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Become a Master Communicator Using Emotional Intelligence

Are your teams burned out or are you? Are you feeling like you are always fighting fires or dealing with team or client conflict? Constant conflict drains our energy and sabotages our efforts. In any relationship there is a big difference between being assertive to establish respect and trust and successful collaboration and being aggressive, defensive or hostile because of perceived threats or differences.

Even if you are one of the lucky ones that has a cohesive team, learning to tap into Emotional intelligence can make a dramatic difference to our success and positively impact every area of our lives for better success, more income and better relationships including:

- Your performance at work. Emotional Intelligence can help you navigate the social complexities of the workplace, lead and motivate others, and excel in your career. In fact, when it comes to gauging job candidates, many companies now view emotional intelligence as being as important as technical ability and require EI testing before hiring.

- Your physical health. If you’re unable to manage your stress levels, it can lead to serious health problems. Uncontrolled stress can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. The first step to improving emotional intelligence is to learn how to relieve stress.

- Your mental health. Uncontrolled stress can also impact your mental health, making you vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If you are unable to understand and manage your emotions, you’ll also be open to mood swings, while an inability to form strong relationships can leave you feeling lonely and isolated.

- Your relationships. By understanding your emotions and how to control them, you’re better able to express how you feel and understand how others are feeling. This allows you to communicate more effectively and forge stronger relationships, both at work and in your personal life.

But before I get ahead of myself, you might wonder:

what is Emotional Intelligence (EI) exactly?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence impacts many different aspects of your daily life, such as the way you behave and the way you interact with others.

Unlike IQ which focuses on hard skills and technical abilities, EI focuses on the soft skills which can be improved with conscious effort and practice.

So how can you improve Emotional Intelligence for more success in your work and life?

Below are 5 tips to give you a start. Remember it is easy to practice in neutral situations but stress can hijack our best intention so give yourself time to make real lasting progress.

1. Practice observing your emotions. Label your emotions and work to understand your triggers for “hot” emotions so you can teach yourself to better manage your emotions for better relationships.

2. Practice recognizing subtle cues on others. Remember that body language, gestures and other forms on non-verbal communication account for more than 55% of communication between people and the actual words account for a mere 7% . This will help you to better understand others emotions and intentions.

3. Work to reduce your stress so you can respond positively in tense situations instead of reacting negatively. When faced with adversity, optimistic people ask “what is good about this? Where is the lesson that is going to serve me well when I go after the next big opportunity?

4. Improve your listening skills. If you are planning what you’re going to say next, daydreaming, or thinking about something else, you are almost certain to miss nonverbal cues and other subtleties in the conversation. Try to practice empathizing with others when you speak to them and work to understand where they are coming from in any conversation so you can aim for a win-win in discussions and negotiations.

5. List the qualities you admire most in a mentor in your life. Notice how many are soft skills associated with EI. Now, work to improve these qualities in yourself. For example if you admire someone’s honesty, make a effort to be more honest both with yourself and others. Or if you admire someone’s sense of humor, practice being funnier and lighter with others!

Improving your Emotional Intelligence Skill is a powerful way to become a better leader, manager and build better relationships in all areas of your life. When you improve your EI, you improve your resilience, optimism and relationships in all areas of your life so it is worth the investment of time! Test it out for yourself!

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” Dan Goleman

AODA Training – Get Ready Now

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

The AODA legislation impacts all organizations in Ontario with more than one employee. That means you want AODA training to achieve compliance. Has your organization met all of the requirements to date? Has your organization filed your accessibility compliance reports (January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2014)?

 

The following are some of the AODA requirements with compliance dates between January 1, 2012 – January 1, 2016:

= Establish policies, plans and procedures to help your organization achieve accessibility goals, and tell your employees and customers about them.

= Create a multi-year plan to ensure your organization meets accessibility requirements.

= Consider accessibility when purchasing or designing electronic kiosks.

= Make your new or “significantly refreshed” websites more accessible.

= Communicate and provide information in accessible formats, upon request.

= Provide accessible workplace information to employees with disabilities, as necessary or upon request, including information about emergency workplace procedures.

= Ensure your human resources practices explicitly consider accessibility in areas such as recruitment, accommodation, performance management, career development and return-to-work processes.

= Develop individualized written accommodation plans for employees with disabilities.

= Training of all staff as per the requirements outlined in the Customer Service and Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulations.

If you are not fully compliant and/or would like an AODA expert to review what has been put into place to ensure it meets the requirements, give us a call to learn how we can help.

 

Frequently Answered Questions

1. What if our company does not comply?

2. Will the government extend the deadline again?

3. When is it best to use live AODA Compliance Training versus online AODA Compliance Training?

4. What is required and how do we implement quickly and efficiently so we do not get distracted from our core talent development strategy?

5. How does AODA training fit inside our talent development and culture strategy?

6. How could we cut two carrots with the same knife?

7. We want to comply, yet we want a business benefit from implementing the AODA compliance training.

8. How do we achieve a business benefit at the same time while we implement?

9. What is the point of AODA and why should I care?

10. How much of my training budget should I allocate to AODA Training?

11. How do I best extend my budget to achieve more with less?

12. How do I tie our organization’s values to the AODA compliance so that we get another opportunity to reinforce our values and leadership behaviors?

Before you depart, here are some things you can do to get AODA compliant for your leaders and teams:

- If you want to achieve a business objective while becoming compliant. Book a 45 minute conversation with Doug Bolger, our Chief Learning Officer to talk about your desired business objectives and compliance outcomes .

- If you already know that Learn2 is a good choice for your AODA Training Programs and would like to book a 45 minute appointment with a strategist, send an email to via our contact page and we will coordinate a meeting with you.

- If you would like to know more about Learn2 and see a few of our solutions, click here now.

- If you would like to speak with someone right away, call our Learn2 Hotline at 877-4LEARN2 x 229.

 

Who are your High-Potential Leaders?

Enjoy the third installment in our High Potential Leaders series by Dr Gail Johnson Morris.

You probably want HiPo leaders who demonstrate great performance now, with the potential to rise within your organization.  Several CTO’s use the Corporate Executive Board’s definition for HiPo, “the high potential employee is someone with the ability, engagement, and aspiration to rise to and succeed in more senior, critical positions.”  Many CTO’s also use the 9-box evaluation of potential and performance to identify HiPos. Those CTOs underscored their assumption that the HiPo’s current assignment performance was stellar. 

When you elect to use a 9-box grid, see insert below, calibrate as a leadership team on how to place and how to engage leaders in each category. The leadership calibration sessions catapult your leadership team forward to lead consistently which eliminates a major complaint of HiPos.  Building on the consistency, your leaders can finally align on what development to target; create opportunities to lead; and initiate performance enhancement programs to target each category. When assigning leaders to boxes, be aware that their current performance may not be stellar if the HiPo recently moved into a more challenging assignment.  Monitor their performance closely or your HiPos may slide into entitlement and begin delivering mediocre contributions!

Learning Agility

Look for HiPos who thrive in complex roles and who display learning agility.  Learning agility describes the cluster of personal skills that allow for innovative and flexible responses to complex challenges especially inside evolving environmental stressors.  Learning agility means HiPos master their fear of unanticipated change and lean into change, making learning agility a good predictor for future global leaders.  “People who are learning agile: seek out new experiences to learn from; enjoy complex problems and challenges associated with new experiences because they enjoy making sense of them; and perform better because they easily incorporate new experience into their leadership stance.  A person who is learning agile has more lessons, more tools, and more solutions to draw on when faced with new business challenges (Hallenbeck, Swisher, & Orr, July 2011).

Given the realities of work place complexity, you want to develop leaders for roles that do not exist today and to anticipate the experience and acumen expected of leaders stepping into the global, senior roles of the future.  As you consider the influence that both globalization and decentralization have on your current and future human capital requirements, it is quite possible that your new HiPo program could produce leaders capable of galvanizing and mobilizing the collective efforts of your entire global network.

