Blog #Coaching


Welcome to the Blogs by the Excel Group Team. We're passionate about building Team and Management Effectiveness.

The War for Talent:  3 Workplace Problems and how Disc assessments can help win the war.


The world has changed; organizations and individuals need more flexibility and are working remotely in greater numbers than ever before. At the beginning of 2021, 32% of Canadian employees aged 15 to 69 worked most of their hours from home, compared with just 4% in 2016. According to Statistics Canada, this trend is likely to continue and could have far-reaching implications for everything from housing markets to traffic.

 It is also likely that organizations will continue to experience major challenges in the areas of finding and keeping talent. In a recent Forbes article, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) is quoted as saying that “the tide is about to turn. The SHRM cites a study showing that more than half of employees surveyed in North America plan to look for a new job in 2021. They go on to say that we are seeing the beginning of a shift in power away from companies and toward workers. One tool that can help companies compete in the talent war is the DISC behavioural assessment. These assessments allow organizations and managers to “know their talent.” As we emerge into the post-pandemic work world, leadership flexibility requires “Behavioural Intelligence” in tailoring your approach to each individual by understanding the diversity of their work preferences. The greatest competitive advantage in the war for talent will be understanding how to hire it, coach it, and keep it.

1. Hiring Talent

Hiring the right fit team member remotely can be a bit like trying to identify the members of Daft Punk at a cocktail party. Unless you know them without their stage masks, you will not be able to identify them. Recent research indicates that as many as 36% of people want to continue working remotely. But whether jobs continue to be remote or eventually move to hybrid, it’s likely virtual hiring will continue — along with its many challenges. Hiring “right fit” candidates is a little more challenging without in-person contact. Hiring managers are restricted to CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, and virtual interviews, losing a lot of information that was previously gained through non-verbal communication. Does this person prefer detailed written work, or work that involves more people interaction? Are they deliberate and thoughtful in their responses, or more rapid-fire and off-the-cuff? DISC behavioural profiles help managers get up to speed on a person’s work and communication style preferences to help align them with the best position, before they have even met. This deeper-level understanding of candidates can also help organizations to better tailor remote onboarding options to new employees, once hired.

2. Talent Teams: Nurturing A Culture of Collaboration.

Organizations don’t get results, it’s the individual people working together in alignment who create success. In any work environment, team effectiveness requires good communication. Even in traditional, in-person work environments, teams can get bogged down in conflicts that result in subpar workflow, talent turnover, and even poor customer/client service. With remote or hybrid work environments, team communication and work performance challenges can be exacerbated by distance.

 As some leaders already know, DISC profiles and Team Wheels can dramatically enhance the team learning curve and open up communications. When team members and leaders have greater self-awareness and an understanding of other styles, they can learn to adapt for greater effectiveness. For example, when a team member is more fast-paced and extroverted, others can learn to give them the highlights quickly before losing their attention. When approaching another team member who is more analytical, they will know to send them facts and data in advance of a meeting in order to make their discussion time more productive, and also to allow time to listen and answer questions. (To learn more about DISC behavioural styles, feel free to download a complimentary summary here.) 


3. Coaching Talent With DISC

With more than half of employees on the lookout for a new job, the post-pandemic war for talent is real. The fact that people tend to quit their manager more than they quit the organization highlights just how crucial the role of a manager is for engagement and retention. Today, in a world of remote hiring and remote work, there are some workers who have never even met colleagues or their bosses in the flesh. But live or virtual, managers at all levels are now the most direct link between the talent and the organizational culture. Organizations with poorly equipped managers will drive higher turnover and find themselves losing the talent war. 

