Friday, December 30, 2011

Can Introverts Lead?

Given that society seems to correlate outgoing personality with leadership ability, many introverts question in silence if they'll ever be considered for leadership positions, and if they were, would they even make good leaders.

I recall in a session I was conducting, couple of introverts asked me if they should just stick to technical work since they are introverts.  And another one of my blog readers who is an introvert recently wrote to me saying that it seems organizations consider extroverts more talented. 

As I see it, introverts can and do lead, and they can do it well.  In fact, in today's turbulent rapidly changing times, I believe introverts bring a sense of calmness which is so in need.  Furthermore, according to Jennifer Kahnweiler, author of The Introverted Leader, nearly 40% of leaders actually are introverted.  While this is good to know, as many of my blog readers are introverts, I wanted more information to share here as to why introverts too can and do make great leaders. 

With that said, I refer here to an article that was published in the June 2004 issue of Harvard Business Review.  Article entitled is "What Makes a Leader?" by Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More then IQ.  In the article, Goleman shares 5 key skills that enable leaders to maximize their own and their followers' performance.  He also states that when leaders posses these characteristics, they outperform those who don't, regardless of their personality type.

These 5 skills, along with how Goleman defines them, are:
  1. Self-awareness: Knowing one's emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drivers, values, and goals-and their impact on others. 
  2. Self-Regulation: Controlling or redirecting disruptive emotions and impulses.
  3. Motivation: Being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.
  4. Empathy: Considering others' feelings, especially when making decisions.
  5. Social Skills: Managing relationships to move people in desired directions.
I believe you will agree that possessing these is certainly far less a matter of one's personality type and instead more to do with one's own development.  With that said, again, introverts can and do lead.  So for you introverts, take heart and stop doubting your leadership abilities.  If you possess skills such as those listed above, you too can lead.  And if you don't have these just yet, you can certainly work towards developing them. 

Having said the above, it's point number 5, social skills, where many introverts tend to be challenged.  In the coming year I will share some simple tips that are easy to apply and yet very effective in further developing social skills and through it building strong relationships.  So be keeping a look out for these upcoming posts.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Can Introverts Sell?

Having read my post "Selling for Introverts", a senior level professional at a well known US institution recently shared with me that she is being considered for a promotion, and that position will require her to drive revenue growth as part of her role, i.e. sell.  Given her introverted nature, she asked if I thought she could be successful in such a role.  She was experiencing self-doubt and wondered if an extrovert would be better suited for the role.  

In our society, sales is traditionally viewed as a role for those with outgoing personalities.  Yet I believe introverts too can and do succeed in sales.  The real question to me is: In which types of sales and sales environments are introverts likely to be more effective and more successful, for both themselves and their organizations?  I will answer this question in this post.

To use the classic metaphor, there are two types of sales environments.  First type is in which one is required to possess excellent hunting skills and in the other farming.  Thus, two types of sales people, the hunter and the farmer.

In an organization where sales success depends on hunting, that is you "eat what you kill", I would not recommend it for introverts.  In these situations, one has to be in essence constantly "Dialing-for-Dollars", be on the go searching and hunting for deals.  Here you close one deal and then move onto finding your next one.  It's endless. Sales in such environments tend to be very transactional, relatively simple from complexity view point, and with little opportunity for reoccurring revenue.  For example, think selling life insurance, vacuum cleaners, driveway sealing.

