Crafting Resilient Leadership Teams for Tomorrow’s Challenges

In my journey as the CEO of Activate Group, Inc. and through the insights shared in my books, including “The Leader Launchpad,” I’ve often grappled with a leadership puzzle: Should we endlessly chase the ideal of an all-star team, or is there merit in nurturing the team we already have, warts and all? In this article, I aim to dissect these approaches, highlighting the pitfalls and steering you toward a balanced strategy that embraces growth, potential, and excellence.

The All-Star Illusion

I recall consulting with a high-flying tech company, a story I touched upon in “The Leader Launchpad.” Their relentless pursuit of top talent created an enviable roster but also a revolving door, disrupting team cohesion and, ironically, limiting growth. They found there were downsides to this approach:

  • The instability is bred by constant change.
  • A culture where individual achievements overshadowed team dynamics.
  • The potential neglect of team synergy and collaboration.

The Comfort Zone Pitfall

A family-owned enterprise I encountered, preferring to rely on long-standing team members, missed crucial growth opportunities. This story, while not in my book, is a testament to the risks of complacency:

  • Becoming stagnant and resistant to new ideas.
  • Settling for mediocrity affects the company’s competitive edge.
  • The inability to adapt to market changes.

Striking the Right Balance

I recognize that flexibility and adaptability are necessary to build our teams correctly. I recommend using the following playbook:

(1)  Invest in People: Encourage and support the development of your current team.

(2)  Evolve with Purpose: As your organization grows, so should your team, but with strategic intent.

(3)  Uphold High Standards: Accept nothing less than excellence.

(4)  Lead by Example: Remember, the tone is set at the top. Mediocrity at the leadership level permeates the entire organization.

(5)  Continuous Evaluation: Regularly assess the dynamics and capabilities of your team.

(6)  Development Opportunities: Foster a culture of learning and growth.

(7)  Thoughtful Hiring: Look for candidates with both skill and potential.

(8)  Cultivating Excellence: Promote a mindset of relentless improvement.

Conclusion on Building a Resilient Team

The essence of effective leadership lies in navigating these complexities with wisdom and foresight. It’s not merely a choice between chasing superstars or settling with what you have. It’s about fostering a culture that values growth and excellence. As leaders, we shape our organizations’ futures. Let’s build teams that are not just fit for today but are resilient and adaptable for the challenges of tomorrow.

 

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the founder and CEO of Activate Group Inc., a growth-focused coaching firm for business leaders. With decades of experience, as a CEO Coach and the author of The Leader Launchpad and Your Business is a Leaky Bucket, Howard is dedicated to empowering leaders to unlock their potential and propel their organizations to new heights.

Beyond Profits: A CEO’s Guide to Building a Human-Centric Organizational Culture

A CEO’s influence in shaping company culture, values, and behavior cannot be overstated. This article explores how CEOs can authentically model these aspects, creating a cohesive and values-driven environment while addressing the common pitfall of inadvertently prioritizing performance over people.

The CEO as the Cultural Beacon

The actions and decisions of a CEO set a powerful example for the entire organization. It’s essential to align these actions with the company’s stated values and desired culture. This alignment reinforces trust and integrity throughout the workforce.

Challenges in Modeling Values and Behavior

One significant challenge many CEOs face is the perception of caring more about profits than people. This perception is often fueled when high-performing employees are allowed to operate outside the bounds of company values or when employee well-being seems secondary to financial success.

Case Example: Marc Benioff at Salesforce

Consider Marc Benioff of Salesforce, who consistently models the company’s values of trust, customer success, innovation, and equality. Benioff’s approach to addressing social issues and prioritizing employee well-being, especially during the pandemic, reinforced Salesforce’s commitment to its values and the importance of everyone in the company.

Avoiding the ‘Do as I Say, Not as I Do’ Trap

CEOS must avoid a disconnect between what they say and how they behave. This means talking about values and living them, even when challenging or less profitable in the short term.

Making People Feel Valued

Beyond modeling values, CEOs need to make their employees feel valued as human beings. This includes acknowledging their contributions, understanding their challenges, and creating an inclusive environment where every voice matters.

Recognizing the Red Flags

When CEOs do not lead by example in fostering a values-driven culture, several telltale symptoms can emerge within the organization. Recognizing these signs is the first step in addressing underlying cultural issues.

(1) Employee Disengagement: One of the most immediate symptoms is a decline in employee engagement. When leaders do not embody the company’s values, employees may feel disconnected from the organization’s vision, leading to a lack of motivation and commitment.

