Leaders: Talk Straight for Teams to Trust You

“Want better results? Want your team to trust you? Try straight talk.” Jeannette Seibly

The past year has been challenging for everyone everywhere. It’s been difficult to find out what is true and who is “blowing smoke.”  As leaders and team members, we must do our best to listen, hear, and talk straight. Straight talk gains the trust of our bosses, team members, and customers.

However, straight talk can be tricky if your workplace culture doesn’t support honesty. Many of us fear sharing the truth because we are afraid of the consequences. And, these fears can be very real!

But when you rely on “white lies” or spin the facts, you will suffer the consequences. And, so will your company. The truth will emerge in the future. When it does, your boss, customers, and team members will feel hurt, angry, and betrayed because you didn’t talk straight!

Years ago, I learned this the hard way. There was a controversy going on within my department. When the VP of a different department asked me what I knew, I shrugged my shoulders and shook my head. I lied by saying, “I don’t know.”

Later, when the truth came out, he said to me, “In the future, say, ‘you cannot talk about it.’ Otherwise, I won’t trust you.”

When leaders and team members talk straight by telling the truth, results can be amazing. It develops trust and allows team members to get unstuck. They can now share real problems and ideas while developing new and better solutions.

“When leaders and team members talk straight by telling the truth, results can be amazing.” Jeannette Seibly

4 Overlooked Ways to Speak in an Honest, Truthful Manner (aka Straight Talk)

Deliver or Receive Bad News with Respect. When leaders and teams only want to hear good news, competitors will steal their clients and top talent will leave!

How to do it:

  • Don’t shoot the messenger—Make it easy for others to tell you the truth.
  • Share bad news first by saying, “You’re not going to like what I’m going to say…” OR “I’m afraid you won’t like what I need to say.”
  • Share your fact-based message. Fine-tune it so it is meaningful to your boss and/or team and/or customer. For example, some leaders want to hear the financial issues and are not interested in employee morale. Pay attention to your audience.

Overcome Your Fears. Your fears can be real. But it is important to address concerns even if your boss, customers, and team won’t like it! Failure to share negative information can trigger bigger issues about safety, employment, or financial impacts (to name a few).

How to do it:

  • Stick to the facts and use metrics.
  • Conduct audits and update policies, practices, and tools to ensure compliance.
  • Use communication channels (e.g., intra-company, group training, etc.) to address “new normal” operating procedures.

Train for Straight Talk. Many teams and leaders don’t know how to talk straight. They talk around a point, wing it, or are evasive because they are afraid to tell the truth and/or don’t know the facts. This results in miscommunication, unclear directives, and poor ethical practices at every level in your organization. All of these are avoidable with straight talk.

How to do it:

Take Responsibility. Telling and/or hearing the truth can be challenging. Many companies have sacred elephants, are afraid to rock the boat, and have team members that are well-liked but fail to get the job done.  These are just a few of the reasons why only 10% of teams achieve intended results! Straight talk encourages you to tell the truth in a way that others can hear and listen to you.

How to do it:

  • State the facts and review them with your business advisor, CPA, or attorney before talking with decision-makers.
  • Document facts and the costs/benefits of solutions.
  • Share this information with your boss or board in a way they can hear it, and continue the conversation until it’s resolved.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2017-2021 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach, management consultant, and keynote speaker for over 28 years. She is an expert in guiding leaders and their teams to get unstuck and achieve dynamic results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

Do you fear telling team members the truth because it’ll create conflict? You’re not alone. Learn 3 keys on how to talk through team conflict now. “7 Reasons Why Teams Don’t Resolve Conflict” 

A Note about Leaders: Talk Straight for Teams to Trust You from Jeannette. Talking straight can be difficult because people fear the truth. They don’t want to hear anything negative. They accept mediocrity and make excuses believing they did the best they could.  But for leaders everywhere, it’s pay now or pay later because the truth will come out. Need help to feel comfortable talking straight and telling the truth? Contact me to start a confidential conversation. It could save your career and your business.

A Costly Management Practice That is Avoidable

Employees today feel stressed, unclear about new expectations, and ready to bail for another job.

Companies not knowing what else to do, attempt to soothe and keep these employees by providing promotions or job transfers.

