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309 BILL ECKSTROM - COACHING FOR LEADERS AND MANAGERS

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Jim Harter | It's the Manager

231: Jim Harter: Don’t focus on my weaknesses

Jim Harter Show Notes Page

Jim Harter was able to focus and achieve his doctoral degree while working full time. Today, as the Chief Scientist, Workplace for Gallup he leads organizations to be more successful with the changing demands of the workforce.

Jim was born in Iowa and has lived in the Midwest his entire life, nearly all in Nebraska. Jim is the second oldest of six siblings—one older brother, one younger, and three younger sisters.

His parents both grew up in central Nebraska and moved the family back to Nebraska from Iowa as Jim was entering 3rd grade to a town with 3,000 residents called Aurora.  He went to middle and high school in another small town called the “Cowboy Capital”—Ogallala, Nebraska.

His Grandfather was a local Sheriff in central Nebraska and father, a Marine Corp veteran, was mayor for many years. Jim learned valuable lessons from his parents and grandparents that would later influence his chosen profession—for one, they were all different and had different things to teach.  Some lessons included: the importance of understanding each person, their past and current situation—this planted some seeds for an interest in studying people. The importance of community service and leadership. The importance of having an unpretentious down to earth approach. And the importance of positivity and hard work. His persistent Grandma is 96 years old and going strong!

Jim worked through high school—washing dishes at a local restaurant and then a cook. After high school graduation, he enrolled at the University of Nebraska. Had many jobs during college—ranging from hauling gas to local farmers, changing the oil in cars, throwing hail bails and hauling irrigation pipe on relatives’ farms.

Jim completed the first college degree in his family, in business administration in 1986.

During the last year of his bachelor’s degree, he had a fortuitous turn of events. He signed up for several internships to gain some hands-on work experience. One of the internships was with an organization called Selection Research, Inc.—a family-owned research organization started by Don Clifton, later named the father of strengths-based psychology by the American Psychological Association. This internship led to an invitation to work with Don and colleagues on personnel research—studying the innate talent of top performers in many different types of jobs and the study of productive work environments.  Jim was then inspired to expand his skills and completed his master’s and Ph.D. in psychological measurement while working full-time at SRI, which later merged with and took on the name of Gallup.

Jim is now the Chief Scientist, Workplace for Gallup. He has led more than 1,000 studies of workplace effectiveness, including the largest ongoing meta-analysis of human potential and business unit performance. He is the bestselling author of 12: The Elements of Great Managing and Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements and the co-author of It’s the Manager with Gallup’s Chairman and CEO, Jim Clifton.

Jim and his wife RaLinda live in the Omaha Nebraska area and have two grown sons—Joe and Sam. RaLinda and Joe also work at Gallup. Sam is completing his degree. The family loves sports and has had a chance to travel a lot together over the years.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @Gallup’s Jim Harter to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet

“The science of management has advanced significantly in recent decades.” Click to Tweet

“We know a lot about what should be done, but when it comes down to it, it’s not getting applied on a daily basis.” Click to Tweet

“Well-intentioned systems have been put in place over time, but we haven’t taken into account human nature.” Click to Tweet

“We’ve got to think about human nature when we’re trying to apply these principles.” Click to Tweet

“Today’s worker is demanding a culture shift from boss to coach.” Click to Tweet

“Culture is built locally.” Click to Tweet

“The manager’s own engagement affects the engagement of the team.” Click to Tweet

“The key to building a productive culture, starts with the manager endorsing it.” Click to Tweet

“The importance of the manager and the complexity of management is even greater.” Click to Tweet

“Managers have to be very purposeful about connecting people.” Click to Tweet

“Half of it is who you pick to be your leaders and the other half of it is how you develop them.” Click to Tweet

“How we get things done is through people and through managers who really become experts at individualizing.” Click to Tweet

“It seems complicated that we’ve got to individualize, but it’s not so complicated if we get the right people managing them who think in terms of individual differences.” Click to Tweet

“Everybody at some point in time is going to leave an organization and I think we need to be thoughtful about how that happens.” Click to Tweet

“What happens in an organization goes external very quickly, so the employment brand is really your real culture.” Click to Tweet

“When people leave what do they say about you?” Click to Tweet

“We need to change the mentality from getting work done through people to getting people done through work.” Click to Tweet

“As managers, we have to think about how we’re very intentional about becoming an expert first on who that person is and develop them through who they are.” Click to Tweet

“We need to expect everybody to be thinking about how they develop people around them by using their own strengths.” Click to Tweet

“An organization that is thriving in the future, it will be one where everybody is participating in leading change.” Click to Tweet

“The principles that go into a good engagement metric have to be filtered into the learning development, performance management, everything that’s happening continuously.” Click to Tweet

“Simplify what you present to people. Get down to the core essence.” Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Jim Harter was able to focus and achieve his doctoral degree while working full time. Today, as the Chief Scientist, Workplace for Gallup he leads organizations to be more successful with the changing demands of the workforce.

Advice for others

Simplify what you present to people. Get down to the core essence.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Continuing to figure out what I do best.

Best Leadership Advice

Know yourself first and be authentic to yourself.

Secret to Success

The team I work with.

Best tools in business or life

I keep lists. Develop list and check off accomplishments.

Recommended Reading

It’s the Manager: Gallup finds the quality of managers and team leaders is the single biggest factor in your organization’s long-term success.

The Maslow Business Reader

Contacting Jim Harter

Website: https://www.gallup.com/home.aspx

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jkharter/

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach – Virtual academy to build the skills of existing and emerging contact center leaders.

Show Transcript: 

[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]

231: Jim Harter: Don’t focus on my weaknesses


Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader podcast where we uncover the leadership life hacks that help you to experience, breakout performance faster and rock it to success and now here’s your host customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach. 

 

Jim Rembach    Call Center coach develops and unites the next generation of call center leaders. Through our e-learning and community individuals gain knowledge and skills and the six core competencies that is the blueprint that develops high-performing call center leaders. Successful supervisors do not just happen. So go to Callcentercoach.com to learn more about enrollment and download your copy of the Supervisor Success Path e-book now.

 

Okay Fast Leader legion, today I am totally excited because I have somebody who really is leading the way and giving us some very important evidence associated with what does it take in order to have a high-performing organization from the inside. Jim Harter was born in Iowa and has lived in the Midwest his entire life nearly all in Nebraska. Jim is the second oldest of six siblings, one older brother one younger and three younger sisters. His parents both grew up in central Nebraska and moved the family back to Nebraska from Iowa as Jim was entering third grade to a town with about 3000 residents called Aurora. He went to middle school and high school in another small town called the cowboy capital, Oglala, Nebraska. His grandfather was a local sheriff in central Nebraska and father a Marine Corps veteran was mayor for many years. Jim learned valuable lessons from his parents and grandparents that would later influence his chosen profession, for one they were all different and had different things to teach. 

 

Some lessons included the importance of understanding each person, their past and current situation and this planted some seeds for an interest in studying people the importance of community service and leadership the importance of having an unpretentious down-to-earth approach and the importance of positivity and hard work. His persistent grandma is 96 years old and still going strong. Jim worked through high school washing dishes at a local restaurant and then a cook. After high school graduation he enrolled at the University of Nebraska. He had many jobs during college ranging from hauling gas to local farmers changing, oiling cars, throwing hay bales, and hauling irrigation pipe on relative’s farms.

 

Jim completed his first college degree and it’s family in Business Administration back 1986. During that last year of his bachelor’s degree he had a fortuitous turn of events, he signed up for several internships to gain some hands-on work experience. One of the internships was with an organization called selection, research Inc., a family owned research organization started by Don Clifton later named the father of strengths-based psychology by the American Psychological Association. This internship led to an invitation to work with Don and colleagues on personnel research studying the innate talent of top performers and many different types of jobs and the study of productive work environments. Jim was then inspired to expand his skills and completed his master’s and PhD in psychological measurement while working full-time at SRI which later merged and took on the name of Gallup.

 

Jim is now the chief scientist to workplace for Gallup. He has led more than 1000 studies of workplace effectiveness including the largest ongoing meta-analysis of human potential and business unit performance. He’s the best-selling author of 12: The Elements of Great Managing and Well-being: The Five Essential Elements and is the co-author of Its The Manager with Gallups chairman and CEO Jim Clifton. Jim and his wife RaLinda live in the Omaha, Nebraska area and have two grown sons Joe and Sam. RaLinda and Joe also work at Gallup and Sam is completing his degree. The family loves sports and has had a chance to travel a lot together over the years. Jim Harter are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Jim Harter:     I’m ready Jim, thanks for the intro. 

