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How to Maximize and Engage Staff and Have Them Thank You For It

Engaging Staff Leading Maryland Article

If you subscribe to a command and control style of leadership, operating from positional power, (“Because I’m your boss, that’s why. Now do it.”) and have no plans of changing your approach, I invite you to keep scrolling. This article is not for you.

However, if you operate from command and control, recognize its limitations and are looking for a new way to produce greater outcomes and abundance OR you already operate from a servant leadership model, this article is for you! I would also like to congratulate those in this category for the difference you are about to make in many, many lives!

We are collectively on the precipice of a sea-change, effecting all of us. The global economy is shifting from one of being industry-based to one of being knowledge-based. You may have heard the term, knowledge economy. Yes, we are in a knowledge economy. Therefore, our value is based on not what we can produce and machine, as it had been in the industrial economy but, what we know and how we can leverage relationships to achieve common goals.

Our technology has changed, our economy has changed, yet one thing continues to remain the same for the majority of organizations; the way we lead, develop and support our employees!

Organizations, continuing to operate from “we’ve always done it this way”, command and control style, whereby obedience and compliance are rewarded; we’ve found at best yield minimal compliance from employees and a severe lack of engagement in the company’s products and services leading to poor customer service and high turnover.

The Leadership style itself, sets the tone of the culture. Leaders leading from command and control signal to staff, you are valuable as long as you do what I say. The unspoken message given by this approach is “stay in the box or you face trouble”. Precisely, when we need “out of the box” creative thinking to be competitive in an ever-expanding knowledge economy. The result; employees are reticent to share and be authentic because the company norms have already been reinforced; speak up or out and you may face a response that shakes your security.

If the norms of leadership derived from command and control are prevalent still and the Company wants to continue or have a chance at growth and success, a new model of norms will need to be created, communicated and heavily reinforced.

The new model will then cooperate with the shift in the economy and provide space for knowledge and service to continuously expand with market expectations.

Very simply, what we are saying is that the majority of companies continue to operate in antiquated leadership fashions, not having made the shift and kept up with the pace of workforce evolution and now operating from a once appropriate paradigm actually serve as a detriment to profits, staff morale, community connection and humanity-at-large.

As the prolific, William Blake once said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.”

The model is “Conscious Capitalism”. An approach to commerce guided by four principles: Higher Purpose, Conscious Leadership, Stakeholder Orientation and a Conscious Culture.

Conscious Capitalism’s principles can be further understood this way:

Higher Purpose – exists to unite all staff to operate from a common purpose that transcends any one person and agenda, evident by a sense of “we are all in this together”.

Stakeholder Orientation – approaches capitalism from the stand point, we will operate in benefit to all whom serve as a stakeholder of this organization’s eco system and do no harm to any one stakeholder in benefit of another. The greater system is completely complimentary. No more decimating entire levels of management to increase shareholder value, yet disregarding the employee stakeholder and the impact to family, community and society.

Conscious Leadership – In order to create and operate from the above model, self-aware leadership is required. Leaders who are willing to question everything in order to ensure it serves the higher purpose of the company is just the type of flexibility and open-mindedness that will almost guarantee abundance for stakeholders. Primarily, Conscious Leadership is exhibited through a servant leadership model. Servant Leaders recognize their core purpose is to equip their followers to operate from their highest capabilities. This includes considerations of compensation, benefits, work/life balance and a daily work culture reinforcing growth and health, which brings us to Conscious Culture.

Conscious Culture – Culture is the flavor, taste, sense or feel you have as a result of interacting with the company and its employees. Culture is what the employees say about the company and its leaders when talking with friends and family. Culture is how we treat our colleagues, clients, suppliers and community. Either we create value (operating from giving) or we do not (operating from taking).

Employees are either a company’s greatest asset or most costly asset. Certainly, the intended goal of companies is to ensure their assets yield greater revenue than their associated costs, therefore being profitable. If you want to maximize your largest asset, becoming more profitable than ever, then it’s evident, we must invest in making the shift to a model of Conscious Capitalism, providing a new culture of growth, adaptation and community-wide abundance. The model of Conscious Capitalism addresses and mitigates the challenge workforce is facing today with engagement, turnover, succession planning, employee growth and leadership development.

The Shift will take place. It’s just a matter of asking yourself, will you be on the leading edge and soon to experience the resulting abundance or will you go kicking and screaming, longing for the comfort of an old paradigm?

By: Ryan McShane, President, HR Evolution LLC,  RyanM@marc3solutions.com

HR Evolution provides small to medium sized businesses Fortune 500 Level Resources, creating “High Performance Organizations” with Greater Profit, Top Talent, and Outstanding Culture.

Contact Ryan to get the results that, elevate individuals and organizations to their highest potential.

View Ryan’s website at:  www.HRevolutionllc.com

Evoking Conscious Cultures Dialogue to High Performance

One of the reasons why change fails is due to unconscious beliefs that define the culture. I’m going to show you how to uncover these limiting beliefs by sharing a communication methodology that provides the conditions necessary to design a conscious culture. Therefore, strengthening the fabric of the organization to become more flexible, proactive and adapt from a traditional culture to one of high performance!