This IS the most expensive unrealized management practice in companies today. And, has been for a very long time. Why?

Promoting someone before they are ready or moving someone into a job that is not a good fit will have them leave. (Remember, they were once good employees.) They will take with them customers and top talent.

How do you stop this costly management practice?

There are 3 places you can impact your employees and keep top talent:

Ø  Hire: The least expensive and most effective place to start. When was the last time your company designed a selection process that used real objective data to achieve consistent results?

Ø  Coach: Most bosses and executives are poor coaches. What is the cost of hiring qualified coaches for bosses vs. top talent leaving?

Ø  Before They Leave: Bosses ignore the signs and offer more money (or other perks) to keep them! What are you doing to keep top talent engaged and looking forward to work each day? (Hint: Giving them more money or perks doesn’t last since they’ll still leave in the near future. Same with ill-advised promotions or job transfers.)

Is there a better way? Definitely! If you’re struggling or uncertain how to use the right tools and practices to stop this expensive management practice, contact me. We’ll start a conversation of how to improve your management practices. JLSeibly@SeibCo.com Or if urgent, 303-917-2993

It’s the 2nd Quarter! Let’s create a new normal that supports each and every employee.

Your customers, top talent, and bottom line will thank you!

©Jeannette Seibly, 2021 All Rights Reserved

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach, management consultant, and keynote speaker for over 28 years. She is an expert in guiding leaders and their teams to get unstuck and achieve dynamic results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

Create a Results-Producing Customer-Focused Culture

“If you want to create a customer-focused culture, you must start by being accountable for the results!” Jeannette Seibly

As a leader, creating results-producing, can-do customer-focused teams requires being accountable! You must develop laser-like attention to hiring, coaching, training, and managing your team and team members. If you don’t, you will create a chaotic workplace culture, and customers will fire you and seek out your competition!

Many leaders operate as elite helicopters flying at 30-feet above the action. While they are hovering, they fail to plan for and handle important details. They tend to cause team conflicts and they are often considered a difficult team leader!

Remember, it’s not business as usual! It’s time to get real before you lose customers and top talent!

5 Required Tips for Creating a Results-Producing, Can-Do Customer-Focused Team

  1. Promote the Right Bosses! Yes, it starts here! Stop promoting people that are not already exhibiting good people management skills. Instead, create a separate career ladder for them that recognizes their strengths. Otherwise, they will become toxic bosses and top talent will leave! Your customers will leave with your top talent!
  2. Hire Right the First Time. Use data-driven, objective, and consistent information to select the right people for the right jobs Regardless of what job candidates tell you about their experiences, use the right tools to ensure they fit your job requirements. Hiring great team members will attract top talent and great customers too! Your customers will thank you since they don’t have to keep training new employees that soon leave!
  3. Create Company Values that Inspire. It’s not business as usual. You must set aside your ego and remember your team members are watching and emulating what you do! Dust off the company mission and value statements. Get your executives and bosses onboard and trained! Your customers seek vendors and service providers to give them what they requested the first time!
  4. Value Learning and Development. Creating a customer-focused workplace culture starts with you. Are you holding your teams accountable for meeting customer needs and achieving intended results? Are you ensuring all workshops, online and on-site, include all employees, bosses, and executives as participants? Are you including the right training? Must have training includes: Inclusion, Conducting effective meetings, Critical thinking, True brainstorming, Alignment, and Achieving intended results.
Are you holding your teams accountable for meeting customer needs and achieving intended results?

Your customers value teams that are working on the same page at the same time!

  1. Expand Your Team’s Mindset. Life and work experiences, education, and other beliefs create a person’s mindset. It influences how you and your team members interact with customers and each other. Your job as the leader is to hold your team members accountable for fulfilling the customers’ needs. Your customers experience value by what you do and how you do it!

©Jeannette Seibly 2021

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach, management consultant, and keynote speaker for over 28 years. She is an expert in guiding leaders and their teams to get unstuck and achieve dynamic results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

Do you want your team to be part of the elite 10% that achieves intended results? MUST READ! “7 Reasons Why Teams Don’t Resolve Conflict”  Reason #2 is especially important!