3 Best Practices for HiPo Selection:

1. Working from your thoughtful recommendations, have your executive team agree on the selection criteria and size of every HiPo pool.  Document any agreements!

2. For easiest administration, your new HiPo program can be integrated into your current annual talent optimization process.

3. Critical to HiPo program authenticity, and to avoid the pitfalls of entitlement from the HiPos, ongoing annual impact identifiers ensure all HiPos remain motivated and worthy of the time and resource investment.  If your line managers unequipped for difficult conversations, consider targeted development such as Learn2’s ‘Leadership Voice™’ with a skilled coach supporting them for this responsibility directly.

 

The secret to engaging HiPos

Engage Your HiPos!

Engagement is the alchemy that retains HiPos when competitors and head hunters target your talent.  Engagement can be defined as a “state of substantial emotional and cognitive investment” (Kahn, 1990).  Engagement is not just an isolated activity, engagement is “driven visibly and charismatically by committed leadership” (PWC 2010).  Engaged HiPos advocate for their organization, want to stay, and invest discretionary efforts to meet organizational goals.

3 Engagement Program Elements - Overview

HiPo engagement should not be considered an isolated activity.  HiPo engagement results from a confluence of thought-out talent management strategies, solid line management, and great communication.

- HiPo engagement delivers bottom-line shareholder value.

- HiPo engagement improves the sustainability and retention of high-value human capital assets your organization invested in.

1. Accelerated Development Track Selection
Loyalty is fostered from a relationship that is linked to trust and a perception of an ethical employer.  Engagement is enhanced when organizational values, like corporate social responsibility, align to individual values.  Engagement rises when there is selection transparency into the HiPo program with simple, dynamic communication about how selection happens, availability to all versus just a division or territory, and aligned with values and policies. Tracking participants then becomes about increasing challenge levels associated with the readiness of each stream of HiPos.

2. Senior Executive and Board Networking Opportunities
Hewitt’s survey on Performance Management and Career Development, found 89% rated career opportunities as one of the most important drivers for engagement and retention.  This makes sense as strong leaders fail to remain challenged in maintenance positions. The action leading elements of your HiPo programs identify individuals who deserve to be recognized for their results.

3. Senior Executive/Board Presentations and Results Reporting
The Conference Board finds management effectiveness a top 3 driver for improving engagement.
  Including the HiPo’s direct reporting manager transforms them from a potential roadblock who wants to horde the talent into a vital enabler in the engagement system.  Immediate managers impact engagement by releasing HiPos to career opportunities, recognizing great work and holding HiPos accountable for individual and collective results.  “One of the most important factors determining a rising star’s engagement is the sense that he or she is being recognized – primarily through pay.”

H036 refers to the learning curve required in tough new assignment,

”I like the willingness of the organization to let me stretch and take a risk and I’d like them to not look for stellar results in the first six months.  I like meaty assignments to gain experience on something I don’t know.”

HiPos crave challenge and demonstrated this in the quantitative data by rating the top four development elements relating to on-the-job assignment challenges.  17 of 45 HiPos mentioned assignment challenges as their biggest motivator.  H01’s comments were illustrative of many,

“I like enough rope and let me run with it, a chance to drive change through stretch assignments.  Trust me enough to give me the opportunities to develop, make mistakes and learn how to influence without authority.” 

High-potentials are moved out of his/her comfort zone to be seasoned with global roles.  By trusting them with practical stretch assignments, executive experience and acumen is fostered. 

“The very best programs place emerging leaders in “live fire” roles where new capabilities can – or, more accurately, must be developed.”   C08 described these roles as, “[w]e have ‘career changer’ roles that we consider as crucible roles i.e. country leads or in divisions where the leader has P&L to run the business end-to-end.  We can get scale and complexity in some organizational roles i.e. service but may be missing functions that are end-to-end for P&L.  We then integrate some roles together to build the role profile to enable the HIPO to have development in a career changer opportunity.  We also find that product management and some key sales roles are more easily moved cross geographically and can bring perspective that an emerging market may not yet have seen.  It’s good for the organization, good for the business market and great for the leader’s development – a true win/win approach to the business.“

Management effectiveness is one of the top three drivers for improving engagement.  Including the direct reporting manager in the program ensures he/she is part of the engagement system versus a potential roadblock or detractor.  Immediate managers have strong impact on engagement by accelerating career opportunities, providing recognition for good work and holding high-potential leaders accountable for individual and collective results.  The CTO’s mentioned that the communication programs were not effective when the manager was responsible to relay messages and C03 expressed a concern about management level blockers to HIPO identification.  HiPos emphasized the importance of their manager, for example H08 “I have a great manager who helps me shine.”  H12 said “f you have a good coaching boss, they will identify what you need and source courses for your development.”  H24 summed up the general sentiment with, “Great Boss is #1 and can be a sponsor.  I can put up with an average boss if I have a great sponsor but only for 18 months or so.”

 

How to stream your HiPo development

You know different levels of leadership come with different levels of complexity, challenge, and ambiguity.  High-potential leaders rushed up the promotion ladder may be derailed as senior leaders if they miss out on a seminal developmental experience.  Critical experience, domain knowledge and leader capabilities are ideally created in a lattice approach. A lattice approach creates a well-rounded business executive with the context and understanding to really lead into the future. At the very least, leaders want to experience trust, respect, and honesty and have them combine to “create the conditions for exceptional performance” (The Work Foundation, 2010).  High-potential leaders expect good management and great leadership role models.  Your executive team may require support in sponsoring HiPos. Its become so important, that Learn2 created the Executive Sponsorship System to help clients avoid the risks of executives failing to develop or engage hi-po leaders.

Stream Your HiPo Programs

Consider streaming your HiPo programs into early-career HiPos, mid-career HiPos,  and senior leadership HiPos

= Early-career - Action learning focuses on achieving business results. Offer skill building & peer networking opportunities.  Clarify behaviors & skills required for moving up quickly.  Develop mentor relationships. 

= Mid-career - Offer strategic plan, cross-divisional leadership and high visibility challenges.  Provide opportunities for demonstrating resilience and learning agility.  Demonstrate leading team skills.

= Senior Leadership - Challenges to create next generation of enterprise-wide results.  Crucible role opportunities, leading large transformational change projects, global assignments, & launching new ventures / products.

Get clear on the experience and investment required. Avoid the temptation to make your HiPo program about learning and development rather than leading and achieving business results. Select assignments that develop skills and traits while expanding capacity by solving complexity, challenge and ambiguity.  The CTOs warned that HiPos who are fast-tracked, rushed or transitioned-poorly into overly-challenging opportunities may derail.

Develop Your HiPos!

The best high-potential development programs link developmental program elements to actual experience leading in a thoughtfully-designed system.  These programs include career and personal development opportunities orchestrated to impact the HiPos’ own developmental and interest requirements. 

6 Ways to Make Your HiPo Development Link to Business Results

1. New Division, Enterprise-Wide or New Geography Assignment – the simplest way is a new challenging role where the HiPo gains knowledge of another domain or expands capabilities.

2. Shadow Cabinet or CXO Challenge Assignment HiPos programs often empower participants to access high-level info and suggest actions to address serious strategic issues. CEO challenge assignments are a faster implementation of this concept, with a team of selected high-potential leaders responsible to tackle a strategic challenge with recommendations reported to the CEO or Senior Executive team.

3. Capture Identified Opportunities or Solve Specific Challenges – Setting a date and a target engages leaders to achieve results and engage people. The best way to learn to lead is through leading. So Challenge Assignments like the Million Dollar Leadership Challenge get participants to learn by leading. Learn2 leads this program where 20-25 participants achieve a million-dollar swing to the bottom line over 6-9 months.

4. Crucible Roles - Assignment to a Known Trouble Spot – Place your HiPos in crucible roles where they lead. Crucible roles are well-known to be “prince/princess maker” positions. Because if you can succeed in that role, you can succeed anywhere.