(2) High Turnover Rates: If employees perceive a mismatch between the company’s stated values and the actions of its leaders, they are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. High turnover not only disrupts operations but also incurs significant costs in recruiting and training new staff.

(3) Difficulty in Attracting Talent: In today’s market, where many job seekers prioritize company culture, a lack of genuine leadership can make it challenging to attract top talent. Prospective employees are often deterred by a perceived lack of authenticity in a company’s culture.

(4) Lack of Extra Effort: When employees are not inspired or feel undervalued, they are less likely to go above and beyond in their roles. This lack of discretionary effort can significantly impact innovation and productivity.

(5) Team Dysfunction: A leadership that fails to model positive behavior and values can lead to increased conflicts, poor communication, and an overall breakdown in team cohesion. This dysfunction can ripple across the organization, affecting performance and morale.

(6) Ethical Lapses and Reduced Integrity: In the absence of a strong ethical framework demonstrated by leadership, employees might deprioritize ethical considerations in their decision-making, potentially leading to integrity issues and reputational damage.

The Ripple Effect of Leadership Misalignment

The effects of a CEO’s failure to model company culture and values extend beyond the organization’s internal workings. They can impact customer relationships, brand reputation, and, ultimately, the bottom line. It underscores the importance of a CEO’s role in consistently demonstrating the behaviors and values they expect to see in their organization.

As a CEO, your behavior and decisions are a mirror of the company’s culture. You can create a thriving, resilient, and aligned organization by consistently modeling the values you champion and showing genuine regard for your employees.

Consider reaching out for a specialized coaching session for guidance on effectively modeling your company’s culture and values.

 

About the Author – Howard M. Shore is an accomplished CEO coach, author of Your Business is a Leaky Bucket and The Leader Launchpad, and the founder of Activate Group Inc. He specializes in helping leaders build strong, values-driven organizations by aligning their actions and decisions with the company’s core values.

Mastering Leadership: When is the Right Time to Bid Farewell to an Employee?

Today, I invite you to join me on a journey into a topic that holds a crucial place in the realm of leadership – knowing when to say goodbye to an employee. It’s a decision that can shape the trajectory of your organization and define your leadership legacy. In this article, we’ll delve deep into the intricacies of this challenging yet essential aspect of leadership.

The Unspoken Dilemma

“I have never met a leader who told me their goal is to staff their organization with incapable, unmotivated, and incompetent misfits with bad attitudes. And yet look around.” These words from my book, “The Leader Launchpad,” speak volumes about a dilemma that often goes unaddressed in the corporate world.

Let’s begin with a story from my own journey. I once had a talented team member whose attitude eroded team morale. Despite my best efforts to mentor and support, the situation persisted. It became evident that, despite their skills, this individual no longer aligned with our organization’s core values. The decision was tough but a step towards preserving the team’s spirit and performance.

When is the Right Time?

Determining the right time to part ways with an employee is a skill every leader must master. Here are some key signs that it might be time to bid farewell:

(1) Consistent Performance Issues: When employees consistently fall short of expectations despite coaching and development efforts, it might be time to reevaluate their fit within the organization.

(2) Cultural Misalignment: If an individual’s values and behavior clash with your organization’s culture, it can negatively impact team dynamics.

(3) Toxic Attitude: A negative or toxic attitude can poison team morale and hinder productivity. Address it swiftly.

(4) Impact on Team: If one team member’s performance or behavior negatively affects the entire team, it’s a red flag.

Consider a case where a company I worked with had a star performer who displayed a consistent “my way or the highway” attitude. While their results were impressive, the team’s frustration and burnout levels soared. Eventually, they had to decide to let go of the star to save the team.

The Silver Lining

Every exit is an entry somewhere else. When you bid farewell to an employee, you open doors for transformation:

  • For the Employee: It can be an opportunity for them to find a role that better aligns with their skills and values.
  • For the Team: It creates space for fresh talent and new perspectives, breathing life into your team’s dynamics.

Actionable Steps

(1) Regular Performance Reviews: Conduct regular performance reviews to identify issues early and provide opportunities for improvement.

(2) Cultural Assessment: Continuously assess cultural alignment and address misalignment promptly.

(3) Open Communication: Create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing concerns and feedback.

(4) Mentorship and Coaching: Invest in mentorship and coaching to help struggling employees improve.

(5) Exit Strategy: When necessary, have a well-thought-out exit strategy that ensures a smooth transition for both the departing employee and the team.

Conclusion

In the world of leadership, knowing when to say goodbye is as important as knowing when to say hello. It’s a decision that requires courage and empathy but is essential for the growth and prosperity of your organization.

