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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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4 Ways to Coach Millennials to Drive Results and Engagement

If there is one take away from the Presidential Election and all the recent media coverage, we need to “de-polarize” the biggest challenge to your workplace – Millennial Employee and Customer Engagement.  The critical steps for healing the disconnect starts from controlling ourselves. Working on becoming our “best self” by working from the inside out (it all starts from within).

It wasn’t until the first time I spent the day with my dad at launchbox, watching him walk around and engage with the team and the space, that I realized how amazing it feels to create and be a part of a business where I can be 100 percent me (my authentic self) and own it.

In every job, I have ever had before I started launchbox, I played “the game” and suppressed at least a part of who I was for what I thought, or “they” thought, I was supposed to be and do. I found it limiting, and thus my ego flared. I never saw the wisdom in being any other way. Today, I am responsible and accountable to myself for empowering everyone I connect to and with everything I touch.

I get to be the jolter and stimulator, the coach, the mentor, and learner all in one. It does not get better than that.

Does that mean my ego is gone today? Hardly. I’m still (a little) vain and drive an expensive car and love my watch du jour. But I appreciate the relationships I have. I value meaningful connections, making it about others, and the power to create and work with next-gen/millennials to both lead and be led by me and my team, because we are mastering learning to work from the inside out.

I was careless before. Today, I choose to care more. And I’m intense about it, especially when it comes to empower­ment. Unlike others, we don’t just talk about it.  Our system solves the challenge by delivering real and immediate connections between managers and next generation (millennial) leaders and customers.

How?  We customize and facilitate special training events and one-on-one coaching for organizations large and small. We strive to empower people to succeed 24/7 and expect empowerment from them in return—we study it, live it, teach it, technologize it, and love it.

 What are you doing to de-polarize your workplace?  If you are in the majority, you don’t have a plan.  How are you empowering and engaging your employees to be successful? Are they connected, engaged and empowered so you can do your job successfully? When you can answer these questions with a resounding “Yes!” you have empow­ered success by empowering your employees to develop a culture that you can be proud of.

Here are 4 ways used by some of our most successful clients to reinforce empowerment and heal the disconnect in the workplace:

 

  1. Focus on individual growth. Manage each person differently, align tasks with employee competencies, focus on and help employees develop their strengths, and create a system to identify high-potential employees, challenge them, and create growth opportunities.

 

  1. Pave the road by ensuring your millennials have what they need to be successful. Make sure delegation and creating trust are givens, and make them want your job. Make future advancement opportunities transparently available.

 

  1. Give Feedback 365: Now! Always! Do it daily and never stop. Provide and ask for regular feedback on performance. Be specific and listen.

 

  1. Recognize and celebrate in a fun, creative, and interactive team culture that empowers more success and recognition. Do it for short-term wins, individual contributions, and team successes, in a public way.

 

It took a long time for me to truly understand how to put these four pieces together to empower individuals and myself to be better. When it works? It is beautiful. When it doesn’t? It is still fun just trying to do things the right way. Yes, I said fun. This can and should be fun.

Leadership today is never easy. It’s filled with contradictions, just like millennials themselves. We can’t ever reconcile those contradictions so … enable them! Create a culture of disruption and transparent learning—an environment where authentic communication and education also mean calling everyone (yes, yourself included) on their shit.

Get out of your own way and ask yourself: What can I do tomorrow to start doing those four things to empower my culture and employees to suc­ceed – to develop a culture that everyone can be proud of and that empowers everyone (including you) to do their jobs successfully?

If not now when? Let us help you stop chasing relevance and make it happen.  Our CEO and Founder, Dan Negroni, will be in New York at the end of the month on his Millennial Speaking Tour. He is so passionate about this issue; he wants to meet you and hear about your challenges and help solve them on the spot.  For more on the power of relationships, check out Part One of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace TODAY

 

 

 

Maximize Your Millennials As Next-Generation Leaders

This article was originally published on Forbes by Tony DiCostanzo



 

Author and launchbox founder Dan Negroni says millennials aren’t the problem; chances are, the trouble is with how you’re managing them.

