Employee Spotlight

Giving Employees a Reason to Feel Proud

Do You Give Employees a Reason to Feel Proud of What They Do?

Imagine packing up an evening snack, grabbing a blanket, getting in your car and heading to the lawn of your local university. When the music starts all the visitors on campus go silent as a series of custodians, landscapers, electricians, and construction crews show off their skills to an original dance piece called “From the Ground Up.”

Yes, folks, this really happened in October 2019 on the campus of Wake Forest University in NC. Bill Taylor wrote an article about the event to highlight an important leadership skill: The importance of showing how much you value your employees and helping them feel proud of what they do.

In his Harvard Business Review article titled, “Do You Give Employees a Reason to Feel Proud of What They Do?” Taylor describes the Wake Forest event as “Think Cirque du Soleil, but with lawn mowers, trucks, ladders, brooms, hammers, and drills.”  The Campus Facilities Staff, who often work invisibly behind the scenes doing the least glamorous work, “showcased their skills, creativity and humor to the delight of the community” at three evening performances over three days.

Throughout the article, Taylor makes the point that pride in one’s work is an essential ingredient to ensure every person in an organization is working at peak performance. This is especially important in an organization that provides services to others.

As a business owner or senior leader, what have you done lately to make sure your employees feel valued and have pride in what they do for you and your company?  If you can’t remember, schedule time this week to sit down with your leadership staff and brainstorm creative ways to spotlight your employees as a step towards creating a deeper spirit of belonging and pride throughout your organization.

To read the entire article Taylor wrote, click here.  You can also watch the promotional clip about the Wake Forest event here:  From The Ground Up.

Credit: hbr.org

If this article was helpful and prompted you with an increased desire to improve your effectiveness as a leader so you can take your team to the next level, contact us to learn more about our Aepiphanni Ascend Leadership Development program.  Fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to schedule a Coffee & Consult to chat in more detail about how we can help.

Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth.  Kris has over 25 years of coaching, training and mentoring leaders to greater success; and she periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Need help with spotlighting employees in your organization? Start here.




family business

How to Run a Family Business

Running a business is hard enough without adding family dynamics into the mix.  However, according to a 2018 Family Business survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, it seems that family businesses are in robust health, with levels of growth at their highest since 2007.

Forbes magazine recently featured an article titled, “How to Run A Family Business Successfully,” where author Kerry Hannon interviewed Rob Lachenauer, partner and CEO with Banyan Global Family Business Advisors in Boston.

Rob’s quote at the beginning of the article sums up the most common concern family members have when choosing a career path inside a family business:  “In a non-family business, you can quit your job and it’s usually a career enhancing move. In a family business, you sure can’t quit your family.”

Hannon’s article digs even deeper into the intricacies of running a family business through a variety of questions she posed to Lachenaeur during her interview, including:

  • What are the biggest challenges family businesses face that other businesses don’t and how can families best deal with them?
  • What makes some family businesses succeed while others fail?
  • What’s your advice for working with your children? Siblings? Older Parents?
  • In what way is starting and running a family business harder these days than in the past?

To read Rob’s responses to all those questions, click here.

Credit: forbes.com

If this article was helpful and prompted you with an increased desire to improve your effectiveness as a leader within your Family Business, contact us to learn more about our Aepiphanni Ascend Leadership Development program.  Fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to schedule a Coffee & Consult to chat in more detail about how we can help.

Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth.  Kris has over 25 years of coaching, training and mentoring leaders to greater success; and she periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Need strategies for successful running of your family business? Start here.




new leaders

Why New Leaders Should Make Decisions Slowly

Climbing the corporate ladder is a “must do” for any head of household who chooses a non-entrepreneurial career.  Each step up the ladder typically means more income and benefits which supports the lifestyle they desire for their families.  In addition, advancement often requires more leadership responsibilities.

A person’s first leadership role is generally both exciting and unnerving.  Most people do not diligently watch their supervisors throughout their early career making notes of how to lead, and how not to lead, in order to prepare themselves for a future leadership role. Instead, leadership is something most people “fall into” later and figure out as they go along.