First, we want to establish a clear understanding of what we mean by culture, conscious culture and unconscious cultures. Then, we will talk about how culture is driven and sustained and finally the methodology for enabling the establishment of a conscious culture through a practice called, Dialogue.

Culture

An organizational culture is reflected in the array of behaviors expected and accepted by members of the organization, including how stakeholders view their relationships based on interactions with the company. Culture includes shared beliefs, values and behavioral conduct.

Conscious culture fosters awareness, as well as, individual and collective reflection as a means of promoting ongoing learning, growth and development. Conscious cultures perpetuate relationship building, compassion, emotional intelligence and a greater alignment of purpose.

According to Jeff Klein, CEO of Working for Good, “Conscious Culture fosters recognition of the purpose of the company and the interdependent relationship between the company’s stakeholders”.

Unconscious culture is the result of an unplanned or accidental culture which, comes about from accepting and performing around unwritten or unspoken behaviors and norms passed from one employee to the next, and even one generation to the next. Most likely an employee “knows” that certain behaviors are a part of the culture, yet it has never been documented. Accidental cultures can create both positive and negative outcomes according to Priscilla Nelson and Ed Cohen in their ATD article, The Journey to a Conscious Culture.

Jeff Klein explains, “Conscious Leaders catalyze Conscious Culture by applying and cultivating the practice of Conscious Awareness for themselves, their team members, and between the company and its stakeholders.”

Realize now, from no other place can massive cultural change occur and be sustained than through its leaders. Therefore, any change must start with understanding the current perspective of the leadership.

Leaders Drive Culture

Once leaders come to understand their role in visioning purpose and aligning resources to achieve the purpose, they must equally concern themselves with the “how”, of how the purpose will be achieved. The how determines the nature of the relationships amongst, across and beyond the organizational team, ultimately influencing the larger relationship to the community.

Great leaders know all too well, when purpose is not commonly held amongst the team thought dominates and conflict arises. One might say thought in itself is void of humanity, because it is a brain based activity; absent intention, it is simply brain activity. We also see however, that humanity (or our collective conscience) can, does and should influence thought, if we are to realize peace. Thought derived from compassion (understanding our action’s impact on the whole) will certainly include action that considers the whole. Leaders who wish to coalesce their teams and organizations must learn to tap into and reinforce this understanding regularly for their followers to remain aligned.

Dialogue to Conscious Culture:

Here is an approach to establishing authentic conversations to improve clarity, relationship building and performance.

Dialogue is a methodology that enables groups to rise above their beliefs, positional authority and egos, to operate and make decisions from values that respect others point of view and allows space for multiple and many times opposing viewpoints to be examined in a safe environment.

The very practice of dialogue creates interpersonal awareness and furthers emotional intelligence in the participants. By rising above positional authority, egos and current cultural conditions, we create a space and process for any organization across the globe despite its customs and culture to consciously align purpose, people and profit.

The premise…. Dialogue creates this change collectively by means of a large group speaking together in a circle. The theoretical basis for dialogue in the Center for Organizational Learning is David Bohm’s work on the nature of thought. Bohm was a physicist and his thinking was based on quantum theory, according to which, the observer and the observed are not in reality separate entities and that what we observe is a creation of our own perception.

“What you perceive, in other words, is not determined by independent external properties of ‘parts’ of reality, but is a function of the ways in which you try to perceive that reality.” (Isaacs, 1993)

Bohm’s 4 Principles of Dialogue: David Bohm, Physicist

PARTICIPATION: The observer and the observed are not truly separate, even though we create an artificial separation so as to describe and manipulate the world. Bohm had a conception of the world of thought being like a kind of field in which we all participate – our mistake is in identifying with thoughts and claiming them as our own.
COHERENCE: Look for incoherence between our intentions and our results, as this will point to where knowledge is defective.
AWARENESS: Become aware of thought arising, rather than immediately identifying with it. This process would also allow us to be more aware of the results of our thoughts – in our feelings, perceptions and actions.
ENFOLDMENT: As it relates to thought, this is the principle that indicates a thought does not disappear “once we have finished with it”, but that thoughts emerge into consciousness and back again.

With a reading and general understanding of the above principles, we are ready to move into the practices of Dialogue.

4 Practices of Dialogue

Listening
Respecting
Suspending
Voicing

Allison Jones is to be acknowledged for outlining the principles and practices succinctly in her shared PDF on spaceforlearning.com. Jones provides full detail with wonderful descriptions of the Practices and Practices within the Practices that inform each aspect of Dialogue. For brevity, I will pull out the main points below.

LISTENING

“By listening deeply we put ourselves in touch with a larger whole – people’s words carry not just an immediate meaning but a whole context and connection. In preparing to listen at this deep level, five practices are recommended.

Be aware of thought: Notice how much our thinking arises out of memory, out of a host of ready-made responses and opinions. Things are already categorized in our minds, which makes fresh, intelligent thinking difficult. Listening to your own thinking and its limitations is the first step.

Stick to the facts: Listen without jumping to conclusions or judgments.
Follow the disturbance: Look for what happens when what we hear disturbs us emotionally. Ask, in what ways am I doing the very thing I claim others should not do?”
Listen without resistance: Notice the reaction and then continue to listen.
Stand still: Cultivate inner silence, using all of the practices above to get beyond the usual noisy turmoil that prevents us from hearing.