 

 About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group, Inc., a company dedicated to helping executives and business owners accelerate growth and achieve their goals. With over three decades of experience in leadership development, Howard is the author of “The Leader Launchpad” and a sought-after speaker and coach in the field of leadership and business growth.

Navigating the Talent Shortage: How Successful C-Suite Leaders are Rethinking Online Recruitment

As CEO of Activate Group Inc, I’ve been privileged to guide numerous growth-driven businesses through various market conditions. Over the last few months, we’ve noticed a trend that has caught our attention: a decline in the volume of online job orders. Why, might you ask? We are currently navigating one of the tightest labor markets in recent memory.

There is an adage in business that says, “A players hire A players, but B players hire C players.” However, in this ultra-competitive market, some companies have been forced to hire below their usual standards just to keep operations going. We’ve seen it firsthand. Some organizations tolerate poor performers or even overpay for them just to fill seats. A worrying trend but an understandable one given the circumstances.

In a recent example, one of our high-growth clients, let’s call them XYZ Corp, had a key position vacant for months. The management team was overloaded with work and lacked time to fill the position. So, they opted to hire an internal recruiter. This recruiter successfully filled the vacancy, but not before the management team had been stretched thin for far too long.

Another one of our clients, ABC Inc, desperate to retain their current workforce, decided to invest heavily in creating retention strategies. Despite their efforts, they faced a high turnover rate due to competitive job offers from competitors. It’s a classic case of companies having to work harder to keep the talent they already have.

So, what does this mean for the use of online job boards? In my view, it indicates that companies are exploring other recruitment avenues. The rising talent costs and urgency to fill roles have led to a heavier reliance on external recruiters and headhunters. While still useful, job boards are not providing the immediate results required in this demanding labor market.

But let’s be clear – this doesn’t mean abandoning online job boards. It means adjusting your strategies. Here are some actionable steps you can take:

(1) Expand your channels: Don’t just rely on online job boards. Network at industry events, use professional social platforms like LinkedIn and consider engaging external recruitment agencies if need be.

(2) Improve your employer brand: If you’re struggling to attract top talent, consider how your company is presented to the outside world. Is your vision, mission, and culture evident and appealing?

(3) Offer competitive packages: Ensure your compensation packages are attractive and competitive. But remember, it’s not always about the salary. Consider flexible working conditions, professional development opportunities, and other non-monetary benefits.

If you’ve been struggling to navigate this labor shortage, I invite you to contact our team at Activate Group Inc. We’ve helped countless businesses overcome their growth barriers and would be thrilled to help you do the same.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore, CEO of Activate Group Inc, is a renowned executive leadership coach and author of “The Leader Launchpad.” With decades of experience in assisting companies to achieve exponential growth, Howard’s proven methodologies have become the gold standard for businesses seeking to reach their peak performance. Through Activate Group Inc, Howard continues to guide C-suite leaders to navigate their business challenges, regardless of market conditions, successfully.

 

Breaking Free from the Recruitment Quagmire: A Guide for Overwhelmed Leaders

There’s no doubt that we are currently in the throes of an incredibly demanding job market. As CEO of Activate Group Inc, I’ve had a ringside view of how this has impacted businesses across various sectors. I’ve noticed a concerning pattern: leaders straining under the immense pressure of filling vacancies while handling their managerial responsibilities.

Consider the case of one of our clients, a high-growth tech startup we’ll call XYZ Corp. After one of their key team members left, the responsibility of filling the position fell squarely on the departed individual’s manager. Now, this manager was already short-staffed and had to take up the responsibilities of the vacant position. The added task of reviewing hundreds of resumes, conducting initial screenings, and formal interviews simply exacerbated the strain.

The example above occurs often. Many leaders find themselves stuck in a similar rut, battling to maintain operations with a depleted team while having to recruit new talent. It’s an unsustainable situation that calls for a change in strategy. Here’s how you can escape this quagmire:

(1) Delegate: Distribute some of your non-essential tasks to trusted team members to free up your time for recruitment. This doesn’t mean shifting your responsibilities onto an already overworked team, but rather, empowering them to take on new roles.

(2) Leverage Technology: Invest in applicant tracking systems (ATS) or recruitment software to streamline your hiring process. These tools can automate the initial screening process, filter out unfit candidates, and help you focus on potential hires.

(3) Training: Provide the necessary resources and training to your internal team to screen candidates effectively. Equip them with the skills to identify key traits and qualifications that align with your company’s values and needs.

(4) Engage Recruitment Professionals: If you find the recruitment process too overwhelming, consider getting assistance from external recruitment professionals. They can provide a shortlist of potential candidates, saving you valuable time and resources.