A Note about Creating a Results-Producing Customer-Focused Culture from Jeannette. Do you consider yourself the type of leader that operates like an elite helicopter flying at 30-feet above the action? Do you know that by hovering, you fail to plan for and handle important details? Do you know you also become a difficult team leader? If you want to inspire your teams to produce intended results,  contact me to start a confidential conversation.

Are Your Mental Abilities Feeling Foggy?

“A new challenge emerging from the pandemic is not recognizing people, things, and situations as we remember them.” Jeannette Seibly

A couple of weeks ago I called a consultant who does HR work. We’d talked off and on for the past 18 months about using assessments. He had several clients that needed to resolve management issues. In the meantime, he had introduced me to a new client needing to hire someone. The last time we talked was in December 2020. I called him a couple of weeks ago to follow-up. He told me, “I don’t know who you are, and I remember faces.”  

Whoa! What a surprise. He was sure we’d never spoken with each other before. I painted a picture of our call in December. His response was, “I receive 116 emails daily.” So, I sent an email for a Zoom meeting, but doubt I will hear back from him.

You are not alone if you have had a similar experience. If you’re in sales, business development,  management consulting, or leading virtual teams, you are more likely to face this new challenge for remembering people, completing normal tasks, and recalling specific points during a conversation. Many find they are “not functioning with normal mental quickness or struggling to find the right word.” (Why Your Brain Feels Broken, NYTimes Parenting)

Also, there are the memory challenges experienced by people who are COVID long-haulers, working baby boomers, and people multi-tasking instead of listening. Additionally, mental health challenges (e.g., depression, anxiety, and stress), can lead to false memories too. (PsychologyToday.com)

As you physically go into offices and business meetings, you must interact with people as they are today, not as you remember them from over a year ago! People change. These changes will impact conversations and situations since perspectives have changed too.

Some of you will even question your own memory if you failed to listen and allowed distractions!

7 Tips to Create Mental Clarity

  1. Paint a Picture. If someone says, “I don’t remember …” or they appear not to remember, paint a picture of the last conversation. Describe where you were. Include any unusual situation (the coffee shop didn’t sell tea). Stay factual.
  2. Offer Your Name. Don’t play the guessing game. This will leave someone frustrated or upset they can’t remember. Instead, give them your name, business focus (10 words or less), and a quick overview of your last interaction. If you don’t remember your last interaction, start fresh and have a conversation about today.
  3. Stay Focused by Putting Away Distractions. “A lot of people think they are good at multi-tasking. The sad truth is they are not.” (Dr. Sanjay Gupta, author of Keep Sharp: How To Build a Better Brain at Any Age) If you multi-task during discussions, you will miss hearing important information and feel lost in future conversations. Some of you will even question your own memory if you failed to listen and allowed distractions!
  4. Send an Email. Recap and outline three key points. Do this before a scheduled meeting to get both of you on the same page faster. Be aware, if the person remembers it differently, ask for his/her version. Again, stick with the facts.
  5. Listen Anew. Put aside what you believe you already know or remember about the person, thing, or situation. Remember, you can be right or you can be effective. Instead, build a new bridge from yesterday to today by listening and being curious. It’s a great opportunity to create a “new normal.”
  6. Exercise, Eat, and Stay Active. This keeps your brain sharp. Sudoku, jigsaw puzzles, and word games are several ideas to help keep your brain active. Eat a healthful diet and get up from your desk every hour and move for a few minutes. (Gupta)
  7. Remember to breathe when you feel agitated, frustrated, or you’re struggling to remember a word, phrase, or person! This is a simple and effective technique. It calms your brain from its automatic reaction of fight, flight, or freeze. Also, it reduces your stress of having to get it right and calms you so you can be present during the current conversation.

 ©Jeannette Seibly 2021

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach, management consultant, and keynote speaker for over 28 years. She is an expert in guiding leaders and their teams to get unstuck and achieve dynamic results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

Want to know what egos and team results have in common? Get your answers by click here.

