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LIMITLESS LEADERSHIP™ Performance previews trump performance reviews

let your team interview you

The longer we keep looking back in the rear view mirror, it takes away from everything that's moving forward.

Previews focus on the future and I suggest a 90% focus on what can be changed and a 10% focus on what has been and the lessons learnt.With mid-year reviews fast approaching for many organisations I wanted to share with you a few tips to ensure these conversations cut through the clutter and maximise this valuable time.

Previews versus Reviews

Those that know me, know I am a huge advocate for ongoing feedback and performance previews opposed to reviews.  Previews focus on the future. I suggest a 90% focus on what can be changed and a 10% focus on what has been and the lessons learnt. You can’t change the past, however by looking at the future you can spend this valuable time focusing on the systems, processes and habits required to get the desired outcome.

Why focus on what you have done and who you have been when you could use the time focusing on the things that will contribute to who you will become and what you can achieve?

Open, clear, honest and consistent communication

I reckon if dialogue and communication is open, clear, honest and consistent between all parties there should be no surprises. Feedback given and received regularly is imperative and needs to be provided by you as the leader and also from your team to you and each other.

Working with a client recently, we discussed the ways the organisation she works in gives and receives feedback.

man and woman in feedback conversationMariana, my client shared with me that as an organisation they have what they have called “Stay Interviews”. These are regular, jealously protected pieces of time dedicated to giving and getting feedback. I say ‘jealously” protected as I cannot tell you how many times I see feedback and coaching sessions cancelled due to so called conflicting priorities. As a leader, people need to be an OR not an AND in our day to day function, people before progress I say.

I love the concept of “stay” interviews and as we all are well aware, happy people usually don’t leave a company. If we can know when happiness, commitment and energy drops at least we can proactively do and drive what needs to be done.

“Stay” interviews create a space for awareness and growth with time dedicated to a few structured questions and the head space for both parties to be present, engaged and ready to contribute.

“Stay Interviews” can be carried out at any time, why wait to your bi annual or annual performance review to know and grow your team.

Previews focus on the future and I suggest a 90% focus on what can be changed and a 10% focus on what has been and the lessons learnt. Click To Tweet

Success to “Stay” Interviews

Make them Regular

Don't make these a one-off event, name them and lock them in as you would with any meeting.  Consistent catch ups will breed momentum, rapport and openness. Be committed and don’t cancel or back out, people are your priority, look at what it will cost you and the organisation if you’re not all in.

Aside from regular coaching, mentoring and team catch ups I would suggest doing these every 6-8 weeks, 20-30 minutes per person.

A bit like exercise, once in the habit, these will become the way you do things.

Plan the Purpose

Make sure each person knows “why” the interviews are occurring.

Giving each other open and honest feedback to feedforward is imperative. Click To Tweet

People only buy into something if there is something in it for them.  We are the same so ensure you spend time setting the scene and expectations around this. Run a facilitated team session on the whole concept of “Stay Interviews”.  You need buy in to make this worthwhile.

 Success in the Structure

Don't dilute what could be an insightful conversation by having idle chit chat. Respect their time and expect the same back to you.

Plan out a few great questions to get the responses that will benefit all, a few examples below but remember to make these your own!

  • What is lighting you up in your role right now?
    • Are you satisfying these motivators?
  • Where are you getting the most traction?
  • What and who is frustrating you?
  • How are you being stretching and how are you growing?
  • What could you change or do differently?
  • As a team, what could bring us closer to being a “Limitless team?”
  • What’s your greatest learning to date?
    • How could you share this with the greater team?
  • Courage, capability and capacity…rate each one, 1-5?
    • What needs to change and be actioned?
  • As your manager what could I do differently or change?

“In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than threatening. So rather than thinking, oh, I’m going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here’s a chance to grow.” – Carol Dweck

Flip it around

Now it’s your turn! Let the team interview you! We all know how valuable disclosure is and your team will thank you for it! From experience, you can do this 1:1 or as a team, ensuring everyone contributes.

Follow Up

The interviews leave you all with golden nuggets of opportunity and progress.  Don’t forget this and let it slip! Not only will this be a waste of time and resources, but it will also dim the commitment of future conversations.

Everyone needs to be accountable and take ownership for the actions –  what needs to be done – as part of an overall ongoing development plan.

I’d love to hear how you implement “Stay” interviews into your organisation and how you go with a more future focused conversation that cuts through and creates small changes?

