How to Provide Practical Feedback for Success Today

Leader comm“Leadership success requires giving practical real-time feedback.”

Many employees, teams and companies fail due to lack of real-time, practical feedback. Bosses wait until annual performance review time, bringing up issues from months ago. Managers fear saying anything negative because it would reduce their likability. Most lack experience on how to turn feedback into a positive process and instead wait until it is unavoidable.

The good news is providing real-time, practical feedback is a skill that can be learned. Good leaders check on progress to provide timely feedback. They are proactive about resolving issues and not waiting until there is a crisis. Plus, they demonstrate by example how to offer and receive feedback in a constructive manner.

5 Feedback Tips for Success

  1. Do It Now. Have a conversation after a quick and thorough investigation into the complaint. Talk with all people directly involved. Listen for the core issue. Then, build an agreement with everyone involved on how to proceed forward.
  2. Build Good Working Relationships. Develop good relationships with all of your employees: full-time, part-time, contract or temporary. This builds trust and makes it easier to provide needed feedback in the future.  It also makes it easier to communicate tough decisions. Employees value well-delivered feedback from someone they know is committed to their success.
  3. Use Sandwich Approach. Here’s the formula: 2 positives to begin + 2 factual and specific concerns + 2 positives to end = positive feedback. This basic outline provides effective feedback in a manner that employees can hear. Don’t forget to listen to their POV. There will always be more than one side to any story or problem.
  4. Provide Training. Provide training on how to use persuasive listening skills to offer good feedback. Using scientifically validated job fit tools will uncover misconceptions employees have about one another … and provide invaluable laser-like coaching. This allows you to turn around tough issue easier, faster and more productively.
  5. Use 360-degree Feedback. Real-time, critical feedback can be difficult to get. Use scientifically validated 360-degree tools quarterly, not annually. Quarter reviews will provide far more powerful feedback than annual performance reviews! These tools keep individual responses confidential and encourage truthfulness. Work with your executive coach to review the results. Then, share key results with others and listen to their feedback on how to improve.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results. Feedback after the fact is useless. Feedback provided in real-time is invaluable. What do you need to be able to deliver and listen to feedback now? Contact Jeannette for a preliminary confidential conversation. Do it now.

What Happens to Your Business If Something Happens to You?

Successor

Many business owners, executives and entrepreneurs have failed to plan for their retirement or for when they are no longer able to handle their job responsibilities. As a result, when something does happen, the company and its employees, clients and vendors will experience unnecessary chaos, uncertainty and stress. Some companies will need to close their doors.

All of this can be prevented by creating and implementing a well-thought-out succession plan now.

Start Developing Your Successors Now!

Business requirements have evolved, along with the qualities required to be successful. When you select your successor(s), it’s important to see beyond likeability, hearing what you want to hear or seeing potential in the person that is not evident to others.

It’s costly to select the wrong person. According to Harvard Business Review, 64% of executives in new positions fail within the first 18 months! (Remember, when they leave, they will take good employees and customers with them!) So, it’s important to get it right the first time.

9 Keys to Create Successor Success

  1. Job Fitness. Whether you promote from within or hire from the outside, the person must fit the job responsibilities to be successful. (For example, if financial management skills are required and they don’t have the interest and skills, they will make poor financial decisions.) Use a qualified job assessment and a 360-degree feedback assessment to develop and uncover any concerns that need to be addressed now. Developing the successor’s skills and business savvy are required before they receive the new job title and compensation package.
  1. Conduct Conversations Over Time. Meet at least quarterly and assess the future successor’s values, vision, interests, skills and understanding of the business and industry each time. It’s a great opportunity to mentor, talk over challenges and learn from one another.
  1. Design a Long-Term Game Plan. The intent is for the transition to be seamless. A customized game plan prepares each successor, so there are no surprises to the company and its employees, customers and vendors. Develop more than one person in the event of life and/or career changes. Update the plan every three years. And, remember, ask each person first before slating them for the position and make sure they will do the work to be ready!
  1. Executive Coach. Hire each future leader an executive coach to be the person’s confidential sounding board. Relying solely on internal mentors can hurt a successor’s future if confidentiality is broken.
  1. Outside Experience. It’s important for future leaders to gain the depth and breadth of experience by having worked for other companies, especially if the company is family-owned. As part of the Game Plan, have these potential leaders work in another company environment for five years, preferably in a management role. This will expand their point of view and leadership skills.
  1. Redefine Job Responsibilities. One year from retirement, review and update job descriptions with the people slated for the new roles. Don’t be afraid to redefine jobs and split the roles based on key skill requirements (e.g., Chief Financial Officer (CFO) may handle financial matters well, but not human resources issues. Break the position into two jobs, CFO and CPO (Chief People Officer).)
  1. Common Values. This is a critical factor that is often overlooked, particularly when nepotism is involved. If someone does not possess the values or integrity required to run the company, don’t be afraid to say, “no.”
  1. Step Away. Too often, the person leaving wants to stay and have the successor shadow them. This is not advised since successors lose important credibility that they are unable to gain later. Set aside egos, let go and move forward. (Please note: smart successors will set up quarterly meetings during the first year to meet and talk through issues with the former leader.)
  1. Let go. Sale of the company is always an option. When emotional attachment is high and there is a strong desire to leave a legacy, this option is often ignored. It can actually be more financially beneficial to all parties.

