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Limitless Leadership: Promote stay interviews to retain and grow talent

“True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes.” 

– Daniel Kahneman

Those who know me know I am a huge advocate for ongoing feedback and performance previews, as opposed to reviews. I believe 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.

Giving and receiving feedback

Working with a client recently, we discussed the ways the organisation she works in gives and receives feedback. Mariana, my client, shared with me that as an organisation they have what they have what are called “stay interviews”. These are run regularly and are 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.

Stay interviews

I love the concept of “stay” interviews, and as we are all 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.

Making “stay” interviews successful

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, for 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 feed-forward is imperative.

People only buy into anything if there is something in it for them – we are the same, so ensure you spend time setting the scene and expectations around this. Maybe 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 in return. Plan out a few great questions to get the responses that will benefit all; here are 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?
  • How are you feeling about your role?
  • What is your overall job satisfaction?
  • How can I improve this?
  • What do you like about working here?
  • What keeps you here?
  • What do you like the most / least?
  • Where are you getting the most traction?
  • What and who is frustrating you?
  • What is stretching and growing you?
  • How are you feeling recognised?
  • What is your preferred style for feedback?
  • What could you change or do differently?
  • As a team, what would bring us closer to being a super-team?”
  • What’s your greatest learning to date?
  • How could you share this with the greater team?
  • Confidence, 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?
  • If you change anything about the way I lead how would that look (leading team, recognition, coaching, feedback)?

“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 will leave you all with golden nuggets of opportunity and progress – don’t let this slip and be forgotten! If you do; not only is this a waste of time and resources, but it also dims the commitment of future conversations. All of those involved need to take accountability and ownership and action 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!

Be limitless!

Renée

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Limitless Teams: The power of questioning that gets missed

“Knowing the answers will help you in school.

 Knowing how to question will help you in life”

Warren Berger

How often do you say “Hello” to someone and they reply with “Good thanks” even though you haven’t actually asked them how they are? Yes, I’m as guilty as charged, we’ve all responded like this at some stage and this reflection is a great example that as life gets busier and more congested our brains are wired to think and be more than one step ahead of the conversation.

We speak at 125 words per minute, but we think at 400 words per minute!

How often are you thinking of your opinion on what someone is telling you while at the same time subconsciously planning your next question?

When running communication workshops or speaking on this topic I always reinforce that we should only ask one question at a time. How often do you hear: “How was your weekend? Wasn’t the weather great? Did you go out for brunch? The recipient of these questions will only reply to the last question as you have simply loaded the questions with your intent and what you want to talk about, in this case being brunch.

Ask one question at a time, as soon as you visually picture a question mark, zip it and be present and listen.

When in the zone of coaching, you need to be present and not give in and give the answer. This is one of the most challenging aspects of coaching as we naturally want to help and have sometimes created the expectation that we will always provide the answer or solution.

When a coachee becomes stuck we want to jump in. Instead ask a quality open question and instead of thinking what to say or ask next…. slow down and simply wait and listen to the response you get and shape your next question based on this. Frame your questions as open ones. This type of questioning elicits information, not a yes or no answer and gets the other person talking. This questioning technique is great if you are conversing with someone who is quite and who replies with one-word answers. By framing your questions based on the coachee’s response it shows you have listened (a rare skill these days) and also makes the coachee feel important which in turn builds subliminal rapport.

Listening skills along with being an effective communicator are two imperative skills you need to master as a Leader.

You need to be open in identifying the beliefs that your coachees carry with them. A belief is a feeling of certainty about what something means to someone. We all have empowering beliefs and what we call limiting beliefs. The limiting beliefs are the ones, as a coach, you need to watch out for and challenge. Every moment we have over two million pieces of information coming at us. We form our thoughts, opinions and beliefs based on our own perception, whether we think it’s wrong or right. Beliefs that don’t serve and support our coachee’s outcomes need to be challenged. Simply asking challenging questions around the cost of not changing and what they are losing by not shifting beliefs can assist in getting the coachee to reframe this.

Whether you are leading a team, conversing with clients or internal stakeholders building your questioning muscle is essential. By asking better quality and more powerful questions that are relevant you will find you will be speaking less and listening more and therefore empowering others.

Less is more in this case when identifying beliefs.

