Posted by Joanne on February 23, 2012 Comments Off
During Day 2 of the HRPA 2012 Conference, Robert Harris, author of “Change Leadership – Inform, Involve, Ignite,” spoke about Breakthrough Strategies for Communicating Change. Robert introduced and explained his model of communicating change to help individuals move from the status quo to the new change status and then we put the model to use during an activity. It was a great presentation with a packed room, and many participants felt it could have been a super-session with an extra hour to learn and practice.
People resist change because of emotional and logical thoughts and communication can make or break successful change. We’ve all been involved in change. As HR professionals our role as an organizational strategic HR partner is to help successfully implement change.
What change process is used to communicate change?
The majority of us will launch right into the advantages and disadvantages of change first (Box 2). This is natural human behaviour, where we take on the “cheerleading” OR ”pain mongering” role and it is NOT the best strategy. People feel you are trying to “sell” them on the change and they become cynical. If I’m resisting change, I’m in the fear focus. I’m thinking, “How will this impact me?” (Box 2). And I’m stuck thinking “but I like it this way” (Box 4). People don’t ask questions about the change because of: fear, the need for more time to process the change, and/or the belief that ”It’s a done deal.”
Robert suggests using his “Strategic Influencing 4-Box Model” of change as follows:
Box 1: When change is imminent it is important to start with a compelling case for “WHY change.” This gets their attention and they will listen. Remember to reflect on the reasons for “WHY change” from the other person’s perspective.
Box 2: Next go to the “cheerleading” or benefits of change and how you’ll get there together but only briefly. You can go back to this later.
Box 3: Then proceed to talking about the impact to them as individuals, and as a team. This is what individuals focus on. Validate and acknowledge emotions. Spend lots of time here and outline how you will support them through the change.
Box 4: Then talk about what stays the same. This helps people celebrate what is being preserved. People like tradition and are comforted by familiarity.
This is the best approach because it feels like the change manager spent time figuring out how it impacts people as individuals. You can go back to describing the benefits again AND how you’ll get there together. With change it is always best to put the elephant in the room to be addressed versus ignoring it. Using the 4-box change model has a calming effect. It lets people see a transition where there are highs and lows, culminating in acceptance. It is the journey you will all take together.
An added benefit of using Robert Harris’s change model is that it helps determine if change should happen in the first place. And we actually used Robert’s awesome change model in groups, talking through a real life change initiative. As part of our group debrief we noted that the discussions we had using the change model, helped us work through things that we might not have thought about and it promoted healthy open communication.
Robert Harris, author of Change Leadership – Inform, Involve, Ignite, definitely needs a super session the next time he presents at the HRPA conference. It was great to actually get a change to “use” the change model tool during the session, but we needed more time.
What change are you implementing now or in the future? Try using the tool. It works.
Posted by Joanne Royce
Photo Credit: Robert Harris, Strategic Influencing 4-Box Model (Used with permission)
Posted by Joanne on February 21, 2012 Comments Off
On Day 2 of the HRPA 2012 Conference the Luncheon Key Note Speaker was Kevin Carroll speaking to a packed audience of HR professionals about Rediscovering Play, Bringing Fun and Passion to Your Work and Life.
Kevin told us the heart wrenching story of his early childhood. His father left when he was a toddler. One day, his mother, who suffered with addiction issues, picked up Kevin and his older brother from school, and along with his youngest brother, drove out of town. Kevin was only 6 years old. After driving a very long time, she leaves the three boys in a trailer telling them to stay there. Finally after a few days and no mom, the boys get enough courage to leave the trailer to ask someone for help. Luckily, their grandfather made sure they memorized his phone number.
“I just want to play.”
His grandpa tells Kevin and his brothers that they would have shelter, food, and love, but would have to “raise” themselves. Kevin, always being big on questions asked, “What does “raise yourself” mean?” After learning the meaning of that statement, Kevin said, “But grandpa, I just want to play.”
Kevin overcame adversity as a child through play.
Kevin goes to a neighbourhood park and finds a red rubber ball. He is all alone so he makes up a game. He kicks the ball as hard as he can, and then runs furiously after the ball. It was his way of coping (and I’m sure, a way of getting all that anger and hurt out of his system). Soon the neighbourhood children notice him and ask, “What are you doing with that ball?” Next thing you know, they are all playing ball, and little Kevin feels a sense of connection and of belonging. He had discovered the power of play.
A small red rubber ball saved him.
His passion for play and asking questions help Kevin build a successful and diverse series of careers that take him all over the world. In fact, Nike hires Kevin, without having a defined position for him, because of his passion and creativity, and he becomes a Nike “Katalyst.” The 2001 award winning Nike “Tag” commercial (filmed in Toronto, Ontario) was created during his time at Nike and illustrates his passion for “play.”