In dialogue these practices are taken into a collective setting. The shift in perspective, becoming “an advocate for the whole” – comes from not just listening from my own or another’s perspective. When we listen for the whole, we “speak to the center of the circle”, not just to individuals.

RESPECTING

See a person with the intention of taking in more of them, understanding what has created their particular experience. It is suggested a practice to aid in this element is to listen as if it were all in me, based on the idea that if we can perceive something in another, it’s also a part of our own mental world.

SUSPENDING

By suspending thought – neither identifying with nor suppressing it, we can watch the thought and not be bound to a mental direction taken by identifying with that thought. Removes positional thinking.

VOICING

To begin this process (being aware of our thoughts in the present), we can ask ourselves, “What needs to be expressed now?” This practice is about focusing inwards, rather than rehearsing thoughts before speaking.

First finding and then having the courage to speak with your own voice is the challenge, then we want to overcome self-censorship by considering the risk of not speaking up.

Having explained now, the principles and practices one can begin to see how they contribute to shifting the culture and uncovering a more authentic and conscious way to be with one another, in the effort to align purpose.

Creating the New Culture

In dialogue, what develops during the process and practice is then used to create a common pool of meaning together. A conscious culture then evolves from written and spoken goals, values and behaviors, and practices that are taught, measured and reinforced in the organization.

Note: The active and engaging process of dialogue can be used with large groups for everything from articulation of mission and purpose to describing the culture that supports it.

Reasons to Start Now!

There are distinct (performance) benefits to a conscious culture: according to Priscilla Nelson and Ed Cohen in their article, The Journey to a Conscious Culture
New team members and leaders more rapidly assimilate to the culture.
Employees more quickly understanding the range of acceptable behaviors.
Top Talents are drawn to an empowering environment.
Misalignment is easily diagnosed and realigned when there is a lack of fit.
Likelihood of successful integration in the case of a merger or acquisition.
Systemic change is easier because there is no battle between the conscious and accidental cultures.

Take action today and schedule a free demonstration or consultation to learn the secrets of dialogue and conscious business transformation practices that consistently lead to High Performance Organizations.

By: Ryan McShane, President, HR Evolution LLC,  RyanM@marc3solutions.com

HR Evolution provides small to medium sized businesses Fortune 500 Level Resources, creating “High Performance Organizations” with Greater Profit, Top Talent, and Outstanding Culture.

Contact Ryan to get the results that, elevate individuals and organizations to their highest potential.

View Ryan’s website at:  www.HRevolutionllc.com

 

Dichotomy of Intention and Action

Skilled Workforce Leading Maryland Article

Dichotomies of intention and action point to a greater knowing for all those willing to look.

We can see these dichotomies in ourselves, our families, our workforce and our society.
A glaring example of a dichotomy of intention and action is our current education system and that of preparing students for success within our larger economic and business context.

Science admits knowing little about the brain yet, what we do know lags in educational institutions.

In fact, public schools operate from a model developed 124 years ago to equip a manufacturing-based society. Yet, what we experience now is an information and service-based economy and society. Our society would obviously benefit from education methodologies in alignment with our current and future societal and workforce needs. The rote learning, teacher-lead methods do not espouse the business and economic needs of creative problem solving, interpersonal awareness, and quality communication. Above we can see a dichotomy in approach and methods of education as well as, a dichotomy between what is needed in the workforce and what is being supported in formal educational environments.

Surely, I am not the only one to recognize this. In fact, I hear hiring managers and business owners often complain about too many applicants but, too few with the necessary skills and competencies.

Education is not keeping pace with market and economic needs. However, what’s most concerning for businesses and our economy is that very few institutions even exist to properly equip our current and future workforce for today’s needs!

More than ever employees lack the ability to negotiate cultural dynamics, perform career navigation, initiate personal growth and leadership development, amongst the many other skill and competency needs of the current and future workforce.

These efforts have to be consciously thought out and facilitated as a compliment to existing systems, requiring alignment from top to bottom of the organization.

Examining dichotomies in intention and action require skillful facilitation, trust and courage. Yet when done in earnest there remain no barriers to achievement of the established vision and mission!

Are you or your team looking for an immersive growth experience sure to change your perspective and create greater alignment in your intentions and actions?

Allow me to focus on your people growth while you focus on growing your business!

By: Ryan McShane, President, HR Evolution LLC,  RyanM@marc3solutions.com

HR Evolution provides small to medium sized businesses Fortune 500 Level Resources, creating “High Performance Organizations” with Greater Profit, Top Talent, and Outstanding Culture.

Contact Ryan to get the results that, elevate individuals and organizations to their highest potential.

View Ryan’s website at:  www.HRevolutionllc.com

 

 

Cooperation or competition, which leads to greater abundance?

Leading Maryland Article Leadership Styles

We are but parts of the whole. Each part informs the whole and the whole informs each part. This is true for a family, a team, an organization, community or society. We recognize cooperation is what best serves each of these units individually and collectively; from a single person to the largest of groups. So, why does competition dominate our minds and institutions?

