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Leadership

How to Create a Perpetual Prime of Life

By | Hiring Strategies, Leadership, Training | No Comments

As recruiters, we ask candidates a powerful question which typically elicits immediate pause, reflection, and authenticity in the answer. It is a question that catches most off guard, creates a feeling of nostalgia, and sometimes even prompts a smile. “At what point in your career did you feel most fulfilled? When did you feel you were truly in your prime, or at your best?” Unfortunately, more common than not, the answer is a story of the past. This creates a dual-sided dilemma; how do we expect others to be inspired by our vision and actions if we ourselves are not inspired by them? How do we create a perpetual prime of life for ourselves and for those we lead?

Perpetual Prime: Yourself

A commonly cited quote (original author contested) reminds us that “it’s never too late to be what you might have been.” It might help to know that celebrity chef Julia Child worked in advertising for the majority of her life and did not release her first cookbook until age 50. Legendary comic creator Stan Lee did not create his first comic until he was 39. Colonel Sanders of KFC fame did not start franchising his company until the age of 62. The individual responsible for inventing instant ramen noodles did not do so until he was nearly 50. However, this is not an article about the possibilities of succeeding later in life. It is about how to take the environment of previous success and push yourself to stay in it, year in and year out.

The best place to start is by learning from the past. What is your answer to the question above? When have you felt truly in your prime, and what circumstances were in play at that time?

  • Commonly, the following four statements are generally the answers we hear most often as recruiters:
  • I had a team around me and we were all rowing together, hard, to achieve a goal we all believed in.
  • I was busy, maybe even overwhelmed, but overwhelmed doing meaningful work.
  • I was tasked with a challenge and given autonomy but support to solve that problem.
  •  I was surrounded by a team or a leader who pushed me to be more, learn more, take on more and grow more.

Sound familiar? You might identify with some or all of those experiences, whether they are in the past or in the present. The remaining question is “what changed?”

As leaders, we are in a position of power – a position to recreate the very circumstances that once made us feel we were the zone or at our best. We have the ability to take control of the variables that put us in those situations and control of the variables that detract.

Consider instead:

  • What is our collective vision, and what can be done to make it a more purposeful goal?
  • What mundane tasks should be outsourced, freeing up time for the most fulfilling and highest gain daily activities as a leader?
  • What can you do to create an ongoing learning environment with new challenges to overcome?
  • Are you surrounded by the best, both peer-level and those on your team? If not, what changes need to be made?

It is normal to find yourself entrenched in the day to day routine of work, family, and life. Many people go through the day on autopilot of knowing what is expected and performing to that expectation. It is not necessarily easy or comfortable to take the time to answer the questions posted in this article and start to understand true aspirations, motivations, and desires. It is certainly not comfortable to initiate change and uproot unproductive teams or face the reality of uninspiring objectives, but it is necessary in order to create an environment in which everyone feels at their best.

Perpetual Prime: Your Team

Being a leader can often times feel like being a parent, where every word is heard and every action is emulated. That leads us to another question: who was the best boss you ever had? Most answers include things such as “he/she had a vision and could articulate where we were going and how we would get there” or “their impact was felt daily as they worked tirelessly towards our goal” or “he/she put me in a position to succeed and I felt there was a strong belief in my abilities and potential.” Sound familiar? Although we are all different, we are also often alike. Creating a professional environment in which your team feels they are all in their prime takes work, but it is not a unique challenge.

In fact, someone once felt it with you; think about it! The best boss you ever had took responsibility for inspiring you, for making you feel heard, and for believing in you at times more than you believed in yourself. As leaders, we owe it to those who have put their careers in our hands, and the formula exists for what to do. It has been done for you already in the past. In fact, Google has even made leadership a replicable quality! Google’s people analytics team started by researching the qualities that make managers great at Google and then built a training program that teaches those exact qualities. Once the program has been completed, Google measures the behaviors of the leaders to ensure that they’re making improvements and morphing into managers that Googlers want to work for.

We don’t need to make it as complex as Google has. Start with becoming the boss you most admired and recreating the circumstances that used to make you feel you were in your zone. So goes the leader, so goes the team; once you feel you are in a perpetual prime of life, you will be surprised by how many others follow.