5. Action learning   Enable HiPo networks to achieve specific business results. Action leading and action learning align in this powerful approach to HiPo engagement. Business Line Leaders appreciate the business impact and Talent Development gains a reputation for relevance and alignment to the business strategy. Building social capital through a combination of tailosred learning combined with collaborative teams applying the learning to lead high-priority organizational challenges and opportunities.  This approach can tangibly increase the value of the HiPo’s internal social capital

6. Mentors, coaches and sages provide HiPo’s career development with access to a support network of seasoned senior resources.  Engaging seasoned senior leaders as sponsors and mentors removes known derailers of HiPos, helps you cross-train faster, and ensures scarce knowledge resides in your organization. We’ve found that often a structure supports executives becoming sponsors.

 

8 Keys for a world-class HiPo program

Dr Gail details the vital pieces to developing a robust and successful HiPo program with your organization.

Be sure to check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

1. With the CEO as champion, the program gets linked directly to business strategy, and becomes a priority for the Board of Directors.  When you start with this approach, your HiPo program has the best chance of succeeding in the long term.  Linking your human capital strategies to the business strategy means you sit at the table when discussions impact succession, leader requirements, and development.  Having your CEO lead the charge signals to your HiPos - the program matters, has profile and teeth.  Putting your CEO and senior executives front and center assures your program remains relevant after the initial launch halo dims.

2. Aligned to mission, values, vision, policies, and integral to all four major talent management activities - Recruitment, Selection, Development/Performance Management and Succession Planning, with disciplined process management.  When you thoughtfully plan and build in stickiness through opportunities to lead, you create leadership bench strength.

3. Plan to mix talent globally, be inclusive and sensitive to generational differences in values, benefits and requirements.  HiPos are your global leaders. Remember companies don’t go global – people do. HiPos often come with multiple languages and interest in global assignment development and opportunities for polish.  Avoid starting and remaining a localized pilot. Keep the long-view to roll out across your entire organization.  When you execute the long-term plan, draw/develop/transfer HiPos enterprise wide. HiPos shared that they prefer more immediate rewards like challenging assignments and opportunities to prove themselves over stock options and retirement benefits.  May HiPos juggle younger families, mortgages, and even education debt.  Arrange for benefits programs with flexible options selected by the employees to become a destination employer for HiPos. Imagine the power of achieving a strategic business outcome and having your MBA debt wiped away.

4. Build leadership capacity to anticipate current and future business needs by engaging HiPos in business strategy and operationalizing plans. Develop talent for the timeframe anticipated in the strategic plan.  Build mission critical skills in HiPos to eliminate the high cost of recruiting and parachuting in experienced leaders with these mission critical skill sets. Get Talent Development to set hard targets for internal recruitment into strategically visible roles. Show every HiPo that their investment will pay off with high profile future roles.  Consider your internal pool first, as it reinforces you becoming the HIPo magnet and underscores on-going commitment to their development.  A big Win/Win!

5. HiPos are organizational assets rather than owned by one business unit so the interests of the organization trump individual divisions. Otherwise career progression gets blocked by the selfish needs by line leaders and the organization fails to benefit from the development. Your HiPos leave to advance. Note that Learn2 has a unique War for Talent Game that allows leaders to transform this dysfunctional behaviour.

Your executive leaders may prefer to keep all HiPos reporting into a division lead.  If you run into this, have HiPos also dotted-line report into Talent Development for development and monitoring engagement. HiPos remaini personally responsible for high-performance and seeking/accepting development opportunities.  HiPos who fail to continue high-performance and appear to become entitled should experience performance management.  HiPos describe the folly of being un willing to take the tough decision and remove HiPos from your program when they under perform or become a liability due to disruptive, entitled behaviors.

1. Leadership integrity and values are demonstrated in any communications and all talent management processes.  HiPos notice incongruent signals.  If your values say one thing and different behavior gets rewarded, then your HiPos note the inconsistency and begin to question organizational statements. 

2. Communication remains consistent, simple, dynamic and reflects engagement from committed senior leadership. Behavior speaks more loudly than words. Avoid executives with poor leadership hygiene as they create massive disconnects. Focus on the executives who get the value of having a strong bench.

3. Good line management is table stakes for HiPos.  Otherwise they look externally for opportunities. Learn2 discovered that pairing Business Leader Programs for HiPo Managers can transform retention and engagement. Include the HiPo in the direct reporting manager of HIPO is integral to program success and his/her bonus goals include developing leader capacity.  Support is provided for HiPos taking on risk and challenge assignments.

You Want Your HiPo Programs to Build Organizational & Individual Capacity

You know different levels of leadership come with different levels of complexity, challenge, and ambiguity.  High-potential leaders rushed up the promotion ladder may be derailed as senior leaders if they miss out on a seminal developmental experience.  Critical experience, domain knowledge and leader capabilities are ideally created in a lattice approach. A lattice approach creates a well-rounded business executive with the context and understanding to really lead into the future. At the very least, leaders want to experience trust, respect, and honesty and have them combine to “create the conditions for exceptional performance” (The Work Foundation, 2010).  High-potential leaders expect good management and great leadership role models.  Your executive team may require support in sponsoring HiPos. Its become so important, that Learn2 created the Executive Sponsorship System to help clients avoid the risks of executives failing to develop or engage hi-po leaders. 

Stream Your HiPo Programs

Consider streaming your HiPo programs into a) early-career HiPos, b) mid-career HiPos, and c) senior leadership HiPos. 

Get clear on the experience and investment required. Avoid the temptation to make your HiPo program about learning and development rather than leading and achieving business results. Select assignments that develop skills and traits while expanding capacity by solving complexity, challenge and ambiguity.  The CTOs warned that HiPos who are fast-tracked, rushed or transitioned-poorly into overly-challenging opportunities may derail.

 

High Potentials and your Leadership Bench Strength

You need a strong bench of leaders to ensure your organization continues to thrive. When you look around, you can see your workforce aging and the gap between the retiring boomers and the readiness of emerging leaders to step seamlessly into big roles. How do you ensure your organization is a magnet for high-potential leaders (HiPos) especially over your competitors?

To deliver you the best answers to the questions of how to develop, retain, and motivate high-potential leaders (HiPos), we took a fresh, thought-leadership research approach. First, we interviewed Chief Talent Officers or CTOs of global corporations. They explained to us how they identify HiPos and the issues they experience with their current HiPo programs. The articles about HiPo development were scoured to determine commonalities or what hit the list as world-class and best practice. Finally, we asked actual HiPos to weigh in on both developmental and motivational elements of HiPo programs.

So What Do HiPos Want?

To know what actually works for HiPos required us to ask them directly! HiPos are quite clear about what works and what doesn’t. They look for very specific organizational attributes or they move on. Consider for a second whether-or-not your HiPos might be planning to move on! If yours do move on, your leadership bench strength and strategic plans could be put into jeopardy.

As the HiPo interviews continue, a clear trend emerged – building sustainable high-potential leadership capacity requires a holistic approach.

What Do the HiPos Mean by Holistic?

HiPos are highly-sensitive to communications and the actions & inaction of senior leadership. HiPos are networked, technology-savvy and leaders to their peers. Peers have replaced the influence and control formerly held by “positional authority” bosses. If you wish to attract and retain talented and mobile HiPos, think of your organization as a system. For example:

Your HiPo program cannot flourish in isolation; the program must be fully integrated into your organizations’ vision, mission, values and strategic plan. Your senior leaders, Talent Development and Human Resources either align to provide meaningful opportunities with the HiPo program or they don’t.

Failure to embrace this holistic approach could mean your bright young leaders leave, in droves…

The pace of technological change continues to rise sharply. How do world-class companies respond to these stressors? What are the most effective means to address leadership shortfalls? A holistic HiPo program is grounded in elements that engender pride from the CTO to the CEO and motivate full engagement from the HiPos. Your talent factory must be capable of identifying and developing the right leaders into your HIPO program. And in turn, your HIPO program provides the leadership challenges to build the meta leader skills and traits necessary for a) jobs that don’t exist today and b) expand leaders’ capability to drive toward the organization of tomorrow. Implementing a holistic HiPo program builds sustainable leadership capacity and creates a magnet for your competitors’ key talent!

