LEADERSHIP Fall 2011
Overwhelmed by that Overflowing Inbox? Learn how to combat information overload pg. 2
Learn the secrets of successful people Create a motivating environment for your staff Are you a listening pro? Test your skills with our quiz
leadership Fall 2011
A word from your Account Management Team... In this Fall issue of LEADERSHIP we focus on many keys to keeping communication high with your staff, cohorts, and others within your organization. High quality can sometimes be as, or more, important as high quantity; and communication is critically important in meeting goals as a team. As we move into the later months of the year, it’s important to be able to prioritize information effectively and some tips for managing your communication with coworkers are included. Speaking of communication, call (or email) us anytime you need a little help – that’s what we’re here for!
MINES & Associates 10367 W Centennial Rd Littleton, CO 80127 800.873.7138 www.MINESandAssociates.com
Credits Krames Staywell Success Secrets pg 3 Planning Ahead for Better Meetings pg 6-7 A Manager’s Guide to Motivation pg 8 Wellness Library Health Ink and Vitality Communications ©2011 Keys to Coping with Information Overload pg 4-5 Delvina Miremadi, Life Advantages ©2011 Listen Up! pg 9 Keeping Your Employees Informed about Key Issues pg 10
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Secrets to Success Success is the business of trying to improve the things you do. Success is growing and developing. It’s accepting bigger and greater challenges. And it begins with having a dream. “To find your dream, ask yourself what your passion or purpose is and then pursue it,” says Jeff Mayer, author of Success is a Journey: 7 Steps to Achieving Success in the Business of Life. “After you have a well-defined purpose and know what you want to do, a master plan of action – a business plan, if you will, for your future – is essential. Finally, you must have persistence to stick with it and make it happen.” Mr. Mayer spent three years studying the skills, talents, and characteristics of successful people. “As you look at the list of talents and characteristics that follow, you’ll realize you possess many of them yourself, and those that you lack, you can acquire,” says Mr. Mayer. 1. Successful people have ambition. They want to accomplish something. “They have commitment, pride, and self-discipline,” he says. “They’re willing to work hard and to go the extra mile.” 2. Successful people are strongly motivated toward achievement. “People who excel in life are those who produce results, not excuses,” he says. “They take great satisfaction in accomplishing a task.” 3. Successful people are focused. They concentrate on their main goals and objectives, and they don’t get sidetracked. “Successful people focus on those things that are most important day in and day out,” he says. “As a result, they’re not just busy, they’re productive.” 4. Successful people learn how to get things done. They use their skills, talents, energies, and knowledge to the fullest extent possible. They do the things that need to be done, not just the things they like to do. 5. Successful people look for solutions to problems. “They are opportunity-minded,” he says. “When they see opportunities, they take advantage of them.” 6. Successful people make decisions. They think about the issues and relevant facts, give them adequate deliberation and consideration, then make a decision. “Americans tend to be action-oriented, so the idea of spending work time thinking instead of working seems unproductive,” says Mr. Mayer. “But thinking before you act or decide is essential.” 7. Successful people have the courage to admit they’ve made a mistake. “Don’t waste a lot of time, energy, money, and/or other resources trying to defend a mistake or bad decision,” he says. “When you make a mistake, admit it, fix it, and move on.” 8. Successful people have specific knowledge, training, and/or skills and talents. “When they need information or skills they don’t possess, they find someone who has them, then find a way to interact, partner, and draw from the person’s experience,” Mr. Mayer says. 9. Successful people work with and cooperate with other people. They have a positive, outgoing personality. They surround themselves with people who offer them help, support, and encouragement. 10. Successful people are enthusiastic. They’re excited by what they’re doing, and their excitement is contagious. People want to work with them, do business with them, and be with them. “It’s easy to be enthusiastic if you like what you do,” says Mr. Mayer. “And let’s face it, life is too short not to like what you do for a living.”
Fall 2011 Leadership 3
Keys to Coping with
Information Overload I
n-boxes are overflowing with magazines, reports, and memos; e-mail boxes are brimming with halfread and unread messages.
