People Make Up Their Own Minds At Elections And In Organizations

By Dr. Mary Lippitt | January 30, 2017

Winning support requires more than packaged positions and slogans. Building a ground swell or promising does not equate to a strong conviction. Emotions ebb as well as escalate based on personal assessments.

Persuasion tactics such as promising a prosperous outcome, warning of impending disaster, stoking excitement at rallies and calling on loyalty are flawed tactics. People do not blindly accept a message at face value. They scrutinize the content to see whether it is beneficial or not. And, repeating a message over and over again silences dissent but it does not win agreement. Leaders need to shift from employing persuasion tactics to practicing influence. Influence is based on knowing what the audience wants.

Influencing concentrates on the audience’s wishes, rather than what the leader seeks. Addressing audience concerns and struggles fuels enthusiastic support. The 2016 election illustrates the power of influence over persuasion. Donald Trump highlighted supporters concerns and promised to rapidly change deliver on change. Secretary Hillary Clinton’s well-crafted message focused on past accomplishments, her opponent’s weaknesses, her potentially historic candidacy and offered consistency. She misread the desire for jobs and the dissatisfaction with the status quo.

Polished delivery is secondary to delivering a resonating message. To gain committed support a leader must know what is top of mind. Political candidates confront a multitude of factions but focus groups, interviews, feedback and town hall meetings disclose their concerns.

The ability to influence stems from weaving these issues into a compelling message that sways thinking. At times, simultaneously satisfying all concerns is not possible. However, recognizing a viewpoint as valid and agreeing to address it at some point in the future wins support. Breaking the glass ceiling was not as important as boosting employment. Secretary Clinton won the popular vote but her goal was to win the White House.

Leaders need to listen to audience concerns before speaking to them. Knowing what your audience thinks beats charisma and showmanship every time.

First Published at:  https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/people-make-up-their-own-minds-at-elections-and-in-organizations/

Are You Rewarding A While Requiring B?

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Reward SystemsReward systems

I decided on my doctoral thesis topic after reading Steven Kerr’s 1975 article, The Folly of Rewarding A When Hoping for B, in the Academy of Management Journal (volume 18, pps.769-782). In the decades since this published, one might assume that organizations revised their reward systems to match their current strategy. Unfortunately, many have not.

In my consulting work, I still see organizations holding on to outdated metrics and systems. Many still promote individual stars despite needing teamwork. These organizations focus on short-term measures overlooking long-term impact. Despite a desire for openness and transparency, in some organizations providing honest feedback results in your being labeled a “non-team player.” Just as offering innovative ideas in response to requests can either advance or hinder a career. So it should come as no surprise that employees monitor and value actions more than pronouncements.

Check how well your organization’s recognition practices encourage desired outcome to meet current goals by asking the following:

  • Are promotions given to those who have clearly contributed to current strategies? Did a promotion announcement accurately depict the person’s accomplishments?
  • Is there an effective balance between individual and team measures?
  • Have strategic goals been translated from vague terminology into specific outcomes? Are performance metrics tied to today’s desired outcomes?
  • When a mistake occurs is the first question: who is responsible or what can we learn? What happens to those who take a risk but miss the target?
  • Do problems stay hidden until they become a public nightmare?
  • Is communication filtered or massaged before it travels up the chain of command? Are problems and challenges hidden?
  • How quickly is teamwork, outstanding service or initiative recognized?
  • Is reward system re-alignment a key part of the strategic planning process?

The good news is that some companies recognize disconnects within their recognition systems. Proctor and Gamble revised their reward systems to target what they wanted: product line sales growth.

First published: http://bizcatalyst360.com/are-you-rewarding-a-while-requiring-b/#sthash.0IvpmiXI.dpuf

 

Cultivating a Culture of Engagement

Trends in Leadership Practices

Reward System Surprises

The “Price” of Innovation: No Free Lunches

| leadership

Innovation. The very word conjures breakthrough products, magazine covers, and celebrity status. But those associations are too good to be the whole story. It requires a closer, more balanced, look. Innovation comes at a cost to leaders, teams and the organization.

