Dealing with Loss & Change in Your Life

By Ellen Borowka

We face loss and change frequently in our lives whether it is a death in the family, losing a job or change in life cycle like retiring or moving out on one’s own. Loss comes in many shapes and forms, and in a way, change is a loss. When we get a new job or have a child or get married, we lose a familiar way of life. Even when the change is good and welcomed, it creates feelings of anxiety for we face something different, something unknown. Here are some ideas of how to handle things when change and loss come into our lives.

mountain vista

Take time to say good-bye

Take some time and in your own manner, say goodbye to the familiar way of life, or to the person or object that has left your life. It’s important to deal with the feelings and not to dismiss or judge these feelings as silly, stupid or insignificant. And it’s important to give yourself space to deal with the loss and change, to mourn and grieve, and to acknowledge and accept feelings of pain, hurt, fear, anger, sorrow, … in your own time.

Reach out to others

Support is strongly needed during periods of loss and change. Those who reach out to others find they can better handle difficult situations. They feel heard and cared about, which strengthens and nurtures them. Reaching out to family, friends, self-help or support groups, counselors or clergy can provide the warmth and support that one needs during these difficult times.

Taking care of yourself

This is one of the most important ways to deal with loss or change. When dealing with difficult situations, be sure to take care of yourself. Eat well or have someone help you to eat by ordering or bringing in food to you or reminding you to eat. Take care of your body with warm baths or saunas; provide yourself with enough sleeping and resting times; and get enough exercise or hikes or even just walks around the block. Walking along the beach or on some nature trails can be very comforting and peaceful. Plus, these walks can be helpful towards finding any needed answers to the hard questions one finds within. Sometimes during hard or fearful times, we forget to attend to our needs or think of them as unimportant. It’s important to understand that feelings brought up by loss causes wear and tear on your body so you need to provide the nurturing and care your body needs.

Caring for your mind and spirit is important too during times of change and loss. Journaling, writing poetry, drawing or creating a collage are helpful ways to work through painful feelings and gaining an emotional release. I have found drawing in which I simply put colors, shapes and lines down on paper with crayons or colored pencils to be very helpful during stressful or difficult moments. Research has also shown that writing can help not only your mental well being, but also your physical health as well. Writing helps to explore feelings and situations in more depth. Other things that can help to nurture the spirit is mediation or visualization, spending time with a pet, prayer, reading poetry or an inspirational book, giving & getting hugs, listening to music or watching a favorite movie. During difficult times, it may be hard to care for yourself, but this is a crucial time to love yourself. If you need help doing this then be sure to reach out for help.

Life Finds A Way

By Berkeley Hall School’s 1995 Graduating Class

John-Michael Hayward, Katherine Lewis,
Christina McComas, Bonnie Paul & Andrew Wyly
Soil washes off the hill;
A seed is left close behind.
A breeze picks up speed,
Carries the lonely seed,
And leaves it on the rock… confined.bridge
And the light shines upon the rock
Out from the sky’s misty gray.
As it passes every day,
Life finds a way.
The seed knows it must take root.
Life will not be mocked!
The power within the tree
Becomes the unlocking key,
And the tree stands firm with the rock.
And the light shines upon the tree
Out from the sky’s misty gray.
As it passes every day,
Life finds a way.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and her organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. Ellen has over 20 years of data analysis and business consulting experience and is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

 

Happy Holidays from LCS!

Happy Holidays!

 

Happy Holidays! From All of Us at Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC

Upset Clients? How to Flip Frowns Upside Down

By Eden Gillott Bowe

You’re a seasoned business traveler. There’s no traffic on your way to the airport because you know all the shortcuts. TSA waves you through with a smile. You even snag a spot for your luggage in the overhead compartment. All is wonderful in your world.

Then you hear an altercation, which turns into screaming and pleading. Welcome to United’s Flight 3411 from O’Hare to Louisville: a classic case of exactly how not to treat customers or clients.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

Practice mindful listening. Think back to the last time you felt truly listened to. Made you feel pretty good, right? In today’s hyper-connected world, people want results immediately and attention spans are shorter than ever. Train yourself to focus your attention on your clients. Make sure you’re truly listening rather than simply waiting for your turn to speak.

Put yourself in the client’s shoes. Based on what you hear, you’re better equipped to see things from their point of view. A multitude of things could be going on in their lives, and it’s up to you to cut through the noise and figure it out. What might they be going through? Are they directing their aggression towards you even though it’s really meant for someone else? Is it their busy season, so they’re complaining about having “yet another thing on my plate”?

Treat others like you’d like to be treated. This goes hand-in-hand with putting yourself in the client’s shoes. Don’t you prefer when someone listens to you and helps get to the bottom of an issue instead of treating you like an inconvenience?

No one wants to be on the receiving end of an angry email. One wedding caterer ended up in the hot seat after an employee went off on a client over “excessive” demands. The client then took to the internet to show the world what shockingly horrible customer service the company had. After months of bad press, word of mouth, and slumping business, the company threw in the towel and shuttered itself.

Some people simply enjoy complaining and won’t be happy with anything. Sometimes no matter how nice you are to clients, they have a permanently bad attitude. They don’t always channel their feelings properly. As a result, a domino effect of bad vibes ripples through their lives. Don’t pass it on.

Be careful what you put into writing. This is a double-edged sword and can be extremely dangerous if it’s not wielded properly. On one side, it’s good to document actions that were taken in order to CYA. On the other (more dangerous) side, committing things to writing may come back to bite you later. For example, don’t put confidential information in an email to someone who isn’t covered under privilege. Nor should you talk negatively about another person because, unbeknownst to you, they may be BCC’d when you hit Reply All.

WHAT TO DISCUSS WITH YOUR MANAGEMENT TEAM

What’s your current protocols for responding to unhappy clients? If you don’t have a system, get one fast.

Who’s responsible for responding to complaints? Does it make the most sense for the account manager or owner to respond? It depends on the nature of the situation. To the extent possible, empower those who work directly with clients with the flexibility to make decisions and take corrective action.