By creating a long-term succession game plan now, you develop successful successors.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results.  Are you having trouble planning for the future, and picking and developing your successor(s)? Don’t wait to let go of the reins! Contact Jeannette now for a preliminary confidential conversation.

10 Myths about Executive Coaching You Need to Know

Key

Successful business owners, executives and leaders know that having an executive coach isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

While many business professionals believe the DIY approach works, it’s a myth! The DIY process will prolong the time it takes to achieve your goals, and in the process you’ll become tired, stressed and hit the proverbial wall.

Many DIYers quit, change their goal to reflect what progress they have made, or fall victim to the allure of some shiny object. At that point,  intended results have been sidelined, dreams diminished, and the vision for success forgotten.

Uncovering myths about executive coaching allows you to see why it’s a critical component to success. Having the right coach allows you to get real about your goals, keeps you focused and reawakens your commitment to succeed.

The Top Ten Myths about Executing Coaching:

1.I can do it myself. (Unfortunately, many DIYers think they can be their own coach. Listening to yourself is a fool’s game and rarely gets you promoted.)

2.A good coach needs a certification. (Certificate programs can be helpful and provide technical skills. However, an executive coach with experience, powerful listening skills and the ability to customized ideas to your unique situation is far more powerful. That kind of experience cannot be learned from a certification program.)

3.It’s too expensive. (Not necessarily. How much are your career, time, family and financial future worth?)

4.My company won’t pay for it, so it must not be important. (There comes a time when you have to value yourself, your career, and be willing to invest in both to ensure your success.)

5.Coaching is only for people who don’t have what it takes. (Coaching is for anyone and everyone wanting to take the next step up in their career. Having a confidential sounding board helps you become aware of your blind spots. And, everyone has them!)

6.If you work harder, you will be successful. (Working smarter, not harder, means doing things in a way that is effective and efficient. The right coach will help you work smarter.)

7.I’m doing fine and don’t need a coach to prepare me for the next step. (Great! Are you ready to handle the next issue or challenge with ease and effectiveness? If you say yes, ask your employees, boss, customers and vendors if they would truly agree.)

8.I have friends and family who provide me with lots of advice. (Yes, many people do. While they mean well, most friends and family members don’t have the courage to tell you what you really need to hear. As a result, you miss out on the critical factors required to make better decisions, build stronger teams and achieve intended results.)

9.I have too much work to do and cannot take on anything else. (If this describes you, coaching should be at the top of your list. Most coaching comes just in time, when you need it most and when it can provide the greatest impact.)

10.I’ve already hit the glass ceiling and no coach can change that. (Nonsense! Anyone can become a successful leader with the right coach navigating them to success. Additionally, success today is about more than just technical and financial skills. It requires being forward-thinking, team-oriented and goal-driven…all areas where an executive coach makes a big difference.)

When you uncover the myths holding you back, you will see that hiring an executive coach is the most critical component for your success. What are you waiting for?

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly  has been an executive coach, business advisor and management consultant for over 25 years. Do you need a confidential sounding board, someone that can help you navigate issues and challenges effectively? Are you ready to catapult yourself toward success? Contact Jeannette for a free confidential conversation.

Are you hiring happy employees?

Google the phrase “happy employees” and you will find statistics that show many employees don’t like their jobs, their bosses, their company, or their work requirements. The bottom line? They are not a good fit for their job. Unhappy employees become bored or overwhelmed, start complaining, and don’t do the work as it needs to be done. They expect you, the boss, to fix what’s wrong with the job, the company, their customers, their coworkers, and everything else they view as difficult! They don’t understand that from your perspective it’s their job to provide solutions to these problems and be open to training to enhance their skills—which is why you hired them in the first place! Remember, high proficiency in job skills will not necessarily mean good job fit!