Our corporate and political cultures are reflective of the Darwinian notion of competition, “kill or be killed”.

We can see the result is an ever-expanding economic divide between the “haves and have nots”. This divide, in a sense has created a polarity. The opportunistic “haves” seize upon the polarity notion and posit, there are only two options and it must either be “this” or “that”. (You can see this reflected in today’s politics and our two party system.) These arguments are perfectly positioned by the “haves” to seem like there are only two choices and no matter how fancy they are framed, they all end in “I win, you lose”. We see examples of this by leaders and decision-makers where the deck is stacked in the favor of the decision-maker, by the decision-maker, which leads to distrust for positions of leadership and authority.

A novice observer could easily see we (individuals, families, teams, organizations, communities, etc.) cannot come together in unison and have the full power and benefit of our collective expertise, if our institutions and organizations model and reinforce internal competition. We are obviously then divided against each other, instead of united around our common challenges. Even worse, despite all the energy and resources being used most of it is wasted as we work against each other.

So, what does this have to do with corporate culture and leadership?

Remember, I said in the beginning the parts inform the whole and the whole informs the parts? We do not live in bubbles and the more businesses openly reflect the personalities, cultures and societal norms of its people the more the organization fosters cooperation over competition. Not only is a cooperative approach to work more profitable, healthy and sustainable but, the next largest talent pool available to the labor force, called the Millennial Generation is also keenly aware of how large institutions have impacted individuals, families, and the larger community through reported mass lay-offs, buy-outs and shutdowns. Millennials saw this happening to their parents or their friends’ parents and heard it discussed on the news, as well as, social media and throughout their communities and schools too. Needless to say, anything that causes a shaking to one’s sense of security is going to be remembered for a long time.
Therefore, the Millennials are responsively focused on supporting organizations that are mission and purpose driven, not simply money driven.

Despite years of conditioning and examples to the contrary, I’ve seen a few shining examples of the wisest of executives and leaders who have recognized and tapped into the abundance of cooperation, throwing off the constraints of competition.

In fact, a ten year, longitudinal study compared organizations who operated consistently with the tenants of Conscious Capitalism (Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Orientation, Conscious Leadership and Conscious Culture – a highly cooperative approach to workplace management) against the earnings of the S&P, revealing the organizations who operated from a conscious capitalism approach exceeded the S&P earnings by 1,025%. (That’s not a decimal point, it’s a comma – one thousand and twenty-five percent!)
How do we make the shift to cooperation when all we’ve known is competition?

The Conscious Leader

The aware, awake (conscious) leader is not threatened by cooperation but, recognizes the greater value of a workforce representative of their local community of consumers and stakeholders. That by serving the greater needs of the community through providing good jobs, good pay, safe working conditions, opportunities for growth and a chance to serve something greater than the individual themselves, the organization is best positioned to achieve long term success. To make the shift the leadership approach must be one of being a servant leader; enabling the greatest capabilities of our followers through support of education and resources, aligned with organizational purpose.

Walk the Talk

We hear executives and leaders from all levels of organizations state their desire for cooperation amongst employees, only to implement competitive bonus programs, play favorites, and operate from a win at all cost mentality, which can compromise employee health by a culture tolerating abusive and toxic behavior. Whether the executives recognize the incoherence of the stated vision and the actual environment is another matter. Examine policies, procedures and norms considering whether they are a barrier or conduit to the corporate mission.

Walk the Walk

It’s important to know the “temperature” of your greatest and most expensive assets. Get out there and be a leader known, recognized and loved for who you are and not feared because of your role. Conduct regular engagement surveys and other mechanisms for feedback and measure growth milestones to make sure operational priorities are well balanced with your people priorities. Investing in your people creates loyalty and foundational strength, not to mention a greater capability to serve customers. To put the operations ahead of your people will result in sub-par employees and regular turnover, impacting client services, as well as increasing headaches and costs!

Think Long Term

I’d like to believe that leaders would recognize the long term societal cost of squeezing employees with high demands and diminishing returns is not worth the short term gains to the business or executives. Yet… I’d be naïve to think there aren’t those bad actors that actually do put profit before people.

Yes, we have some work to do as a society in the areas of honoring long term commitment and sustained growth. Currently, the business norms honor and recognize immediate, short-term results! You know the feeling, living quarter-to-quarter and thinking “I gotta make the numbers”. It is these extreme demands to make the numbers or potentially face loss of employment that coerces an epidemic of short term thinking.

Please know, the decisions we make to support short terms gains are almost never the same as those we would choose for long term gains or successes. Why? Because the short game is predicated on the return, with no regard for the resources. However, a long term plan must consider the availability and sustainability of resources (natural and human). Without these (natural and human) resources neither products, nor services can be expanded to generate more revenue and profits.

Yet, almost paradoxically to the short term thinking, the long term interests of both business and responsible stewardship of resources are not mutually exclusive but, in fact complimentary to one another.
Unfortunately, we have seen extreme examples were short term interests where chosen, using the company and employees to serve selfish means. Names like Enron, Bernie Madoff and Volkswagon come to mind as top level executives who acted in their own best interest, ultimately harming individuals, families, businesses and communities as a result.