 

Jim Rembach:    I’m glad you’re here. I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?

 

Jim Harter:     Well, my goal in the work that we do here at Gallup is to is to improve lives while we improve performance, so everything kind of fits into that realm. I’m a researcher so I try to make research as practical as possible. One of my goals is to simplify it to go in deep but then to bring out some simple principles that people can apply easily.

 

Jim Rembach:    I have to ask Jim, I have had the opportunity to go through—and you talk about it really isn’t a book it’s a desk reference and it does have so much insight and the appendices are full of research that you’re referring to. I have to think even though we have all this empirical evidence this data that is giving us very solid proof on what we should be doing it seems like there’s a huge disconnect when we try to apply it. And then it’s almost like emotion or laziness or something takes over and we forget all of this proof. Why do you think that is?

 

Jim Harter:     You’re right. The science of management has advanced significantly in recent decades and so we know a lot about what should be done but when it comes down to it it’s not getting applied on a daily basis so there’s kind of a gap. I think it has to do with the system’s well-intentioned systems have been put in place over time like some of the performance management systems were it seems right to give someone an annual review but when we get to the annual review and we don’t do all the things before the annual review like the ongoing conversations the annual really loses credibility. And so we put in systems that we think seem fair but we haven’t taken into account human nature in my opinion and we’ve got a we’ve got to leverage human nature when we’re thinking about applying these scientific principles.

 

Jim Rembach:    As you’re talking I’m thinking about this it’s almost like talking about productivity, are we still transforming and trying to move away from the Taylorism that we have essentially built our society upon when it comes to productivity and manufacturing and now that we’ve going more into this service and knowledge work we have not left that yet. Is that kind of what’s happening here that transition or transformation? 

 

Jim Harter:     I think that’s the transition we’re going through now so command and control has worked to some extent. It hasn’t always been great for people but it’s worked in terms of getting big buildings built and infrastructure you can see how the architecture arises. I was at an architecture conference last week you see all the amazing architecture around the world a lot of it came through command and control. I’d argue even in the past it would have been better to have been utilizing a coaching kind of relationship with people and move from a culture of boss to coach that’s really what people want. But today’s workforce is kind of demanding that they’re asking for a culture of that moves from boss to coach. They don’t want a manager who’s focused on their weaknesses or at least becomes an expert on their weaknesses they certainly want to improve and develop we all do but they want it based in strengths based in knowing who they are individually. 

 

Jim Rembach:    One of the things with that transformation that becomes a critical pivot point, I call it a linchpin, is something that you reference very early on in this desk reference. And this is how you actually state it and it says, –the single most profound distinct and clarifying finding ever in all of the research going back 80 years with the founder of George Gallup is probably this one thing and that is 70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager–elaborate on that a little bit.

 

Jim Harter:     Yeah, we have been studying the engagement of workers for a couple decades now, formally, we’ve collected a lot of data on job attitudes prior to that. But one of our observations was that across these 40 million people and four million teams there’s massive variation in how engaged workers are even within the same organizations. In fact, there’s 70 % as much variation in any one organization in general as there is across all organizations that shows you how much. You go into any organization you see massive variance across teams that gives you some insight into first, there’s a point of intervention and that’s at the manager-level, culture is kind of built locally we will—all organizations to one ab overarching culture that supports their intentions whether it’s an agile culture, culture of diversity inclusion, whatever that might be but it really happens at a local level. What we did is we studied a lot of different elements that might explain that variability and it really kind of comes down to the managers own engagement affects the engagement of the team and how the team perceives those manager behaviors whether they think positively about that manager whether that manager’s doing some things that inspire them. And then we also looked at the innate traits or tendencies of the managers and all those things combined explained about 70 % of that variance. It doesn’t mean the manager is the only element that matters but the manager sets a tone, the local manager. It’s really the local manager at all levels starting with the executive team on to middle managers and then on to the frontline that’s where you explain most of the variability. Really the key to building a productive culture of whatever type you’re trying to build starts with the manager endorsing it and kind of interpreting it for their local team and helping that team know that what they’re doing affects the rest of the organization. It also has a lot to do with whether teams cooperate with one another or not.

 

Jim Rembach:    So this whole silo mentality and all of those things as far as us versus them when it’s internal—you’re talking about all that, just feeding one another. The statistic that we’re talking about saying how 70% of the variability is really impacting it I start thinking also about these changing demands in the workforce you got alluded to it a moment ago but you actually have a very simple chart talking about past and future. You talked about in the past people thought my paycheck, now they are thinking—really it’s today it’s not just future. It’s my purpose that they’re focusing in on, in the past it was my satisfaction now it’s my development. It used to be my boss now it’s my coach, you’ve already talked about that you hit on that. And then it was my annual review, you did hit on that, now it’s an ongoing conversation about that development, it used to be my weaknesses now we want to focus in on my strengths and it used to be my job now it’s my life and we have now more of that blended approach. Is it that we could see as we’re going through this transformation that 70% getting even higher?

 

Jim Harter:     It’s possible in fact I would argue from all the data I’ve had a chance to look at and our team’s looked at that 70% is pretty conservative even right now that in most environments the manager has even more than 70% influence. But if you think about how the workforce is transitioning with technology now and our working life are blended the importance of the manager and the complexity of management is even greater. Because you’ve got people there in remote situations we can be really well-planned in terms of how we do things remotely where people know what they’re expected to do they might have a box of materials they give them exactly what they need to do their work all well planned out but yet what’s missing in that kind of situations are the connections that we get when we’re at work. So managers have to be very purposeful about connecting people that ups the end a little bit in terms of what managers need to bring to the table. In a matrix organization which there’s a lot more matrix environments now where people work on multiple teams, maybe even have multiple team leaders, in that setting there tends to be more collaboration because people just have more chances to collaborate but expectations are at risk. So, what do I do first? Managers can of help you think through those priorities on a more continuous basis and not just revisit them at the end of the year. The manager has to be in the action with the employee so to speak and know what’s going through their life to help them re-establish priorities and set them on a more continuous basis. So the demands and complexity of management is even greater. So you point Jim, I think you’re right that that percentage could continue to go up. 

 

Jim Rembach:    In addition to that I started thinking about how people are being developed before they even hit the workplace. Going back our school systems they were—the Prussian school system that was designed to create that productivity worker to fit in the Taylorism world, we don’t have that anymore. So I think for organizations thinking that they’re just going to find talent that is capable of taking that leader role of today, not just tomorrow, it’s extremely difficult they’re going to have to develop them and it needs to be part of the inherent nature of working in an organization that they’re developing these skills within these leaders.

 

Jim Harter:        Yeah, most organizations aren’t in a position unless they’re just growing very quickly to just change out all of their managers they’ve got to have a development strategy around that. There are more efficient development strategies than others and we can talk about that if you want but I would argue from everything that we’ve had a chance to look at about half of it is who you pick, how you select the people who become your people managers or leaders and the other half of it is how you develop them and they’re both extremely important you have to be working on both.  Every next decision has to be the right one. A lot of that comes back to how you build a culture about giving individual contributors esteem and status to be great individual contributors if that’s the right fit for them and give people the right kinds of experiences so they know whether they really want to manage people or not some people once they get into it it’s not good for them or the people they manage. They can still learn a lot and get better through the right development and education but that selection piece is also important.

 

Jim Rembach:    I think you bring up a really important point. I always talk about that people have a misconception thinking that growth means I have to take one step up a vertical ladder or rung in the organization that isn’t the case. Having a bigger base of skill and staying where you are and growing within that spot there’s a lot of significance and value for an organization in that. I think we need to redefine—what mastery, what responsibilities what leading actually is. 

 

Jim Harter:        I agree. The first step really is what are going to accept overall in our organization as the job demands of a manager or team leader and that people component has to be a heavily weighted in there. How we get things done is through people and through managers who really become experts at individualizing that everybody’s kind of trying to target some outcomes that they’re trying to get to as an organization. We can all set really clear objectives and outcomes that are aligned with what the organization is trying to get done but each person’s going to get theirs in a somewhat different way. The best that seems complicated that we’ve got to individualize across thousands of people in an organization. But it’s not so complicated if we get the right people managing them who can actually think in terms of individual differences and also giving them some tools as shortcuts to get there more quickly. It’s both kind of getting the right people and giving them the right tools I think.