In a pure coaching sense, we are only asking questions, deep, meaningful questions. There is a plethora of other questioning and communication techniques, start with asking more open questions, one at a time and base the next one on the coachee’s response.

Let silence do the heavy lifting and watch what happens!

To being limitless

Renée

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Limitless Leadership: Promote Stay Interviews to Retain & Grow Talent

“True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes.”

– Daniel Kahneman

Those who know me know I am a huge advocate for ongoing feedback and performance previews, opposed to reviews. I believe 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 for gives and receives feedback. Mariana, my client, shared with me that as an organisation they have what they have what’s called “Stay Interviews”. These are regularly run, 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 are all 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.

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, for 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 feed-forward is imperative.

People only buy into anything if there is something in it for them – we are the same, so ensure you spend time setting the scene and expectations around this. Maybe 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 in return. Plan out a few great questions to get the responses that will benefit all; here are 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?
  • How are you feeling about your role?
  • What is your overall job satisfaction?
  • How can I improve this?
  • What do you like about working here?
  • What keeps you here?
  • What do you like the most / least?
  • Where are you getting the most traction?
  • What and / or who is frustrating you?
  • What is stretching and growing you?
  • How are you feeling recognised?
  • What is your preferred style for feedback?
  • What could you change or do differently?
  • As a team, what could bring us closer to being a “Superteam?”
  • What’s your greatest learning to date?
  • How could you share this with the broader team?
  • Confidence, 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?
  • If you could change anything about the way I lead, how would that look (leading team, recognition, coaching, feedback)?

“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 will leave you all with golden nuggets of opportunity and progress – don’t let this slip and be forgotten! If you do, not only will this be a waste of time and resources, but it will also dim the commitment of future conversations. All of those involved need to take accountability and ownership and action 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!

Be limitless!

Renée.

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Pass it on, it’s your job!

“Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life, It’s about what you inspire others to do.”

Early this year I was working with a senior Executive team who were extremely open about the fact that no member of their teams could replicate what they do. At first, I thought that what they were referring to was from a leadership perspective and I soon uncovered they meant that no one in their team had the knowledge base they had both at a technical and leadership level. This wasn’t good, and I stopped the conversation in it’s tracks to delve into what was really underlying this thought and more so, the behaviour.

In life, we can become attached to people, things, tasks, and even where we live. We hold on to things usually without conscious reasoning, and we do this for many reasons. Firstly, whatever we are holding onto may keep us safe. Security is one of the human needs so it can be natural to do what feels will keep us safe, secure and out of danger. Taking the easy road instead of going off the beaten track is a good example of this. Sticking to the safe way and being in a comfort zone is a strategy many people use and I always ask, “What is the cost of the easy road?”

Secondly, I believe we may hold onto something because it gives us a level of control.

Life has become chaotic, fast-paced and frantic, so many choices can make it overwhelming, and at times we feel out of control. This forces us to sometimes stick to the known as we gain a level of control from this even if it doesn't serve the greater good. You may know more about a process, strategy or plan than anyone else and therefore you have a level of control over it.

The third reason I think we sometimes hold onto things is that we get a level of significance from them. If you pioneered an idea, division or created a team, you may have an attachment that prevents you from letting go. The saying “But it’s my baby” sums this up perfectly. You feel needed and wanted, and your contribution is high to the process or progress but necessarily the people part of the equation.

For whatever reason and there are many more, I ask you to step back and look at why you do what you do? If you owned the business you work in, and maybe you do, would you have the same mindset of holding on to all you know and do?

In the example of the senior team I was working with, not creating empowerment in others is a death zone. In a leadership position, you are creating future leaders and leading current ones. You simply need to “pass it on.

Pass the baton and don’t just empower others but instead cultivate the behaviours for individuals to empower themselves. I believe empowering others has a temporary, effect; you need to drive behaviours for individuals to own their empowerment. Loose the need to add value and let people go away and work out the “how” in order to achieve the “what”. Teach them what you know but let them contribute their thoughts and ways.

Look at yourself as a coaching resource, a sounding board, almost like the conductor if the orchestra. You don’t need to play the instruments but instead, teach others and guide them to a symphony, much like a performance.

So how do create self-empowerment in others? Ongoing feedback and trust is vital as is identifying and satisfying what motivates individuals so they can layer this onto what they are strong at. Be open, be accessible and share what you know in order to pass on your legacy and help your team thrive.