If however the sales position is within an organization that meets the following criteria, then it's a great fit for introverts.  These criteria include:
  • Solutions are complex, requiring in depth subject matter expertise
  • Success depends on cultivating and building long-term relationships
  • Markets are highly targeted
  • Sales once made turn into reoccurring revenue
  • Opportunities exist to implement multiple solutions within clients organizations
  • Achieving success requires long-term mindset and one that is focused on providing solutions to complex problems rather than selling simple products
  • Organization supports, and even actively encourages, your being active in groups such as associations that represent your target markets, publishing articles, speaking at conferences, conducting workshops
If you're an introvert and are contemplating a career in sales, or you are in a position that requires you to sell as part of your role, ensure you are in the second type of organization where your success will be based more on your farming skills than hunting. Given your expertise, here you will sell from a place of being an expert, a consultant, an advisor.  In such an environment, you are bound to succeed, provided you:
  • Patiently, consistently, diligently follow a sales process
  • Enjoy being the expert and freely sharing your expertise to help customers solve their business problems
  • Take time to not only understand technical nature of your offerings but also how they apply to your customers to help them achieve the business results they desire
  • Grasp both technical language and business language and become comfortable in both worlds
  • Enjoy getting out and building strong relationships
  • Enjoy helping others succeed as well as find joy in winning, for simply the sake of winning and being your best at what you do
If you're an executive within a sales organization, just look around and see for yourself which types of sales professionals are being more successful within your own organization.  I believe you'll see a pattern as to which types achieve greater long-term success given what you are selling and your sales environment.

So to answer the question stated in the subject line, yes, introverts can absolutely sell, and do.  And to achieve long-term success, just make sure you're in the right environment where you will be able to leverage your strengths, maximizing your success as well as that of your employer.

PS. For those of you who have some fear selling, I like to recommend a fun and inspirational book, written by my good friend Myron Radio.  It's called Dream Makers and is available at Amazon.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Introverts: Rise Up and Leverage Your Strengths

Back in January 2010, nearly two years ago, I wrote a post entitled "Workplace Challenges Being An Introvert".  Since that post, I have received emails from around the world from fellow introverts.  Here's what they wrote:
  • I'm facing the possibility of being fired for this very issue.  I'm somewhat dumbfounded.  On one hand I'm being told I'm doing a good job but on the other that I don't come across as a "team player".  It's awful.
  • I have built a successful business and I really care about my people.  Yet there are many who think I am cold, impersonal, distant, uncaring.  Look, I am just quiet by nature and I don't say much.  What am I supposed to do?  How do I show them I really do care?
  • Since I am not talkative with an outgoing personality, I am not seen as a leader.  As a result, I am feeling stuck where I am.  What do I do?
  • I find myself uncomfortable talking in groups.  I have seen many who are open and don't feel shy.  Organizations consider them more talented.
  • My year-end reviews usually start out with how talented I am but end up with how I need to engage more.
  • I've been able to function at a pretty high level, but that's only gotten me promoted to a job that requires cold calls.  I can't see a way to get around it.  Can you offer guidance to make these as painless as possible?  It's fear of rejection that holds me back.  And being an introvert, I wonder if I can really succeed at this?
  • I am an introvert and I know my stuff.  But part of my role requires me to sell, which I am very uncomfortable doing.  Should I just find another job?  I mean, can I really sell since I am not one of those outgoing types?
    Look my fellow introverts, I understand what you are going through for I am one of you.  I live where you live, face what you face, and I know what it's like.  To quote a famous line by US President Bill Clinton, "I feel your pain".