What form(s) is most appropriate? Automated email, personalized email, or telephone? Depending on the situation, it may also be beneficial have a combination.

What are you willing to do for the client? When’s it better to change vs. incurring the cost of attracting a new client? Does this vary depending on the client? If so, what are the cutoffs or metrics?

Are you receiving multiple complaints about the same thing? If so, how do you improve your offerings? Is this an opportunity for growth or a new service line? Can you reduce returns of defective products by looking at production?

Are clients researching you beforehand or are they pre-sold? More and more, clients are looking at online review sites such as Google, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, Trip Advisors, etc. Hence the first time potential clients “meet” you is online. Make sure your pages properly reflect your level of service.

NOW WHAT?

Breathe. If you feel you’re ready for battle or stressed out, take a moment to recalibrate.

Listen. You’d be amazed what you learn. There’s a reason you have two ears and one mouth.

Don’t take it personally (even if it is). This is especially hard when it’s about a decision you made, initiative you spearheaded, or a company you started. It’s your baby.

Don’t be defensive. No one wants to talk to someone who is confrontational.

Repeat back what you heard (or think you understand). Make sure the conversation is based on clarity. This reduces or eliminates miscommunication and misunderstanding.

Prepare (or refine) your customer service response plan. Now that you’ve brainstormed with your management team, put it into action.

Enhance your service and product offerings based on client feedback. Take customer service lemons and turn them into lemonade.

Learn more from wins and misses. When you document clients’ complaints/frustrations, don’t let them sit in a drawer and gather dust. Learn from them and make improvements.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020

Eden Gillott Bowe is President of strategic communications firm Gillott Communications http://www.gillottcommunications.com/ and is a former business professor. She resolves issues both in and outside the media’s glare — from celebrity scandals and corporate fraud to criminal and civil litigation. Eden’s been interviewed about brands in crisis by the LA Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, the Washington Post, and Forbes. She’s worked in Manhattan, Seoul, and Los Angeles. She is the author of A Board Member’s Guide to Crisis PR and A Lawyer’s Guide to Crisis PR.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code, Cracking the Business Code and Cracking the High-Performance Team Code, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.  We also have an affiliate in the UK who covers all of Europe so we are now a true multi-national company that can support our clients globally.

What is Captive Medical Insurance?

By Andrew Kuykendall, CSFS, Alternative Risk Specialist

Chris had a problem. Even with 125 employees in 6 states the company was at the mercy of “medical trend” each year when renewing their medical insurance. They were receiving no actionable data at all to help them find a way to control costs, or budget for an anticipated increase. In fact, over the previous 5 years the increase had averaged just short of 10% annually, with a “low” of 4% one year, and a “high” of 19% the following year. There was never any warning, or justification, other than medical trend. Sure, one time they received an additional report at the back of the packet that mentioned that one employee had roughly $58,000 in care. This is a large number, but with annual premiums exceeding $1.4 million it did not feel catastrophic. There had to be a better way, but what is the better way?

What does self-funded actually mean?

Most employers have some ideas around what being self-funded for medical insurance entails. The company bears the responsibility for the costs of the medical claims. And yet, we are bombarded by media reports of surgeries, or prescriptions, or cancers that routinely exceed a million dollars a year in costs. Can your company absorb multiple million-dollar hits? And the conversation is changing: TPA, DM/UM/UR, PBM, Spec, Agg, and IBNR are just a few examples of what is, to many employers, a new vocabulary. It can get very confusing very quickly. For many employers with between 75 and 700 employees the idea of self-funding their medical plans is an idea that is reviewed, but often discarded as being too risky, too complicated, or that the group is just too small.

Getting back to Chris for a minute, in mid-2012 the company took the plunge, and enrolled in a Self-Funded Medical Captive (captive) program for their employees. This meant that the employer was responsible for claims costs, but the captive helped to spread the risk amongst a much larger population. Instead of buying insurance for 125, they were part of a pool of over 5,000 employees. The larger population meant that the claims costs were much more predictable. Based upon previous, fully insured renewal data, they were able to receive a quote that showed the opportunity to save money in their budget if the group ran as expected. That meant that if they had an “average” claims year, they could save approximately 8% versus their fully insured renewal. If they had a totally catastrophic year, they would pay more than current. However, because of the captive structure and the various types of stop loss insurance, policies that limit the financial exposure of the individual or the aggregate group, the maximum the company would pay would have been 14% higher than their renewal. A very key point in the discussion was the ability to receive their claims data. After much deliberation, they joined the captive.

In that first year the group ran a little bit better than expected and had saved about 11% versus accepting the fully insured renewal. More importantly, with the data they received a few plan tweaks were made that had little cost impact, but great quality of life improvements for the employees. For example, they increased the number of allowable visits to chiropractors and acupuncturists. At the same time, they created a system that dramatically incentivized using urgent care by charging more for an ER visit that should have been handled at either urgent care or the doctor’s office. By lowering the urgent care copay, they saw a fivefold increase in visits to urgent care and a near 60% decrease in “unnecessary” ER visits. Since the average ER visit cost the plan approximately $2,400 per hour, this had a tremendous financial impact. Over the past five years they have continued to modify the plan designs, to emphasize wellness and activity, while being able to keep co-pays and deductibles the same. In fact, they have seen an increase over the past five renewals of less than 2.5% in total since 2012.

How do we protect our company from volatility?

So, can the mere act of being self-funded help lower costs and generate control for mid-size employers? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. If all other things are equal, being self-funded will reduce costs due to premium taxes and insurance company profit being dramatically reduced. This alone accounts for about a 3-6% savings. However, not all things are always equal. The larger the purchasing pool for reinsurance the lower the premiums. These layers of protection help provide a maximum risk level that the group can adjust based upon their needs. As an example, we have seen specific deductibles of as low as $25,000 per member to as high as $1,500,000 per member. There is an opportunity to design the program in almost any way you desire. The key to any successful program is finding the risk tolerance of the organization and working within those parameters.
If this is so simple and better than anything in the fully insured market then how come so few employers are doing this? Why is this the exception, rather than the rule? Self-funding does come with the opportunity to save money over a fully insured option, but it also has the chance of being more expensive if the claims funding is set to low. This is where having good underwriters and actuaries are vitally important to setting up a plan to be successful from the start. In addition to the stop loss underwriters, we also recommend using an outside actuarial firm to help produce claims funding targets and set up budgets to avoid surprises. All of this preparation is valuable in helping employers feel that they have budgeted effectively for the plan year. That being said, it is not a guaranteed cost like the current fully insured plans. Quite often the volatility of claims funding is too great a hurdle for a company to fully commit to a self-funded platform.

