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Coaching People Development

Learn The Power of Storytelling & Why It is Important In Leadership

Learn The Power of Storytelling & Why It is Important In Leadership

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learn the power of storytelling

Expert marketers advocate the use of storytelling in order to build a compelling marketing message. By making it easy for your target audience to relate to your products and services, you can gain an edge over your competition. Did you know that leaders can benefit from the power of storytelling, too? 

Stories are what unite us as humans. Every individual has a story to tell. To become a great leader, you can leverage the power of stories to make an impact on your team and the organization as a whole. 

The Importance of Storytelling as a Leader

Great storytelling involves a lot of hard work, attention to detail, and understanding your audience. As a leader, you need this particular skill in order to inspire change and motivate the people within your organization. It’s a tool that can be used to communicate ideas more effectively because you establish an emotional and cognitive connection.

You do not need to have scaled Mount Everest or built the next greatest invention in order to tell a great story. You can make anything interesting as long as you have the right tools and processes to communicate your story.

There are three reasons why the power of storytelling is crucial for effective leadership. 

Stories are memorable

If you want to make an impact on the people who follow you within your organization, you can leverage stories to make it easier for them to connect with you. Stories are a common ground for all humans, no matter your position or role in the organization. An effective leader is someone who can connect with everyone and make them feel valued within the organization.

Great stories last a long time

An effective leader is someone who can make an impact even after they are no longer around. Even if you move to a different company or leave the organization behind, you can still promote productivity and enthusiasm in others by sharing stories that inspire them to do better. The learning they get from you extends beyond the mere act of sharing stories; the stories live within those that you lead in the organization. 

Stories inspire action from others

The ultimate goal of leaders is to inspire and motivate others. It is a way of sharing experiences. Even if others are not involved in the story, sharing it with them can make them feel a part of that experience. You can leverage that to compel them to take your desired action. 

Moreover, stories are based on experiential learning. It is an effective way to convey ideas and showcase the potential for human accomplishment. 

importance of storytelling as a leader

How to Develop the Power of Storytelling in Leadership

Do you want to become more effective as a storytelling leader? 

It doesn’t take rocket science to become a better storyteller. Here are a few things that you need to know in order to develop the power of storytelling as a leader.

1. Collect stories

As a leader, you do not need to travel the world and collect unbelievable stories to share. All you have to do is collect stories that you can share. How do you collect people’s stories? 

When you meet new people, you can get to know them by letting them share an inspiring story or two. You can also read a lot. Reading about other leaders’ stories can inspire you, and will give a few insights that you can share with your team. 

By collecting stories, you develop the ability to discriminate and identify stories that make an impact or add value (versus those that do not). Immerse yourself in others’ stories so you have a bank of them to share when the situation is right.

2. Dissect stories

One of the best tips to become a better storyteller is to dissect what makes a good story. If you believe a story is good, find out why. What is it about the story that makes it powerful and compelling? What characteristics are in the stories and characters that resonate with you? 

This is an essential step in identifying a good story. In the end, it helps you identify how to create stories that make the same impact on others.

3. Dissect the bad stories, too

In order to be a great storyteller, you need to analyze not just great stories – you must do the same with bad stories, too. 

It’s easy to say that a certain story is terrible. But why is it terrible? What elements about it don’t work? How can you improve on it? List the reasons why a story may be considered bad so you can avoid it when you are the one having to tell the story. 

4. Ask for feedback

A good leader is someone who is able to take and learn from any kind of feedback. A little constructive criticism never hurt anyone. If you want to harness the power of storytelling to become a better leader, you need to be open to getting feedback from others. 

An important tip to remember when telling a story is that you must provide context. This context will increase the relevance of the story that you share and make it easy for the audience to relate to. 

become an effective storyteller leader

The Power of Storytelling: Is It Worthwhile?

Becoming a great storyteller is not a walk in the park. It takes a lot of work. However, putting in the time and effort to learn what makes a good storyteller is worth it, especially if your leadership style relies on it. 

There is a growing body of research and evidence that explains the impact of storytelling on the human brain. The best stories are the ones that can make the audience more empathic – it should make them feel care and connection.

If that’s not enough, this study concludes that most people forget about 40% of new information they receive. By telling a story, people will more likely remember what you had to say. This is very important if you want to make an impact as a leader. Stories can be leveraged to deliver a message clearly, stir emotions, and inspire action. Emotions are what motivate others to act on your message, especially if it has something to do with your organization. 

Coaching People Development

The Benefits of Delegation and Why Most Leaders Under-Delegate

The Benefits of Delegation and Why Most Leaders Under-Delegate

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benefits of delegation

The old saying “if you want something done right, do it yourself” can be applied to almost everything in life. However, when it comes to leading an organization and managing people, this is called “micro-managing.” In most cases, this can do more harm than good. If you find yourself with a never-ending to-do list and continuously struggling as you juggle multiple tasks, projects, and people, it is time to discover the benefits of delegation. 

Delegation benefits everyone involved in your organization. Discover what these benefits are and how you can maximize them. 

Benefits of Delegation

Delegation means sharing responsibility, entrusting work and authority, and taking accountability for the outcome. This typically happens from leaders and superiors (employers or team managers) to subordinates (employees or team members). 

When it comes to managing people, delegation allows managers to make the best use of their time, skills, and resources. As you delegate, you ensure that employees and staff are supported in their development and growth while building confidence and trust. 

Delegation is a critical skill, especially for employers. Though it can be difficult to give up control and entrust other people with certain tasks, it is incredibly important, especially for those who work in teams. 

benefits of delegation for leaders

Benefits of Delegation for Leaders

It helps you manage and develop your staff

If you are unsure of what to do, or you do not have the ability and resources to develop your team, then you can start with delegation. More often than not, you know exactly what you want to accomplish on certain tasks and projects. Learning to delegate to certain people will help you hone your managerial skills and develop your team

It gives you more time to organize and plan more important things

Planning and organization requires a lot of time and it is even more difficult to do when you are managing several things at the same time. If you wish you had more time to do the more important things, then free up your time from less important things. 

