Young Lawyers are Leading Change in the Law Practice, Like it or Not

Change is coming one way or another. That was the conclusion of a recent report from Major, Lindsey, and Africa, a leading attorney search firm, in which they detailed their findings after surveying over 1,200 millennial attorneys. And while their survey was exclusively focused on law firms and the people they employ, we’ve noticed similarities about our clients inside law as well as those we work with across all kinds of industries.

There are three things we’ve deduced from the survey as being absolutely critical for employers to understand: 1) Work-Life Balance Rules 2) Lack of Authenticity and Transparency is a Non-Starter 3) Career Pathing is Your Duty

Just look at these results:

-Less than 30% of respondents described their firms as being very transparent about an associate’s career path.  Yet more than 80% of respondents still described transparency surrounding their individual career paths as being important to crucial to them.

-Only 20% of respondents classified themselves as being highly loyal to their firms. And of those, 54% still said they were not open to new job opportunities. It seems these things go hand in hand!

-When evaluating prospective employers, respondents cited these three factors as being most important in their decision: the employer’s commitment to fostering work-life balance, compensation, and professional development.

-If a respondent was open to new job opportunities, it’s usually because they were seeking better compensation, looking for a change in management or company culture, or wanted more work-life balance.

-More than 60% of respondents said informal mentorship has had a significant or crucial effect on their career. And almost 30% indicated that formal mentorship was irrelevant.

(Click here to read the full survey)

Did any of those results surprise you? They surprised ME and I do this for a living!

Like it or not, change is coming to your organization. So the question is: are you ready?

We’re going to break down how you can prepare your company to meet the needs of the worker of the future so that your organization can survive and thrive. After all, a company is only as good as its people. And if you can’t figure out how to give your best people what they want, they’ll find someone else who can – like your competition!

WORK-LIFE BALANCE RULES

We’ve been fighting to achieve work-life balance SINCE THE BEGINNING OF WORK.

Can we actually achieve work life balance or is it a myth?  And what the heck does work-life balance even mean? Because it’s different for every single employee.

One hack is to turn your organization upside down and ask each employee what work-life balance means to them. Understanding what your audience wants, a novel concept. Does it mean coming in early so they can leave early? Does it mean working from home a few days a week? Or does it mean not working a weekend, ever. Whatever it is, you’ve got to figure out what your employees need from you and then figure out how you can deliver it in a way that still serves your business goals.

There, now you have a system to find a way to help your employees achieve the work-life balance they crave. Remember, it goes both ways. You can give employees the better balance they want, in a way that meets your expectations.

LACK OF AUTHENTICITY AND TRANSPARENCY IS A NON-STARTER

Ah, transparency. Seems everybody and their brother wants the people, the government and the companies in their lives to be more transparent.  Science and data demonstrate people want the truth, as in can you be trusted.

So, you need to figure out how to be really real with your employees. And not just raw and authentic when it suits you – it needs to be baked into your company culture.  So entwined with the day-to-day operations that it is embedded in your culture.

How do you get there?

Friggin connect with your employees. Learn their story, find out what they want out of their job and their life, and understand what really matters to them. If you can achieve that you will create Trust.  Having a culture of trust and transparency and communication is what creates results.  See The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey:  (Strategy x Execution) Trust  =RESULTS . And not just any results, exponential results!

CAREER PATHING IS YOUR DUTY

In a world of on-demand learning, is it really any surprise that formal and forced mentorship is on the decline? We all want to learn at our own pace, on our own schedule, and with who we trust – which just doesn’t gel with a rigid mentorship structure.

Which isn’t to say that formal mentors themselves are out. We just want advice delivered in a more informal, of-the-moment way. So rather than formally defining our relationships with our employees in the workplace or relegating their career development to some far-off date on your calendar, practice delivering real-deal, authentic feedback. That means correcting the behavior when it happens, not during their annual review. It means taking time out of your busy schedule to commend an employee on a job well done – even when you’re so busy you can’t think straight.

We have to find a way to build more mentorship and professional development into the day-to-day culture of the workplace. And while you may be rolling your eyes and thinking, “Sure Dan, I’ll be sure to add that to my never-ending to-do list” the truth is, it’s critical you get this right. Employees who are listened to, supported in their role, given the tools to succeed, and encouraged to bring new ideas to the table do better work and STAY! It’s that simple.