According to an article titled “Why New Leaders Should Make Decisions Slowly” on Harvard Business Review, author Constance Dierickx states, “Despite their training and experience, a full 74% of new leaders say they are unprepared for the new role, and in 18 months nearly half of them disappoint or fail entirely. In many cases, leaders either judge too quickly, making snap decisions that prove to be ill advised, or wait interminably to “gather more facts,” only for the critical moment to slip away.”

That’s a sobering statistic for young professionals, especially those newly hired to an organization. Despite those odds, Dierickx provides three strategies new leaders can implement to avoid failing at their first leadership role.

  1. Manage the urge to “do something” immediately to prove yourself by learning about your new environment first and selecting your actions wisely based on knowledge
  2. Gather information from a wide variety of resources to have a well-rounded view of what’s actually happening in your department and the organization as a whole
  3. Choose only one critical area of change during the first year

Every leadership role will be a different experience.  However, by utilizing those three strategies any new leader is sure to experience more success than failure during their first year.  To read the rest of Dierickx’s article, click here.

Credit: hbr.org

If this information was helpful and prompted you with an increased desire to improve your effectiveness as a leader so you can take your team to the next level, contact us to learn more about our Aepiphanni Ascend Leadership Development program.  Fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to schedule a Coffee & Consult to chat in more detail about how we can help.

Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth.  Kris has over 25 years of coaching, training and mentoring leaders to greater success; and she periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Need strategies to make effective leadership decisions? Start here.




workplace culture

Eight Ways to Build Culture

Culture is often wrapped up in a company’s core values and the leader’s implementation of those values during day to day activities. Some companies are all about profit, and so everything they do creates a type of “dog eat dog” environment.  Other companies focus on excellence in both their services and how they manage their people, so fun and recognition is apparent at all levels of the organization.

According to Forbes, companies with strong cultures saw a 4x increase in revenue growth. Another statistic from a Deloitte survey shows that 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.

With this trending evidence of the importance of workplace culture, how does a company with no distinguishable culture create one?  Larry Foster and Gary Scott from Long & Foster answer that question in their article which shares eight ways to build the right culture for your team. They begin with one caveat, “You can teach job skills, but you can’t change someone’s personality or make them embrace your team culture. That must come naturally and depends on you selecting the right people for your team. A good mantra for team leaders is to be ‘slow to hire and quick to fire’ if someone doesn’t fit into the culture or meet the team’s expectations.”

Foster and Scott then break down eight ways to create a team culture including:  Establishing your vision, defining team roles, and using personality assessments. You can read the detailed version of each of those plus the other five ways by clicking this link.

Credit: inman.com

Have you defined your company culture?  Could you explain it to a 10-year-old?  If not, then give us a call to see how we can support you in creating the best culture to shift your company to its next level of performance. Fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to schedule a Coffee & Consult to chat in more detail about how we can help.

Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth.  Kris has over 25 years of coaching, training and mentoring leaders to greater success; and she periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below.

We could help you with establishing your company culture. Start here.




workplace burnout

Workplace Burnout

I’ve been on both sides of the career spectrum – working for a corporation and wondering why I come to work every day other than earning a paycheck, as well as owning my own company and being totally frustrated at the challenges of all that business ownership entails.  Both sides of that coin have the potential to cause workplace burnout over time.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is now recognizing that burnout has become an epidemic that deserves medical attention, according to Dana Wilke’s article on SHRM.org.  WHO describes burnout as a chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed, including symptoms of increased mental distance from one’s job including negativity or cynicism, reduced professional efficacy, and feelings of depleted energy or exhaustion.

Wilke discusses workplace burnout today versus generations ago and suggests a number of ways to combat this increasing phenomenon.  One theory for why WHO has issued guidance on burnout is that many current employees can’t appreciate the results of their work. “This is an interesting paradox,” said Courtney Bigony, director of people science at 15Five, which helps companies identify and avoid employee burnout. “Today, we have great benefits—unlimited time off, dry cleaning on site, onsite yoga. But job satisfaction is so low. People don’t feel valued, and they’re not happy.”  In addition, a feeling of powerlessness to balance work with life causes burnout as well.

Leadership often has no idea their employees are burning out right under their noses until it’s too late. That’s why it’s so important for leaders to take a personal interest in their staff’s engagement levels and keep an eye on how satisfied they appear to be within their respective roles. Short periods of disengagement or dissatisfaction are completely normal regardless of the company or the role, but if a leader notices it happening for more than just a few weeks, that means it’s time to check-in with the employee to discover what’s going on inside them to determine the best course of action forward. Take a look at Dana Wilkie’s article here.