    With that said, have faith and know that you are not alone and that you have so much to offer.  If my experience serves as an example, I know you can succeed as an introvert, not in spite of it but because of it.  To do that, you just need to recognize, accept, and leverage your strengths.  Here are some which I am confident you possess, as well as ways you can leverage them:
    • Expertise: You have innate ability to focus intensely on a subject, allowing you to go deep into it, master it, and internalize it.  Therefore, continue to learn and strive to become THE best at what you do, which I am confident you do now already.  You want to become, and will in due time by following what I am going to share here, the go-to-person for your expertise.  This is a great place to be and it's one of the ways introverts can shine.
    • Share Your Expertise:  Deriving benefits from your expertise occurs when you share it with others.  Therefore, while as an introvert you may not prefer to talk much, you can I am sure write, which comes naturally to many of us introverts.  I know I can spend hours on my laptop and totally love every moment of it, just like I am doing right now.  Therefore, freely share your expertise by blogging, writing and publishing articles, books, manuscripts, contributing on various discussion groups.  I do just this.  To get an idea of how I do this, read my post Association Membership: An Introverts Best Friend.  
    • Ask Questions: Given your expertise in your subject matter, you are well positioned to ask intelligent, probing, thoughtful questions.  This is what I do mostly.  It comes naturally to me and I really enjoy it for by asking questions, I don't have to talk much, I am constantly learning, AND people get the impression I am a great conversationalist.  Frankly, all I do is mostly ask broad open-ended questions, sit back and listen, and continue to move the conversations forward.  
    • Self-Improvement: For those who tell you you're not engaged and that you're not a team player, ask them these types of questions:  What am I doing, or not doing, that gives the impression I am not engaged, am not a team player?  What would I need to do and say differently that would demonstrate I am?  Probe.  Ask questions.  Subtly challenge their thinking.  Then apply what you learn to yourself (more on this later in this post).  Try it.  One important point here to note though.  Do this not to prove others wrong.  Instead ask from the point of view of having a sincere desire to  learn and improve.  To do this, you'll need to ask questions to find out how you're being perceived and what you need to do differently.  If you ask, they'll tell you.  For in the end, we can only change ourselves, not others.
        • Listen: Connected to your asking questions, leverage your listening skills.  In fact, being an introvert, you probably don't listen only with your ears, you listen with your whole body.  For good listening isn't about just capturing words.  It also involves being comfortable with silence and quietly paying attention to factors such as body language, picking up emotions, tones, the spoken AND unspoken, to name just a few.  Therefore, as an introvert, since you are not busy running your mouth, you can actually hear much more then what is said.  By doing so, you can capture very detailed and very valuable information and insights that can help you and your organization.  In addition, keep in mind that most people don't feel truly heard and they are dying to be understood, to be heard. You can give them that precious gift.  By doing so, people will begin to actually reach out to you.
        Having said the above, there are times where you still have to push yourself out of your comfort zone.  By doing so, day by day, with practice your comfort zone will become bigger.  In my own case, when I now attend gatherings, people are often surprised when they learn I'm an introvert.  What they don't see is that I have to muster up my inner strength and self-confidence in such settings and push myself. It's not always easy but it's doable. So if I can do it, so can you.  To get more tips on pushing yourself, read my post Public Speaking for Introverts.

        In the end, know that at each moment, you have a choice.  You can continue to let your introverted nature hold you back, keeping you where you are.  Or you can choose to push yourself forward, and leverage your immense strengths, your talents, your God given gifts, that are inherent to being an introvert.  If you choose the former path, and please allow me to be direct here, you are being a victim. If you choose the later however, you are choosing to be powerful.  Which path will you choose?  And yes, you do have a choice.

        Having said all this, start with applying what I have shared here and then please follow back and share with me what you have experienced.  Now go out and make this coming year a great year for you.  I know you can do it.  And along the way, should you have any questions or if want to talk, feel free to reach out to me.  I am here for you.

        In closing, let me leave you with this: Given what I have shared here, what's the one thing you will do differently going forward?  Once you have answered this, go out and do it. For in the end, it's only action that moves us forward.

        All the best to you!

        Saturday, December 24, 2011

        Thank You for Making A Difference!

        First, I want to wish each and every one of you very joyous holidays. I also want you to know that you make a difference for me, which you may not realize.

        Your subscribing to my blog, commenting on my posts, emailing me your thoughts, and sharing with me how something I posted shifted your thinking and which led to a positive result for you, has meant much to me.

        As you may have noticed, I enjoy sharing my thoughts, and which I do only as they arise.  As a result, my postings come in waves for I don't force these writing but rather I let them emerge.  And while I experience joy through sharing, knowing I have you to share with, that gives me even greater energy, and purpose, to continue doing so.  For I can't imagine what it would be like to write without having anyone to share these with and not knowing it they matter or make any difference. 