Here’s the bottom line: if you want to survive in the years to come, you’ve got to figure out how to create and deliver:

1.  Work Life Balance

2.  Authenticity and Transparency

3. Career Pathing

It’s the only way.

Need help figuring out how to give your employees what they want in a way that still serves your company? Reach out to us for coaching – we’ll equip you with the tools you need to succeed! Click here to sign up for your free coaching session.

How to Have Other-Focused Conversations

Whether it’s a raise, an opportunity to be mentored, or just figuring out what the heck your employees need from you, if you don’t ASK, you don’t GET!

We spend too much time thinking about how to get others to give us what we want, when the answer couldn’t be more simple.

If you just ASK for what you want in a way that makes it about others, you will win.

Need help figuring out how to make your conversations other focused? Click below to download our free handout that’s guaranteed to change the way you communicate with others both in and out of the workplace.

Want to build better relationships in work and in life? You have to make it about others first - the audience is the hero of your story! Use these tips to change the conversation:



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Hire Right! What to Look for in your Next Rock Star Employee!

Hiring is a skill that doesn’t come easy. But like any skill, it can be learned and improved if we are aware. Most of us don’t want to admit what we’re not good at it. Because acknowledging that we’ve made some bad hires forces us to wake up and realize (i) we screwed up and, (ii) we definitely need to fire someone. Maybe ourselves, lol.

Most companies hold onto employees that aren’t the right fit for far too long. And that’s costing your business big time! Not just financially either. Having the wrong employees on your staff hurts your productivity, erodes engagement and trust and your company culture, and ultimately inhibits results.

There is good news!   You can avoid all that if you learn how to hire the RIGHT PEOPLE in the first place. And we do that by asking GREAT QUESTIONS during the interview.

What Type of Person Are They?

I’ve had the privilege of working with companies like Qualcomm, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Inuit and let me tell you, it doesn’t matter how good the candidate looks on paper or what credentials they have. If they’re not the right type of person for your company or team, they’re not the right fit period.

During the interview process, you need to figure out what type of person they are, what their strengths are, and what their whys are. We have a great PDF below with all the questions you should be asking to help you figure these things out, but two of my favorite questions are:

-What’s the biggest misconception others have about you and why?

-What three words would you use to describe yourself and why?

Both of these questions will help you confirm or deny your initial assumptions about what sort of person they are and also help you understand their level of self-awareness. It also lets you get into the “real” authentic person not the rehearsed interviewee.  To see how powerful these questions can be, try them out with yourself and with the people that you know well – you will be surprised at the results!

Are They Positive and Optimistic?

As quickly as our lives move these days and as quickly as the world of work is changing, there is NO room for negativity. You need to be hiring positive, optimistic people who have a can-do attitude. People who are positive and optimistic are more likely to seek solutions to challenges, rather than allowing themselves to become stumped or stuck. And that’s exactly who you need in your company – people who are going to just figure it out on their own and find the help they need to get it done.

To evaluate a candidate’s pre-disposition towards turning lemons into lemonade, a few of the questions I love to ask are:

-What do you think about failure?

-When you’d have obstacles in your life, what have you done to overcome them?

-What characteristics or behaviors do you believe have contributed to failure around the positions you’ve held in the past and why?

After you ask these questions, listen closely. Sometimes you have to read between the lines of the candidate’s responses so make sure you listen for clues that indicate whether they respond more positively or negatively to being challenged.  And, also ask targeted follow up questions.

To conclude, when you’re hiring you’re primarily looking to answer just two questions about every candidate: what type of person are they and are they positive/optimistic. It’s not rocket science and yet we get so caught up in fact-checking their resume and making sure they have all the technical skills, we forget to ask the questions that will help us figure out who the person sitting across from us actually is!

So, before you make your next hire, make sure you download our free PDF with the kinds of questions you should be asking every candidate. Just fill out the form below to get it. And if you still need help, please reach out to us for coaching!

Want to save your company time, money, and frustration by hiring the right candidate? Fill out the form below to grab our free download with all the questions you need to be asking during the interview process to ensure you're making a great hire.



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How to Hire the Right Person for Any Position

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that a bad hire costs the employer, on average, 30% or more of the individual’s first year salary with the company. So if their salary is $100,000, the cost of one poor hiring decision is $130,000 or more!