On the other hand, organizations that have equipped managers with superior coaching skills and knowledge will have a competitive advantage in the talent war. Staff don’t want to be coached via cookie-cutter approaches mandated by head office. Instead, they want to be understood and to be given the responsiveness and support necessary to perform well in their jobs. The enhanced awareness provided by DISC equips managers to tailor their approach to the preferred unique styles of each team member for a superior coaching approach. For example, if manager Sarah (with a strong S style) consistently approaches remote team member Diana (a strong D Style) with calm tonality, slow-paced verbiage, and long pauses, it is possible that eventually Diana will be multi-tasking by searching job boards on her phone while Sarah continues talking. DISC profiles help managers and team members to understand their respective communication styles, improving results through greater engagement. As organizations move forward to post-pandemic workplaces, DISC online profiles can power the enhanced understanding, engagement, and retention of team talent. In helping you create a culture of team and management effectiveness, they can also create a path to victory in the talent war — helping you to Hire it, Coach it, and Keep it.


As Chief @ XLTeamwork.com Chuck is a Creative business leader/writer/husband/dad/real estate investor. Passionate about leadership, faith, family, entrepreneurship, and helping organizations understand and leverage their talent. Visit www.XLTeamwork.com for more information.




Jointly Published on Medium

#leadership #disc #teamwork #HR #XLTeamwork

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4 min read
18Feb

Talent management. What does this year hold for managers and their teams? A new year often brings a new mindset and in a post-pandemic pivot, many may be looking to change jobs (or managers).6 Key Points to Prepare for a Post-Pandemic Pivot.


What does 2021 hold for managers and their teams? A new year often brings a new mindset and in a post-pandemic pivot, many may be looking to change jobs (or managers).


This past year, I found it interesting to observe my oldest son’s experience with the pivot to remote work for his summer internship. In January 2020, while away in his 3rd year at university, my son was excited about the offer of a summer job at a respected bank’s head office within a 5-minute walk of our Toronto home. But by the time he started work in the spring, he had been transitioned to working remotely in front of his laptop, at home. He loved the onboarding, a virtual welcome that included participation from the CEO, as the organization found new ways to do things with the global ushering-in of a remote-work culture. After a summer of handling mortgage renewals from his home-based set-up, he returned to his final year of undergrad in September, while most of his coworkers continued to juggle working from home and navigating their kids’ online learning until daycares and schools re-opened. 

Impact of Remote Work

For my son, the experience was a time-limited novelty. But how is the sudden, protracted pivot to remote work going for those folks who have spent years in a totally different environment? What is the impact on organizations and their now-digital workers? Studies indicate that many are finding the adjustment challenging. A study byTelus International found that 75% of respondents “struggled at work due to anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other recent world events,” and a full 80% said they would consider leaving their jobs for one that better balanced remote work and mental health.Research conducted by mental health tech firm Ginger found that almost 70% of workers feel more stressed than at any other time in their careers. Clearly, in this evolving work-from-home culture, everyone is facing challenges, especially in the area of communication. The regular stream of conversation between coworkers, and between managers and staff, ordinary discussions about how things are going in the organization—all have been muted. So, it becomes an even more critical management responsibility to communicate what is unseen and what is taking place, to give clarity and transparency of expectations and metrics, and to listen to team members. 

Leading Through The Pandemic Pivot

With remote working, managers who lead teams are tasked with a cultural pivot in the way they lead people. From Zoom meetings to onboarding new talent, some managers are adjusting well, but many are failing. Those who are less successful are responsible (often unknowingly) for the disengagement of team members, leading to a decline in performance. And, in a post-pandemic world, these managers and organizations will almost certainly lose talent to the teams and leaders who have mastered the people pivot. To avoid losing staff to stress and overall dissatisfaction, leaders need to master the post-pandemic pivot in building resilient teams. Here are a few tips to keep your people engaged and productive, despite the distance. 

6 Keys to Mastering the Post-Pandemic 

1) Start with Personal Wellness

Recognize that as a leader, the first person you lead is yourself. You can’t lead from a place of poor health and personal exhaustion. Especially post-holidays, many health and wellness experts encourage regular exercise, adequate rest, and healthy eating while limiting alcohol and sugar intake for positive mental and physical health.

TIP:Determine the best time in your routine to build in some regular exercise. Personally, if I don’t get out early in the morning, I run the risk of not working out at all. There is less opportunity for interruption at 6 am (check out The 5 AM Club, a book by Robin Sharma). Perhaps set up a regular socially-distanced walk or run with a friend or neighbour for accountability.

