A third of executives say they would leave their organization if it requires employees to return to the office, compounding HR’s challenge of retaining a strong leadership team, according to a recent Gartner report.

The flight risk is concerning because, according to a 2023 Gartner survey of 520 HR leaders across a number of industries and regions, 80% of CHROs do not think they have a deep list of possible replacements for senior roles.

“If a mandate is put in place and a lot of executives leave, it’s a huge risk not to have a strong bench to fill those roles,” says Caitlin Duffy, research director in Gartner’s human resources practice. “That’s because it cascades down and impacts all the levels below and can be difficult to manage.”

Read the full story here: https://hrexecutive.com/why-mandated-rto-could-lead-to-massive-executive-departures/?oly_enc_id=4235F9720301H5Y

This month, we have picked up a copy of Edwina Dunn’s latest book, When She’s in the Room: How Empowering Women Empowers the World.

Edwina is a pioneering and successful leader in the data industry – famed for co-founding dunnhumby, which revolutionized the retail and consumer goods industry through its role in creating the Tesco Clubcard and other global loyalty programs. Edwina now leads her campaign, The Female Lead, which focuses on celebrating the achievements and diversity of women who shape our world.

Edwina’s latest book captures her wealth of experience and transforms it into this data-driven guide to challenging the status quo and creating a roadmap for a more equitable world.

Women have always been subject to being forgotten, unseen, overlooked, and under-appreciated, but Edwina has drawn upon her knowledge of research and data collection to present clear solutions, models, and simple actions that can have noticeable and positive impacts on the lives of women and men.

She outlines the changes that women want to see in themselves, in business, in education, and in government, and dares to wonder what the world might look like if it was okay for women to truly embrace their ambition and nurture their drive.

By acknowledging the inequality that exists, employers, educators, and policy makers will be able to start shaping society into a better and more equitable place, which will lead to a more fulfilling life and workplace for all. And the first step is realizing that women are not secondary characters by any means and should be empowered to find their potential in leadership and decision-making roles.

If you would like to discuss how we can help bolster your diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies to unlock the potential of all of your workforce, please get in touch with us.

In the meantime, make sure you grab a copy of When She’s in the Room; you can purchase it here in the US and here in the UK.

In the latest episode of Dr. Jim Kanichirayil’s podcast, Engaging Leadership, OrgShakers’ very own Brittany Burton sat down with him at the HR Transform in Las Vegas to delve into the nuances of talent strategy within high-growth organizations.

Brittany hones in on the importance of recognizing and nurturing emergent leaders within a company, especially in the context of start-ups. She discusses how identifying and developing these individuals is essential for innovation and growth, emphasizing the personalized nature of effective talent development.

Listen to the full episode below:

Taking inspiration from the International Women’s Day 2024 theme – #InspireInclusion – this webinar explores how organizations, leaders, and individuals can create inspiring, equitable workplaces.

You’re Coaching Whom?

Here’s how it started…

With March being Women’s History Month, at the beginning of the month I was chatting with a colleague and we thought about how amazing it would be to have had the chance to coach a famous woman from history. What an experience it could be to understand what drove them, understand their thinking behind their major decisions, and more importantly, to help guide them to be even more impactful and see how a coaching relationship might have informed how they chose to lead. How might it have accelerated or expanded their trajectory?

The more we played with this idea, I found it difficult to choose someone – because I would want to be sure the facts were accurate, that I didn’t miss key events in their life that informed who they were as a leader, and that I didn’t offend anyone! Then we explored the idea of choosing a fictional character, and suddenly it felt easier – much more license to play.  So, this is how we landed on Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series…

What if Hermione Granger had an executive coach? How might that have impacted her trajectory and the way she chose to lead and make a difference in her world?

Here are some caveats…

The purpose of this blog is to have fun reading the imagined coaching conversation, and to provide a setting for you to reflect on the same questions that I pose to Hermione. While you are enjoying the story, please take the time to think through the questions for yourself.  Hopefully, you will gain new insights about yourself as a leader and discover new perspectives that can help propel you forward to discover your path to bold and extraordinary leadership.