        In addition, from these writings so far have emerged my very first book (Customers: Love 'Em or 'Lose Em) and 4 articles that have been published in Association Now, a national magazine published by The American Society of Association Executives.

        Moving forward, my post would not be complete if I did not also provide something for you to think about, to reflect on.  With this in mind, as we come to the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012, I invite you to reflect on the following questions:

        In regards to 2011:
        • What were some of your biggest accomplishments, ones that you are particularly proud of and you feel are worthy of celebration?
        • What are your top 3 lessons learned, ones that you will take with you into the future, that will help you personally and professionally?
        Looking to 2012:
        • What do you want to accomplish by end of 2012?
        • What challenges and obstacles do you anticipate?
        • What support do you think you will need to overcome these and where can you get this support?
        • What do you need to pick-up, and more importantly let go of now?
        Thank you and I wish each and every one of you much continued happiness and success in the coming year, and beyond.

        Wednesday, December 21, 2011

        How Long is A Minute?

        In response to my recent post So, What's Constant About Change?, Myron Radio, President of The R Group, and an authority on successfully guiding organizations through change initiatives, emailed me the following.  

        "In reference to the concept of Constant Change, Anthony Robbins once said, "If you're not moving forward, you're sliding back."  In my experience, there are three types of Change... Evolutionary (constant improvement), Revolutionary (a major change taken on to vastly improve one's position) and Chaotic (we don't ever see it coming - think 09/11).  The range of emotions one encounters across this continuum vary from "OK let's do this" on one end to "Oh no - what just happened"."

        As I read this, I was reminded of an exchange.  It went like this. Question asked was, "How long is a minute?".  Response given, "Depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on."  I believe this captures well the essence of how change is often viewed.

        Returning to types of change Myron mentions, using 9/11 as one example, for those who planned it, it was most likely Revolutionary.  Yet for those who didn't see it coming, it was Chaotic.  In the business world, say executives of a large corporation decide to close an office.  By these executives it may be viewed as Evolutionary, yet by those impacted, Chaotic.  Of a reverse example, say there is a major earthquake that causes severe damage. For those affected it's chaotic, yet when viewed from a geological time perspective, it's evolutionary. 

        Based on the above, it becomes apparent that change has two sides.  That is on one side there's the initiator and on the other those who are impacted.  How then one views and responds to change becomes largely a function of one's frame of reference, one's mindset. 

        With this said, when change happens by which you are impacted, how do you see it, and respond to it?  And on the flip side where you are the intiator, how do you see it and how do you expect others to see it and respond to it?

        Monday, December 19, 2011

        So, What's Constant About Change?

        There is a popular saying: The only thing in life that is constant is change.  Given this, what I am questioning is within the constant change, what's constant? My thought process is that if we can recognize the constant within the change, and become comfortable with it, then change may not feel so much like change? Thus making it easier to accept and successfully navigate it?

        As I reflect on these questions, I come to see that there are 2 elements within change that are constant.  They are:

        1. Existence of Gap

        Everything that I can think of in our universe, including us humans, is in constant motion. At any given moment, we are here and moving towards there, where ever and what ever there is.  It's different for different people, and we are often moving towards there on many fronts at the same time. This includes for example our careers, businesses, health, finances, relationships.  This constant movement from here and there results means the existence of gaps. While nature of here and there as well as the gaps are ever changing, the presence of gaps is permanent. 

        2. Letting Go, Picking Up

        To successfully and effectively move through these gaps, we are required to continually adjust metaphorically speaking our road maps.  As in traveling, when current conditions and/or the destination shifts, so we must also make changes to the route.

        Similarly, in change we are required to constantly let go of what no longer makes sense, and stop doing it.  As well as we are also required to pick-up what is now needed, and start doing that.  And this letting go and picking up becomes easier when we keep ourselves open and flexible to how we see and think.