“More and more managers tell me they’re spending three or four hours a day responding to e-mail and doing so isn’t making them more productive,” says Lyle Sussman, Ph.D., a speaker, author, management consultant, and professor of management at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. “Staying abreast of developments in your field is more important than it has ever been,” he says.
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Yet even as demand for data skyrockets, the supply of information – particularly that available on the Internet – is outpacing demand. Anyone who works in an office or answers e-mail can experience information overload. Instead of spending a large chunk of your workday sorting through irrelevant data and correspondence, Dr. Sussman recommends you become an intelligent consumer of information.
To Send or Not
Tell people what they should or shouldn’t send you. It’s so easy now for e-mail users to attach documents or to refer messages to anyone in their networks. Be more assertive with your networks about what you want and don’t want to receive. “I’ve received messages from people in my network saying they would prefer I not send jokes I run across,” says Dr. Sussman. “People are trying to set limits on the supply side.”
Make the Call
Ask people to use the telephone or to stop by in person. “Phone calls and face-to-face conversations are becoming lost arts,” Dr. Sussman says. “I’ve been telling my professional colleagues that if it’s something important, they should come down to my office and talk to me. I get a lot more information that way.”
Focus on Problem-Solving
It’s fine to search the Internet and scan magazine and newspaper articles, but you can physically control what lands in your in-box by not searching so much and then by searching only for what you need.
Find a Gatekeeper
Develop closer contacts with trusted colleagues who can act as information agents. Who do you know who’s knowledgeable in your field, whose opinion you value, and who can point you toward relevant information?
“If everyone located two or three such friends who can act as gatekeepers, it’s amazing how much time and frustration they could save themselves,” says Dr. Sussman.
Try a Screening Agent
Use artificial-information agents, such as e-mail newsletters, that automatically feed your e-mail box with topical information.
Instead of spending a large chunk of your workday sorting through irrelevant data and correspondence, become an intelligent consumer of information! “Services like these are why Reader’s Digest will never go out of circulation,” says Dr. Sussman. “They scan a wide variety of news sources and deliver to you only those items containing key words of your choice.”
Use these Agents Selectively
Dr. Sussman has friends who rely on seven or more artificial agents. But rather than simplify their categorical use of information, all those agents make their jobs more complex, he says. Choose just one or two of these services – the ones that consistently send you the highest quality, most relevant information – and drop the others. “Unlike the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, most of us aren’t in a position to pay someone to screen our e-mail,” says Dr. Sussman. “So we have to sort the wheat from the chaff ourselves. What makes it frustrating is that you never know what the wheat is and what the chaff is, because the world is changing so fast. We have to look at our information-search procedures in a much more pragmatic way – they have to be driven by problem-solving.”
Want More Information? Log onto MINES PersonalAdvantage at www.MINESandAssociates.com. You’ll find more resources related to time management and much more. Don’t have online services? Contact your MINES Account Manager today!
Spring 2011 Leadership 5
Planning Ahead for Better Meetings 6 Leadership Fall 2011
any people hate to go to meetings. They insist that most of them take too long, lack focus, and create more problems than they solve by keeping the participants from crucial tasks. “Despite the fact that many meetings are poorly run, a good meeting can provide a critical link in the way business is conducted and information is communicated,” says Bobbi Linkemer, coauthor of Get Organized. “Meetings also serve to define responsibilities, motivate, teach, and generate decisions.” Meetings often fail because their leaders don’t plan ahead, have no clear objective, and don’t prepare agendas. The following basic principles can help you learn to conduct meetings that accomplish your objective, make good use of time, and encourage active participation. “The secret of effective meetings is what goes on ahead of time,” Ms. Linkemer says. “More often than not, more work is done before the meeting than during it.” Here are seven steps to planning an effective meeting: 1. Define your objectives Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish at the meeting. 2. Select the right participants Depending on your objectives, you may want to invite people who have a stake in the outcome, have something to contribute or gain from the discussion, will implement the policy decisions that are made, or are creative and innovative thinkers. 3. Decide when to hold the meeting Select a time when everyone can attend and when you’ll have enough time to cover the subject. 4. Draft an agenda Include the topics you’ll cover and how much time you’re allotting to each one. An agenda helps you organize every aspect of your meeting, from topics to speakers to visual aids, and lets people know what to expect. 5. Choose a site and make physical arrangements This may be as simple as reserving a conference room or as complex as booking a hotel ballroom.