Once an employer has determined their risk tolerance, and made a commitment to go self-funded, the question is finding the correct platform for their needs. A captive program is a very effective way to mitigate the risk for mid-size employers. A captive program works by asking the employer to accept all of the risk for a portion of the expected claims, then they will share risk with other member companies in the captive for larger, less predictable claims, and then ultimately purchases stop loss for catastrophic claims. By leveraging the buying power of the captive, group premiums are lower and claims costs are more predictable. In the event that there is money left in the captive program at the end of the plan year, those funds are returned as a dividend to member companies. Renewals are comprised of two portions, fixed costs (administration, stop loss premiums, etc.) and claims funding. Often, fixed costs are 12-18% of total plan expenditures. This makes it very easy to budget for renewals. The claims costs are managed by choice of network, plan design tweaks, and employee communications for example. If you are able to help employees use urgent care, rather than the ER, or focus on using generic drugs when appropriate, it is not uncommon to see an overall reduction in plan spending of 3-7% depending upon the changes.

How do we determine if this is right for us?

Self-funding is not universal, but with platforms like Self-Funded Medical Captives more employers are able to review their options and see what makes sense for them and their employees. By understanding the program mechanics, the internal risk tolerance, and working with experienced consultants it can be an answer to understanding why costs are increasing. In fact, it can help slow, and even stop, the endless increases faced by fully insured employers. The captive model of accepting risk for the expected claims, sharing risk for large claims, and insuring catastrophic claims has helped groups below 1,000 covered employees participate in the same benefits and efficiencies that every member of the Fortune 500 enjoys. With a good consultant to help guide the way, an affordable plan is within reach. The platforms available to mid-size employers today make reviewing self-funding a standard part of your renewal process. For Chris, it has led to millions of dollars in savings versus fully insured renewals. Take a look, you might find a plan that makes sense for you and your employees.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020

Andrew Kuykendall, CSFS, Alternative Risk Specialist, specializes in Alternative Risk programs including self-insured, participating, medical captive and minimum-premium solutions. He helps clients understand their programs through advanced data analytics. His role spans partner relationships, identifying the newest opportunities to help our clients control their costs immediately, and bending the cost curve in the future. He also keeps our staff educated on the theory, and practice, of alternative funding.

With 22 years of industry experience, Andrew has written and renewed nearly every funding mechanism in the marketplace, and has experience with individual policies up to 35,000 life Taft-Hartley funds. Prior to joining Woodruff-Sawyer, Andrew held key alternative risk and consulting roles at Neovia (now Woodruff-Sawyer), Bolton and Company, Andreini and Company, Benefit Solutions Company, Calco, Gallagher and Near North. He also formerly served as COO for an insurance agency in Irvine.

Andrew’s professional affiliations include serving as: board member of the British American Business Council (BABC) in Orange County from 2009-2012; founding member of the BABC Young Executives in 2010; and part of the broker advisory council for multiple TPAs and medical management service organizations. Andrew has been a speaker for the Health Care Administrators Association (HCAA) Webinar Series (2016), and developed a “Self-Funded Basics” education certificate series. He wrote one of the first Archer MSA plans in California in 1997. Andrew holds the Certified Self-Funded Specialist (CSFS) designation from HCAA. For more information, please feel free to contact Andrew at 949.233.6101 or akuykendall@wsandco.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

 

Why Exit Interviews Make Sense

By Dana Borowka, MA

Recently a strange occurrence got me thinking. On a personal note, I love to sail. After being members of a boat club for over ten years, my wife Ellen and I decided to move to another club. When we informed the club we were leaving they were highly efficient in deactivating our gate codes and privileges. No surprise there.

But it was what they did not do that surprised us. No one asked us why we were leaving. In talking to members at the new club as to why they didn’t join our old club we discovered there was a common complaint and it had nothing to do with boats: they did not like the food at the club.

This organization is needlessly losing customers over something that could be fixed. If only they had a process of conducting exit interviews.

For many a business, the exit interview has fallen out of favor. But in April 2016 the Harvard Business Review published an article singing the praises of exit interviews titled “Making Exit Interviews Count” by Everett Spain of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Boris Groysberg of the Harvard Business School.

The authors made their case in the article’s opening abstract:

An international financial services company hired a midlevel manager to oversee a department of 17 employees. A year later only eight remained: Four had resigned and five had transferred. To understand what led to the exodus, an executive looked at the exit interviews of the four employees who had resigned and discovered that they had all told the same story: The manager lacked critical leadership skills, such as showing appreciation, engendering commitment, and communicating vision and strategy. More important, the interviews suggested a deeper, systemic problem: The organization was promoting managers on the basis of technical rather than managerial skill. The executive committee adjusted the company’s promotion process accordingly.

“In today’s knowledge economy, skilled employees are the asset that drives organizational success,” state Spain and Groysberg. “Thus companies must learn from them—why they stay, why they leave, and how the organization needs to change. A thoughtful exit-interview process can create a constant flow of feedback on all three fronts.”

Why Some Experts Are Cool to Exit Interviews

“I am not a fan of exit interviews,” says Beth Smith, president of A-list Interviews and the author of Why Can’t I Hire Good People: Lessons on How to Hire Better. “I think it is a matter of too little too late.”