To being limitless

 

 

Renee Giarrussso Director RG Dynamics Pty Limited Limited LeadershipFor more of my tips on how change can equate to growth, get in touch. I look forward to working with you in the future!

Find out where you sit on the Leadership Ladder, your responses are anonymous and the results summarised to help us better understand where our market sits, so that we can continue to provide, insights, tools and solutions to assist you move up to be LIMITLESS, co-creative and stand out.

Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker, She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’. Follow Renee on FacebookInstagramIGTV or Twitter, or subscribe to her blog here.

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Limitless Leadership™ – It’s the small things…

Great things are achieved when a series of small things are brought together…

Recently I spent three glorious weeks in the most sense-awakening, colourful and vibrant country that is Vietnam. One week into my trip I was hit with a nasty flu. Me being me, kept going until it was all too much and I had to surrender to Doctor's orders to rest and dose up on antibiotics.

VIetnam angelsVenturing out for a hotel dinner we sat down to order when a delightful cup of fresh ginger and lemon tea was placed in front of me. I was taken aback as I hadn’t ordered as yet.  Through my fluey, blood-shot eyes stood a waitress, almost angel-like, saying she had heard me say I was really ill, and that this tea would fix me.

Small things are important

What a blessing I thought, and in that moment I couldn't have been happier. A small gesture yes, but it was such a thoughtful one feeling as ill and vulnerable as I was. She had noticed I was sick and went out of her way to let me know, to make me feel important and cared for.  The biggest thing deal was, it was unexpected. I started drinking fresh ginger tea as of the night and totally recovered within 4 days.

This small thing lead me to making a bigger change that impacted my holiday and health in a great way.

It got me to thinking how sometimes the smallest things can have the largest impact. It’s all about taking action and making a start.

I thought about this later and was reminded just how much impact small words or actions can have.

As a leader serving your team and organisation, you can make an impact with not a lot effort:

  • Praise and recognise others and be specific on what you are praising so that particular behaviour continues
  • Take the time to say thank you
  • Encourage others no matter how small the step they have taken, one small step is a start
  • Empower the space for others to dream big…one small idea can equate to a big change, if one step is actioned in 24 hours the rest will follow
  • Have regular one on one catch ups, some with no agenda or purpose but a personal check in

Human being…or doing?

I still remember a one on one or WIP (work in progress) as we called them with my manager many years ago back in my corporate life. I kept talking about work, where the team was sitting against budget and everything else work related. My manager looked and me and said “Renée, how are you?” again I kept talking about the team's results – he asked me the same question again, “Renée, I’m asking how you are?”

I was taken aback, he had the time to actually ask of how I was going personally, when my next break was and how my partner was.  We chatted for 15 minutes and it really recalibrated my mindset back into a “being” mode opposed to a “doing” mode. It showed he cared about me, not just the results my team and I were achieving. It made me realise, as leader I needed to do the same with my team.

So simple. So small. Outside of the normal day to day work related conversation.

That one conversation made me look at my work life balance and the ripple effect meant I was even more productive and successful in my role in the time to follow.

...sometimes the smallest things can have the largest impact. It’s all about taking action and making a start. Click To Tweet

Small signs of progress are important

In the busyness of our work life it can be easier to put off making that big change or implementing that idea. It's the little things that can create action and momentum and as a leader of self and others we can contribute to “the little things”.

There is a great book Small Moves, Big Change (Arnold, 2014). The argument in this book is, our good intentions often fail because they involve large scale change and big steps and therefore we can often miss doing the small things. Small micro steps, what Arnold terms ‘micro-resolutions' are much more doable, confidence building and therefore more likely to be implemented. And when momentum begins, further change and movement is much more possible creating a reinforcing cycle of progress.

Small signs of progress are more important than we might think in building motivation and commitment“making progress in meaningful work is the most powerful stimulant to great inner work life.”

Facilitating progress is one of the most effective ways for leaders to build motivation and commitment in those people with whom they work.

What “little thing” can you share today?

To being limitless

 

 

Renee Giarrussso Director RG Dynamics Pty Limited Limited Leadership

For more of my tips on how change can equate to growth, get in touch. I look forward to working with you in the future!

Find out where you sit on the Leadership Ladder, your responses are anonymous and the results summarised to help us better understand where our market sits, so that we can continue to provide, insights, tools and solutions to assist you move up to be LIMITLESS, co-creative and stand out.

Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker, She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’. Follow Renee on FacebookInstagramIGTV or Twitter, or subscribe to her blog here.