Do you have that much time and money to be wasted on the wrong employee? Heck no!!

How do you HIRE RIGHT, NOW!!! The Worker of the Future who will crush it in their role and grow with your company for years to come is who you want, but HOW?

It starts by asking GREAT QUESTIONS!

To do so, download our free handout that will get you asking the right questions to ensure you’re hiring the right employee to crush it for your organization.

Want to save your company time, money, and frustration by hiring the right candidate? Fill out the form below to grab our free download with all the questions you need to be asking during the interview process to ensure you're making a great hire.



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Become the Leader of the Future By Doing These 6 Things

In our last blog we looked at how the worker of the future will need to grow and adapt to succeed in the new world of work. But what about their leaders? Doesn’t it make sense that their managers will need to grow and adapt right along with them and become leaders?

Yet in my experience managers, who all should be leaders of one sort or another, are often the slowest to respond to changes in employee behavior and culture! That’s why so much of my work is focused on helping the generations connect in the workplace – because many of the older generations still don’t “get” their millennial and Gen Z coworkers and employees!

But the younger generation isn’t going away and taking their new ideas about work with them – in fact, more than 35% and even closer to 50% of Americans in the workplace are millennials! So if you are a manager or boss with millennial and Gen Z employees, it is critical that you get this right with your team! You must master the following new leadership traits and immediately start putting them into practice so you can continue to crush the competition in the years to come:

 

Create Trust and Eradicate Mistrust

Bill Simmons, formerly of ESPN, famously remarked, “Leaders thrive when they feel creatively empowered, when they trust the people around them, when their confidence is swelling. Leaders make mistakes when they lose that same confidence, when they’re fretting about their power base, when they’re reacting instead of acting.” And while Simmons was talking about basketball, the point remains: great teams are built on trust. Period.

While trust is a two-way street, as a manager and leader it’s up to you to set the tone in the company. You need to consciously work to create trust so you can build authentic relationships with your people. If they don’t trust you, you’re going to have a hard time connecting. And if you can’t connect with them, you’re going to have a hard time trusting them in turn!

Employees, and especially younger employees, want to work where they feel valued and where they can trust the leadership of the people in charge. And leaders in turn want to feel like they have a solid team backing them up. Just as Bill Simmons has a great team of writers backing him up at the Bill Simmons Media Group, including many who followed him from ESPN.

Are you unknowingly breeding a culture of mistrust among your direct reports? Check out this list of The 25 Behaviors That Contribute to Mistrust and eradicate any that you’re guilty of. TODAY.

 

Give Real-Time, Real Deal Feedback

Your employees want to know you care. So ditch the annual review and make time to invest in them right in the moment and give them the feedback they crave. They want to know they’re doing a good job, but they also want to know if something needs to change.

Just be cautious of putting too much emphasis on the negative. Instead take a page from Tony Nicely, former CEO of Geico’s book: focus on your employee’s strengths and help build them up. In a 1992 article about Nicely, William Snyder, then the chairman and chief executive of Geico Corp, commented that, “He has a marvelous talent for dealing with people…he’s empathetic and he builds on people’s strengths rather than picking out their weaknesses.”

Always assume positive intent (API) when interacting with your people and help them be the best they can be! They have all have a story to share and they all want to connect, they just need you to show them how – remember there’s no school for becoming the worker of the future! And if you do need to have a tough conversation with them, use these tips:

  • Identify the problem
  • Attack the problem, not each other
  • Listen to, and acknowledge, others’ points of view
  • Focus on organizational goals and objectives
  • Listen as an ally to strategize for success

Focus on the Right Things

In the old world of work, an employee would be at their desk at 8:30am and stay until it was time to go home at 5pm. It didn’t matter if they finished all their work in an hour or it took them all day to do it. It also didn’t matter if the employee did their best work after 3pm. The work day was the work day and employees were expecting to be at their desk and “working”.

But as technology has evolved and allowed us to be increasingly connected, the idea that employees need to sit at their desk for a specified period of time has become less and less practical. So as managers, we need to shift our thinking to focus on the right things. Instead of worry about “how” things get done, we need to be looking at “what” is getting done. After all, an employee can sit down at their desk at 8:30am, turn in a mediocre report, and spend the rest of the day playing solitaire. Or they can spend all day doing the things they’re passionate about and turn in a rockstar report at 11pm when their creativity is at its peak.