I’d love to hear of the success you have and the ideas you implement to ensure knowledge and behaviours are passed on. You are a leader, its your job, pass it on!

Renee

Renée has published her first book “Limitless Leadership”- A guide to leading from the inside out. Order your copy today! www.reneegiarrusso.com or www.amazon.com

Renée Giarrusso is an accomplished author, facilitator, speaker, trainer and coach who works with high performing leaders and their teams across a myriad of industries and organisations. She passionately helps leaders fulfil their full potential resulting in increased motivation, communication and connection. Working with executives and SLT teams, she maps and designs motivation to maximise performance and engagement.

Her expertise in growing and developing capability and behavioural change around leadership, communication and transition leave her clients inspired, re-energised and with improved results.

Work with me! 

Contact us today at admin@reneegiarrusso.com to discuss how we can collaborate on your business success. Learn more about our in-house Limitless Leadership, Mapping Motivation for Performance and Presenting to Lead and Communication workshops and mentoring programs.
“The Top Fifteen Percent Leader” A dynamic, interactive leadership program, run as an openly facilitated in-house program 3 hours a month over the year!

Download our FREE whitepaper and program details

http://thetopfifteenpercentleader.com

Lunch and Lead-April 7th  South Melbourne

Join 15 like-minded women from a diverse array industries over lunch. Take the time to reflect and enjoy an open and casual conversation on what challenges you and motivates you from a leadership perspective. Celebrate the year that has been! FULLY BOOKED OUT

Mastering your Mojo-June 15th Melbourne

Go from drowning in the overwhelm that sometimes a career and life can create to taking the time to reflect, recharge and reconnect with your purpose and mission to move forward.

Join me for our “Mastering your Leadership Mojo” practicum

Time: 9am-4pm

Venue: Golden Gate Hotel, South Melbourne

Investment: $595 + GST pp

Book before May 5th at our Early bird rate of $495 + GST

Limited to 25 places

What you will get:

  • 1 full day workshop facilitated by Renee Giarrusso
  • The day is based around key themes: Reflect-Recharge- Refocus
  • Recharge to reconnect ~Learning to manage your energy for optimal results in your daily life- Guest speaker Amanda Adey Auricfields Kinesiology
  • Access to sharing and learning with like-minded people
  • A scrumptious sit-down Al a carte lunch
  • Barista coffee all day (it’s the little things J )
  • All workshop materials

 Contact admin@reneegiarrusso for further details

Drop into www.reneegiarrusso.com or Eventbrite to secure your place and early bird pricing

*Limited to 25 attendees

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Effective leadership in business-My interview with ANZIIF

After speaking on “Motivation for Collaboration” at two ANZIIF events I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Rita Loiacono, ANZIIF writer.

The reality all but a few industries face today is the constant threat of change —usually in the form of ever-evolving protocols, practices, tastes or technology. In such a reality, it’s no coincidence that those businesses that invest time and resources into maximising the potential of their employees through high-calibre leadership are the same businesses that are at the forefront of innovation and are enjoying the most consistent success.

While good leadership is not an insurance policy against failure, bad leadership is almost certainly an insurance policy against success. More and more businesses are realising this and, to their credit, are taking steps to help their leaders evolve. Such growth can often be an integral factor in whether or not businesses take that constant threat of change and instead see it as a constant opportunity.

In her own words, Renée Giarrusso is “obsessed with seeing people grow”. That obsession was the impetus for her decision to step away from the corporate world following 12 years in senior sales, marketing and leadership roles, and instead start her own business, Metamorphose Consulting.

Since starting that business nine years ago, Giarrusso has worked to help leaders, teams and organisations in over 24 industries to maximise their connection, collaboration and leadership. With a wealth of experience and having just written a book, Limitless Leadership — which looks at leading self before being able to lead a team or a decision-making process — Giarrusso’s work is underpinned by her belief that all industries face the same challenges around leadership, but with self-awareness and commitment to improvement, those challenges are certainly not insurmountable.

“Leadership, if you dissect it, is really around collaboration, motivation and communication,” Giarrusso says, noting that there is often a misconception that leaders and managers are one and the same. “Managers work in their teams day-to-day — I liken it to doing maintenance-type things like cleaning your house. Leaders do progressive things like renovating your house,” she says.