A horrible hiring mistake led Smith to create a company and write a book to help improve hiring results. Here is her take on the drawbacks of exit interviews:

Exit interviews are specifically designed for the employer. They do not help the exiting employee at all, because the exiting employee usually needs a reference from the company they are leaving. Telling the truth about the company doesn’t help the employee get that reference, and in certain circumstances, the information gleaned from the interview could be used against them. In addition, if there is negative feedback given, it is sometimes dismissed by the interviewer. “Well, that employee is just mad, so their feedback isn’t accurate.” My belief is that if an employee is leaving the company, they have attempted to tell someone in the company why. Whether it is a review, a conversation or a complaint, most employees don’t just up and leave without some sort of a notification.

Smith’s work is about interviewing right when hiring (something I agree with and advocate should be supported with proper in-depth workstyle and personality testing). Understandably, her coolness toward exit interviews echoes the view of many in business.

Smith’s belief is that if an employee is leaving the company, they have already attempted to tell someone in the company why. Who wasn’t listening to the employee when they were there?

Taking a Fresh Look at Exit Interviews

True, exit interviews have their shortcomings; however, in my opinion, it is a miscalculation to not conduct exit interviews because of the inherent faults. The research of Spain and Groysberg detailed in the Harvard Business Review supports this:

Though we are unaware of research showing that exit interviews reduce turnover, we do know that engaged and appreciated employees are more likely to contribute and less likely to leave. If done well, an exit interview—whether it be a face-to-face conversation, a questionnaire, a survey, or some combination of those methods—can catalyze leaders’ listening skills, reveal what does or doesn’t work inside the organization, highlight hidden challenges and opportunities, and generate essential competitive intelligence.

Other HR experts advocate a return to exit interviews—if they are done right.

“If an organization is a revolving door and it doesn’t care why, then exit interviews are a waste of their time and money,” says Claudia Williams, former associate general counsel, Global HR & Litigation, for The Hershey Company. “Most organizations, though, want to know why people are leaving and going to their competitors or elsewhere, especially when the attraction and retention of great people is a top, if not the top, concern for CEOs in the U.S. and globally.”

Williams, founder of a consulting company called The Human Zone and the author of the upcoming book Frientorship, argues an exit interview gives the employer a chance to get raw, candid feedback on what it does well and what it needs to improve – what’s keeping employees there and what’s causing them to leave.

“Time and again I’ve seen leaders surprised by the results of an exit interview, which means they don’t have their fingers on the real pulse of the organization,” says Williams. “An employer might be able to stop a great employee from leaving if it knows the real reasons behind the employee’s decision.”

The Value of Exit Interviews

“I valued and conducted exit interviews often in the army, individually and through the Army’s initiatives enterprise wide,” says Brigadier General Jeffrey Foley, U.S. Army (retired). “In the army, I often conducted exit interviews when people were transferring out to other army organizations when their tour of duty was up.”

“I valued and encouraged the conducting of exit interviews in the army, individually and through the initiatives sponsored by the army enterprise wide,” says Brigadier General Jeffrey Foley, U.S. Army (retired). “In the army, we often conducted exit interviews when people were simply transferring out to other army organizations when their tour of duty was up.”

Foley, who now runs a leadership consulting practice named Loral Mountain Solutions and is the coauthor of the book Rules and Tools for Leaders, offers his views on the four major benefits of exit interviews:

1. You may learn the real truths about your organization. You will likely learn what you may know or should know about typical challenges like money, opportunities for growth, shortfall of benefits, etc. You may also learn more profound truths like distrust of supervisor, harassment, illegal or unethical conduct that people were reluctant to report for whatever reason.
2. You set a great example for the entire organization that the leadership cares. The word will get out that the losing organization leaders cared enough to at least ask. If there is a standard practice of exit interviews and things changed in the organization for the better as a result of what was learned, there can be great benefit to the organization.
3. You may learn insights into your competition. Great information can be learned about what the competition is doing or offering that might affect your organization.
4. You can learn how to help those departing be successful. For the good people departing, it offers an opportunity for the losing organization’s leadership to help the person be successful in the next chapter of their lives. This support can be provided by letters of recommendation, references, or something unique based on an extraordinary event that caused the departure, such as serious sickness or tragedy that occurred that may have been previously unknown.

Williams offers a final warning:

“But proceed with caution,” she says. “Employers have to be ready and willing to act upon the information they receive, both to harness their strengths and to fix what’s broken (which sometimes means a workplace investigation into allegations of individual or corporate misconduct). Otherwise, the exit interview is a bunch of meaningless words.”

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code”, “Cracking the Business Code” and “Cracking the High-Performance Team Code”.  To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching, skills testing and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

 

 

Healthy High Performance Teams vs. Silos

By Paul David Walker, author of Invent Your Future: Starting With Your Calling

One of my clients shared her experience in her spinning classes. She said,

“The authentic commitment and energy of the leader starts up the class. As the energy builds each members commitment and energy syncs with the others. The class feeds off each other and reaches a level they could not have achieved individually.”Spinning class

She was glowing as she told me this story. The classes have transformed her energy and improved her health dramatically. Imagine a business team that feeds off each other’s energy. We are working together to build each of her facilities into healthy high performance teams. Her story and experience will be key to this work.

Ask yourself, do the teams you are leading look like her experience in the spinning classes? Most do not, and many feel it is impossible to achieve this kind of synergy for a business team. Of course, with this attitude, it would be impossible. I have experienced many leadership teams who started out feeling stuck with the level of teamwork they had, and like my client in her spinning classes, achieved what I call a Healthy High Performance Team.

Authentic Inspiration

The first step is knowing and experiencing the possibility, like my client who experienced it in her spinning class. Once you know something is possible, your words become alive with authentic inspiration and commitment, which provides an experience for those who follow you.

Casey Sheahan, Former President and CEO of Patagonia, said this to me during his interview for my book, Invent Your Future-Starting With Your Calling:

“Inspiration has to start with you. If you don’t believe that you can affect positive change, then it won’t happen. But if you can inspire people, as opposed to motivating them with fear, then you know there is a better outcome possible … I think you can really light people up. You can light your customers up, and you can light your manufacturers up too. When people are inspired, you get a better result, working conditions, and high-quality products. It is a priority for us.”

