Deepen Relationships and Improve Communication With Our GPS Communication Strategy

The workplace of the future may look a little different, but one thing that’s not changing? Humans. We will STILL matter. In fact, we will continue to matter more than ever.

Which means we have to find a way to connect, to get along with each other, and to communicate effectively. It doesn’t matter if your team works remotely, has different shifts, or spends all day inside a single shared space – relationships MATTER. 

My favorite exercise to deepen relationships and improve communication is something we at launchbox call our GPS Communication Strategy.

GPS stands for Gratitude, Permission, and Share Experience.

I’m going to break down what those three things actually mean (and how you use them in real conversations), but we’ve also got a great worksheet for you to download that goes along with this exercise. You can grab it by skipping down to the bottom. Or you can also follow along as I take you through our GPS Communication Strategy!

Gratitude

Begin by framing your conversation with gratitude. Communication is critical and gratitude is fundamental to having great conversations. Gratitude shows people that you care and that you have their back…even when you have to have a tough conversation with them. Perhaps most importantly, it gets them in the mood to start listening to you!

Sharing gratitude sounds like this:

-“I enjoyed having lunch with you.”

-“I found that advice you shared during our conversation the other day to be helpful.”

-“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to learn and grow in order to serve you and the team better.”

-“The way you handled that interaction with a customer was awesome!”

-“It means a lot to me that you made time to show me that trick with the new program.”

-Or just a simple “Thank you!”

Permission

Before you get to the tough stuff, make sure you ask permission. Asking permission to share your experience demonstrates respect and tells the other person that you really care about them. 99% of the time, they’ll say yes without hesitation

Now the #1 thing I hear when I share this strategy with a room full of executives and managers is, “Dan, if I’m a boss why would I ever have to ask permission?”

And there’s a couple reason why you want to do that. Besides demonstrating respect and showing that you care about the person, it cedes a little bit of control to them. When they feel like they have more control, they’ll be a little more comfortable with what comes next. And it sets the listener up to really hear you!

Asking permission sounds like this:

-“Would it be okay if we discussed what happened yesterday afternoon now?”

-“I want to help you grow and deliver value to our customers. Can we go over a few things?”

-“Are you open to some feedback on your presentation?”

Share Experience

Okay, now it’s time for the tough stuff. Start by assuming positive intent (API) on the part of the other person and make sure that what you have to say is delivered without judgment. Stick to the facts, don’t make any assumptions about what was going on in the other person’s head, and make sure you deliver the message clearly.

One way to do this is to describe the situation and what you observed or experienced. Another way you can do this is to share a story of when you felt the same way and what you learned from it. 

Share experience sounds like this:

-“I’ve been able to experience your mentorship in this particular way – is that the way you wanted to come across?”

-“What you just said to me came across as harsh. Did you mean it that way?”

Have you used the GPS Communication Strategy in the workplace or at home? Let us know in the comments below. And if you haven’t grabbed our free worksheet designed to help you have great, other-focused conversations, just fill out the form below to get your copy!

Want a little help implementing this with your team? Reach out to us – we love working with companies and teams to help them bridge the gap and build connection!

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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Why Workplace Stress is a Worldwide Epidemic That Prevents Us From Being Happy at Work

In America, we’re famous for working. Working long days with little time off and taking pride in it. So it should come as no surprise that many of our employees are overworked, stressed out, and burned out. And it’s costing us dearly in terms of lost wages, lost productivity, and lost impact. According to a study from Mental Health America, almost 70% of workers reported missing some days at work each month due to stress. But it turns out that workplace stress isn’t just an American problem: it’s a world problem.

Take this recent article from The Atlantic, which explores stress and depression in the Japanese workplace. While work has grown more global and connected us in ways we could never have imagined, it’s also caused a clash of cultures. And it has forced rapid change on both sides of the generational divide.. Which leaves a generation of workers in Asia who are being forced to assert their opinions and establish themselves as individuals without ever having gained the skills to do so. In essence, they are suffering the “consequences of a nation transitioning from a culture of collectivism, in which they have to accept their rank within a family, to a capitalistic workplace where they have to forge their own path.”

For the last year, I’ve been fortunate to travel to Singapore many times to conduct in-person training workshops for a client. I’ve met many wonderful, talented, and bright Millennials and Gen Z employees over the course of my travels in Singapore. And I’ve also experienced firsthand how the challenges facing the worker of the future don’t just exist inside the bounds of the United States.