Jim Rembach:    As part of that you refer to the employee experience in the book and for me it’s kind of like that journey that can be individual. It could be frameworks and it could be a path that people can go through but knowing that not everybody is going to like you say, go down that path at the same rate of acceleration, velocity is different and the individuals involved with velocity. So you talked about attracting, hiring, onboarding, engaging, perform and develop, and then also you say depart. I found it interesting that you would say depart, why do you say depart?

 

Jim Harter:        Well, everybody at some point in time is going to leave an organization and I think we need to be thoughtful about how that happens well before you get to that stage. Is somebody actually developing when they’re departing that’d be the best case because then they become an advocate for your organization and your brand. One of the things we’ve found with the employee experience is that with technology now what happens in an organization goes external very quickly. So, the employment brand really is your real culture it’s not something you just advertise anymore it’s something that has to really be lived out. And that happens at departure also, when people leave what do they say about you? And whether it’s for retirement and how you set them up for that in the right kind of way or whether it’s going to another job where they might be able to get to the next level in terms of where they’re trying to get in their career that just is a better fit for them. 

 

One element of that is just helping people know what they contributed. Outside of people that might do something unethical you want everybody to know what they contributed to your organization if they’ve been there for a significant amount of time at all and in how they helped your organization get better. Usually people leave they never hear about that or they don’t even have a chance to talk to their manager about leaving before it happens and it just happens. 

 

The other thing about departure on the downside is that about half of people tell us at some point in their in career they’ve left a job because they had a bad manager, there’s that too, though that again speaks to the importance of the manager. But all those phases you discussed, Jim, are essential to get that last piece. Right not that we’re targeting departure but we’re really targeting development and performance. The other thing about that particular employee experience framework is that most people will be able to accept that the attraction part happens in every organization the hiring part happens some form of onboarding happens but the middle stuff, I just kind of say that’s where stuff happens and we don’t have a good system about how the stuff happens appropriately in terms of performance management engaging them developing them, are they developing through their performance? Are we getting people done through work or getting work done through people? That’s something that Don Clifton talked a lot about that we need to change the mentality, he was my mentor for 17 years, you discussed him in the intro, he said, we need to change our mentality from getting work done through people to getting people done through work. If we think about it that way we’re going to build the right kind of employment brand.

 

Jim Rembach:    Speaking of Don Clifton influence, you also have mentioned the shortcut to development. You talked about the strength based conversation in chapter 14 and you start that chapter out with a particular quote that obviously is influenced by him it that maybe didn’t even come from him. It says, if you’re a manager you have to ask yourself, am I an expert on my team member’s weaknesses or on their strengths? 

 

Jim Harter:         Our default, unfortunately, as human beings is it’s really easy for us to notice what’s wrong. That probably has something to do with why we’re still around as a species, we can avoid danger we can sense danger pretty quickly we can fix stuff pretty quickly. So, we have to kind of change our mentality and leverage another part of human nature which is all of us have a desire for recognition we all have a desire to know what we do best and to be in a position where we can continuously develop our strengths. And so as managers we have to think about team leaders we have to think about how we’re very intentional about becoming an expert first on who that person is and develop them through who they are as a starting point and not try to cookie-cutter everybody into a particular way of getting things done. That’s maybe one of the best learnings that I’ve had over the years is that you’ve got to be authentic to yourself and your manager. If they understand who you are they can help you be authentic to yourself and develop skills that complement who you are and still get to the same kinds of outcomes that someone else might get to in a somewhat different way.

 

We did a study where we asked people to relive their previous work days and we had them tell us what they did during that day how they spent their time whether they enjoyed what they were doing and what we found is that people who were highly engaged reported four times as much time using their strengths as doing activities that they don’t do too well. As to four to one ratio the people who are actively disengaged, these are people that are pretty angry at the place they work at their organization, for them it was a ratio of one to one, strengths and what you don’t do well. If these managers and team leaders we think that strengths and weaknesses is a balancing act of some kind we’re kind of off track because the weakness stuff stings so much you need that four to one. If you’re focused on someone’s strengths continuously you’re also building trust so you can have those candid conversations with them on an ongoing basis you can be very open in terms of your dialogue and people don’t feel as threatened.   

 

Jim Rembach:    As you’re talking I started thinking about that expectation setting component. Because a lot of times you talk about where we have opportunities for improvement to make a difference a lot of it is that expectation piece. In chapter 17 you talk about the right expectations that there’s seven that are necessary for success in any role, which I found interesting, and you elaborate within this chapter about what  how it does impact any role. However, those seven are: build relationships, develop people, lead change, inspire others, think critically, communicate clearly, and create accountability. And you’re saying every single role every single level all parts the organization so I have to go back to that whole—are we talking about matrix organizations? Is there a particular type or is it truly universal? 

 

Jim Harter:         We reviewed hundreds of different competency models in our own past work over decades and studying the job demands of various roles and those hundreds of different competencies all folded into these seven. We would argue—I know it’s a little bit of a hump for some people to get over to think that everybody in every role should be developing people should be leading change should be inspiring others. But if we think about starting with their strengths if we all, and we’ve actually mapped this out, so if we think about the strengths that we each have individually and how we might apply them to these we can all get better at each of these seven and I think in the new workforce that’s coming. In some cases it’s already here we need to expect everybody to be thinking about how they develop people around them by using their own strengths. 

 

Maybe that’s through their analytical approach maybe it’s through the relationships they build. But if we think about an organization that that is thriving in the future it’ll be one were or everybody’s participating in leading change. Whether that’s just endorsing it as an example and people see that you’re endorsing it or whether it’s more vocal that’s going to depend on the person as well. Now that said the managers and team leaders at each level the organization, the ones who set the tone for all this, that they can certainly expect everybody that they work with no matter what their role is to be thinking about how they get better at each one of these.

 

Jim Rembach:    And so that kind of leads up to—talking about the five coaching conversations and so those five coaching conversations are part of that making it come to life and having it to be executable. Part of this is talking about that empirical evidence says that almost half of employees report that they receive, feedback from their managers only a few times or less in the past year and what’s more only   26 % of employees strongly agree that the feedback they receive helps them do their work better. Okay, what are we talking about? Those five conversations are about role in relationship orientation, quick connect, check in, developmental coaching and then progress reviews. So it’s that constant touch and that development piece and that past path piece and the acceleration piece it’s that individualism that you’re talking about. And then you talk about the best progress review, is that we’re talking about my purpose, my goals, my metrics, my development, my strategy, and my team. Now you had mentioned a little while ago talking about that whole hierarchical parts of an organization and when we start thinking about learning and development a lot of times it’s just reserved for those people at the executive level it doesn’t really filter down to that  frontline leader. 

 

I mean, it’s the trickle-down effective leadership skills just does did not happen, right? But when you start talking about the frameworks that are necessary, it’s right here I mean this is just a simple very executable framework that everybody can actually leverage regardless of where they are in the organization and it becomes part of my cadence of leading. And I think ultimately when we put all of this together it leads to something that you have that talks about really the micro economic paths. And so for me this is where the customer experience and all that comes into play. We talked about today’s work, the experience economy, impacting a customer, retaining a customer, influencing a customer to refer is that ultimately this goes from identifying strengths, the right fit, great managers, engaged employees, engaged customers, sustainable growth,  real profit increase, and then if you’re publicly traded stock increases. I have to start thinking about how many organizations, talking about this research that you’ve done, are really making that micro economic path part of what they’re doing so that it has positive impact?

 

Jim Harter:         I think most organizations now are well-intentioned in terms of attempting it but I think they’re doing it through, let’s just call them programs. Let’s just take employee engagement for instance, in most organizations I’ve observed it’s like an annual event it’s kind of a synonymous with the employee survey so it’s kind of gone back to—if you take a look at what’s being measured even in many cases it’s closer to what you think of as satisfaction and high levels of engagement we’ve got involvement enthusiasm of employees. So part of its the metric but the other part of it is everything and that’s the first thing but there’s a lot more that has to happen right you’ve got to have—we mentioned the ongoing conversations. 