 

High Potentials Leadership – A Burning Platform

This is the second instalment in our guest series, How to be a Magnet for High Potentials and Emerging Leaders, written by Dr. Gail Johnson Morris.

You may be reading this because HiPo development and engagement is an imperative for you.  You are not alone as the HR Reporter estimates companies invest 3 billion a year in leadership development. You want to make sure your company gets a return on your investment from your high potentials development program.

Consider these dramatic demographic shifts that impact HiPo talent development:

1. Rise in the median age from 39 to 47 by 2056

2. In 2013, there were fewer people joining the workforce than people old enough to leave

3. Baby-boomers represented 40% of the working population and they are retiring now.   Demographics are driving change in leadership for example in Ontario, 60% of the government retired by 2015

4. With the reduced workforce, skill gaps in critical areas get worse, especially in computing, IT, and engineering.

5. Along with the talent shortage is the issue of skill mismatch, causing underemployment for recent graduates who lack critical job-specific experience.

6. A shift in worker organizational loyalty and goals.  GenXers took the baby-boomers treatment by corporations as a cautionary tale, embedding a different value system.  We found that GenXers move on if their assignments fail to stretch or challenge them.  Generation X & Y workforces are loyal to their friends, work well in teams, expect work/life balance and move around naturally rather than desiring a one-company career.

7. Massive transformation of how we work, how we organize projects and how we collaborate to produce results. The world of work is changing.

Why an e book on High Potentials?

The Corporate Executive Board reported that the greatest engagement concern of Chief Human Resources Officer’s was the increased turnover of high-potential employees. 

Chambers & Foulton coined the ‘war on talent’, stating “companies are about to be engaged in a war for senior executive talent that will remain the defining characteristic of their competitive landscapes for decades to come”.

Addressing the development and retention of HiPo leaders becomes a strategic imperative for any senior executives with long term visions or strategic plans.  With this e-book, we seek to fill the HiPo ‘how to’ gap with original thought-leadership research that provides you with a world-class HiPo development and engagement plan and how to convert your organization into a HiPo magnet! 

Who did we talk to about High Potentials Expectations?

1. Interviews with 8 Chief Talent Officers (CTO) uncovered the strategic nature of HiPo programs and elements that work.

2. Interviews with 45 HiPos, as identified by the CTOs. 49% female and 51% male, with a median age of 44 years.  These HiPos’ tenure was on average 12 years and their tenure in current roles was 1.5 years.

Having input from so many HiPos ensured our conclusions were well-informed. You may consider this e-book as generally representative of North American HiPo leaders.

Two Guiding Principles for Your Successful HiPo Programs

1. Align values & strategic priorities with the HiPo program.  Systems thinking underpins any effective HiPo program design. That means true engagement in strategy, projects and roles. Not just speakers about leadership. HiPos want meaningful projects to expand their domain knowledge, critical experiences and leadership capability. HiPos want meaningful projects that allow them to show how they can impact the business results in a tangible way. Think P&L experience, increasing profit, improving margins, and solving customer retention challenges.

2. Transparent communication protocols that reinforce values are integral and executives want to be fully aligned to your organization’s strategic and business priorities. Gone are the days of do as I say, not as I do. Senior executives get watched closely for their leadership triggers, their responses and reactions. Seagull leadership in HiPo programs sends all the wrong messages. You want executives present for meaningful business conversations when the projects and/or results are presented. Not for the kick-off. Walk your talk.

What is the best part of a well-executed HiPo program? 

Your HiPo leaders become immersed in a thoughtful, holistic and accelerated leader development program, and they increase your organization’s results, bench strength, agility and social capital.  You reap the rewards of championing a world-class HiPo magnet program!

 

How To Choose the Right Leadership Triggers

As leaders, our leadership triggers activate us to take action. The activities, approaches and results you recognize and celebrate speak volumes to your team. You take action. Your action affects what others see you do. What you do indicates what is important to you. What you recognize and celebrate in others illustrates what is important to you. The activities, approaches and results you recognize and celebrate speak volumes to your team.

What is a leadership trigger?

Most of us get that a trigger is the mechanism that actuates the firing sequence of a firearm. As leaders, our triggers are mechanisms that activate us to take action.

What are “helpful” leadership triggers?

Many leaders have well-defined “negative” triggers. We get activated when someone is late, fails to complete a task, and other countless negative triggers that exist. “Helpful” triggers activate us to recognize and celebrate the effort, progress or results of our team. Helpful triggers recognize those who take the desired action or produced the desired result, rather than focusing on those who did not.

Water the flowers, not the weeds

Rather than investing more energy and effort into those who are not producing the desired results or following the right timelines, consider focusing on those who do. If the budgeting process submissions are always late, then praise and recognize those who submit early or on-time.

Choose your Triggers Wisely

You probably want to be known for watering the flowers not the weeds. Recognition calls focus and attention to either the desired action or the less desirable inaction. Which do you want to focus upon? Those who take the desired action or those who fail to take action? Your recognition and celebration of those who take the action creates a culture that focuses on those who create the results.


Great Leadership Triggers for Recognition

- When someone takes initiative or calculated risks

- Helps someone outside their silo

- Illustrates a new skill set or capability

- Does regular work consistently (avoiding escalation) – remember to recognize these people

- Creative solutions – by recognizing these people, you will get more of them

- Taking responsibility

- Providing helpful feedback – if someone speaks up on a conference call – thank them

- New ideas

- Effort above & beyond the norm

- Willingness to learn

- Quality of work, accuracy

- Leaving the comfort zone


Great Leadership Triggers for Celebration

- Hitting milestones

- Camera moments

- Award or progress submissions

- Client feedback

- Meeting deadlines, early submissions

- Meeting or exceeding budget

- Process/policy improvements

- Accomplishing an objective

- Delivering value

- Implementing innovations

What triggers you?

Align what triggers you with the culture and results you desire. If you want action toward a strategic plan or specific goals – recognize and celebrate that action. More of that action will follow.

Bonus Tip

Some effective leaders choose a trigger for each day of the week for the first 21 days. Leaders build recognition and celebration into their daily practice, always reinforcing the action, effort, and results they desire.

 

Why Creating a Team Culture is Like Baking a Cake

Creating a team is like making a cake. Each ingredient serves a purpose. Each ingredient has a role and function to play in a team. Without an ingredient, the cake changes. If an ingredient is off, the entire cake can be distasteful or the other ingredients have to mask the bad taste of the one. When all the ingredients are fresh, the cake tastes good, feeds many and is cause for celebration.

Knowing your role in the team comes from the hiring process, the job description, how you are measured, your supervisor, and primarily how you choose to contribute to the team. Consider a sales person who contributes to the team yet does not contribute sales. This is similar to a cake without flour. The ingredient withholds its role and provides no added benefit to the team.

What and how do you contribute to the cake? What roles do others on your team contribute? We have three leaders right now who all want a team culture that produces results. Yet the team culture does not deliver the results. In each case, the staff remains unaware of what each other contribute. The team members fail to appreciate the importance of each person and remain unaware if each person is contributing. These situations are a recipe for disaster.

Learn2 Save The Titanic Program A few years ago, Learn2 had the privilege of being at a staff retreat for the Canadian Olympic Team where Crispin Duenas, one of Canada’s hopeful medalists that participated in the London 2012 Olympics, was speaking. Crispin explained how he is only one ingredient in the Archery team, even if he is the most predominant performer. After Crispin and his coach Joan Macdonald’s wise-words, each department within the Canadian Olympic Committee explained how they were ingredients and contributed to the Archery Team. Often moments like these help us understand our contribution and the contributions of others.

Have each of your teams identify what and how they contribute to the result. For advanced groups, ask the team to consider what and how they contribute to allow the other ingredients to be successful.

We all make our cake. Blame the maker.

 

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Become a Master Communicator Using Emotional Intelligence

Become a Master Communicator Using Emotional Intelligence

Are your teams burned out or are you? Are you feeling like you are always fighting fires or dealing with team or client conflict? Constant conflict drains our energy and sabotages our efforts. In any relationship there is a big difference between being assertive to establish respect and trust and successful collaboration and being aggressive, defensive or hostile because of perceived threats or differences.