(5) Revisit your Hiring Process: Are your job descriptions clear and accurate? Are you utilizing the right platforms to attract the talent you need? Take a moment to audit your hiring process and identify any areas that need improvement.

We all know that filling a vacant position can be a time-consuming and arduous process, but it doesn’t have to be. By utilizing these strategies, you can reclaim time, focus on your managerial tasks, and still recruit top-notch candidates.

If you need further assistance, I invite you to reach out to our team at Activate Group Inc. Our goal is to provide businesses with the tools and strategies to navigate their growth and operational challenges successfully. Let’s overcome this hurdle together.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group Inc and author of “The Leader Launchpad.” His proven methodologies have guided countless businesses to break free from the barriers stunting their growth. Howard is passionate about helping businesses navigate their unique challenges and achieve their maximum potential. Through Activate Group Inc, Howard continues to empower C-suite leaders to overcome their business hurdles, no matter how complex.

Internal Recruitment: The Underrated Powerhouse for Staffing Solutions

In the bustling corridors of Alpha Industries, a multinational tech giant, there was a mounting sense of disarray. Despite the organization’s innovative spirit, it was losing its competitive edge. Staffing vacancies were as constant as the tick of the clock, with the HR department perpetually trying to fill seats. Their predicament stemmed from a critical deficiency – the absence of a coherent internal recruitment strategy.

Many companies find themselves in a similar predicament, unsure of how to leverage the power of internal recruitment, a potent tool often underutilized. It’s a scenario I frequently underscore in my book, “The Leader Launchpad,” where I explain that “Organizations, like rockets, can only reach their desired destinations by continuously adjusting their course.” The course correction we’re exploring today is internal recruitment.

Rethinking Internal Recruitment

Typically, internal recruitment refers to promoting or reshuffling existing employees. However, it’s more than just filling a vacancy with an insider. It’s a comprehensive strategy that encompasses developing an internal recruitment team or designating an internal recruiter, cultivating an environment that promotes employee referrals, and ensuring existing employees are continuously upskilled and primed for possible advancement.

An internal recruitment team can tap into the rich potential within your organization, identifying rising stars, understanding the skill sets available, and mapping potential career trajectories. It’s also responsible for fostering a culture that encourages employee referrals, which can uncover impressive candidates who can seamlessly fit into the existing company ethos.

Weighing Internal Recruitment and Its Alternatives

 Internal recruitment offers multiple advantages:

  • Employee Retention: Career progression opportunities within the company can enhance job satisfaction, reducing turnover.
  • Cost-Saving: With an internal team, expenses related to job advertisements, agency fees, and prolonged onboarding are mitigated.
  • Understanding of the Business and Culture: As existing members, the team grasps your company culture, facilitating a smoother transition and placement process.
  • Shorter Learning Curve: Current employees are already acquainted with the business operations, resulting in faster productivity ramp-ups.

However, like all strategies, it has its limitations:

  • Potential Stagnation: Relying solely on internal talent can limit the inflow of fresh ideas.
  • Limited Talent Pool: An internal focus could mean missing out on external professionals with the latest skills.

An Effective Talent Acquisition Strategy Requires a Mix of Internal and External Hiring Practices.

Here’s where different methods come into play:

  • External Recruiters: Best for unique or high-level roles that require a specific skill set or experience. They can find those rare gems worth investing top dollar in.
  • Job Posting Online: Ideal for roles with a broader candidate pool. It’s an inexpensive way to reach a wide audience.
  • Internal Recruiters: Perfect for continual or volume hiring needs, where understanding the organization’s culture and needs is critical.

The transformation of Alpha Industries is a testament to the power of strategic internal recruitment. They built a dedicated internal recruitment team, focused on employee referrals, and struck a balance with external hiring. The result was a richer candidate pool, a faster hiring process, and enhanced employee satisfaction.

As I stated in “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” “What gets measured gets managed.” Regularly assess the success of your recruitment strategies, adjust as needed, and remember that internal recruitment is more than a strategy – it’s a culture.

 

Howard M. Shore, CEO of Activate Group Inc., is a seasoned business consultant known for transforming organizations into market leaders. Author of “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” he guides businesses to enhance performance, develop effective strategies, and maximize potential. His firm is committed to building leadership capacity and driving growth.

 

BOOK SUMMARY – The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues, by Patrick Lencioni

The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues,” by Patrick Lencioni*, presents a game-changing model for organizations striving to achieve harmonious teamwork and superior performance. The author encapsulates this in the triad of virtues: Humble, Hungry, and Smart.

