February 2011


Coming Events

Understanding, Building, and Assessing Competencies

Using the LEADERSHIP ARCHITECT� to build and implement Competency Models
February 28 - March 1, Pittsburgh PA

Register or for more information

VOICES� Multi-Rater Feedback Certification Workshop

Certification in Lominger's research-based and experience-based 360� feedback tool for developing talent � at a considerable savings. Note: Understanding, Building and Assessing Competencies is a prerequisite to this certification.
April 13 � 14 Pittsburgh PA

Register or for more information


Competing through People

At the start of a new year, many companies review and revise their strategies and annual business plans. Looking back on last year's effort, many executives will feel that they developed a good plan but will not be pleased by how well it was executed. In a survey conducted by Marakon Associates and the Economist Intelligence Unit, senior executives at 197 large companies agreed that strategy execution is more important than strategy development but 66% said they were worse at execution than development.

There are many factors that can affect strategy execution � a weak strategy process (Read more on strategy development), ineffective cascading of objectives, a lack of good measurement, or no project priority management. However, the foundation for effective strategy execution starts with assuring that you have a strategy-capable organization.

An organization is strategy-capable when you know the specific demands the strategy places on the organization, what roles and processes are critical to achieving the strategy, and the capability of the talent in those critical roles. As Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan wrote in their book Execution, "The people process is more important than either the strategy or operations process. . . . To put it simply and starkly: If you don't get the people process right, you will never fulfill the potential of your business."

Click here to read more on how to assess your organization's talent

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Talent Strategies for the New Economy

Ponder these recent headlines:

"Talent Shortage Looming"
"More Quit Jobs in November Than Were Laid Off"

The first referred to a recent survey by Deloitte and Forbes Insights called "Talent Edge 2020". Forty one percent of 334 senior executives' at large companies throughout the world said that finding top employees was their biggest challenge. This despite high unemployment rates in many of their countries.

The second headline was a lead-in to an article summarizing the results of the latest US Department of Labor statistics. More employees quit their jobs than were laid off in November (the latest month of data) and this was the trend for the fourth month in a row.

From one perspective, the headlines are signs that market conditions are improving. These headlines are troubling, however, for many executives and talent managers that have been in survival mode but must now focus on growth and innovation. How do you switch from restructuring and downsizing to attracting and retaining critical talent? My perspective is that its time to go back to basics. Like Vince Lombardi's famous quip as a new coach of a perennial looser, "This is a football, these are the yard markers . . .".

The basics for this talent challenge would be the effective measurement of and follow through on employee engagement (not employee satisfaction).

Research has shown that different employees leave companies for different reasons. It is not as simple as the old adage that "employees leave bosses", particularly if you focus on top performers. A 2009 survey by TowersWatson showed that top performers at risk for leaving a company were much more critical of the company's inability to allocate resources, set priorities, and make quick decisions. Other TowersWatson data showed that the top drivers of attraction and retention for all employee groups are opportunities to learn, to develop new skills and capabilities, and the reputation of the organization as a good employer.

Does your company need to make the move from survival to growth in the recovering economy? Worried that you'll be able to attract and retain the talent that you'll need? Then go back to the basics. Make sure you know the engagement level of your workforce and act quickly to resolve any gaps.

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How to Create a Collaborative and Empowering Environment

By Nancy Stampahar
Silver Lining Solutions

Each day, an alarming amount of reports and stories are being told in the media about how people are becoming more apathetic and disrespectful in the workplace, schools, and at home. What happened? More importantly, what can be done to bring about more compassion and respect for humankind?

High-performance teams evolve from a collaborative and empowering work environment. Personal relationships evolve from compassion and respect. Like the plague, apathy and complacency can spread throughout an organization and at home. It is easy to catch people who do not care and are not motivated. Motivation is an inside job that comes from making a personal choice. Our minds are powerful. As soon as we make a cognitive decision to change, we do something different. Human beings are sensitive creatures that need to be validated and appreciated. John C. Maxell said, "People don't care about how much you know, until they know how much you care." For teams and relationships to evolve, it is necessary to show Compassion, Awareness and Respect for Everyone.

Ways to Show You C.A.R.E.

  1. Define roles and expectations.
  2. Hold everyone accountable and do not enable others.
  3. Develop a collaborative leadership style and positive character traits.
  4. Involve others in decision making where appropriate.
  5. Explain losses, outcomes and reasons for changes.
  6. Ask questions and assume/jump-to-conclusions less.
  7. Listen with empathy and concern.
  8. Make everyone feel valued and appreciated.
  9. Become more self-aware and less self-absorbed.
  10. Follow the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated.
  11. These best practices exemplify relationship-building skills for your customers, employees, colleagues, students, family and friends. If mastered, you will reap the rewards of having a healthy work and home environment. You will have increased morale and productivity in organizations. You will have increased happiness and closer relationships at home. Finally, you will have contributed to bettering our society and your life by showing respect for others, as well as yourself.

    Nancy Stampahar
    Silver Lining Solutions
    [email protected]

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