        In other words we don't get locked into our thinking, and when we find ourselves doing so, we are able to catch ourselves.  This can happen when we continually intentionally challenge how and what we think--our thoughts, our assumptions, beliefs, perceptions and judgements. This means we don't get so comfortable in what is and instead that we remain open to what could be, what will be, the new reality.

        By such constantly challenging, by choice, our thinking and looking through new lenses, we can become more comfortable with this way of being.  Then overtime it can become easier to stop doing what no longer makes sense and pick up what does, given the change.

        Therefore when we can become more comfortable with the idea of having a gap as well as letting go and picking up, perhaps change won't feel so much like change?  What do you think?

        Saturday, December 17, 2011

        Can Change Really Be Managed?

        I frequently hear the term "Change Management", and each time I ask myself, what does this really mean? And moreover, can we really manage change?

        Think about it.  Climate changes.  A competitor develops a new technology making yours obsolete.  A visionary CEO, as did Steve Jobs of Apple recently, passes away. In each of these situations, change happened.  Could such changes really be managed?  If they could be, what exactly would be managed anyways?  What would one say or do?

        The more I think about this, what occurs to me is that its not so much that we manage change but rather we manage how we view it, think about it, and respond to it.  If you agree with this line of thinking, question then arises, what is meant by managing thinking?

        As I have come to see it, it means continually bringing to surface, with sincere desire to understand and challenge one's own as well as that of others', underlying beliefs, assumptions, perceptions and judgments about the change.

        It also means I believe to remain open to not only taking a look at the change from various perspectives but to then also take action to find solutions that take into account various perspectives.  In other words, with this broader understanding, working together to develop appropriate response(s) to the change.

        With that said, I believe that we don't really manage change.  Rather, as stated earlier, we manage how we view it, think about it, and respond to it.  Perhaps this is what is meant by Change Management?

        What do you think?

        Wednesday, December 14, 2011

        7 Questions to Ask, to Keep Your Good People!

        Having a tough time keeping good people? Are you sick and tired of having to constantly hire and retrain? Is it draining your energy, and costing you a fortune? If so, read on.

        Part of my work involves leading teams of highly qualified, technical experts who have significant experience within a very targeted niche. If any one of them left, it would be disruptive and very time consuming and costly to replace them.

        When this realization occurred, I felt vulnerable. Then the more I thought about it, the more I realized how little I knew about each of my team members in-terms of what's truly important to them. In the absence of knowing that, I figured my odds of experiencing turnover would be greater. With this in mind I proceeded to schedule 1-to-1 meetings with each team member.  After setting the stage, I asked them following questions, with desire to learn what's truly important to them, and what they were feeling and thinking in-terms of where they are and what they are doing.
        1. What do you want out of your life and how do you see this position helping you?
        2. When you think of your work, your career, what's most important to you? 
        3. What do you like about your work, and your being part of this organization?
        4. What don't you like?
        5. What would make your job more enjoyable for you, and support you in your goals?
        6. What would cause you to start to think about moving on?
        7. Going forward, how would you like me to support you?
        While thankfully, overall team members were happy, here's some of what they said as to what more could be done to make 'em happier:
        • I want to get experience in managing people
        • I no longer want to manage people
        • I want to learn new things
        • I want to teach
        • Recognize me privately, not publicly
        • I want to go part-time
        • I want to do more research
        Notice that not a single person said anything about wanting more money.  While couple did say that they would welcome more of it, that was not their primary request.  One person, who is in her 60's, even said this:
        • "What a fascinating approach to find out what makes me tick.  I am totally honestly impressed! I have been employed since the age of 13 and can remember being asked directly such questions only once before; it was during a job interview rather then after being hired."
        Since these interviews were conducted, with support of leadership, some small yet meaningful adjustments have been made allowing each team member to get more of what they want, and less of what they don't.