It inspires confidence

Whenever you delegate to your team, you need to keep an open mind for questions and suggestions. Listening to what your team has to say will make them feel trusted, and that inspires confidence which you will see in their work. A good team is built on communication and trust. 

It keeps you from doing everything at once

Having too many things to do at once is not only detrimental to you, but for your team and the organization, as well. This is because there is so much room for error you may overlook the smallest details. Sometimes, those small details could spell the difference between failure and success. 

Spread the load around your team; work smart, not hard.

It can help you come up with better ways

You may have a good idea of how things should be and what outcomes to expect. A good leader knows when to listen because your method of doing things is not always the best and sometimes there may be better ways to get things done. Delegation opens you up to ideas from different perspectives. 

You could also benefit from different ideas and find ways to improve your own ideas. 

Benefits of delegation for your team

It builds morale

One of the best ways to inspire your team and build their confidence is to make them know you trust them. Most people will find it gratifying to know their manager believes they are capable of success. While a pizza party is a sure way to make your staff happy, delegation motivates and builds morale. 

It boosts initiative and creativity

If your employees feel empowered from your trust, they will be more willing to think outside the box and look for different ways to finish the tasks you delegated to them. Consequently, their initiative and creativity will produce positive results. 

Managers who fail to adequately delegate are left with employees who are afraid to take initiatives or feel uneasy about suggesting new ideas. When people feel their skills and talents are being put to good use, they will feel better about their work and their role in the organization. 

Personal initiatives and creativity can inspire breakthroughs, and this benefits everyone involved.

It improves their skills

Skill development of your employees is an important recipe for the continued success of your organization. Delegation helps them acquire or develop new skills which can be beneficial for you and the business. 

It allows them to contribute to the organization’s success

It is human nature to relish recognition for doing something significant, especially if it is successful. This experience brings a sense of accomplishment and pride. 

Benefits of delegation for your organization

It creates a positive work environment

Delegation benefits not just the managers, but also the department and the whole organization form a positive work environment. It boosts efficiency, productivity, cooperation, enthusiasm, and morale. All of these things are crucial for the organization’s bottom line. 

A positive work culture also minimizes turnover rates, safety risks, and ensures that the company keeps highly qualified employees who are good at their job. 

organizational benefits of delegation

Parting tips

Delegation does not only make it convenient for managers to assign tasks and shuffle personnel, it is not about giving tasks and projects to people and micromanaging them at each step of the way. Rather, delegation is about providing your staff a job to do and work within the given parameters. It is about giving them the creative license, autonomy, and authority to make their own decisions. It is about trusting them to make the right decisions to achieve desired results. 

For delegation to be effective, you also need to know how to do it correctly. Thus, you need to provide guidelines, tools, and resources to help them on their tasks. 

Though you need to be clear about your objectives and expected outcome, you also need to ask for their ideas and suggestions. More importantly, you need to know your employees individually. Understand that each person has his/her own set of strengths, skills, and talents. 

Lastly, know that delegating doesn’t eliminate accountability. You are ultimately accountable for the failure or success of your employee.

Change Management People Development

Process (CAP) – And How it Works for Your Company

Process (CAP) – And How it Works for Your Company

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change acceleration process

Overview: Change Acceleration Process

Organizational change is always a difficult process no matter how big or small your organization is. Any form of disruption can impact every member of the organization in one way or another. However, this is an inevitable step that all companies must go through if they are to experience a state of improvement and overall success. 

This is where the Change Acceleration Process (CAP) model enters the picture. It is a model designed to accelerate the implementation of change in order to achieve your desired goal within your desired time frame. It is a framework of principles and tools you need to implement your plan of action for quicker, more sustainable changes. 

This is a crucial transition phase, especially when it comes to planning the future of an organization. But this change is necessary in order to make room for improvement. If you are planning to enter this phase, make sure you plan ahead. This will help to create as little disruption within your organization as possible. You will be able to anticipate any challenge and align your actions to suit your business needs. 

The Phases of Change Acceleration Process

The Change Acceleration Process model is all about leading change by changing the internal systems and structures of an organization. It aims to answer the following questions: 

  • Why is there a need for this change to take place? 
  • How do you overcome resistance, especially from stakeholders?
  • How will you communicate and implement this model of change? 

There are a total of 7 phases that you need to go through in order to effectively and efficiently achieve the benefits of undergoing this change. They are outlined below: 

1. Leading Change

Leadership is most vital during your change initiatives. It is important to exhibit strong, committed and authentic leadership throughout the duration of your change process in order to have higher chances of success. 

How can leaders demonstrate this? You should be cautious about your message and your actions and ensure it is consistent with the change you are advocating for the organization. When there is a lack of commitment from the leadership level, there is a significant risk that your organization will fail at this initiative. 

2. Creating a Shared Need

Change is a disruption. Therefore, it is natural for the stakeholders to resist change and aspire to maintain the status quo. It is the leader’s responsibility to demonstrate the shared need for the entire organization. This must be supported by a reason – whether an opportunity or threat is looming. 

The reason that you choose for the shared need for change should be compelling enough for the stakeholders to resonate with it. The goal in this phase is to get everyone within the organization on the same boat.

3. Shaping a Vision

Once you can get everyone on board with the shared need, the leadership must provide a clear statement of the direction that the organization will take. This statement must detail the who, what, why, and when in your action plan towards achieving your desired outcome. 

The statement of action must be widely understood and shared among your peers and subordinates. At the same time, it must be measurable and concrete. This could be the single most crucial component of the success of your change initiative. 

implement change acceleration process

4. Mobilizing Commitment 

This is the part where you put your plans into action. With a detailed plan of action and with the support of the management, you can begin to implement your strategy. Get the team members that offer the lowest resistance on board so that you can build momentum. This is called the influence strategy. As soon as the rest start to see results, they will adopt and contribute towards the change initiative. 