 

The principles that go into a good engagement metric have to be filtered into the learning and development, the performance management, everything that’s happening continuously. So one important principle is setting clear expectations, that’s got to be a part of everything on an ongoing basis, again just via survey it’s got to be in your learning and development it’s got to be in your performance management. What about having a chance to do what you do best, same thing strengths based principles have to be embedded in the whole thing to make it work right to make it work efficiently. Recognition and praise people feeling cared about and that they’re developing those have to be a part of the expectations of managers and team leaders throughout the year not just when the survey is coming around at the end of the year. The key is to get those, you mentioned Jim the ongoing conversations those are really critical to getting this right. The thing that can kind of come across it feel awkward, let’s say you’ve been managing someone for five years and you’ve never had these ongoing conversations with them and so suddenly you start doing it feels a little awkward to you it probably feels a little awkward to them because it hasn’t happened before but that’s where the strengths piece comes in I think that makes it a lot less awkward. You’re starting kind of over by getting to know that person based on who they are putting some language around who they are that they can accept and you can accept and that starts to build some trust. If you can get those first and last parts of those ongoing conversations right the middle stuff happens pretty naturally. 

 

So the two slow down conversations are: rolling relationship orientation, you’re slowing down at the individual thinking about the future thinking about their past, getting to know them as an individual, the last one we call semiannual review, not annual review but semiannual, every six months, the slowdown conversation around the things you listed off around their team around their performance around their future really a very future-oriented conversation more than anything about their development and then the ones in between happen a lot more naturally. We’re just checking in how you doing? Anything getting in your way? What can I help you with? And in some cases it could be a five to ten minute developmental conversation where you make an observation about them that changes their life. Or it could be a longer conversation that’s developmental like 30 minutes or an hour whatever it happens to be. But those middle conversations, the more frequent ones, make a lot more sense to people if you get the first and the last one right.

 

Jim Rembach:    One of the things that I find very interesting about what you’ve put together here in this desk reference is that there’s a unique code. Can you tell us about the unique code that’s in here as well?

 

Jim Harter:         Yeah, there’s a code so that everybody—I’ve been talking about strengths a lot so that everybody can learn their top five strengths and also have access to other tools that we’ve made available where we try to create, I mentioned shortcuts, try to create shortcuts for people to get to know one another and have good conversations. The reason that Don Clifton invented strengths, and it’s really a build up of decades and decades of research, the reason that he originally started doing the measurement wasn’t just for the measurement it was to create more productive conversations between people it’s really about improving conversations that people have. It’s been a very useful tool. Over 20 million people have taken it around the world and it’s been useful in creating those kinds of conversations. The starting points a little different. The starting point for development and everything else that happens around that starts with the person who they are and then how they develop within the context of who they are as opposed to trying to become someone they’re not. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Without a doubt. When we start talking about the research that you conduct even though talk about that empirical thing I always used to say, because I worked for research or measuring the customer experience for 15 years, I always used to say that data has no heart. We have to give it the opportunity to have some emotion or emotional connection and tie it back. One of the ways that we actually create emotional connection and drive here at the show is as we talk about our favorite quotes. Is there a quote or two that inspires you that you can share? 

 

Jim Harter:         I think the one I mentioned earlier has been one that’s really stuck with me when I knew Don Clifton and had worked with him, if our goal is to—instead of getting work done through people to get people done through work then we get a lot more work done and we also help people reach their aspirations. I think that’s one of the goals that I have in my work and have for some time, improving lives well while we improve performance. I know the research is very clear that we can do both at the same if we just focus on the right kinds of elements.

 

Jim Rembach:    Without a doubt. However, I would dare to say that—you’ve been pretty fortunate talking about your growing up in the family environment, having a lot of us societal servants in your in your life influencing you, having to learn the hard work that’s necessary in order to really get where you are, however I’m sure there were some humps that caused you to be redirected, pivoted—you talked about the internship and how that was a blessing but I’m sure it wasn’t all an easy path and we have humps that we have to get over that helped define us and get us to where we are today. Is there one of those times that you remember that you have had to get over the hump that you can share?

 

Jim Harter:         Trying to complete a dissertation I would say was a big one while I was working full time and I try to get over that night I just told myself—one of theme is achiever and the other one’s focused so I was able to kind of stay on top of that but I advised students on dissertations all the time and I advised them that the number one goal you have is to get it done don’t try to solve all the world’s problems. I took on trying to learn a new computer program for my dissertation I probably should have done something a little bit easier than that but it helped me learn a lot and I got that done. That was—I think anybody that goes through a doctoral program knows that dissertation is a big hump to get over and you feel like it kind of frees you up to just do more of what you already enjoy doing once you get over. 

 

Jim Rembach:    When you start talking about that dissertation process– I’ve heard stories too I have not had the willingness to attempt to go through that process because it can be quite rigorous. Is there one particular aspect of that that you’ve been now able to take and use it maybe as a strength opportunity that you didn’t see going into it? 

 

Jim Harter:         Yeah, there are a couple things. One I’ve alluded to just a few minutes ago about, I advise people to do something meaningful to you in terms of your dissertation and your project because you just have more fun getting it done and also don’t try to solve all the world’s problems with your dissertation. The other is make sure that you pick committee members who are really sincerely interested in your development. If those committee members get along you’ll get through the process a lot better it’ll be more fun for you. I was very intentional I had some great committee members on my doctoral dissertation team and they got along they liked each other there they’re all interested in my development and knew my work demands as well while I was doing it. And so they allowed me to go to school while I was working full time. For it was a much better learning experience because I was practicing what I was learning. 

 

That’s the other part of that big hump all the time it takes to do both those things at the same time, work in school. The other advantage I had, and a lot of organizations are moving to this now is, Gallup has always been an SRI before then has always been an organization that allowed flex time. So all the way back to 1985 when I started with the organization we had flex times. As long as we got our work done we could do whenever we wanted wherever we wanted and we still do today now. A lot of organizations are moving to that model because of the blending of work and life. Don had some—when we started building the company he had some real insights into how you can individualize and how flex time allows for some of that autonomy and individualization and ownership for individuals. Without that I would have never been able to get done both those things at the same time I would had to quit work and do my doctorate and then come back. 

 

Jim Rembach:     I would dare to say Jim that with all the work that you’ve done and you going through that actually is changing the world. So you have done it, just maybe you have not realized it back then. So with all the work that you’re still yet to do the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. 

 

Jim Harter:         Thank you, Jim. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor:

 

An even better place to work is an easy-to-use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone. Using this award winning solutions guaranteed to create motivated, productive and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers. To learn more about an even better place to work visit beyondmorale.com/better. 

 

Alright, here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Jim, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Jim Harter, are you ready to hoedown? 

 

Jim Harter:          I’m ready. Yeee haw. 

 

Jim Rembach:    What is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

 

Jim Harter:         That’s a great question. I work with a great team, this isn’t a very rapid fire answer, I work with a great team so I don’t see limitations other than just continually figuring out how I do what I do best. Because I’ve been in—a long time obviously and the advantage has been I’ve been able to continually refine my job over time. And so I think it’s just continually refining my job to do what I do best. 

 

Jim Rembach:    What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

 

Jim Harter:         Know yourself first and be authentic to yourself.

 

Jim Rembach:    What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Jim Harter:         The team I work with.

 

Jim Rembach:    What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

 

Jim Harter:         I think I think making lists. I’ve got this new notebook now where I don’t have to use as much paper, I can just take pictures. So I keep lists. I guess my best tool is to develop lists and checkoff accomplishments.

 

Jim Rembach:    What would be one book that you’d recommend to our legion and it could be from any genre, of course we’re going to put a link to, It’s the Manager, on your show notes of page as well as well as your other books. 

 

Jim Harter:         I would say, Abraham Maslow’s book, The Business Reader was a really good. Abram Maslow had tremendous insights and my mentor Don was a big fan of his work as well.

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, Fast Leader legion you can find links to that and other bonus material from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/Jim Harter. Okay, Jim, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity o back to the age of 25 and you can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take it all you can only take just one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Jim Harter:         I would say simplifying what you present to people not overdoing it getting down to the core essence. I’ve kind of learned this over time getting down to the essence of what you’re trying to communicate particularly with research and simplifying so that it’s actionable.

 

Jim Rembach:    Jim, it was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you?

 

Jim Harter:         Gallup.com is where everything of our upcoming reports, perspective papers and articles and our books everything is kind of out there and available on Gallup com.

