Posts Tagged morale

Leading a Team to Perform

TeamThere are few jobs today that allow a person to work autonomously. Certainly in government there are many examples of jobs that are interdependent. Even at its most basic level, the branches of government must work together to pass a bill into law. Teams are important. As important as teamwork is in government and business today, working on a team is not always easy, and leading a team successfully can be downright difficult. When it does work, a successful team can feel like magic and every task is easier to complete.

The important thing about successful teams is that they bring together the strengths of a group to work toward a common goal or purpose. Successful teams often view members as equal and have a leader who is just as comfortable taking the lead as he is to step back and let an expert take the reins at the right time.

No one person is as strong or smart as a team but sometimes things or people get in the way. While the leader is not the most important part of a team, he can make or break that team. The best team I have been a part of had a leader who openly admitted he did not know the best way to meet our shared goal. He was often heard letting anyone who would listen know his team was a group of experts who could handle any job they took on. His humility combined with the steadfast belief in his team mates made him a great colleague. His ability to set reasonable goals, communicate effectively, and keep the team on task made him one of the best leaders I’ve met. He wasn’t the magic that made that particular team work but he flamed the fire and built up every team member so they were free to excel.

Being a great team leader is not about being the best in your field, it is about setting up the team for success. The Ken Blanchard Companies promotes the Perform Model as a way to highlight the important aspects of a high performing team:

Purpose & Values
Empowerment
Relationships & Communication
Flexibility
Optimal Performance
Recognition & Appreciation
Morale

With a skilled and knowledgeable team, the leader must only bring them together and help them to move in the right direction. The best question a leader of mine ever asked me is “How can I help you reach your goal?” Team leaders of highly skilled teams are not the stars of the show but facilitators, who get the team in place and cheer the team on throughout the race.

Have you worked on or do you lead a high functioning team? What worked best for you?

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The Leadership Priority: Investing in Training to Grow Great Leaders

When agencies are hit with budget cuts, leadership development training initiatives are often the first to go. Without a clear understanding of the positive and measurable mission impact, it’s easy to dismiss leadership development as being too expensive and too time consuming. In addition to expending millions of budget dollars each year, less-than-optimal leadership practices negatively impact employee retention, satisfaction, morale, and productivity. The result can lead to employees showing up for work to collect a paycheck, without the maximum motivation and engagement to support the accomplishment of their agency’s mission.

Reserve your space now to join Ken Blanchard and other leadership development experts that will share insights on how investing in your agency’s most important asset – people – will re-engage employees and grow great leaders.

Why you need to attend:

  • Learn ways you can motivate yourself and others by increasing productivity, enhancing motivation, encouraging creativity, and building loyalty.
  • Understand the 3 inherent needs every disengaged employee requires to get motivated.
  • Address generational differences impacting today’s leaders and the next generation in line for those leadership roles, and why this is critical to attracting – and keeping – Generation X, Y, and Millennial employees engaged.
  • Interact with your colleagues to discover how they’ve implemented successful (and on budget) training initiatives within their agencies.

Share Best Practices, Skills, and Ideas Forum

You’ll also have the opportunity to interact with a panel of your government colleagues as they share the leadership training, strategies, and programs that have been successful at their agencies.

Speakers:
Ken Blanchard, Co-founder, Author – The Ken Blanchard Companies
Sharon Ridings, National Training Manager – Environmental Protection Agency
Sioux Thompson, Head of Organization Development and Learning – Board of Governors, Federal Reserve
Peter Shelby, Chief Learning Officer – National Reconnaissance Office
Naomi Leventhal, Director– Deloitte Consulting
Jeff Vargas, Chief Learning Officer – Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Jim Atwood, Director of Government Leadership Solutions – The Ken Blanchard Companies

Date, Time, and Location:
September 26, 2012
The City Club of Washington
555 13th Street, NW
Columbia Square
Washington, D.C. 20004

Breakfast and Registration
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Leadership Development Summit
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

For more information and to reserve your seat, call Christine Simmons at 800-272-3933.

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From Vegas to Colombia: Scandals Impacting Government Leadership

Scandal is nothing new to the White House. Many of us can recall several “mishaps” involving former presidents. This time, however, it’s the Secret Service. On April 11th, a dozen Secret Service agents and eleven military personnel were involved in an incident that involved partying at a local nightclub in Cartagena, Colombia, heavy drinking, and involvements with prostitutes while preparing for a visit by President Obama. Since that event, two supervisors who were involved in the scandal have been identified and removed from their positions. The case has been all over the news and has been causing quite a stir for the agency responsible for the well-being of the President of the United States.