5. Making Change Last

The phases prior to this are all about accelerating your adoption of change within the organization. As soon as you have implemented the change, the challenge now is how you can sustain it. The goal is to keep striving with your current efforts and action in order to establish a new norm within your organization. 

At the same time, you must continue to assess the results of your new initiatives so you can make tweaks as you go. This will inform you of any possibility of making more changes and the best practices to adopt before you go for a broader rollout. 

6. Monitoring Process

In an effort to sustain the changes you have implemented, you need to accompany it with constant measuring and monitoring action. You want to build on the momentum that you currently have. You need to pay close attention to the level of acceptance that you have developed since you made the change initiative. Do not be afraid to take corrective actions where you see fit. At the same time, you need to set benchmarks and work towards realizing them. 

7. Changing Systems and Structures

This is one of the most challenging parts of implementing the change acceleration process (CAP) model. The only way to see real change in your organization is if you evaluate your existing management practices and realign them to fit your new initiatives. Every aspect of your organization should be in proper alignment with each other to ensure success. 

By implementing change in the current state of your organization, you prevent the possibility of your business going back to its old ways. You need to be forward-thinking and focus on making these changes permanent. 

succeeding the change acceleration process

How to Ensure Success

Implementing the Change Acceleration Process (CAP) model into your organization is difficult, to say the least. An important factor for success is adaptability. Keep in mind that your goals may change over time, especially as you gain better insight into your change initiatives. It is fine if you do adapt your changes, as long as your decisions are data-driven. 

The implementation of this model is one of the best ways to enable your business or organization to compete. You can implement changes and improvements in a systematic way and within a relatively short period of time. This can be very useful when you are part of a rapidly evolving market. 

Coaching People Development

What Does a Visionary Leader Act Like – 7 Styles of a Visionary

What Does a Visionary Leader Act Like – 7 Styles of a Visionary

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visionary leader styles

When you think of a visionary leader, what or who comes to mind? You could point out some of the most creative thinkers of the modern times like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. In fact, they might have inspired this style of leadership. Over the years, there are many styles of leadership that have emerged but none as compelling or as revolutionary as the visionary leadership style. 

Many would agree that this particular style of leadership is vital for organizations to thrive and achieve long-term success. But how exactly do they achieve that?

What is a Visionary Leadership Style?

It was Daniel Goleman, in his book “Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence,” who popularized the concept of adopting various leadership styles. In this book, he identifies six leadership styles and visionary is one of them. According to him, the most effective form of leadership must possess all six styles. 

However, the visionary leadership style is the one that has seen tremendous amounts of adaptation and success by organizations of different kinds. According to Goleman, this style of leadership is most effective when blazing new paths. This is most effective in settings wherein creativity, innovation, and experimentation are allowed to thrive. 

Visionary leaders are ones with a compelling vision for their business. They are fuelled by their own inspiration and are willing to chart a new course for the future of their organization. 

In doing so, they inspire the members of their team to adopt that same vision. But at the same time, they provide their subordinates the freedom to carve their own path to realize this shared vision. They do not dictate or seek control. 

visionary leadership style attributes

Visionary Leadership Style: Key Attributes

These are the 7 defining attributes that make visionary leaders different from the others:

1. Inspirational

A visionary leader believes that having a shared goal will increase your odds at success. This is why visionary leaders do not work alone. Instead, they inspire the members of their team to adopt the same goal. 

Your goal is to ignite the same passion within every member of your team. Having this shared goal will drive their emotions toward the right direction – towards achieving your goal. It will light the fire in everyone to give it their best and to support one another. 

2. Innovative

With inspiration comes the desire to innovate. 

Visionary leaders are not afraid to think outside the box. Since they are naturally creative thinkers, their minds are always wandering with possibilities about how they can realize a vision that some people might not have.

And yet, they are not afraid to speak their minds or be different from others. In fact, being different and doing something that others have not done before is what drives them to innovate some more. 

The best part is that visionary leaders inspire others to think outside the box as well.

3. Open-Minded

The desire to innovate comes with it a sense of open-mindedness. When you are open to new possibilities, your mind is not limited in terms of what it can achieve. This is the mindset that visionary leaders possess. 

They do not limit their perspective to one; they love to explore different mindsets and perspectives. Their ability to see the big picture also means they are highly flexible and adaptable. 

They do not let any setbacks stop them in their tracks. They are not afraid to carve out a new path in areas where one does not exist. 

4. Collaborative

Visionary leaders are team players. This is what sets them apart from other types of leaders. The visionary leadership style is all about getting each member of the team involved. This type of leader likes to bring out the best in every member of the team.

Visionary leaders know that they cannot achieve a vision on their own. They need to rely on the help of their subordinates. 

Therefore, they work on putting together a talented team with each member having a vital role to play. It is their goal to harness every skill or gift that others possess. 

In doing so, they foster an open environment wherein everyone is free to learn and use their skills to their fullest potential. 

5. Magnetic

You can identify a visionary leader just by talking to one. Their energy is magnetic; you feel inspired just by talking to them or listening to them speak.

This is why visionary leaders experience a lot of success. They are about making others feel included. They invite you to aspire to make your own vision. This is why many young and talented individuals are drawn to these types of leaders. They exude a lot of passion in what they do, and that can be very infectious. 

Visionary leaders foster an innovative culture within their organization.

6. Emotionally Aware

Visionary leaders establish an emotional connection with their subordinates. They are not distant; instead, they cultivate relationships on a personal – not just professional – level.

This empathy towards their employees or members of the team makes them feel valued. By recognizing the contributions that your subordinates make to an organization, you will find they repay that trust and recognition with more effort and commitment.