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Retention Tips: How to Retain Your Best Talent for the Long Term

By | Executive Assistant, Hiring Strategies, Leadership | No Comments

Retaining your best employees is an essential strategy in growing your business. Poor retention drives up an organization’s costs and can negatively impact the team’s morale and confidence. Here are some retention tips to help retain your best talent for the long term.

Overcommunicate Expectations and Details

One of the main reasons new employees quit is because the job isn’t what they expected. Throughout the hiring and onboarding processes, overcommunicate expectations and other important details. New hires should know exactly what to expect when it comes to their job responsibilities and the company culture. Also clarify what their priorities need to be in order to succeed in the role.

Establish What it Takes to Accomplish Their Goals

Employees need to know what to do in their position that will allow them to accomplish their daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals within the company. Often, employees leave because they don’t see how they are contributing to the company in a meaningful way. Instead of putting out fires, they need to know they have a purpose. Part of your job is to communicate to employees clearly and consistently how the role will allow them to contribute to the company. If you make that clear from the start, then they will have a much greater chance of reaching (and exceeding) those goals and feeling the sense of accomplishment that comes along with that success.

Set Employees up for Success, Not Failure

To ensure that new hires are happy at the company, set them up for success from the beginning. During the onboarding process, help new hires understand what challenges they will face in their new job, and provide them with the appropriate resources, such as a mentor, to overcome these challenges. You also want to give them tools to learn about the company and their role as quickly as possible. Finally, you want to provide new hires with opportunities to socialize with their peers so they can start to feel like part of the team right away.

Give New Hires Time to Train and Attend Regular Meetings

The most common complaint that new hires have is that they don’t feel like they have adequate time for training and meetings. New hires need the appropriate amount of time to train and attend meetings so they can learn their role and learn what they need to about the company and its culture. Otherwise, they might not figure out how to perform their job fast enough, become overwhelmed, and leave.

Have a System Place

With the above in mind, you have a system in place for training new hires and providing them with the onboarding they need to succeed. You might also want to incorporate a mentorship program to help accelerate the learning process and help make the new hire feel more comfortable.

Retention is essential for a successful business. You need your best employees to stay loyal to the organization so you’re not wasting time and money constantly searching for talent. To improve retention, make sure expectations are clear, establish how the role will help them accomplish their goals, provide them with the tools and resources they need to succeed, and give them sufficient time to train.

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Loss Aversion in the Workplace

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Imagine this scenario: a colleague offers to flip a coin and give you $20 if it lands on heads. If it lands on tails, you give him $20. Would you accept that bet? For most of us, the answer is no. Behavioral science experts Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman performed an experiment which resulted in a clear example of human bias towards losses. The experiment involved asking people if they would accept a bet based on the flip of a coin. If the coin came up tails the person would lose $100, and if it came up heads they would win $200. The results of the experiment showed that on average people needed to gain about twice as much as they were willing to lose in order to proceed forward with the bet. This tendency reflects loss aversion, or the idea that losses generally have a much larger psychological impact than gains of the same size.

You likely experience this phenomenon daily. Have you ever purchased something knowing you’d likely return it, but the longer you keep it the more attached you get? Sending the item back now feels like a loss. The longer we wait to be seated at a restaurant, the harder it becomes to leave, because it feels as if the time we’ve invested would then be lost. The more we try to fit a new couch through a too-narrow entryway, the less inclined we are to give up and accept that we need a smaller couch, and the more steadfast we become in making it fit. It seems that sometimes we will persist with a belief or course-of-action long after it is rational to do so. We feel trapped by what we have already committed.

Although a fascinating piece of knowledge about human behavior, what does the concept of loss aversion have to do with the workplace?

As leaders, knowing that losses have a tremendous psychological impact can cloud judgement when it comes to truly evaluating employee performance. We have a tendency to double down with those we’ve invested time with yet who continue to underperform.

“B” and “C” Players

A less enjoyable component of management is the act of working with and coaching the perpetual under-performers. Every department has them, every leader has struggled with them, and some may even have a few who come to mind immediately. They are the few who we try to encourage, who we try to train, and for whom we hold out hope that change will come, but it can seem like an endless cycle of performance management and frustration.