Let’s delve into these virtues (Humble, Hungry, and Smart):

  1. Humble: Lencioni believes humility is the single greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player. Humble individuals are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention for their own. They share credit, emphasize team over self, and define success collectively rather than individually.
  2. Hungry: The hungry ones are always seeking more. More things to do. More to learn. More responsibility. They’re self-motivated and diligent. Their work ethic keeps them going when others drop their pace.
  3. Smart: Here, ‘smart’ does not refer to intellectual capacity. Instead, it refers to a person’s interpersonal intelligence. Smart people are intuitive in social situations. They understand the nuances of team interaction, how to handle others, and how to say things in a way that doesn’t upset or confuse them.

Lencioni illustrates the importance of these virtues through character profiles.

  • Pawn – Humble but not hungry or smart, leading to passivity.
  • Bulldozer – Hungry and smart but not humble, causing them to steamroll over others in their pursuit of goals.
  • Charmer – Smart but lacks humility and hunger, making them likable but unreliable.
  • Accidental Mess Maker – Humble and hungry but not smart, which means they unintentionally create issues.
  • Lovable Slacker – Humble and smart but not hungry, resulting in complacency.
  • Skillful Politician – Hungry and smart but not humble, leading to manipulative behaviors.
  • Ideal Team Player – Embodies all three virtues, aligning their personal ambitions with the team’s success, inspiring and uplifting others, and acting with intelligence and empathy.

How do we implement the Ideal Team Player model in our organizations?

  1. Hiring: During the recruitment process, look beyond technical skills. Incorporate behavioral interview techniques and scenario-based questions to identify humble, hungry, and smart traits. Remember, skills can be taught, but character is intrinsic.
  2. Assessing current employees: Use the model as a lens to evaluate your current team. This helps identify who may be lacking in one or more virtues. Everyone can have an off day, so consistent patterns should guide assessments, not isolated incidents.
  3. Developing employees: If you find team members lacking in any virtue, create personalized development plans. Coach and mentor them, providing actionable feedback to help them grow.
  4. Embedding in the organization’s culture: Make these virtues part of your company’s DNA. Celebrate and reward examples of humble, hungry, and smart behavior. Make them part of performance reviews, goal-setting, and team-building activities.

The key to embedding these virtues into your organization is consistency. Talk about them, live them, and hold each other accountable. This book’s brilliance lies not in a new concept but in the simplicity and clarity with which it refines what we already know to be true about effective teamwork. Lencioni’s model doesn’t just transform teams—it transforms entire organizations.

In summary, “The Ideal Team Player” is more than a book; it’s a road map to individual growth and organizational success. So, let’s all be humble enough to accept our shortcomings, hungry enough to keep growing, and smart enough to foster positive team dynamics. Together, we can build a culture where everyone is an ideal team.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group Inc, a distinguished business performance expert, and the author of best-selling books “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket.” With his wealth of experience, Shore helps organizations unlock their potential by putting people at the heart of their strategies. His motivational and positive tone empowers leaders to transform their businesses through his innovative techniques and thought leadership.

(*) Footnote: Lencioni, P. (2016). The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues. Jossey-Bass.

Optimizing Your Recruitment Process: Attract, Evaluate, Hire, Repeat!

Once upon a time, a rapidly growing software company named Delta SoftCorp struggled with recruitment. Their process was unstructured, leading to wasted resources and a mismatch in employee-organization fit. This company had a great business model, dedicated employees, and top-notch products. Still, its recruitment process was like a boat with a hole – no matter how hard they rowed, the water seeping in through their leaky recruitment process was sinking their growth.

Fast forward three years later, Delta SoftCorp has successfully become an industry leader with a bustling pipeline of top-notch candidates waiting to join their ranks. What changed? They transformed their recruitment process. This article shares the steps they took to optimize their recruitment process and how you can do the same.

Common Recruitment Challenges and How to Overcome Them

There are common hurdles in the recruitment process, including attracting quality candidates, time consumption, and maintaining objectivity. Overcoming these challenges requires a structured and proactive approach. For example, Delta SoftCorp started using data-driven recruitment software to streamline the recruitment process, avoid biases, and ultimately hire better talent.

Consequences of Poor Recruitment

In my book, “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” I mention, “A business, like a bucket, is designed to store value. The holes are where value escapes.” A poor recruitment process is one such hole. It can lead to employee turnover, decreased productivity, wasted resources, and negative company culture.

Steps in the Recruitment Process and Best Approaches

(1) Identify the Hiring Need: Before posting a job, understand the responsibilities, necessary skills, and ideal personality for the role.

