January 30, 2018 / Articles We Like / Influencing Skills

On “3 Ways #MeToo Will Influence the Business World in 2018”

In the wake of recent scandals and controversy sparking the #MeToo movement, there is growing pressure on organizations to reveal more about their cultures and workplace practices. What does this mean for leadership in 2018?

In a recent Inc. article “3 Ways #MeToo Will Influence the Business World in 2018,” Spencer Rascoff, Zillow Group CEO, argues why organizations must first embrace unprecedented transparency and how leaders must shift their focus to HR and company culture.

We each play a role in creating a strong company culture, and the key is combining transparency with trust and respect for all employees.

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July 31, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization

51JqFWSwmxL__SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization
By Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright

Heart: (5 out of 5)
Head: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

Human beings naturally form tribes, even within companies. Tribes are how work gets done. The relationship between tribes and their leaders lies at the heart of performance. Leaders who are successful at developing tribal culture are rewarded with recognition of the leader, tribe loyalty and high performance. It’s no surprise then that companies with successful tribal leaders tend to attract and retain top talent.

This book explains the five tribal stages and the culture of each, so that leaders can learn how to identify the stage of their tribes and take action to lead them through to the next level. Leverage points are included to help leaders unstick groups at each stage and coaching tips help them accomplish their goals.

Though backed by research into 24,000 people in 24 organizations, readers will not find a statistical read but a people book, with faces and stories showcasing principles backed by research and practical experience.

At a time in which many companies are engaged in a war for talent, developing the leadership ability to identify and up-level tribal culture for maximum productivity should be a strategic talent imperative. This is a unique business management book that leaders will want in their personal toolkit. Buy it now.

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June 29, 2015 / Articles We Like / Leadership

On “The Top Complaints from Employees About Their Leaders”

Trust is a key ingredient for creating an engaged and productive workforce. Yet competing priorities, daily pressures and sometimes a lack of self-awareness can get in the way of effective communication and leadership. When we read the survey results in this article, the list of complaints employees have about their leaders seemed all too familiar to us as executive coaches. But by bringing awareness to the power of meaningful connection with employees, we know leaders can make a huge impact on productivity in the workplace.

We share the Harvard Business Review article, “The Top Complaints from Employees About Their Leaders“, by Lou Solomon, to help raise awareness of your communication and connection with employees. Try implementing the suggestions to build more trust!

Tell us: What communication practices do you find most effective for connecting with your employees?

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May 29, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader

actlikealeaderAct Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader
By Herminia Ibarra

Head: (3 out of 5)
Heart: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

At the root of many traditional leadership development methods lie self-awareness and the promise of change through reflection and introspection. This inside-out model can be helpful in identifying your leadership style, defining your purpose and authentic self. But according to the author, these methods fall short of changing the deep-seated ways of thinking which keep us from behaving differently. A new approach is needed: the outsight principle.

The outsight principle is fairly easy to understand: Branch out beyond your routine work, your networks, and current ways of defining yourself, and by doing so, these new ways of acting will begin to change how you think about your work and yourself, and expand your leadership horizons. Instead of thinking about how you will behave as a leader, new behaviors will emerge organically by experimenting with the unfamiliar and interacting with different people. This approach allows us to challenge existing notions of our capacity to lead.

This easy-to-read book offers interesting insight on how change really works. The information is backed by research, exercises and case studies to help readers understand and apply the outsight principle and bridge the gap between where they are today and where they could be. Leaders interested in new ways of thinking about developing their talent, and professionals who want extra motivation to step up to lead will want to read this book.  Buy it now.

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April 23, 2015 / Book Reviews

Book Review | Demystifying Talent Management

demystifyingDemystifying Talent Management: Unleash People’s Potential to Deliver Superior Results
By Kimberly Janson

Head: (4 out of 5)
Heart: (4 out of 5)
Leadership Applicability: (5 out of 5)

All companies aspire to get the most out of their employees, yet often stumble along the way. The results of annual employee surveys often offer the evidence, such as a lack of development, a lack of feedback and coaching, and a lack of direction. But according to the author, good talent management doesn’t need to be as hard as a lot of companies experience it today. It just needs commitment, as well as the will and skill from managers, to be able to unleash the potential in their employees.

