Archive for March, 2013

light bulb team

We have been ticking down the list of the four things you must do to create a

Team Building Culture and they are:

  1. Assess the individual employee
  2. Assess the leader
  3. Assess the team
  4. Create a culture that values engagement

Today, we’ll take a look at our leaders.  Too often, folks are promoted to a position because they have proved themselves to be very good at the job they did.  There is a huge difference between being a great “Do-er” and an engaging “Lead-er”.  Since these skills often do not go hand-in-hand, appropriate assessments will tell you about the job fit of your leaders.

If employees are the foundation of a business, leaders are the essential framework as we begin building a business to a higher level.  The ability to engage others is the most essential part of every leader’s job profile and leadership skill set. The daily actions of senior leadership, managers and supervisors are the key drivers of engagement.

Appropriate assessments will tell you about the job fit of your existing leaders. This will allow you to identify top-performing and lesser-performing leaders.  The results will reveal a predictive performance pattern.  With this, you can compare the results to these benchmarks and accurately determine if your leaders are in the right jobs.  You can then decide if the gaps are because of a selection issue or if coaching and development can provide the solution.

Always begin by identifying the leadership skills that are most effective in engaging employees.When you increase the effectiveness of your leaders’ ability to engage and motivate their team, job satisfaction, productivity and better profits increase along with it. You will need feedback about each leader from his boss, peers and direct reports to accomplish this. When you have this information, you can successfully align leader’s behaviors and skills with the expectations of the organization and his boss.   Now, by the use of on-the-job coaching and performance feedback, you can begin to close the gaps in the desired skills and behaviors.

Next time, we’ll put together all the pieces of the team!

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Creating a Team Building Culture


Last time, we discussed “what not to do” when your mission is creating a culture that puts a high value on strong teams.  We identified the four things you must do to create a

Team Building Culture and they are:

  1. Assess the individual employee
  2. Assess the leader
  3. Assess the team
  4. Create a culture that values engagement

We begin with employees, because they are the foundation of your strong teams.  First, make sure they are in the right jobs. The average employee wants more than just a paycheck from his employer, many want training and stimulation so they can develop and promote. You can provide this opportunity using predictive performance or job matching technology. This way, you can strategically invest in your people, fully developing them for the jobs they are in, and you can tailor specific training for career advancement.

Identify your target employees, those who fit well in their current job, are fully engaged in their current role, and whose performance exceeds expectations. This is the kind of employee who achieves goals and has the ability to elevate the performance of other employees, teams, departments, and divisions. The right assessments will tell you about employees’ cognitive skills, job-related behaviors and occupational interests. You’ll need the right data for identifying your stand-out, target employees and those employees who are doing a good job but may not yet have emerged as your rising stars.

Challenge your employees! Managers may be four times more engaged than frontline employees because they have additional responsibilities. Give your employees stretch goals and let them learn from their mistakes. This will enhance the level of employee engagement.  Get their feedback as you challenge them because what you learn from them can be extremely important in helping implement solutions. Try this approach: Encourage the employee to identify: What can be improved?  What do we need here?  What can be adjusted? What should we start or stop doing?

The actions of senior leadership, managers and supervisors are the key drivers of your employee engagement. This is critical because it needs to be a vital part of every leader’s job profile and leadership skill set.  Next time, we’ll learn the value of assessing your leaders to reveal how adept they are at engaging those on their teams.  We will show you how!

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The principal opponent of the protagonist is a character known as the antagonist, who represents or creates obstacles that the protagonist must overcome.

This morning I had the opportunity to sit on a panel with some amazing women who have conquered significant obstacles in their journey through life.  More so, they have slain their antagonists; one right after another.

Thestrong_woman1-237x300 panel was for the Metro Omaha Women’s Business Center (MOWBC).  It’s worthy to note the Mission of MOWBC, “To empower women to become economically self-sufficient by providing targeted education, workshops, job training, strong relationships and resources that provide business, professional and personal growth.”

The meeting theme was ‘You’ve Come a Long Way Baby’ as we were there to celebrate Women’s History Month.  While each of us spoke from our own unique ‘life lens’, I noticed a key thread that wove through our stories…we each fought the antagonists in our lives and refused to allow them to hold us back.

Who or what is your antagonist?  How long will you allow it to hold you back?  And what do you plan to do about it? Jim Butcher’s famous character, Harry Dresden, offers this sage advice: “The only way to deal with the things we fear is to face them; to drag them kicking and screaming out of the darkness and destroy them.”

I have come a long way, baby.  Way longer and farther than most, who’ve known me for years, would likely know.   I am what most would call a ‘Survivor’; yet the lens I look through labels it ‘Success-0r’.  You see, I had the great fortune some years back to have worked for a great person who became my mentor, my friend, my coach.

My coach helped open my mind and helped me comprehend myself, all of which allowed me to bring to fruition my successes.  I could tell you all of the great things my coach said, because they’d all be true.  Or I could tell you about all the accomplishments I’ve had a result of that coach, because they’d all be true.  Heck, I could even talk of the fact that I have ‘come a long way, baby’ because of this coach, and it’d be just a plain fact.  But the truth is, the most important thing my coach taught me was the value of a coach.

Even today and though I carry the dual title myself of a Certified Leadership and Executive Coach and that of a Certified Business Coach, I myself still have a coach; a couple of them as a matter of fact.   I have a formal, certified coach that I keep in touch with regularly – who helps me on the professional side – and I have many ‘informal’ coaches that I tap into – personally – when needed.  All of whom help me continue to slay the antagonists who attempt to throw obstacles in my way.

In 17 days, I’m launching my newest business venture.  I won’t play ‘victim’ and describe the litany of obstacles I’ve faced in the past three years getting to this point.  But I will say a big “THANK YOU” to my certified coach and my informal coaches, without them I may not have had to courage to well…”drag my fears, kicking and screaming out of the darkness and destroy them.”

Nikki Ellison is a business advisor, executive coach and founder of Ellison Partners. Through effective leadership coaching, proprietary skill acceleration programs and assessments, Ellison Partners helps businesses and their leaders achieve results.

© Nikki Ellison, 2013.

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