Just as they did with the GSA scandal, lawmakers, citizens, government workers, and the media have been questioning the integrity, ethics, and accountability of the agency. So who is responsible? Who will ensure behavior like this will never happen again? President Obama has said that he has full trust in the Secret Service Director, Mark Sullivan, to continue the investigation and take the appropriate corrective actions needed. That’s all fine and dandy, but what about the trust that the American people, who are losing millions of their tax dollars due to these scandals, have lost for our government? Randy Conley, Trust Practice Leader at The Ken Blanchard Companies, says that leaders must purposely engage in four trust-building behaviors in order for individuals to maintain confidence with their leader. Those behaviors include:

  • Demonstrate competence
  • Act with integrity
  • Care about others
  • Maintain reliability

After reading many articles and watching several news stories about both scandals, I can’t say that those involved with the GSA and Secret Service events practiced these four behaviors. So what corrective actions can government leaders now take to ensure that debauchery such as this won’t continue at other agencies? After all, people do make mistakes. Even with the best of intentions, leaders make mistakes that impact the commitment, morale, and performance of the people who work for them. With investigations in both cases still underway, we’ll have to wait and see the effects that these scandals will have on the future leadership and behaviors of our government.

Want to learn three actionable steps leaders can take to self-diagnose, assess, and change unwanted behaviors? Take a break at 9:00am PST/12:00pm EST today to listen to best-selling author and consultant Chris Edmonds share insight on how leaders can avoid making some common mistakes.

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Nine Strategies for Implementing Change

The first amendment allows Americans the right to free speech, an establishment of religion, to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government. In the past, petitioning the government was somewhat of a daunting task. In order for more Americans to be heard on topics that are near and dear to them, the Obama administration created We the People, a platform that allows Americans to create and sign petitions that, if enough signatures are collected, has the chance to be reviewed by the White House staff and receive an official response. The overall purpose of the platform is for government to address important topics the American people would like to see changed.

Lately, the platform has been getting unfavorable reviews regarding the lack of response to the petitions that have been accumulating on the site since its inception in September 2011. Originally, the Obama Administration promised that any posted petition to receive 5,000 signatures would be reviewed and an official response would be issued. After an overwhelming response, the signature requirement was increased to 25,000 back in October 2011. There are currently approximately one-third of the petitions that date back to the first two weeks of the site launch that are still waiting for a promised response from the White House.

Many companies have open forums or launch surveys to gain feedback from their employees about the state of their business or impending changes. Implementing a way for employees to make their voice heard gets individuals involved in shaping the organization and any changes that may incur. This involvement helps raise morale and motivation for employees to adopt those changes. Subject matter experts on leading change, Pat Zigarmi and Judd Hoekstra, developed a change model to help leaders successfully overcome a typically complicated process. This change model promotes nine strategies and outcomes when dealing with change:

  1. Expand Involvement and Influence
  2. Select and Align the Leadership Team
  3. Explain the Business Case for Change
  4. Envision the Future
  5. Experiment to Ensure Alignment
  6. Enable and Encourage
  7. Execute and Endorse
  8. Embed and Extend
  9. Explore Possibilities

As I was learning about these strategies, I felt that the Obama Administration hit a bump in the road when it came to Stage 7, Execute and Encourage. This stage is for impact and collaboration concerns. One reason change initiatives fail is because those leading the change are not credible, they under-communicate, and give mixed messages. Execution on what the Administration promised back in September last year is critical. Without it, the petitions that Americans are posting on We the People just falls on deaf ears.

Learn more about the nine change strategies and the reasons why change efforts typically fail.

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The Boss Knows Best?

Today’s blog was written by guest blogger, David Carroll, Consulting Partner with the Ken Blanchard Companies and President of Carroll and Associates. David also writes for his own blog, Leadership Manager.

Organizations today are constantly undergoing change in order to stay competitive. These changes demand flexibility, fluidity, and innovation as well as a high priority on being “people-focused.”  Customers and employees both must feel that the organization cares passionately about them.  This only happens when organizations, and the organizations’ leaders, are trusted.  All relationships, personal and professional, are based upon trust.  However, trust means different things to different people. It is difficult to define what an environment of trust looks like…in fact it is easier to describe what a distrustful environment looks like: people withhold facts and information; managers set convoluted goals; management is not available; people talk behind each others’ backs. The list goes on and on.   