It’s evident many individuals and institutions still operate from a competition-perspective of I win, you lose. However, with an ever-increasing skepticism for authority, demand for greater transparency and a growing economic divide the cooperative-perspective may finally over-take the competition-perspective yet, for mutual short and long term gains.

A simple shift in perspective and a stepping out of our conditioned thinking around competition, demonstrates an elevated consciousness. We are no longer trapped by the limits of competitive thinking and the results in produces. Given our new cooperative perspective, we can now consider the sum of all parts and the impact of each on the whole. In other words, when we take the whole into consideration, we are now conscious of the impact of our decisions on our people, families, community and society at large and can make sure our decisions are of benefit to our people, as well as, our bottom line.

By Ryan McShane

Ryan, has been serving the Human Resources Profession for over 20 years and currently operates a consulting firm specializing in small business Human Resources Advisory Services, Leadership Development, Career Transitions Consulting and Outplacement.

Ryan is passionate about creating and leveraging conscious business practices and systems to enable both, individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential. By promoting greater self-awareness and a conscious approach to workforce management, Ryan seeks to enable a stakeholder orientation, giving rise to equal consideration of People, Planet and Profit.

By: Ryan McShane, President, HR Evolution LLC,  RyanM@marc3solutions.com

HR Evolution provides small to medium sized businesses Fortune 500 Level Resources, creating “High Performance Organizations” with Greater Profit, Top Talent, and Outstanding Culture.

Contact Ryan to get the results that, elevate individuals and organizations to their highest potential.

View Ryan’s website at:  www.HRevolutionllc.com

Coming to Consciousness Personal and Organizational Growth

Leading Maryland Article Lunch and Learn

Each time I thought I suffered most, I came out of the experience knowing more of my self. More accurately, each incident shook me, pushing me beyond ego. It was the earthquake that shook-off another layer of who I thought I was.

Each incident so hard, so painful at the time, now has become a memory that still fills my eyes with tears. I’m not sure if the tears are for the love of the moment that squeezed my conditioned beliefs until it yielded a diamond of greater consciousness or if I’m experiencing echoes of healing continuing to taking place. Either way, the tears have turned from pain to joy.

I’ve come to shake off the notion of who “I thought” I was through each incident. Organizations and teams; like individuals will go through a similar coming to consciousness or greater understanding of group relationship dynamics, if they are to become a high functioning, high achieving team.

What began to occur more and more is that, I could “see” the separateness of my conditioning and who I really was. In other words it became increasingly clear that my life existence is just that, an experience that makes an impression on me. However, what I choose to carry with me from my experiences is that which I believe, “I am”. Specifically, if I continue to carry the burdens and beliefs of the past, I am operating from those burdens and beliefs. Yet, if I let go of the past, I am able to see the present moment through no filter of beliefs but, as it actually is. By removing the filter or lens of past conditioning I am free to make decisions and take actions on what exists not, what I believe to exist which is biased from my experiences. It comes down to better relationships and decision-making; two of the most critical factors in business success today!

When we recognize our lens of past beliefs and conditioned thought we then have an opportunity to evaluate why we believe as we do. Do our beliefs serve us and our connections to others? Or does it separate us and create a divide from others?

All things being the same, had I been born into another family, those experiences would no doubt be different, yet, they too would not be me, but my experiences. Again, it is only when we hold onto these experiences and operate from them that we are relegated to exist at the level of our experiences alone.

I am not a thought as you are not a thought. Yet, if we are to live beyond thought (conditioned beliefs), how does one reconcile this with modern life?

Meditation first and foremost by the very practice of it, enables one to rise above thought and truly see the interconnectedness of people.

Businesses, non-profits and even sports teams are taking advantage of the benefits of meditation for creative thinking, wellbeing, visioning and execution of highly focused tasks. What these groups have found through meditation is a higher level of cognitive functioning enabling better decision making due to a reduction of emotional influences which limit higher cognitive functioning. In other words, we are able to make decisions based on the collective highest good and not from fear and self-protectionism.

Experience and genetics are what separate us physically. We have been taught to limit our focus to the material and consequently we miss what’s in front of us. Our common humanity! Our common humanity must be the solid foundation from which organizations build their labor force, in order for the full capability of employees to be realized and experienced daily.

All too often, I see businesses that maintain an external focus, neglecting the people who do the work and support the business. Because many Executives are externally focused on sales and service to customers, they may not realize those they depend on to serve may not be well equipped or properly aligned to provide the best service possible. Therefore, companies begin to lose customers and market share due to poor service or incapable staff.

Let’s look at it this way, as it is consciousness expanding for individuals willing to reflect on beliefs and alignment of actions to achieve goals so, too is it true that teams and organizations benefit through self-reflection and examination.

Providing a safe space for employees and leaders to practice critical thought, challenge the status quo and engage in self reflection is a great start. Lunch and Learns or facilitated “tough conversations” can begin to provide the environment of practice and dialogue that lead to employees feeling safe to act from their personal authenticity.

The following saying is not just true for sales, but, in organizational engagement and leadership as well, “People don’t care what you have to say, until they know you care”.

Whether you’re interested in maximizing your own individual capabilities or you’re more focused on group achievement; providing permission, support and modeling are critical to make the shift to high performance leaders and teams.