When you know the possibility from your experience, people can feel it and become inspired, and motivated by your presence. Your presence is 93% of any communication. It has been proven that the content is only 7% of communication. Your tone, body language, and the energy that comes out of you tells the story. If it is inconsistent with the content of your message people know, and will question what you say. If it is consistent, people are inspired because they are caught up in your experience.

It Starts With You

If the leader of a spinning class was out of shape, and had to take breaks while the class was peddling their hearts out, soon there would be no class. The same is true with leaders of teams in business or public service. It is often said, “Who you are speaks louder than what you say.” The most successful leaders are living examples of their vision. This is something you cannot fake, and takes courage.

We cannot create something we cannot conceive. So how do you get those following you to conceive a possibility they have not experienced? It starts with the stories you tell about times when you experienced a high performance team. Along with a compelling picture of the future state, the stories you tell about your experience become a living example. Told effectively they are an experience for a team or individual to feel.

Silos and Workarounds

The opposite of a high performance team is silos within organizations. Groups of people who are doing workarounds to avoid accountability, or at best be part of a small team that they can control. When you try to inspire teams to exceed their own expectation most people say, “Easier said than done, or you don’t understand what we are dealing with.” This complicates getting things done and creates suspicion, backbiting and a slowing of the growth of the organization. Multiple silos lead to a bureaucratic effect.

synapsesExperience and Habit

Many say life’s greatest teacher is experience, but if this is the case why do many who are experienced people repeat the same mistakes. From research on brain chemistry it is clear that bad or traumatic experiences form neuropathways that harden and create fears that seem real. People will go into a form of “fight or flight” that once protected them when similar situations present themselves. Silos are a form of protection, and if they have created safety for people in the past, they will default to them. Only more compelling experiences will mitigate these defense systems. People will still have the fear that is presented, but after a number of positive team experiences they will default to teamwork.

Teams Committed to Each Other

If people feel part of a team that is committed to each other’s success and the success of the business or organization they will feel safe participating in new behaviors. They will still experience fear, but with leadership that reinforces team commitment and illustrates the dangers of the opposite with authentic stories that create an experience, they will change. The team becomes a sanctuary of safety and inspiration. As the success of the team and the business grows, they will become more committed.

Success Stories

Prior to success it is important to find experiences in each individual’s life when they were part of a good team, or have seen one, while watching sports. An experienced leader finds ways for them to recall times when they experienced high levels of teamwork so they are inspired to let go of old safe habits that form silos. Breaking this natural human tendency requires that they can see, feel and hear a better way.

Creating off-sites for a team that creates an experience of a healthy high performance team is effective. You can do white water rafting or other similar outdoor experiences, but it is critical each experience is related to the organizational or business challenges. What is even more effective is dealing with difficult business or organizational challenges while creating the experience of teamwork directly relevant to work. Well- facilitated, these off-sites create a living example of the possibility for the team, and create success stories.

As individual and team success occurs, it is important to tell success stories as part of the organizational day-to-day process. These stories reward people and carry the wisdom forward, creating an organizational mythology. Each story should embody the feeling of success and the strategy that created that success.

Like the spinning class, there is no denying the value of a high performance team experience and the feeling of power and pride it embodies. The more you and your team can Invent Your Future by PD Walkerexperience the power of a team, the sooner it will become an organizational reality. It will not happen overnight, but as it is achieved, the performance and wellbeing of the organization will grow rapidly. Once healthy high-performance teams are woven into the fabric of your business or organization, it will retain and attract the best talent, produce performance beyond your expectations and provide a powerful barrier of entry against completion. It is not easy to create, but what of real value is easy.

“Here you will find a treasure trove of distinctions, tools, and models that will allow you to engage people in a way that naturally harmonizes and enhances working with others—and that in turn advances the mission and purpose of the organization. More than that, you will be introduced to the thinking that guides and directs our most advanced leaders. There are years of learning available in Invent Your Future. Do not be surprised when, in the days and months to come, you find yourself referencing this book. It’s that good.”
-John King, Bestselling Author of Tribal Leadership

Permission is needed from Paul David Walker to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2020

Paul David Walker, CEO and Founder of Genius Stone Partners, is one of the early innovators of leadership consulting and coaching at the executive level. For more than thirty years, he has successfully guided the CEOs and senior executive teams of such Fortune 500 and mid-sized companies as New York Life, Mutual of Omaha, Chase GIS, Finance One, VONS Grocery, Pacific Mutual, Rockwell International, Conexant Systems, Harrods, Anne Klein, Union Pacific, StarKist, The City of Long Beach, Long Beach Fire Department, Culver Studios, Shout Factory, Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar, NTS, Archstone Foundation, The Queen Mary and many other thriving organizations. He is author of Invent Your Future-Starting With Your Calling and Unleashing Genius: Leading Yourself, Teams, and Corporations. He specializes in building teams of leaders committed to each other’s success and the success of the business. Feel free to contact Paul by email pauldavidwalker@geniusstone.com or his cell 562-233-7861.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement. To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code, Cracking the Business Code and Cracking the High-Performance Team Code, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

We recently launched a new service called Sino-Am Leadership to help executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information, visit https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

5 Key Tips For Running A Successful Meeting

By Robert Sher

I came across this article recently in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Where’s the Boss? Trapped in a Meeting” that made it sound like CEOs weren’t productive and spent large amounts of time in meetings, at lunches and traveling, with as little as six hours per week working solo.

But why are hours spent working solo an indicator of being productive? Meeting time versus working solo time has little to do with productivity. The issue is not the sheer amount of meeting time, it is whether that meeting time (or any time) is impactful in increasing the enterprise value of the firm. Every minute a CEO or key executive spends is a minute gone by. Each minute must be invested wisely.

Mid-Market CEOs More Vulnerable

Earlier-stage entrepreneurs and small-business owners need every minute to get tasks done. Their executive team is small or non-existent, so they are not typically buried in meetings. Large businesses, on the other hand, have many highly trained executives all (hopefully) adding value to their organizations. Thus the wasted minutes of CEOs and key executives can be offset by the contributions of all the other leaders.