 

Jim Rembach:    Jim Harter, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!

 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links, from every show special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already. Head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

END OF AUDIO

[/expand]

 

Lee Colan | The Power of Positive Coaching

230: Lee Colan: A coaching opportunity for me

Lee Colan Show Notes Page

Lee Colan didn’t shut up. He thought he was a good listener, but a friend shared with him after a meeting that he didn’t really hear what people had to say. That’s when Lee realized he had to work on his skillset and his mindset. Now he shares this insight in helping others be more positive coaches.

Lee was born in Franklin Square, New York a suburban community on Long Island.  When he was seven, his family like many families at that time migrated to the southern tip of Long Island known as Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  There he developed a love for sports, particularly football and basketball. Later he would come to more fully appreciate the discipline and lessons gleaned from participating in team sports.

Lee was blessed with a stable, unconditionally loving family. He was the youngest of three children with a sister three years older and a brother 15 years older…. so Lee was clearly a late in life surprise for his parents!

Lee’s parents were part of the Greatest Generation, so hard work, education and caring for others were core values. His mother was a book keeper and his father was a commercial artist, so Lee inherited equal parts of analytical and creative skills. He also had five educators in his extended family which infused Lee with a desire to train and educate even if not in a traditional school classroom.

Lee held various corporate leadership roles with American Airlines, Sandoz (Novartis) and FoxMeyer (McKesson). He was a consultant with two premier firms: Booz, Allen & Hamilton and Mercer earlier in his career. His last corporate post was as Vice President for Physician Reliance Network, one of the fastest growing NASDAQ companies at the time.

He co-founded The L Group, Inc., a management consulting firm focused on leadership, in 1999. His business partner for the past 20 years and co-author of the last six books is also his wife of 32 years.

In addition to serving his clients, writing and speaking, Lee also serves on the Board of Directors for Pacific Seafood Group, the largest fully integrated seafood company in North America. He is a former director for Aztec Systems who was ultimately sold to a private equity firm. He also served on the Advisory Board for ASSET InterTech.

Lee views his business as his ministry, so he regularly gifts his time to numerous individuals who are in life or career transition and also to agencies who need a clear focus or just a pair of hands. Some of those agencies include The United Way, North Texas Food Bank and Grace Bridge.

Lee lives in the Dallas area with his wife, Julie. They have three children – one works in advertising like his grandfather and lives in New York and two of them currently attend Wake Forest University. Their three kids have co-authored a book titled, Please Listen Up, Parents:  12 Secrets YORU Kids Want YOU to Know.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @leecolan to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“The most complex challenges leaders have can be boiled down to simple truths that are both timely and timeless.” Click to Tweet

“At its core, coaching is bringing out in someone what they didn’t see themselves.” Click to Tweet

“Business leaders are just finding out what athletes have known for years, that a coach helps elevate your performance.” Click to Tweet

“If you’re helping people get the best out of themselves, you’re probably a pretty darn good coach.” Click to Tweet

“Leading people hasn’t really changed much in a 100 years.” Click to Tweet

“If you really love people, you could be a great coach.” Click to Tweet

“If you explain expectations you get alignment.” Click to Tweet

“If you ask questions you get engagement.” Click to Tweet

“If you involve your team you get ownership.” Click to Tweet

“Being a coach is a central role of a leader.” Click to Tweet

“A positive coaching mindset, times positive coaching habits, results in winning results and relationship.” Click to Tweet

“You can’t have all results and not relationships.” Click to Tweet

“The bookends of success are initiative and closure.” Click to Tweet

“The bookends of coaching success are explaining and appreciating.” Click to Tweet

“We need to proactively address stuff when it’s a mole hill.” Click to Tweet

“As a leader we have to know that it’s our own discomfort needs to be subordinated to what’s in the best interest of my team.” Click to Tweet

“You never what to put your own creditability at risk because that’s the main thing you have as a leader and coach.” Click to Tweet

“If you don’t have integrity, no one’s following you.” Click to Tweet

“We have to be more specific then we really need to be, upfront.” Click to Tweet

“A friend is someone who is willing to tell you what you really don’t want to hear.” Click to Tweet

“Once I change my mindset the behavior easily follows.” Click to Tweet

“When you think about organizational change there’s three levels, mindset, skillset, then toolset.” Click to Tweet

“Awareness of personal impact it key.” Click to Tweet

“You don’t have to know everything; you can be resourceful.” Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Lee Colan didn’t shut up. He thought he was a good listener, but a friend shared with him after a meeting that he didn’t really hear what people had to say. That’s when Lee realized he had to work on his skillset and his mindset. Now he shares this insight in helping others be more positive coaches.

Advice for others

Have faith to know that everything works out okay.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

My mindset of feeling that I was a better writer about leadership than I was a leader myself.

Best Leadership Advice

You don’t have to know everything; you can be resourceful.

Secret to Success

Turning strategy or concepts into specific actionable things.

Best tools in business or life

The three W’s. What has to happen, who’s responsible, by when.

Recommended Reading

The Power of Positive Coaching: The Mindset and Habits to Inspire Winning Results and Relationships

The Prophet (A Penguin Classics Hardcover)

Contacting Lee Colan

Website: https://www.thelgroup.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/leecolan

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leecolan/

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work

Show Transcript: 

[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]

230: Lee Colan: A coaching opportunity for me

 

Intro:     Welcome to the fast leader podcast where we uncover the leadership life hacks that help you to experience breakout performance faster and rocket to success. And now here’s your host customer and employee engagement expert & certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rimbach. 

Call center coach develops and unites the next generation of call center leaders. Through our e-learning and community individuals gain knowledge and skills in the six core competencies that is the blueprint that develops high-performing call center leaders. Successful supervisors do not just happen so go to callcentercoach.com to learn more about enrollment and download your copy of the Supervisor Success Path e-book now.

 

Okay, Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today who’s going to help us cut the cotton, in other words we’re going to get rid of the fluff. Lee Colan was born in Franklin Square, New York a suburban community on Long Island. When he was 7 his family, like many families at the time, migrated to the suburban or southern tip of Long Island known as Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There he developed the love for sports particularly football and basketball. Later he would come to more fully appreciate the discipline and lessons gleaned from participating in team sports. Lee was blessed with a stable unconditionally loving family. He was the youngest of three children with a sister three years older and her brother 15 years older so Lee was clearly a late in life surprise for his parents. 

These parents were part of the greatest generation so hard work education and caring for others were core values. His mother was a bookkeeper and his father was a commercial artist so Lee inherited equal parts of analytical and creative skills. He also had five educators in his extended family which infused Lee with a desire to learn and educate and train even if not in a traditional school classroom. Lee held various corporate leadership roles with American Airlines, Sandoz which also known Novartis and Fox Meyer which is now McKesson and he was a consultant with two premier firms Booz Allen Hamilton and Mercer earlier in his career. 

His latest corporate post was as a vice president for Physician Reliance Network, one of the growing Nasdaq companies at that time. He co-founded the L Group and a management consulting firm focused on leadership in 1999. His business partner for the past 20 years and co-author of his last six books is also his wife of 32 years. In addition, to serving his clients,  writing and speaking, Lee also serves on the board of directors for Pacific Seafood group the largest fully integrated seafood company in North America. 

He is a former director for Aztec systems who was ultimately sold to a private equity firm. He also served on the advisory board for Asset Intertek. Lee views his business as his ministry so he regularly gifts his time to numerous individuals who are in life or career transition and also to agencies who need a clear focus or just a pair of hands. Some of those agencies include the United Way, North Texas Food Bank and Grace Bridge. Lee lives in the Dallas area with his wife Julie. They have three children, one works in advertising, like his grandfather and lives in New York and two of them currently attended Wake Forest University, which is also the alma mater of my wife and 45 minutes from where I live, and their three kids. He co-authored a book titled, Please Listen Up Parents: 12 Secrets Your Kids Want You To Know.  Lee Colan, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Lee Colan:     Always ready Jim, you got it. 

Jim Rembach:    I’m glad you’re here. Now I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better? 

Lee Colan:     Yeah, we just like to encourage and equip leaders at every level. It’s really about simple tools we believe the most complex talented leaders have can be boiled down to simple truths that are both timely and timeless. I’m a pretty feeble-minded simple-minded guy so I just like to look at challenges our clients are having and figure out simple ways to kind of help them get over the hump. And so whether it’s just a tool that we’ll be talking about later or just an idea or a concept we love equipping them with those tools but then also encouraging them along the way and that goes for business but also our personal life that’s kind of my mission in life just kind of lifts people up. 