Even if you are one of the lucky ones that has a cohesive team, learning to tap into Emotional intelligence can make a dramatic difference to our success and positively impact every area of our lives for better success, more income and better relationships including:

- Your performance at work. Emotional Intelligence can help you navigate the social complexities of the workplace, lead and motivate others, and excel in your career. In fact, when it comes to gauging job candidates, many companies now view emotional intelligence as being as important as technical ability and require EI testing before hiring.

- Your physical health. If you’re unable to manage your stress levels, it can lead to serious health problems. Uncontrolled stress can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. The first step to improving emotional intelligence is to learn how to relieve stress.

- Your mental health. Uncontrolled stress can also impact your mental health, making you vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If you are unable to understand and manage your emotions, you’ll also be open to mood swings, while an inability to form strong relationships can leave you feeling lonely and isolated.

- Your relationships. By understanding your emotions and how to control them, you’re better able to express how you feel and understand how others are feeling. This allows you to communicate more effectively and forge stronger relationships, both at work and in your personal life.

But before I get ahead of myself, you might wonder:

what is Emotional Intelligence (EI) exactly?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence impacts many different aspects of your daily life, such as the way you behave and the way you interact with others.

Unlike IQ which focuses on hard skills and technical abilities, EI focuses on the soft skills which can be improved with conscious effort and practice.

So how can you improve Emotional Intelligence for more success in your work and life?

Below are 5 tips to give you a start. Remember it is easy to practice in neutral situations but stress can hijack our best intention so give yourself time to make real lasting progress.

1. Practice observing your emotions. Label your emotions and work to understand your triggers for “hot” emotions so you can teach yourself to better manage your emotions for better relationships.

2. Practice recognizing subtle cues on others. Remember that body language, gestures and other forms on non-verbal communication account for more than 55% of communication between people and the actual words account for a mere 7% . This will help you to better understand others emotions and intentions.

3. Work to reduce your stress so you can respond positively in tense situations instead of reacting negatively. When faced with adversity, optimistic people ask “what is good about this? Where is the lesson that is going to serve me well when I go after the next big opportunity?

4. Improve your listening skills. If you are planning what you’re going to say next, daydreaming, or thinking about something else, you are almost certain to miss nonverbal cues and other subtleties in the conversation. Try to practice empathizing with others when you speak to them and work to understand where they are coming from in any conversation so you can aim for a win-win in discussions and negotiations.

5. List the qualities you admire most in a mentor in your life. Notice how many are soft skills associated with EI. Now, work to improve these qualities in yourself. For example if you admire someone’s honesty, make a effort to be more honest both with yourself and others. Or if you admire someone’s sense of humor, practice being funnier and lighter with others!

Improving your Emotional Intelligence Skill is a powerful way to become a better leader, manager and build better relationships in all areas of your life. When you improve your EI, you improve your resilience, optimism and relationships in all areas of your life so it is worth the investment of time! Test it out for yourself!

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” Dan Goleman

AODA Training – Get Ready Now

AODA Training – Get Ready Now

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act

The AODA legislation impacts all organizations in Ontario with more than one employee. That means you want AODA training to achieve compliance. Has your organization met all of the requirements to date? Has your organization filed your accessibility compliance reports (January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2014)?

 

The following are some of the AODA requirements with compliance dates between January 1, 2012 – January 1, 2016:

= Establish policies, plans and procedures to help your organization achieve accessibility goals, and tell your employees and customers about them.

= Create a multi-year plan to ensure your organization meets accessibility requirements.

= Consider accessibility when purchasing or designing electronic kiosks.

= Make your new or “significantly refreshed” websites more accessible.

= Communicate and provide information in accessible formats, upon request.

= Provide accessible workplace information to employees with disabilities, as necessary or upon request, including information about emergency workplace procedures.

= Ensure your human resources practices explicitly consider accessibility in areas such as recruitment, accommodation, performance management, career development and return-to-work processes.

= Develop individualized written accommodation plans for employees with disabilities.

= Training of all staff as per the requirements outlined in the Customer Service and Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulations.

If you are not fully compliant and/or would like an AODA expert to review what has been put into place to ensure it meets the requirements, give us a call to learn how we can help.

 

Frequently Answered Questions

1. What if our company does not comply?

2. Will the government extend the deadline again?

3. When is it best to use live AODA Compliance Training versus online AODA Compliance Training?

4. What is required and how do we implement quickly and efficiently so we do not get distracted from our core talent development strategy?

5. How does AODA training fit inside our talent development and culture strategy?

6. How could we cut two carrots with the same knife?

7. We want to comply, yet we want a business benefit from implementing the AODA compliance training.

8. How do we achieve a business benefit at the same time while we implement?

9. What is the point of AODA and why should I care?

10. How much of my training budget should I allocate to AODA Training?

11. How do I best extend my budget to achieve more with less?

12. How do I tie our organization’s values to the AODA compliance so that we get another opportunity to reinforce our values and leadership behaviors?

Before you depart, here are some things you can do to get AODA compliant for your leaders and teams:

- If you want to achieve a business objective while becoming compliant. Book a 45 minute conversation with Doug Bolger, our Chief Learning Officer to talk about your desired business objectives and compliance outcomes .

- If you already know that Learn2 is a good choice for your AODA Training Programs and would like to book a 45 minute appointment with a strategist, send an email to via our contact page and we will coordinate a meeting with you.

- If you would like to know more about Learn2 and see a few of our solutions, click here now.

- If you would like to speak with someone right away, call our Learn2 Hotline at 877-4LEARN2 x 229.

 

Who are your High-Potential Leaders?

Who are your High-Potential Leaders?

Enjoy the third installment in our High Potential Leaders series by Dr Gail Johnson Morris.

You probably want HiPo leaders who demonstrate great performance now, with the potential to rise within your organization.  Several CTO’s use the Corporate Executive Board’s definition for HiPo, “the high potential employee is someone with the ability, engagement, and aspiration to rise to and succeed in more senior, critical positions.”  Many CTO’s also use the 9-box evaluation of potential and performance to identify HiPos. Those CTOs underscored their assumption that the HiPo’s current assignment performance was stellar. 

When you elect to use a 9-box grid, see insert below, calibrate as a leadership team on how to place and how to engage leaders in each category. The leadership calibration sessions catapult your leadership team forward to lead consistently which eliminates a major complaint of HiPos.  Building on the consistency, your leaders can finally align on what development to target; create opportunities to lead; and initiate performance enhancement programs to target each category. When assigning leaders to boxes, be aware that their current performance may not be stellar if the HiPo recently moved into a more challenging assignment.  Monitor their performance closely or your HiPos may slide into entitlement and begin delivering mediocre contributions!

Learning Agility

Look for HiPos who thrive in complex roles and who display learning agility.  Learning agility describes the cluster of personal skills that allow for innovative and flexible responses to complex challenges especially inside evolving environmental stressors.  Learning agility means HiPos master their fear of unanticipated change and lean into change, making learning agility a good predictor for future global leaders.  “People who are learning agile: seek out new experiences to learn from; enjoy complex problems and challenges associated with new experiences because they enjoy making sense of them; and perform better because they easily incorporate new experience into their leadership stance.  A person who is learning agile has more lessons, more tools, and more solutions to draw on when faced with new business challenges (Hallenbeck, Swisher, & Orr, July 2011).

Given the realities of work place complexity, you want to develop leaders for roles that do not exist today and to anticipate the experience and acumen expected of leaders stepping into the global, senior roles of the future.  As you consider the influence that both globalization and decentralization have on your current and future human capital requirements, it is quite possible that your new HiPo program could produce leaders capable of galvanizing and mobilizing the collective efforts of your entire global network.

3 Best Practices for HiPo Selection:

1. Working from your thoughtful recommendations, have your executive team agree on the selection criteria and size of every HiPo pool.  Document any agreements!