Here’s some context…

Hermione is a Muggle-born witch – that is, unlike most of her witch and wizard peers, she did not grow up with magical parents, but rather two human (or Muggle) ones. She did not learn she was a witch until she was accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at age eleven. However, despite Hermione discovering her magic later than the average wizard, she is known as one of the most capable and intelligent witches of her year. She was often bullied at school and faced many microaggressions; some derogatorily called her a ‘mudblood’ because of her non-magical heritage, others called her a ‘know-it-all’ as a result of her intellect and status as the best academically.  Hermione often showed up believing she knew best and wanted to control the situation, but after befriending Harry and Ron in her first year and developing a fierce loyalty to them as the years went on, we see her ‘controlling style’ begin to loosen as she realises that sometimes rules can be bent and broken when they are unjust. As we navigate her coaching engagement, we will begin to see a theme of standing up for those who are unable to stand up for themselves as a key motivator in Hermione’s actions.

The following is my first (imagined) session with a young, twenty-something Hermione, fresh out of Hogwarts, just starting her career at the Ministry of Magic and still with an exciting journey ahead of her. I have done my best (with the help of some Potterheads) to capture what I believe Hermione would think and feel during this time in her life, but as a disclaimer, this is fictional! More avid Potter fans may think she would respond differently. I welcome your feedback!

Let’s get started!…

For expediency, assume we have covered the coaching goals, expectations, and confidentiality conversation.

COACH:

Hermione, how are you today? I’m honoured to partner with you on this journey and begin our coaching relationship.

HERMIONE:

Thank you, I’m excited too. Although I must say I’m a little bit nervous. I don’t quite know what to expect.

COACH:

Thank you for letting me know, Hermione. Don’t worry, we’re in this together, and this is your time.  This is an opportunity for you to better understand who you are as a leader, what motivates you, how you process information and make decisions, and how others see you.

Over the course of our engagement, we will work together to help you discover the conditions that you need in order to thrive, how you get in your own way to achieve your goals, how you communicate effectively or not, how you’re most comfortable engaging with people, and how you can be more proactive to own your unique talents and gifts to express them in the most effective way and deliver the impact that you want to see. 

I also want you to get a clearer understanding on what you really want to do and how you want to go about achieving it.

I know this is a lot. We will take our time and layer the process to build upon your insights and discoveries about yourself. I am confident that you are up for the challenge. Does this make sense?

HERMIONE:

This sounds really exciting. I’m eager to get started.

COACH:

Fantastic! So, I’m going to start by asking you a couple of reflection questions. I don’t want you to overthink them, just tell me what comes to mind, there’s no judgment. If I were to ask your classmates, colleagues, and friends to describe you and what they value most about you, what do you think that they would share with me?

HERMIONE:

Right, okay. So, they would say that I am smart, and that I can think quickly under pressure. That I’m very loyal, too, hopefully. And when I see something that doesn’t seem fair to me, they would say that I latch on to it to figure out ways to make it better.

COACH:

That’s great. And what else do you think they might share?

HERMIONE:

Well, they would probably say sometimes I can be annoying because I’m so smart, but they would also feel like they could ask me anything because I will likely have an answer. They would also say that I have a really good heart and care for people, and that I am quite determined once I set my mind to something that I care about.

COACH:

Is there anything that you wish that they would say about you that they may not think of?

HERMIONE:

Well, I suppose I wish people would not misinterpret me having the answers as me trying to be better than them. I’m just trying to help solve problems and keep us all safe. I can admit that when I was first starting out at Hogwarts, I did feel the need to prove myself. But I just wanted to be seen as an equal, and I thought that making sure I knew all my classes back to front would mean I would fit in, but it seemed to have the opposite effect. I was bullied in my younger years at school, for being a ‘know-it-all’ and a ‘goody-two-shoes’. It wasn’t too severe, and I always tried to brush it off and act like I didn’t care, but of course I did. I remember crying in the bathroom when I was in my first year because I overheard Ron, of all people, calling me a ‘nightmare’. I can laugh about it now, but at the time it really upset me. It made me feel very alone. But even when Ron and Harry made fun of me, they were the ones that saved me when I was attacked by the troll. Funny how my lowest point also became the moment the three of us would become real friends.