Organizational Culture and Policy Change

Attention to measures, accountability and efficiencies have dominated organizational initiatives in the last few years. Innovation thrives on exploration, curiosity and discovery, rather than productive performance. It takes time to identify new options or synergies. Google and 3M are known for providing some of their employee’s discretionary time. How much time are you willing to provide? Which employees would be eligible? Can you shift from a short-term mindset to a longer time frame to develop and test those ideas? What changes to your reward system are necessary to support and maintain innovation?

Change in Leadership Practices

A leader’s role is typically defined as setting goals and measuring performance. While coaching and analytical thinking have been added in the last decade, leading for innovation requires additional skills. Engagement, risk taking, supporting setbacks and building resilience have become critical to innovation.

Overcoming the fear of failure or the stigma attached to anything less than stellar success stems from leaders who are willing to challenge thinking and insist on asking hard questions. One leader I worked with had a practice of starting each staff meeting with the question: What mistake have you made and what have you learned from it? It certainly set a standard for creative thought. Great ideas can come from any part of the organization. What are you doing as a leader to support the probing questions and assumption testing? You might be surprised what a brand new team member might ask and the opportunities those questions open.

New Support for Collaboration and Cross Functional Teaming

Did you know that the Wizard of Menlo Park, Thomas Edison worked with a team? In fact, several of his patents included the name of his teammates. While we have the image of the lone inventor, innovation thrives in teams. Cross-functional teams have one of the strongest track records for innovation. Combining engineering and medicine has provided breakthroughs in cardiology, orthopedics and more. The field of bioinformatics is just one example of how new fields of study can arise at crossroads of traditional functional definitions. What kind of teaming are you relying on? Is the team’s culture based on competition or collaboration? Is it siloed in one functional area or expanded across areas of expertise. And, how is teamwork rewarded?

Stand Up for Cancer Research efforts (SU2C) have demonstrated how the hero inventor must be transformed into a more collaborative effort not only across disciplines but also across organizations. Instead of researchers striving to be singled out for a Nobel Prize, the need to digest a torrent of data and complex interactions mandates a different approach across research centers. How can leaders build teams, overcome turfdoms, and create collaboration to identify new opportunities and solve intricate problems?

Is Innovation Worth the Price?

Recognizing the fact that there is a cost associated with innovation, does not mean that the costs outweigh the benefits. The pay-off in market leadership, new business models, product introduction and extension, service to customers and personal significance more than compensate for the adopting the quest for innovation. Just because a lunch is not free, does mean that you forgo the meal. It can still be a delicious delight.

Which is More Detrimental: Power or Powerlessness?

Working the System Instead of Fighting It

Motivational Power: Who Wants to be a Donkey?!

By Mary Lippitt | April 12, 2011Motivation Leadership

It’s time to update the carrot and stick approach. A cartoon of a donkey hitched to a wagon with a stick in front of it with a carrot enticing the donkey highlights the problem of trying to influence action without thinking about ramifications.

For centuries, dangling the carrot in front of the hardworking donkey or threatening the animal with the stick were two types of motivational power leaders used. Just as technology has advanced, we must expand this narrow view. Encouraging our leaders to rise to the challenges of new workforce expectations, requirements, and levels of competition requires more than a carrot or a stick.

Employee motivation, be it positive or negative, is a direct result of the appropriate use of power by a leader. Power is a bit of a dirty word that inspires a love-hate relationship. On one hand, it is connected to strength, forward motion and inspiration. On the other, it is often connected to despots, tyrants and evil bosses. The love, or carrot, of power reflects the ability to motivate others to achieve goals. The negative, or stick, stems from the forceful use of power over others that yields distorted behavior, corrupted decision making, or reduced initiative. Bearing both of these associations in mind, the use of power accomplishes goals and stirs engagement among employees.

While it is convenient to only have to evaluate two options: punish or reward, motivating both people and animals is much more complicated. The assumption is that we are just a “dumb” means to accomplish a goal diminishes us to the single task of cart hauling.

The fast reaction to the carrot or stick overshadows more sustainable options. Everyone may welcome a bonus but after a month, what is the power of the monetary incentive? Feeling like your contributions led to successful goal achievement, a sense that people trust and respect your experience, or the recognition that your insights made a critical difference in gaining support offers long lasting benefits.

How have you reacted when a “stick” strategy is evident? What motivates you? What type of motivational power have you used to bring out the best in others?