(2) Attract Candidates: Leverage social media, job boards, referrals, and talent pipelines. Delta SoftCorp implemented an Employee Referral Program, which boosted their candidate quality and quantity.

(3) Screen Candidates: Techniques to eliminate unfit candidates early include evaluating resumes against a checklist, initial phone interviews, and using pre-assessment tools.

(4) Interviews and Evaluations: Involve Human Resources and the team they’ll work with, giving you a rounded evaluation. Involving managers efficiently in this process means setting clear expectations and training them to conduct effective interviews.

(5) Offer and Onboard: Ensure your salary and perks are competitive. A successful onboarding process includes helping new hires understand their role and the company culture.

 

What Measures Tell You That Each Step is Operating Optimally

In an optimal recruitment process, positions are filled quickly by the right candidates. You can use metrics like Time-to-Fill, Quality of Hire, and Cost-per-Hire to assess efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness.

Hire for Your Culture

Hiring for skills is crucial, but don’t neglect cultural fit. Hiring people who align with your company’s values helps create a harmonious work environment. Delta SoftCorp now focuses on this as a major part of its recruitment process.

Fair Salary and Perks

Offering competitive compensation and benefits is vital to attracting and retaining top talent. A comprehensive industry standard research should be the base of your salary structure.

How to Optimize the Manager’s Involvement?

Managers are critical in hiring but are often burdened with multiple tasks. To optimize their involvement, streamline the process with structured interviews and training, and provide clear guidelines on their role in the hiring process.

By applying these strategies, Delta SoftCorp turned its recruitment process into a powerful engine driving its success. Today, they boast a robust talent pipeline, lower employee turnover, and a happier and more productive workforce.

So, take the first step towards fixing the recruitment process leak in your leaky bucket today and see the transformative effects on your organization tomorrow.

 

Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group Inc., a bestselling author, and a serial entrepreneur specializing in liberating C-Suite teams from the barriers holding them back personally and professionally. He is the author of “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” bringing his wealth of experience to guide business leaders toward success.

BOOK SUMMARY – Think Again by Adam Grant: The Power of Cognitive Humility and Scientific Thinking for Personal and Professional Growth

“Think Again” by Adam Grant is an enlightening book that encourages readers to embrace the power of rethinking. The author, a top-rated professor and researcher at Wharton, argues that by challenging our assumptions and being open to new ideas, we can improve our lives and contribute positively to society.

Grant begins by discussing the concept of “cognitive humility,” which is the willingness to acknowledge that our beliefs and opinions may not always be correct. He stresses the importance of seeking out diverse perspectives and being open to feedback, which can help us learn and grow.

The book also delves into the dangers of sticking to one’s convictions and the negative consequences of closed-mindedness. Grant provides numerous examples of individuals and organizations that have succeeded by being willing to reconsider their assumptions and make changes accordingly.

One of the key takeaways from “Think Again” is the idea of embracing the mindset of a “scientific thinker.” This involves adopting a curious and skeptical approach to information, gathering evidence and testing hypotheses before drawing conclusions. By doing so, we can avoid falling prey to confirmation bias and making decisions based on flawed assumptions.

The book also explores the importance of effective communication and the role that listening plays in fostering constructive dialogue. Grant provides practical advice on approaching difficult conversations and engaging in productive debate, highlighting the value of curiosity and humility in these interactions.

Overall, “Think Again” is a thought-provoking and inspiring read that encourages readers to embrace the power of rethinking. By adopting a curious and open-minded approach to life, we can become more resilient, adaptable, and successful in all areas of our lives.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group Inc, a distinguished business performance expert, and the author of best-selling books “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket.” With his wealth of experience, Shore helps organizations unlock their potential by putting people at the heart of their strategies. His motivational and positive tone empowers leaders to transform their businesses through his innovative techniques and thought leadership.

Why the Key to Employee Retention is Engagement: Unleashing the Power of People for Organizational Success

When Michigan-based manufacturer Acme Industries noticed a disturbing trend of dwindling employee morale and escalating turnover rates in 2022, they knew it was a wake-up call. The company, recognized for its innovative solutions, was suddenly grappling with a pervasive issue plaguing many organizations today: a disengaged workforce. This article explores why employee engagement is crucial for talent retention and how to create a thriving workplace environment that cultivates this engagement.

The Unseen ROI of Employee Retention

Retaining skilled employees goes beyond mere cost savings on recruitment. Experienced employees deliver superior productivity and work quality, thanks to their extensive understanding of their roles. Further, their deep-rooted knowledge about the business plays a significant role in nurturing customer relationships and driving business growth. A consistent workforce builds a culture of loyalty and commitment, fortifying the company’s stature as an employer of choice.

