for me as I was reading the primer, and then re-produced them in slide form.  I hope that readers will find this visual guide helpful.

(By the way, there are many more interesting points in this seemingly small book.  So I would definitely recommend those who would like to discover more about this topic to read the booklet for themselves.)

An interpretation of Daniel Goleman et al’s primer 9. “Coach and Mentor”, Key Step Media, 2017

 

Coaching and  mentoring is about focusing on the individual’s goals.  The key themes in the primer seem to centre on these four main points..

1. The goal of coaching and mentoring

2. What coaching and mentoring are not!

3. The qualities that a coachee needs to be successful

4. Qualities of a good coach

What a coach or mentor does first: create a safe and trusting space

Examples of good questions to ask in a coaching session (there are lots more possibilities!)

How to dare and support an individual to change as the result of coaching and mentoring. (Again, there are lots of tools and frameworks available.)

Some final tips for the coach and mentor on developing their competency…

TO CONCLUDE

This seems like an excellent little guide for aspiring coaches and mentors.

The RiverRhee team not only provides one-to-one personal coaching for individual contributors and managers, but also develops manager’s competencies in this area, with a course “Coaching Skills for Managers“.

So a great resource to add into the mix…

NOTES

About the author. Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting., a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, with a focus on the Life Sciences. (We support our clients through courses, workshops and personal one-to-one coaching.)  Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  RiverRhee is a support supplier for One Nucleus and a CPD provider for CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals). Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of CILIP and of APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

On leadership, emotional intelligence and influencing skills


By Elisabeth Goodman, 9th March 2018

My colleague, Liz Mercer, and I recently bought the whole set of  Daniel Goleman et al’s twelve”Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence” between us.

The 70+ page booklet on “Influence” caught my attention as we have a course on Effective Influencing and Communication Skills with RiverRhee.  We also have a section on Influence in our Transition to Leadership course.  And how to influence others is also a topic that comes up in our one-to-one personal coaching for individual contributors and managers. I wanted to see what I could learn to pass onto our delegates.

8. Influence in “Building blocks of emotional intelligence”, More than Sound, LLC, 2017

We all need to influence, whether formal leaders or not

As Daniel Goleman reminds us, we all find ourselves in situations where we need to influence others to do something.

In a home situation it could be encouraging a friend or a member of our family to join us on an outing or to stop doing something that annoys us!

In a work situation it could be asking a colleague or a direct report to carry out a piece of work, or get involved in a new initiative.

We are all potential leaders for any given activity, whether we have a formal leadership job title or not!

The relevance of emotional intelligence for influencing strategies

Our influencing strategies will have more long-lasting effect if we achieve buy-in and engagement from those concerned in a positive way, than if we coerce them to do something against their will.

In RiverRhee’s course and module on influencing strategies we help delegates to appreciate potential differences in their own and others’ communication and influencing styles and preferences.  They explore how they can use this understanding to adapt their approach so as to build greater rapport and interact more effectively with those that they seek to influence.

We use the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) to help build this form of emotional intelligence.  But indeed use of any personality tool could help with this.

Daniel Goleman researched the competencies of about 100 organisations.  He found that emotional intelligence was, on average, twice as important as cognitive ability for jobs at all levels of an organisation.  For top leadership positions, 80-90% or even 100% of the competencies for star performers were based on emotional intelligence.

Leaders with these competencies are the ones who tend to produce a “positive work climate” that is more conducive to employee engagement.  They are the ones who are more likely to achieve long-lasting influencing strategies.

Leadership styles conducive to effective influencing strategies

Goleman lists four leadership styles which will result in greater engagement and commitment from their teams.  They echo some of the ideas we’ve picked up previously on inspirational leaders.

The four styles that are more likely to be conducive to effective influence are:

  1. The “visionary” leader – who shares a clear and compelling log-term vision
  2. The “participative” leader – who involves the team in generating ideas and agreeing the way forward
  3. The “coaching” leader – who takes time and provides resources for their team’s personal and professional development
  4. The “affiliative” leader – who builds positive relationships within the team

Goleman contrasts these styles with purely directive, or even coercive styles.  He also cites “pacesetting” styles which are focused on meeting targets, often accompanied by negative rather than positive feedback.  Leaders with these styles are apparently characterised by having strengths in only three or less of the 12 Emotional and Social Intelligence (EI / SI) competencies.  Whereas leaders with the more positive styles are likely to have strengths in at least six to ten of the EI / SI competencies.