But middle market companies have leadership teams that are small compared to Fortune 500 companies. In a survey I conducted on middle market companies (slide 17), 95% of the CEOs and 96% of those that report to the CEO agreed that CEOs have unique leadership skills and other capabilities often not found in the teams that report to them. Executive leadership is needed in middle market companies, and that leadership is often delivered in powerful meetings. Every minute of executives’ time really counts.clock in water

Old Solutions Not Enough

Reduction of the time spent (or wasted) in meetings is not a new idea. You will likely still have wasteful meetings, just fewer of them. Setting a clear agenda going into your meeting is another piece of common advice. But agendas are often poorly constructed, discarded or not delivered early enough to be useful. Too many teams come together over and over again, on the same issues. They fail to reach a decision, or come to a decision without anyone assigned to be accountable, so the issue must be raised again.

Delegating work upward from a collaborative team approach to executives (“let the execs figure it out”) isn’t good either. This means executives invest precious time in doing the work, whereas if the work were done by the team, executives would only have to assess their progress and make the final judgment—a much quicker task.

Make Meetings Produce Work

Meetings must be the places where the decisions are made that require the full team’s input. Those decisions should be recorded and carried out after the meeting. So we’re maximizing executives’ minutes—and everyone’s minutes—when our meetings are the place where we do work, where we actually accomplish things.

The “work” of leadership teams includes thinking, debating, brainstorming, planning, strategizing and ultimately, making a final decision on a matter. Well-run meetings should be synonymous with “getting work done,” and not synonymous with “wasting time.” Information-only meetings should be rare and fast. Meetings should be one way of doing work, while working solo is another way of doing work. Wasting time when alone (gaming, daydreaming, Facebooking) is as bad as wasting it in a meeting.

For larger middle market executives, I maintain that they should spend nearly all their time in meetings if that means that they are making big decisions and handing big chunks of work to a large team of capable executives.

The key to making meetings incredibly productive is having powerful executives require all meeting participants to follow these rules:

  1. Every participant must prepare before the meeting. If everyone has received and read the handouts, there is no need to read them together at the start of the meeting. Your most disciplined execs will do this, so please don’t punish them by making them sit through the same material again because an undisciplined executive didn’t—even if it’s productive-mtg-pixabay-gerd-altmannyou, the CEO.
  2. There must be a strong facilitator to keep the meeting on track, force decisions and assign accountability for results. Un-facilitated meetings are disastrous. It can be an insider who facilitates, as long as they retain control of the meeting.
  3. Someone has to walk into the meeting with a point of view and a proposal for action. Groups are terribly inefficient at gaining momentum toward a specific solution. Better to point them in a rational direction and have them object and go in a different direction, then to have them figure out the appropriate direction as a team.
  4. The only participants in a meeting with key executives should be those who have analyzed the situation with the same level of diligence that the executives have, and who can give a concise but accurate overview of the situation to the executives. Lower level team members can meet with their bosses before the meeting to pass great ideas and solutions upward.
  5. Meetings in which executives sense that participants aren’t prepared must be shut down. Reprimand the slackers and warn them not to repeat the behavior. I’ve seen many an executive who can’t or won’t walk into a meeting with a proposal. Often they’re afraid that they’ll be wrong, and don’t want that responsibility. They need to be replaced. These are not executives, and middle market companies need real executives who have the courage to lead and make/recommend decisions.

Sometimes executives are big meeting culprits themselves, lacking the discipline to prepare for their own meetings. They often prefer meetings in which they are informed by their teams. This doesn’t harm the executive’s productivity, but it does harm everyone else’s. While much of this is just a matter of self-discipline, one approach is to have the executive’s assistant collect all the reports/data a few hours before the meeting, and then reserve 30 minutes before the meeting for the executive to study up.

If you’re an executive who needs to stay tuned in to some of the middle management activities, you may find yourself in meetings you don’t run which burn up time. These meetings can be addictive, but building dashboards or monthly drop-level 1:1’s to get an update may be more efficient.

road-pixabay-gerd-altmannMid-market executives are very high value assets to their companies. All they have to contribute is their time. Demand that all meetings be powerful and that real “work” proceeds from them.

Make meetings productive and decision making machines. Companies should have top grade and meet with them often to drive productivity higher and higher, and to raise enterprise value with each minute executives spends in those meetings.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2017

Robert Sher is founding principal of CEO to CEO, an advisory firm specializing in helping midsized companies accelerate performance. He was chief executive of Bentley Publishing Group from 1984 to 2006 and steered the firm to become a leading player in its industry (decorative art publishing).

Robert speaks frequently, and has published extensively on the successful leadership traits and skills of leaders of midsized companies. He is a regular columnist on Forbes.com, has numerous posts on Harvard Business Review online, Entrepreneur.com and CFO.com. He authored two books, the first book, The Feel of the Deal; How I Built a Company through Acquisitions (1toPonder, 2007) and his newest book, Mighty Midsized Companies; How Leaders Overcome 7 Silent Growth Killers, (Boston: Bibliomotion, Sep. 2014). He also publishes his own newsletter, The CEO Insomnia Factor.

Robert received a B.S. degree in business administration from Hayward State University in 1986 (during which he ran a small business), and an MBA degree from St. Mary’s College in 1988, where he was the recipient of the Jack Saloma Award for student citizenship. From 1995 to 2000, he taught MBA and executive MBA courses at St. Mary’s on growing entrepreneurial businesses. For more information, visit the website, http://www.ceotoceo.biz/, email r.sher@ceotoceo.biz or call 925-829-8190.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information, visit https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

Three Big Reasons Why Providing Outplacement Support is a Good Idea

By Susan Howington, CEO Power Connections Career Services, Inc.

Unfortunately, every company, at one time or another, engages in the very unpleasant activity of terminating an employee or group of employees. This is never easy and it typically doesn’t get any easier with practice.success ahead sign

What helps to take the sting out of the termination activity, however, is to offer to the impacted employee the benefit of a comprehensive outplacement program to help them find a new job. Just in case you don’t know what Outplacement means, the term Outplacement is used to describe a career transition and job search support program that is given to employees who have been let go from their place of work. It is a service paid by the employer and is normally offered as part of the severance package provided to the employee at the time of the termination.