7. Goal-Oriented

Visionary leaders have a laser focused attention towards their goal. The moment they set a goal, they utilize their time and resources towards achieving that. They are resolute enough to not let anything get in their way of achieving that goal.

Their optimism helps them to succeed in any situation. They do not dwell on the difficulties and challenges of the task; instead, they are inspired by them to work even harder.  

importance of visionary leadership style

Why Is This Leadership Style Important? 

All organizations go through a period of constant change and uncertainty, especially as you try to grow your business. However, the visionary leadership style can help you overcome these challenges by remaining focused on the task at hand and having a clear vision of your end goal. 

By holding that vision of your goal, you facilitate commitment from every member of your team. You can also use your visionary leadership to inspire everyone to rally towards your common goal. The ability to align every member of your team towards a shared vision will give you a competitive edge in the market. 

Assessments & Analytics Organizational Development

What are the critical success factors for your business?

What are the critical success factors for your business?

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critical factors for business success

No matter the industry, running a business involves a lot of things, and usually a lot of different people with different expertise. That is why you employ people to fill in different positions in different departments and have them work together as a team to achieve your business’s goals. Though the advent of modern technology has helped businesses to be competitive and successful in a lot of ways, there are tried and tested elements in running a business that cannot be replaced. They are called the critical success factors of a business, alternatively known as critical success factors (CSF) or key success factors (KSF). 

Identifying the critical success factors of a business is critical for both short and long-term goals. But what is it exactly? What does it do for your business and organization? And more importantly, how do you do it? 

Critical Success Factors of a Business: Basics

Many times, people overcomplicate things when it comes to running their business and managing their people. CSF is the exact opposite of that. 

CSF or KSF refers to the most important factors that provide the best results, impact, and outcome in achieving the goals and/or objectives of the business. 

To break it down further, it means improving and mastering the basics, looking for the overlooked and the often hidden opportunities that exist in the business. This will enable you to get the best performances for the best results from the same capital, activity, and people, with minimal risk and effort. 

When executed right, critical success factors of a business define and ensure the growth and goals of the company and its business.

The challenge in identifying CSF, however, is that since each organization, company, and business is different, the specifics of CSF can only be found through deep understanding of the company’s goals, vision, mission, and values. 

Why Identify the Critical Success Factors of a Business

It facilitates teamwork

Assembling a team of skilled and experienced individuals from different walks of life is one thing. Making them work together as a team is another. A CSF will help you help your team focus on what really matters. 

It allows you to track your progress

With a CSF, you can track and measure your progress based on the goals you have set and the strategies you have implemented. This will help you pinpoint which ones are working, which needs working on, and which ones you can do without. 

It provides a point of reference

A CSF will give your organization a common point of reference. This ensures everyone knows exactly what is most important, what is urgent, etc. This ensures that all tasks and projects are being streamlined to the assigned departments, teams, and individuals. 

identifying critical success factors of a business

What Are These Critical Factors for Success?

So what are the most common critical success factors of a business? How can you use these for your business’s benefit? 

As said earlier, CSFs differ from one business, company, and organization to another. With that said, here are some critical factors you need to look into.

1. Leadership (Management)

The management or leadership style in your business is the single most important factor that will determine your success. Your business can only grow to the extent that your management will allow the team to grow. The management must put effort into inculcating the right mindset within every member of the team. At the same time, they must be equipped with the right skills and tools to achieve your vision and mission.

2. Finance

The lack of proper financial management can be the downfall for your business. You need proper planning and trend prediction so you can maximize the use of company resources. With proper financial management, you can utilize your resources in areas that bring in profit or foster company growth.

3. Employees

The people who make up your team or organization are your most important asset. The success of your business starts with hiring the right people. When you hire employees, make sure you do not hire them based on skills or knowledge alone (although these are very important). You should hire them based on culture, too.  

The best people to help your team succeed are the ones who have the right attitude, and are trustworthy and accountable. 

4. Products or Services

Any business aspires to gain profits and grow. To make that happen, you need to develop the best products or services to keep your customers happy. Make sure you commit to every step of the process so you can ensure quality that exceeds expectation and allow you to compete. Make sure to listen to any feedback that you get from customers so you can improve on the quality of your products or services.

5. Marketing and Sales

These two are integral to your business success. Hence, they are among the critical success factors of a business. You need to market your products or services to reach a wider audience. At the same time, you need to conduct market analysis so you can measure, test, and analyze results. It is important to implement fundamental marketing principles to achieve your desired outcome. 

How do you know your CSFs are working?

Track the progress

Having a good CSF means you are a step closer to accomplishing your overall strategy. With that said, you need to know how to track your progress accurately. 

Say for example your overall strategy is to double the present size of your business. This means you will have to examine the growth of your customer base, partners, acquire new customers, and grow through acquisition. 

Assign a champion

Assign a person or two to champion each of your CSFs. This person is the leader responsible for the fruition of the set goals. He/she acts as a steward to make sure everything is moving in the right direction. 

common critical success factors of a business

Parting Tips

As said earlier, there are no hard and fast rules for identifying critical success factors of a business. Understand that this is not a one-off project. Rather, it’s an idea that requires a shift of culture within you and your organization. 

The way to make your CSFs effective is to integrate them seamlessly into your organization and continuously work on refining them. 

Coaching People Development

4 Main Problems That Come With Poor Communication

4 Main Problems That Come With Poor Communication

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problems with poor communication

Communication permeates every aspect of human existence. It plays a huge role in the establishment of relationships, cultures, and civilizations. New-born babies announce their arrival in the world using the only form of communication they know – by crying out loud. For businesses and organizations, good communication is the glue that holds things together. Despite the advancement in technology however, many businesses and organizations still struggle in this aspect, and this lack of communication leads to a host of problems in the workplace. 

How Lack of Communication Impacts the Workplace

What are these problems? How can you avoid these problems and have better communication? Here are the important things you should know. 