Using qualified assessment tools will help avoid a bad fit and create happier workers (aka top performers)!

Top performers are employees who truly fit their jobs. They help create a positive work environment, reduce communication issues, increase job satisfaction and loyalty, and ensure customers keep coming back.  As a boss, you will find that they are effortless to coach, train, and manage.

Using more objective data provided in a qualified pre-employment assessment will eliminate the time and money spent trying (usually unsuccessfully) to “fix” them. An attempt at “fixing” usually leaves them, and you, unhappy!

High-quality “job fit” assessment products predict success in a specific job and have been thoroughly researched and validated. They can provide reliable and relevant information that is non-discriminatory. (Be sure to review the technical manual of any assessment you wish to use for pre-hire purposes and Department of Labor guidelines to determine which tools are qualified pre-employment assessments. Do not rely solely upon a product letter stating its virtues.) Used as directed, they work! Everyone is happier!

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Mark your calendars for March 13, 2013. Hire Amazing Employees, Second Edition: Improve Your Profits (and Your Work Life)!  will be available for purchase.

Jeannette Seibly delivers straight talk with immediate results to business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises, creating dynamic results. You may contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com for an initial free consultation.

Five Detrimental Leadership Habits

Successful leaders develop as a result of good habits! Take the time to “clean up” poor business behaviors and attitudes before they derail your desired career direction.

Flavor of the month. Using jargon to manage others or projects does not make you sound knowledgeable. Many times terms used out of context simply gives your employees or business associates the impression you don’t know what you are talking about. Hire a business coach to help you effectively elicit the actions and results required.

Me-ism. Self-focused commitment on the numbers in your paycheck or procurement of perks (at the expense of others) does not create loyalty or desired results within your enterprise. Leaders who thrive make commitments to the organization, employees and people they serve (aka customers), first. They talk the talk, and walk the talk, creating win-win outcomes.

White lies. Trust is a decisive factor in whether or not others will follow your lead. Lies will eventually be uncovered and can be costly to your self-esteem and business opportunities. Those who fear the consequences of telling the truth should remember “your integrity is forever.” Talk with a trusted advisor on how to navigate sensitive issues to cause rewarding outcomes.

Self-Denial. Many leaders falsely believe they know themselves well. True self-awareness and knowledge of how others see you are important in creating a good reputation.  A true leader is always growing and learning from the inside out. Being clear and communicating clearly conveys your leadership abilities. Use qualified assessments and 360-degree tools to ensure valid and reliable information to support your professional development.

False Expectations. Honor business etiquette; it determines others’ respect of you. Return phone calls and come to meetings prepared and on time – these are two examples of unwritten business expectations. Explicit promises made to an applicant or employee also needs to be followed-through. Failure to do so can be costly, such as being denied an award or contract. As a busy person, do not rely upon your memory! Write down and review with the other person(s) to ensure promises are fulfilled.

Question: What challenges have you faced as a leader, or when following a leader? What did you do to overcome the issue? Leave a comment below ….

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Jeannette Seibly delivers “straight talk with immediate results” to business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises, creating dynamic results. You may contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com for an initial free consultation.

Be Grateful for Conflict

There are many articles written about conflict: the good, the bad and the ugly. The truth is when we fail to listen to others’ ideas and respect individual opinions, conflicts naturally occur.

Why? We have an illusion that our perceptions are the right way to think, behave or interact with one another. We are taught to speak up against someone who does not agree with us, or quietly dis them to others, negating the value of their contributions. The yeller that everyone complains about is actually no different than the silent screamer who fails to notify someone in authority of a problem.  Both cause loss of customers, low morale, poor quality of products or services and profitability. It is disrespectful toward others inside and outside the organization.

The time is now to put aside your preconceived judgments of others’ ideas and develop persuasive listening skills. Be open to hearing thoughts you would normally dismiss, learn to build upon these viewpoints and use them to create new systems, products and/or services. Often, there is a hidden gem of genius in many ideas. To determine the value, you need to develop the potential worth. Exercise facilitation skills that bring out each person’s opinions.  Listen to differing facts about the workability of internal and external factors – these can add to or hinder financial results.  In the end, whether your nugget shines, is used to create a better solution or set aside, be grateful for the “conflict” or differing mindsets that helped build a viable outcome.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2013

Jeannette Seibly is a business advisor for business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises creating million dollar results. Contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com for a free consultation on how to achieve amazing results.