Credit: shrm.org

At Aepiphanni, we specialize in creating and building high-performance teams. If this article was helpful and prompted you with an increased desire to improve your effectiveness as a leader so you can take your team to the next level, contact us to learn more about our Aepiphanni Ascend Leadership Development program.  Fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to schedule a Coffee & Consult to chat in more detail about how we can help.

Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. Kris periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.

We would love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Need help with keeping tabs on employee burnout? Start here.




EAPs

Why You Should Consider an Employee Assistance Program

EAPs Increase Productivity and Engagement

EAPs, or Employee Assistance Programs, are fairly common in 88% of Fortune 500 companies, according to Sarah Gallo in her article on Training Industry.  A white paper by William White and David Sharer shows that EAPs in one form or another can be traced back to the late 1700s due to a heavy drinking culture within certain occupations that often led to employees becoming alcoholics, thus negatively affecting their performance levels over time. By the late1980s EAPs became more formalized and expanded to address drugs, behavioral health issues, and work-life/dependent care situations.

Despite EAPs being created to support employees during challenging circumstances to make their lives more manageable, many employees either don’t know those services are available to them or shy away from taking advantage of them unless it’s absolutely necessary because of a sense of shame in needing them.  In her article, Gallo mentions The American Productivity Audit completed a year-long telephone survey of almost 29,000 working adults which showed the annual cost of health-related “lost productive time” in the U.S. is over $200 billion per year – which includes both absences from work as well as “presenteeism” (“health-related reduced performance” while at work). EAPs are designed to be a completely free and confidential resource for employees in order to change that.

Training leadership to educate their employees about EAPs in addition to creating a culture of acceptance in using them, is extremely important.  Not only will that reduce business costs in the form of low productivity, but it also gives employees an opportunity to quickly address personal challenges which could spiral into workplace consequences as they try to manage it during their workday.

To read Gallo’s article about Employee Assistance Programs, click here.

Credit: trainingindustry.com

If this article was helpful and prompted you with an increased desire to improve your effectiveness as a leader so you can take your team to the next level, contact us to learn more about our Aepiphanni Ascend Leadership Development program.  Fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to schedule a Coffee & Consult to chat in more detail about how we can help.

Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth.  Kris has over 25 years of coaching, training and mentoring leaders to greater success; and she periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Need to ensure employee happiness and individual success in your organization? Start here.




always right

How to Work with Someone Who is Always Right

Imagine this scenario:  A team is busy working on a new goal and all of a sudden, an unexpected obstacle shows up, forcing everyone to stop dead in their tracks. An emergency meeting is called to brainstorm options in order to determine a solution. As each person enters the conference room, they sigh inwardly, wondering how long it will take for “that team member” to have an idea and latch onto it like a dog with a bone, refusing to look at any other suggestions but his own.

It’s hard to work with someone who thinks they are always right.  Ron Carucci and Jarrod Shappel share their expertise in this area in a recent article on Harvard Business Review which discusses people who “suffer from chronic certainty on issues for which no perfect answer exists.”

Chronic certainty occurs for a variety of reasons including individuals who have high track records of making good decisions or hitting goals, company cultures perceiving indecision or uncertainty as a sign of weakness, and sometimes even having a deep feeling of unease in the midst of conflicting views which triggers the need for decisive certainty.

One suggestion Carucci and Shappel made to offset patterns of chronic certainty is to “ask people to come to meetings with pros and cons on issues. And make it a routine to have others on the team weigh in with differing views when making decisions. Approaches like these normalize the need for people to self-regulate, balancing confidence in one’s views without the dogma of certainty.”

To read additional insights within this important topic, click here to access their article.

Credit: hbr.org

Developing a team who works well in the midst of uncertainty and has the ability to manage “hard conversations” to find solutions is essential for long-term business success.  If this article was helpful and prompted you with an increased desire to improve your effectiveness as a leader so you can take your team to the next level, contact us to learn more about our Aepiphanni Ascend Leadership Development program.  Fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to schedule a Coffee & Consult to chat in more detail about how we can help.

Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth.  Kris has over 25 years of coaching, training and mentoring leaders to greater success; and she periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Need help with broadening the perspective of your employees? Start here.