Essential Drivers for Retaining Talent

The crux of employee retention lies in grasping what motivates your talent pool. At the top of the list is fostering a culture of appreciation and recognition. In my book, “The Leader Launchpad,” I emphasize, “If you want to increase performance, start by increasing recognition.”

Secondly, availing growth and development opportunities is critical. In today’s dynamic business landscape, employees crave learning experiences that guarantee relevance and contribute to their career advancement.

Lastly, promoting a healthy work-life balance and a supportive work environment is vital. Employees stick around where they feel their personal lives and well-being are esteemed.

Effective Employee Retention Strategies

(1) Employee Engagement: Engaging employees is about inspiring them to align their energies with the company’s mission. Advocate open communication, solicit their thoughts, and acknowledge their input.

(2) Competitive Compensation: Ensure your pay scales and benefits package align with industry standards. Employees feel esteemed when they perceive they are justly compensated.

(3) Learning and Development Opportunities: Institute training programs and mentorship opportunities help foster careers instead of jobs. This move will enhance their skill sets and manifest your commitment to their professional progress.

(4) Promote a Positive Company Culture: Foster a workplace that respects diversity, encourages collaboration, and cherishes work-life balance.

It’s essential to remember, as I expounded in “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket,” “Processes are important, but people make the business.” Investing in employee engagement will undoubtedly reap long-term benefits.

Acme Industries embraced this philosophy. They focused on boosting employee engagement, prioritized open communication, and launched comprehensive training programs. The result was a dramatic turnaround – improved productivity, higher retention rates, and a stronger bottom line.

It’s not just about products or services; it’s about people. Organizations that understand this flourish. Implement these strategies to keep your top talent and build a high-performance culture that drives your business toward success.

 

About the Author: Howard M. Shore is the CEO of Activate Group Inc, a distinguished business performance expert, and the author of best-selling books “The Leader Launchpad” and “Your Business is a Leaky Bucket.” With his wealth of experience, Shore helps organizations unlock their potential by putting people at the heart of their strategies. His motivational and positive tone empowers leaders to transform their businesses through his innovative techniques and thought leadership.

Better Candidates With Better Job Descriptions

How do you know if you have the right person in the right position? How do you know if your employees and leaders are successful? How can you tell if they are achieving what you expect of them? More importantly, how do they know if they are focusing on the right activities? The truth is, unless you have defined realistic yet challenging success metrics for each position you have no better idea of your employees’ success rates than they do. This is the basis of Human Capital Management.

Creating employee success starts with the hiring process. It starts with writing the best possible job description—I call it a position profile. The difference between a standard job description and a position profile is huge.

Position Profile vs. Job Description

Typically, job descriptions are used in job posts to advertise an open position, to determine compensation, and/or to establish a basis for performance reviews. However, job descriptions are not constructed in a manner that allows for the vetting of potential candidates or the measuring of performance—a position profile does.

The position profile identifies a role in the context of the organization, and communicates the link between business strategy, internal processes and your people.

In short, a position profile:

  • Documents the expertise, skills and experience needed to perform the job
  • Communicates expectations for performance and results
  • Detailed description of the job from three key perspectives:
    • Supervisory (Strategy & Direction)
    • Employee (Role & Responsibilities)
    • Customer (Quality & Acceptance)

By clearly defining each employee’s role in the context of the organization, and providing detailed success metrics and milestones that employees and managers agree on, you will not only target the right candidates for open positions, but you will also understand your overall team performance.

To learn more about creating a performance-based talent system for your organization, download the free eBook on Human Capital Management from our homepage.

Howard Shore is a human capital management expert and sought-after business coach based in Miami, Florida. His firm works with companies to deliver transformational management and business coaching to their executive leadership. To learn more about human capital management through AGI, please contact Howard at 305.722.7213.

The Recruiting Mistake Made by 99% of Companies

Recruiting is an art that few have mastered. At AGI, we work with many companies to create systems for Human Capital Management—for each company a customized strategic system for managing employees through every stage of their employment, from recruiting to retention. When we evaluate a company’s employee processes, one of the first things we look at is recruitment.

Recruiting “A” players is the goal of most HR professionals, but recruitment is one of the areas where many miss the boat completely. That’s because 99 percent of companies start the recruitment process with the wrong tool: the resume.