2 ) Engagement begins with Empathy: Balance People Performance with Profit

A study published in Harvard Business Review found that “empathetic companies outperform their more callous counterparts by 20 percent. When people feel understood themselves, they’re more receptive to others’ concerns—and team cohesion, collaboration and innovation tend to follow suit.” This last year has required the prioritization of people before productivity and profits in the short term. People perform better when they feel listened to and supported.

TIP: Enhance active listening skills by asking great questions. If your direct report is more introverted and you need to discuss significant issues, consider emailing them questions for discussion a day in advance of your online meeting. They will appreciate the preparation time to make a virtual dialogue more productive.

3) Stop Managing; Engage by Coaching and Communicating

In the pre-pandemic world, many managers failed to make the shift from directing or micro managing to coaching. During the pandemic, managers already have enough fires to put out, so they need to keep their coaching hats on. It’s crucial to frame the context of problems and challenges and then use focused questions, inviting team members to contribute solutions themselves. This strategy will continue to be vital for goal coaching in the future, looking beyond pandemic issues to post-pandemic goals and metrics.

TIP: Coach team members to be solution-oriented. When they have a problem to overcome, don’t rush to solve it for them. Encourage them to bring up 2–3 potential solutions to any challenges they present. Get into the habit of asking, “What do you think we should do with that? How can you solve that?”  Be the leader that practices collaboration vs dictatorship. Developing a team culture that embraces and effectively navigates change together ensures transferable success through to post-pandemic times.

4) Build Trust with Empowerment 

In support of a culture of superior remote work practices, Siemens CEO Roland Busch shared their two guiding principles: 1) Focus on outcomes rather than time spent in the office, and 2) Trust and empower your employees. For some work cultures, this may already be a big leap. In his book The Culture Connection, my friend Marty Parker makes the point that for the organizations that get it right, “Culture is a competitive advantage.” Some cultures will adapt and thrive in this shift to remote work, while others will have significant talent turnover.


TIP: Building on point 3 above—empowering staff in problem-solving is a display of trust that enhances engagement. Your role is to bridge the gap between the performance metrics of the organization’s “what” and the staff’s evolving need for pandemic flexibility in determining the “how” of getting the job done. Find the balance of holding them accountable to established outcome metrics while coaching them to be creative and innovative in taking ownership of the “how” in their solutions. Inculcate the habit of asking (can you think of 3 ways you can expedite that?) vs. telling them. Your engagement and performance scorecard results will be directly related to how well you do this.

5) Avoid Cookie Cutter Management

Learn your team members’ unique communication styles.Remember each team is made up of different members who have different communication styles, different work preferences, and different management needs. Moreover, everyone has different stress triggers as they navigate the pandemic. Some prefer more interaction, while others are fine to work from home methodically in seclusion. What may create stress for one may be preferred for others. It will be important for you to reflect on the behavioural dynamics of your team members and allow for some adaptation.

In short:

  • Get to know your own style first. (your communication style, pace, how you come across to others etc)
  • Then, get to know your people.
  • Adapt as needed and invite their unique proposals for how and when they prefer to interact to achieve their needed work outcomes.

TIP: Using psychometric profiles such as DISC can help to accelerate your understanding of team members' styles. This proactive step reduce the conflict, stress, and mismanagement that comes from a lack of understanding style differences (see XLTeamwork.com).

6) Nurture Passion and Creative Fun

In his book Passion Capital, Paul Alofs makes the case that the greatest asset an organization has as a competitive advantage is the engaged passion of staff. At a time when office real estate assets are often sitting empty, it is the people and talent that organizations are depending on to continue to achieve organizational objectives. Passion Capital expressed as a formula in the book is shown as: Passion Capital = Energy + Intensity + Sustainability. During the pandemic, these factors are all challenged. Looking after and engaging your greatest asset—your people—is critical.