Highlights from Kevin’s presentations include:
Questions are good. Courage to ASK is a big life – work lesson. ASK!
Courage is shown in acts and dares to do what is right.
Hire for passion & creativity. The rest will fall into place.
Kids see opportunity not an obstacle. A box becomes a ship or fort. We all speak “ball” as in play.
Play is a great business tool for collaboration and creativity.
Mass collaboration is having the audience/consumer participate in designing the product. Wikipedia is an example of this. I recently signed up to check out a new SAAS (Software as a Service) HR system for a client. This company was using mass collaboration to design their product. In my opinion, it probably wasn’t ready for the market because it didn’t have enough features. This is much different that in the past when products were only released after testing or using a pilot or a beta approach to ensure the product was ready for the market. This software as a service company was using existing clients to help design their product. This strategy allows them to collaboratively build a more robust product using the intellectual wisdom and knowledge of their clients.
Other key points from Emmanuel Gobillot’s keynote include:
There is so much information out there that we strive to focus our own world. Many people focus on Facebook in attempt to simplify and focus their lives. He asks, “How are leaders going to be heard? How do we tap into where are people are focussed?” Should companies ban Facebook at work and lose their employee’s focus and interest? Companies should adapt to where they their people hang out and are comfortable, which is Facebook and other social media applications.
People do things because of social obligations versus economic incentives. He asked “Why do people do things? Do they do things because of roles, rules, economic incentives? Or because they are individuals who are looking for reciprocity and social and moral obligations?” Emmanuel suggests that “Social obligations work better than economic incentives.” He notes that “People want to do a good job even if there is no performance review.” This is something I believe in very strongly. People don’t wake up in the morning aspiring to do a bad job at work. We are each unique and the thing about work is that everyone can be engaged; we just might be engaged differently. This can be a real challenge for HR designing and building HR incentives.
Human beings don’t like ambiguity. We like clarity and simplicity. So it’s important that people have clear roles and responsibilities. Emmanuel suggests we use storytelling to clarify and bring things and people together. Doing this helps people understand what needs to be done and done well. From an HR standpoint, a clear and up-to-date job description and ongoing communication ensure employees know what they need to do to excel in the position. Linking day-to-day actions to the mission of the company also helps.
We need a little more conversation before a little more action. Emmanuel shares that we need the opposite of what Elvis Presley advocated in his popular song. We need a little more conversation before a little more action. Conversation helps clarify and ensure understanding. It helps us connect. And it is necessary before we take action.
The world of work is about you as an individual. You’ve got to love what you do. I’m a strong believer that if you don’t love what you do, you have to find something that you do love or connect to the bigger picture. If you can’t find something of value in the job you do, then it is time to move on to a position that you do love. You can’t succeed in a job that you hate! Sometimes, reframing helps: “By learning and having the experience in this role, I will be able to gain essential skills that will help me advance to … pay off my student loans … lessen my commute so I can pick up my children after school ….” When you look at a role as a building block to something more or to fit with your life at the present, it can help you enjoy the journey.
We remember great leaders because they help us grow. They are easy to follow. Leaders need to ask, “Have I made someone stronger and more capable.” Great managers know you and help you get better by sharing with you what you do well, but also what you need to do to improve. I remember two great leaders that I’ve worked with and shared their attributes in “What makes a great leader?”
Have the courage to ask the big questions. Like Marshall Goldsmith suggested in his morning keynote during the first day of the HRPA 2012 Conference, Emmanuel said, “ We all are going to die someday so while here, ask big questions and be more courageous. And I would add, “Before leaving this world, we can all strive to make it a better place.”
So what do you think is the role of leaders into the future? How has this shifted from the past?
Posted by Joanne on February 16, 2012 Comments Off
Day 2 at the HRPA 2012 Conference started out in AWESOME fashion. Despite the 7:00 a.m. start time, the room was packed to hear Neil Pasricha talk about The Search for AWESOME Leadership. Neil shared his story of success.
His story started out not so well. One year his best friend committed suicide and his marriage fell apart. Neil was feeling pretty low. He was in a dark place. But he got the idea to start a blog looking for 1000 AWESOME things in life, to help him get out of his funk. He started blogging every day. At first only his mom read his blog, then his dad, then friends, and it grew from there. The number of readers multiplied and he got a call from someone in New York telling him he had won an award for his blog! He travelled to New York to pick up his award, and when he got home he had phone calls from several literacy agents who were interested in a potential book. Three books (and a calendar product and mobile app) later Neil is still blogging about AWESOME. Success happens in the strangest ways. Neil shared his concepts and philosophy with us and it was an AWESOME way to start Day 2 of the HRPA 2012 Conference!