A Note about Feeling Mental Fogginess from Jeannette. “At the University of California Irvine, research is beginning on how the lockdown has affected people’s memories. It’s been reported that even some of those amazing people who usually remember events like buying a cinema ticket 20 years earlier because they have highly superior autobiographical memory are finding they are forgetting things.” (BBC) The bottom line is, be kind to yourself and to others when memories are not clear as usual. If you want clarity on how to build a bridge from yesterday to today when talking with people, contact me to start a confidential conversation.

Develop a Winning Attitude to Achieve Great Results

“A winning attitude is priceless!” Jeannette Seibly

Winning isn’t everything, but developing a winning attitude is. A winning attitude builds confidence. It increases your ability to take initiative and be resourceful. It creates healthy self-esteem while improving your results.

Whether you win or not, you always gain new knowledge, skills, and awareness that are only available with a winning attitude. And, these experiences are priceless.

When you fail to bring a winning attitude to a project or task, you will likely produce mediocre results.

I’ve found in my 28 years of coaching and speaking with 1,000s of people, that a healthy relationship with winning is as important as learning the lessons from losing.

Unfortunately, a lot of people today have conflicted feelings and attitudes about winning. They have learned to be great losers and poor winners (yes, I wrote that correctly). This comes from intense peer pressure to conform and not overshadow others. Conversely, when you work on teams where winning is everything that has a downside too.

I learned a very important lesson about winning after working full-time during the day and taking graduate courses at night to receive my master’s degree. It occurred at my celebration party. Some people didn’t attend, and the reason why was a former co-worker told them, “She doesn’t deserve it!” Huh? The lesson? Not everyone will be happy about your success, but you cannot let that stop you from developing a healthy winning attitude.

“Too often, people dream the dream but fail to commit to making it happen.” Jeannette Seibly

4 Tips to Create a Healthy Winning Attitude

  1. Take Initiative. Too often, people dream the dream but fail to commit to making it happen. They want to win but fear the time and effort required. There is also a very real fear that it will negatively impact their relationships. To achieve my goal of paying for my master’s degree, I researched and wrote the education reimbursement policy for my employer. The company approved it and paid for the majority of my master’s program. That’s what taking initiative looks like.
  2. Do the Work Instead of Creating Excuses. For me, it meant applying for the graduate program and enrolling in the classes. I took classes at night and studied on the weekends. Yes, I had to sacrifice participating in other things, but my commitment to myself and my master’s degree was worth it!
  3. When Obstacles Occur, and They Will, Become Resourceful! Everyone hits a wall. Sometimes it’s a really big one. But giving up isn’t an option. When one of my required classes was only offered in the afternoons, twice a week, during work hours, I had to change my work schedule from full-time to part-time. This also meant a pay cut for one term. Then, I changed companies with only 6 more credits required. Thankfully, my new boss encouraged me by saying, “Get it done now.”
  4. Celebrate the Win with Gratitude, not Ego. When you win, it’s important to celebrate and acknowledge your accomplishments! Add the achievements to your resume. For me, I accepted the gift of the graduation party from my parents. Graciously accepting acknowledgments is also an important part of a winning attitude.

Remember, a winning attitude is required to achieve great results: a career you enjoy, new opportunities, and job satisfaction. For me, developing a winning attitude supported me to achieve great results in my career and in my business.

©Jeannette Seibly 2021

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach, management consultant, and keynote speaker for over 28 years. She is an expert in guiding leaders and their teams to get unstuck and achieve dynamic results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

A Note About Developing a Winning Attitude from Jeannette. Winning attitudes require believing in yourself and taking the right actions to make it happen. That’s why It’s important today we develop a winning mindset. If you are seeking clarity about what to do, let’s start a conversation to get you into action. Contact me!

Are You Being Inclusive with Your Team?

“Inclusion isn’t hard, but it takes intention, skill, and commitment to make it happen.” Jeannette Seibly

Have you ever attended a get-together and sat there with a smile plastered on your face? Then, after the appropriate amount of time, you left with your facial muscles hurting and your energy depleted.

I recently attended an event where this happened to me! There were about 30 people on the call, but only  5 people were interacting with the host. The rest of us sat and watched the interaction with smiles plastered on our faces! It was like watching a tennis match of back-and-forth dialogue between a few select people. And because they didn’t include us, there was no opportunity to add to their conversation.