        As a result, today the team I sense is much stronger, happier, and working better together.  In addition, I am personally more at peace knowing we have a solid team in place.  Of course, I continue to check in with each of them to see how they are doing for I see my role as to help them succeed and provide them resources they need so they can do what they do best.

        If you're faced with good people leaving, I encourage you to give this approach and these types of questions a try, and then share with us what you learn. I believe you'll be glad and will be better off for having done so.

        All the best to you.

        Sunday, December 11, 2011

        8 Business Lessons from Santa!

        Have you ever wondered what business lessons we can learn from Santa, and his enterprise (Christmas Inc.)?  I have been thinking about this and here are some lessons that I have learned.
        • Clear mission and clear primary target market:  This guy has been bringing joy to millions of  children year after year for eons.  And so clear is his mission that pretty much everyone, from young to old, knows it.
        • Strong brand: Red suite, white beard, memorable jingles.  So simple, so powerful.  Even Steve Jobs would be envious.  Think about it, lining up for iPhone is nothing compared to the number of people who line up year after year to see Santa.
        • Multiple offerings for his target market:  Lighting products, forest products, candies, clothing, toys, music, decorations, souvenirs, TV shows, movies, to name just a few. He is clearly after share of your wallet.
        • Reoccurring revenue:  Have you ever heard of Christmas being cancelled?  Regardless of weather or economic conditions, business goes on.  In addition, as population grows, so does his customer base.
        • Strong customer retention:  Not only are his customers very loyal, they even actively promote his business.  I bet Santa doesn't spend a dime out of his pocket on marketing, sales and advertising.  Even Southwest Airlines I bet, no matter how great their service, doesn't enjoy such loyalty.
        • No turnover:  Have you ever heard of one of his elves jump ship to another holiday?  Ain't happening.  So imagine, no recruitment costs, no retraining costs, no unemployment insurance to buy. And happy elves I am sure also means much lower health insurance premiums. 
        • Strong team work:  Clearly his team enjoys what they do and feel appreciated.  Just imagine, as in Santa's workshop, what would your place be like if your people sang happy songs while working together side by side, day after day, year after year? 
        • Clear roles and responsibilities:  No confusion here.  The Mrs. is in charge of operations, Rudolph and his team run the delivery vehicles, elves make the stuff.  As for Santa, he does the delivery and is the face of the business.  The allows him to interact first hand with his customers which allows him to gain first hand information on what's happening in his market. 
        Gosh, come to think of it, if he can run such a successful enterprise that truly is Built to Last, I wonder if he can get our economy and businesses back on track.  Do any of you know if he provides business consulting?  Would any of you happen to have his email address?

        Saturday, December 10, 2011

        16 Ways to Show Staff You Care

        Having a firm belief that when you hire right and take care of your people, they in turn will take care of your business and the customers it serves.  With this in mind, my friend Joe Isaacs, an association executive, and I published an article in this December's (2011) issue of Association Now. 

        The article is entitled "16 Ways to Show Staff You Care".  For the benefit of my blog followers, I am posting the text of that article here.  Hope you find some nuggets that you can apply to strengthen your own teams, and therefore your business.


        We've served associations as both senior management and as trusted vendor partners for more than 30 years.  Over the years we have observed what contributes to organizational success among those who take seriously the adage "we are only as good as our people." 

