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[Q&A] What to do with a supervisor who isn’t getting it?

[Q&A] What to do with a supervisor who isn’t getting it? Dear DISC Wizard, Thank you for leading our team retreat last month.  I have found your training helpful in both my personal and professional life.  I have been trying to live by your example of attempting to see things from others perspective and to understand why they do what they do. My question is, what happens when my supervisor, who admits to being just like the DISC analysis you provided (Dominant if you haven’t guessed already), laughs because she is not surprised by her results and it doesn’t appear she is attempting to learn from them?  I would appreciate any guidance you can offer me.  ~ Kathryn B.   Dear Kathryn, Thanks for your email.  When we learn something new that has an impact on us, it’s very normal to apply it to ourselves and then look around and see if/how other people are applying it.  And SO frustrating when they aren’t! Here are some initial thoughts and I’d be happy to talk with you further about this situation if you contact my office at 888-347-2949. 1)    First, we can never be sure that the other person isn’t learning from the information just because we can’t see it. 2)    Let’s say that she isn’t applying the information.  Remember, people only change when there is a problem they have that they don’t want or something they want that they don’t have.  Otherwise, change is just too much work. 3)    Sometimes people don’t even know there is a problem with their behavior because the people around them haven’t been willing to speak up to them about their behavior.  (This can often happen with the Dominant style that comes across as intimidating!)  Is it possible that your supervisor doesn’t see the need to change because she doesn’t know the consequences of her current behavior?  Are you willing to have that conversation? ~ The DISC Wizard        ...

Navigating The Growth Curve: Building A Profit-Driven, People-Centered, Growth-Smart Company

Navigating The Growth Curve: Building A Profit-Driven, People-Centered, Growth-Smart Company If like most business owners, you have read dozens of business and leadership books over the years, but have struggled how to implement or integrate all of these different philosophies, The Growth Curve may be the answer. The Growth Curve Model provides the clearest explanation of how a CEO can improve his or her company’s growth and profitability by tapping into the collective intelligence of the organization. The model is based on the research of James Fischer, co-founder of Origin Institute, including work with over 650 CEO’s and their companies spanning 35 different industries. A key indicator of successful companies that Fischer discovered in his research was that the company leaders knew how to focus their efforts and resources on the right thing at the right time. It’s not that they didn’t have the same challenges as everyone else.  It’s that when they did, they anticipated them, they knew how to put them in context to everything else they were facing and, ultimately, knew what to do about them. After years of working with CEO’s from every stage company, I can see that there are some common mistakes made when navigating these different stages. 1)    These leaders don’t allow the company to be in the Stage of Growth it is in.  They are either in a later stage still operating like they are in a previous stage because that is what they are familiar with (i.e. acting Dominant and CEO-centric even though they have passed Stage 2) or they are in an earlier stage trying to operate like a Stage 5 or 6 company because that is where they want to be. 2)    Thinking they have handled the  previous Stage’s challenges and that they should be done and not have to revisit them.  (i.e. We did a Core Values Exercise, they were rolled out to the organization, let’s move on.) 3)    Not knowing how to effectively develop leaders creates either a temptation for the CEO to work harder and harder (the #1 reason for entrepreneurial burnout) or the tendency to throw people at the ever-increasing workload. While these CEO’s may not have understood that the above were the root causes of their challenges, they sure were busy feeling the effects, such as: Everything they used in the past to manage their company didn’t seem to be working anymore. Looking for the outside influences and external pressures that are responsible for their challenges Living on Tylenol and Tums (or wine and Zoloft!) Thinking it is up to them personally to control everything or “save the day” Feeling discouraged, disheartened or defeated wondering why it is suddenly so hard If any of the previous symptoms sound eerily familiar, I promise you I haven’t been reading your journal or talking to your spouse. It’s just that the Growth Curve model was created by studying hundreds of companies like yours.  The chaos you’re experiencing is predictable but, thankfully, so are the solutions to it. If it’s time to find a more effective model for predicting and managing the direction and growth of your enterprise, send an email directly to me at nancy@ discwizardonline.com.        ...

[Self-Assessment] 10 Questions to determine your Leadership Quotient…

[Self-Assessment] 10 Questions to determine your Leadership Quotient…   If you are a Leader, CEO or Business Owner, complete this 10-question Leadership Self Assessment. The point of this assessment isn’t to pick the “right” answer but the one that is most true for you.  That you know the right answer is of very little value. After all, as Stephen R. Covey so aptly put it, “To know and not to do is really not to know.” Select the letter of how you most often behave in each scenario then look at the end for your results. 1.  When an unexpected issue crops up, my first instinct is to:  a. Ask those involved for their analysis and ideas b. Pause to first identify the root causes underlying the issue c. Address the issue immediately (I’ll figure out the root causes later) 2.  I believe that my employee’s ideas and perspectives: a. Can improve the company’s performance b. Have some merit – some of the time c. Are not thought through and often lack the bigger picture 3.  I ask for my employee’s opinions:  a. Through a confidential, anonymous mechanism (such as a survey) b. By meeting with them one-on-one c. During company or team meetings with everyone present 4.  When it comes to our vision, strategic plan and core values:  a. My team brings these up to me as reminders to keep us on track b. Team members can recite these to me if I ask them c. I can’t remember the last time a team member referenced one of our core values  5.  When faced with a decision, my biggest concern is about the consequences of: a. My employees not feeling as though they were involved in the decision b. Getting the decision wrong c. Not moving quickly enough on the decision 6.  When I communicate with my organization, I believe it is more important to: a. Spend considerable time planning upfront on what and how to communicate b. Be strategic and careful as to how much to share at any given time c. Be authentically in the moment when communicating 7.  I believe that to be seen as “collaborative,” it is more important to:  a. Seek first to understand, then to be understood b. Ensure team dynamics remain smooth and positive to ensure long-term success c. Engage in constructive debate to get to the best outcome 8.  My team would say that under pressure I tend to be:  a. Deliberate and thoughtful in how I engage others b. Someone who reacts instinctively and with genuine emotion c. Unaware of my behavior or impact on other’s performance 9.  When faced with unsolicited feedback from my team, I tend to react: a. Positively.  It may be their perception but I do try to see it as an opportunity to improve. b. Neutral.  I usually see their point.  Doesn’t mean I will automatically change what I’m doing if I believe it’s working for our benefit. c. Negatively.  It makes me angry, anxious, misunderstood or threatened. 10.  When it comes to employees, I truly believe:  a. Most people want to be a part of something bigger where they can contribute their best work. b. Most people just want to do their job, collect a paycheck, and go home to live their lives. c. Most people don’t understand business and don’t want to be held accountable for results. If you answered most questions with A, you have High Leadership Quotient. You believe in the “collective intelligence” of your organization and that people have passion and want to make a contribution.  While it’s likely taken some work, you are deliberate and thoughtful in your communication and take time to respond rather than rushing in...