In a memo to his team at Slack shortly before the preview release of the product, Stewart Butterfield said, “Life is too short to do mediocre work and it is definitely too short to build shitty things.” Don’t allow your employees and your company to fall into mediocrity by focusing on the wrong things. Make sure that what you’re measuring actually MATTERS!

 

Foster Open and Transparent Communication

Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo, has often talked about the importance of communication in the workplace. She believes you “cannot over-invest in communication skills.” And of her own communication style, she had said, “I’m brutally honest. I always look at things from their point of view as well as mine.” But Nooyi’s not all talk: during her twelve-year tenure at Pepsi, the company’s sales grew by 80%!

The worker of the future needs you to communicate with them openly and authentically. To be brutally honest! The days of org charts and companies saying one thing to their customers and another thing to their employees is over. We are now too connected to ever treat our employees with anything other than radical honesty and to force them to follow a hierarchical structure of communication. And with our increased access to knowledge and learning through the Internet, we are ALL capable of coming up with and presenting new ideas that can change the direction of the company for the better.

 

Encourage Learning and Experimentation

Which brings me to my next point: as a manager in the new world of work you need to encourage your employees to learn and experiment and actually lead. ABL: Always Be Learning! With as much access as we have to information, if you as a manager rely only on your individual knowledge to make decisions for the team and company, you will be crushed by your competition.

You need to encourage your employees to learn and grow so that they can bring their ideas back to the company. We’ve previously written about Google, but it bears repeating again: Google has famously allowed its employees to devote 20% of their work time to passion projects related to the company. Whether or not 20% time is still practiced is up for debate, but what can’t be ignored is that 20% time brought two of Google’s best-loved products to life: Gmail and Adsense.

You must encourage your employees to learn and grow. With the world changing as fast as it is, to not allow space for new ideas to develop and emerge is a mistake. The fact is, your employees are often spending more face time with your customers than you are! They know exactly what your clients want so it’s time you listened to them!

 

Stop Trying to Control Everything and Everyone

Most managers love control. They want to control the company, its projects, and its people. They believe that if they can manage to hang onto everything, they will win in the long run.

But that just isn’t true. One, it’s incredibly exhausting. Two, it’s one of the behaviors that fosters mistrust in a team. And three, it doesn’t do the company any favors to have everything flow through such a narrow channel.

Instead, invest the time to train your people well and then trust them to do the job you’ve hired them to do. Yes, they’ll make mistakes and fall flat on their face occasionally. But you are not perfect either!

Just take a look at this story about Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors. In a previous leadership role in the Human Resources department, she dramatically scaled-down the dress code policy to just two words: Dress Appropriately. When she got pushback from a manager, she suggested he talk with his team to work out a solution. And wouldn’t you know it, but the team came up with a great solution that didn’t involve needing to expand the dress code policy.

Trust your people. You hired them, you trained them, now go let them do their job!

 

If you’re struggling with any of the managerial behaviors on this list, please reach out to us at launchbox. Your company needs you to grow and adapt. So invest in yourself and become the manager of the future!

The 25 Behaviors That Contribute to Mistrust

Want to build a business that wins in the future?

Figure out how to get the worker of the future to come work for you, KEEP working for you, and excel!

To do that, you need to start by creating trust and eradicating the causes of mistrust in your organization. Want to know what the 25 most common causes of mistrust are? Keep reading:

The 25 Behaviors That Foster Mistrust

  1. You fail to keep your promises, agreements and commitments.
  2. You serve your self first, and others only when it is convenient.
  3. You micromanage and resist delegating.
  4. You demonstrate an inconsistency between what you say and how you behave.
  5. You fail to share critical information with your colleagues.
  6. You choose to not tell the truth.
  7. You resort to blaming and scapegoating others rather than own your mistakes.
  8. You judge blame and criticize rather than offer constructive feedback.
  9. You betray confidences, gossip and talk about others behind their backs.
  10. You choose to not allow others to contribute or make decisions.
  11. You downplay others’ talents, knowledge and skills.
  12. You refuse to support others with their professional development.
  13. You resist creating shared values, expectations and intentions in favor of your own agenda; you refuse to compromise and instead foster win-lose arguments.
  14. You refuse to be held accountable by your colleagues.
  15. You resist discussing your personal life, allowing your vulnerability, disclosing your weaknesses and admitting your relationship challenges.
  16. You rationalize sarcasm, put-down humor and off-putting remarks as “good for the group.”
  17. You fail to admit you need support and don’t ask colleagues for help.
  18. You take others’ suggestions and critiques as personal attacks.
  19. You fail to speak up in team meetings and avoid contributing constructively.
  20. You refuse to consider the idea of constructive conflict and avoid conflict at all costs.
  21. You consistently hijack team meetings and move them off topic.
  22. You refuse to follow through on decisions agreed upon at team meetings.
  23. You secretly collude in back-door negotiations with other team members to create your own alliances.
  24. You refuse to give others the benefit of the doubt and prefer to judge them without asking them to explain their position or actions.
  25. You refuse to apologize for mistakes, misunderstandings and inappropriate behavior and dig your heels in to defend yourself and protect your reputation.

(This list was written by Dr. Peter Vajda and originally appeared on the Management-Issues website)

If you need help creating trust with your employees and getting rid of the behaviors that cause mistrust, reach out to us at launchbox for coaching! We’ll help get you on the right track so you can build a business that wins now and in the future.

Employer Brand: What is it and How Do You Cultivate It?

Want to know the secret to not only attracting talented millennial employees to your company, but retaining them? Hint: it doesn’t involve installing a pool table, adding an on-site gym, or allowing them to bring their dogs to work.

No, if you want to attract the very best employees for your company and keep them for the long haul, you need to get serious about creating an employer brand.

An employer brand is the brand that speaks to your employees. It’s not aimed at the customer, but rather the people who work for you. It should definitely be aligned with your customer brand, but they serve different purposes. The employer brand is meant to both attract AND retain talented millennial employees.

So how do you go about cultivating your employer brand? Start by making sure you fulfill on the four things millennials want from their employers. Millennials want what we all want: to learn and grow, to work for an organization that is real and transparent, to have their managers and bosses offer great feedback so they can improve, and to do fulfilling work that gives them a sense of purpose and contribution. But what makes millennials different than other generations is that if these needs aren’t being met, they are much more willing to change jobs and go someplace else.

To illustrate how you can incorporate the things millennials want most from their workplace into your employer brand, take a look at how four top companies are getting it right with their employees:

 

How Google Provides Space for its Employees to Learn and Grow

You’ve probably heard of Google’s “20 Percent Time” policy. Google allows their employees one full day a week, or 20% of their paid work time, to work on a project of their own choosing that they’re passionate about. Now the project still has to be Google-related, but Google deliberately allows space for its employees to learn and grow. And what’s more, the 20 Percent Time policy isn’t just hollow words on a mission statement: it’s been embedded into their company culture and employer brand since 2004.

Now a 20 Percent Time policy might not be feasible for your company, but there are others ways you can create space for your employees to learn and improve. You can offer a mentorship program, have them take some online courses, or send them to a conference or workshop like Strengths & Story which teaches them about themselves and articulating and creating value for others. When you take an interest in your employees and their career development, you make it about others. And when you make it about others, you will win.

 

How Amazon Takes Authenticity Seriously

It’s hard to go a day without seeing Amazon in the news. The global giant has found a way to impact nearly every aspect of our lives by changing the way we shop for books, music, products, and even groceries. But Amazon isn’t quite the looming Big Brother figure it’s often made out to be. A 2017 study from Cohn & Wolfe named Amazon the most authentic brand in the US. And while that study was comprised of consumer feedback, a recent two-year study of Amazon employees from Kununu found that “Amazon’s employee satisfaction rate exceeds the national average in 12 categories”. Which is a big deal because some of the categories they were scored on include things like company culture, gender equality, and diversity. What this suggests is that the authentic consumer brand Amazon is putting out to the world is also consistent with their internal employer brand.

The fact is, millennials want to work for a company that walks the talk. They want you to be real with them. They want to know your plans for the company and what your vision is for their role within it. And they want to know that your public stance on gender equality, employee development, diversity, etc, isn’t just a sound bite. They want to know that their bosses and managers take that public stance into every interaction with their employees.