We all recognize “A” Players. Within most organizations, there is even room for the competent, steady “B” performers who balance their work and personal lives while still performing a significant amount of tasks that need to be done. They stay in their lane, don’t require a great deal of attention, and they get the job done.

On the other end of the spectrum, “C” Players sometimes make up the smallest segment of the team yet require the most time and attention. They are the employees with a constant litany of excuses – a vehicle is broken, someone is sick, excessive days are missed, and the workload either gets passed to someone else or delayed altogether. They walk the fine line between “good enough to get by” and “fireable offense worthy of termination.” They are granted continual employment primarily because the act of hiring, training and managing someone you don’t know is sometimes more intimidating than continuing to deal with the perpetual issues of the presently employed “C” performer.

Stop Doubling Down

It’s time to step away from the fear of losing $100 and focus instead on the opportunity cost of not winning $200. The obvious unintended consequence of having a seat filled with an under-performer is having it not filled by a significant contributor. What rarely is considered is the impact on those who are current significant contributors; there is little more frustrating than having your own success consistently hampered by another person’s incompetence. If the majority of your team is working hard, producing great results with tremendous collaboration, what message are you sending by supporting the 10 percent who are doing the opposite? How long do “varsity players” want to be surrounded by sub-par athletes?

Beyond performance issues, it is likely time to top-grade when:

  • The individual is the central cause or perpetual perpetrator of office drama
  • Co-workers (or possibly worse, clients) have taken note of the incompetence
  • The employee has an apathetic attitude
  • He or she ignores actionable feedback
  • The individual handles emotions poorly, mistaking the work environment as a therapist’s office
  • You spend more than ten minutes a week, week after week, dealing with issues created by the employee

Toxic Workers, a Harvard Business School study of more than 60,000 employees, found that “a superstar performer–one that models desired values and delivers consistent performance” brings in more than $5,300 in cost savings to a company. Avoiding a toxic hire, or letting one go quickly, delivers $12,500 in cost savings.

Sometimes, it truly is best to return the item, leave the overcrowded restaurant, or succumb to a smaller couch. Instead of experiencing a loss, you might actually gain the improved morale of the entire workforce. Instead of experiencing a feeling of loss over time invested, you might actually gain more time to invest in those worth investing in. Instead of feeling the loss of an employee, you might actually gain a key contributor you would not have otherwise hired.

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How to Deal with Office Politics Before They Diminish Company Culture

By | Executive Assistant, Leadership | No Comments

Office politics can be detrimental to a workplace if there isn’t a culture and plan in place to reduce its likelihood. Letting office politics run wild can create a toxic work environment, reduce morale, and lead to increased turnover. Here are some tips to deal with office politics before they have a negative impact on the company culture.

Have Your Team Make Commitments to Each Other

While training is used to increase competence, it can also be used to reduce conflict. During training, have your team members make certain commitments to each other and to the organization. For example, they can commit to eliminating gossip, being more clear in their communication, or addressing people directly. These types of commitments will create a drama-free company culture and make your employees more accountable to each other.

Avoid Conflict by Cutting Out Gossip

Encourage your team to eliminate office gossip. This can completely change your internal culture. When everyone gossips, it becomes hard to separate fact from fiction and stories from lies. People often think that gossiping with coworkers helps them build relationships, but in reality it more often destroys relationships and contributes to a toxic work environment.

Lead with an Abundance Mindset

Some people lead with a scarcity mindset. They frame their leadership around what they lack. These leaders frequently complain about not having enough time, resources, etc. This often comes from a place of fear. It is much better to lead with an abundance mindset. These leaders concentrate on what they want to achieve and work toward their goals, regardless of the resources that they have. A scarcity mindset often leads to more workplace drama because people feel like they have to struggle to succeed, so they tear each other down. If everyone on the team works together to succeed toward common goals, there will be less conflict and more healthy collaboration.

Conscious Leadership Group

If your company has a lot of workplace drama, partner with an organization like Conscious Leadership Group. This organization consults with business about how to reduce conflict in the office and increase self-awareness and engagement. This is a multi-year program that will give your team shared goals, which in turn, will help them work better together.