        The art of developing positive staff relations can fill books, but here are 16 simple truth that we believe will foster trust and dedication, promote a shared vision and performance excellence, and inspire staff leadership and creativity.
        1. Show faith in your staff's capabilities: Set expectations, provide needed resources and tools, encourage measured risk taking, and offer specific feedback.
        2. Recognize it's not all about you: Know that your success is derived from your staff's success.  Your role is to insure and help them be their best, not respond to your whims.
        3. Watch performance and outcomes, not the clock: Work them hard when you need to and give them time off and the opportunity to work from home when they need it.
        4. Get to know them as human beings: Recognize them by name and try to reward them based on their personal interests and preferences (e.g. concert tickets to a favorite performance for some, verbal praise for others).  It will often mean more to them then just money.
        5. Don't micromanage: Ask staff what they need to get the job done, but don't dictate how they should do it.  Listen to staff for their important insights from the trenches.
        6. Play to their strengths: Help staff find work that fits their natural talents and that they enjoy (even if it means a job elsewhere), and provide additional professional training when needed.
        7. In case of mistakes, don't shout or punish: Talk it out, allow the staff member to explain what happened, and use it as a learning and growth opportunity.
        8. Hold staff accountable for their efforts: Everyone brings something different to the table, but you don't want free riders or a sense of inequity to pervade.
        9. Encourage managers to serve as mentors: A good manager is like a good coach, not merely a delegator.
        10. Praise in public; criticize in private: Acknowledge staff's contributions in public every chance you get (including listing all staff on your website when possible and practical), and reserve sharing individual criticism for private moments.  Do keep in mind though that some staff members prefer more recolonization to be private.  When in doubt, ask them how they like to be acknowledged.  They will respect you for asking.
        11. Treat staff with respect: Model positive behavior you expect from them and you are more likely to have it reciprocated.  Reflect professionalism but have a sense of humor.
        12. Treat staff like adults and they'll be more likely to act that way: Make time for them when they need to talk to you and do so without judgement.  And when appropriate, ask them for needed advice.
        13. Recognize that some staff may not fit the culture: Remove staff members who are toxic to the workplace, no matter how good they are technically.  Your organization will go on and be healthier for it.
        14. Don't ask staff to do anything you wouldn't do yourself if asked by a supervisor: Listen to your gut in those instances and buffer your staff from unreasonable requests from individual board members.
        15. Give them credit: Acknowledge to them and others routinely that organization's accomplishments are a result of staff's talent and their support of the organization's strategic directions.
        16. Communicate honestly and fairly: Keep staff informed about the organization's progress as much as possible, and don't shoot the messenger when someone informs you of a problem.

        If you have additional suggestions, I hope you will share them.  Thank you.

        Sunday, December 4, 2011

        How Do You Get the Best From Your People?

        Do you know people in the workplace who are physically present but mentally checked out?  Can you imagine the costs alone associated with such a situation, especially given that payroll cost is one of the single biggest line item expenses in majority of businesses?

        Most of my work is in the area of people development and helping people build strong workplace relationships.  This includes relationships not just with peers but also customers, for in the end people give their best when they work and do business with people they know, like and trust.

        Building lasting relationships and helping people succeed in getting what they want is something I really enjoy.  Plus I have learned from experience that not only do strong relationships bring great joy and make work more enjoyable, they also lead to strong results.  And the opposite is true as well, where poor relationships lead to poor performance.

        So as I move about my days, I am constantly asking what is it that gets in the way of strong workplace relationships, and getting the best from people--and then how to make all that better.  So far, I have come up with the following list as to what gets in the way, for once the causes are surfaced, then solutions can be developed. 
        • Poor role fit, where individuals are in roles that don't play to their natural strengths and don't satisfy their intrinsic motivations.
        • Not having clearly defined roles and responsibilities so team members know what's expected of them.
        • Not receiving timely and effective feedback so they know where they stand and how they are performing.  I find that no one likes to second guess in this area and they really do want honest and direct feedback.
        • People not seeing a clear connection between the what they do and their personal long-term life goals, as well as organizational goals. 
        • People feeling unappreciated, unheard, and uncertain.  
        • People not feeling safe, due to often poor (or lack of) communication and lack of trust.
        • People feeling misunderstood, as well as misunderstanding others.
        I would welcome your thoughts on the above, based on what you have experienced and observed.  Thank you in advance.