2. For easiest administration, your new HiPo program can be integrated into your current annual talent optimization process.

3. Critical to HiPo program authenticity, and to avoid the pitfalls of entitlement from the HiPos, ongoing annual impact identifiers ensure all HiPos remain motivated and worthy of the time and resource investment.  If your line managers unequipped for difficult conversations, consider targeted development such as Learn2’s ‘Leadership Voice™’ with a skilled coach supporting them for this responsibility directly.

 

The secret to engaging HiPos

The secret to engaging HiPos

Engage Your HiPos!

Engagement is the alchemy that retains HiPos when competitors and head hunters target your talent.  Engagement can be defined as a “state of substantial emotional and cognitive investment” (Kahn, 1990).  Engagement is not just an isolated activity, engagement is “driven visibly and charismatically by committed leadership” (PWC 2010).  Engaged HiPos advocate for their organization, want to stay, and invest discretionary efforts to meet organizational goals.

3 Engagement Program Elements - Overview

HiPo engagement should not be considered an isolated activity.  HiPo engagement results from a confluence of thought-out talent management strategies, solid line management, and great communication.

- HiPo engagement delivers bottom-line shareholder value.

- HiPo engagement improves the sustainability and retention of high-value human capital assets your organization invested in.

1. Accelerated Development Track Selection
Loyalty is fostered from a relationship that is linked to trust and a perception of an ethical employer.  Engagement is enhanced when organizational values, like corporate social responsibility, align to individual values.  Engagement rises when there is selection transparency into the HiPo program with simple, dynamic communication about how selection happens, availability to all versus just a division or territory, and aligned with values and policies. Tracking participants then becomes about increasing challenge levels associated with the readiness of each stream of HiPos.

2. Senior Executive and Board Networking Opportunities
Hewitt’s survey on Performance Management and Career Development, found 89% rated career opportunities as one of the most important drivers for engagement and retention.  This makes sense as strong leaders fail to remain challenged in maintenance positions. The action leading elements of your HiPo programs identify individuals who deserve to be recognized for their results.

3. Senior Executive/Board Presentations and Results Reporting
The Conference Board finds management effectiveness a top 3 driver for improving engagement.
  Including the HiPo’s direct reporting manager transforms them from a potential roadblock who wants to horde the talent into a vital enabler in the engagement system.  Immediate managers impact engagement by releasing HiPos to career opportunities, recognizing great work and holding HiPos accountable for individual and collective results.  “One of the most important factors determining a rising star’s engagement is the sense that he or she is being recognized – primarily through pay.”

H036 refers to the learning curve required in tough new assignment,

”I like the willingness of the organization to let me stretch and take a risk and I’d like them to not look for stellar results in the first six months.  I like meaty assignments to gain experience on something I don’t know.”

HiPos crave challenge and demonstrated this in the quantitative data by rating the top four development elements relating to on-the-job assignment challenges.  17 of 45 HiPos mentioned assignment challenges as their biggest motivator.  H01’s comments were illustrative of many,

“I like enough rope and let me run with it, a chance to drive change through stretch assignments.  Trust me enough to give me the opportunities to develop, make mistakes and learn how to influence without authority.” 

High-potentials are moved out of his/her comfort zone to be seasoned with global roles.  By trusting them with practical stretch assignments, executive experience and acumen is fostered. 

“The very best programs place emerging leaders in “live fire” roles where new capabilities can – or, more accurately, must be developed.”   C08 described these roles as, “[w]e have ‘career changer’ roles that we consider as crucible roles i.e. country leads or in divisions where the leader has P&L to run the business end-to-end.  We can get scale and complexity in some organizational roles i.e. service but may be missing functions that are end-to-end for P&L.  We then integrate some roles together to build the role profile to enable the HIPO to have development in a career changer opportunity.  We also find that product management and some key sales roles are more easily moved cross geographically and can bring perspective that an emerging market may not yet have seen.  It’s good for the organization, good for the business market and great for the leader’s development – a true win/win approach to the business.“

Management effectiveness is one of the top three drivers for improving engagement.  Including the direct reporting manager in the program ensures he/she is part of the engagement system versus a potential roadblock or detractor.  Immediate managers have strong impact on engagement by accelerating career opportunities, providing recognition for good work and holding high-potential leaders accountable for individual and collective results.  The CTO’s mentioned that the communication programs were not effective when the manager was responsible to relay messages and C03 expressed a concern about management level blockers to HIPO identification.  HiPos emphasized the importance of their manager, for example H08 “I have a great manager who helps me shine.”  H12 said “f you have a good coaching boss, they will identify what you need and source courses for your development.”  H24 summed up the general sentiment with, “Great Boss is #1 and can be a sponsor.  I can put up with an average boss if I have a great sponsor but only for 18 months or so.”

 

How to stream your HiPo development

How to stream your HiPo development

You know different levels of leadership come with different levels of complexity, challenge, and ambiguity.  High-potential leaders rushed up the promotion ladder may be derailed as senior leaders if they miss out on a seminal developmental experience.  Critical experience, domain knowledge and leader capabilities are ideally created in a lattice approach. A lattice approach creates a well-rounded business executive with the context and understanding to really lead into the future. At the very least, leaders want to experience trust, respect, and honesty and have them combine to “create the conditions for exceptional performance” (The Work Foundation, 2010).  High-potential leaders expect good management and great leadership role models.  Your executive team may require support in sponsoring HiPos. Its become so important, that Learn2 created the Executive Sponsorship System to help clients avoid the risks of executives failing to develop or engage hi-po leaders.

Stream Your HiPo Programs

Consider streaming your HiPo programs into early-career HiPos, mid-career HiPos,  and senior leadership HiPos

= Early-career - Action learning focuses on achieving business results. Offer skill building & peer networking opportunities.  Clarify behaviors & skills required for moving up quickly.  Develop mentor relationships. 

= Mid-career - Offer strategic plan, cross-divisional leadership and high visibility challenges.  Provide opportunities for demonstrating resilience and learning agility.  Demonstrate leading team skills.

= Senior Leadership - Challenges to create next generation of enterprise-wide results.  Crucible role opportunities, leading large transformational change projects, global assignments, & launching new ventures / products.

Get clear on the experience and investment required. Avoid the temptation to make your HiPo program about learning and development rather than leading and achieving business results. Select assignments that develop skills and traits while expanding capacity by solving complexity, challenge and ambiguity.  The CTOs warned that HiPos who are fast-tracked, rushed or transitioned-poorly into overly-challenging opportunities may derail.

Develop Your HiPos!

The best high-potential development programs link developmental program elements to actual experience leading in a thoughtfully-designed system.  These programs include career and personal development opportunities orchestrated to impact the HiPos’ own developmental and interest requirements. 

6 Ways to Make Your HiPo Development Link to Business Results

1. New Division, Enterprise-Wide or New Geography Assignment – the simplest way is a new challenging role where the HiPo gains knowledge of another domain or expands capabilities.

2. Shadow Cabinet or CXO Challenge Assignment HiPos programs often empower participants to access high-level info and suggest actions to address serious strategic issues. CEO challenge assignments are a faster implementation of this concept, with a team of selected high-potential leaders responsible to tackle a strategic challenge with recommendations reported to the CEO or Senior Executive team.

3. Capture Identified Opportunities or Solve Specific Challenges – Setting a date and a target engages leaders to achieve results and engage people. The best way to learn to lead is through leading. So Challenge Assignments like the Million Dollar Leadership Challenge get participants to learn by leading. Learn2 leads this program where 20-25 participants achieve a million-dollar swing to the bottom line over 6-9 months.

4. Crucible Roles - Assignment to a Known Trouble Spot – Place your HiPos in crucible roles where they lead. Crucible roles are well-known to be “prince/princess maker” positions. Because if you can succeed in that role, you can succeed anywhere.