 

 

How Patagonia Uses Feedback to Drive Employee Performance Goals

Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and supplies giant, has over 1,500 employees at stores across the US. But to ensure they keep all of their stores working towards the same common objectives, they use a program called HighGround, which allows employees to set goals within the system and receive feedback from their managers on their workplace performance. The program is not required, employees opt-in to using it, but it has more than an 80% adoption rate among the company’s employees and of those, most report that they prefer this more streamlined system to the old ways of receiving feedback. And what has installing this system of feedback done for the company as a whole? Well, for the last three years, Patagonia has taken top 100 spots in the annual lists put together by Great Place to Work, was ranked #6 on the 2018 World’s Most Innovative Companies List, and continues to post annual revenue growth.

Having a system in place for your employees to set goals, receive guidance on reaching those goals, and get feedback from their managers and bosses is vitally important to your company’s overall success. After all, a company is only as good as the people within it – so invest in your people by providing a way for them to communicate and receive feedback! Make use of a program like HighGround. Have schedule quarterly performance reviews. And train your employees how to give and receive constructive feedback on a daily basis.

 

How GoFundMe Gives its Employees Purpose and Contribution

Since 2010, GoFundMe has grown to become one of the world’s most trusted fundraising platforms. Over 10,000 people start a GoFundMe on the site every day to raise money for everything from emergency medical bills to travel expenses to non-profit causes. To hear the transformative stories of real people who have been helped by these fundraisers, you need only listen to an episode or two of their new podcast, True Stories of Good People. So to say that the employees of GoFundMe get a sense of purpose and contribution from their work, isn’t a stretch. For a company like GoFundMe, it’s in their DNA and part of their employer brand.

While your company may not be directly transforming people’s lives the way GoFundMe does, you can still find a way to make purpose and contribution part of your employer brand. Regularly share your client testimonials with your employees. Encourage them to ask for immediate feedback from the consumers they help to experience the real-time effects of their work. Make giving part of your company culture by donating a portion of your profits to a non-profit. Set aside a day to volunteer as a company. Or encourage your employees to use their technical skills to give back to the community. Giving your employees a sense of purpose and contribution isn’t just reserved for social good companies like GoFundMe – you can and should make it part of your employer brand!

 

Need more help developing your employer brand? On March 27th, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into the employer brand during our webinar with Steven Bellach from Bottomline Marketing. Click here to register for the free webinar.

To Crush 2019, Build a Relationship with Yourself

Over the winter holiday, in a snow-covered house in the mountain town of Deer Valley, Utah, my family gathered for a week of skiing, eating delicious food, and spending time with great company. But it wouldn’t be a Negroni holiday if there wasn’t at least one spirited discussion about how to succeed at work and in life.

One evening, I had the pleasure of defending my position that building relationships is the most important life/work skill any employee or person could have. My host had a different viewpoint, firmly believing that technical skills were more important for success.

“Technical/schmecnical” I said, “Anyone who gets hired should have those basic skills, otherwise the company or hiring manager would be a moron.” To further back my stance, I pulled out my phone, and pulled up this Ted Talk on what makes a good life, by Harvard psychiatrist Robert Waldinger.

In my book, Chasing Relevance, I quoted key insights from the longest-running study on adult development. Directed by Waldinger, the study tracked the lives 700+ men over a period of seventy-five years. Every year, researchers checked in to ask about their work, home lives, health, and happiness.

What they discovered supported the idea that relationships are the most important thing in life: when you have better relationships with yourself and also with others, you’re happier, you live longer, and you even become more successful monetarily.

After we viewed the video clip, I continued to argue my point like only an ex-New York lawyer can and eventually my host capitulated.  He did have one additional question for me though: what relationship would I prioritize over all others on in 2019?

My real-deal, no-BS answer on how to achieve business success is simple. If you want to crush it (yes, that is a technical term) in 2019 then you need to learn how to build a relationship with yourself.

Yes, you. Really!

Your relationship with yourself is the primary relationship you need to focus on in 2019 and always.

Want to know why? Check out the rest of this article that was featured on GLG’s website. And if you need help building a better relationship with yourself, shoot us an e-mail at dan@launchbox365.com or call us at 858.314.9867.