Too much conflict and politics can make a work environment unbearable for you and your employees. Focus on leading with openness and directness and encourage your team members to avoid gossip and other toxic behavior. This is the best way to reduce negative office politics and encourage team cohesion for the long term.

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An Era of Authenticity

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Is the very act of reading an article about how to be authentic in and of itself inauthentic? The topic of authenticity is likely discussed in counseling sessions but rarely discussed related to the workplace. However, we live in an era where social media has perpetuated the need to showcase an idyllic life, in a time where a news story breaks every few minutes that erodes the reputation of highly powerful individuals we once trusted, and in which old friends want to reconnect ultimately to try to get you in their downline of their newest multi-level marketing.

It is fair to say that most people have a heightened sense of skepticism. It is also fair to say that in the face of that skepticism, most people crave an era of authenticity more than ever before. This is not limited to life outside of the workplace; many articles have been written about the importance of the boss-employee relationship and how the lack thereof is one of the largest contributors to turnover within an organization.

Many of these suggestions may simply serve as a reminder of best practices you already know, though common sense is not always common practice. Knowing and doing are not necessarily the same; you may know much of what is listed, but it’s the doing that makes the difference.

Intent

To learn how to be authentic, or to react authentically, treat authenticity as something we have instead of something we are. As complicated as that sounds, it is actually quite simple. In the perceived nature of human interaction, there is an element of intent that cannot be dismissed. As a leader, having an employee’s best interest at heart is not something that should be overlooked. If you think about it, the phrase “constructive criticism” is an oxymoron. Coaching is an opportunity to contribute to another person’s development; it is a two-way partnership where both parties share knowledge and experiences in order to maximize the person’s potential and help them achieve their goals. Instead of considering criticism as something negative, consider this context: “As your leader, I am fully committed to your performance and to your success. My intent behind sharing with you this feedback is to provide information about your performance that I believe will have a profoundly positive impact on your ability to succeed.”

Thus, constructive criticism is instead constructive feedback. Feedback about a performance deficiency does not have to be any less positive than reinforcing proficient capabilities. To a certain extent, Zig Zigler’s famous quote that “you will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want,” is incorrect. If the reason you want something from others is because it will benefit you, that is inauthentic behavior that few will trust. If your intent is to genuinely serve those around you, you have begun to create an era of authenticity.

“Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.”
Stephen Covey

The Law of Attraction

Part of the importance of authenticity in the workplace is to serve the relationships of the existing team. How genuine interactions can influence the interviewing process is also important to consider. Reflect upon some of the most authentic personal connections or experiences that stand out in your life. It may be that you can only think of a handful but those likely stand out as being extraordinary. You feel moved by authentic people and are attracted to them. Similarly, you feel attractive when you are being authentic, and when you connect with someone who is authentically engaging. When you really connect during an interview with a candidate, what you usually are saying is that you encountered a rare moment of mutual authenticity.

In an interview, genuine connections can be tough. As recruiters, we certainly understand three of the core functions of an interview are to assess if a candidate has the core capabilities to perform in the role, if you will enjoy working with them, and if they are genuinely excited about the opportunity. However, if everyone has their game faces on and are trying to deliver the answers the other party wants to hear, how do you balance selling with a true connection? Remember, whether obvious or not, people sniff out inauthentic behavior. Use the interview to screen one another. But if we go back to the importance of intent, help a candidate understand how as their leader, you have the ability to help them uncover who they have yet to become. Even having an open discussion about mistakes and failures can be uncomfortably refreshing. Mistakes do not define an individual, nor do they define who that individual has the potential to become.

Start Simple

So if authenticity is something we all want, but it’s something you are and not something you get, then authenticity must be impossible to teach, right? This is likely true and quite a paradox. Therefore, let’s start simple. Decide to stop being inauthentic. Catch yourself when you make a false compliment and try to offer up a genuine one instead. Recognize when you offer up a canned, knee-jerk response to a question and try to express an answer more firmly rooted in reality. Remove the hollow statements, the feigned interest, and the formulaic answers.