It makes workplace more stressful 

Lack of communication creates a sense of negativity in the workplace which amplifies stress among your employees. 

When people do not have the knowledge or the right information they need to do their job, their productivity suffers. Consequently, disconnected and uninformed employees can cause unfavorable effects on the business and its bottom line.

Often, a workplace that suffers from lack of open communication and constructive interaction has no defined strategies for communication. This leads to misunderstandings, and while misunderstandings happen all the time, regular misunderstanding in the workplace can cause serious issues such as conflict between colleagues, wasting company resources, failed tasks, failure to meet deadlines, unsuccessful projects, etc.

One tell-tale sign of poor communication is that people in the workplace are feeling tensed, overworked, and stressed. Subsequently, employees who are constantly stressed go home to their families worn out, and this deeply impacts their relationship with their families. This stress stays with them until the next day, and so on, and it can be really hard to get ahead.

Misunderstandings, arguments, and distrust

As said earlier, lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings between colleagues. This could lead to arguments and distrust between co-workers, which is the last thing you want when leading and managing a group of people.

Employees feel connected with their organization through their co-workers. You want your employees to work together towards your company’s goals. If they feel disconnected from each other, it opens a lot of room for misinterpretations, leading them to question each other’s motives, intentions, and ultimately leads to distrust. 

When this happens, most people will find ways to push back, even if they cannot do it directly or openly. And this results in a never-ending cycle of arguments. This could lead to an increase in absences as your employees may not want to be in each other’s company. 

Trust also goes out the window making it difficult for people to work together and meet deadlines.

problems that come with lack of communication

Dissatisfied and unhappy clients

Superiors tend to feel frustrated and stressed when their employees miss important appointments, deadlines, and fail on important tasks and projects, but so do clients and customers. If someone from your customer service promised a customer the return of his phone services, but failed to relay the details of the problem to the technical department, that customer will end up frustrated. 

When clients are dissatisfied and unhappy, they will take their business elsewhere. This will cost your company a paying customer. 

It can cause the “Grapevine Effect”

Someone will share something; it just may not be exactly what you said. It probably won’t even be correct. This is called the grapevine effect – the spread of unofficial information, also known as gossip. Since gossip is often incomplete and incorrect, it is open to change and interpretation subject to the speaker and the listener. 

The dissemination of ambiguous facts associated with the rumor could lead to disarray and disaster in the workplace.

So how do you solve the problem of lack of communication in the workplace? 

Ways to combat lack of communication in the workplace

Improving communication is easier said than done, especially if you have no idea how to do it and what the right tools to use are. Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips to help you out.

Establish the foundation

As a leader of the team, you want each member of your team to trust you. The more they trust you, the more they are open to communicate with you. That is why you need to establish a rapport with your team first.

You can start by taking your team to lunch or dinner. Make it light and do not talk about business or work. Rather, try to learn more about each other. This small gesture will break the ice between you and your team and open the line of communication for everyone.

Prove you are trustworthy

Many employees do not trust their employer: that’s a fact. It is your job as an employer to earn their trust.

Show them you are trustworthy by being genuine to them. Prove this in words and actions by showing empathy to their dilemmas. Make sure you follow through on things you say you will, especially if they ask for your help. People will most likely communicate a challenge or problem when they know they can trust you  and that you can work with them to find a solution. 

Actually listen, avoid making quick assumptions

Communication is a two-way street; it is not solely about getting your message across, it is about actually listening to what they have to say. Listen carefully before responding. 

Make sure you are all on the same page. Ask for clarifications and give each conversation with each of your team members your full attention. 

Consequently, quickly formed assumptions that came from missed signals are a recipe for disaster. If a person is lagging in a task you assigned him, do not quickly assume he is slacking or simply does not care. Ask the person what is causing the problem and help him find a solution.

improve communication problem in the workplace

Learn their strengths and weaknesses

Part of knowing your team is knowing each of their strengths and weaknesses. You may find out some people accomplish things faster in concentrated bursts, meanwhile some do their best work in ordered and segmented blocks. 

Make their roles clear to them from the start

Make sure each member of your team understands their roles and responsibilities in each project, right from the start. What channels the project needs to go through? Who has the final approval?  Keep the workflow transparent and establish all the stakeholders in each project.

Be thoughtful in providing constructive criticism and compliments. 

When giving your feedback, make sure you do not sound aggressive. Subsequently, give them a chance to share their thoughts and how they can work on the criticisms you just shared.

When giving compliments, break down how and why their work impressed you. Be as specific as possible. 

Solving the problem of lack of communication in the workplace may be challenging, but it is worth it.

Organizational Development Workforce Transformations

Differentiators in Business – How to Find Your Key Differentiators

Differentiators in Business – How to Find Your Key Differentiators

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find your business key differentiators

When looking for a business idea, there is one thing that new business owners aim for: to be unique. It is important to strive for uniqueness if you want your business to stand out in the crowded industries and high level of competition. This is why it is important to find your key differentiators in business if you do not want to fade into the background. 

What Are Differentiators in Business?

What exactly is a differentiator? The most basic definition of it is something that you possess or offer as a business that sets you apart from competition. It can also be a benefit that you provide your target audience. 

It is similar to your business’s unique value proposition. These are qualities that put you ahead of your competition, so they are likely to choose you over the others in the market. 

The main thing about differentiators is that they should make your customers feel good about their purchase. When customers feel good about their purchase, they are more likely to buy from you again or tell their friends about your company.

Main Criteria in Identifying Differentiators

As part of your marketing effort, you need to identify the key differentiators in business. To make it work, it must comply with these three important criteria:

  • It must be true. You cannot make something up just so you can make your business look good. 
  • It must offer something of benefit to your prospective clients. Remember: it is your goal to make them see the benefit of choosing to do business with you.
  • It must be concrete. You should be able to prove or demonstrate the benefits that you claim to offer. 