TIP: Be intentional about encouraging their wellness and creative about noticing people in times of accomplishment and then expressing gratitude.Things like a personal handwritten note mailed to their home, or an electronic gift card for a catered meal or house-cleaning, can go a long way during these chaotic times. Build in some fun, too. Find out what engages your team and unleash some fun on the job. Competition? Virtual team cocktails at the end of a busy week?

In the end, it’s important to remind ourselves, organizations don’t achieve results—people do. Starting with yourself, stay well, and let’s get our people through this together.















C.  Reynolds
Chief Teamer
XLTeamwork.com




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6 min read

The War for Talent:  3 Workplace Problems and how Disc assessments can help win the war.


The world has changed; organizations and individuals need more flexibility and are working remotely in greater numbers than ever before. At the beginning of 2021, 32% of Canadian employees aged 15 to 69 worked most of their hours from home, compared with just 4% in 2016. According to Statistics Canada, this trend is likely to continue and could have far-reaching implications for everything from housing markets to traffic.

 It is also likely that organizations will continue to experience major challenges in the areas of finding and keeping talent. In a recent Forbes article, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) is quoted as saying that “the tide is about to turn. The SHRM cites a study showing that more than half of employees surveyed in North America plan to look for a new job in 2021. They go on to say that we are seeing the beginning of a shift in power away from companies and toward workers. One tool that can help companies compete in the talent war is the DISC behavioural assessment. These assessments allow organizations and managers to “know their talent.” As we emerge into the post-pandemic work world, leadership flexibility requires “Behavioural Intelligence” in tailoring your approach to each individual by understanding the diversity of their work preferences. The greatest competitive advantage in the war for talent will be understanding how to hire it, coach it, and keep it.

1. Hiring Talent

Hiring the right fit team member remotely can be a bit like trying to identify the members of Daft Punk at a cocktail party. Unless you know them without their stage masks, you will not be able to identify them. Recent research indicates that as many as 36% of people want to continue working remotely. But whether jobs continue to be remote or eventually move to hybrid, it’s likely virtual hiring will continue — along with its many challenges. Hiring “right fit” candidates is a little more challenging without in-person contact. Hiring managers are restricted to CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, and virtual interviews, losing a lot of information that was previously gained through non-verbal communication. Does this person prefer detailed written work, or work that involves more people interaction? Are they deliberate and thoughtful in their responses, or more rapid-fire and off-the-cuff? DISC behavioural profiles help managers get up to speed on a person’s work and communication style preferences to help align them with the best position, before they have even met. This deeper-level understanding of candidates can also help organizations to better tailor remote onboarding options to new employees, once hired.

2. Talent Teams: Nurturing A Culture of Collaboration.

Organizations don’t get results, it’s the individual people working together in alignment who create success. In any work environment, team effectiveness requires good communication. Even in traditional, in-person work environments, teams can get bogged down in conflicts that result in subpar workflow, talent turnover, and even poor customer/client service. With remote or hybrid work environments, team communication and work performance challenges can be exacerbated by distance. As some leaders already know, DISC profiles and Team Wheels can dramatically enhance the team learning curve and open up communications. When team members and leaders have greater self-awareness and an understanding of other styles, they can learn to adapt for greater effectiveness. For example, when a team member is more fast-paced and extroverted, others can learn to give them the highlights quickly before losing their attention. When approaching another team member who is more analytical, they will know to send them facts and data in advance of a meeting in order to make their discussion time more productive, and also to allow time to listen and answer questions.

3. Coaching Talent With DISC

With more than half of employees on the lookout for a new job, the post-pandemic war for talent is real. The fact that people tend to quit their manager more than they quit the organization highlights just how crucial the role of a manager is for engagement and retention. Today, in a world of remote hiring and remote work, there are some workers who have never even met colleagues or their bosses in the flesh. But live or virtual, managers at all levels are now the most direct link between the talent and the organizational culture. Organizations with poorly equipped managers will drive higher turnover and find themselves losing the talent war. 