5. Action learning   Enable HiPo networks to achieve specific business results. Action leading and action learning align in this powerful approach to HiPo engagement. Business Line Leaders appreciate the business impact and Talent Development gains a reputation for relevance and alignment to the business strategy. Building social capital through a combination of tailosred learning combined with collaborative teams applying the learning to lead high-priority organizational challenges and opportunities.  This approach can tangibly increase the value of the HiPo’s internal social capital

6. Mentors, coaches and sages provide HiPo’s career development with access to a support network of seasoned senior resources.  Engaging seasoned senior leaders as sponsors and mentors removes known derailers of HiPos, helps you cross-train faster, and ensures scarce knowledge resides in your organization. We’ve found that often a structure supports executives becoming sponsors.

 

8 Keys for a world-class HiPo program

8 Keys for a world-class HiPo program

Dr Gail details the vital pieces to developing a robust and successful HiPo program with your organization.

Be sure to check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

1. With the CEO as champion, the program gets linked directly to business strategy, and becomes a priority for the Board of Directors.  When you start with this approach, your HiPo program has the best chance of succeeding in the long term.  Linking your human capital strategies to the business strategy means you sit at the table when discussions impact succession, leader requirements, and development.  Having your CEO lead the charge signals to your HiPos - the program matters, has profile and teeth.  Putting your CEO and senior executives front and center assures your program remains relevant after the initial launch halo dims.

2. Aligned to mission, values, vision, policies, and integral to all four major talent management activities - Recruitment, Selection, Development/Performance Management and Succession Planning, with disciplined process management.  When you thoughtfully plan and build in stickiness through opportunities to lead, you create leadership bench strength.

3. Plan to mix talent globally, be inclusive and sensitive to generational differences in values, benefits and requirements.  HiPos are your global leaders. Remember companies don’t go global – people do. HiPos often come with multiple languages and interest in global assignment development and opportunities for polish.  Avoid starting and remaining a localized pilot. Keep the long-view to roll out across your entire organization.  When you execute the long-term plan, draw/develop/transfer HiPos enterprise wide. HiPos shared that they prefer more immediate rewards like challenging assignments and opportunities to prove themselves over stock options and retirement benefits.  May HiPos juggle younger families, mortgages, and even education debt.  Arrange for benefits programs with flexible options selected by the employees to become a destination employer for HiPos. Imagine the power of achieving a strategic business outcome and having your MBA debt wiped away.

4. Build leadership capacity to anticipate current and future business needs by engaging HiPos in business strategy and operationalizing plans. Develop talent for the timeframe anticipated in the strategic plan.  Build mission critical skills in HiPos to eliminate the high cost of recruiting and parachuting in experienced leaders with these mission critical skill sets. Get Talent Development to set hard targets for internal recruitment into strategically visible roles. Show every HiPo that their investment will pay off with high profile future roles.  Consider your internal pool first, as it reinforces you becoming the HIPo magnet and underscores on-going commitment to their development.  A big Win/Win!

5. HiPos are organizational assets rather than owned by one business unit so the interests of the organization trump individual divisions. Otherwise career progression gets blocked by the selfish needs by line leaders and the organization fails to benefit from the development. Your HiPos leave to advance. Note that Learn2 has a unique War for Talent Game that allows leaders to transform this dysfunctional behaviour.

Your executive leaders may prefer to keep all HiPos reporting into a division lead.  If you run into this, have HiPos also dotted-line report into Talent Development for development and monitoring engagement. HiPos remaini personally responsible for high-performance and seeking/accepting development opportunities.  HiPos who fail to continue high-performance and appear to become entitled should experience performance management.  HiPos describe the folly of being un willing to take the tough decision and remove HiPos from your program when they under perform or become a liability due to disruptive, entitled behaviors.

1. Leadership integrity and values are demonstrated in any communications and all talent management processes.  HiPos notice incongruent signals.  If your values say one thing and different behavior gets rewarded, then your HiPos note the inconsistency and begin to question organizational statements. 

2. Communication remains consistent, simple, dynamic and reflects engagement from committed senior leadership. Behavior speaks more loudly than words. Avoid executives with poor leadership hygiene as they create massive disconnects. Focus on the executives who get the value of having a strong bench.

3. Good line management is table stakes for HiPos.  Otherwise they look externally for opportunities. Learn2 discovered that pairing Business Leader Programs for HiPo Managers can transform retention and engagement. Include the HiPo in the direct reporting manager of HIPO is integral to program success and his/her bonus goals include developing leader capacity.  Support is provided for HiPos taking on risk and challenge assignments.

You Want Your HiPo Programs to Build Organizational & Individual Capacity

You know different levels of leadership come with different levels of complexity, challenge, and ambiguity.  High-potential leaders rushed up the promotion ladder may be derailed as senior leaders if they miss out on a seminal developmental experience.  Critical experience, domain knowledge and leader capabilities are ideally created in a lattice approach. A lattice approach creates a well-rounded business executive with the context and understanding to really lead into the future. At the very least, leaders want to experience trust, respect, and honesty and have them combine to “create the conditions for exceptional performance” (The Work Foundation, 2010).  High-potential leaders expect good management and great leadership role models.  Your executive team may require support in sponsoring HiPos. Its become so important, that Learn2 created the Executive Sponsorship System to help clients avoid the risks of executives failing to develop or engage hi-po leaders. 

Stream Your HiPo Programs

Consider streaming your HiPo programs into a) early-career HiPos, b) mid-career HiPos, and c) senior leadership HiPos. 

Get clear on the experience and investment required. Avoid the temptation to make your HiPo program about learning and development rather than leading and achieving business results. Select assignments that develop skills and traits while expanding capacity by solving complexity, challenge and ambiguity.  The CTOs warned that HiPos who are fast-tracked, rushed or transitioned-poorly into overly-challenging opportunities may derail.

 

High Potentials and your Leadership Bench Strength

High Potentials and your Leadership Bench Strength

You need a strong bench of leaders to ensure your organization continues to thrive. When you look around, you can see your workforce aging and the gap between the retiring boomers and the readiness of emerging leaders to step seamlessly into big roles. How do you ensure your organization is a magnet for high-potential leaders (HiPos) especially over your competitors?

To deliver you the best answers to the questions of how to develop, retain, and motivate high-potential leaders (HiPos), we took a fresh, thought-leadership research approach. First, we interviewed Chief Talent Officers or CTOs of global corporations. They explained to us how they identify HiPos and the issues they experience with their current HiPo programs. The articles about HiPo development were scoured to determine commonalities or what hit the list as world-class and best practice. Finally, we asked actual HiPos to weigh in on both developmental and motivational elements of HiPo programs.

So What Do HiPos Want?

To know what actually works for HiPos required us to ask them directly! HiPos are quite clear about what works and what doesn’t. They look for very specific organizational attributes or they move on. Consider for a second whether-or-not your HiPos might be planning to move on! If yours do move on, your leadership bench strength and strategic plans could be put into jeopardy.

As the HiPo interviews continue, a clear trend emerged – building sustainable high-potential leadership capacity requires a holistic approach.

What Do the HiPos Mean by Holistic?

HiPos are highly-sensitive to communications and the actions & inaction of senior leadership. HiPos are networked, technology-savvy and leaders to their peers. Peers have replaced the influence and control formerly held by “positional authority” bosses. If you wish to attract and retain talented and mobile HiPos, think of your organization as a system. For example:

Your HiPo program cannot flourish in isolation; the program must be fully integrated into your organizations’ vision, mission, values and strategic plan. Your senior leaders, Talent Development and Human Resources either align to provide meaningful opportunities with the HiPo program or they don’t.

Failure to embrace this holistic approach could mean your bright young leaders leave, in droves…

The pace of technological change continues to rise sharply. How do world-class companies respond to these stressors? What are the most effective means to address leadership shortfalls? A holistic HiPo program is grounded in elements that engender pride from the CTO to the CEO and motivate full engagement from the HiPos. Your talent factory must be capable of identifying and developing the right leaders into your HIPO program. And in turn, your HIPO program provides the leadership challenges to build the meta leader skills and traits necessary for a) jobs that don’t exist today and b) expand leaders’ capability to drive toward the organization of tomorrow. Implementing a holistic HiPo program builds sustainable leadership capacity and creates a magnet for your competitors’ key talent!