The 4 A’s required to create AWESOME leadership for an AWESOME workplace include:
Attitude – AWESOME starts with attitude. If you have an attitude of AWESOME it will spread beyond you.
Awareness - If you are on the look out for AWESOME you will find it. It is the little things that often illicit the biggest response.
Alignment - Know your own (and the organizations) core values / priniciples. Alignment gets people in sync with you as a leader, and the organization.
Authenticity - Spread AWESOME and positivity but be true to your self. Be genuine. People won’t respond if you aren’t your authentic self.
In addition to AWESOME leadership to create an AWESOME workplace, organizations need to embrace the 4 S’s:
Structure - Have some structure in place (but not rigid policing or monitoring structure).
Stimulation - Provide stimulating work.
Salary - Give a salary good enough to make it a non-issue.
We can all bring AWESOME into this world and into our workplace by living in the present, looking forward to the future, and not dwelling on past wrongs or slights. My philosophy of AWESOME is to always look for the good in people. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I’m going to work to be miserable and do a bad job.” People want to succeed and be AWESOME.
As HR professionals, managers, and leaders, what are you doing to make the workplace happy, healthy, and productive and downright AWESOME? As an individual, what are you going to do today to be AWESOME at work and at life? Perhaps the tips provided by Neil Pasricha outlined here will help you get started. If you need more help, contact us. AWESOME leadership can be learned!
Posted by Joanne on February 15, 2012 Comments Off
On Day 1 of the HRPA 2012 Conference, I attended the afternoon supersession with David Chilton. David talked about his journey to success with his first book - ”The Wealthy Barber,” and introduced his new book, “The Wealthy Barber Returns.” David spent two hours speaking to a full audience without the help of visuals or PowerPoint. He is an amazing story teller and the audience was engaged throughout the session.
I loved his sense of family and that his sister, father, and mother were involved and supporting him through his journey to get his first book published. He was originally going to call his book “The Wealthy Bartender” which was inspired by the television show “Cheers.” I liked that he didn’t listen to the financial and banking experts who told him the concept for the book would not work. Instead he asked his beer drinking hockey buddies (the every day person) to review what he had written so far. They loved it and they asked questions which helped him clarify and improve the book.
He told us about the story of Greta and Janet Podleski, authors of the highly successful cookbook series (and products) Looneyspoons. Through their energy, perseverence, courage, and by taking a train (not flying) to meet with David in Ottawa, they won him over. That, and the fact that David’s mother tested some of the recipes and told him – “Publish that cookbook…” I loved that through the power of Twitter, Greta Podleski, replied back.
Mom tests recipes and says to David “publish that cookbook LooneySpoons” David says always trust ur Mom. @wealthy_barber#HRPA2012
Finally, David talked about financial statistics and products, and that the world is carrying too much debt. He told the story of a homeowner who apologized to him for not having ”granite countertops” and a big house, to which he replied, ”Who needs granite countertops and I live in a 1300 s.f. bungalow.” David noted that people have too much stuff and that gets them into money and debt trouble. Granite countertops and too much stuff are not worth going into debt for. While David didn’t mention this, the video calledThe Story of Stuff also highlights how our need for so much STUFF negatively impacts the world in which we live. I think we might have our “wants” mixed up with our “needs” and this contributes to living beyond our means.
In any case, it was two hours well spent. Lots of insight into how to get a book published with the the power of perservance, courage, and support of family and friends and the benefits of not living beyond our means. You can read my actual tweets during David Chilton’s session – The Wealthy Barber Returns – through Storify below.
Posted by Joanne on February 14, 2012 Comments Off
Amanda Lang was the lunchtime keynote speaker on Day 1 of the HRPA 2012 Conference on Wednesday, February 1, 2012. When she started talking about derivatives and other financial information, I thought “Oh, no – this is going to be a pretty dry subject” but this lady has a sense of humour and her presentation was great as it focussed on innovation as a key to raising Canada’s productivity levels.
Here is a quick summary of her presentation:
The Spandex Rule. Just because you can get into something doesn’t mean you should.
We have the human capacity to improve on things - The invention of the printing press allowed sharing information which resulted in a huge spike in the standard of living. Today, the Internet can make us all look smart because we have a ton of information immediately at our fingertips.
Canada’s productivity is getting lower. Productivity is about output not working longer. The Germans work less hours than the Greeks, but their productivity is higher. The mecca of productivity is making a better widget.
A culture of innovation increases productivity. To promote innovation we need to ask “why or why not.” Organizations need to create an environment where employees feel safe expressing ideas. If that doesn’t happen, they won’t innovate for fear of looking stupid or being judged.