When has “conflict” helped resolve a problem or open up a new product or service for your company? What did you do to facilitate it? Please share your ideas!

Is Impatience Hurting Your Results?

Envision yourself driving down the highway. You have a driving lane and a passing lane. The speed limit is 75 miles per hour. The challenge? Many drivers are only going about 60 to 69 mph in the driving lane. Those in the passing lane are zipping along between 65 and 75. The problem? You are impatient. You want to bypass the slow-pokes, zoom ahead and arrive at your destination quickly. You ignore any warning signs to slow down.

It’s a great analogy of how we run our business systems and practices. We live in a fast-paced global market. Opportunities happen quickly. While many human beings believe they have the endurance for ongoing fast-paced mobility, the reality is most professionals’ thinking styles, personalities or interests won’t support it. They burn out. Deadlines are missed. Customers or potential clients are dissed. Promises to follow-up and follow-through are marginalized.

We fail to listen to ideas from our employees, yet we rely upon them to get the work done quickly. We fire them for failure to achieve the desired results, which change due to our constantly shifting focuses — jumping from the newest fad to the next brilliant concept!

When we progress forward too fast, we become reckless. Poor planning, if any, and overlooked details negatively impact our bottom line, business relationships and reputation. Coveted results are elusive and top performers leap at the chance to work with our competitors.

Steadiness allows your team to utilize their experiences and create win-win strategic and tactical outcomes. Build on what you do well. Utilize a business advisor and executive coach to keep you focused on the right things, and doing them the right way.

Your 2013 results thank you!

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Jeannette Seibly is a business advisor for business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises creating million dollar results. Contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com for a free consultation of how to achieve amazing results.

Stop Trying Harder!

I adopted five-year-old Gracee a couple of months ago from the Dumb Friends League. She had broken her back leg when she was a kitten and her gimp is very noticeable when she walks. However, you wouldn’t know it by watching her zip around chasing her toys. One of her favorite activities is to race down the stairs to fetch a bouncy ball.  It’s a combination of a run and bunny hop!

How many of you are willing to go for it? Regardless of your challenges?

Or, have you fallen into the tiring and endless trap of “trying harder?” One of the biggest challenges for executives and business owners is learning that “trying harder only creates more of the same challenges.” It leaves you, and them, tired and cranky at the beginning and end of each day!

How can you be unstoppable? It’s inspiring when handled in a biz-savvy manner.

Banish the illusion of the “perfect time.” What are your excuses for not pursuing your goals? Write down these time mongers! You won’t find anything new or inspiring! Instead, write down what you really really really want to accomplish.  Rewrite it into a goal. Develop “I can do it and I do it” attitude and proceed forward. Talk with your coach to help you through the inevitable “walls of life.” 

Stay connected. Pick up the phone. Stop relying solely on emails or social media venues to stay in touch. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you talk with others and allow them to contribute their ideas. Sometimes the simplest suggestion can spark the right change required to move ideas forward.

Focus on priorities. It’s very easy to get caught up in the swirl or chaos of too much to do. Pick two key items to get completed during the day based upon priorities, or boss or client mandates. Regardless of whether you like to do them! These accomplishments will create naturally-centered confidence.

Have fun.  Take a couple of minutes at the end of each day to write down today’s achievements and setup tomorrow’s “must do’s.” Now, enjoy quality time without worrying about work. It will be there tomorrow!  Be good to yourself and learn appreciation. Gratitude helps you work smarter and achieve your goals faster!

Learn to Brag! Bragging to others in a biz-savvy manner gives voice to your accomplishments. Why is sharing important? You find out you’re not alone in your challenges. It encourages you, and others, to build on your strengths, achieve your goals and work smarter to enjoy your job and life. (TimeToBrag.com)

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012

Don’t Get Bit in the Financial Butt!

Perfection is a myth, yet, many companies engage in seeking the “perfect solution” to stay competitive and improve the bottom line. A few are doing a great job by focusing on “viable solutions.” Most, however, are realizing mixed results due to reliance upon the same old practices that have long surpassed their peak. Less savvy companies are simply hanging on to their soon-to-be outdated products and services. They are afraid to make changes, despite their customers’ requests, and dismal sales.

Why have many business owners stopped listening during this critical time? They fear the change process. They don’t understand how to create a blue print for success. They falsely believe that since riding it out it worked in the past, it will work now. Sticking your head in the sand (think, ostrich) will only get your financial butt bit – hard!