Additional tips for enhanced influencing strategies

Peter Senge has an excellent chapter in the “Influence” booklet entitled “3 Companies, 3 Paths to Influence”.  I picked out the following tips (some of which the author likened to a salesperson’s skills) in my interpretation of  these case studies:

  1. Listen – to really understand the other’s perspective
  2. Go where the energy is – also known as the “open door” approach.  There is no point in trying to push an idea for which there is no energy.  But when the energy is there..
  3. Have a vision and talk about what it will do for the other person
  4. Find where your interests and the other’s interests converge
  5. Use the language of your decision makers
  6. Understand the other person’s values and how you can help them in that context.  (We sometimes also talk about this in terms of the other person’s motivations.)

Being a “warm-demanding” leader

Matthew Taylor’s chapter in the “Influence” booklet describes the concept of “warm-demanding” leadership.  It’s about deeply believing in others, demonstrating that deep belief, and at the same time “holding them to high expectations”.

A “warm-demanding” leader will use their strong emotional intelligence competencies to build strong rapport with the person they are seeking to influence.  The individual will understand that they are valued and believed in.  They will also have the support, encouragement, challenge even that appeals to their own motivation and values to go beyond what they are doing today.

To conclude

There is a rich mine of lessons available to us, whether individual contributors, managers or leaders, about effective influencing strategies that we could use.

The “Influence” booklet in “The Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence”, whilst not the final word on the topic, has some very useful insights to add to these.

As always, I would love to hear about other thoughts and experiences from readers of this blog.

Notes

About the author. Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting., a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, with a focus on the Life Sciences. (We support our clients through courses, workshops and personal one-to-one coaching.)  Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  RiverRhee is a support supplier for One Nucleus and a CPD provider for CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals). Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of CILIP and of APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

The Effective Team’s Facilitation Workbook – a preview of what’s to come


By Elisabeth Goodman, 27th February 2018

Cover illustration for “The Effective Team’s Facilitation Workbook”, RiverRhee Publishing (in press)

What’s special about facilitation?

Does the prospect of working with a room full of total strangers (or colleagues even) fill you with excitement?  Do you get a glow of pleasure when you see people literally lighting up with a break-through in their thinking?

It was one such moment in an otherwise unremarkable and gloomy hotel meeting room in the early 2000’s somewhere in Philadelphia that confirmed to me that I wanted to be a facilitator.

I get a buzz from creating situations where people can think differently about what they are doing, and come up with new perspectives and ideas that will help them to move forward.  It doesn’t have to be a major breakthrough.  It could be some small incremental improvement, or just feeling happier and more in control of their work.

As a facilitator you are responsible for providing the setting, the atmosphere or the mood and the tools that will enable people to productively think through whatever it is that they have set out to do.

You need to:

  • Properly understand the client’s brief and go beyond that to address what they might not have said or considered themselves.
  • Ensure that whoever is providing the room has included everything you asked for, and expect to have to improvise on the day for the un-anticipated omissions and quirks of the venue.
  • Be prepared for whatever unpredictable emotions and dynamics might arise whenever a group of people get together for the day.
  • Be knowledgeable about and skillfull with the tools that you bring to the workshop and how you use them to facilitate the content of the discussion.
  • Manage your own energy, thinking and emotions throughout the day!

RiverRhee Publishing – The Effective Team’s Workbooks

This book, “The Effective Team’s Facilitation Workbook”, the last in my series of five workbooks for teams, is a celebration of all the aspects I have learnt over the years to help me enjoy being a facilitator.  I hope it will help others to do the same.

And by the way, I would love to hear from other enthusiasts who would be interested in contributing to my book – do get in touch..

Understanding the client and clarifying the goal

  • What would you like to have happen?
  • What will success mean to you?
  • What would you like to have seen, heard, thought and felt by the end of the workshop?