On the other hand, organizations that have equipped managers with superior coaching skills and knowledge will have a competitive advantage in the talent war. Staff don’t want to be coached via cookie-cutter approaches mandated by head office. Instead, they want to be understood and to be given the responsiveness and support necessary to perform well in their jobs. The enhanced awareness provided by DISC equips managers to tailor their approach to the preferred unique styles of each team member for a superior coaching approach. For example, if manager Sarah (with a strong S style) consistently approaches remote team member Diana (a strong D Style) with calm tonality, slow-paced verbiage, and long pauses, it is possible that eventually Diana will be multi-tasking by searching job boards on her phone while Sarah continues talking. DISC profiles help managers and team members to understand their respective communication styles, improving results through greater engagement. As organizations move forward to post-pandemic workplaces, DISC online profiles can power the enhanced understanding, engagement, and retention of team talent. In helping you create a culture of team and management effectiveness, they can also create a path to victory in the talent war — helping you to Hire it, Coach it, and Keep it.


 As Chief @ XLTeamwork.com Chuck is a Creativebusinessleader/writer/husband/dad/real estate investor. Passionate about leadership, faith, family, entrepreneurship, and helping organizations understand and leverage their talent. Visit www.XLTeamwork.com for more information.




Jointly Published on Medium

#leadership #disc #teamwork #HR #XLTeamwork

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3 min read
24May

When you hire and retain talent, their engagement is critical. 3 Tips for Team Engagement


Can you tell the difference between an employee who is truly engaged, and one who isn't? Try looking at the difference in quality of service you receive.

 On a recent business trip I was provided with the opportunity to experience and juxtapose some very different levels of service and employee engagement:

At a Tampa hotel, we were greeted by energized staff who went out of their way to assist us. We had also noted several employees at the airport who seemed to honestly enjoy helping the passengers. But then there was the disappointment I experienced during a visit to my preferred addiction supplier, Starbucks. When I arrived at the coffee house located in a Chapters store during what was clearly a slow period, three baristas were chatting behind the counter, and were unenthusiastic about interrupting the conversation to take my order. As I waited for my caffeine fix, my dissatisfaction with the service level was only amplified by the obvious lack of store cleanliness, with litter scattered on the floor and tables. If this was the consistent experience offered, would most brand loyalists return? I think not.

In any organization, a lack of engagement is costly. Disengaged staff often take more sick days, turn off more customers, lag in productivity and, when in management or on a team, can spread their "disengagement virus" faster than a runny nose in a day care.

Conversely, engaged staff create superior customer experiences, initiate innovative problem solving, and inspire their peers to greater performance - all factors that, when sustained, will contribute to the organization's bottom line. In his book Passion Capital, Paul Alofs discusses the energized, sustained, and strategically deployed engagement of associates as the most valuable asset an organization can have, using the equationPassion Capital = Energy + Intensity + Sustainability.

Customers and clients can certainly tell the difference between a team member who is engaged, and one who is not. Following a tour of the new Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel and their amazing 50,000 square foot wellness center, it was a pleasure to meet and speak with CEO Brian Adams. He is an engaged leader who sees the connection between engaged staff and excellence in patient care. From the person at reception, to security guards, to management team members, to the obvious pride that the VP of HR exhibited during the tour, it was clear that the level of engagement in their mission was high.

So how does an organization go about enhancing staff engagement? There is no single answer to this question - there are three areas that need to be integrated in order to both achieve and sustain a high level of engagement.

3 Important Factors for Engagement

1) Hire Right Fit Employees

Understand and align staff members' intrinsic motivators with the job. Don't hire Mother Teresa as a sales leader, or Donald Trump as the director of counselling for a homeless shelter. Mother Teresa was passionately engaged by helping and serving others, hence the work she did in Calcutta.  Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is passionately engaged by “The Art of The Deal” in his business/political pursuits, and would likely not be energized in the same role.

2) Coach Your Staff Uniquely and Effectively

With the understanding that staff members have different styles and motivators, managers must learn how to coach them accordingly. Coaching Mother Teresa and Donald Trump requires two different approaches in order to engage their natural, intrinsic talents. Also, understanding how important the role of culture is, it can sometimes become necessary for managers to recognize poor fit and “coach them to be successful somewhere else.” As Alofs mentions in his book, “A culture of passion capital can be compromised by the wrong people. Tend the weeds.”