A lot of businesses meet one or two of these criteria but rarely all of them. Your ability to identify and capitalize on these differentiators can give you a significant competitive edge.  

types of business differentiators

Types of Differentiators in Business

Differentiators can come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can also vary depending on the type of industry your business is in. 

Take time to learn about these differentiators and see where you can gain an edge over your competition. 

1. Product Differentiator – This is probably the most common way that businesses differentiate themselves from others. The first method to differentiate your product is through features, efficiency, and performance. Another method to differentiate is with the perceived value of the product, which can be manipulated through advertising.

2. Price Differentiator – This is another common way to differentiate your business and products. For example, you can specialize in offering affordable products that are meant to attract budget-conscious buyers.

3. Reputation Differentiator – Another way you can set your business apart from others is by building a reputation based on your image. For example, your brand may be known for its world-class service or superb product quality. Even if your products cost more than others, the perceived quality based on your business reputation makes you the preferred option for consumers. 

4. Service Differentiator – Just as businesses invest on developing high quality products that sell, service is also a key differentiator. Buyers put a premium on quality customer service. In fact, even a poor experience with the product quality can be remedied by superior customer service.  

How to Identify Your Differentiator

Are you finding it difficult to identify what differentiates your business from others in the market? Don’t worry – almost all businesses struggle with this. After all, most (if not all) businesses start with the same goal: to develop a product that is unique and offers value to consumers. If all businesses have that same aim, how are they different from each other? 

You can identify your business differentiator by asking a series of questions. These questions are designed to help you find a deeper understanding of the nature of your business and how you can set a distinction from your competition.

Here are the questions you need to reflect on.

What do you do that the competition does not?

You might need to do a bit of market research and competitor analysis on this one. Look at how your competitors are developing their products and services, as well as how they market them. 

Next, make a list of the things that are unique about your business. You can do the same with your competitors. Look at the areas where you might overlap. The ones that do not will serve as your unique selling point. Focus on the ones that offer the best value and highlight that as one of your key differentiators.

How do customers benefit from choosing you?

When marketing your company, you need to ask this question from the customers’ perspective: what’s in it for me? You need to put a lot of emphasis on your customers’ journey in your marketing strategy. Your goal is to keep your customers happy. 

Make a list of things that your customers love about your business and why. 

What do your customers have to say?

When all else fails, you must go straight to the source. Find out from your customers what they love about your products or services. After they have made a purchase from you, you can ask them to complete a survey. This will give you an idea of what their feedback is on your products or services. 

You need to specifically look at why they chose you over your competition and how you stand up in terms of their expectations. 

identify differentiators in business

The Bottom Line

Are you able to identify your differentiators in business? Now it is time to promote them! Make sure you communicate it to your existing and potential customers so they understand what your business is about and why you are a better choice than others. Focus on your differentiators when crafting your marketing message, especially the value that your customers can get.

Identifying your differentiators is one of the most powerful tools you can use when building a winning marketing strategy. When executed properly, it might just be the competitive edge that you’re looking for. 

Coaching People Development

CEO Coaching: What, Why and How the Best CEOs Utilize a CEO Coach

CEO Coaching: What, Why and How the Best CEOs Utilize a CEO Coach

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how to utilize a ceo coach

Some say it can be lonely at the top. If that’s the case, then CEOs must be in desperate need of company. Thankfully, CEOs and leaders can turn to CEO coaching to provide the guidance they need to overcome the struggles of running and managing a company. With the future of the company weighing on them, they need help too. And this is where a coach can come in. But this type of coaching goes beyond that. 

With the right coaching and a CEO’s drive for success, this combination can deliver impressive results for a business. 

What is CEO Coaching?

Imagine this: Jess Bezos uses a CEO coach. Even Steve Jobs once had a coach. Even Tom Brady, arguably the best quarterback of all time, has a lot of coaches and trainers who are focused on improving every single aspect of his game.

What do we take from this? Coaching is something that everyone can benefit from no matter how good you think you are in what you are doing. In this study by Harvard Business Review, they demonstrate the link between coaching and high performance.

Before you can learn about what CEO coaching does for you – the CEO – and your company, it is important to define what it is. CEO coaching is dubbed the fastest and most efficient way to grow your business by becoming a more effective leader. But exactly how does that happen?

A coach is generally someone who is experienced at being a CEO or executive leader. They have formal training in mentoring using a structured framework aimed towards success. Their goal is to help CEOs clarify their thinking and make informed decisions that will impact the company. It is a great source of support for CEOs because they do not normally have anybody to turn to for help; after all, they are so used to people referring to them for any major decisions impacting the business. 

reasons why you need ceo coaching

Reasons Why You Need CEO Coaching

Today, CEOs serve as more than just the face of a company. They are looked at as visionaries and thought leaders. For a select few, they are considered pioneers and trailblazers in their field. But even CEOs can benefit from CEO coaching. In fact, the best ones continue to seek out suggestions and advice from an external viewpoint in order to improve how they manage business operations and conflict resolution, and boost team engagement.

These are some of the reasons why you need to consider coaching and ways you can optimize its benefits.

1. To learn something new

The best leaders and CEOs are the ones who continually seek to learn and improve. They do not claim to know-it-all, but rather are open to learning new things or skills. Even if your expertise is in one area, such as finance or technology, it does not hurt to learn a new skill so you can become a more well-rounded leader. 

The best coaches are the ones that can help CEOs develop professionally and personally. 

2. To see things objectively

It is easy to overlook any aspect of the business that isn’t going well or could be detrimental to your long-term success when you have too much on your plate. Therefore, having a coach is helpful because they can provide you with an objective, third-party assessment. A coach can give you a reality check, so you can fix blind spots or any aspect that you don’t even know could be hurting your business. 