In this easy-to-digest book, the author, Kimberly Janson, lays out a simple framework for understanding what talent management is and how managers can get the most out of their employees.  While there are two major components of talent management – managing performance and developing employees – she defines all key talent management terms, and helps readers understand how they all fit together. In understanding the interconnectivities, organizations can truly get the most from their talent as drivers of business strategy. The section on talent management stakeholders and their perspectives can be useful in this regard.

Leaders, managers and human resource professionals who aspire to be excellent at managing and developing their talent and want to improve the quality of their talent management practices will want to read this book.  Buy it now.

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April 2, 2015 / Leadership / Mariposa Articles

The Communication Toolbox

We all grow up with our own unique communication style. Some people by nature are very direct. They come right to the point. They tell it like it is. They don’t mince words. Other people are more diplomatic, more indirect, more subtle in their communication. Indeed, there are a variety of communication styles—quiet, loud, forceful, caring, showy, authentic, and many more.

One metaphor I have found helpful in working with leaders to develop their communication skills is what I call “The Communication Toolbox.” The idea is that we each have a communication style that is most natural and comfortable for us.  Usually, it’s a style we began to develop early in our lives or careers, and that somehow has served us well.  But no one communication style is going to be right for all situations, and leaders encounter a tremendous diversity of people and contexts.  Part of being a well-rounded leader means having more than just one tool.  The further up you go in an organization, the more important it is to have a broader set of tools in your communication toolbox.To read the entire article, visit the Sierra Leadership blog.

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March 3, 2015 / Articles We Like / HR / Talent Management

On “5 Unconventional Ways To Keep Your Most Talented Employees From Leaving”

In Silicon Valley and beyond, many companies are engaged in a battle for talent. Winning is not just about hiring the very best; companies need to change the way they think about keeping their superstars. Superstars can go anywhere, they have options, so why not innovate to keep them engaged with your company?

The Fast Company article, 5 Unconventional Ways to Keep Your Most Talented Employees From Leaving, by Chris Ostoich, highlights five creative tips to retain your top people.  From identifying the informal network, how things get done and integrating new employees into it, to embracing self-formed, self-managed teams to give employees ownership and leadership, the content in this article will stimulate your thinking.

What interesting, creative ideas do you have for engaging your best talent?

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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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January 29, 2014 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management

How Design Thinking Changes the Way HR Implements Programs

Most HR professionals understand the pitfalls of implementing an HR program. To circumvent failure, HR professionals often conduct a needs assessment to inform direction, maybe conduct a pilot program, and then move to implement when given a “thumb’s up.”

A design thinking mentality shifts that. Whether designing a product, service or experience, the core principle behind the success of design thinking is “fail fast.” For HR professionals, this changes how “buttoned up” your program will be before piloting, or even before rolling it out.  The point is to test the program and via observation and feedback, gather data on an ongoing basis to continue to improve.  Why do this?  Because “customer-driven” programs are the most successful.

To innovate the way you implement HR and Talent Management programs, join us in our new Using Design Thinking in HR & Talent Management workshop

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December 11, 2013 / Design Thinking / Creativity / Innovation / HR / Talent Management

2 Ways Empathy Can Help HR Drive Innovation

In most companies today, innovation is expected from all areas of an organization – including groups not traditionally known for driving innovation agendas, such as Human Resources. Success for HR and Talent Management leaders lies in opening up to new approaches for developing fresh ideas for difficult issues. Here are 2 ways that empathy – a key element of design thinking and one facet of our Breakthrough! model – can help HR & Talent Management leaders go from idea-to-innovation more quickly.

  • Empathy provides context for solutions. Too often, leaders of all types come up with an idea for a product, service or experience in isolation, then implement it. This approach fails to lead to innovation. Developing empathy through various methods of observation and interviewing puts HR leaders in their customer’s shoes, experiencing what they do and how they feel. Thus, HR leaders stand a better chance of developing solutions that work for the customer.
  • Empathy develops T-shaped HR leaders. HR leaders who develop an ability to empathize with their customers have both the vertical skills in human resources and are able to broaden their horizontal perspectives, leading to an ability to look at a problem from multiple dimensions.

For more information on empathy, download our Executive Guide to Design Thinking or join us at our NEW Using Design Thinking in HR & Talent Management workshop.

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