Those of you who know me know I’m not a wallflower. So, why did I feel deflated after attending what was supposed to be a fun event?

When I shared this with a friend, she said, “You didn’t feel included.”

“You’re right!” I responded. A light-bulb moment.

Then we talked about how employees, managers, and team members feel when they are not part of the clique or the leader’s inner circle. Because it’s hard to keep that fake smile plaster on your face every day!

As leaders, it’s everyone’s job to engage and include each and every person on the team! That’s being inclusive! And, in today’s workplace culture, this is a critical skill you must develop!

“In today’s workplace culture, inclusion is a critical skill you must develop!” Jeannette Seibly

7 Tips to Be Inclusive

  1. Welcome Each Person as they Join the Meeting, Virtually or On-Site. Use their first name (or, the name they wish to be called).
  2. Introduce People to One Another. At any type of meeting or social gathering, take responsibility to introduce people to one another. On Zoom calls, allow 15 seconds for each person to give a quick intro. Being seen and heard sets a positive tone for the meeting or event.
  3. Ask for Each Person’s Opinion. During brainstorming and idea generation activities, give everyone a chance to speak. Give them the option of “passing.” I go around the group more than once to ensure everyone has an opportunity to speak. And I usually get better interaction the second time around.
  4. Acknowledge Each Idea. Say something positive, “Wow!” “That’s great.” “Hadn’t thought about that one.” When you value each idea, others feel more comfortable offering their thoughts and insights. Reserve judgment about the quality of the ideas for later. It’ll be obvious if an idea won’t work for a project or issue. However, I’ve seen the lamest ideas become epic solutions! So, learn patience and trust the process!
  5. Don’t Offer Your Ideas Upfront (as the leader or boss). During true brainstorming activities, you want people’s unfiltered Wait until everyone has an opportunity to share, then offer your ideas. If you don’t wait, people that disagree or have more experience than you may feel uncomfortable sharing. It’s amazing how this simple tactic will generate more engagement and better ideas. (In case you’ve not read my recent articles, only 10% of teams produce intended results!)
  6. Assign Tasks Appropriately. When assigning tasks, base your decisions on the person’s skills and not on who you like the best. Allow people to volunteer first before making assignments. If a person raises his/her hand and doesn’t have the skills, team them with someone who is an expert and excellent teacher. Otherwise, the tasks may not get done and the person will disengage from the team.
  7. Appreciate Each Person. Make sure to appreciate each person for their contribution no matter how large or small. Remember to use “please” and “thank you” often.

©Jeannette Seibly 2021

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach, management consultant, and keynote speaker for over 28 years. She is an expert in guiding leaders and their teams to get unstuck and achieve dynamic results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

A Note About Being Inclusive from Jeannette. Being inclusive isn’t hard. But you must have the intention, skill, and commitment to include all people during calls or on-site meetings. There are many training and coaching programs available to develop these skills. If you’re hesitant about what to do, let’s start a conversation to get you into action. Contact me!

The #1 Reason Teams Don’t Zap Conflict

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash
“If you want great team results, value different points-of-view while managing the process and moving the conversation forward.” Jeannette Seibly

The #1 reason team members are unwilling to zap team conflict is the fear of consequences (80%*).

The result surprised me because not much has changed over the years.

Years ago, I facilitated a team and there was a guy named Rob who didn’t like listening to people with different ideas. And, gave me a hard time for giving everyone a chance to speak. In fact, he would make snide comments like, “That’ll never work” or “You’re wrong” creating no-win disagreements with others. One time he wrote about me, “Must be her time of the month!” I felt humiliated.

But, as the facilitator, I didn’t allow it to deter the purpose of the team. Ironically, Rob was being fast-tracked by executive management. So, when Rob’s comments continued, I mentioned it to my VP. He responded, “You’re overreacting.” But, for whatever reason, Rob stopped attending the meetings to the relief of everyone on the team. The conflict he created was gone. They were now able to do a great job of achieving the intended results without Rob as a roadblock.

There are a lot of programs available on conducting effective meetings and managing conflicts. Every team leader and member must access this information to improve their confidence and their team’s results.