But yes, sorry, I got a bit off track there. The point is I just didn’t want to be judged for my background as a Muggle-born. I just wanted to be recognised for who I was. I don’t think the boys ever noticed how hard it was for me to keep a brave and strong front so that they could continue to rely on me.

COACH:

I think that’s very insightful, Hermione. Thank you for sharing. Let me ask you, thinking about what is most important to you, what do you love to improve and have input in?

HERMIONE:

I care about my friends. They may have thought I was a nightmare at first, but they still didn’t hesitate to save me from a troll. I care about finding ways to help people that can’t help themselves, and I want them to know that they can count on me. I get very frustrated when I see things that I think are unjust or when people are being treated unfairly. I want to help make it better, to protect them and lift them up.

COACH:

These are wonderful attributes. Let’s talk a bit more about when you say, “help people that can’t help themselves”. What is happening that causes you to get frustrated?  What do you see or what is going on that signals this reaction? How does it make you feel?

Try to think of some examples about how you approach these situations. Also, while you are thinking about examples, I would like you to reflect on when this happens, is this based on your own assessment, or is it based on information that you’ve gotten from whoever you think is being treated unfairly?

Take your time to think through these questions. Maybe as you share some examples with me, more insight will emerge for you, and we can explore this with a bit more granularity.

HERMIONE:

Yes, okay. Let me think…the first time I tried to improve something I was just fourteen. I discovered that Hogwarts had house-elves working in their kitchens, being forced to work without any pay, and just generally were treated like slaves. I hated how unfair it was, and hated the fact that so many wizards believed that house-elves were happy to do their bidding. They had never known anything else, never been offered any sense of freedom, and I wanted to help show them that they could have more, and that they deserved more than just a life of servitude.

So, I put together the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (SPEW), but I could never get any support behind it. I still would like to lead this. I think I have always wanted to be able to make a difference in my world, and I believe I can do that if I knew how to get the support that I need to help make things happen. I haven’t had many instances of formally leading people, but that’s part of the reason why I wanted to come here and work with you. I think I could have what it takes to be a good leader, I’m just not sure how to start taking those steps. I will say, from that first attempt, I believed so much in what I was saying that I think I forgot I needed others to believe in me and my cause too.

COACH:

You have good insight here. And as a leader one of the most important skills is to communicate to others in a way that sets a clear vision, that articulates a clear ‘why’, and is conveyed in a way that resonates for them. We will focus on effective communication and engaging key stakeholders when we build your Impact Plan. Another attribute you mentioned earlier was that you care about finding ways to help people and knowing that they can count on you. Can you tell me more about this? 

HERMIONE:

I quite like being relied on to be the thinker of the group, and I believe that Harry and Ron rely on me to be prepared for all possibilities, even if they don’t realise they are doing it.

I think it’s about knowing that I have a part to play, that my role in those situations is making a difference for others. I suppose you could say I like seeing the difference I make, it’s quite a rewarding feeling. I suppose my deciding to leave Hogwarts in my final year to help Harry find the Horcruxes is an example of this.

COACH:

Can you tell me more about that?

HERMIONE:

After we discovered that You-Know-Who had split his soul up and hid them in different objects as Horcruxes, I insisted on helping Harry to locate and destroy them. So did Ron, of course. But this meant having to leave school. Even though I loved learning, I knew Harry needed me, even if he never asked directly. And I believed that I needed to be there. I think things might have gone differently if I never decided to go. 

And, as I think about this, I realise that as I’ve gotten older, I feel more confident in myself and my abilities. When I made the bold decision to leave school for the year, I knew it was a risk, but it really taught me a lot about myself and how I enjoy being someone people can rely on, which is what inspired me to go back to school, complete my studies, and apply to work in the Ministry of Magic. I knew that if I ever wanted to make real and lasting change, it would be by doing it at a legislative level.