Want to Have Your Best Year Yet? Lead With Gratitude

Our preliminary posts on being grateful and using gratitude have been insightful. One millennial friend told me that he started a gratitude journal that he completes nightly before bed and that he reminds his employees of the same daily.   Others just have said right on, or I agree, or, duh, who could argue.   Well of course in this world we will get some folks on insta or social arguing with us, but who cares, I believe gratitude leads to everywhere!   Do you? Well, do you want to have your best year yet? Start by leading with GRATITUDE in every interaction. Showing gratitude will take you further than almost any other skill you can master in life. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, valued, and important. And showing gratitude at the start of every conversation or interaction is a subtle way to make it about THEM.

In his 1936 classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie argues, “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language”. As humans, we are wired for self-preservation and self-interest. This has not changed from Carnegie’s time and it will not change in the future. We are programmed to look out for ourselves first and constantly be seeking to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” So when you use a person’s name, when you lead with a grateful thank you or explanation of what you mean to them, you appeal to their basic nature and you make it about them. And if you make it about them, you will win. Full stop.

But showing gratitude is not about being fake or inauthentic. Particularly if you’re dealing with millennials, the other person will know when you’re not being real with them. So, when you lead with gratitude, make sure you’re thanking them the right way with real deal, authentic expressions of how grateful you are to have them in your life.

In business and in life, most of the time you will find yourself interacting with people from one of the following three groups. It’s important to know how to properly express gratitude to these people, which will make a tremendous difference in your relationships. I challenge you to read through the examples below and start and/or end every conversation you have today with gratitude!

 

How to Show Gratitude to Your Peers

What better way to build trust than to build up a peer with genuine gratitude? Try stopping them in the hall and saying, “It is super rewarding to have you on my team because __________. I am glad we are working together on this project.” Or “I appreciate your friendship, especially the way you ____________. It means a lot to me knowing you have my back.”

When you show gratitude to a peer, they are likely to reciprocate. Perhaps not at first, especially if leading with gratitude is a bit new to them. But eventually, they will. And the cool thing about this is, particularly when it comes to peers, it can lead to new opportunities in the workplace or in life. Peers are one of your best resources to tap into for new job opportunities or to make new connections.

 

How to Show Gratitude to a Mentor

Mentors are mentors because by definition of the word, they get great benefit from teaching and helping others. So, if and when you let them know how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them, you make their day! It is amazing how many people say, ‘no’ or stare blankly, when I ask someone we are coaching if they actually let their mentor know what that person meant to them and the impact they have had.

The next time you get on the phone with or see your mentor in person, take a moment to express gratitude by saying “I want to tell you how much I appreciate your insight and advice, even if it’s not always what I want to hear. I am grateful to you for taking the time to invest in me, it does not go unnoticed.” I bet even the toughest mentor will be smiling from ear to ear when they hear that!

 

How to Show Gratitude to Your Employer or Boss

Bosses are people, too! Now, they hate kiss-ass stuff, we all do, but genuine feedback and gratitude for what a boss does for you will go a long way. Try saying “I am grateful to learn from you” or “Thank you for the assignment you gave me” or “Thank you for the feedback on that last project, I appreciate you taking the time to help me improve and do better”. These types of expressions of gratitude also show self-awareness and emotional intelligence (EQ), which are two of the most important life/work skills. And this type of gratitude further contributes to and helps build the relationship you have with your boss. Remember: your boss isn’t just the person who pays you. A boss can help you leverage opportunity within their organization and when you’re ready to move on, provide a great reference for you.

 

Try it. Notice the difference. And then make gratitude your M.O. Through practice and repetition, you will start to make gratitude a habit. And then you will win in the workplace and in life.

It’s Not About You, Or Is it?

“The highest type of ruler is one of whose existence the people are barely aware…When his task is accomplished and things have been completed, All the people say, ‘We ourselves have achieved it!'”
– The Tao te Ching

A Culture of Greatness

The San Antonio Spurs are an anomaly in the professional sports world. They have consistently finished their seasons at or near the top of the Western Conference in the NBA. Since the latest restructuring of the conferences in the NBA, 9 of 13 champions have come from the Western Conference. Until the current reign of the Golden State Warriors, the sort of success the San Antonio Spurs have had was unprecedented in the NBA [especially in the ultra-competitive Western Conference]. Coach Gregg Popovich has been a pillar of their success. Popovich is known for being silent and a bit aloof, often shying from media attention, preferring to give it to his players instead. After veteran Tim Duncan, a member of some of their most successful teams retired in 2016, Popovich said, “I would not be standing here if it were not for Tim Duncan.” While there are other elements to the Spurs success, Popovich’s desire to bestow praise on his followers [players] and challenge and empower his players to be their best are two great examples of giver leadership.

