April 28, 2014 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management

Ask Mariposa | Understanding Customers’ Needs

John asks:  Recently there seems to be a widening gap between product development and our understanding of customers’ needs. The products aren’t hitting home like they used to. Obviously, there are many changes we need to make – where do we start?

Sue Bethanis, CEO of Mariposa, responds:

Well, there are many facets to the this question, and believe me, you’re not the only one feeling it; so many people we talk with are zeroing in on this dilemma.  Here’s one idea that may hit home: START with customer empathy, and put on your anthropologist hat. GO see how your customers are using the products on their turf.  You know, Steve Jobs was famous for not conducting Focus Groups, but he still knew Apple’s customers REALLY well.  He was seen regularly hanging out at the Palo Alto Apple store, and checking out how customers were using Apple’s products.

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June 25, 2013 / Ask Mariposa

Ask Mariposa: Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Jamie asks: I’ve been northwest regional sales director of a national grocery store chain for the last ten years.  I just found out that there will be an opening for a new vice president of sales, and I want to apply. Because I’ve been a director for so long, I don’t think I’m being considered the position. What can I do to be considered as the best candidate?

Simma Lieberman, Executive Leadership Coach and Mariposa Strategic Partner responds:

You need to stop being seen as the  “perennial director,’ and be seen as a vice –president.

Now is the time to speak up and stand out from the crowd to make your presence known and garner the respect that you deserve.

Let your desired career path be known by the appropriate people. Tell your boss you have aspirations to continue climbing the corporate ladder.

Volunteer for projects on a national level where you can play a visible role and take leadership, where you can interact with people who are at your desired level and above. Meet with those people, tell them your ideas for the project, and get their feedback. CC them on all emails that document your progress.

Change your self-image form director to vice president.

 

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April 23, 2013 / Ask Mariposa / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills / Strategy

Ask Mariposa: Top 4 Executive Coaching Focus Areas

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Daniel asked: Can you share the most frequent areas that you help clients improve on with coaching?

Regan Bach, Executive Leadership Coach, responds:

Great question Daniel and you are not alone in wondering what actually occurs during a coaching engagement.  There is a great deal of customizing that occurs with each client’s needs, but here are the Top 4 most frequent areas of coaching focus:

1) Vision/Strategy/Execution

Whether it be for CEOs or new managers, setting a clear vision for yourself and your team is mission critical.  From there it’s all about articulating that vision to others, identifying an “actionable” strategy to execute on the vision, mitigating roadblocks, and tweaking the roadmap/trajectory given inputs over time.  A good coach helps leaders to a) get very clear on strengths and areas of opportunity to improve, b) articulate personal/team/company vision, and c) helps identify action steps to begin executing on a trajectory for success.

2) Going Slow to Go Fast

In today’s fast paced work environments, leaders jump from task to task, project to project, and initiative to initiative.  Rarely do they take time to slow down, unplug, assess the Big Picture, and reflect on what’s working, what’s not working, and what they want to do DIFFERENT moving forward.  Coaches act as a forcing function to help support leaders in unplugging, assessing themselves and their environments, and then identifying areas that need their attention.  What’s critical is helping today’s leaders not only identify where to show up, but also how to show up.

3) Influencing

This is an area where almost everyone can improve.  I have found that individuals, regardless of title, greatly underestimate (and thus under-utilize), their ability to influence others.  I spend a great deal of time working with clients to help identify effective and efficient ways to influence both vertically and horizontally throughout an organization.

4) Feedback, Communication and Relationship-Building

Organizations exist because humans create them.  Thus, many leaders continually struggle and are challenged by behavioral and/or human-centric issues.  At the core, business is all about communication and relationships.  Coaches help leaders create clear lines of communication, implement durable feedback loops into their work, and get clear on how and when they message things to others.

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December 11, 2012 / Articles We Like / Ask Mariposa / Blog / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills

Ask Mariposa: Book Recommendations for Visionary Leaders

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Travis asked:

Can you recommend a book that describes what leaders do to make themselves visionary leaders, inspiring and enrolling others into a clear and compelling vision of the future?

Great question! Several of the Mariposa executive coaches wanted to offer recommendations.