By Ryan McShane

Ryan McShane, has been serving the Human Resources Profession for over 20 years and currently operates a consulting firm specializing in Human Resources Consulting, Leadership Development and Career Transition Services.

Prior, to that Ryan worked in the public, private, start-up and not-for-profit sectors, learning the various cultural norms, principles and practices of each sector and applying that learning to create High Performance Leaders and Organizations. Ryan is also the immediate past president for the largest Local SHRM Chapter in the state of Maryland, Chesapeake Human Resource Association (CHRA).

Ryan’s professional affiliations include serving on the Board of Chesapeake Human Resource Association (CHRA), Board member and Membership Director of Hunt Valley Business Forum, a founding member of Conscious Capitalism- Central Maryland, a Member of York, PA’s local SHRM chapter, a Member of UMBC’s Instructional Systems Development (ISD) Advisory Board, and a former Member of the Boomer Council, an advisory council focusing on civic engagement and mature workforce strategies.

Ryan is passionate about creating and leveraging practices and systems to enable both, individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential. By promoting greater self-awareness and a conscious approach to workforce management, Ryan seeks to enable a stakeholder orientation, giving rise to equal consideration of People, Planet and Profit.

By: Ryan McShane, President, HR Evolution LLC,  RyanM@marc3solutions.com

HR Evolution provides small to medium sized businesses Fortune 500 Level Resources, creating “High Performance Organizations” with Greater Profit, Top Talent, and Outstanding Culture.

Contact Ryan to get the results that, elevate individuals and organizations to their highest potential.

 

Become the Leader Millennials Want and You Need

Millennials Leading Maryland Article

“Way Shower” & Catalyst for Individual and Organizational Evolution!
Become the Leader Millennials Want and You Need!

Why is a dynamic shift in Leadership necessary in today’s economy and labor market? Specifically how will tomorrow’s leader become what the next generation needs? What exactly is so important about responding now? Here we discover why you need the millennials, identify what they can do for you and how you can attract their abundant talent to you.

Demographic Shift

Currently we sit upon the precipice of a tidal shift in how our organizations look and operate. Baby boomers (born 1946 – 1964), the largest demographic in recent history with 78 million strong, had an incredibly significant influence on the workforce of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Strength in numbers continues to be personified in the Boomer Demographic, as they ease into retirement or encore careers over the next 5 years. As the economy improves many Boomers are maximizing their pensions and retirement accounts and moving on.

Mature workers dominate (60% of most public sector entities, slightly less in the private industry) the current landscape of most workforces and it’s those who are mature “heavy” that will be especially effected. If we are looking for the generation behind the boomers to salvage a lack of planning, forget it. There are simply not enough in sheer numbers to fill nearly all the boomer vacated roles. (GEN X, born 1965-1985) Generation X only has 36 million persons while Boomers are 78 million strong. Take that difference in size and add 17 million more jobs being added to the economy over the next 5 years and one can easily see there will be a major talent shortage, not just in the public sector but the entire national workforce.

Believe it or not our saving grace is the Millennial Generation. Millennials, (1986-2006) are the next largest generational cohort, with 77 million persons.

The Principles Remain and the Approach Continues to Change:

5 Challenges and Changes Expected

Yet in the challenges and change become exponential for corporations as they determine how to maintain operations, client relationships and leadership in a state of massive flux; a rapid change caused by new technology and new workforce structures, mass turnover of top level positions, development of new leaders and shifting of current culture to attract new talent, with new value sets.

Social media and crowd sourcing have been adopted as recruiting tools for their wide reach and minimal costs. Long gone are the days of “posting and praying” for quality candidates. Savvy talent acquisition and management methods will be required along with adept abilities in relationship management, career marketing and identifying passive talent. Most importantly will be a renewed focus on alignment of passion, skills and mission.
Cultural and Personality fit will begin to have greater importance as Leaders begin to recognize the revenue and market share resulting from relationships, personality and trust, the use of pre-hire personality-based assessment tools will certainly increase as a result.

The difference maker in a market bloated with choices continues to be a culture of customer service. Personality assessments allow for identification of a natural disposition of your employment candidates, the differentiating characteristic that could prove to be the quality hire you desire or avoid the costly bad hire you don’t! Many assessments even offer benchmarking capabilities that considers organizational culture, geographic region and organizational values. Using a benchmark expedites the screening process and doubles as a tool to ensure that the candidates with the highest qualifications and maximum cultural fit will be given an interview. Consequently the organization saves a tremendous amount of money and secures their highly valuable investment, the NEW HIRE. (contact me for a sample P-60, Personality Assessment) Succession Planning with a focus on capture of institutional knowledge and not just person replacement, will take priority as organizations lose most of their upper-level management due to retirement. Only 45% of corporations have formal succession planning in place. Most are the large fortune 500 organizations, where a large workforce dictates a great deal of formality and structure. However, the greatest concern lies with the smaller organizations where one or only a few people in the organization actually know how the company is run. This quarter to quarter, survival mode must shift to one of long term and conscious planning to yield continuance, let alone continuance of success.

