Here is an excerpt from an article written by Cy Wakeman for Talent Management magazine. To check out all the resources and sign up for a free subscription to the TM and/or Chief Learning Officer magazines published by MediaTec, please click here.
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Talent leaders should focus less on micromanaging the daily activities of their talent and work more on building their capabilities. Here are tips to help.
Talent leaders tend to respond to challenging times by over-managing and under-leading. Too many leaders hide behind their proficiency at logistics, budgeting and cost cutting — the small picture — and hope that somehow the overall vision — the big picture — will fall into place.
How does over-managing and under-leading manifest itself in the workplace?
• Say talent leaders are interrupted every 20 minutes with questions that employees could answer themselves with a little bit of effort. If they drop everything and answer them, they are managing, not leading.
• If leaders aren’t able to go on vacation without fielding emergency calls from the office, that’s another sign they are over-managing the team.
These are situations in which people come to talent leaders with problems they expect them to solve. Often, a leader’s first impulse might be to perfect the employee’s circumstances by solving their problems. However, the best way forward is to use their energy to encourage their people to be more capable so they can impact their own reality.
Management works to change others’ circumstances. Leadership changes their mindsets so they can see their circumstances differently and find ways to impact their reality.
When in doubt, lead first, manage second. Here’s how:
[Wakeman offers six specific suggestions. Here are the first two. To read the complete article, please click here.]
Resist the urge to add more value. The best way for talent leaders to build confidence in people is to show confidence in their talent and critical thinking, and to engage them in discussions on what they can do to add value.
Focusing on the person, not the problem, is key. Leaders can help employees see themselves as the authors of solutions, instead of running to a leader every time. Once they realize that a leader’s response will not be to take the ball and run with it, but rather to bounce it right back to them, they will start looking for solutions on their own.
Coach the person in front of you. Many employees approach talent leaders with the intention of tattling on others or reporting issues they view out of their own control. Engaging in such complaints will lead to a fruitless, energy-draining conversation.
Talent leaders should focus less on micromanaging the daily activities of their talent and work more on building their capabilities.
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Cy Wakeman is a dynamic, well-respected national keynote speaker, workshop facilitator and trainer who helps individuals and organizations recreate their mindsets so they can achieve results beyond their wildest dreams. Her unique programs help to develop and build successful leaders and teams. Her approach is unconventional, candid, and entertaining. Based on her hard-hitting philosophy, Cy has helped many groups and organizations break through their reasons, stories and excuses to develop innovative solutions to long-standing issues. Her latest book is Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace, and Turn Excuses into Results, published by Jossey-Bass (2010).
“Foursquare and seven ‘innovative ways’ ago….”
Frankly, I did not know quite what to expect when I began to read this book, except that Carmine Gallo may perhaps develop some of the concepts he discussed in an earlier book, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. Moreover, until then, I knew nothing about the foursquare organization. As Gallo explains, “Foursquare is a social media tool that businesses of any size can use to tell their stories and engage their customers in an innovative way…Users sign up for an account by visiting http://foursquare.com.” At this point, I need to point out that Gallo does not provide instructions for an easy process that takes about two minutes nor is his book an operations manual. Rather, presenting his material within a framework of seven innovative “ways” (strategies, actually), he can help any reader to take full advantage of the ever-expanding, ever-increasing opportunities that foursquare offers.
“For users, the free foursquare Smartphone app allows them to ‘check in’ to a location and to share that location with friends. It’s also a game. Users who check in earn points, badges, and rewards for exploring their cities. It makes their world a more interesting place.” How so a game? “Because it’s meant to be fun…People like collecting virtual badges that have no meaning except bragging rights. For example, a user will unlock the ‘superstar’ badge for checking into 50 different venues or the ‘crunked’ badge for checking in to four different venues in one night. It’s silly, right? But millions of people around the world are having a blast paying the game. Foursquare is a game. It’s meant to be fun. Play along.”
Personally, I dislike audience participation and have no interest in playing online games to earn badges that have no meaning except bragging rights. However, I am among those who are eager to attract, retain, reward, and (yes) delight my customers. That’s what makes foursquare appealing to me. Gallo devised an acronym, CHECKIN, for the seven strategies and devotes a separate chapter to each:
1. How to Connect your brand with “Connection Superstars”
2. How to Harness new fans with “Newbie Ringleaders”
3. How to Engage your followers with “Superusers”
4. How to Create rewards with “Super Mayors”
5. How to Knock out the competition with “Swarm Masters”
6. How to Incentivize your customers with “Local Heroes”
7. Why you must Never stop entertaining with “Crunked Kings”
Sure, some of the nomenclature is goofy but so what? Under Gallo’s expert supervision, each reader will learn how to make effective use foursquare capabilities. Keep in mind that the smartphone app is free, can activated in about two minutes, and offers substantial benefits to almost any user, whatever the size and nature of the given enterprise may be. Well-known brands that have active foursquare partnerships include American Express, Chili’s Bar & Grill, McDonald’s, NASA, 7-Eleven, Starbucks, and Walmart but as Gallo demonstrates throughout the book with dozens of examples, family-owned businesses can also achieve great success with their foursquare association by attracting, retaining, rewarding, and (yes) delighting their own customers.
Gallo concludes this amazingly entertaining as well as informative book with a rigorous review of “10 Pitfalls to Avoid” (Pages 231-239) followed by his interview of Dennis Crowley, foursquare’s CEO and co-founder. I presume to conclude this brief commentary with an observation of my own: Ultimate success with foursquare will ultimately depend on effective innovation and effective presentation. In my opinion, the person best qualified to provide the best advice in both areas would be Steve Jobs but, in his absence, the next person best qualified would be the author of The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Carmine Gallo.
Prepare, Practice, and then you’ll be ready.
“We throw to the bases every day,” Cruz said. “We take flyballs every day, make sure we know the ballpark, we know any situation we can be involved in during the game. When you prepare, everything comes more easy.” (Rangers Beat Tigers 7-3 In Game 4: Nelson Cruz Leads Texas To 3-1 Lead In ALCS)
“When you prepare, everything comes more easy.” The more prepared you are, the more likely you are to succeed. The more you practice – and practice every conceivable scenario — the more you put and keep your head in the game, the more prepared you are.
This was seen so very clearly in the Rangers win over the Tigers last night. Nelson Cruz hit another 11th inning home run, but it was his throw from right field that kept the Rangers in the game, and sent it into extra innings.
With Detroit runners at the corners in the eighth and the score 3-all, Cruz caught Delmon Young’s flyball to right field and made a strong peg to Napoli to nail Miguel Cabrera. The Detroit slugger bowled over Napoli, but the catcher held on to the ball and Cabrera never touched the plate.
For Rangers fans (that includes me) it was a terrific game. For all of us, it is a reminder of the most basic of business and life success lessons: prepare and practice, and you will be ready for the challenge.
Here’s the video of his walk-off Grand Slam to win game two against Detroit:
Mike Napoli can also add to our appreciation for solid preparation.
Napoli said it comes from preparation and taking time to learn his pitcher’s tendencies, something that has improved with each outing. (Mike Napoli does it all in Game 4).