 

High Potentials Leadership – A Burning Platform

High Potentials Leadership – A Burning Platform

This is the second instalment in our guest series, How to be a Magnet for High Potentials and Emerging Leaders, written by Dr. Gail Johnson Morris.

You may be reading this because HiPo development and engagement is an imperative for you.  You are not alone as the HR Reporter estimates companies invest 3 billion a year in leadership development. You want to make sure your company gets a return on your investment from your high potentials development program.

Consider these dramatic demographic shifts that impact HiPo talent development:

1. Rise in the median age from 39 to 47 by 2056

2. In 2013, there were fewer people joining the workforce than people old enough to leave

3. Baby-boomers represented 40% of the working population and they are retiring now.   Demographics are driving change in leadership for example in Ontario, 60% of the government retired by 2015

4. With the reduced workforce, skill gaps in critical areas get worse, especially in computing, IT, and engineering.

5. Along with the talent shortage is the issue of skill mismatch, causing underemployment for recent graduates who lack critical job-specific experience.

6. A shift in worker organizational loyalty and goals.  GenXers took the baby-boomers treatment by corporations as a cautionary tale, embedding a different value system.  We found that GenXers move on if their assignments fail to stretch or challenge them.  Generation X & Y workforces are loyal to their friends, work well in teams, expect work/life balance and move around naturally rather than desiring a one-company career.

7. Massive transformation of how we work, how we organize projects and how we collaborate to produce results. The world of work is changing.

Why an e book on High Potentials?

The Corporate Executive Board reported that the greatest engagement concern of Chief Human Resources Officer’s was the increased turnover of high-potential employees. 

Chambers & Foulton coined the ‘war on talent’, stating “companies are about to be engaged in a war for senior executive talent that will remain the defining characteristic of their competitive landscapes for decades to come”.

Addressing the development and retention of HiPo leaders becomes a strategic imperative for any senior executives with long term visions or strategic plans.  With this e-book, we seek to fill the HiPo ‘how to’ gap with original thought-leadership research that provides you with a world-class HiPo development and engagement plan and how to convert your organization into a HiPo magnet! 

Who did we talk to about High Potentials Expectations?

1. Interviews with 8 Chief Talent Officers (CTO) uncovered the strategic nature of HiPo programs and elements that work.

2. Interviews with 45 HiPos, as identified by the CTOs. 49% female and 51% male, with a median age of 44 years.  These HiPos’ tenure was on average 12 years and their tenure in current roles was 1.5 years.

Having input from so many HiPos ensured our conclusions were well-informed. You may consider this e-book as generally representative of North American HiPo leaders.

Two Guiding Principles for Your Successful HiPo Programs

1. Align values & strategic priorities with the HiPo program.  Systems thinking underpins any effective HiPo program design. That means true engagement in strategy, projects and roles. Not just speakers about leadership. HiPos want meaningful projects to expand their domain knowledge, critical experiences and leadership capability. HiPos want meaningful projects that allow them to show how they can impact the business results in a tangible way. Think P&L experience, increasing profit, improving margins, and solving customer retention challenges.

2. Transparent communication protocols that reinforce values are integral and executives want to be fully aligned to your organization’s strategic and business priorities. Gone are the days of do as I say, not as I do. Senior executives get watched closely for their leadership triggers, their responses and reactions. Seagull leadership in HiPo programs sends all the wrong messages. You want executives present for meaningful business conversations when the projects and/or results are presented. Not for the kick-off. Walk your talk.

What is the best part of a well-executed HiPo program? 

Your HiPo leaders become immersed in a thoughtful, holistic and accelerated leader development program, and they increase your organization’s results, bench strength, agility and social capital.  You reap the rewards of championing a world-class HiPo magnet program!

 

How To Choose the Right Leadership Triggers

How To Choose the Right Leadership Triggers

As leaders, our leadership triggers activate us to take action. The activities, approaches and results you recognize and celebrate speak volumes to your team. You take action. Your action affects what others see you do. What you do indicates what is important to you. What you recognize and celebrate in others illustrates what is important to you. The activities, approaches and results you recognize and celebrate speak volumes to your team.

What is a leadership trigger?

Most of us get that a trigger is the mechanism that actuates the firing sequence of a firearm. As leaders, our triggers are mechanisms that activate us to take action.

What are “helpful” leadership triggers?

Many leaders have well-defined “negative” triggers. We get activated when someone is late, fails to complete a task, and other countless negative triggers that exist. “Helpful” triggers activate us to recognize and celebrate the effort, progress or results of our team. Helpful triggers recognize those who take the desired action or produced the desired result, rather than focusing on those who did not.

Water the flowers, not the weeds

Rather than investing more energy and effort into those who are not producing the desired results or following the right timelines, consider focusing on those who do. If the budgeting process submissions are always late, then praise and recognize those who submit early or on-time.

Choose your Triggers Wisely

You probably want to be known for watering the flowers not the weeds. Recognition calls focus and attention to either the desired action or the less desirable inaction. Which do you want to focus upon? Those who take the desired action or those who fail to take action? Your recognition and celebration of those who take the action creates a culture that focuses on those who create the results.


Great Leadership Triggers for Recognition

- When someone takes initiative or calculated risks

- Helps someone outside their silo

- Illustrates a new skill set or capability

- Does regular work consistently (avoiding escalation) – remember to recognize these people

- Creative solutions – by recognizing these people, you will get more of them

- Taking responsibility

- Providing helpful feedback – if someone speaks up on a conference call – thank them

- New ideas

- Effort above & beyond the norm

- Willingness to learn

- Quality of work, accuracy

- Leaving the comfort zone


Great Leadership Triggers for Celebration

- Hitting milestones

- Camera moments

- Award or progress submissions

- Client feedback

- Meeting deadlines, early submissions

- Meeting or exceeding budget

- Process/policy improvements

- Accomplishing an objective

- Delivering value

- Implementing innovations

What triggers you?

Align what triggers you with the culture and results you desire. If you want action toward a strategic plan or specific goals – recognize and celebrate that action. More of that action will follow.

Bonus Tip

Some effective leaders choose a trigger for each day of the week for the first 21 days. Leaders build recognition and celebration into their daily practice, always reinforcing the action, effort, and results they desire.

 

Why Creating a Team Culture is Like Baking a Cake

Why Creating a Team Culture is Like Baking a Cake

Creating a team is like making a cake. Each ingredient serves a purpose. Each ingredient has a role and function to play in a team. Without an ingredient, the cake changes. If an ingredient is off, the entire cake can be distasteful or the other ingredients have to mask the bad taste of the one. When all the ingredients are fresh, the cake tastes good, feeds many and is cause for celebration.

Knowing your role in the team comes from the hiring process, the job description, how you are measured, your supervisor, and primarily how you choose to contribute to the team. Consider a sales person who contributes to the team yet does not contribute sales. This is similar to a cake without flour. The ingredient withholds its role and provides no added benefit to the team.

What and how do you contribute to the cake? What roles do others on your team contribute? We have three leaders right now who all want a team culture that produces results. Yet the team culture does not deliver the results. In each case, the staff remains unaware of what each other contribute. The team members fail to appreciate the importance of each person and remain unaware if each person is contributing. These situations are a recipe for disaster.

Learn2 Save The Titanic Program A few years ago, Learn2 had the privilege of being at a staff retreat for the Canadian Olympic Team where Crispin Duenas, one of Canada’s hopeful medalists that participated in the London 2012 Olympics, was speaking. Crispin explained how he is only one ingredient in the Archery team, even if he is the most predominant performer. After Crispin and his coach Joan Macdonald’s wise-words, each department within the Canadian Olympic Committee explained how they were ingredients and contributed to the Archery Team. Often moments like these help us understand our contribution and the contributions of others.

Have each of your teams identify what and how they contribute to the result. For advanced groups, ask the team to consider what and how they contribute to allow the other ingredients to be successful.

We all make our cake. Blame the maker.

 

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