Technology is changing absolutely everything about the way we live and work. And one of the primary ways it’s changing the workplace is that it’s putting increasing emphasis on employees as individuals. It’s not enough to follow the rules, blend into the crowd, and get the job done. Now we’re told we need to bring our best selves to work every single day, exceed expectations always, and find ways to stand out from our co-workers. That creates massive amounts of anxiety as we question if we’ll actually be able to keep up with the pace of change, if we’ll have the skills necessary to compete and succeed in the future, and if what we’re doing actually matters anyway.

After training more than 20,000 Millennial and Gen Z employees and their managers around the world, we’ve come up with a 3-hack system employers can use to combat the crushing wave of workplace anxiety:

1. Turn Your Workplace Upside Down

Start anywhere, but principally at the bottom and actually talk to your employees. Find out what they’re struggling with, what they need help with, and come up with a plan to support them as individuals. Remember that one size doesn’t fit all so take the time to talk to each employee one-on-one or at least do a survey. Demonstrate you care by listening and asking great questions.

2. Create Meaningful Work

While all work isn’t necessarily meaningful, make sure your employees understand how their assignments and role fits into the larger picture of the company. Make sure they know why something is being done and what goal is being served. Make sure they stay connected to the vision of where the company is going and the impact you’re having on the world around you. And help them grow – that is meaningful at its core to them.

3. Reskill Your Employees on the Basics/Emotional Intelligence

While we can’t control what the future world of work will look like, make sure you’re providing your employees with opportunities to grow and develop crucial, transferrable skills like emotional intelligence. As technology continues to shift the landscape of our world, we know people are going to matter more than ever. Make sure you’re supporting your employees to become better, more empathetic humans.

To learn more about our 3-hack system to guarantee workplace success, click here to read our recent blog.

As an employer, you’ve got to figure out how to help your employees relieve workplace stress. It costs you too much in terms of lost labor, employee turnover, and poor productivity to continue to allow your employees to fight it out on their own.

Need some help? Reach out to us to schedule an exploratory call with one of our experienced coaches!

5 Steps to Keep the Multi-Generational Workplace Human

With the increased digitization of our businesses, it’s easy for employees to start feeling isolated and forgotten, like they just don’t matter. Where we previously had to pick up the phone or walk across the office if we wanted to talk to one another, now we can communicate with just a couple keystrokes. Where co-workers previously spent all day sitting in adjacent cubicles, now team members can be spread across the city, country, or even the world.

While technology has allowed us to work faster and more efficiently, it’s also contributed to higher levels of stress and anxiety among workers. Because as technology has changed the way we work, we’ve kind of forgotten the most important element: the people.

So if you care about keeping your humans happy (and you should because happier employees are more productive and successful at work) make sure you’re taking these five steps to keep your multi-generational workplace human:  

Communicate Like a Human

We have the power of speech for a reason: to communicate! So instead of texting your employees, actually pick up the phone and call them (yes, even your Millennial and Gen Z employees). Or better yet, drop by their desk and have a real conversation complete with facial cues and body language. Yes, it’s inefficient and yes, it might not be the most productive use of time, but real human communication is essential to forming better relationships and bridging the gap in the multi-generational workforce. Which brings me to my next point:

Face Time Not FaceTime

You’ve got to encourage your people to have meaningful face-to-face interactions. That means coming out from behind the computer screen and planning regular in-person meetings, going to lunch, or grabbing coffee together. As a boss or manager, one of the most valuable things you can do is plan one-on-one meetings with each of your employees. And when you’ve met with them all, go back and start over again.

Provide Individualized Mentoring for Career Success

One thing we hear over and over again from the young Millennial and Gen Z employees we coach and train is that they want personalized mentorship from their bosses and managers. They don’t want to feel like just another cog in the machine. They want individualized support to help them learn, grow, and achieve their career goals. As we previously discussed, mentoring and coaching is the new leadership development training. So make sure you’re giving all your employees the right support and not just a one-size-fits-all solution.

Encourage Work-Life Balance

Work is a big part of our lives. But it’s not our whole life. So encourage your employees to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Don’t give them grief if they ask to leave early to catch their kid in a school play or need to come in late because their dog got sick. If they’re not feeling well, tell them to stay home and rest even if you’re in the middle of a big project. Tell them to have a great vacation and actually mean it. Respect your employees enough to trust that the work will still get done.

Show You Care

Our #1 tip for keeping the multi-generational workplace human? Show your employees you care. Take an interest in their lives. Ask how their weekend was, how their spouse is doing, what their kids are up to. And then actually listen to the answers. Say “Thank You” and “Good Job!” Get to know them as people and demonstrate that you really care.

