An organization is a system that connects people through complex relationships. These work best when employees understand what their jobs are and how to communicate according to the organization's written and unwritten rules. Leaders are the ones who help employees understand those expectations, and their efforts become particularly important during change. Employees want - but more importantly, NEED - to understand major shifts in business activities if leaders expect them to continue to drive results through the change process. Let's examine how managers can lead employees successfully through change.Read More
Do you have a best friend at work? It's not a question often asked of professionals, but Gallup once did in a poll designed to see how personal relationships in the workplace affected productivity. Work is a place where most adults spend much of their waking hours, so developing workplace friendships is almost inevitable. Does your company view social interaction among employees as a distraction from the work that needs to be accomplished? The results of the Gallup poll and other studies show that having social ties with coworkers actually increases productivity, employee satisfaction and retention. Gone are the days when the average employee was content to clock-in in the morning, complete the workday, then clock out to go home. Today's professionals, especially millennials, are looking for a career that is also a human experience. They want their work to have meaning. and they want to be part of an office culture where deeper bonds and relationships are formed. Let's explore this.Read More
Ask a successful business leader what he or she believes is the number one key to becoming an effective leader, and you get a variety of answers that are as diverse as the leaders themselves. Yes, leaders must be able to delegate. Yes, leaders must be decisive, making hard decisions when the situation warrants. Yes, leaders must be able to effectively manage their work-life demands. All of these qualities help detemrine whether someone in a position of authority will succeed in that role.
But there is one aspect of leadership that is often overlooked by up-and-coming leaders who dream of leading everything from a mom-and-pop store to a Fortune 500 company. This quality comes naturally to some, while others must work hard at developing the skill. It's communication.Read More
According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management:
"America was founded on the ideal that from many, we are one, a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. That is the rationale for inclusion. To gain the maximum benefit from our increasingly diverse workforce, we must make every employee feel welcome and motivated to work their hardest and rise through the ranks. We must affirm that we work better together because of our differences, not despite them."
It's true. New research is making it clear that companies with a diversity & inclusion policy - no - commitment - in place outperform companies who lack such commitment.Read More
While all C-suite leaders stay focused on their bottom line and their enterprise’s key assets, savvy C-suite leaders understand that their people are the ones responsible for driving innovation, product execution, and customer engagement and satisfaction. That’s why attracting and retaining great employees, or talent management, spells financial success in a way that nothing else can for your business.Read More
Sally Helgesen published The Female Advantage in 1990, and it has become one of the best-known books on women in leadership in the 26 years since. Helgesen's Web of Influence was a systematic portrayal of how women bring a type of leadership that differs from traditional, masculine and military hierarchical systems of leadership. Women leaders demonstrate "collaborative, courageous, flexible, open, accessible relationships" with community members long before Helgesen's style of leadership was published. In her dissertation, Diane Brown Davis, Ed.D., shows these traits used by a one-room school teacher in rural Idaho at the beginning of the 20th Century. This is not about being touchy-feely. It's about recognizing that relationships matter if we want to foster innovation and achieve goals.Read More
David Sacks, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor extraordinaire (PayPal, Yammer, Zenefits, Geni) has taken a powerful stance on the value of women in STEM. The New York Times article analyzing Stanford's class of 1994 quotes Sacks, a class of '94 member, addressing the crowd at the reunion, saying, "Everybody here has a huge incentive to get all the talented people we can, and that includes 50 percent of the population." Stanford alum Joe Lonsdale, Palantir co-founder, also envisioned that excluding half of the population would impede STEM-related innovation.
As the tech sector recovered from the dot-com bust, it grew exponentially. Now that the global economy and health of the tech sector are co-dependent, with the success of each riding on innovation, it is fiscally unwise to exclude women in STEM from contributing, especially in the areas of innovation, leadership, role-modeling to grow the pipeline and optimizing ROI. So why the lack of women in STEM leadership roles?Read More
I get this question a lot. I tend to revert to my lawyer days when I respond, "It depends." A performance management process, formal or informal, is only as good as the leaders who are managing it. Without good leaders, it really doesn't matter what kind of performance management process a company uses. Performance reviews serve a critical purpose, tracking individual performance and the impact of that performance on a team and the organization as a whole. Leaders provide actionable feedback, and the employees gain a clear understanding of where they stand in terms of achievement and development. Sounds great, right? The problem is...it usually doesn't work that way. Why? It boils down to leadership.Read More
When I was a new associate attorney at a law firm, one of the partners signed me up to play in a scramble golf tournament. I was playing with two partners from a different office whom I'd never met. I arrived at the registration desk and asked the person signing me in to point out my new colleagues to me. I went over to the two men and introduced myself as the new associate in their Harrisburg office. They were all smiles and happy to see me.Then one of them asked, "So, are you here for the spa?" I replied, "No. I'm playing golf on your team today!" And there it was in an instant - the sheer look of dread washing over their faces. "Um, do you know how to play golf, Claudia?" I thought about it and said, "Guys - I understand the rules and can make my way around the course. I promise I won't hold you up at all." Off we went. On the third tee, one of the guys looked at me and said, "Claudia, how long have you been playing golf?" "About 20 years," I said. "Why didn't you tell us that you could play golf?" Without missing a beat, I said, "Why weren't you open to the possibility that I could?" That happened over 10 years ago and within my first 45 days working with a new law firm. I remember it like it was yesterday. Why? Because of how it made me feel. That was, by definition, part of my onboarding experience with that law firm. How do you think they did?Read More
I was delivering a workplace sensitivity training program last week. The main point of the program is to develop self-awareness. We discussed what it means to be self-aware - to really know and understand why you think and feel the way you do. We also cover the compliance issues, such as harassment and discrimination. But the main point of the program (and the many hypothetical situations we discuss) is to help people stop and think about how their actions and inactions impact those around them. Toward the end of the program, a gentleman raised his hand and asked, "Why can't I just be myself at work?" Fair question. The honest answer is...I'm not telling you that you can't be yourself at work. My job is to help you understand that being yourself at work, depending on who that is, might get you in trouble - or even fired. Here's why:Read More
I remember when I interviewed for a job as an Assistant Golf Professional at a resort in Scottsdale, AZ. I was 21 and had just graduated from college. I was moving to AZ with my boyfriend, who already had a job at another golf course. Both courses were managed by the same company, so the Head Pro interviewing me knew my personal background before I even entered the state. Then came the question:
Claudia, if it doesn't work out with your boyfriend, what are you gonna do?