COACH:

You were very brave to step away from your studies to help Harry in his quest. I would like to ask, before we close our first session, you spoke about your job at the Ministry and wanting to make change.  

What are the most important changes that you want to be a part of? Once we are clear on this, we can explore the most effective ways that you, with your preferred style and your talents, can make the most impact. 

HERMIONE:

What’s most important right now is my work on my SPEW campaign to get better treatment for house-elves. I learnt a lot from that experience back when I was 14 and it is helping me now. I haven’t dived in all by myself or tried to start before I am able to handle the responsibility. I did that with my first attempt and didn’t quite realise all the leadership skills needed to lead such a change. I need to work on rallying people behind a cause, and I also need to take the time to work with the house-elves to make sure they have a voice in the campaign. As much as I want their betterment, it’s ultimately about what they want, too.

Even though right now my job ranking is low, I know it is a path to make an impact. And I know I could do more if given the chance. One of the reasons I came to the Ministry is that I believe that the wizarding world can be a better place, and I want to be a part of making that happen. In some sense, I think my academic aptitude would be helpful here. Transferable, even. The Ministry employs some of the best and brightest witches and wizards. They have been alive a lot longer than me, but so much has changed since they first came around. I want to bring a fresh perspective. 

COACH:

I think the fact that you are able to look back on your previous attempts and begin to see the areas that need improving is going to make our coaching sessions that much more effective, so, well done.  

Hermione, we covered a lot of ground today. What I would like you to do until we meet again next time, is to reflect on all that we talked about. Write down your answers to the questions we discussed today in more detail and see if you begin to identify any patterns or themes. Then when we meet next, we will dig more deeply into your responses. It is important that we take the time to build a solid understanding of who you are as a leader, what motivates you, and how you respond and interact in different situations. This will help us identify your strengths to lean into, as well as where you might want to focus your development. We want you to strengthen and refine the leader that you want to be so you can achieve your goals and aspirations, not what others want you to be. How does that sound? Do you have any questions?

HERMIONE:

No questions. If I’m honest it has been a bit overwhelming, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I’m excited to continue working together. I feel like I am already learning a lot about myself.

COACH:

That’s great to hear, and I appreciate your deep thinking today, and for being so willing to dive right in. We can probably attribute that to your determination and your love of learning! I will send you the key questions we discussed to help provide a structure for your reflection. Thank you and have a fun and wonderful week.

HERMIONE:

Thank you!


Keep an eye out for Part Two of our series where we re-unite with Hermione in her second coaching session and begin to gain a better understanding of the crucible moments in Hermione’s life which shaped who she is as a leader.

And, in the meantime, click here to download a copy of the key coaching questions she was asked. Reflect on them and answer them for yourself!

If you would like to discuss the coaching we offer in more detail, please get in touch with me at Lisa.finkelstein@orgshakers.com or reach out through our website.

Last year, we asked the OrgShakers team what practices and ideologies they thought employers should be leaving behind as they ventured into the new year.

Now, as another year comes to a close, we wanted to see what they believe should be left in 2023 in order to help propel sustainability and growth in the year to come:

  • Victoria Sprenger believes that employers need to leave behind their hesitancy on the use of AI, and instead begin to channel this tool for positive, impactful and productive work – it’s time to start working smart!
  • And with new technology emerging, Sayid Hussein believes employers – especially those in the realm of remote work – must pivot away from outdated technological practices to stay ahead. The key lies in transitioning from multiple communication tools to integrated platforms that merge messaging, video calls, and project management, thereby enhancing efficiency. Outmoded legacy systems should be replaced with modern, cloud-compatible solutions, and the manual handling of data should give way to automated processes powered by AI and machine learning. It’s also crucial to ensure that technology is optimized for mobile use, catering to a flexible and dynamic workforce. Customizable tech solutions are vital in addressing the diverse needs of today’s employees. In the cybersecurity arena, regular, updated training is essential to keep pace with evolving threats, moving beyond traditional physical security measures to comprehensive digital strategies. By embracing these changes, employers can significantly boost the productivity and security of their remote teams, aligning with the fast-paced, digitally-driven work environment that 2024 will definitely bring.
  • Speaking of the realm of remote work, Andy Parsley thinks that employers need to stop treating remote and hybrid working as a ‘problem’. Through 2023, countless politicians and senior business leaders have gone public with their unease about remote and hybrid working, urging workers to “get back to the office”. I hope that in 2024 they’ll come to realize that, managed correctly, these flexible working patterns are better for both workers and their employers. Nick Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford University, estimates that people value the ability to work from home two or three days a week about the same as they would an 8% pay rise. And, if organized effectively, remote working can be good for productivity too. Indeed, there is a growing realization that asynchronous work – work that is done independently from others – is often more productive than synchronized work alongside colleagues in the workplace. So, in 2024 organizations should focus on optimizing the working patterns of their people – and ignore those who are arguing for a retrograde step back to a five-day-a-week, 9-5 culture.
  • Amanda Holland believes that organizations need to stop lamenting the workforce shortage. The world of work is undergoing several transformational changes including the dearth of workers, the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the massive shifting of duties and roles across most industries.  Leading-edge organizations and executives are focused on charting new paths that capitalize on the opportunities coming from these disruptions. They have let go of rehashing how challenging the current workforce shortage has become. Instead, they are acknowledging that traditional talent management strategies have become less productive and it’s time to think ahead, rather than continuing to look behind. 
  • And speaking of talent management, Brittany Burton thinks that it’s time for employers to leave behind quiet quitting. This can be done by engaging their employees, conducting frequent check-ins, encouraging open communication about concerns and actively listening. To combat quiet quitting employers should also address workload issues, promote a positive work environment, think strategically on career path planning, and stay attuned to warning signs such as disengagement, decreased productivity, increased absenteeism or changes in behavior.
  • Finally, Marty Belle believes employers should leave behind the perspective that their organization is colorblind and that differences should be erased. Instead, they must accept the reality that people are diverse, and race, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, nationality, ability, and other dimensions of our differences have significance and will all add to greater organizational success.

If you want to get in touch with us surrounding these points, you can do so here.

And from all of us at OrgShakers, Happy New Year!

With the average turnover rate for leadership roles at an unprecedented 18%, now is the time when these new leaders should briefly step back from thinking about where they are going next and, instead, take a moment to consider what they will be leaving behind.

What leadership impression will you be leaving in your wake? Are you creating policies, practices, and a work environment that will persevere … or will your time as leader be a flash in the pan that moves the organization from A to B rather than A to Z?

Think of it as leaving a footprint. Is your goal to leave a footprint set in stone, that will remain long after you have left … or do you plan to leave a footprint in the sand that will wash away with the tide to make way for a new leader?

It may sound strange to advise a leader who has just started in their role to be preparing for when they exit. However, if you have a good understanding of what you want to achieve and what legacy you would like to leave behind, you can significantly increase your chances of success by being intentional from day one.

So it’s important to ask yourself: How do I want to be remembered?

Inspirational and effective leaders create a roadmap of what they would like to achieve and what they plan to leave behind. You don’t have to know when you might leave, but by adopting this mindset you can consistently work towards a set of goals that guide you in achieving the intended results. 

This awareness also influences your leadership style. Leaders who can understand and forward-think enough to craft the impression they leave often harness highly effective people management skills. For example, being intentionally vulnerable and honest with your team, where appropriate, minimizes miscommunication and encourages teammates to work together.

Think back to the last time you had an off day (as we all do!). First, assume you did not communicate this to your team; your reactions could send ripples through the company, derailing the efforts you already made to build a well-functioning team. You could be remembered for your temper, abrasive style, or withdrawal from the team. Then imagine an off day where you clued-in your colleagues and direct reports. They knew from the beginning that if you were acting somewhat out of character, it was you and not them. They were not to blame for your behavior, and your honest vulnerability could instantly minimize the risk of negative ripples through the team and company. In this scenario, you could be remembered for your integrity, teamwork, and courage when under pressure.