When you deal with something so often and on a regular basis, it is easy to dismiss issues until they impact your business negatively. Don’t wait until that happens before you do something about it. 

3. To set aside time to reflect.

CEOs often lead a very hectic schedule. In between meetings and operational obligations, CEOs have so many things to think about on a daily basis when it comes to running a business. 

The time spent with a coach is a chance for them to slow down and reflect. A coach can help CEOs to use this time as an opportunity to explore new business strategies. It allows them to open up to possibilities that they may not have considered on their own. This is very promising for businesses that wish to expand or grow. 

4. To see things in a new light.

CEO coaching can open new doors of possibilities for your business. Coaches can help with overcoming business obstacles and see new ways of approaching these obstacles. By trying out new things, you have the opportunity to increase efficiency and productivity within your business. 

5. To help the company grow.

The style of leadership can have a huge impact on the productivity of the company. CEOs that are committed to developing their personal and professional skills are more likely to inspire the rest of their team to become better too.

The true impact of business coaching is evident in how the business is managed and what business decisions are made. However, acquiring soft skills like interpersonal communication and improving teamwork can go a long way in achieving organizational success. 

optimize the benefits of ceo coaching

How to Optimize the Benefits of Coaching

There are a variety of reasons why CEOs use a coach. Some turn to coaches for sound advice in solving common issues that face their company. A few others use a coach to help develop a smart and well-planned strategy for their business’s long term success. 

The best way you can optimize the benefits of coaching is to identify what you want to achieve first. This will help you both achieve accountability with every coaching session, so you can achieve your strategic goals. 

CEO coaching is a win-win situation for your business. It helps business leaders learn new skills and a new perspective on how to handle common business responsibilities. In the end, it is a good investment to allow your business to flourish because a company (or team) is only as good as its leader inspires them to be.

In fact, the most successful CEOs are the ones who are diligent, open to learning new things, and constantly seeking growth and development. 

Coaching People Development

Trust in the Workplace: 6 Steps to Building Trust with Employees

Trust in the Workplace: 6 Steps to Building Trust with Employees

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steps to build trust in the workplace

The Importance of Building Trust in the Workplace

Trust is the core foundation of any relationship, be it social or professional. Trust in the work setting is vital for the organization’s culture and success. Without it, people will easily feel disengaged and discouraged, and this could mean disaster for any organization. With that said, building trust in the workplace means bringing a culture of honesty, respect, and a sense of psychological security for everyone. It helps people, regardless of their position in the company, feel safe and happy about their roles in the organization. 

However, trustworthiness does not happen overnight. Rather, it’s a long and continuous process that needs everyone to be involved. As a leader, it is your job to cultivate this kind of culture in your workplace, from all levels and across all departments. But how do you do this?

importance of building trust in the workplace

Tips for Building Trust in the Workplace

Here are some key points you need for building trust in the workplace. 

Listen More Than You Speak

Understand that each employee is a unique individual who has his own idea and opinion. They have their own expertise and experience that they bring to the table. 

When communicating, listen actively to what they have to say. This shows you are fully connected and interested in understanding their situation or opinion before reacting or answering. Active listening will leave you with a happier relationship with everyone in the workplace. 

Thus, it is important that you instill this trait to each member of your company.

You can improve your communication skills by engaging in active listening training. This includes making a deliberate effort to ask each member of your team to speak their mind and encourage them to elaborate on what they have to say. Listen to both positive and negative feedback, and show them you are open to their feedback whether you agree with them or not. 

Empower your team with trust

This may sound like a no-brainer, but many managers fail to take this first step. Showing your employees that you trust them is a huge deal – pretty empowering. And in most cases, they will reciprocate it.

You can do this by giving them autonomy on tasks and projects that you have given them. 

You can also give them extra responsibilities. 

Also, you can encourage growth through professional development. One good example of this is to invite them to be part of important meetings that they wouldn’t normally attend. Say for instance you need help in your marketing and sales plans. It would be wise to take a sales rep with on-the-ground experience to the meeting and ask him/her for his insights. This person will remember your gesture and you may benefit from their experience. 

Cultivate accountability

If your team often suffers from poor work quality, missed deadlines, repetitive errors, and lack of trust, then that is a sign of accountability problems within the team. 

Remember that there will be no top-class management without accountability. Thus, the success of your team and the trust within each member of the team depends on the leaders being accountable for themselves and cultivating accountability with the team. 

Remember, trust is earned not given. Thus, building trust in the workplace means leaders must acknowledge their shortcomings as well. This will encourage employees to follow your lead. Walk the talk. 

Inspire with authentic leadership

A boss manages employees and tells them what to do. A leader, on the other hand, teaches employees why and how to do things, inspires, trusts, and values employees. Do not be a boss. Be a leader. 

Authentic leadership cultivates trust and improves employees’ performance and engagement. A good way to lead your employees is to coach them. This means providing training, encouragement and support, especially when they are struggling. Offer words of appreciation on a daily basis too, especially for those who are excelling at their jobs. 

Provide balanced autonomy

Surely, you do not want to be controlled or told what to do at every step of the way in your assigned tasks or responsibilities. Neither do your employees.

Rather than commanding your employees and telling them what to do and when to do it, allow your employees to be at their best by giving them autonomy.

Do not micromanage. After all, you (or your HR department) have hired these individuals for what they can bring to the table. Thus, trust them. Grant them a sense of ownership; give them tools, resources, and boundaries to work with. Encourage them to work with each other and make sure everyone is on the same page. And when they make a mistake, stay calm and tackle the situation head on, help them solve the problem. 

Establish an inclusive and welcoming culture

Your team is a collection of people from different walks of life; different cultures, traits, personalities, and viewpoints. Use this diversity to your advantage by accepting these different values and strengths. 

Create a company culture that welcomes everyone. You can pursue activities and initiatives that create a positive and welcoming workplace for different cultures that will benefit everybody. 