By providing Outplacement, the separated employee has job search coaching by professional career transition consultants. This coaching often helps the employee move into a new job much quicker than if left to their own to find new job opportunities.

As we know, employees can be terminated for a variety of reasons such as performance, reduction in force, workforce redundancy due to a merger or acquisition, or due to a change in senior management, to name the more common reasons for the employee separations. Regardless of the reason for the separation, providing Outplacement support is good for the separated employee AND the employer and here are the top three big reasons why:

1. Minimizes the Risk of Lawsuits and Long Term Unemployment

Simply put, employers should care about what happens to the terminated employee because a former employee who remains jobless can be a future problem for the company. A former employee who is disgruntled and blaming their past employer for their out of work condition is an employee who can create unnecessary problems and costs.

One of the benefits of the outplacement program is that it helps the employee look towards their future and discourages employees from looking back with bitterness. The Outplacement consultant takes a very proactive approach and helps the employee get past the termination event. Separated employees who have the support of outplacement often get a new job faster than those who don’t have support, which makes for a happy ex-employee!

It is important, however, that you be conscientious about your choice of outplacement service. The cheapest, most minimal program is often just a waste of money. If you don’t value the benefit of the Outplacement service, it is obvious to your former employee. What it signals is that you are simply just checking the box called “Provided Outplacement.” An Outplacement program that is rich in personalized attention and job search resources isn’t the cheapest program offered.

But should the unthinkable happen and you have to prove that you treated this former employee with respect and dignity, proof of offering comprehensive Outplacement support will play to your favor. So, regardless of how you feel about a terminated employee, protect yourself and your company, help that employee move forward to new employment as quickly as possible. Invest in a full service Outplacement program. You will be glad that you did.

2. Job Loss is a Deeply Human Experience

Losing one’s job, whether it be “for cause” or simply job redundancy due to a merger and acquisition, is one of life’s greatest losses. Employers should never under estimate the loss parachutist with 2 sidesthat is felt by the former employee. Even losing one’s job on the best of terms, doesn’t alleviate the void felt when waking up the next morning with no place to go, no voice mail to check, no emails to review, no phone calls to return, etc. Hands down, it is considered one of the life’s most awful experiences and it can take days and sometimes weeks to adjust to and accept.

Being out of work is very complicated. A person’s social and economic status is commonly in upheaval. At a minimum, the person can experience embarrassment, lack of confidence, their financial position in jeopardy, unfathomable competition in the job market, and a concerned or perhaps angry family, especially if the family’s lifestyle has been impacted. There are so many dynamics that impact the person who has lost their job.

The right Outplacement program provides not only coaching on how to conduct a productive job search that gets the person in another job sooner, but it provides emotional coaching and a community of support, giving the job seeker a safe place to talk openly about their particular situation and challenges.

3. It’s a Smart Business Decision and a Good Investment

Did you know that when an employee is let go the whole world is watching and perhaps reading about it? Don’t kid yourself about this, the word spreads! Your current workforce knows that it happened and even how it happened. The impacted employee is prone to spread the word quite prolifically. As business leaders, we need to be concerned about what is being said about how we (or our company representative) handled the termination and the story that lives on the street and on the internet.

By providing Outplacement, your current employees learn that you cared enough to provide assistance to their co-worker who is now without a job. The impacted employee who is announcing to family and informing friends that they have been let go, can share the fact that their severance benefit includes career transition services.

By providing Outplacement support to your separated employee, you give your firm an opportunity for positive public relations. You are spreading good will and the value your company receives is invaluable.

In summary, letting employees go is never any fun and it always costs us money. But spend a little more to ensure the separation is successful. A successful termination includeswin-win Outplacement support which will help to alleviate bad press (word of mouth and internet), demonstrates good will and generates good public relations, helps your former employee move forward emotionally and intellectually, and ultimately, helps them to land a new job in shorter time than if they were left to find work on their own. The investment on your part, creates a Win-Win for everyone involved!

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2016

For more information about the benefits of Outplacement, contact Susan Howington, CEO of Power Connections Career Services at 949-285-9541 or Susan@PowerConnectionsInc.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code and Cracking the Business Code, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Our Sino-Am Leadership Program helps executives excel when stationed outside their home country. American managers in Asia and Asian managers in America face considerable business, personal, and leadership challenges because of the cultural differences. This unique program provides personal, one-on-one coaching. For more information visit, https://lighthouseconsulting.com/performance-management/talent-development/sino-american-management-style/.

Why Breaking the Team Building Code is So Important Today

By Dana Borowka

There is certainly a lot of interest in team building. Try searching for “team building help” on Google and you’re presented with 62.9 million search results! Search for “team building activities” you’ll see another 38.9 million results. The information and solutions available are mind boggling.

Unfortunately, we’ve talked with too many companies that tried team building exercises only to see the results, if any, fade quickly. That’s because team building is much more than going zip lining together. (And we love zip lining!)

In the sports world, championships are frequently won not by teams with the most star players, but by the teams that play like a team – not by a group of individuals. As business managers, we understand this concept. Few of us have the resources to attract only the very best employees in their respective fields. Yet, if zip lining doesn’t pull the team in the same direction, what will?

In this article I’ll provide a list of team-member attributes for your reference; give a great example from the Ritz Carlton on what’s possible when the whole company is focused on the same goal; and explain how we work with clients to build or tune teams for higher levels of performance.

Do Your Teams have the Right Stuff?

It can be difficult to know why a team is performing or not. It helps to take note of all the attributes (positive and negative) that are present on the team.

To assist you we’ve compiled a list of 100 attributes that can be used to assess each member of a team. This isn’t perfect, by any means, because it can be subjective – you be the judge. However, it can reveal problem areas. Warning signs can be silos, poor listening skills, lack of cooperation between departments, defensiveness, lies, sabotaging projects, etc. If your team exhibits more negative attributes than positive ones than that needs to be addressed and resolved quickly.