We can all be innovators. We are all born scientists and then we are trained out of it. We can be innovators because we were all little kids once with curiosity, who constantly asked “Why?” But we are taught at a very early age that “why” is irritating. Like many, Amanda Lang suggests that the school system needs to change as the structure was created for the industrial age, and it squashes innovation. Read a personal story of what happens in the classroom in my blog The Plasticine Rabbit, a story of how creativity gets crumpled.
Engaged employees are innovative employees. Can front line staff change how they do their job? Can they innovate freely? If employees aren’t engaged, they won’t give a damn and they won’t be innovative. Organizations need to create a culture where challenging the status quo is welcomed. That’s the key to innovation. Innovation is a mindset. We need to find meaning in work and what we do.
Organizational blocks to innovation. Unfortunately Amanda Lang notes that HR and IT have been identified as the two biggest blocks to innovation in an organization. HR needs to help employees find the passion in what they are doing. HR’s role is to help employees feel their authentic selves are recognized. When this happens employees feel “loved” and become engaged innovators.
Courage is needed to innovate. Not following the status quo results in product innovation. For example, Ford went against the grain, and focused on a fuel efficient car even though a gas guzzler was their best seller. By challenging the status quo, they created an innovative product in the market place. However, service is piece of the business that can screw up even the best products. Organizations also need to focus on service innovation.
How does your organization promote innovation in the workplace? Why is the measure of employee success often based on number of hours worked instead of outcome? Do HR initiatives enhance employee engagement and innovation or stifle it with rigid policing type policies? What can we do to create happy, healthy, (innovative) and productive workplaces?
Posted by Joanne on February 13, 2012 Comments Off
I’ve facilitated many sessions on workplace violence and harassment, so Lauren Bernardi’s session, “Bully or Effective Leader? When Supervisors Go Too Far” at the HRPA 2012 Conference was of interest. Lauren mentioned that employees are less likely to bring bullying complaints against a supervisor or manager because of the fear of being fired. She also noted that:
Words hurt more. Emotional abuse takes longer 2 heal than broken bones. Verbal harassment destroys a person & is a big deal #HRPA2012#in
Often bullying behaviour moves behind closed doors. Is private humiliation behind closed doors acceptable? I think not. The point is that bullying behaviour, whether in public or in private is not to be tolerated. The definition of harassment under Bill 168 legislation on workplace violence and harassment is:
“workplace harassment means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome”
It should be noted that giving someone the silent treatment and ignoring or ostracizing a team member are forms of bullying. It is also important to understand what does not constitute workplace harassment. Enforcing rules or policies, like a dress code policy, and asking someone not to wear wear flip flops to work, is not harassment, if the policy is consistently applied.
So why does bullying happen in the workplace? Lauren suggests that bullying happens when leadership is too autocratic OR too easy going. Leaders who are visible and understand the dynamics of bullying are best at creating a workplace with zero tolerance for bullying. A “No Bullying” workplace comes from respect at upper levels and positive attitudes being encouraged.
Early in my career, I worked at a great organization, but there were bully managers there too. A VP broke a pencil, and then threw it at me. I knew that behaviour wasn’t right. I went back to speak to him later and while shaking in my 20ish year old shoes, I told him that his behaviour was not appropriate and I did not deserve to be treated that way. He apologized and said he was “stressed.” Being “stressed” does not give someone the right to throw a pencil, or to bully and intimidate someone. In fact, if that pencil had hit me (like in the eye), it could have hurt me. His action today would be construed as “workplace violence,” based on the definition in Bill 168 legislation:
“workplace violence” means,
(a) the exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker,
(b) an attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker,
(c) a statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.
I’m glad my 20ish year old self spoke up and thankfully, he never threw another pencil at me again. I learned that speaking up is the first line of defense to stopping bullying behaviour. Of course, if an individual doesn’t feel comfortable speaking up they should bring their concerns forward to HR. Unfortunately, Lauren Bernardi notes that statistics show that people go right to the top to lodge complaints rather than going through HR. Why is that? HR needs to step it up and show that action will be taken with respect to bullying, harassment or violence, so that employees feel they can take complaints and concerns to HR and action will be taken.
Everyone deserves to feel safe at work. No one deserves to be bullied or harassed. We can all do our part in making sure our workplaces are free of bullying and harassment. What can you do now to make sure your workplace is bully free?
This is Part 2 of my blog post series about the HRPA 2012 Conference -2012 and Beyond: Inventing the Future. I Tweeted throughout the conference and I’ll share some of the key highlights from the conference through my Tweets and the application Storify.
The Opening Keynote was Marshall Goldsmith talking about his book What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There. The highlights of his presentation are listed below. This time, I’ve included my thoughts and commentary after each Tweet. I hope you enjoy the summary.
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