There are two most common scenarios in which colleagues pick up on inauthentic conversations. The first is the small talk; those situations in which you are grasping for something to say in order to avoid awkward silence. This does not mean that you need to ask deeply meaningful questions while collectively waiting for the elevator, but it is worth evaluating the types of discussions you engage in during those encounters. The second are in more formal settings such as important meetings or professional reviews. Corporate jargon is often used to either avoid conflict or as assert a sense of being in control. Instead, work on asking purposeful questions, perfecting your active listening skills, and delivering a professional recommendation that better represents who you are and what you believe. If you truly believe in what you say and the intent behind why you are saying it, others will as well.

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Tips for Creating Performance Incentives

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Performance incentives increase productivity, improve teamwork and morale, increase engagement, and reduce turnover. But not all performance incentives are created equally. When creating incentives, consider this question: If a year from now you are walking down the hall for the annual review and you’re happy with your employee, what is it that they accomplished to make you feel that way? Is your life running smoothly? Are you no longer missing flights or appointments? Are your priority projects being taken care of? Your life no longer feels chaotic? Now think about what performance incentives will motivate your employees to be their best selves so your work life will feel exactly like that. Here are a few tips for creating performance incentives for your employees.

Travel and Trips

Travel is one incentive that helps motivate employees to reach business objectives. Whether it takes the form of business trips or an incentive travel program, employees like travel incentives because the idea of traveling to new or exotic locations typically appeals to people who have a demanding work life. Travel is often a better motivator than cash because it is out of the ordinary. Cash is used and then forgotten, but the memories high-performing employees experience during travel can last forever. Travel is also an opportunity for employees to connect with each other, which can improve teamwork and productivity.

Bonuses

Performance bonuses are another great incentive option. Almost everyone likes the idea of extra income to supplement their wages, so performance bonuses work on most motivated employees. Research has shown that performance bonuses improve job satisfaction, employee engagement, and loyalty. They even foster trust between employees and management. Bonuses are a great way to help meet short-term and annual business goals.

Equity in the Company

Another motivation that is currently popular in many incentive programs is equity. Giving high-performers equity in the company is a great way to increase productivity and engagement across the board. Long-term incentives like equity are useful because they encourage high performers to make decisions that will benefit the company in the future even if the decision doesn’t benefit their compensation in the current year. Equity incentives also improve retention for senior executive talent.

In order for you to achieve a seamless work and personal life, you need highly productive people working behind the scenes. A strategic incentive program will ensure your best talent stays motivated and continuously strives to do their best. A good performance program will also attract better talent. Incentives like travel, bonuses, and equity can help make sure the right people take on C-level support positions.

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Why Should Companies Engage with a Recruiting Firm?

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In such a fast-moving industry, companies that engage with a recruiting firm can maintain a competitive edge by ensuring they have the best talent working for them. A recruitment firm will provide access to better candidates and improve the effectiveness of the hiring process among other things. Here are some reasons companies should engage with a recruiting firm.

Access to People Who Are Normally Inaccessible

Recruiters have access to both companies and candidates who would otherwise be inaccessible. Recruiters can open doors for companies who want to find better talent because recruiters have extensive connections. A tenured recruiting firm will have a talented and well-vetted network. In a competitive employment market, this means everything. The best recruiters will have strong relationships with all the players in the industry, and this is an invaluable resource to an organization.

Help with the Hiring Process

The best recruiting firms have high acceptance rates. Our firm’s acceptance rate is over 98 percent. Such a high rate indicates that a firm takes recruiting very seriously and attends to the process every step of the way, resolving any issues before they arise. A skilled recruiter will make the process run smoothly for both the company and the candidate. For example, recruiters will help pre-close the deal, make sure the candidate has all the necessary information, and negotiate compensation. Most importantly, recruiters help facilitate communication between the company and the candidate to minimize the chance of problems arising.

Influence with the Passive Candidate Market

The best candidates are often the candidates who are currently working and aren’t actively searching for opportunities. These so-called “passive” candidates are hard to attract and nearly impossible to access without a recruiter. Working with a recruiter will give you more influence with the passive candidate market. By building trust with candidates, a recruiter can persuade passive candidates to come into an interview and give you advice on how to woo the candidate and make an attractive offer.