By now you probably heard the rumor: The reason the workplace is in deep trouble is because of millennials—you know, those young folks that are frequently maligned as entitled, disloyal, lazy, disinterested, and who make terrible employees.

But is that really true? Are millennials a problem that need to be solved or an opportunity that should be embraced?

Leadership coach and author Dan Negroni suggests the latter. In his book, Chasing Relevance: Six Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace, Negroni argues that it’s high time we start valuing millennials for their fresh viewpoints and strengths, including intelligence, innovation, curiosity, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

This isn’t just a feel-good exercise. As the largest generation in our history, millennials make up 2.4 billion of the world population. They represent 40 percent of today’s workforce (and over 73% of BookPal’s employees), growing to 75 percent of the workforce in the next 10 years. They are the biggest and most powerful customer group today. They are our kids, our workers, and our future.  So if you want your business to succeed, you need to figure out how to bridge the gap to attract, engage and retain the next generation of leaders.

The good news is that closing the generation gap will not only benefit your millennials, Negroni says, but it will help you, your business, and all of your employees thrive.

I had the opportunity to sit with Dan to discuss his top six strategies for getting started.

1.  Stop whining and start caring

People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. So care! It is a basic human tenet. We need to focus less on complaining and ffinger-pointingand focus more on building relationships.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development, conducted over the course of 75 years, concluded that if done right, relationships are essential to human happiness and “will positively affect your health, longevity and quality of a successful life, including your economic success.”

Millennials understand this, but they just haven’t been taught how to best develop these relationships, especially in the workplace. 60 percent consider themselves entrepreneurs, with 90 percent recognizing entrepreneurship as a culture in itself. Almost 67 percent of millennials want to own their own business someday. Yet the rest of us are saying, “I don’t get it. How can we all be the boss, and, if so, then who will do all the work?”

We have to remember that there is magic where youth and experience meet, and that magic has existed since the beginning of time. It doesn’t have to be a power struggle in which we expect millennials to conform to outdated modes of working. If we start busting myths about millennials and understand what they individually want, we can start building the solid relationships that lead to success.

2. Be authentic and stand for something unique

All great brands and companies stand for something distinctive. Millennials want to be a part of greatness. Employers like Nike, Google, and Uber get that. Millennials want to work for companies that reflect who they are. It’s no surprise that Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign widely resonates with millennials.

It’s imperative that we figure out how our business values match those of our millennials. We have to be authentic, because millennials are smart and they see right through the fluff.  At BookPal, we established a Cause Committee, comprised of employees from all departments to clarify the company’s purpose.  Clearly defining BookPal’s cause has united the staff in new ways and given them purpose beyond just selling books.

Millennials are deciding which businesses live or die: Consider Blockbuster versus Netflix, or the shopping mall versus Amazon, or hotels versus Airbnb.

Economists predict that 75 percent of the S&P 500 will be replaced over the next 10 years. It’s companies like Google, Starbucks, Nike, Apple, Disney, Levi’s, and other brands that tell and sell powerful stories that attract both customers and employees. These companies know who they are and how to communicate that to the world, thus sustaining and growing their business models.

3. Own your stuff

One of Dan’s favorite sayings is “What happens to you is because of you.” Real power comes from teaching an overindulged and “trophied” generation that they too should take responsibility for their actions. How? By example. To make your relationships with millennials stronger, you need to make yourself stronger first. Fulfill your duty to be the best manager possible and take accountability for yourself, your actions and your results.

4. Make them opt in

Today’s business climate is extraordinarily tough and competitive, requiring more creativity, innovation, and better leadership than ever before. Remember that millennials want to be their best. They want responsibility and to help in a purposeful and meaningful way. Hold millennials to their own standards. While setting clear expectations, remind them that they control the trajectory of their career. Allow them to test concepts and fail without judgment, giving constructive feedback along the way, but only if they want it. If your millennials are truly uninterested in doing the work, let them go. Encourage and demand the opt-in, all while demonstrating that the relationship is a two-way street.

5. Get on the same page

Define and align your purpose transparently and create individual, team, and company-wide goals. Communicate and regularly revisit these goals and why they exist. Millennials need to understand “the why” to be inspired. Yes, they like to celebrate successes like all of us, but also like all of us, they just want to know, as best as possible, what road they are on, where it’s going, and what is expected of them.