These are all great questions, taken from “Clean Language” and NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) to help facilitators understand their client’s goal for a workshop.

A mind map of possibilities: NLP as a resource to help you understand others as well as yourself…..

What you are trying to get at is their unspoken assumptions and images of a perfect outcome.  Good questions, careful listening and observation will be key for helping them to achieve their goal.

Whatever approach you’ve used for a previous client is no guarantee of success with the next one.  Test out your ideas with them.  Give them examples of what has or has not worked with others.

The icing on the cake?  My two greatest learnings in terms of addressing a client’s requirements have been to:

  • Prepare an extra take-away for your client:  a strategic insight, principle, model that goes beyond the content that they will have generated in the workshop
  • Be open to flexing your approach in the workshop to respond to what happens; but check with the client before doing so!

Taking care of meeting room logistics

There will be obvious requirements like audio-visual, flip-charts, wifi access and refreshments.  However it’s the meeting room itself that typically proves the most challenging.

Meeting venues typically offer board-room, theatre-style or cafeteria (or cabaret)-style seating.  They also cite room size based on the number of seats that can be fitted into the room with these configurations.

What they don’t typically allow for is people being able to move around in the room, put materials up on the walls, and huddle into groups where they can cut out the noise from the other groups!

RiverRhee’s training courses and workshops for managers and teams are typically highly interactive.

Being offered separate break-out rooms does not necessarily help if you are the only facilitator and so will end up having to flit backwards and forwards.

As a facilitator I typically ask for rooms that are three times the usual allocated size.  I ask if and how I will be able to put materials up on walls, or alternatively on poster boards.  And I still get caught out by round pillars, large paintings taking up all the available wall space, and my posters falling off the walls!

There is also the question of what materials you use during the event, and what hand-outs you provide. Do you want to give people something tangible to take away with them to remind them of key learnings and actions?

managing the emotions and dynamics in a workshop

What do you do if someone in your workshop is:

  • Totally unengaged?
  • Dominates the conversation (in a negative way)?
  • Visibly upset?

All of these and more have happened to me! Bearing in mind that people are giving a day of their life (or however long the workshop is) to this event, I take responsibility, as far as I can, for making it a positive and productive experience for everyone.

This means starting with the participants being committed to being there, and being engaged with what’s happening.

Sending out pre-work and agendas in advance will help participants to prepare, to think about their expectations, and to share these with you – to help you prepare.

Whilst it may not always be appropriate to use personality tools such as MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) or Belbin Team Roles during a workshop – being aware of different personality types and preferences helps me to cater for, build rapport with and respond to the diversity of participants.

Laying out and agreeing ground-rules for behaviour can help.  And, as a facilitator, I have been comfortable to ‘name’ lack of engagement or unhelpful contributions.  Having a second facilitator or ‘helper’ from the client group has also been an invaluable source of support in dealing with these situations or when someone has been upset.

choosing the right tools for facilitation

Where to begin?  There are so many tools for a facilitator to use – it’s like a box of goodies.  In “The Effective Team’s Facilitation Workbook” I will organise my favourite tools by theme.

The best tools are those that help people to think, to have discussions, to build and develop ideas.  Ideally, they cater for different thinking styles too.

Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats is a great tool to work with people’s different thinking styles.  Illustration from “The Effective Team’s High Performance Workbook”, RiverRhee Publishing, 2014

And how do you share these tools?  What role should slide presentations, flip-charts, laminated materials etc… play?

These are some of the themes I’m thinking of including in my new book and the list is likely to evolve…

  • Ice-breakers.  There is an enormous range of tools available for getting people warmed up and engaged with the day.  Tools to help ‘break the ice’ in terms of interaction with other delegates, and with the facilitator(s).  Tools to put people at ease and starting to think about the content.  I won’t attempt to recreate this list, but will instead include a few of my favourites and resources for finding others.
  • Process improvement and problem solving.  There are methodologies for this such as Lean and Six Sigma that come ready made with great tools to use.  I’ve covered a lot of them in “The Effective Team’s Operational Excellence Workbook” so I’ll just pick out a few that could suit more general workshops.
  • Team building and development. Again, I have referenced several of these in “The Effective Team’s High Performance Workbook”.  The team temperature check or diagnostic is particularly powerful.
  • Creativity and innovation.  I’ve enjoyed working with David Hall and his team in the Ideas Centre and am honour bound not to share their tools.  But there are other creativity tools out there in the public domain such as SCAMPER that people can have some fun with.