Starting the candidate evaluation process by reviewing resumes is one of the biggest mistakes you can makes. Here’s why:

  1. Resumes aren’t accurate. Let’s face it, the resume is the most overinflated self-promotion tool invented. Most resumes are embellished heavily and some are flat-out inaccurate.
  2. Resumes don’t reveal personality. Resumes are, at best, clinical lists of accomplishments and experiences. They tell you almost nothing about a person’s attitudes or working style.
  3. Resumes encourage bias. Formatting, language, word choice, past employers, schools—whatever. All of these things can trigger an irrational “like” or “dislike” of a candidate that could very well be the “A” player you are looking for.

Use Talent Assessment Tools

After posting an open position, the next step of the recruitment process should be assessment testing. Candidate assessment tool like Topgrading provide revealing and unbiased information about a candidate’s natural abilities and inherent skills—these are the most important qualifiers for the successful matching of candidates to jobs.

A resume should be used only as a guide for interviews and a tool for sharing potential candidates with the hiring manager and other decision-makers. Using resumes as the first step in qualifying candidates will definitely make you pass over “A” players.

Howard Shore is a human capital management expert who works with companies that need leadership development and strategic business coaching. Based in Miami, Florida, Howard’s firm, Activate Group, Inc. provides leadership and management coaching to businesses across the country. To learn more about human capital management through AGI, please contact Howard at 305.722.7213.

3 Things Great Leaders Never Do

Great leaders have a lot in common. I have been reading Great by Choice (Jim Collins), which discusses the personality traits common among the most successful CEOs in the country. Things like goal setting, creativity and healthy paranoia are highlighted. As a business coach and leadership trainer, I have worked with many successful CEOs. Based on my experience, I’d like to add to the conversation with three things that the great leaders would never, ever do:

  1. Pass the buck. The buck stops with the leader. That’s what they are getting paid for, and if something goes wrong within the team they innately understand that it is their responsibility and no one else’s. Great leaders never blame others. I think this is especially important for young managers and mid-level team leaders to remember. Great leaders at all levels don’t play the blame game.
  2. Say, “I’m too busy.” A leader’s primary responsibility is to set their employees up for success. Period. If employees need help, have questions or want to share their ideas, great leaders always have time and an open door.
  3. Spend, spend, spend. Great leaders understand that spending company money is a highly visible responsibility, and that they set the example for everyone else. I’ve seen leaders and company owners spend money like drunken sailors and guess what? So do their employees. And at the end of the year when accounting shows them the damage, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Howard Shore is an executive coach and leadership trainer with expertise in leadership coaching and human capital management. To learn more about AGI’s executive coaching, management consulting, and leadership training, please contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216 or email him.

Human Capital Management Training: Change

Change management is a crucial part of an effective human capital management strategy and one of the least understood. If you are in human resources or business leadership and need to understand how to effectively manage change in your organization, our new webinar is a must!

AGI is offering a one-hour, info-packed webinar on change management on March 8 at 12p EST.

Get more information on our Seminar/Training events page.

Howard Shore is a leadership coach and trainer with expertise in leadership coaching and human capital management. To learn more about AGI’s executive coaching, management consulting, and leadership training, please visit his website at activategroupinc.com or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216 or email him.

10 Signs Your Employees Are Mediocre

It’s pretty rare to find a product or service that is truly unique. In my opinion, the only two ways to truly differentiate your business from the competition are through people and company culture. So let’s talk about people. Every leader with whom I’ve consulted says they only want to hire top talent. They say they have pride in their people and mediocrity is not an option. So why do they end up with a bunch of “C” players on their team? They don’t have a solid strategy for the management of human capital, and they ignore the following signs of mediocrity:

  1. People picking up the slack of others who don’t do their job.
  2. Positions are created to fit existing employees instead of hiring the right person for a position created to fit the company strategy.
  3. Managers tolerating the same mistake by an individual over and over again.
  4. Persistent complaints from co-workers about a particular employee.
  5. People waiting around to be told what to do instead of taking initiative.
  6. No innovation.
  7. High turnover in key positions.
  8. Higher overall turnover than best-in-class competitor.
  9. Managers spend more time “doing” instead of coaching, mentoring, recruiting and evaluating performance.
  10. Employees who aren’t held to the same standard because of their long tenure. i.e. their job is theirs forever.

At their core, these problems are human capital management issues that result in lost revenue, increased costs and lower margins. Ironically, some leaders find it easier to deal with revenue issues and their consequences than to learn how to build the right organizational structure and manage their human capital. By taking the time up front to do it right, they would grow faster, have more time, reduce costs, and expand margins. Instead, they choose what is comfortable.

Howard Shore is a sought-after business coach and an expert in human capital management who works with companies that need help with recruiting, hiring and developing the best talent. To learn more about AGI’s executive coaching, management consulting, and leadership training, please visit his website at activategroupinc.com or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216 or email him.