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Limitless Leadership™ – Question to create empowerment in your team

We learn about life by asking questions.

Children naturally start learning about the world by observing, testing and questioning “why.” The more open the question we ask the more we learn.

As a manager or leader coaching, the more open questions we ask the coachee the more the coachee will learn, sometimes about what they already know, but haven’t thought about.

Open questions can be challenging.  We are wired to use a lot of closed questions, offer up a solution and move on. Being time poor contributes to this as we just want to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

Asking open questions helps the coachees to think for themselves, if we stick to only closed questions, responded to with a yes or no answer, we are not facilitating the coachee's thinking.

Empowering and growing our team starts with encouraging our team to think.

 The more we question, the better answers we get

Questioning forms new patterns in the brain. The more patterns it forms, the more flexible it becomes. With flexibility, it can access more information already stored in your brain instead of reverting to the old patterns.

As we get older we question less – we settle for the few options that we have learned. The minute those options don’t work, we get stuck. Whenever we experience an obstacle, our brain goes to the fastest pattern it can find from our experiences similar to the current situation. This is why we sometimes have illogical reactions: We do not give time for the brain to find a better solution. The more information and experiences we have, the more options we have to solve our problems.

By asking questions that are open, we make the coachee more open to talk and open up to share information, ideas and new ways. It’s also a great way to reinforce the need to come up with their own solutions.  In the long term you will notice they won’t come to you as often as they will know you are only going to ask a question.

This frees up time for you to work ‘on' the team opposed to ‘i'n it and it grows and empowers the coachee.

Ask open questions

Begin open questions with the words:

  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How
  • Who

An easy way to ensure questions are “open” is to ask one at a time and start with “Tell me about……” as this will instantly frame the question to be open. Be mindful of starting questions with “why”, as this can come across accusatory, especially if there is little rapport.

Build rapport and connection and base the majority of your interactions and conversations moving forward by asking quality open questions.

Play with this and see what happens…

To becoming LIMITLESS

Renée

Renee Giarrussso Director RG Dynamics Pty Limited Limited LeadershipFor more of my tips on how change can equate to growth, get in touch. I look forward to working with you in the future!

Find out where you sit on the Leadership Ladder, your responses are anonymous and the results summarised to help us better understand where our market sits, so that we can continue to provide, insights, tools and solutions to assist you move up to be LIMITLESS, co-creative and stand out.

Renée is a mentor, coach, expert facilitator and keynote speaker, She is the author of ‘Limitless Leadership™’ and co-author of ‘Leaders of Influence’. Follow Renee on Facebook, Instagram, IGTV or Twitter, or subscribe to her blog here.

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Coach to Lead, Empower and Leverage Time! If not now, when?

This week we are going to delve into a topic I am extremely passionate about, and that is delegating thinking to others! In a recent article we looked at the 3C‘s to your success being Capability, Confidence and Capacity. I reckon, if you get these right and in balance you are setting yourself up for the best chance to lead yourself and others successfully. So many leaders put off coaching or think they are coaching when in fact there is a lot of “telling” going on. My question to them is: “If not now, when?”

Recently I was running a “Leader as Coach” program to senior leaders equipping them with deep coaching skill and insight to take back and implement in their organisation.

One of the participants asked me for my definition of coaching to which I responded “It’s like delegating thinking”. Until this point with over 20 years exposure to coaching, both as a coach and being coached, I had never really looked at it like this but it made total sense as the words left my mouth. Empowering others to think for themselves and come up with their own solutions is simply delegating thinking. So how do we do this you may ask? The first step is to start to ask and not tell or in other words coach and make coaching as simple as an everyday conversation.

Recent International Coaching Federation studies have found that organisations that have a solid coaching program in place can enjoy:

  • 70% improvement on overall work performance
  • 51% increase in team effectiveness
  • 80% increase in self confidence
  • 73% had improved relationships at work
  • 72% had improvement in their communication skills
  • 67% had improved work life balance

In my early twenties, when working in a large global corporate I was coached, not that I was as aware of it back then. As I moved into more senior roles I was taught the art of coaching and over the years I grew this muscle exponentially and mastered it as a professional coach. To this day I have a coach and mentor myself, how could I not, and I coach and mentor hundreds of executives and leaders every year as well as train leaders to coach their teams at a high level. With all the exposure I have had working with many leaders the most successful ones are seen as a coaching resource. The more you coach, the more people will back pedal away from asking you for solutions as they know you will only question them to come up with the answer themselves.