The bottom line is that it is your decision how you want to be perceived and remembered. One effective way to start is to imagine how you would perceive yourself if you were an employee reporting to you – would you be happy with yourself as a leader? What would you remember about your leadership style?

In every leadership class I have facilitated, participating leaders turn the conversation to a discussion about ineffective or toxic bosses. A significant disruptive force of turnover comes from a leader who leaves a cracked or broken team in their wake. Leaders can avoid this outcome and, instead, be remembered for something beneficial or inspirational by being intentional from the get-go.

If you would like to discuss the coaching we offer to help you plan your legacy roadmap from day one, please get in touch with me at amanda@orgshakers.com

For this month’s reading recommendation, we picked up a copy of Thorsten Heilig and Ilhan Scheer’s new book, Decision Intelligence: Transform Your Team and Organization with AI-Driven Decision-Making.

Thorsten is the Co-Founder and CEO of Paretos, a company with access to cutting-edge AI technologies that use Decision Intelligence to equip organizations to independently tackle complex challenges and gain a significant competitive advantage without needing any prior knowledge on data science.

Co-author Ilhan is a Managing Director at Accenture, a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud, and security.

Together, they have authored a book which offers a practical and comprehensible guide for professionals who are navigating the decision-making landscape. Thorsten and Ilhan expertly explore the intersection of behavioral science, data science, and technological innovation and present the latest technologies and methodologies that are shaping these dynamic fields, highlighting how they can play vital roles when making business decisions.

As AI continues to become increasingly popular as a business tool, this book perfectly captures just how instrumental data and AI are in making informed future decisions by harmonizing human and business considerations across its five key points of coverage:

  • An exploration into the inner workings of AI models, and how to optimize these to tackle business challenges and unlock novel opportunities.
  • A business-centric introduction to decision intelligence, exploring why traditional decision-making strategies have become obsolete and how to transition effectively into decision-intelligence.
  • The evolutionary journey of Decision Intelligence, tracing its roots from analytics to modern techniques like process mining and robotic process automation.
  • An examination of decision intelligence at an organizational level, encompassing agile transformation, transparent organizational culture, and the pivotal role of psychological safety in facilitating innovative decision-making within modern companies.  
  • An overview of why – and where – AI still needs human expertise and how to incorporate this topic into daily planning and decision making.

In the age of working smart, organizations who are able to effectively integrate AI into the fabric of their company are the ones who are going to be able to best optimize its use. As the corporate world becomes increasingly digital, this book is a great way of keeping in stride with these sweeping technological changes.

To grab a copy of Decision Intelligence, head over here if you’re in the US and here if you’re in the UK.

And if you would like to discuss how we can help shape your HR strategy to seize the opportunities presented by AI technologies, please get in touch with us!

A lot of the time (but not always!), skepticism is construed as managing risk.

Personally, I believe that skepticism has become a mindset that has gained major footing in American culture. It’s like a screen that colors our daily sentiment.  We are weighed down by it, and a lot of the time will approach a new situation with a level of negative skepticism as a defence mechanism so to avoid meaningful change.

But I think what’s key to note here is that it’s fine to be skeptical on a topic. Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “Great intellects are skeptical,”.  However, it can be detrimental to be a skeptical person. This mindset will only hold someone back from their potential, their ability to grow, and their ability to be their best self.

Whilst middle managers may lean ever so slightly towards the skepticism end of the risk management scale while they develop broader situational development, executives should be in risk management mode to best lead the organization and their teams.

This is about incorporating a healthy dose of risk management when making decisions and strategizing to push the company to a new level. It’s about understanding how to navigate compliance and regulatory, protecting company assets, understanding economic outcomes, and communicating plausible scenarios. It’s not about apprehension to change, distrust in the new perspectives, reluctance to evaluate new opportunities, and being suspicious of the unknown. Managing risk versus skepticism is often the difference in making inclusive decisions and creating a culture for broad, needed change.