Remember, “If you’re waiting for someone else to take the initiative, so are they!” Jeannette Seibly

Keep in mind, team conflict is not a bad thing. But how you manage team discussions makes all the difference. If you don’t learn how to resolve team disputes constructively, your team will fail. Unresolved team quarrels are why only 10% of teams achieve their intended results! (Pritchard)

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash
“If you’re waiting for someone else to take the initiative, so are they!” Jeannette Seibly

11 Tips to Guide You to Resolve Team Conflicts and Build Better Result

  1. Be Intentional. Most team members attend meetings with the intention of “just getting through it” and use the time to think about other things. Attend each meeting with the intention of listening, learning, and ensuring the process is moving forward, great results will follow.
  2. Park Your Ego at the Door. Roll up your sleeves and go into the meeting to move the project or program forward. When issues arise, and they will, listen to the other person’s argument instead of thinking of a rebuttal. You may find you agree! This is required to build better ideas.
  3. Set Up the Team to Win. At the very beginning of a project or program, be clear about the goal, timeline, budget, and get buy-in from all team members. Define who the project or program is for (e.g., company-wide, department, customer, association, etc.). Address any naysayers now. If you wait, it’ll only get worse.
  4. Ensure Everyone Has Chance to Speak. Whether you are the team leader or not, encourage candor. Ask clarifying questions when needed and value each person’s responses. Call on each team member to ensure no one is missed. Allow them to say, “pass” if they have nothing to add. To manage time, remind team members they have 3 minutes each.
  5. Encourage Brainstorming. This is Critical. Brainstorming issues allows each person to share their insights and experiences without comments from others. Don’t make any decisions without hearing from everyone.
  6. Build on Other’s Ideas. To align on ideas, again, give each team member a chance to speak. When it’s your turn, focus on an idea already offered and add any new info. Don’t ever bash others’ ideas.
  7. Don’t Take Sides. When asked your opinion, share the positive attributes of both sides. If you have an idea that is win-win-win, offer it. Then, allow others to take credit for it.
  8. Bring in an Outside Influencer. Instead of feeling disheartened your team is in turmoil, ask for help. An outside influencer will review the facts, provide insights, and guide critical thinking. Remember your intention is to resolve the issue, not assess blame.
  9. Agree or Agree to Disagree. A quick way to resolve a disagreement: repeat back what the person said to his/her satisfaction before offering your own opinion. Have them do the same in return. (Often, you’ll discover that what you thought was a disagreement no longer exists.) This ensures the other person feels heard. Remember, only one person speaks at a time. This deters the triggers that can set people off on new tangents while confusing the core issue.
  10. Seek Out Mentoring and Coaching. Talk with your mentor or coach on how to best handle the conflict. Remember, the focus is not on who is right or wrong, it’s getting the issue(s) resolved. Don’t forget, bosses want results-producers that are committed to fulfilling the intended results.
  11. Learn and Master the Art of Working with Difficult Team Members. These skills will support you in all group and team efforts. You must practice them to master them!

 *The stat came from people responding to an online survey or participating in a focus group I conducted.

 ©Jeannette Seibly 2021

 Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach, management consultant, and keynote speaker for over 28 years. She is an expert in guiding leaders and their teams to get unstuck and achieve dynamic results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

 A Note about Resolving Team Conflicts from Jeannette. Team conflicts can be disheartening to even the strongest of team leaders and facilitators. But team conflicts can be used to produce intended results when managed constructively. There are many training and coaching programs available to develop the skills required for conducting effective meetings. Need help? I’ve been running meetings that have produced unprecedented results for over 30 years…contact me and we’ll brainstorm answers for you. Contact me!

Craft Your Next Career Opportunity Today

“Are you ready for your next opportunity? If yes, take initiative and create your next opportunity in your current job. You’ll get results faster.” Jeannette Seibly

Instead of looking for a new job with more opportunities, expand your current position and responsibilities. Why? You already know the company structure, customers, industry, and systems. You can hit the floor running faster and produce results quicker with your current team and boss.

How to Create Your New Opportunity

Talk with Customers and Department Heads. Meet with others to determine what is missing. Listen more than talk and ask questions for clarification.