Leadership development will take precedence, as many of the formal and informal leaders of organizations retire. Leadership principles and the relationship based approach of boomers is un-natural to the transaction-based approach of GEN X and Gen Y- (Millennials) and therefore will require a great deal of development in leadership theory, principles and practices.

Cultures will be redefined, as many companies seek to become the kind of workforce that will attract the next generation of talent. Top leaders will be replaced and with them a new set of values and ways of being, redefining the culture. The shift will be most significant for those coming from a traditional workforce model. Others, who are currently stakeholder oriented, with a flatter hierarchy and more collaborative workforce model, will require less change in perspective.
Attracting the Millennials

Stop resisting, you need them… and we all know early adopters are typically best poised to benefit the most! Sheer numbers dictate the need, however well beyond that are the benefits of incredible technical skills, flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions and being civically minded; this group wants to make a big difference in the world!

What the Millennials want:

To make a difference and be in roles to create impact (leadership)

The Shift:

Does your work model allow new, entry level staff to have an impact and be groomed for leadership? Do you have internal career map models that demonstrate upward mobility opportunities to continue to challenge and retain your best and brightest talent?

To have work life balance, flexible scheduling and flexible work conditions
The Shift: Traditional work structures with core work hours and little flexibility will struggle to attract Millennials. This group can and will work remotely and accomplish assignments quickly. The processes will require trust, transparent expectations and targeted goal setting.

To have recognition and respect

The Shift: The “Pay your dues” mentality is lost on this generation. Boomers and Leaders who enforce this mindset will lose out on millennial talent if they do not adapt to a servant leadership model vs. a command and control model of leadership, which typically amounts to, “I’m your boss, that’s why” reasoning. It’s a manager or leaders’ role to maximize the potential of an individual’s talent and align that with the mission of the organization. We reduce any potential of having the whole person engaged by not respecting what they have to offer, when they have it to offer. Rather than operate from a limiting and controlling mentality of “pay your dues, take on the mundane assignments and eventually, you will be recognized and move up”, Millennials want an impact now and will have no problem jumping from job to job until they find that opportunity.

I invite you to make the shift and grab the early adopter benefits of ensuring your culture and leadership attract a new generation of talent.

By: Ryan McShane, President, HR Evolution LLC,  RyanM@marc3solutions.com

HR Evolution provides small to medium sized businesses Fortune 500 Level Resources, creating “High Performance Organizations” with Greater Profit, Top Talent, and Outstanding Culture.

Contact Ryan to get the results that, elevate individuals and organizations to their highest potential.

 

A Happy Friday Anecdote People – Connection and Perspective

Happy Friday Leading Maryland Article

 

I made a habit of saying “Happy Friday” to my coworkers for years. In fact, I’ve taken the opportunity to use Fridays to go around to each office and if even just for a moment say hello and happy Friday. In fact, it’s become such a habit that when I’m away from the office I have employees tell me they missed their “Happy Friday” that morning. So, Why Happy Friday? ‘Cause “Happy Monday” could get you punched!

In all seriousness, just why do I do this, go around to each office and say happy Friday to my coworkers? It’s been my experience that spirits are highest on a Friday. The week’s projects are being completed or just had been completed and employees are feeling a sense of accomplishment. Staff are more likely to have time away from the rigors of the highly, task oriented components of our jobs on Fridays allowing time to connect with coworkers. Being in a jovial spirit (at least one with less stress and demands) we are even more likely to talk about victories and challenges from the week or plans with family and friends for the weekend. Another underlying message of my visits with staff was as if to say, “Yes, while I am the HR Manager, I am human too. I’m there….there for employees who need an advocate and there for a manager who needs guidance or there for a group who needs coaching or training on a new policy or leadership competency”.

Yes! On Fridays we are more likely to talk about the stuff that makes us tick, what we’re passionate about and invested in. (Note to Managers- An important component of understanding how individual’s best perform is identifying what they value). We may even slow down enough to consider how our coworkers are doing, looking beyond our highly individualized laser-focus onto the next task at hand. What challenges might they be facing and could I help him or her with those challenges? (Note to Managers- providing an environment of collaboration, (permitting the space and time) and support of others is a team competency that enables synergy; accomplishing much more collectively than we would individually.) Evidence shows discussing non-work related topics with coworkers can also build lasting and trusting relationships and create an understanding of mutual interests, thus strengthening relationships. These lasting relationships have a tremendous impact on employee retention and engagement. Notice your energy starting to lift?

Why else Happy Friday? If I had the luxury of time to connect with each employee, each day, I would be ecstatic to do just that but, we know that is just not realistic. So, I chose a day when it’s best to connect, when our colleagues may be under the least amount of task related stress and not suffering from lack of sleep due to the common change in sleep patterns that occur over the weekend, like what is often experienced on Mondays.

Connecting with employees is a good thing right? Imagine my confusion when I learned of a very different perspective on my Happy Friday routine. A manager I worked with had great difficulty with my weekly, “Happy Friday” routine. In fact, she hated it! Why? Because according to her, the HR Manager should never engage in what she interpreted as “the HR Guy going around and proverbially saying, Shew! We got through this week!” (Yes, that’s how she saw what I was doing.)