3) Engage Teamwork

Years ago I heard Jim Jacobus repeat the quote "Inside every human being, a champion heart beats." The challenge at times is, once you have a talented team of engaged champions, they need to work together. In 1984, when Bob Geldoff wrote Do They Know It's Christmas? and recruited talented celebrities to record it together, he knew enough to hang a sign at the entrance that said “Please leave your ego at the door.” Engaged people need to work together, respecting each others' unique passions, talents, and roles to accomplish the bigger purpose ahead of them. Imagine our human body as a team, driving a car. If the foot says to the eyes, “I’m the most important when it comes to controlling how fast we go” and the eyes respond by simply shutting, there might be some trouble reaching our destination. When engaged talents don’t work together well, it compromises productivity, performance and even talent retention. Again, in a “Coaching Culture” managers lead by leveraging engaged people in a way that cultivates their multiplied talents. As the saying goes “It takes teamwork to make a dream work.”

Hire Right, Coach Effectively, Embed Team Effectiveness, then stand back and observe engagement extended to customers and clients.

In the Spirit of Growth,


 XLTeamwork.com

Chuck Reynolds is President and Chief Performance Officer of Excel Group Development in Toronto. He can be reached at (416) 481- 4802 or visit www.XLTeamwork.com for more information. 

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3 min read
02Sep

"What's the difference between a Manager and a Coach?" That question often leads us to another:

One of the questions we often hear discussed is, "What's the difference between a Manager and a Coach?"
That question often leads us to another: "What is the difference between Management and Leadership?"
 Best selling author Brian Tracy says,

"Management is transactional, while Leadership is Transformational." Management responsibilities can include many areas, from budgeting to planning and reports, and general administration. Leadership, however, also includes the component of leading and supporting people, in a way that will ultimately allow them to achieve, be productive, and experience growth.

To answer the first question, "What's the difference between a Manager (a boss) and a Coach (a leader)?", let's look at some context. One challenge that occurs in most organizations is that people move into the management role once they have mastered some technical competence in a department or role. And so, a great sales person will be promoted to sales management, or a top-notch software engineer developing code for the project is promoted to manage other programmers, or a productive accountant is promoted to Controller or Accounting Manager. The challenge is that the familiarity with the transactional side of management (often viewed as completing a list of tasks and achieving a result) is very different than the competence of leading others (through whom you are now tasked with achieving the result). In the absence of effective leadership development, managers can fall into the habit of dictating to-do lists, micromanaging, or unnecessarily rolling up their sleeves to become a 'Do For' boss or reverse delegator. We've seen new Sales Managers take over the sales process in a client meeting, much to the frustration of the Account Executive who is now responsible for the account. Over the years we've reviewed volumes of 360 Management Feedback reports, and have seen some clear habit/behavior distinctions between what we call the "Boss Manager" and the "Coach Leader".

Here are 5 Key Differences between a Manager/Boss and a Coach/Leader:

A Coach spends more time listening and asking questions, while a Boss spends more time speaking and giving directions.

A Coach invests time in observing, while a Boss makes quick assumptions.

A Coach uncovers issues to get the the root of a problem, while a Boss takes the quickest route to deal with the surface symptoms.

A Coach helps Direct Reports accept responsibility, while a Boss assigns blame.

A Coach supports employees in developing their plans, while a Boss gives them the plan and tells them to follow it.

We've all experienced variations of Boss vs. Leader types in our working lives. The truth is, it seems easier and more expedient to "boss" than to coach. But research and anecdotal evidence both show that coach/leaders have more engaged employees, and get better results. Do you have more "boss" types or coaches in your organization? Whether you're the head of a global organization, or just trying to be effective in leading a small team, perhaps it's time to ask yourself - am I more of a boss, or a leader? What would your employees say?

In the Spirit of Growth,

Chuck (Charles)

XLTeamwork.com

                         

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2 min read