Mariposa CEO, Sue Bethanis, Ed.D. says:
Good to Great by Jim Collins is probably the one that will hit closest to what you’re asking for. The Design of Business by Roger Martin is an alternative perspective. I would suggest you listen to the conversation I had with Roger on Wise Talk in May. Go to the Mariposa Wise Talk page and scroll down to 5/4/12.

Senior Leadership Coach, Ruben Perczek, Ph.D. suggests:
1. The Leadership Code by The RBL Group
2. A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink
3. The HBR article “Moments of Greatness” by Robert Quinn
4. The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone and Benjamin Zander

Senior Leadership Coach, Dave Kashen, M.B.A. says:
I liked The Three Laws of Performance.

Both Senior Leadership Coaches, Eric Nitzberg, M.T.S. and Edie Heilman, M.B.A. suggest:
The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner.

Hope this helps!

Share your thoughts on this response in the comments section below, and ask us anything here: http://blog.mariposaleadership.com/ask-mariposa/

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November 27, 2012 / Ask Mariposa / Stress / Work-Life Integration

Ask Mariposa: The Impact of Social Networking and Web 2.0

Saul asked:

Can you explain the impact, if any, that social networking and Web 2.0 has made on your organization or you personally?

Eric Nitzberg, Senior Leadership Consultant responded:

Social media is a new reality where people live and work. It’s as if someone discovered a new continent, and everyone is buying a home and opening up a branch office there. This new world will never replace face-to-face interactions for human relationship building, but it’s here to stay. For Mariposa, it means we have to be active in this space to stay relevant and connected with our community (our clients). For me personally, it means letting go of biases I’ve had against digitally-based ways of building relationships.

Share your thoughts on this response in the comments section below, and ask us anything here: http://blog.mariposaleadership.com/ask-mariposa/

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November 20, 2012 / Ask Mariposa / Coaching Skills / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills

Ask Mariposa: Understanding the Culture of Your New Org

Will asked:

How can I help a new employee understand the culture of our organization?

Barbara Baill, Senior Leadership Consultant responded:

The first step is to be able to verbally describe the culture of the organization. We all intuitively know the culture of the organizations in which we live, but it can be challenging to articulate that knowledge and articulate how the organization demonstrates its beliefs, values, underlying assumptions, attitudes and behaviors.

Here are some questions to think about:
• What stories demonstrate the culture? Can you describe situations where individuals have gotten themselves in trouble by unintentionally violating cultural norms?
• What have successful employees done that demonstrate the company values and attitudes?
• If your company has articulated a set of values, what specifics behaviors demonstrate what those values really mean in terms of winning behaviors/successful performance?
• Where is the decision making power in the organization?
• How risk adverse/risk taking is the culture?
• Does communication flow hierarchically (formally) or democratically (informally) across, up and down the organization?
• In what ways and for what reasons do people really get recognized and rewarded?

It’s a good idea to ask multiple people for their input on describing the culture of the organization. You can also give your new employee the task of asking these questions to a list of others that you believe would be honest and open about the culture and who are also highly regarded across the organization.

Over time, continue to mentor your new employee on the cultural realities of your organization. As he or she gains experience in your organization, their contextual understanding of the cultural nuances will grow. Your coaching will help accelerate the integration of the new hire.

Share your thoughts on this response in the comments section below, and ask us anything here: http://blog.mariposaleadership.com/ask-mariposa/

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October 30, 2012 / Ask Mariposa / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills

Ask Mariposa: Behaviors & Traits That Derail Leaders

Michelle asked:

What is the one behavior or trait that you have seen derail more leaders’ careers?

Anne Loehr, Senior Leadership Consultant responded:

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the number one predictor of a successful leader. Leaders lacking EQ will stall in their careers while those with high EQ will shoot to the top.

EQ accounts for more than twice IQ and technical skills combined as a predictor of success. Coined by Daniel Goleman, EQ is comprised of self-awareness (“Who am I? What makes me tick?”) and social-awareness (“How do I use my self-awareness to help build my team”? and “How do I self-manage my negative behaviors that may derail a team?”).