When leading a team or organisation I see the leader as the conductor of an orchestra. They guide and ensure the instruments hit their notes and harmonise. To be truly leading you need to be the conductor because if you’re playing an instrument who is guiding the orchestra?

What I have learnt, without giving you a lesson on how to coach, are the below 5 insights that you can instill right now to empower others to think for themselves:

Let go of needing to add value

By letting go of being the all-knowing leader you instill empowerment in others to think for themselves, grow their skill set and guess what…develop futures leaders.

Think about what you are controlling or holding onto that you can delegate to someone else. We tend to hold on to the things we like without even realising they could be delegated. Maybe the next meeting you could get someone else to chair and organise?

Create the space for others to be empowered

I don't believe you can empower others directly. What I do believe is you can create the space for people to feel empowered and create ownership themselves. Whatever you do, make sure people have the space and choice of how they will achieve tasks. Give them the “what” but not the “how” and stand back and let them go! Check in where and when needed but ask them what that would look like.

Ask don't tell

How easy is it to provide the answer when individuals approach you? Take a step back and ask them what solutions they have thought of. Many will say “they don’t know” but don't buy into this as people are wired to respond to you the way they always have. They usually aren’t stuck but instead are being lazy as they are used to you thinking for them at certain times. Be strong on this and get them to go away and come back with possible solutions and then go from there. This is called “coaching on the fly” and is simply an informal conversation that can happen face to face, over the phone and even by email. A great way to start to build your coaching muscle.

Maximise Team Strengths

Mary isn’t great at reporting but Dean is strong in this so how about getting Dean to do the reporting and have Mary assist him? This is a great way for peers to learn from each other and get stuff done without coming to you. I am a huge believer in building a strength based team by identifying and then leveraging strengths and the things that energise each other. A bit like instruments in an orchestra, it takes all types to play a harmonised tune.

Cut through Communication

People won’t buy in or change if there is nothing in it for them. Communication is all about the response that you get. You need to build rapport as rapport equates to influence. In all the work I have done on this over the last 12 years on understanding others and building rapport you need to have conversations that count, that are clear and are with intent. Be a bit like the other person. If he or she loves detail then be more detailed in your conversation. If they are big picture then ensure you match this. Don’t change who you are but amplify your energy and approach 20% to match and fast track rapport. Having a cut through conversation gets the other person to be more open and honest and trust and respect is built. This will assist in the other person understanding why they need to do what they do and creates ownership and accountability.

I’d love to hear how you create the space for others to think for themselves and what the payoff is for you, them and the organisation!

Renée

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Lose the need to add value and do what really matters

Last month when working with a senior executive, let’s call her Alex, I blurted out the heading of this blog “Lose the need to add value”. Alex was stunned and just stared at me and said, “Can you say that again?”

Let me put this in context, this executive, has a team of 12 direct reports who phone and email her non-stop and when she is in the office are usually queuing up at her door, and that’s what I have observed, and I am only in their office every 6 weeks! They ask her for advice, to make a decision for them and sometimes when I meet with Alex she will receive at least 6 missed calls.

Alex is the all giving manager who has moved through the ranks and simply wants to help. She wants to give to her team, and for that, I commend her but only to a certain point.

People who have high strengths in relationship building I have seen to be the ones who sometimes over collaborate or in other words do “relationship” building in overdrive. It’s important to establish and maintain productive and meaningful relationships as this feeds personal satisfaction and helps goals to be achieved, but there is a cut-off point.

In Alex’s case, this is to her detriment as she is over giving has created a culture of “Let’s call Alex”. As a leader of leaders, Alex needs to step back and drive behaviours that will allow others to feel empowered and take ownership.

As a leader, you are not unlike a conductor in an orchestra. Your job is to guide, challenge, nurture and empower and to not be playing any of the actual instruments.

Alex and I worked through simple ways to “lose the need to add value” and instead foster a team that sees you as a guide, therefore adding real value that counts.

Coaching is a brilliant way to get others to think for themselves. “The best leaders I know are seen as a coaching resource not an endless pit of answers, ideas and responses.”

Add value when it is needed but “add” value don’t just give it away. Don’t feel like you need to justify your position or share everything you know at all times. The more others think for themselves and own their decisions the less likely they will come to you, therefore, thinking for themselves and consulting with their peers. This gives you, the leader, more time to focus on what really matters.

Renee