Shadow Boards

Shadow Boards

“Shadow Boards” – An Innovative Approach to Merge Generational Insights

Generational differences within an organization can be either leveraged or tolerated; each approach creates different results. In today’s fast-paced and competitive marketplace, I believe the benefits of leveraging our differences far outweighs just tolerating them.

Jennifer Jordan and Michael Sorell address this topic through an article they wrote on Harvard Business Review about how companies can tackle the challenges of keeping younger employees engaged to capitalize on changing market conditions.  It starts by showcasing Gucci, an Italian luxury fashion company. They explain that during Mario Bizzarri’s tenure as CEO in 2015, he revamped the company and created a “shadow board” of Millennials who have met regularly with the senior team to gain their insights on best practices and marketplace knowledge.  That innovative approach grew sales 136%. Since then other companies have implemented a “Shadow Board” approach with fantastic results, including French AccorHotels who developed a new business model to compete with Airbnb, Stora Enso whose Shadow Board redesigned a supply-chain process after senior team experts were unable to do so, and GroupM who transformed their organization in several areas due to creative thinking from the younger generation.

Establishing a Shadow Board is not simply picking younger employees and having them sit at the table. The three best practices Jorand and Sorell mention are to: 1) Look beyond high-potential employees, 2) Make it a CEO sponsored program, and 3) Keep evaluating and iterating.

Take a few minutes and read through the entire article here to determine if a Shadow Board could be the next step towards achieving your company’s long-term goals.

Credit: hbr.org

If this article was helpful and prompted you with an increased desire to improve your effectiveness as a leader so you can take your team to the next level, contact us to learn more about our Aepiphanni Ascend Leadership Development program.  Fill out the form below and we’ll be happy to schedule a Coffee & Consult to chat in more detail about how we can help.

Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth.  Kris has over 25 years of coaching, training and mentoring leaders to greater success; and she periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Need help with establishing Shadow Boards for your employees? Start here.




Performance Improvement Plan

5 Steps to an Effective PIP

The Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is an HR tool designed to help an employee reach the expected level of performance within their designated role. However, the mere mention of a PIP can also cause an already challenging situation to become even more tense if not handled correctly.

There are many ways to design and implement a PIP. The most effective, in my opinion, is the coach approach. Sara Pollock, an HR leader within Clear Company, seems to agree with me in her article “5 Steps for Creating an Effective Performance Improvement Plan.”

Pollack states, “By combining the two main aspects of coaching, feedback and goal setting, employees are presented a concrete roadmap of performance initiatives that they want to achieve, along with developmental training on how they can succeed throughout their role. Professional coaching isn’t about dictating to employees what you want to see; instead, it’s about working together to construct a performance improvement plan.”

Most employees want to succeed in their role and fall short due to not understanding expectations, difficulty prioritizing tasks, or other factors. Pollock aptly describes her 5-step process as: 1) Gather/Analyze/Interpret, 2) Set Objectives, 3) Open the Floor, 4) Document Progress, and 5) Monitor/Follow Up. The Coach approach maintains an accountability environment, rather than a judgmental one, to allow the employee to take full responsibility for the outcome once the PIP goals are understood. Take a look at Sara Pollock’s article here.

Credit: clearcompany.com

How does your HR department or leadership approach performance improvement opportunities? Helping them develop a coach approach will improve the likelihood of retaining that employee, and possibly even increasing their loyalty because of how they were treated during their PIP experience.

If you are interested in learning how to add coaching skills to your leadership team’s toolbox, contact us to learn more about Aepiphanni’s Leadership Development Program. Tailored to your individual needs, Aepiphanni will look at every step of your operation and utilizing their expertise, pinpoint areas that need strengthening to help you and each member of your team streamline and strengthen their abilities to make your business a success. This program will give you the tools to handle anything the world throws your way. The key to steady growth and success is in the leadership; and with Aepiphanni’s Leadership Development Program you will learn new ways to manage and lead your business into the years to come.

Contact us by filling out the form below and we’ll be happy to schedule a Coffee & Consult to chat in more detail about how we can help.

Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth.  Kris has over 25 years of coaching, training and mentoring leaders to greater success; and she periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Need help with managing employee performance effectively? Start here.