While giver leadership is an ancient philosophy, its inclusion into modern organizational structures is a revolutionary practice. Consider the rise of modern tech giants who create and foster a sense of collaboration, innovation, and have revolutionized the workplace (can link to an article on the site here). Many of them are celebrated for their open and non-hierarchical organizational structures which openly encourage followers to offer and execute on their ideas.

Giver leadership subverts the traditional model of leadership. Followers do not seek to serve the leader; the leader seeks to serve her or his followers. Through serving others, rather than having followers serve the leader, the followers, or employees, are empowered to create, work, and think with increased ingenuity and are given a sense of purpose and meaning. Purpose and meaning, both important aspects of work aligned with Millennial values, arises from the sense of freedom and empowerment given to employees to guide their own actions.

So, it’s obvious: giver leadership is all about others, right?

Wrong.

Giver leadership is all about you.

At least at first.

Because giver leadership starts with you.

Leading Others: It Starts with You

“To lead others, first lead yourself.”
– John Maxwell

When asked what his greatest challenge as a leader was, legendary leadership coach John Maxwell enthusiastically replied, “Leading me!” Self-management is often the most difficult job a leader is tasked with. However, effective self-management is essential to be an effective leader. If you effectively manage yourself, set a good example, others will line up to follow you. If you do not, others will hesitate to follow you.

Where does effective self-management begin?

With self-awareness.

What is Self-Awareness and how do we cultivate it?

Self-awareness is defined as “conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.” While knowing yourself seems like an easy enough thing to do – “I’m myself every day!” – deeply understanding your own motivations and desires, and where they arise from, can be very difficult. Despite its difficulty, self-awareness is an essential element of being an effective giver leader.

Self-awareness begins with identifying your strengths, your weaknesses, and understanding how those align with your team. To help you develop a deeper self-awareness, we created a tool to encourage self-inquiry. Once you begin to understand your strengths and how those empower your team to perform at its highest, you can begin to understand and articulate what’s in it for them, your followers.

A New Paradigm of Self-Awareness: The Rise of the Giver Leader

Giver leadership is, you guessed it, about giving. That’s why we call it giver leadership because it puts the focus on what we believe leadership is truly about: giving, providing value to others. Giver leadership transcends the selfishness and dictatorial nature of the old model of leadership.

The old model of leadership placed the leader at the top of the hierarchy. This causes followers to seek to appease the leader. Followers are not empowered as they act in the best interest of the leader in the hope that they please them. This behavior and organizational structure fosters an atmosphere and culture of distrust and selfishness. It asks, “What’s in it for me?” Instead, we should flip that and as an effective leader seek to ask, “What’s in it for them?”

WIFThem (What’s In it For Them?) articulates your values in a way that provides solutions and benefits for others. As a leader, understanding that it’s really about others, WIFThem, is the first step to empowering your followers. Though giver leadership may start with self-awareness, it ends with others.

Ends with Others: The Rise of the Giver Leader

In my book, Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace, I discuss how reframing your mindset from it being about you to how you can serve others through developing self-awareness is crucial for effective giver leadership. For example, I discuss how “We are good at solving client’s problems” – I-focused – becomes “We are curious and ask tough, insightful questions that push our clients” – other-focused. Through making this shift, we articulate the value that we can give to others. We create a culture of success, focused on constant innovation, collaboration, and improvement. These are essential to cultivating quality, meaningful relationships where everyone wins and, as we know from the Harvard study of happiness, that is the most important part of leading a happy, healthy life.

And, ultimately: Isn’t that what we’re all after?

Conclusion:

Giver leadership is about subverting the traditional, and now outdated, model of leadership. It places the leader at the bottom of the hierarchy and asks WIFThem – a model that seeks to empower followers to create, innovate, and function at their best. To understand what’s in it for others, we must seek to understand ourselves. To serve others, we must know ourselves.

We’ve created a tool to help.

Go to our site to find resources that will help you develop self-awareness and empower you and your team to win. https://launchbox365.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/WIFThemG%C3%87%C3%B6Whats-in-it-for-Them.pdf