Ask the following questions:

  • “What are your top 1 or 2 concerns right now?”
  • “Why are these important challenges?”
  • “What do you believe are the solutions?”
  • “How do you believe my team can best help?”

Once there is an alignment of what to pursue with your team, explore and focus on the top 1 or 2 concerns.

“Effective brainstorming requires listening to all team members and writing down all ideas.” Jeannette Seibly

Brainstorm for Solutions. To get started, acknowledge your team for their willingness to be part of this new opportunity. Then, together with your team, review the data from your conversations. Also, review the company’s mission and 2021 goals. Now, your team is ready to brainstorm. Remember, effective brainstorming requires listening to all team members and writing down all ideas.

Align Team Members. Don’t rely on consensus for agreement. Align on the project you will focus on. Then, talk with your boss and key influencers to get their buy-in. Be prepared to address any specific concerns or elephants.

Put Together the Presentation. Purpose. Timeline. Budget. These are the three key areas. Keep the narrative to one page for each item. Since it is a new idea, use simple graphs to support your points. During the presentation, don’t be defensive when answering questions or it’ll kill the opportunity. Instead, remember, you’ve been working on this opportunity for a while. But it’s the first-time others are learning about it.

Now, Make it Happen.

If you have the:

  • Green light–Don’t wait. Get into action now and address any required changes along the way.
  • Yellow light–People are not clear. Clarify your proposal. Keep your communication simple and smart. Remember, they have their own agendas that you did not address to their satisfaction. Now is the best time to use your persuasive listening skills to create win-win-win outcomes.
  • Red light–There was no buy-in. You overlooked or missed important points. Talk with your boss and key influencers after working with your executive coach. Then, debrief with your team. Review and determine what’s next. Don’t let one failure sideline your ability to seek future opportunities within your current job.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2021

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach, management consultant, and keynote speaker for over 28 years. She is an expert in guiding leaders and their teams to get unstuck and achieve dynamic results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

A Note about Crafting Your Next Career Opportunity Today from Jeannette. Many of your key leaders and employees want more than their current position offers. Instead of letting them leave, encourage them to take initiative and create their next career opportunity within their current position. Then, provide the training and coaching required for their success, or there is a good chance they will fail. Need help? Yes, we all do from time-to-time. Contact me!

It’s a New Normal. Are You Ready to Get Employees Skill-Ready?

“You will lose key employees and customers if your people are not talent-ready.” Jeannette Seibly

In October 2020, the World Economic Forum released its report of the top 15 skills for 2025. While 2025 may seem a long way off, it’s not.

As you read the list note software development, cybersecurity and technology are not at the top of the list. Instead, it’s about creativity, problem solving, analytical thinking, and innovation.

It is critical companies develop these necessary skills today. Waiting until 2025 won’t work since your company will be left behind its competition. Start training at the top and cascade down now. This reinforces the skills training since your executives and managers will set a positive example.

3 Key Issues Often Overlooked

  • Discrimination practices will get in the way when designing individual training goals. Insert into your leaders’ job descriptions, “training and coaching the next leaders include each and every person!”
  • Failure to budget and use that money for training tells customers your business is not ready to be their vendor or contractor.
  • Hiring, coaching, and managing are much easier and less expensive if you hire and promote based on job fit. This requires using objective data on a consistent basis. Not everyone has an interest in learning and using the new skills appropriately.

Here is the “List of the Top 15 Skills” (click here for the full report):

(Note: most of these are considered “soft skills,” which are often ignored.)

  • Analytical thinking and innovation
  • Active learning and learning strategies
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Creativity, originality, and initiative
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Technology use, monitoring, and control
  • Technology design and programming
  • Resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility
  • Reasoning, problem solving, and ideation
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Troubleshooting and user experience
  • Service orientation
  • Systems analysis and evaluation
  • Persuasion and negotiation
Are you ready? Happy employees are well trained in all aspects of their work.