If we were to apply this to a chief financial officer’s (CFO) role, being seen as skeptical will mean that the most creative and innovative ideas will go around them. It is likely that they won’t be brought into the decision-making process if their lens is always a skeptical and pessimistic one; they will be pushed away from the decision table. To be a good partner to these potential innovations, they have to have a healthy sense of risk management. This means covering potential blind spots without stunting innovative growth opportunities.

However, just like being too far on the skeptical side of this scale can hold you back, being too far on the optimistic side can also have drawbacks – most notably, making decisions without considering the risks at all.

Finding a balance between these two will make for an executive who is managing risk while also taking risks, as without any risk there is no reward.

If you would like to discuss how we can help coach an effective risk management strategy to your executive team, please get in touch with me at ken.merritt@orgshakers.com

Currently, many HR buzzwords and phrases originate from the same place: TikTok.

First we saw the rise of ‘quiet quitting’ take TikTok – and then the wider internet – by storm. And now we are seeing a new trend with over 5 million views: ‘Managing Up’.

Managing Up is when employees work out how to best manage their manager; determining their manager’s working style and then adjusting their own approach to engaging with the manager to make both their jobs easier and more productive.

There are some great benefits that could emerge from this growing trend. For one thing, this counters the outdated idea that the relationship between manager and employee is a one-way (downward!) street.

Managing Up aims to cultivate a connection that is rooted in optimized, two-way communication.

By recalibrating this traditional hierarchical model of the manager and ‘the managed’, Managing Up allows for mutual understanding and respect to be built. This results in a more dynamic relationship between colleagues that allows them to work more cohesively and productively.

The accepted wisdom is that when a company hires someone, there is a relationship to be fostered between the hiring manager and candidate. Well, Managing Up highlights that there is a relationship to be fostered in the other direction as well.

If staff know the best ways of engaging with their managers, this will create a culture of openness where managers become more approachable regarding concerns that may not have initially been brought to their attention. This gives managers the ability to address issues that, traditionally, would not have been ‘on their radar’ which, in turn, will help create a higher-performing team.

However, a potential barrier to Managing Up taking root in an organization is team members not being able to successfully identify their manager’s working style. If they assume they know it and run with these false assumptions, what should be a respectful exchange can quickly break down.

This is where a psychometric profiling would be a great investment. OrgShakers’ technology partner SurePeople offer the robust and affordable online psychometric tools organizations need to create detailed profiles of managers and their teams along with practical advice on how those individuals can work together to optimize relationships, build trust – and accelerate performance.

In short, to deliver the promise of Managing Up.

If you would like to discuss how embedding online psychometric tools into your business can boost individual and team performance, please get in touch with us via our contact page.

July is Global Enterprise Agility Month. July is also – more importantly – the month that the Barbie movie comes out in cinemas around the world.

Now, these two things may not seem like they have a lot in common, but walk with me a minute. Before Barbie was brought to life by Margot Robbie, she was one of the most popular toys on the market, spanning all the way back to 1959 when the first doll was launched by Mattel. Since then, she has become the embodiment of agility – in 1961, Barbie was an air stewardess, a ballerina, and a nurse. Since then, she has had over 200 different careers in her lifetime.

But Barbie’s impressive CV doesn’t just highlight the need to be able to adapt to change, but rather to push even further and become proactive instead of reactive. Barbie became an astronaut years before man had even walked on the moon, she became a CEO in the 1980s and President in the 1990s – the first female President the United States has seen thus far. She isn’t just a symbol of agility, she is a symbol of dreaming bigger, and this ethos is one that all employers need to consider adopting.