Involve your employees in ensuring that everyone in your organization is on the same page. Every time you want to open your mouth to tell them what to do, instead pivot, asking them what they would do. Collaborate. Understand that we learn more about relationships from asking questions than any other method. These same techniques are also required for good marriages and successful parenting. It’s no different in the workplace.

6. Mentor like a coach

Coaches learn early on that each individual is unique, and if they want to lead, bond, and win as a team, they must respect each individual’s differences. Whether it’s your salespeople, engineers, or accountants, all of whom have different purposes, they all share the same desire to be recognized for their individual strengths along with the strengths of the team.

How often do you even think about your team and how to get results from each individual on his or her terms? Chances are not enough. The more you work on leveraging the strengths of your individual team members, the better your employees will respond.

Launch Your Plan Now

Studies show that 30 percent of organizations lose 15 percent or more of their millennial workforce annually, and it can cost companies up to $25,000 to replace each millennial. And only 22.9 percent of organizations have a plan in place to engage millennials and future generations. It’s time to step up.

By creating genuine connections in your workplace, you’ll foster a collaborative environment that empowers your employees to be accountable, focus on results and deliver value.

We know our ability to attract, train, manage, and retain this next generation of leaders is critical to the future success of our businesses. Let’s create results by caring more—not being careless.

 

Interested in learning more about bridging the gap between millennials and managers? Here’s your chance! Grab your copy of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace.

Are You a Servant Leader?

Is your organization built for servant leadership? This business philosophy can change the way you do business from the top down, allowing you to create a stronger company and a more inclusive work environment. Here’s how you can recognize if your organization will support servant leadership, and how you can establish this innovative system.

What is servant leadership?

Servant leadership is a set of business practices that allows leaders to establish meaningful connection with their staff, improving their morale, productivity, and engagement. To accomplish this, servant leaders set aside their own ambition and adopt a “serve first” mentality.

They ensure that the needs of their staff are met, whether that’s a more comfortable work environment, personal and professional development opportunities, and well-being exercises. Servant leaders share their power and promote the spread of ideas and the inclusion of every voice in the organization.

Is your organization ready?

One of the big things that can get in the way of servant leadership is your company’s culture. Does your organization prioritize a corporate structure or performance-based recognition? In these structures, it can be difficult for leaders to elevate others to a shared leadership position, or encourage development for traditionally overlooked staff members.

Another area that can be examined is how your company identifies and encourages leadership candidates. Do they target aggressively ambitious candidates or those who are more inclined to help others before themselves? This can be a strong indicator of whether or not your organization will be accepting of this philosophy.

How to become a servant leader

If your company is open to servant leadership, you can work to develop some of the best practices of this modern philosophy. Larry C. Spears, former president of the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, wrote the 10 most important characteristics of servant leaders, including:

  1. Listening
  2. Empathy
  3. Healing
  4. Awareness
  5. Persuasion
  6. Conceptualization
  7. Foresight
  8. Stewardship
  9. Commitment to the growth of people
  10. Building community

An individual with the drive to become a servant leader can adapt these capabilities if they don’t come naturally. For instance, leaders can make a conscious effort to listen and empathize with others in the workplace. Hold training sessions and establish mentorships to encourage the development of a “serve-first” mentality among upper management.

Servant leadership isn’t right for every organization. Determine if it’s right for yours by examining your corporate culture and existing leadership structures. If it is, work on developing leadership qualities among your managers and adopting the philosophies of servant leadership throughout ever level of your organization.

The Unexpected Path to Great Leadership

A lot of thought has gone into what makes a great leader, but it isn’t always traits like ambition and creativity that come into consideration. In fact, the way leaders view the goals and aspirations of their employees can be as telling as their personal characteristics.

Managers who honor the aspirations of their staff—even if those aspirations may be unrealistic or impossible—have what it takes to become a great leader. Here is why you should care about the dreams and ideas of your staff, and how this can impact your potential as a leader.