Managing yourself as a facilitator

Being a facilitator might be fun, but it can also be lonely and stressful!  Here are some of the tactics that I’ve found can help:

  1. Refer back to the client’s goals and your agreed role in delivering against them.  Keep that in mind…
  2. Have a co-facilitator.  Bring your own co-facilitator if the contract allows for it, and/or agree someone from the client group.  The latter is especially helpful to provide you with an inside perspective and a route for influencing the client.
  3. Give yourself opportunities for feedback and for reflection.  Plan the agenda so that you can have chats with the client and/or delegates to find out how things are going from their perspective.  Talk to your co-facilitator if you have one.  Grab moments to check -in with yourself for instance whilst break-out exercises are in full swing and during breaks.
  4. Know what you need to keep yourself energised, focused and positive and prepare resources to help you with that!

To conclude, as I mentioned at the start of this blog, the notes above are a preview of what I will be including in “The Effective Team’s Facilitation Workbook”, RiverRhee Publishing.  My working publication date is 3rd December but I may manage to release it sooner.

I would love to hear from anyone else who is interested in this topic, and would also welcome offers from those who would like to contribute to the book.

Notes

My four previous workbooks are all available through the RiverRhee Publishing website or from Amazon.

RiverRhee Publishing – The Effective Team’s Workbooks

They are:

  • The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook, RiverRhee Publishing 2013
  • The Effective Team’s High Performance Workbook, RiverRhee Publishing 2014
  • The Effective Team’s Operational Excellence Workbook, RiverRhee Publishing 2015
  • The Effective Team’s Knowledge Management Workbook, RiverRhee Publishing 2016

“The Effective Team’s Facilitation Workbook” will be available in Autumn / Winter 2018 from the same sources.

About the author. Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting., a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, with a focus on the Life Sciences. (We support our clients through courses, workshops and personal one-to-one coaching.)  Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  RiverRhee is a support supplier for One Nucleus and a CPD provider for CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals). Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of CILIP and of APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

Tips for hiring the best people in rapidly growing Biotech and Life Science companies


Guest blog by Alison Proffitt – 30th January 2018

Editor’s comment:

Many of the Biotech and Life Sciences organisations we work with are growing in size and investing a large amount of time and resource in their recruitment process, yet there is often a feeling that they are not doing it as effectively as they would like.

Alison Proffitt, experienced Human Resources professional and training provider for RiverRhee’s Recruitment and Employment Relations for Managers course, shares some of her own insights, and highlights from a recent Harvard Business Review article on this topic.

Hiring is the most important people process we have – and yet there is no definitive formula for how to do so

As Laszlo Bock, former Senior Vice President of People Operations, Google said: “Hiring is the most important people process we have and very few of us are any good at it”.

Patty McCord’s recent Harvard Business Review article “How to Hire” (January-February 2018, pp.90-97) provides good food for thought on how to hire successfully and is a great reminder for us to take a fresh look at our recruitment practices.

Patty served as chief talent officer for Netflix from 1998 to 2012 and her opening point is that one company’s ‘A Player’ may be a ‘B Player’ for another company, there is no absolute formula for what makes people successful.

Tips for finding the best people in a competitive environment

Here are a few of the things Patty McCord says that resonate with me and my recent experience of supporting recruitment in rapidly growing tech and science-based companies, in a very competitive hiring environment:

Consider how important cultural fit actually is

Although a level of ‘culture fit’ is important, it’s not essential. People with all sorts of personalities can be great at the job you need done, and organisations can adapt to many people’s styles.

Know how to find the ‘right’ person for the job

Making great hires is about recognising great matches, even if they are not what you expect. Understand what the ‘right’ person means for your company.