5 Key Factors to Prepare Your Company for Success

  • Create a strategic plan for ongoing training and skill development. Make sure your budget includes consistent communication reminders on how to use these new skills!
  • Develop skill levels (basic, medium, and advanced) required for different job responsibilities. For example, non-tech salespeople need systems awareness but don’t need advanced systems analysis and evaluation.
  • Select trainers who are shining examples of using these skills (internal and external). They must be able to engage participants and answer questions. Otherwise, your leaders and employees will lose interest.
  • Provide easy-to-access workshops, videos, coaching, and 1:1 training to reinforce skills. Ensure manager/executives receive the training first. This will set an example for all team members.
  • Encourage team members to work in cross-functional groups and rotate who leads the team. This will expand everyone’s knowledge on how to apply these new skills in different situations.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2021

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach, management consultant, and keynote speaker for over 28 years. She is an expert in guiding leaders and their teams to get unstuck and achieve dynamic results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

A Note about Getting Your Employees Talent-Ready from Jeannette. 2021 is not business as usual and employees are frustrated with the lack of new opportunities for skill development. (Yes, even your newly hired team members.) Now is the time to develop everyone, from the top-down, to expand their skills and knowledge. It gets team members excited to come to work each day!  Need help? Yes, we all need help from time-to-time. Contact me!

How You Can Create Productive Conversations

Never underestimate the power and importance of having conversations. But to achieve win-win-win outcomes as a leader, learn how to make them productive.

The challenge is most people have a poor relationship with talking it out. They have not learned how to ensure team members feel valued and heard before decisions are made.

Have you ever had one of these experiences (or been the person who refused to listen)?

  • One strong woman believed she knew best. So instead of talking out differences of opinion she would bulldoze the situations. She would then add fuel to the fire by alienating the person(s) for not agreeing with her.
  • One man believed his ideas were the best ones. After all, he’d spent a lot of time thinking and rethinking through the issue. He wasn’t open to hearing anyone’s input. Needless to say, when he didn’t get his intended results, he blamed his team for poor execution.
  • One team was not open to changing how they worked together since they’d been successful in the past. As a result, when the customer was unhappy with the product, they refused to listen. The client sued for breach of contract and won!
Having conversations that are productive saves time, money, and relationships.

What’s the difference between productive and non-productive conversations?

  • Non-productive conversations focus on gossip, ongoing conflicts, and the news. These types of conversations waste time and leave you feeling un-energized or drained.
  • Productive conversations focus on resolving current issues. They address brainstorming, creating potential solutions, and developing new actions for results.

6 Steps to Transform Your Unproductive Conversations

  1. Develop Basic Meeting Tactics. Have an agenda, create minutes, and set up a communication portal with easy access for all team members. Stay focused during the meeting. Encourage all team members to share (you may need to limit their time to 2 or 3 minutes). If you need basic meeting tactics, hire an executive coach to develop facilitation skills, instead of relying on trial-and-error.
  2. Have 1:1 Meetings. Use 1:1 or smaller team meetings to handle specific problems. Share with the team the results of these meetings, where appropriate. Relationship issues should be confidential.
  3. Stop Mind-Reading. No one is a mind-reader. Share your expectations out loud and clearly. Be a parrot by repeating the vision and the goal(s) at the beginning of each meeting.
  4. Handle Conflicts. If your team meetings include sniping, gossip, and other unproductive comments, STOP. These types of meetings cost time, money, and hurt feelings. Become fearless. Work with your coach to resolve team conflicts and develop this all-important muscle.
  5. Embrace Tough Conversations. Yes, I said embrace! It starts by addressing the “elephant in the room.” Use the straight-talk approach and start the conversation with the facts. Allow each person to share his/her thoughts and brainstorm as a team to resolve it. As the team leader, share your concerns last. This encourages everyone to share and truly listen.
  6. Engage in Strategic Conversations. Using the same strategy does not develop productive conversations for win-win-win outcomes. Be candid about the strengths and weaknesses of ideas and facts after brainstorming is done. Align on a plan instead of relying on a consensus since it removes silos and encourages teams to embrace change.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2019 – 2021

Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach, management consultant, and keynote speaker for 28 years. She is an expert in guiding leaders and their teams to get unstuck and achieve dynamic results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.

A Note About Having Productive Conversations from Jeannette. It’s not business as usual (I know I keep repeating this phrase week after week). My intention is to emphasize that the new normal needs to be created. This occurs when you have productive conversations and allow for innovation. If you are unclear how to get started, pick up the phone or email me for ideas!