6. Notify the participants You can do this in person, in writing, or by e-mail. Decide whether you’ll send materials ahead of time or present them when you meet. 7. Final Preparations Double-check to make sure all arrangements are in place.
A good meeting can provide a critical link in the way business is conducted and information is communicated.
ssuming you’ve planned well, the following outline will help you conduct a successful meeting. Start off right Be in the room and ready to go before the other participants arrive. Announce the meeting’s purpose and open the discussion. Structure the discussion This means keeping the meeting constantly moving in the direction of your objective. This may include asking questions, balancing the discussion between opposing points of view, using gentle reminders to keep people on track, and watching the clock to make sure the meeting finishes on time. Hold people’s attention Use visual aids, such as a blackboard, a flip chart, an overhead projector, charts, movies, slides, videotapes, and transparencies. Ask for information from others “The ability to ask the right question at the right time in the right way is one of the most important skills of a meeting leader,” Ms. Linkemer says. Have someone take minutes Ask the person to write down the topics covered, conclusions reached, and decisions made. Wrap things up Draw your meeting to a close by assessing whether your objective was achieved. “If it was, summarize it,” Ms. Linkemer says. “If you need more information, restate what’s needed and who will provide it. Propose a follow-up meeting if the problem wasn’t solved or a conclusion wasn’t reached.” Fall 2011 Leadership 7
Motivation a manager’s guide
otivation is crucial to good management. But different things motivate different people, and if you’re a manager, understanding what motivates your staff is the key to everyone’s success. “You can’t force someone else to be motivated,” says Carol W. Ellis, author of Management Skills for New Managers. “What you can do is provide a work environment that offers opportunities designed to spark their inner drive.”
Often people of various ages with different life experiences have different motivators. “To find out what motivates each of your staff members, pay attention to how they react to a variety of projects or objectives,” says Ms. Ellis. “Then ask them questions regarding the kinds of changes they believe would increase their job satisfaction.”
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Once the factors are identified, take action by making changes that will increase your staffers’ desire to succeed. Most people are motivated by one or more of these needs: • Achievement • Responsibility • Recognition • Meaningfulness • Advancement To satisfy the need for achievement, you should ensure that an employee’s goals are set and monitored on an ongoing basis. You should provide ongoing feedback on goal achievement and offer training opportunities to increase success. To meet the need for responsibility, you should provide opportunities for employees to be visible and have influence. Ask for their opinions and suggestions, and delegate opportunities for them to organize and direct activities.
For employees who seek recognition, you should provide opportunities for people to work with others, as well as a chance to be visible to upper management. You should establish a relationship that provides feedback and attention. For those that need meaningfulness in their jobs, offer opportunities to cross-train so they understand how their work contributes to the company’s overall objectives. Also, give them an opportunity to take on new responsibilities. To satisfy the need for advancement, ask employees about their career objectives and provide training opportunities on subjects of interest to them. “The bottom line is that as a manager, you’re responsible for getting people to perform, and if you create the right environment, it’s more likely your staff will do what needs to be done,” says Ms. Ellis.
An important part of communication is how well you listen to what the other person is trying to say. In order for communication to be effective, it can’t be one-way. You have to listen as much as you talk. Do you wonder how strong your listening skills are? Find out with this simple quiz.