It’s important to probe beneath the surface of people and their CVs and be creative where you search for talent. In roles requiring a high level of innovation for instance, a candidate’s approach to problem solving may be more important than specific previous experience.

Engage managers in the hiring process

Engage managers in every aspect of hiring, making sure they understand the company’s approach to hiring and how to execute on it.

Make sure they have a clear plan and hold them to it. Managers often view recruitment as an unwelcome, time-consuming addition to the ‘day-job’.

Aim to make it so important that it trumps any other meetings. Make sure you are recognising and assessing managers on their recruiting ability.

Prioritise decision making

The ultimate decision maker should be the hiring manager, taking input from others involved in the process.

Act quickly in making your decisions, not only at the offer stage but also in deciding who to bring in for interview. In a competitive environment it is imperative to act fast or you will lose the best candidates to your competitors.

Treat your recruiters as business partners

Treat your in-house or external recruiters as real business partners, help them understand the needs of the business, the blend of skills and behaviours you are seeking in the role, and spend time building the relationships. Be clear what you need and expect from them, they will work harder for you as a result.

Have a recruitment mind-set all of the time!

Always be recruiting – candidates come from everywhere, from conferences, networking, even from conversations on planes.

Make sure your fundamentals are enforced. The interview and hiring process gives a powerful first impression about how your company operates, so make sure everyone in your company looks out for candidates, speaks to them, makes them welcome.

Candidates are evaluating you, just as you’re evaluating them. Your goal should be that every person who comes for an interview walks away wanting the job.

Take a value-added approach to your compensation packages

Come up with compensation that suits the performance you need and the future you aspire to.

You can’t always be at the top end of the market, but in determining what to offer, consider the difference it might make to the future of your business.

What impact would there be if you bring in a candidate on a higher salary than you were initially planning, rather than settle for your second choice who may be a distant second?

How much added value might that first great choice produce?

It’s better to focus on what you can afford to pay for the performance you want and the future you are heading towards.

Closing thoughts on selecting the ‘right’ person for the job

I would add my own reflection to Patty McCord’s point about understanding what the ‘right’ person means for your company.

It is worth spending time upfront clearly defining the role you are recruiting for, focussing on the outcomes you need and what constitutes exceptional performance and success in the role.

Ensure you reflect this is your job posting in terms of the key skills and behaviours that will be necessary to achieve these outcomes.

Be clear on your ‘non-negotiables’ and screen candidates accordingly. Try not to settle for ‘good enough’.

Notes

About the author – Alison is an Associate with RiverRhee Consulting. She is an experienced Human Resources practitioner with over 30 years’ experience, working for most of her career as a strategic HR Business Partner within the pharmaceutical industry. For the past 7 years she has run her own HR consulting company, working mainly with start-up and growing Biotech companies in the Cambridge area. She provides a full range of generalist HR support, as well as focussing on performance and talent management, leadership, team and organisation development activities. She is a science graduate with a postgraduate qualification in HR, is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a certified practitioner in MBTI.

About the editor – Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting., a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, with a focus on the Life Sciences. (We support our clients through courses, workshops and personal one-to-one coaching.)  Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  RiverRhee is a support supplier for One Nucleus and a CPD provider for CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals). Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of CILIP and of APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

The frog, the ninja and you – time and productivity


By Elisabeth Goodman, 23rd January, 2018

Drawing inspired by Brian Tracy’s “Eat that Frog” – illustration by Isabelle Spain

I would not endorse eating this frog, but it’s a powerful metaphor adopted by Brian Tracy in “Eat that Frog!” for tackling the most difficult and least attractive tasks first, and for just getting on with it.

The “21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time” suggested by the subtitle of his book certainly stand up to scrutiny.

We’ve been referencing Graham Alcott’s “Productivity Ninja” in RiverRhee’s Introduction to Management, and also Time and Meeting Management courses, and have our own illustration for that too.  (See also an earlier blog: There will never be enough time!)

The Productivity Ninja, based on Graham Alcott

Brian Tracy’s list of 21 rules adds a little something extra to Graham Alcott’s list and also to information we’ve gleaned from some of our other sources.