I recently heard a frustrating story of a real-life situation that left an employee feeling demoralized and undervalued.  The experience significantly diminished the level of trust he had with his manager.  The experience began when an, the employee responsible for reviewing inquiries and sending proposals received an e-mail from a client about a project.  The employee spent several hours researching and assessing the difficulty of the proposed project.  He then followed-up with an email to the client asking additional questions to clarify any current work being done relative to the project.   The client had very little information but was clearly very frustrated with the lack of progress on receiving a proposal. The employee notified his manager that due to the level of difficulty and the lack of clarity on the project that he recommended that the project should not be accepted.  Although the employee attempted to explain the supporting evidence for his decision, the manager responded that the employee had not spent enough time researching the project and that he would do the research himself.  The manager took two days to research the project and forwarded the research data to the employee late in the evening on the day before a scheduled call with the client. During the call, the client struggled to answer any questions brought up by the manager or employee and was unsure on what approach should be taken to resolve the issue. The client then asked if the organization would be willing to send a proposal and take on this project. The manager eventually agreed to accept the work and send a proposal…against the recommendation of the employee. The manager told the employee to generate a proposal that included a quote for a two weeks feasibility study.  The feasibility study gave the agency a reason to back out of the project if it proved to be too difficult.  The manager told the employee to tell the client that the agency couldn’t start work for at least a couple of weeks…hoping that the client would find somebody else to work on it. The employee reluctantly did was he was instructed. The feasibility study was conducted and it was determined that the project was beyond existing technology to complete. 

 How often do situations like this occur? Unfortunately, more often than some would like to admit. Events like this result in wasted time, energy, productivity, and trust. Some managers may say they want to build an empowered work force, but get in the way of their own best intentions.  So how can they create an environment of trust…one that fosters empowerment?  They must demonstrate trust for their staff and be trustworthy themselves.  Blanchard’s Building Trust program illustrates for us what a trustful environment looks like by teaching us exactly which behaviors build trust using the ABCD Model. The model guides individuals to identify aspects of their relationships that need repair, as in the example above, or need to be further nurtured in order to build and maintain trust. 

Are you currently experiencing a lack of trust with one of your co-workers, managers, or direct reports? Learn how you can utilize the ABCD Trust Model within your agency.

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Change is A’Coming to Rocket City

An article in Government Executive magazine announced that Huntsville, Alabama is becoming the next stomping grounds for several government agencies.  This transition kicked-off with the expansion of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) in 2005 when the Missile Defense Agency learned that they would be relocating their agency from a Washington suburb to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.  Since that announcement, several agencies have followed in the MDA’s footsteps. A few of the MDA’s neighbors now include:

  • 1700 positions from the AMC and USASAC
  • 180 positions from SDMC
  • 400 positions from the Aviation Technical List Center & Rotary Wing Platform
  • 113 positions from  the 2nd Recruiting Brigade

When the BRAC transitions are completed in September 2011, approximately 4700 positions will be relocated to Redstone.

Organizational change is a fact of life in the workplace.

All of this change has led to increased stress levels on the organizations and people involved.  The transition has required employees to wear multiple hats while leaders have been implementing several training efforts to get others up to speed. 

Leading people through change is an ongoing challenge in any agency.  So how do BRAC or other leaders maximize high levels of productivity and morale and ensure a successful transition?

A U.S. Department of Education project originally conducted by Gene Hall and his colleagues at the University of Texas suggests that people are faced with change express 6 predictable and sequential concerns.

  1. Information concerns
  2. Personal concerns
  3. Implementation concerns
  4. Impact concerns
  5. Collaboration concerns
  6. Refinement concerns

Resolving concerns throughout the change process builds trust in the leadership team, puts challenges on the table, gives people an opportunity to influence the changes process, and allows people to refocus their energy on the change.

At the Ken Blanchard Companies, new work by Pat Zigarmi, Judd Hoekstra, and Ken Blanchard on the Situational Leadership II and Leading People Through Change programs provides guidance for diagnosing concerns and then using the appropriate change leadership strategy to address those concerns.

Watch this video of Ken Blanchard discussing the reality of change.

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