1. You have trouble paying attention during discussions that don’t personally interest you. 2. You have to ask your coworkers to remind you what was discussed during meetings. 3. You’re easily distracted by sounds or actions that occur near your workspace. 4. You end work meetings or discussions without having any idea of what was discussed. 5. Your mind wanders to what you want to say while others are speaking. 6. You only hear the words or phrases you want to hear during discussions. 7. Certain comments or behaviors trigger specific reactions from you. 8. You have trouble interpreting the signals put out by body language. 9. You’re so preoccupied with your own thoughts that you “lose time” during meetings. 10. Personal biases keep you from listening to what certain people say. TOTAL
Regardless of how you fare on this quiz, you can always find room for improvement in your listening skills. Give these five tips a try: •
Make eye contact with the speaker
Repeat what you’ve been told and rephrase the comments so that you understand them
Ask questions about what’s being said
Keep a pad of paper handy to take notes on key points and details
Keep personal judgments, biases, and fears out of your discussions or meetings
Fall 2011 Leadership 9
Keeping Your Employees Informed about Key Issues Communication is a key element to successful organizations. By continuously updating your employees about the status of the organization, you provide them a sense of community and trust among and between all levels of staff.
Communicating About Other Departments
Employees may have questions about how other departments affect their work, and how their work affects other departments. In order to keep a positive work atmosphere that promotes healthy communication, arrange meetings between groups and departments.
Communicating About Customers
Have employees ask customers for written and oral feedback. Share these comments and suggestions at staff meetings.
Communicating With Workers About the Company’s Financial Status
Share with employees as much as you can, explaining how each team has affected the company’s financial picture. Supervisors can use sales or supply expense reports to demonstrate how much each team has contributed.
Communicating About Outside Competition
Use outside, competing companies to inspire a competitive edge to your workforce. Examining competing products during meetings is a great way to discuss the competition your company is up against, and generate ideas to help set your company apart from the competition. Mutual vendors and distributors can also give supervisors insight into how your company and outside companies are viewed in your market.
Communicating About Job Performance
Tell your employees daily about job performance. Clearly defining goals and reminding employees of these goals is crucial to company success and allows employees to critique their own performance.
41-50.... You’re doing great! You know how to listen to what’s being said and engage speakers. 31-40.... You’re doing okay. You rarely miss what’s being said. 21-30.... You could use some improvement. Some important details might be going missed. 10-20.... You need to start improving your skills immediately. If you keep missing out on what’s being said, you might create serious problems in both your personal and professional lives.
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2011 HR Webinar Series H��� ��� ���� �������� ���� �� ����� ������ ���� �� ����� ���� �� ���� ����� ��� ���� ������� �������������� ����������? C�� ����� ������� �������� ���� �� ��������? I� ��, ���� ����� �� ����? This webinar series will give you an up-close look, using real case studies, at what is involved in effectively resolving these types of organizational challenges. Each webinar will focus on one aspect of the organizational development process using case studies to illustrate the tools and methodologies that are used. Participants will be asked to actively engage in each webinar by way of sharing their stories, challenges, perspectives and asking provocative questions. To learn more and register for this event, visit www.BizPsych.com/Expertise.html.
Session One: Series Introduction
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16TH
Session Two: The Art of an Effective Organizational Development Assessment WEDNESDAY, MAY 18TH
Session Three: The Fine Art of Report Writing WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17TH
Session Four: The Action Plan
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19TH ALL SESSIONS TAKE PLACE FROM 11AM - 12PM MST QUESTIONS? Reach us at 800.873.7138 |
Brought to you by BizPsych and MINES & Associates Fall 2010 Balanced Living 11
. . . s r o ervis
p u S o t e ot An F
rom time to time, situations arise when a supervisor is not sure how to respond to a particular behavior. The EAP is available on a 24/7 basis for consultation on issues such as: referring an employee to the EAP, how best to respond to and manage difficult behavior in the workplace, and whether training or some other form of group intervention (such as an organizational intervention or a conflict resolution) may be helpful for a particular situation. The EAP can serve as an ally to anyone who is working with a troubled employee. • 24/7 supervisor consultation regarding problems in the workplace • Assessment of behavioral risk on the job • Return-to-Duty conferences • Advisory services in writing, revising, and implementing policies • Supervisor and Manager training • Unlimited formal Work Performance Referrals • Coaching for management and leadership skills • Conflict resolution for supervisor-employee problems MINES believes that employees are an organization’s most valuable resource. Your EAP is always available to provide you and your employees with support.
The MINES Team