So, in this blog, I’ve picked out a sub-set of Brian Tracy’s list that particularly resonates for me, either because the items are different from or because they reinforce some of the messages we have been using so far.

1. Get clarity on what is expected of you – your unique contribution

I like this as a starting point for planning how we use our time at work.  What is it that we have to offer that perhaps no-one else does?

Having a conversation with our boss about this, or with ourselves if we are self-employed, provides clarity on expectations and also, in essence, our own personal mission or purpose at work.

It lays the foundation for the next topic, and also resonates for me with one of Stephen R. Covey’s “habits” of “begin with the end in mind”.

2. Prioritise your top 3 goals

Whether at work, at home, in the community, or in our own personal fitness / health programmes, Brian Tracy suggests that 10% of what we do creates the 90% of value that we contribute in each of these spheres.

If we focus on that top 10% that will deliver our personal mission we will be more productive.

3. Do this long-term, weekly, daily

I’m not too keen on keeping long lists of tasks.  They’re fine as a starting point but are then more effective if triaged into your diary or calendar.  That’s also what Graham Alcott advocates.

However, you do need to begin with a list, and reviewing / updating what you are planning to do weekly and daily will also help you to keep on top of everything.

And of course this applies to projects as well as individual tasks.  Break the projects into tasks and schedule those too.

4. De-prioritise everything else

We use The Mind Gyms’ “5 Ds”….

The 5 Ds for managing time – adapted from The Mind Gym’s “Give me Time”

…. and they are not dissimilar from Brian Tracy’s ABCDE list.  He uses the word “posteriorise” to emphasise the importance of differentiating between what should be done now, and what should be done later…

(Stephen R. Covey’s “Urgent and Important” matrix is invaluable in this space too)

5. Create gaps in your schedule for getting things done

This is at the heart of every guide to making the most of your time and being at your most productive.  Carving out chunks of time when we will not be disturbed by other people or by other tasks  will enable us to “get into the flow” or “in the zone” and so produce our best work.

We advocate scheduling these chunks of time into your calendar, and protecting them as you would protect attending an important meeting.

6. Don’t make technology your master

Again, we know this.  Turn off e-mail, turn off your phone, turn off any other messaging system.  Access this technology in a way that won’t interrupt your productive work.  Find other ways to manage those “urgent” or “priority” communications.  Figures for how long it typically takes for us to refocus on a task once we’ve been interrupted range around the 20 minute mark..

7. Make technology your slave

We and Graham Allcott are unanimous on this too.  There are lots of tools out there to help us manage our time and tasks – use them!  Brian Tracy also suggests using social media to publicly declare what we are committing to achieve – and thereby reinforce that commitment.

8. Develop your knowledge and skills

This has an echo of Stephen R. Covey’s “sharpen the saw”.  Brian Tracy suggests that we identify what capabilities we need to deliver on our top goals, and make sure we are continuously learning to so as to better support those goals.  This will also better equip us for removing any constraints to achieving our goals.

9. Just start…

The Mind Gym’s “Give me time” has a whole chapter on procrastination. It’s a big topic! Just starting a task, a chunk at a time, will often help to overcome our self-imposed barriers.  Brian Tracy uses analogies of tackling all the tasks involved sequentially: “a salami slice” at a time.  Alternatively, he suggests doing so randomly, simply “a swiss cheese punch” at a time.

He also stresses that working in this way, getting things done, brings its own rewards. We feel good about what we have achieved: our self-esteem, our confidence increase, along with the results.

10. Balance work and life all of the time!

This was a wonderful message to read in a book of this type.  We should not expect to work longer hours, in the evenings, at the week-ends, in order to be successful at work.

Instead your goal, whether by the frog, ninja or your own method, should be to work as efficiently and effectively as possible, so as to free up valuable time for your other priorities outside of work…

NOTES

About the author. Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting., a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, with a focus on the Life Sciences. (We support our clients through courses, workshops and personal one-to-one coaching.)  Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  RiverRhee is a support supplier for One Nucleus and a CPD provider for CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals). Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of CILIP and of APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

Research on online courses confirms imperative for company learning and development strategies


By Elisabeth Goodman, 8th January 2018

What is your company’s approach to training?