Coach on the Interview Process

A recruiting firm provides coaching to both sides of the interview process. A trained recruiter will coach you on what questions to ask during the interview and what questions to avoid. The recruiter knows what kind of questions can scare off prospective employees. The best recruiters will help both the client and the candidate understand the whole process from beginning to post-placement.

When it comes to C-level support, organizations need the best talent in the industry. Engaging with a recruiting firm can help you ensure that you have highly skilled professionals supporting your executives. A seasoned recruiter will give you access to better candidates, improve your influence with the passive candidate market, and coach you through the interview and hiring processes.

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How to Track Individual Employee Performance on a Regular Basis

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To be an effective leader, it’s essential to have one-on-one meetings to track individual employee performance on a regular basis. Monitoring performance is important because it allows you to spot problems and fix them right away and ensures that everyone is doing their part to further the success of the company.

Make the Time for Regular One-on-Ones

One of the biggest obstacles to observing productivity is finding the time. Many leaders feel like they don’t have enough time to track individual employee performance on a regular basis. How much time does it take? A good rule of thumb is to devote an hour each day to managing your team. Most meetings will take about 15 minutes. More time might be needed for newer employees. An hour a day might seem like a lot, but if you prioritize your schedule, it is possible for most managers to make room for one-on-one meetings. Think about your daily tasks. What activities do you spend too much time on? What tasks are unnecessary? What tasks can be delegated to your team members? These questions will help you organize your schedule and find time to conduct regular one-on-one meetings. Once meetings are scheduled, don’t be tempted to cancel or delay them. What makes them truly effective is their regularity and consistency.

What Should You Accomplish in Your One-on-Ones?

Meetings will have different objectives, depending on the team member and their role. Yet, there are some common goals for all one-on-one meetings. First, identify any problems that need to be solved. Ask the employee if they are having any problems. This may be a good opportunity to probe deeper because there are often problems hiding beneath the surface. Next, see if there is anything you can do to help improve their performance. Do they need a specific resource or tool they don’t currently have access to? Are there goals or aspects of their role they need clarification on? Finally, ask for a general update. What has changed since the last time you had a one-on-one with them? Other goals and topics for the meeting will depend on the individual employee, and questions should be customized.

Details and Clear Steps

During the meeting, don’t concentrate on the general feelings you have about their performance. Focus instead on specific instances that highlight the highs and lows of their performance and describe these incidents in detail. This will help the employee understanding where they excel and where they need improvement. Once you and the employee are on the same page, you can now work closely with them to come up with an action plan. You want to give them clear steps they can take to improve their performance.

Taking the lead to track individual performance regularly will help your executive assistant help you more effectively. The first step is to make the time for consistent one-on-one meetings. Then, focus on identifying problems and coming up with solutions that work for both you and your employee.

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Professional Attention Deficit Disorder

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foIn the manufacturing economy, time was the currency. Systems were designed for maximum efficiency, and effectiveness was simply how much time could be dedicated to the process. The assembly line is a perfect example! In today’s information environment, directing our attention in the right places for the right amount of time and focus is the key to effectiveness.

Curious if you suffer from Professional ADD? If you have already been distracted at some point during the first paragraph, no assessment is necessary!

  • You are frequently distracted from your current activity, by others, or by your own lack of focus
  • You finish your day and are surprised how little you actually accomplished despite the fact that you felt “busy” all day
  • You have a to-do list of important items but always seem to be distracted with more “urgent” activities
  • You find it difficult to fully focus on another person without thinking of other matters
  • You check and respond to your email, text messages, instant messages, etc. constantly
  • You feel a sense of “information overload” frequently
  • You think you are a great multi-tasker
  • You are addicted to urgency and pride yourself on being the best “fire fighter”
  • You love being in the “zone” but are frustrated by how infrequently you truly find yourself in that place of maximum effectiveness

If you checked the box to most of these then you may be suffering from Corporate Attention Deficit Disorder. The good news is that it is curable, and you can fill your own prescription.