The Out-of-Touch CEO

“They aren’t stepping up.  It’s like we’re having the same conversations over and over again.  The same problems show up over and over.  There’s no sense of accountability or ownership.  I swear, some days it feels like I’m herding cats!” This has been the refrain of many CEO’s and business owners I’ve worked with over the years in regards to their teams.  Many times, I have been brought in under the guise of team alignment, building, or development but if we’re being honest, most of the time, I am told the problem is the team and we need to “fix” them. So it’s not too surprising that at the beginning of the engagement when I meet with the team members I hear, regarding the CEO or owner He says he’s open to our opinions but then he shoots them down without even considering them She is quick to dismiss our ideas and input because she thinks she is always right He acts defensive any time he is challenged Forget about giving constructive criticism – she can’t handle it From the leader’s perspective, people aren’t showing up.  From the team’s perspective, they can’t show up because the leader doesn’t allow it. So, who’s right? What the comments from the team members are reflecting is the most common leadership style of Command and Control. “A command and control approach to leadership is authoritative in nature and uses a top-down approach, which fits well in bureaucratic organizations in which position and power are vested in senior management.” Most of today’s leaders developed their careers under the influence of command and control managers, and the culture of most organizations is still based on command and control behaviors. Beyond that, many CEO’s and Owners were raised in very traditional cultures with a mother or father who used command and control as their parenting style.  Dad barked the orders and the kids complied. Add school, religion, military and any other traditional, hierarchical culture on top of that and you’ve got leaders who never saw any other way to lead. “As a commanding officer, when you say something, that’s the truth.  No one disputes it.  When I began working in the private sector, I expected the same.  But when I would say to my team, ‘Please do this or that,’ they would look at me and say, ‘Why?’  I realized I needed to provide a rationale. In my old world, I was the rationale.” ~ Former Danish Navy Seal COMMAND CONTROL LEADERSHIP – WHEN IT WORKS We can’t deny the fact that there are times when this leadership style is still appropriate.  Examples include: In the first two stages of growth of a company when there aren’t many levels of leadership and people mostly report to the CEO. For initiatives that do not require people to change beyond learning new technical or operational skills. In times of crisis when there is no time to use the skills of consensus building, collaboration, etc. However, in the day-to-day operating of a growing business not only is it not the most effective leadership style, it’s also not what most leaders say they want. From experiencing discouragement to outright burnout, these leaders call me not because they want to engage in some warm and fuzzy “trust falls” with their team but because they are finally feeling the effects of the command and control style personally. If this is the case, why do so many leaders continue to default to a style that is no longer working for them? WHAT GOT YOU HERE… When you examine these business owners and leaders, most of them got where they are by being driven,...

[Note from Nancy] One of my scariest moments in business

When I started my consulting business in 2002, one of the biggest challenges was how to face one of my worst fears. Not running out of money (though that happened), not having to go back and get a job (though that almost happened) but how to work with the High Dominant leaders and business owners I would inevitably have as clients. You see, as a naturally low Dominant at the time (I’m MUCH higher on the D-scale now!), High D’s were scary and intimidating. I didn’t care that their “bark was worse than their bite” – it was their bark that scared me in the first place! So for quite a few years, I kept my mouth shut and toed the line like a good little soldier. Until I realized, they already had plenty of soldiers around them. They were paying me to tell them the truth. I will never forget the day when I had to decide whether or not to confront a CEO in front of his team for some pretty bad behavior during a team training. My choice to do so had me, literally, shaking. While he didn’t say anything to me at the time (or the rest of the day for that matter), I began to dread the next morning when he would be driving me back to the airport. This was what he said when I got in the car, “You know Nancy, I wasn’t very happy when you told me yesterday that I intimidated my team and that my response frightened even you. But then I started to think about it. My teenage daughters have been telling me for years that I scare them and I’ve never believed it. I thought it was some sort of manipulation tactic. So I went home last night and for the first time apologized to them.” And that has been indicative of my experience working with High Dominant leaders over the past 15 years. They aren’t always aware of their behavior and they are rarely aware of its full impact on others. But when they truly get it, it can be one of the most enlightening moments that shifts every relationship they...

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