Jim Rembach:    I really appreciate your recent volume and you’ve written several books but and I haven’t had the opportunity because I’ve just been introduced to you, which I’m so excited, of the others. But we’re talking about the power of positive coaching. For me as I was going through your book there were so many things that just hit me so hard. You and I had some off mic conversations about some other tools that people have been exposed to that are quite popular in regards to coaching that are just so confusing where I’m not going to name those because we don’t want to point people to those. I love the guy I love the way you guys laid out the different aspects associated with positive coaching. I’m just going to go ahead and read those we’re going to talk about those a little bit. So we talked about, inspiring coaches explained expectations, inspiring coaches asked questions, inspiring coaches involve team members, inspiring coaches measure results, and inspiring coaches appreciate people. 

Lee Colan:     Now before we get into that, you and I had also talked about the differences and what coaching really is. A lot of times people go through a particular experience and they get an idea of what coaching is and from what I’ve experienced most of time it’s wrong. So what is coaching versus other things? Well I would say at its core, because we could probably have a debate about what people different definition, and its core it’s bringing out in someone what they didn’t see themselves. Helping them perform at levels that they didn’t think they could perform at in a sustainable way not cracking a whip. It’s bringing awareness to that person it’s bringing encouragement and tools to that person it’s drawing out in them knowledge and insights maybe they didn’t think they had. Really we wrote this book to help leaders elevate their coaching game. The truth is business leaders are just finding out what athletes have known for years that a coach helps elevate your performance. In the business world we’ve gone to this paradigm shift of a coaching used to be a scarlet A 25 years ago, oh these is our coach, it was remedial to now it’s a badge of honor. People like—hey, how come I don’t have a coach? The reality is very few organizations can afford the resource of manager and a coach. So we just wrote this book to equip leaders with a tool set so they could elevate their coaching game and build the coaching culture inside the organization and do it in their way. We give them the basic fundamentals and tools but I think it’s really about how you authentically express that. I try not to get caught up in saying, the coach is this so you have to do this or a coach should or shouldn’t do that. If you’re helping the people get the best out of themselves you’ve probably put it on a good coach.

Jim Rembach:    In addition to that and I’d like to add one of the things as far as really getting connection and understanding in what we’re talking about here is you explain for example what an Olympic coach goes through. You think about an Olympian, they’re essentially practicing 99 percent of the time for (7:32 inaudible) percent of performance. If we look at all that goes into that and that effort for them to be able to master their sport and the working world we flipped that paradigm. And that created a significant problem when you start looking at the skills that are required in the workforce what is being trained in our traditional education systems and so companies are kind of stuck in this huge hole of what I need people to do for us to be successful in the modern workplace versus everything that we’ve done traditionally. I think coaching is really the thing that will bridge and close that gap so more and more organizations do need coaching they do need more coaches they do need this—and I think you’ve created a different system so I think that’s what rolls into us talking to about the positive coaching habits. Walk us through those a little. 

Lee Colan:     Again it’s the positive coaching habits. We try to use the research over the past decade that’s been evolving in the area of positive psychology, and again my backgrounds in industrial organizational psychology, so we try to understand—if you’re a leader if you’re a good psychologist if you understand people understand the human dynamic understand how their bodies work our chemistry works when I feel appreciated what happens to my body? We’re creatures of pleasure so I get these endorphins going that feels good I want to do more of that. So if you just understand some basic dynamics about how people work, the truth is leading people hasn’t really changed much in a hundred years. I say that people is going to get, ohh, they get all up in arms—no, globalization mixed generations in the workforce and more technology, that’s all the swirling whirlwind we try to take people to the core of the storm where it’s stable. The fundamentals if you understand people and you understand how they work—honestly, to be a great coach if you really love people because you have to invest in people you can be a great coach. And so we try to take those dynamics and boil them down to these five simple steps that you rattled of, explain, ask, involve, measure and appreciate. And if you do those as a habit every day you’ll get the outcome. So if you explain expectations you get alignment. If you ask questions you get engagement. If you involve your team you get ownership. 

So what we see happening is people get busy going, I can’t squeeze this I don’t have time to  explain I don’t want to ask questions because I know the answers I’ll appreciate them later. We call that salt and pepper coaching. We do a little bit here a little bit there. It’s a choice you can choose these five habits I just rattled off. If you choose those you get the outcome and the outcomes are alignment, engagement, commitment, accountability, ownership, those kind of things. But if you choose not to, because I’m too busy or it’s just not I don’t see that as part of my job, well then you’re going to get the opposite you’re going to get misalignment you’re going to get disengagement you’re going to get blaming. We believe that being a coach is a central role of a leader so if you’re really serious about it you need to take these five habits seriously and if you own them you’re going to get these things on the other side of the equation those positive outputs which most leaders, I would imagine all leaders, want that. So it’s really a choice we talked about just a choice. If you want these positive outputs these are the inputs you have to have is a leader.

Jim Rembach:    And part of those positive outputs—and you talk about there’s a book called The Art of the Start and your coaching journey in the process is that—you and I have this off mic and for me I’m a huge believer of mindset and you talked about previous interviews that resonates with people and Dr. Carol Dweck’s work on mindset it’s vitally important to this component. If you can just kind of hit on that for a brief moment but I will dig a little bit deeper into the whole expectations piece. Because what I see is that there are so many holes and so many opportunities that we can actually leverage if we just do a better job of patient settings, tell us a little bit about that. 

Lee Colan:     Agreed. I’ll just do a 30-second rewind on mindset then we’ll jump into expectations. So our formula that outlines this whole book is that a positive coaching mindset times positive coaching habits results in winning results in relationship. It’s that two-sided wake that every leader leaves of results and relationships. You can’t have all results and not relationship so you can’t have the reverse either. But it starts with your mindset, and like any interaction if I have going this thing with Jim he’s a real pain, I’m going to get out of that relationship what that mindsets going to dictate. So we have to have a positive coaching mindset and it’s based on four levels of awareness. We have to know our thoughts our purpose our values and our emotions. If we have a deep understanding of those we could bring the best version of ourselves to serve the person that we’re coaching in the best way into that interaction. 

If our minds is all negative and messed up and unclear we’re not going to really be able to employ the coaching habits in the best possible or the best impact. So it’s really clear upfront to have that mindset. But as you jump into the habits and the first one is explained and the last one is appreciate—we always talk about the bookends of success are initiative enclosure. You initiate things and you can begin the closure. I believe the bookends of coaching success are the same the first and the last ones explaining and appreciating. Not that the others are not important but we find, we talked about this off mic, 80% of our coaching issues when we work with a client is because they didn’t align on expectations and clarify the expectations up front and you pay for that later. It’s the ultimate pay me now or pay me later leadership proposition defining the expectations up front. People said, I don’t have time we’re too busy, he should know what to do. I’m like, Tony, I don’t care if you have high paid MBA’s you need to be clear up front that’s not micromanaging it’s just aligning on expectations up front take five minutes to do it now you save hours later. Cheat on it now you invest hours later. 

Jim Rembach:    Initially you had said, pay me now or pay me later. And then you said a little bit differently because you’re talking about the magnitude of the pay me later, it’s a multiplicative issue here. Okay, I could spend the dollar now, I’m going to spend ten thousand—it is that huge of a difference often.

Lee Colan:     Absolutely, absolutely. It’s what we call from molehills to mountains. You don’t address an issue now or don’t clarify expectations now and it would take a few minutes to do it and you wait till later now we’ve got an issue now it’s going to take me a day. And we wait till later now it’s weeks in conversations with HR and this it’s a pain in the neck. So we need to proactively address stuff when it’s a molehill and it’s easy to kind of sweep things under the rug. Stephen Covey has a great quote in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People from years ago that says, unaddressed emotions don’t go away they just rear their heads and uglier ways. And are corollary to that is that, unaddressed performance issues don’t go away they just rear their heads and uglier ways. So if you just kind of bury your head in the sand, everyone do a little visual in this, put your head in the sand, what’s sticking up? It’s not a very attractive view for anybody. We have to be able to be bold enough. 