Managers as Role Models

As a manager, you hold a lot of influence over your staff, both in what they do and how they think.  If an employee expresses a career goal or an idea they have, how you react has the potential to affect their optimism and their long-term plans.  So instead of shooting down an idea, take the time to get to know your employee and understand the motivations that are driving this idea.

The better you know your staff, the more able you are to provide insight and advice when it comes to their aspirations.  They’ll trust your opinion and show more respect for your leadership if you take the time to discuss their plans.  As a result, you’ll be more able to inspire action and innovation and will be a more effective leader over all.

Finding Value in Aspirations

When your staff members have ambitious and long-term goals, these can benefit your company as well as the employee.  In pursuit of their ambitions, they likely want to develop or improve their skills and branch out into new areas of expertise.  If you offer training or professional development incentives, you’ll have a more talented, productive team and a more competitive organization as a whole.

Even if you don’t have the budget for training or development courses, you can honor your employees’ aspirations by offering them the opportunity to take on new roles within the organization.  Do you have a customer service rep who has an interest in IT? Give them the chance to shadow your IT staff or try their hand at small tasks.  Similarly, if some of your employees have the goal of becoming managers, you can slowly increase their responsibilities and allow them to learn managerial skills on the job.

Honoring the career goals of your employees can allow you to grow your skills as a leader, and it can also greatly benefit your company in the long run. You’ll develop a talented, motivated staff that values your role as a leader and looks forward to their future with your company.

 

Leadership Training

As Baby Boomers age out of the workforce, millennials are beginning to take their place as a new generation of leaders. This can have unexpected consequences for employers as their legacy workers leave, taking years of experience and knowledge with them. Is your company prepared for this big change? More importantly, are your millennial employees prepared to fill the shoes of senior employees?

Recognize Strengths & Weakness

While these two generations shared a work space, they benefited from a combined cultural intelligence that helped meet the demands of their company. But now that Baby Boomers are heading into retirement, employers must take a close look at the strengths and weaknesses of each of these demographics, and how that dynamic might change without its senior staff.

Millennials are often referred to as “digital natives,” given the prominence of technology in their day to day lives. This fluency in new technology brings a lot to the table, but it may come up lacking when a situation calls for experience over technical know-how. Generation Y employees are fast learners, however, so there are ways around this growing problem.

Plan for Leadership Training

If they haven’t retired already, your older employers are likely beginning to plan for their final years with your company. This window of time can be a valuable opportunity for getting your millennial staff up to speed. There are two ways you can take advantage of Baby Boomer knowledge and experience.

  1. Establish leadership training programs. Your tenured staff have built up a large repertoire of industry knowledge and practical skills that help them accomplish their goals. Give them a platform for sharing their ideas by providing group training, seminars, and other skill-building opportunities for younger generations. This will give your seasoned staff the ability to impart their accumulated knowledge on their peers, while offering newer employees insight into the information they need to build successful careers.
  1. Promote mentorships within the company. One-on-one pairings not only provide opportunities for your employees to get to know one another, but it also gives them more focused feedback on their professional experience. If there’s a particular area that they struggle with, or if they’re interested in gaining a unique skill, they can express these interests to their mentor who can then guide them through the learning process. These relationships can be enriching and rewarding for both parties

The departure of your Baby Boomers doesn’t have to spell disaster for your company. If you recognize the gap between skill and experience and take steps to close that gap, you’ll not only have a healthy company after the coming retirement wave, but your millennial employees will be well-rounded, talented, and ready to take on any challenges that come their way.

Opportunity looks like hard work!!

The new mantra for millennials.   Don’t feel like a fraud.  Focus on yourself and make good with these lessons.   Opportunity looks a lot like hard work.  Work hard, pay your dues and dedicate yourself to taking the steps to where you need to get.  Being sexy is being smart.  Continue to learn each day and push yourself to be better.  Be thoughtful and generous.  The world is your oyster.  Push boundaries and work hard.  Build your own life, always be sexy and live your own life.    A lot like George Bernard Shaw’s advice who says “life in not about finding yourself it is about creating yourself.”  Millennials are most gifted to do this: it is who you are.   My advice at launchbox is what happens to you is because of you.  Have at it.

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