But how can managers move beyond the often overwhelming and seemingly never-ending nature of day-to-day tasks and make the leap to progression and innovation? According to Giarrusso, it’s all about delegating more, empowering more, and identifying the strengths of team members and giving them more tasks that maximise those strengths. “That frees you up a bit to be able to do things such as setting vision, strategising and building a strength-based team,” Giarrusso says.

Asking your team to articulate their strengths and weaknesses, and what they like and what they don’t like, can be a powerful motivator, as it enables leaders to help energise their team members by giving them opportunities to do what they’re good at, as well as what they enjoy. However, such an exercise can be futile if the person asking those questions lacks connection with the people they’re asking. “The manager’s got to build rapport,” Giarrusso says. “If you’re not respected and you sit down and you say to your team, ‘So what are you good at, what do you enjoy?’ you’ll get nothing. I believe rapport equals influence. If you’re in rapport and if you’re deeply connecting, people will be more honest with you and more open.”

While Giarrusso does believe part of being a good leader is innate, she also believes it can be learnt — provided there is a will to learn. Often, though, employees are elevated to managerial positions because they’ve been with the organisation for a significant period of time or because they are technically brilliant. And while these are valid reasons for promoting people, they aren’t necessarily indicative of their leadership potential and can often result in managers being unaware that they’re missing the mark when it comes to truly leading their teams. “I think, too, we are wired to think that if you manage a team, it will help you move up, so everyone thinks they have to manage a team, but not everyone is wired to do that,” Giarrusso says.

Another prohibitive factor to good leadership is a misguided view on what actually constitutes a strong and effective leader. Aside from a belief that a long tenure makes them the best person for a leadership role, bad leaders tend to be ego-focused: They often believe they are the only team member who is genuinely busy, they fail to delegate because they believe no-one will do things as effectively as they can, and they tend to have an overinflated view of how important they are to a team’s function. On the contrary, Giarrusso says, “If the team doesn’t need you and you can go on holidays and come back and things functioned well without you, that’s a good leader.”

Elaborating further on what makes a good leader, Giarrusso says they realise it’s not about them, but rather, it’s about the team. “Good leaders are empowering, they co-create and involve, so when there are decisions to be made, even if they’ve got the answer, they act like they don’t and make the team feel like they’ve come up with it. They’re coach-centric, so they use a lot of questioning to empower people to come up with what they already have in them. They’re not just complying to be a leader, they’re committed. So compliance is you do it, but committed is you have a jump in your step and you want to be there. They have perspective and respect, and they’re trustworthy,” Giarrusso explains.

Where women in leadership are concerned, Giarrusso does concede that, overall, women are underserved in leadership roles, but she notes that there are certain industries that are consciously making efforts to improve the imbalance, and as EQ continues to outweigh IQ in importance, things will continue to change. “IQ isn’t measured as much as EQ now,” Giarrusso says. “So your IQ is how smart you are and your EQ is how well you read people and understand people, and I believe women have a very strong EQ,” she says.

When asked if she has any advice for women who are already in leadership roles or who aspire to them, Giarrusso says it’s important to be strategically agile — that is, be able to understand and work across all business units — and she encourages women to focus on what they’re good at and what invigorates them, rather than becoming preoccupied with fitting in or proving something. “Be brave, be bold and be yourself,” she says. “I think what’s really important is have a voice, be a ‘no’ leader, so to speak, so don’t just agree with everything. If you don’t agree with something, have a voice and explain why you think what you do. Above all, add value, and learn from others, and find out what you’re strengths are and make sure you’re tapping into them, because then you’ll do what you do naturally.”

Giarrusso encourages businesses to recruit for diversity, likening people to colours of the rainbow — with the inclusion of more colours of the rainbow, the picture looks more whole, it offers greater perspective and inspiration, and the less likely it is to become tired or boring. Ultimately, good leadership doesn’t discriminate: “It doesn’t matter who you are — your age, your gender, your ethnicity — it doesn’t matter; it’s about capability and capacity,” Giarrusso says.

Renée Giarrusso presented at ANZIIF’s Lunch and Learn series events in WA and SA during October and November 2016. To find out how she can assist at an individual, team or organisation level and turn your inner potential into outward results she can be contacted via email, website, or LinkedIn.