As a leader we have to know that our own discomfort needs to be subordinated to what’s in the best interest of my team. Because if someone’s not performing and I’m not addressing it their colleagues even get frustrated with that employee at first but after a while they’re going to say, well it’s going to shift to the leader and go, you know what? He or she’s allowing that. Usually if not the leaders realize their own credibility’s at risk then they say, oh, I better jump on that. And we would say, you never want to put your own credibility at risk because that’s the main thing that you have as a leader and a coach and if you don’t have your own credibility and integrity that you do what you say you’re going to do, if you don’t have integrity no one’s following you. And guess what? If no one’s following you you’re not really leading. So we just really think that inspiring coaches they subordinate their own discomfort, no one loves to have tough conversations with people but they understand that for the benefit of the team, and for that person I’m serving them best to have that conversation I’m not really serving him even though it feels better now maybe to avoid it I’m not really serving them or the team to do that.

Jim Rembach:    For me I often get the opportunity to come down to reality through coaching middle school baseball. I had a great one of these examples to be able to share yesterday, I was going through a pitching instructions session with one of my kids and so I had the opportunity to ask him I said, you like playing? He goes, oh, I loved them. I said, okay, so what are some of your goals? He says, well, I would like to be able to become a college baseball player and then maybe someday make it in the pros. For me I didn’t want to tell him that .001 percent of all high school players, if you play high school, have a chance to even make it to the major leagues so let’s not go there. And so I want to talk to him about the things that he needs to be able to do in order to put himself in a position for success. So I said, okay, great, how much work are you doing outside the practice? Then I said, one of the important components of being able to be an elite athlete is nutrition. So how do you actually make six-pack abs? And he goes, doing a lot of sit-ups. And I said, no. You have to do that but six pack abs aren’t made in the kitchen what you’re (17:00 inaudible) in is fuel. And so this kid is overweight and (17:07 inaudible) So I said, okay, so what are you doing from a nutrition perspective to be that elite athlete that can make it into high school and they even has a high school ball play and even has a chance to make me in a college play, and then maybe someday set them out for success as a pro and he’s not. And he goes, chips. Okay, let’s come down from a coaching perspective as setting expectations as also them coming into realization that they have to do things and put in and say, I can’t do that for you as a coach. 

Lee Colan:     We boil it down again very simple minded like three w’s, what, who and when. So whether you’re leaving someone in a quick conversation in the hallway or actually talking and having specific coaching conversation with them it’s—what are you going to do by when? And then what am I going to do by when? So what, who and when, very simple just kind of align on expectations. We’ve got to do that with every meeting with our clients we always have a kind of a 3W forum we come away with. What I carried around is a mental template even as I’m talking to someone. It’s amazing when you’re interacting with someone, just you and I I’m bringing all my expectations and experiences and assumptions to the table to this conversation and you’re doing the same. So what are the chances if we have to do something that we’re just going to say something real quick and we’re going to be aligned exactly on that? Slim and not, right?

It’s just a good habit of saying, okay, let’s just make sure we sync up on it. Thirty seconds, all right Jimmy you’re going to do this by then okay and I’m going to do this by then that was five seconds not even 30 seconds to prevent us from kind of getting off-track later on and that doesn’t feel good for either party. When you’re coaching someone if someone’s kind of off track and they’re not doing what you expected, and I was telling a client, it’d be helpful if your team could read your mind maybe a little scary but helpful. But that’s not how the world is. So we have to be really more specific than we think we need to be up front. That is not micromanaging it’s just being very specific right expectations. The way they get there can be the wrong way they get all the autonomy to do that. But aligning on the expectations it’s ultimately the pay me now or pay me later. 

Jim Rembach:    Because I also find to me that I have to come back, it’s like, you said this, has your thought changed? Has your desire changed? Or is it the same? 

Lee Colan:     It’s okay for it to change but we always kind of checking in on stuff. So really in terms of coaching others, coaching your kids, little league, someone in the community you’re doing volunteer work, your team, whoever it might really spending that time upfront aligning on expectations, boy, you make your life a lot easier moving forward on that.

Jim Rembach:    Ultimately what that gets to—in the book you talk about the circle of consequences. One of the things that I kind of have a cringe factor on is that consequences and that word has received such a negative context in our society. But the fact this is that consequences comes in all forms and formats. We have positive consequences, negative consequences and neutral consequences, so tell us little about your circle of consequences. 

Lee Colan:     I mentioned the three W, what who and when, so circle of consequences is kind of the fourth w it’s the why. You give someone a new project or a new process you need to walk them through this circle and say, okay, this is your performance how does this performance going to affect our team? How does that ultimate thinking affect our organization? And what impact does it have on our customers? And then has it affect our shareholders whether it’s private or public? And then it comes right back to you at the top of the circle, how is that affect your opportunities? Your ability to grow? Your exposure? Your promotions? All that stuff in the business. It’s self-serving but it’s ultimately the question people always have. You ask me to do this like, what’s in it for me? So as a leader we need to be overt about that that’s fine. Okay, let’s talk about it. Jim, here’s this new project here’s this new opportunity here’s this new challenge let’s talk about let’s make sure you understand the impact of the bigger picture how it’s going to impact your team the organization our shareholders and then right back to you. 

Again that’s another 30-second conversation but now I’ve got my why answered and now I feel like, okay, I’ve got the bigger picture I’m just not a robot going to do this because my boss said so. I have a chance to buy into it I see the impact it’s going to have I’m much more motivated that way and I buy into it better that way. That few second conversation of closing the loop with people from their personal performance right back to their personal impact how it’s going to impact them can be very powerful. And of course it’s not a one-way thing it’s a dialogue like you talk about. Okay, how is this going to affect our team? What does that mean? That kind of thing. Again a few minutes upfront investment gets you much more discretionary effort on the back end of that conversation.

Jim Rembach:    To me as I was going through I also started thinking about something that a lot of people mentioned today and they talked about fit, right fit, that I lack sacrifice, potential skills and experiences in order to find the right fit because it’s ** for organization. I think we always have to go through that fit test, I know throughout my life certain things have changed, I’ve learned a little bit more about certain values I’ve ejected some added some I’ve deepen some and those things happen as mean mature and so I always have to find myself going through a fit check for things that I’m spending my efforts on. I think sometimes coming to that mutual realization to where somebody says, well, I don’t fit or I no longer fit. If you’re an objective is significantly more positive it’s negative.

Lee Colan:     Ultimately, yes absolutely. This book is focused on coaching but on our other books on leadership we absolutely talk about selections like your biggest leverage point as a leader. Getting the right getting the right people filtering the right out if they don’t fit. That process is an ongoing one not just like, oh, I’ll hire them, it’s great, maybe it’s two or three years into their career and maybe it isn’t fitting the role of the rim maybe it’s not right for them things in their life have changed things in the organization has changed, I’ve changed, so I think it’s appropriate and relevant conversation along the way for sure.

Jim Rembach:    I think another thing is that you have in here something and I asked you about the source of it and you’re like, oh, that’s evolved and it’s tapped it to me I think it’s so important for everybody to understand them it’s called pyramid of learning. So when we talk about the pyramid of learning we have to really take that into consideration when we start talking about helping people to develop their potential, tell us a little bit about that.

Lee Colan:     Absolutely. This falls under the involved coaching habit to involve your team. The pyramid of learning is really about how well we retain things. If you think about from the top of the pyramid if I just read something—Jim, you just send me a—here’s this new procedure read it and we got to start implementing it tomorrow. The chances of me retaining and actually implementing that effectively is about 10 percent. So if we read something our retention is fairly low. If we read and hear something now at about 20 percent. If we read, hear, and say something we’re about 30 percent, so it goes all the way down the pyramid. If we actually say and do something in other words we demonstrate the skill that’s about 90 percent retention. 

The point is as we coach we get in this busy world we were tap on this leadership treadmill we’re busy, busy moving one thing or the other. We might handoff this policy, hey, Jack go do this, hey, sue go do that and we hand something and we think we’re coaching we’re giving them stuff but what happens is we get ourselves caught in what’s called re-coaching because they get it they don’t do it and next week you say, hey I gave you that policy last week why don’t you implement it. Well, I’ve got a million other things. It’s not about their intelligence it’s like they just don’t get that. One extra minute instead of me saying, hey, Jim can we start implementing this policy? I said, Jim read this policy and after lunch I’m going to come back to you and tell me what you think about it and how you might implement it. 