MOOC research on learning

Illustration from “Can MOOCs solve your training problems” by Monika Hamori, Harvard Business Review, January-February 2018, pp. 71-76

Monika Hamori is a professor of human resources management at the IE Business School, IE University in Madrid.  She has conducted a research study of more than 28,000 learners in 127 countries, supplemented by the use of surveys and interviews.

Her findings, although mainly confined to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in marketing, confirm some of my company’s, RiverRhee Consulting, experience:

  1. “young, highly skilled managers considered training very important for their career development”
  2. Training is part of their preferred portfolio for learning and development, alongside “high-stake” assignments, support from senior leaders, mentoring, coaching and job rotation.  In the study, the managers ranked it third in importance after the assignments and the support from senior leaders
  3. “training represented one of the biggest gaps between what they valued and what they actually received from their employer”

These are all statements that we could equally have written based on our empirical findings from conversations with delegates and clients around RiverRhee’s management courses. 

We have had both employees and employers say to us that provision of learning and development opportunities demonstrates that employers value their staff and…

…for employers that may be concerned that employee will take what they have learnt to look for jobs with other companies…

Monika Hamori’s findings were that employees who had support for the use of online training courses were much less likely to look for work elsewhere.  Whereas those who were only able to take online courses by paying for them themselves, were more than twice as likely to use this as a route for finding other jobs.

What is the level of adoption of online courses by companies?

According to the article, companies that use online courses (MOOCs) more tend to be those that are already investing in learning and development.  Interestingly SMEs, those with less than 50 employees, are twice as likely to give employees time off to use them than companies with more than 10,000 staff.

Even where companies do support MOOCs, their adoption tends to be fairly ad hoc, through recommendations from peers or people spotting advertisements about them.

How could companies benefit more from online courses?

Companies with learning and development strategies may already be applying the 70:20:10 rule – where only 10% of the training budget is spent on traditional off-site courses and other external routes for development.  70% is through in-house on the job assignments and peer or leadership support.  20% is through other forms of in-house provision.  Whether MOOCs fall into the 20% or 10% category will depend on a company’s spending strategy.

There is a wide range of online courses available covering both technical and soft skills.

Having MOOCs as part of a company’s learning and development portfolio has several benefits:

  • the cost (or fees) can be lower
  • there is no travel needed
  • they can be completed in a way that will cause minimum disruption to work

However, there are also potential disadvantages to this form of learning, such as:

  • limited control of content / quality
  • a variable fit with a company’s and/or learner’s development objectives
  • less opportunity to consolidate learning through interaction / discussion with other learners
  • participant being sufficiently motivated to complete the course

Monika Hamori’s article includes some excellent recommendations:

  1. Establish learning and development as a strategic priority, supported by senior leaders, and have MOOCs as part of this
  2. Ensure that line managers are actively involved (along with learners’ peers) in selecting and supporting the use of MOOCs (more on this below..)
  3. Have learners pilot the MOOCs for each other, to ensure relevance and also to check some quality criteria:
    • That the course has a clear description and learning objectives
    • That it has a reputable author (be it a University or other organisation)
    • That it is hosted on a major (presumably sustainable) MOOCs platform
  4. Consider the range of capability development areas that the MOOCs could support
  5. Use managers to address the potential pitfalls of MOOCs i.e.
    • Discuss the learner’s development objectives for taking the MOOCs.  Relate this to Performance Management and Development discussions, to their work and help them to develop an action plan for applying their learning.
    • Create opportunities for face-to-face discussions with others taking the course

What will be your next steps for adopting online learning or for shaping your learning and development strategy?

Whilst RiverRhee does not currently deliver or make use of online management courses, we’d love to hear about any that people have tried out and evaluated.

We would also be very interested to hear about your experiences with learning and development strategies – whether MOOCs form part of these or not.

Notes

About the author. Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting., a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, with a focus on the Life Sciences. (We support our clients through courses, workshops and personal one-to-one coaching.)  Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  RiverRhee is a support supplier for One Nucleus and a CPD provider for CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals). Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of CILIP and of APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.