In my 20′s, I was a driven, focused, numbers only-orientated business woman. I wanted to get the job done as quickly as possible, yet my team perceived me as an abrupt and rude manager; they didn’t want to work with me anymore. I was shocked. I learned by fire that my drive for success actually hindered team growth (self-awareness). If I wanted to reduce attrition and improve team dynamics, I had to change my behavior to be more collaborative (social awareness). Over time, working with a coach, I started to increase my EQ to be a more effective leader for me tea,. That’s EQ in action!

Share your thoughts on this response in the comments section below, and ask us anything here: http://blog.mariposaleadership.com/ask-mariposa/

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October 16, 2012 / Ask Mariposa / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills

Ask Mariposa: An Executive Resistant to Coaching

Lance asked:

My executive is resistant to the idea of coaching. What steps can I take to change this?

Tawny Lees, COO responded:

I like the way this was asked in terms of “steps” because there is no silver bullet approach to this challenge. Executive coaching only works with a willing and ready participant, and there could be a wide variety of reasons for the resistance. You’ll need to get clear on what the resistance is about. A fear of facing tough feedback? A perspective that coaching indicates weakness? A concern that it takes too much time/energy? Try to get clarity and then put yourself in this leaders’ shoes (empathize) so you can best address the issues. And you need to make sure that coaching is the right approach. Coaching works best under certain conditions – the executive’s performance and potential are highly valuable to the organization, the particular challenge or developmental need is a fit (executive wants to learn how to be more effective via behavioral change), there are key people in the organization ready to support this executive’s efforts to grow and change, and most importantly – the executive is willing.

Some specific ideas/steps might include: you help the executive get feedback from a trusted and credible source, you have a credible peer describe the benefits he/she obtained from coaching, a valued direct report starts coaching first so the executive gets more familiar with the process and its impact, you brainstorm with the executive about he or she can continue to grow as a leader (self-assessments, 360 feedback, high-level training, mentoring, reading, etc. and discuss whether/how coaching could fit in.) The bottom line is likely repeated, open and honest conversations that get to the heart of the resistance and help the executive to see the value and opportunity in taking stock of his/her current leadership effectiveness and seeking expert help to become even more effective.

Share your thoughts on this response in the comments section below, and ask us anything here: http://blog.mariposaleadership.com/ask-mariposa/

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October 2, 2012 / Ask Mariposa / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills

Ask Mariposa: Renew Reputation and Shift Perceptions

Claire asked:

At my last review, I received negative peer reviews and since then I’ve been taking steps toward making a significant change in my behavior and working relationships. It’s been a really difficult process. Can you advise as to how can I renew my reputation and shift the perceptions of others in my organization?

Tawny Lees, COO responded:

The first thing to remember is patience! People formed a perception of you over time and won’t necessarily immediately notice or trust new behavior on your part. Remain consistent in your new behaviors and not get discouraged. There a few things you can pro-actively do to move the process along. Apologize and admit to your not-so-great behavior if appropriate. Have candid conversations with a few key people – describe the changes on which you are working and enroll their help to observe you and give you regular feedback for 6-12 months. Make sure to ask for the feedback, at least once a month. Establish one specific supporter with whom you can check-in and talk through any obstacles. Your boss? A peer? An HR business partner? Again, commitment and consistency are the keys – don’t give up!

Share your thoughts on this response in the comments section below, and ask us anything here: http://blog.mariposaleadership.com/ask-mariposa/

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September 11, 2012 / Ask Mariposa / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management / Influencing Skills

Ask Mariposa: Over-Communicate to Manage Change

Steven asked:

We want to incorporate more creative thinking into our company’s processes, but are concerned that upsetting the way our company has worked for years could have adverse consequences – what are some ways to make this a smoother transition?

Eric Nitzberg, Senior Leadership Consultant responded:

The short answer: over-communicate. When you are managing change, it’s critical to make sure that everyone knows what’s going on, and that as far as possible, they have a voice in it. This means engaging people in helping craft the new direction, and giving them information repeatedly and through multiple channels. Also, don’t underestimate the power of talking one-on-one with key stakeholders who will be critical to the success of the change. Let them know about the new direction, and get their best ideas and personal investment. They will become evangelists within the company.

Share your thoughts on this response in the comments section below, and ask us anything here: http://blog.mariposaleadership.com/ask-mariposa/

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