Now you’ve had a chance to read it, integrate it into your thinking, think about how you’re going to implement it and then express that. I’ve pushed from 10 percent at the top of the learning pyramid in just a few minutes. I really have to meet with you after lunch now we’re way down at the bottom of the learning pyramid probably 70 80 percent. That small investment of time to involve the person in the coaching process enables them to feel better about it. They’re actually be able to implement it effectively and people want it they want to master or something they want to feel good about it. Certainly as a coach selfishly I want my people to master things and I don’t have to deal with this again. So spend two extra minutes and I can get it right the first time. So it’s important to understand that learning pyramid and think about—and when I talked about read, read, say, say and do all of that I’m talking about that from the coach ease perspective not from the coach’s perspective. 

When you think about your coaching think about a scenario you might have had where was the person I was coaching on that learning pyramid? Was I just giving him something to read? Was I well telling them something in which case they’re just hearing it? So, there’s always a great and very quick and efficient opportunities to push further down the learning pyramid so that we can boost the coaching effectiveness.

Jim Rembach:    Without a doubt. Going through and having all these life experiences and writing these books and going through these activities and all of that you’ve learned a lot along the way to get to the point to where you are now. And I’m sure there’s times where you’ve had to get over the hump yourself as you’ve learned something from it. Can you share some stories with us? 

Lee Colan:     A coaching opportunity for me—I used to think I was a really good listener until I had someone who are really trusted and a friend, and I always say a friend is someone who’s willing to tell you what you really don’t want to hear but they tell it to you to build you up not to break you down, so this friend of mine said, you know what Lee? I know you generally a good listener one on one in that meeting? You couldn’t shut up. You really didn’t call—I don’t think you really heard what people had to say. And you know what that was part of? No only, I needed to work on my skill set but it was part of my mindset because I went in with a certain mindset like I knew the solution and I wasn’t really willing to hear it I had this filter going. Okay, here’s what I think and everything else just bounced off. So it was really a lesson to me more about just my mindset being open to things. If our mindset is at the right place, remember the four levels of awareness know your thoughts, your purpose, your values, and your emotions, I really work on that a lot I feel like we can align our mindset in the right place we’re much more effective kind of a skills and our approaches. 

Just kind of drew me back to—I’ve got to know that I don’t have it all right I’ve got to be open and really listen. Once I change my mindset the behavior easily followed that was easy. I find that a lot with our clients we work with them on skills and stuff. When you think about organizational change there are three levels there’s mindset, skillset and then toolset. Many times books and coaches and stuff focus on, here’s a new skill here’s a new tool. And that’s great but you got to get the mindset right because you’re swimming upstream all day long if you have the wrong mindset even with the right set of tools and skills.

Jim Rembach:    I think we kind of have come full circle on the mindset thing, the mindset thing can help with the resiliency piece there’s just so many different components. One of the things that I talk about is the ecosystem impact, kind of alluded it to as well. But it’s like, hey, I start with me and then it can affect my colleagues in fact my peers it can affect my direct reports it can affect those people above me my team department my company the customer and then ultimately getting down to the industry and then maybe even affecting the world. And I think that’s so critically important to know that we all really are part of something bigger than ourselves it’s just a matter of whether or not we have visibility to it.

Lee Colan:     That’s right and so awareness of personal impact is key and that’s why the circle of consequences is important to let people understand that this is not in a vacuum and there’s a ripple effect with everything that. All of us do every day I just don’t think leaders and coaches are as often enough explicit about what that looks like so people can really see it. 

Jim Rembach:    Most definitely. Okay, so when we start talking about—you’ve written tons of books you and I talked about some of those other things that are out there that are more popular than some of the work that you’re doing but all of that causes us to want to make a bigger dent in the universe, circle of influence. When I start thinking about some of your goals what’s one of them? 

Lee Colan:     Personally I’d like to push myself physically and I’d like to run a half marathon in the next year. So I always even tell my kids it’s great to push yourself physically once in a while. I’m not like some extreme athlete or anything, do know why?  It’s not about the body it’s about the mindset and the preparation and the discipline and kind of the grit to be able to get through that it’s always great to kind of test yourself once in a while to know what you’re made of, so that’s one thing. On the business side, it’s really just about continuing to try to put good out into the world to help people elevate their game personally and professionally. And that’s keeping things simple. Again I’m a pretty simple minded guy. 

I know all the research and the complexity of the science planet but my goal is to get through the complexity to the other side of it to simplicity where people could digest it and apply it. That’s really been all of our books our firmware very much a how-to consulting firm. So we just continue to try to come up identify challenges leaders have and find simple ways that they could say, hey, I could get my head around that. Whether it’s engagement or execution or accountability or coaching every leader agrees, I need to do that. They agree to the what? But they get tangled up in the how to. Because they’re like, whoa, what do I have to do I can see it’s all look so complex? I don’t think there are too many challenges in the world particularly from a leadership perspective or sales or service perspective where it’s that complex. There are always one two or three little steps we could take to kind of move forward. That’s our goal to continue to kind of find simple solutions to address complex challenges so people can elevate themselves and their teams. 

Jim Rembach:    And the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor: 

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Alright here we go Fast Leader legion, it’s time for the Hump day Hoedown. Okay Lee, the Hump day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Lee Colan, are you ready to hoedown?

Lee Colan:     I am ready, go for it. 

Jim Rembach:    What is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

Lee Colan:     I would say my mindset of feeling that I’m not a better writer about leadership that I am a leader myself. And I feel like I’ve been a leader for the past 20 years and I need to kind of work on that mindset to say, I could do this. I think my mindset in a lot of areas of my life is still somewhat—you always have to work on it. It’s like cleaning your house you don’t clean it once and then it’s clean forever you always have to be working on your mindset and that’s an ongoing challenge for me. 

Jim Rembach:    What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

Lee Colan:     Best leadership advice I ever got was that you don’t have to know everything. You could be resourceful. And old professor said, Lee the key to success is not to be able to know everything is to be able to plug up your ignorance within 24 hours. So it’s a lesson to me about being resourceful. With all the resources we have now it’s really more like four hours but I don’t burden myself of having the know everything but I do challenge myself to be resourceful to be able to get answers and solutions and relationships quickly.

Jim Rembach:    What is one of your secrets that you believe leads to your success?

Lee Colan:     I believe turning strategy or concepts into specific actionable things. Strategy is great but if people can’t act on it, it just goes nowhere. I’m very good about boiling things into three I’m always think in three, step one step two step three, it helps me move forward and I think it helps our clients move forward.

Jim Rembach:    What is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

Lee Colan:     I think one of the best tools we alluded to it’s the three W’s. Everything I do I have a project, I always have a 3W, what has to happen? Who’s responsible? By when?  It’s ultimately a project planning tool but it’s really an accountability tool. It helps me it helps our clients.

Jim Rembach:    What would be one book that you recommend to our Legion, it could be from any genre, and of course we’re going to put a link to, The Power of Positive Coaching, on your show notes page as well. 

Lee Colan:     Thank you for that, thank you for that. A book that is near and dear to my soul is The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Years ago—it just got each chapter like on love on marriage on whatever various on success various topics. He’s a poet, very deep writer and it’s very simple, it’s profound and simple and that’s kind of writing that I like. Give me one paragraph a couple sentences and it hits me in the heart, that says a lot, The Prophet.

Jim Rembach:    Okay, Fast Leader legion you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/lee colan. Okay, Lee this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25. You can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take it all you can only choose one. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Lee Colan:     Okay, I would take deep in faith that I have now back with me to know that everything always works out okay. When you’re 25 you’re making lots of decisions and it seems for it kind of crazy and the fact is if I know now about leaning on my faith, I happened to be a Christians I’m not espousing for anybody but that is my faith. I believe in Jesus as my Savior. And so if I had that faith then or that knowledge of it then and been through some of the trials and ups and downs now I think this would have been a little steadier a little smoother and maybe handle things a little bit differently. So my deep in faith, that’s one thing I would take back with me.

Jim Rembach:    Lee, it was an honor to spend time with you today can you please share with the Fast Leader legion how they can connect with you? 

Sure. It’s the thelgroup.com, if they want to subscribe or just tips and tools, they could just text the word leadership to 444 999. They just text the word leadership to 444 999

Lee Colan:     Lee Colan thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster. 

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