Navigate change now. Waiting won’t change anything! Management needs to seek the right guidance and alter their paradigm to include change. It doesn’t need to a big, evil, costly endeavor. It’s time to hear employee and customer ideas with an open attitude. A simple twist of the wheel may gain the competitive advantage. Proper alignment, direction, and training to manage ever-changing economic factors will keep your doors open for business!

Talk Straight. Give the members of your staff the opportunity to contribute, appropriately. Brainstorming isn’t about judging ideas as right or wrong, or good or bad.  It’s simply a process to gather ideas. Often, off-the-wall ideas are winners once they are narrowed down and fine-tuned. Determine the ROI and viability of the final cuts, and during implementation and execution, train everyone to ensure consistency and positive results. Focused action is the key.

Big Picture vs. Small Details. Some people tend to get caught up in the “bright shiny object” of the bigger picture; others get lost and don’t understand how to move from “here” to the vision of “there.” Create a strategy to put everyone on the same page. Break tasks down into “bite-sized pieces.” Keep listening to and communicating with your team. When you hit the inevitable walls that crop up due to poor planning or implementation, do not reduce your expectations of intended results! Readjust your strategy as necessary, but remember: the success or failure of any idea is in the details.

Hire a Business Mentor. If management is too narrowly focused on people considerations OR on bottom line financials, it could stymie the forward movement required to achieve the expected results. A business mentor helps you blast through the stumbling blocks that change causes. A business mentor helps you make the hard decisions that may be unpopular, at least initially. S/he can also help you create business savvy solutions that balance people and numbers. Someone from outside your organization can see landmines coming up more clearly than you can, since you are so close to the situation. S/he helps you recognize and navigate around them, and enables you to move forward with speed and confidence.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly, 2010

Costly Promotions

Companies are very focused on being cost conscious, especially in the current economic climate. Many bosses have promoted their key employees too quickly, beyond their skill level — to their level of incompetence. Bosses falsely believe they are saving time and money, but this type of reactive decision-making ends up being costly and has a detrimental impact on the company. Sadly, the once successful employee feels forced to leave the company when her/his continued contribution is short-circuited, and will rarely go quietly.

Since the person was previously treated as an asset to the company, it is often unclear as to why this sudden experience of failure is happening. Instead of having a professional conversation with her/his boss to provide solutions to this dilemma, s/he blames extraneous factors and looks for a new job, outside the company. The real issues? The newly promoted person may not have taken the time, or taken advantage of the opportunities, to develop the interpersonal skills required for the new position. Perhaps s/he has not learned how to delegate or is unable to prioritize and manage multiple issues well. S/he may simply lack the interest and ability to quickly learn the skills required for performance success (e.g., technology, financial, mechanical, sales, etc.) in this new position.

Time to get real. Newly promoted people may be unable to acclimate appropriately when business needs change rapidly. Where did the old adage, “sink or swim” come from? It didn’t work then and doesn’t work now. Unfortunately, employees feel they can not say “no” to their bosses’ requests without hurting their career. If they may agree, their naiveté can create additional issues and stresses since they do not possess the required depth and breadth of experience. It’s time to create a win-win development plan that helps the employee succeed and meets the needs of the business.  Be realistic – it takes time. Employees won’t suddenly become great managers if they have poor people skills. Employees with no interest in financial monitoring will not handle their budgets well. Top sales people will not make the best bosses. Remember, accepting mediocrity loses customers internally and externally.

Provide an outside coach. An outside coach can provide insights that the corporate mindset and culture may overlook. The employee will feel more comfortable sharing her/his challenges and fears, confidentially. They know many bosses have long memories, and don’t want the risk. Ensure there is clarity of goals to be accomplished every three months. Write them down. Put together action plans for implementation. Monitor effectiveness. Keep it simple and smart!

Keep valued employees. Although egos play an important role in a person’s ability to stay and thrive after a failure, it requires the boss’s dedicated intention to keep a valued employee! Find a position within the company where s/he can be successful. Don’t be afraid to create a new position to keep the person, but use a scientifically validated assessment tool to ensure you’re not simply creating another new issue. The cost of hiring a replacement is much greater than realigning a job description to match up employee skills with business needs. Provide focused training and development so the employee can gain the skills s/he lacked that caused the demotion in the first place. This allows the employee to experience success once again, and provides her/him with the opportunity to be promoted in the future.

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2010