The Age-Old Challenge: How to Get People to Work Toward a Common Goal

Successful coaches and managers are adept at melding different personalities and skills into a single unit with a common objective.

An unyielding focus on the customer should be a goal shared by everyone in a company. Creating a “closed-loop” culture really helps put everyone on the same page. Here are two articles on the topic of closed loop cultures: How to Create a Closing the Loop Culture and How to Hire Loop Closers.

Learning at the Ritz

For an example of how a large company builds a unifying focus look no further than The Ritz Carlton chain of luxury hotels. Here is the company’s credo, list of service values and the employee promise.

As you review this example, think about the ways you can build a genuine customer focus in your company.

The Credo

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission.

By PortoBay Hotels & Resorts

We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambience.

The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.

Service Values – I Am Proud To Be Ritz-Carlton

1. I build strong relationships and create Ritz-Carlton guests for life.
2. I am always responsive to the expressed and unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.
3. I am empowered to create unique, memorable and personal experiences for our guests.
4. I understand my role in achieving the Key Success Factors, embracing Community Footprints and creating The Ritz-Carlton Mystique.
5. I continuously seek opportunities to innovate and improve The Ritz-Carlton experience.
6. I own and immediately resolve guest problems.
7. I create a work environment of teamwork and lateral service so that the needs of our guests and each other are met.
8. I have the opportunity to continuously learn and grow.
9. I am involved in the planning of the work that affects me.
10. I am proud of my professional appearance, language and behavior.
11. I protect the privacy and security of our guests, my fellow employees and the company’s confidential information and assets.
12. I am responsible for uncompromising levels of cleanliness and creating a safe and accident-free environment.

The Employee Promise

At The Ritz-Carlton, our Ladies and Gentlemen are the most important resource in our service commitment to our guests.

By applying the principles of trust, honesty, respect, integrity and commitment, we nurture and maximize talent to the benefit of each individual and the company.

The Ritz-Carlton fosters a work environment where diversity is valued, quality of life is enhanced, individual aspirations are fulfilled, and The Ritz-Carlton Mystique is strengthened.

Breaking the Team Code is Hard

The difficulty of the team challenge is one reason we’ve seen a big uptick in call volume from our clients who have gotten frustrated with the lack of observable results from team-building consultants and team-bonding exercises.

Putting Data where Our Mouth Is

We’ve been receiving these calls because our clients know that we excel at assessing work style personalities. They figure if we’ve done a great job over the years of helping them hire or promote the right individuals, we can have the insight to make a positive impact on team performance, too.

They are correct, or course. Since 1994 we’ve been combining behavioral science with human resource management principles to help our clients outperform their competition through periods of growth and recession.

For boosting team performance we’ve created a fast, effective and affordable service called the Lighthouse TeamView Service™.

Insight that Leads to Better Team Performance

We like to say that TeamView cracks the team building code. The essence of the program is that it helps teams of all types communicate powerfully, clearly and effectively. This is critical because the cause of all team failure is rooted in communication.

How do we crack the code and unlock the full potential of teams?

We start with having each team member complete an in-depth work style and personality assessment test. It’s not your run-of-the-mill test that has only 4-8 personality characteristics. Years of experience has shown us that having 16 primary characteristics are required for accurate insight.

Using Data to See the Dynamics of a Team

After the test results are in, we map the data using our proprietary Thought Flow Chart™. Like any good graph or chart helps visualize a situation, this chart helps to visualize the dynamic nature of the team based on how individuals prefer to receive and give information. Later in this article I go through an example based on an actual assignment.

You don’t have to figure out the Thought Flow chart by yourself. An LCS principal meets with you to review the test results. Together we create the right strategy to achieve ideal team functionality. Now you have a plan for how to go forward — a plan based on deep insight of the personalities of team members.

Involving the Team in Their Own Success

With the strategy and Thought Flow Chart in hand, LCS conducts a workshop for the team members (in person or remote). We reveal the results of the work style and personality tests. Everyone gains an understanding for the strengths of the other team members and how best to communicate with them.

Besides improving trust within the group, the workshop facilitates a process whereby the team and individuals commit to the actions and behaviors necessary for team success.

LCS recommends that management follow up with the team at least twice during the ensuing 60 days to make sure the commitments are being met.

Using TeamView to Build a New Team

While most of our assignments involve helping to tune an existing team for high performance, it’s not unusual for a client to ask us to advise them on building a team from scratch, or adding the right players to a team.

LCS follows the same TeamView process except that we consider what personalities need to be present on the team for it to achieve its objective, so there is direction for hiring and assignments. This could be assembling a project team to work on a big project for a troublesome customer. It could be filling a missing slot on an executive team that is already running smoothly.

TeamView to the Rescue

Here’s a fictitious example loosely based on an actual TeamView Service assignment.

The ABC Company was floundering. Due to recent turnover in the executive staff, the CEO, Hank, felt his team had lost its chemistry; its ability to work together to solve tough problems wasn’t what it used to be.

He called LCS and we immediately implemented our TeamView Service.

The Thought Flow Chart that resulted from our analysis of the work style and personality tests was immensely helpful to Hank and the team.
The data in the chart revealed that the executive group was very well-balanced. That reinforced what Hank believed. He knew the team had the right stuff, it’s just that they weren’t working smoothly together.

You can see an example of the Thought Flow Chart™ in our brochure.

In the workshop LCS exposed the team members to their individual work style and personality assessments. Everyone achieved a better understanding of what made the others “tick”. There was universal appreciation and understanding for the strengths of each personality.

What really made the difference for this executive team at ABC Company, is during the workshop LCS gave each person tools and tips for how best to communicate with each of the other members.

Understanding, respect, trust and clear communications were established in the team. After just 60 days, Hank was pleased to report that the team was performing at high levels once again.

Talk to Lighthouse

You can learn more about TeamView by visiting our Web page, or simply giving us a call at 1.310.453.6556 x403.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2017

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.