 

Keeping the workplace human in the age of technology isn’t hard. It just takes conscious effort and systems that are designed to encourage it. If you’re struggling to provide a human workplace that keeps your employees engaged, reach out to us. We’ve developed systems and frameworks you can implement in your multi-generational organization to make sure you’re meeting the needs of your people. Click here to schedule a discovery call with one of our high-performance coaches!

Coaching and Mentoring is the New Leadership Development Training, But How Do You Create That System?

In our launchbox laboratory, we’ve had the pleasure of training and coaching more than 12,000 millennial and Gen Z employees – the workers of the future. And one thing we’ve noticed from working with this group? They want mentoring and coaching on-demand. Not old school leadership development training and conferences. They are hungry to learn, but they want it on their terms.  And they want you to really show them all the rules and systems.

As a business owner or manager, it’s your job to turn your organization upside down, listen to what your people want, and then give it to them. Start now and understand that if coaching and mentoring is the new leadership development training (and we think it is!) how do you give your employees more of what they want and less of what they don’t want?  And, under terms they will understand and be able to adopt with the new training?

Allow Them to Seek Out Their Own Mentors

You may have your own coach or training program that resonates with you. Which is great. But don’t expect that what works for you will work for everyone on your team. Yes you should send them to conferences and workshops you believe will benefit them. But if your employee comes to you about an event they’d like to attend, let them. Trust me, your people are smarter than you probably give them credit for. If they’re self-motivated enough to find a mentor they like and want to learn from, the best thing you can do is have their back. Give them what they think they need to crush performance for you. And then get out of the friggin’ way!

Embrace On-the Spot Coaching in the Workplace

Do you keep a mental checklist of all the things you want to talk to your employees about at their next performance review? Here’s a radical idea: instead of saving your feedback for a formal review, embrace on-the-spot coaching. If one of your people does something wrong or something you don’t like, correct them right there and then. Don’t wait for an arbitrary date on the calendar. And if they do something you DO like, make sure you tell them about it! Don’t keep it a secret!

Make Space for Personal Development During the Work Day

Did you know that the average worker only has only 24 minutes per week to learn something new? That’s a new skill, new technology, or new tools for their own development. So as a boss, help them out. Rather than leaving it up to them to get the mentoring and coaching they need outside of work, allow space for it during the workday. If they need to leave a little early to go to their networking group or if they can only do calls with their coach at 1pm on Wednesdays, let them. Don’t just tell them you care about them and have their back, show them!

Develop a Practice of Open and Transparent Communication

You owe it to your people to be honest with them not only about their current job performance, but about their career goals too. If you know that one of your employees eventually wants a management position or that they’d like to move to a new team or department, be transparent with them about what it’s going to take to get there and help them if you can. Yes, even if that means they may eventually leave you. When you demonstrate that you care and you show up for people in the way that they need, they’re going to want to give you their best for as long as they’re with you.

 

Want help providing coaching and mentoring opportunities for your employees? Reach out to us – we can help! And if you’re local in San Diego, send your team to one of our upcoming Strengths & Story workshops.

Coaching and Teaching Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: Why it Matters and How to Achieve Success!

IQ, AQ, SQ, EQ…there are so many acronyms that get thrown around in business. And, yes, when it comes to developing the high performing worker of the future, the one you most need to know is EQ, which stands for emotional intelligence.

According to the World Economic Forum, emotional intelligence is one of the top ten most in-demand skills listed by employers. It even beat out such stalwart skills as negotiation and service orientation. And there’s a reason why emotional intelligence is ranked so highly – in this changing world of work where technology and automation are rapidly shifting the landscape around us, people who can connect with themselves and connect with others will win. 100% guaranteed.

But before we dive into the increasing importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace and how you coach it in your employees, we need to first start by defining it.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Generally speaking, EQ or emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions and those of others. The term was created by two researchers, Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, and later popularized by a book of the same name by David Golemon.

According to Golemon, there are five components that make up a person’s emotional intelligence:

-Self-Awareness

-Self-Regulation

-Internal Motivation

-Empathy

-Social Skills

These five components work together to determine how you relate to yourself and others. Some people are naturally predisposed to score higher on assessments that test components of emotional intelligence, while others struggle to relate.

But one of the great things about emotional intelligence is that it can be developed and increased. It’s not a fixed data point. With the right tools and strategies, you can increase your skills and “xFluence” those around you to do the same.