However, building your company into a Dreamhouse doesn’t just happen overnight. Simply wishing to become agile is not enough, and if businesses want to embody Barbie, they need to be approaching agility from three different angles:

  1. Top-Down Approach – this focuses on the leader’s role in agility. Essentially, managers need to be well-versed in change management, and not afraid to dive headfirst into something new. This is of course within reason; they also need to be able to map out a trajectory of their decisions so to ensure that they are achievable from a business perspective and from an employee perspective.
  2. Bottom-Up Approach – this focuses on the empowerment of your team; if a manager is trained to make the company culture more agile and proactive, it can’t be assumed that their team members are also going to be well-versed in this. Agility is a profound thing, it doesn’t have one set definition or look one particular way, so it is important for leaders to ensure that they are supporting and empowering their people during this process so to achieve the desired cultural fluidity. This is also applicable to an organization’s consumer base, too – you want to empower your consumers as much as you want to empower your employees, and being agile allows for the empowerment of multiple consumer markets.
  3. Side-to-Side Approach – this looks at the actual structure of the business and its processes; the ‘practical’ side of agility. If employers want to become more agile, they need to have the right structures in place to be able to do so. This ties into the other two approaches, as this is what allows them to actually take place. Does the structure of the business allow for leaders to take risks? Are there processes in place to correctly recognise and reward those staff who are putting forward ideas and contributing to the agility of the company? The concept of agility is like being in a constant state of flux, it is the idea that businesses should try to be ever moving and ever-changing and be ahead of the curve as much as possible, but if the processes and structure isn’t there to support this notion then it will be very hard to achieve.

There is no set way to become an agile company, but even this is a lot like Barbie herself. There is no set way for what she does, who she is, or how she looks – it’s all about the context she finds herself in.

If you would like to discuss strategies to help make your company more adaptable and agile to future trends, please get in touch with us!

Hybrid and remote work have been the talk of the town the last few years. This highly successful alternative work style is a fantastic demonstration of corporate perseverance, resilience, and adaptability.

And yet, while many businesses have been operating like this since 2020, a recent study from Microsoft found 85% of leaders said the shift to hybrid work has made it hard to be confident that employees are being productive. Even though 87% of workers report performing better at home, only 12% of employers have full confidence their team is being productive.  

Subsequently dubbed ‘productivity paranoia’, it’s clear a large proportion of leaders may be struggling (even though employee satisfaction for hybrid work is extremely high, and from an economic perspective businesses have become arguably more profitable).

Why are some employers plagued by this paranoia, and how can they begin to mitigate their concerns?

It’s not uncommon for managers to encounter paranoia in one form or another during their career.  Important to note is that while hybrid and remote work has proven effective, the way it came to be was not traditional. Companies felt pressured to adopt this way of life due to COVID-19. When change feels forced it can be much more difficult to work through any accompanying negative feelings. For example, a person’s supervisory routine might be intensely disrupted, and suddenly they must learn what it means to supervise a group of people who are no longer physically around them.

It can be challenging to modify engrained work habits, especially when the need to address them comes as an urgent surprise. In addition, the concept of presenteeism has been rooted in corporate culture for decades, which makes it a hard habit to change even though we now know it is inherently flawed: being able to physically see someone does not guarantee they are more productive than when they can’t be seen.   

For leaders who are experiencing productivity concerns related to hybrid or remote work options, it may be time to step back, dig deep, and honestly explore what truly disturbs them about this situation. The answer could reveal a lack of trust in the team, reluctance to embrace change, or singular focus on the performance of one team member.

To help identify the root cause of why a leader or manager might push back on hybrid or remote work solutions, HR professionals can suggest they complete a Johari Window, or an Immunity Map Worksheet. These steps can help managers focus their thoughts and address specific concerns.

It is also key for HR to determine whether this is a potential coaching or organizational culture matter. For example, managers may develop productivity paranoia based on the inequitable nature of remote work within a company. Companies frequently have a variety of positions, some of which are able to work remotely and others that cannot. This may lead to divisiveness in the workplace and a manager may be resistant not because of the remote work itself, but rather the rising contention and its echoing effects on the harmony of the company.

HR plays a key role in helping employers manage productivity paranoia. Whether it be from a leader optimization or a culture cohesion perspective, we are integral to helping leaders unlock the people power in their organizations.

To discuss how OrgShakers can help you do this, please get in touch with me at amanda@orgshakers.com

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