She hated it so much so that I later learned she even started sending out Happy Monday messages to her staff (I can only assume from the safe distance of behind her keyboard and not in person).

I was so amused by this perspective I had to pause and consider that we just never know how our actions are judged. A concerted effort to set aside time to connect with colleagues above and beyond day to day interactions, had been interpreted in the way that it was done as a negative by this manager. I’m reminded her perspective is not my concern. The negative judgment of the Happy Friday routine is even none of my business, although I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me some that a well-intended action is misinterpreted by others… This obviously speaks to different approaches, styles and perspectives and I’m again reminded there are many ways to skin a cat. (It’s just a saying cat lovers J) But then, I think is there something useful I can derive from this perspective. Well… if the judgment of my actions encouraged a manager to reach out to her employees more so than she would have already, then maybe “it’s all good”!

Okay so, while it may be an extreme exaggeration to say one could be punched for extending a sing-song version of Happy Monday to coworkers, I have a general sense that saying Happy Monday could put me firmly in the position of upsetting my colleagues, as opposed to drawing them closer. I’ll just stick with my Happy Friday routine, thank you very much!

Best to you all and Happy Friday!

By: Ryan McShane, President, HR Evolution LLC,  RyanM@marc3solutions.com

HR Evolution provides small to medium sized businesses Fortune 500 Level Resources, creating “High Performance Organizations” with Greater Profit, Top Talent, and Outstanding Culture.

Contact Ryan to get the results that, elevate individuals and organizations to their highest potential.

 

A Choice in Thought and Perspectives – “This Is Water”

The following piece is a reflection on the prolific writer, David Foster Wallace’s YouTube video, “This is Water!”

As David begins his narration of the video, he describes an encounter between three fish, two of whom were swimming along lazily when they see another fish, who asks, “how’s the water boys?” As the third fish keeps swimming by the two fish look at one another and ask at the same time, “What the heck is water”?

This anecdote speaks to awareness. The two fish being surrounded by water all their life do not recognize water as anything separate from themselves, only something that has always been there and a part of their lives. This ancient story of a fish in water is often told to bring awareness to people about living more conscious lives often resulting in a more fulfilling, joyful and impactful existence.

Much like the water, seeing that our thoughts are separate from us, we have a choice that if exercised can contribute to the raising of consciousness for not only us as individuals but for all of humanity!

The video goes on to illustrate unconscious thought patterns that lead to frustration, feelings of being trapped and events that appear to be happening “to you”. These all too familiar scenarios of commuting through traffic and navigating busy, grocery stores, illustrate a few ugly aspects of unconsciousness.

When we are not aware of our thoughts and thus react to whatever “comes up” in our minds that is said to be our “default mode”. The default mode is an unconsciousness that leads to a belief that it’s, “all about me”, “all these people are in my way and interfering with my interest in getting home to make my dinner.” (Notice all the me’s and my’s)

However, as David Foster Wallace states, if we are fortunate to be awake enough to realize that we have a choice of thought, then we have options and we have freedom in how we see situations. But remember, this is not our default setting; it does take effort and practice.

Mental default settings are like a blinking 12:00 on a watch, clock or DVD player. The blinking 12:00 is the default setting we see anytime power was lost and then returned to the device. Just like the clock, the mind can easily be changed from the default setting. All one has to do is change it. Yes! It really is as simple as that, once you have awareness and willingness.

So, by now you may be thinking, “But Ryan what does this have to do with employment and human resources”? Our level of consciousness impacts everything we do! It is a gauge for how we interact with the world around us, from interactions with co-workers to considering all the realms of possibility when it comes to solving an operational challenge. I believe education and more specifically, workforce education will soon include a focus on conscious leadership.

Here, we boil it down to the basics: Am I aware of my thoughts? Are these thoughts helping me or someone else? Yes? Great, continue! No? Can I learn something from these thoughts? Yes? Then create action around that learning to reinforce new habits. No? Then change your mind.

Yes, it is just that simple. However, it has been discovered that we have a major influence working against us, biology. Biologically we as humans tend to resist thoughts and actions that are outside of our prior experiences, because of the potential for or actual discomfort this may create. Yes, most people are naturally conflict avoidant. But, biologically we are also highly adaptive, if we choose to be.

So, here are a few tips to keep you moving in the practice of conscious living, when you encounter thoughts (which lead to feelings) that don’t serve you or anyone else, examine those thoughts. Discuss them with others to see these thoughts from a different perspective. Suspend judgment and consider all angles and perspectives on a particular thought or situation before taking action. By doing so, one will have a fair and balanced context, often leading one to find the least objectionable ranging to the most efficient solution.

Perspective shapes our world view. An unconscious perspective (default mode) of being in the center of the world and everything around us is either working in our favor or against us, leads us to being in a constant state of self-seeking, judgment and clash with opposition. But, what if we adopted a conscious perspective, leading us to choose our thoughts for a greater good?

By: Ryan McShane, President, HR Evolution LLC,  RyanM@marc3solutions.com

HR Evolution provides small to medium sized businesses Fortune 500 Level Resources, creating “High Performance Organizations” with Greater Profit, Top Talent, and Outstanding Culture.

Contact Ryan to get the results that, elevate individuals and organizations to their highest potential.