Why Does Emotional Intelligence Matter?

We are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution. Technology is rapidly advancing and things like A.I., machine learning, automation, predictive analytics, and more are forcing our work to change and evolve. According to The McKinsey Global Institute, as many as 375 million people around the world will need to change occupational categories by 2030 due to automation

So what does that mean for us? It means we need to increasingly focus on the human element: the worker of the future! Research proves that since the beginning of time and forever, it’s the people that will matter in this new world of work and we need to find a way to make them more human. Success requires new skills that teach all employees how to actively connect with themselves and own who they are so they can connect with and manage those around them. It’s the only way.

How Do You Coach Emotional Intelligence?

If emotional intelligence will matter more than ever in the future, how do you develop it in the employees you have now? How do you coach them to be their best selves so they can show up and crush it for you at work?

First, you’ve got to find a way to connect. HACK 1: Start by turning your organization upside down and finding out who your employees are and what they need from you. When you listen, when you look for opportunities to form a connection, and when you model that behavior in everything you do, you will xFluence those around you to do the same.

Next, encourage self-awareness by creating a safe workplace environment free from politics and bs. Support your employees in being vulnerable and sharing their truth. They have to be able to connect to who they are inside to be able to connect to others – including your customers. Encourage your employees to get vulnerable and do the work of increasing their own self-awareness.

Finally, put in the really hard work and engage in workplace mentoring and coaching. Obviously to do that, you have to first invest in yourself to increase your own emotional intelligence. But if you do enough work on yourself, you’ll soon be able to identify where those around you are struggling. Coach and mentor them on the spot. Today’s employees relish constructive feedback delivered in an informal manner so don’t wait for your next quarterly review to offer advice!

Doing the work to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace is simple but it isn’t easy. And it’s especially not easy when you have a whole team of people that needs improvement if your company is going to make it.

That’s where we come in. Click here to schedule your free introductory coaching session with us today. We offer both individual and team coaching to help you succeed in the future world of work.

3 Hacks to Guarantee Success in the Multi – Generational & Diverse Workplace

What does it take to really bridge the gap in the multi-generational workplace? To transcend age, culture, diversity, and experience? To overcome everything that pulls us apart in order to pull teams together and crush it in the workplace?

We’ve spent the last four years exploring those questions. Along the way we’ve had the privilege of training more than 20,000 millennials and their employers. We’ve talked to audiences around the world in all different kinds of industries.

And what we realized is this: there is a system that can GUARANTEE multi –generational workplace success!

The best part? It’s pretty dang simple.

Hack  1: Turn Your Workplace Upside Down

You need to lead by providing value to others. And in order to provide value to others, you’ve got to listen, learn about what matters to them, and find a way to connect and serve them.

So when it comes to your employees, you’ve got to turn your workplace upside down. Instead of applying a top-down approach to your people, giving orders, and guessing what will make them happy, you’ve got to start at the bottom and friggin’ talk to them! Ask them about what they want from you, their manager, and their job. And then find a way to give it to them.  Make them matter and feel safe.  In case you haven’t realized it, you really work for them anyway.

Hack 2: Create Meaningful Work

No matter what industry you’re in, you’ve got to make sure your employees have meaningful work. Because in order to be engaged they have to connect themselves to the meaning of their work.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re saving lives or selling widgets. You’ve got to give your employees work that means something to them! And if they can’t see that meaning for themselves, it’s up to you to show it to them. Paint the picture of why it matters. Show them that their task, no matter how boring, tedious, or insignificant it seems, makes a difference and has an impact. And let them in on the wins!

P.S. the biggest way you can win is to train, grow, coach, and mentor them to get better to create more impact.  Self-growth allows them to draw a connection to the work that created it – and makes their work meaningful!

Hack 3:  Reskill Your People from the Inside/Out (on Emotional Intelligence)

As a boss, as a manager, it’s up to you to coach your people to be their very best. And one of the best ways to help them is to reskill them on emotional intelligence. We call it connection currency.  According to a recent study from the World Economic Forum, emotional intelligence is one of the top ten most in-demand skills listed by employers. And with good reason! As our workplace increasingly becomes dominated by technology, people matter more than ever. So make sure your employees have the skills to successfully connect with their bosses, their coworkers, and your customers.

Want to learn more about our 3-hack system and how it can work for you?  Shout  out to us – we can help you bridge the gap with your employees to CRUSH performance in the workplace today and in the future!

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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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!