Create Golden Hours

Establish certain times each day when no one can distract you or each other. The only distractions or interruptions should be emergencies; educate your environment when it is best to get with you by phone or in person for activities that are not both urgent and critical.

Loosen your Electronic Leash

At least four times per day, set 45-minute time blocks where email, instant messages, and any other electronic distractions are turned off. Each time block should be dedicated to fully focusing on a specific activity that you have predetermined for that time. Very rarely is anything so urgent and critical that it cannot wait for a reply within an hour; you may even find that issues solve themselves without you having to.

Prioritize Long-Term Projects

Make a list of all your current important projects that are not urgent. Now, assign at least two one-hour slots a week to do them. Keep these appointments with yourself the same way that you would with a client; do not allow yourself to book anything during those times unless it is a true emergency. If you don’t begin to do some of the strategic work now, when will you? An attic is easier cleaned a few boxes a week rather than the entire attic in a weekend.

Minimize Multi-tasking

There are some times when multi-tasking and bouncing from one activity to the next is both unavoidable and necessary. However, the majority of periods you find yourself busy, multi-tasking, and rushed are self-created and counter-productive in the long run. Practice being fully present and engage in one activity at a time. If someone stops by your office while you are typing an email, ask them to send you an email to schedule a meeting so that you can truly focus on their needs when it is mutually convenient.

Create Blocks of Similar Activities

A doctor does not check emails in the middle of surgery, and a lawyer is not accepting incoming calls while the opposing counsel is grilling his client. What makes the critical responsibilities of your role less deserving of your own concentration? We all like diversity and variety but do your best to plan activities in such a way that complementary activities can be done in groups for maximum effectiveness.

Find the Right Work/Life Balance

Just as your time at work should have focus and intensity in each activity, so should your time away from work. Being fully present in all your interactions includes those outside of work. When you find your mind drifting to work related activities while with friends or family, remind yourself to focus back on the people or activity at hand.

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Good Leadership Can Help You Overcome the Challenges of Onboarding

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Retention of high-quality, motivated professionals is essential for an organization’s success. This is particularly true for C-level support. High turnover adds to expenses and can lower the morale of the entire company. It’s important to develop the full range of competencies needed to successfully onboard new talent and establish them in your organization. Here are some helpful tips on how solid leadership will help overcome the challenges of onboarding and improve overall retention.

Communication Challenges

A prominent challenge many leaders experience is making assumptions about expectations without actually communicating them directly. While intuition can be an important part of success, it can never be a substitute for clear communication. During the onboarding process, leaders need to speak with new employees often to learn what they need to feel comfortable. Most new employees want to set goals and milestones. Onboarding is a good time to set expectations so they have a clear sense of direction from the start. Talk with new employees regularly to learn about their career goals, current objectives and help them develop a plan. Search consultants can support managers with appropriate questions to ask as they understand the concerns of new hires as well as client companies and can align intentions to a mutually beneficial outcome.

Expectation Challenges

Another important issue for transitioning new hires is time management. Often managers who are new to onboarding think it’s a one-week process. Many new leaders grow frustrated because the process requires more time than they expected. A search consultant can help establish some guidelines for the process. They can make sure both parties understand what to expect from onboarding and training. Even the most qualified candidates will require thoughtful training and communication. They have an entire organization to become acquainted with.

Onboarding Tips

An effective onboarding process often takes several months to a year. In the first 90 days, the goal should be to make the new hire comfortable, while establishing clear expectations and ensuring that everyone understands objectives. An executive should have a 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day meeting with their new employee to review goals and share feedback in addition to daily action items and priorities. Our search firm offers a post-placement program where we meet with the leader and new hire on a monthly cycle, through some of the most difficult challenges and then move to a 9-month and 12-month check-in. The goal of the meeting is to exchange feedback and foster a connection and sense of shared accomplishment.

Good leadership and direct communication will enable a thoughtful and effective onboarding process ensuring your new employee is established in a timely manner and can begin meeting the goals and priorities you set together. Providing clear communication and immaculate guidelines are essential keys to a smooth onboarding process. Once an employee trusts you and feels supported, they’re much more likely to be productive and stay loyal to the organization.

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