Quit your job and go home to Pennsylvania crying?Read More
Maybe the recent lawsuit against Yahoo!, Inc., can shed some light on the answer. According to an article in the New York Times by Vindu Goel, Yahoo's CEO, Marissa Mayer, introduced a quarterly performance management process. Sounds good, right? More frequent feedback and opportunities to develop! But according to the lawsuit, that wasn't the plan. First - let me say - I used to represent large organizations in the defense of lawsuits like this one, so I take everything that is alleged in a complaint like this with a grain of salt. For the sake of example, I'm going to dissect the allegations a bit and see where it takes us. Specifically, what could it mean for Yahoo or other companies who use a similar performance management process?Read More
Accountability. Merriam-Webster defines accountability as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or account for one's actions. It's about owning it - whatever it may be. My 9-year-old daughter forged her dad's signature on a test (a test she aced, by the way), because she had already forgotten twice to ask one of us to sign it, and she didn't want to get in any more trouble. I caught the not-so-similar signature, and we had a little talk about accountability. We, as parents, had a choice. We could handle it at home and brush it under the rug. OR...we could use that moment, which would never even be a blip on her life radar when all was said and done, and reinforce that we all need to be accountable for our actions. We told her she had to go to school and fess up to her teacher and accept whatever the consequences would be. She failed to do her job properly - to bring me the test and ask me to sign it. I'm her leader. It's my job to tell her what she did wrong, talk through what she should've done, and take any appropriate corrective action. I am responsible for teaching my child right from wrong. If I failed her as a parent - as her leader, then she wouldn't learn from the experience, and I would be fostering an environment where lying is acceptable, and there are no consequences for poor behavior.Read More
Many managers struggle with involuntary terminations. You have a million reasons why it might be time to let someone go, but you aren't sure how to go about doing it. Let's face it - who really wants to have this kind of discussion? It's hard to tell someone you are taking away his current livelihood. But if you manage people, sooner or later you will have to let one or more members of your team go for a variety of reasons. Here's why a termination checklist can help you navigate through a tough situation rather so you aren't scrambling at the last minute.Read More
PING. And there it is - like one of Pavlov's dogs, my physical and emotional reaction begins. My heart sinks, the adrenaline starts flowing, my anxiety is increasing, and I'm dreading what comes next... The ping signals the arrival of new emails. Instinctively (almost unconsciously), I HAVE to check it out. It's a compulsion. An obsession. A dilemma. Time for a call to action. We can be smarter about how we communicate. It will make us better business people and leaders, and it will liberate us from the effects of the ping.Read More
Rolling Stone reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely teaches us a lesson in crisis and brand management.
Sabrina Rubin Erdely issued a statement on April 5 in the wake of the publication's retraction of her 2014 article entitled "A Rape on Campus." She immediately owned her mistakes in the very first sentence, stating "[t]he past few months…have been among the most painful in my life. Reading the Columbia account of the mistakes and misjudgments in my reporting was a brutal and humbling experience." Wait…WHAT? (Read the complete statement here). This is a classic example of crisis and brand management gone wrong. Rather than starting with "I was wrong, and I apologize," Ms. Erdely began with making this about her and her experience. In doing so, she hurt not only those impacted by her article, but she also hurt her personal and professional brand. Her statement did not begin the repair and recovery process - for anyone. She isn't the first person to miss the chance, and she won't be the last.Read More
When I do an online search for "Ellen Pao," MSN, Fortune, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, USA Today, Wired and many other media sources pop up with stories about her case. Most are now leading with the blow the jury delivered her, finding Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers neither discriminated against her on the basis of her gender nor retaliated against her for speaking up about discrimination. Ellen Pao lost. For a period of time, media outlets and independent bloggers alike will discuss not only how this case will shake up the Silicon Valley, but also how it will help foster a dialogue about gender equality and discrimination in the workplace -- where women still earn less than their male counterparts.Read More
Let's be real. We have work. We have friends. We have workfriends. It's no surprise that HR professionals struggle with the fine line between maintaining a friend's confidence and maintaining the integrity of their roles and the loyalty to the clients or organizations they serve. Are HR professionals ever really off duty?
What are you supposed to do if a co-worker tells you over drinks that he or she is in love with a subordinate? What if you observe a leader having one too many drinks and seemingly flirting with an employee? What if each of these individuals is someone you call a friend? Does that make a difference? Should it?
A compliance guru will likely say that your first priority in those situations is to minimize enterprise risk. A lawyer will likely be in the same camp as the compliance guru. Let's try to strike a balance between reducing risk and maintaining friendships by thinking about some practical approaches to the scenarios:Read More