More importantly, establish a company culture that reflects appreciation, respect, and teamwork. Bring them together and give everyone an opportunity to connect with their co-workers. 

Tackle issues that concern your employees, especially issues that are important to them and give them a chance to be heard. For example, you have members of the LGBTQ+ community in your company. Make sure you provide them a safe space to work and give them equal opportunities to grow and develop their careers. 

Likewise, welcome new hires graciously. As a manager, you play a huge role in your company’s hiring process which is vital for boosting the organization’s employee retention. Small gestures like taking them out for a cup of coffee or lunch can help you establish a rapport, which is crucial for building trust in the workplace right from the start. 

tips building trust in the workplace

The Bottom Line

The more you actively work on building trust in the workplace, the more cohesive your workforce will become as a unit. With the right leadership, encouragement, and tools, you will soon have your dream team of people who trust each other and love working with each other. 

Organizational Development

Why Leadership Must Empower Team Members and How to Do It

Why Leadership Must Empower Team Members and How to Do It

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how leaders empower team members

Bosses and leaders may have many similarities, but they are quite different from each other. Though every leader can be a boss, not every boss can be a leader. So what separates leaders from bosses? Easy: it’s their leadership style. A boss manages, delegates, and expects results. A leader, on the other hand, innovates, inspires, teaches, and is committed to empowering team members. 

The idea of empowering team members in businesses and organizations is nothing new. However, many fail to do it for different reasons. In most cases, it is because the organization is led by a boss, not a leader. 

Leadership through empowering team members

Empowering your team means giving them the permission to make decisions on their own and take actions within the organization. Sounds easy, but it takes a lot of work as this means establishing trust and understanding in line with the organizations’ values and goals. 

You can learn a lot about leadership through empowerment from the military. The US Army for example, defines leadership through empowerment as “influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation.” Retired naval officer, podcaster, and American author Jocko Willink said “A leader must lead, but also be ready to follow. They must be aggressive, but not overbearing. Calm, but not robotic. Confident, but not cocky.” 

True growth of a business or company comes from the result of multiple people working together for the same goal. And that requires empowerment of each and every member of the team. 

In his article in The Globe and Mail, Andrew Atkins said, “Companies with high levels of trust and empowerment are more than 2.5 times more likely to be revenue leaders in their industries than others.” 

But how do you empower team members?

Empowering team members is a culture

Building an empowerment culture is no easy task. It requires thoughtful and proactive leadership, open communication and trust among each member of the organization, appropriate infrastructure of mechanism and accountability, stout and continuing member engagement.

Here are some steps and strategies on how to build the culture of empowerment in your organization:

Develop by delegating

While it is easy to delegate tasks among your team members, people often fail to use it as an opportunity to empower and strengthen the team. Rather than just giving away to-do lists, delegate tasks with the intention of developing and cultivating your members’ capabilities, skills, and responsibilities. 

Delegating tasks, especially for big and important projects, gives your team a good sense of value within your organization. Take note of your high-performing members and assign them with big tasks that you think will challenge them and bring out the best out of them. Make them leaders on these tasks. This gives them an opportunity to shine and eases your workload.

Show them that you trust them by giving them authority without checking back on them for every detail.

Give your team autonomy over their tasks

Different folks, different strokes. This means each individual has his own way of doing and finishing things. Your way may be different from their ways, but that doesn’t mean yours is any better. 

When you delegate tasks, you should also hand over control. Refrain from micromanaging your team and understand that your way is not the only way to get things done. 

Set expectations clearly

Outline the boundaries where your team is free to act. Set your expectations clearly (of course, without micromanaging) and give your team the freedom and responsibility to make decisions that are in line with the company’s goals. 

steps to empowering team members

Provide all essential and helpful resources

You cannot expect your problems to magically go away, or things to automatically sort themselves out, by simply letting your employees work on them without giving them all the necessary resources. Provide tools and ideas that you believe are necessary to get things done. 

Give positive feedback, criticize constructively

A good leader recognizes the good deeds of his or her employee. This is extremely important, especially when someone takes a leadership role and is successful. 

Similarly, be specific on the feedback you deliver. Simply telling them “great job” doesn’t steer them in the right direction on what to do in the future. Guide your employee to help them find the right solutions; point out the good and bad, and provide alternatives that you believe could improve their performance. 

Mentor your team

Do not just teach your team members to do what you think is right, or tell them the steps to quickly complete the tasks. Empowering team members require coaching and mentoring.

Coaching and mentoring is extremely important for a positive work environment. It brings the best out of people.

Mentoring means working with them to make good decisions; this comes after you help them develop their skills and solve problems. 

Build real and authentic connections with your employees, practice humility, and use humor to make them feel at ease. Identify their strengths and weaknesses, and help them improve on areas they need to work on. 

Similarly, assign tasks that you know could optimize each team member’s capabilities. This will help them feel valuable and competent. 

Make sure you explain clearly why you assign them certain tasks and let them know you believe in their capabilities.

Encourage open communication

When communicating your ideas and goals about certain projects, make sure you hear what your team member has to say as well. Make sure they feel comfortable in expressing their ideas and thoughts. Encourage them to brainstorm and think outside the box. Similarly, commend them for their feedback and opinions. 

strategies to empower team members

Be open to other ideas 

Include your team in decision-making and goal-setting processes whenever possible. Getting them involved in the preliminary process is a good way to empower team members. Be open to hearing their input and ideas. This can open your organization to new ideas that could catapult your way to more success. 

Recognize their hard work

Make sure you always show appreciation for each of your team member’s hard work, especially if they do a good job. If possible, reward their success through incentives or bonuses, especially if they go above and beyond to complete the assigned task. This will further encourage your team to continue being innovative and taking actions. 

Having a good empowerment culture in your organization is a win-win for you and your team. While you can certainly achieve certain things with direct management – sustainable growth and continued success comes from empowered team members.

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