The Self-Sabotaging Nature of Loving Drama In the Workplace...

"Some men just want to watch the world burn"

--Alfred in Batman

--------------------------------------------------------

Short post today as you go into the holidays, shut it down and think about 2018.

You've got people in your professional life who love drama.  They're wired to create angst, conflict, infighting and many times, they're not even aware Batmanthey're doing it.  It's how they are genetically wired behaviorally.  Rather than observing, learning and maximizing themselves in any situation, they create chaos by inviting others to react to their presentation of facts - which are usually drawn to create a reaction - otherwise known as drama.  They do this even if it hurts them long term.

If you think about all the players in your life, you can probably identify who these people are.

I'm here today with a new year's resolution for you - don't allow people who love drama to draw a reaction from you in 2018.

What these people hate most is not getting the reaction.  There's also learning that goes on as you deny them the combustion they seek.  After the 2nd or 3rd time you deny the drama queens and kings the reaction they seek, they'll stop trying to get it from you, and your life will improve.  

So that's the resolution.  Stop letting the drama people stoke you up.  Try giving them a "hmmm" when they stoke you, and instead of participating in a communal rant, try saying the following:

"I'm going to think about that"

"That's interesting. I'm going to ponder that a bit"

"Get the #### out of my office"

That last one is a joke, because that actually creates drama.  You should avoid reacting when they try to suck you in at all costs.

Measured response is a good leadership technique, both for the drama lovers and also for people who are bringing you bad news, observations and gossip.  Don't get sucked in.  Stay calm.

Of course, if you're a leader, of the things you'll have to deal with is drama kings/queens spinning up other drama kings/queens as a normal course of business.

But that's for another day.  For today and moving into 2018, the thought is this - don't allow people who love drama to draw a reaction from you in 2018.


Why Limited Feedback Points Are Crucial in Corporate Coaching...

You're a coach in the corporate world.  That means you know a lot - about a lot of things.  

It also means you've been trusted - whether formally or informally - to share your observations, thoughts and wisdom with others about their performance.  With that comes great responsibility.  I'm assuming you're good at what you do and have what it takes from a Subject Matter Expertise perspective to coach effectively.

So allow me to tell you where you're going to #### it up:

You're going to give your coaching recipient 10 things to think about the next time they perform the subject of your coaching.

Maybe 5 things.  The number is important, but also meaningless once you go above 2-3 items you attempt to coach on in a single session.  Let me explain what's out there in business books and then give you my own experience.

If you read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, you'll see the best in any field have 3 things present as they develop into world-class performers:

--They spent the time practicing - the 10,000 hour rule

--They had access to facilities/tools to practice the skill in question

--They had access to a coach/system that could provide immediate feedback

What's most interesting to me these days is the coaching part of that loop.  The older I get and the more coaching I do, the more I'm convinced that coaches have to be very selective in the feedback they give.  As SME's in whatever we do as coaches, it's easy to unload a list of things that a person should do in order to improve they next time they perform a task/service/etc.

You're a common sense person, so when I tell you "don't give the subject of coaching 10 things/points of feedback", you get it.

What if I told you that 3 points of feedback are too many? 

That's harder, right?

In my outside life away from business, I serve as a basketball shooting coach for some good to great players at a variety of ages.  The research Gladwell cited in Outliers certainly hold true for my students - they have to have a desire to put in the hours, they need access to an indoor gym and they need immediate coaching and feedback, which is where someone like me comes in.

In my basketball coaching life, experience rapidly brought me down to a coaching 3 points of feedback - base/feet, hand placement and speed through the zone/finish.  That's all I coach on, because different players have different styles and it's my job to maximize them - not change something that will take them backwards.

But experience as a coach in hoops has taught me something else - while it's OK to have culled my coaching package down to 3 things, when the player is getting reps in, 3 points of feedback is way too many.

What I've learned is that I can go into a coaching session thinking that we need to work on two of the three, but on a rep by rep basis, I can only give feedback on one.

One point of feedback per rep.

If I give feedback on more than one point of my package, it becomes so overwhelming to the recipient - you guessed it - improves on nothing at times during the session.

You're a good coach in the corporate world.  Check yourself before you wreck yourself when it comes to how you give feedback.

Coaching more than one point of feedback in a session?  It's bad for everyone's health.

 


VIDEO: Dealing with Sidetracks In Coaching Conversations...

Featured today - an interview I did with Tim Sackett for Talent Talks (a great series brought to you by Saba Software) on Dealing with Sidetracks in Coaching Conversations...

You know what sidetracks are even if you don't know them by name...  You know you need to coach a direct report on an issue, so you engage, only to get blown back by the employee with all the reasons the current situation (the one you're coaching on) exists.. It's them, it's their tools, hell, it's even you.

Yes, you! Sidetracks are so dynamic your direct reports can use them to throw you under the bus!!

Take a look at the video below (email subscribers may need to click through to see player) for ideas on how to deal with sidetracks.  If you like what you see, make sure to visit Saba Software- and don't forget to like the video or throw us a comment!


The Power of Self-Diagnosis In Corporate Coaching...

We've all been there as coaches in corporate America for our team.  

We know the adjustment we need our direct report to make. It's easiest to just tell them what to do with a side dish of "why". Self diagnose

That's prescriptive coaching, and it has its place.  But telling someone what to do is rarely the best path for long term results.  That's why tools I've talked about in the past, like the Please Shut Up 6-Step Coaching Tool, always involve you "shutting up" and forcing the recipient of your coaching to respond/talk/engage.

But there's a senior level to coaching strategy.  I call it Self-Diagnosis and it goes something like this:

1--You've got a long term investment in coaching someone on your team.  You've spent the time, they've heard how you want it done.  If you're really good, they feel like they have participated in that process.

2--Unfortunately, they're still ####ing it up.  They're not as good as you want them to be, especially since you've spent the time.

3--They have good intentions - they are trying, they just haven't put it together - the muscle memory isn't automatic, perhaps it's a reps (not enough practice or live situations) issue.

4--They mess it up. You want to tell them what to do.

5--You resist the urge and go into being a coach that has "self-diagnosis" as part of your package.

6--Next time the performance isn't there, instead of telling them what to do, you ask them to self diagnose what went wrong. Hopefully you've established a pattern of limited feedback points (3-4 things that they need to do given the task or situation).  The first time you ask them to self-diagnose, there will be silence - they're used to to you telling them what to do.

7--But, if you keep asking them to self diagnose, a funny thing happens - they start to develop the ability to evaluate their own performance, which is the true key to performance improvement.

Using self diagnosis is a powerful coaching tool.  You have to lay the groundwork with limited feedback points for the situation/task, as soon as you've done that, you can start using self-diagnosis.

If you haven't used self-diagnosis before, be patient.  It might take 3-4 sessions before the employee understands the expectation is clear - they have to self diagnose, and you're not going to bail them out.

You know you've won when they start self-diagnosing without you asking them to.

Or you could keep telling them what to do and see how that goes for you....

 


Is Behavioral Interviewing Dead? The Internet Said So...

Deep thoughts today, people... Deep thoughts.  

Was at a conference last week and heard a keynoter basically proclaim the following (I'm paraphrasing):

"Behavioral interviewing is dead.  Just google the term and you'll find thousands of pages designed to help candidates beat behavioral interviewing."

OK.  Let me break that general thought process down a bit.  There's one word that comes to mind when I hear a thought leader proclaim that behavioral interviewing is dead with that logic as the reason. Rationalize

Rationalization.

People are tying to help candidates beat behavioral interviewing!!  That means it's ineffective as an interviewing technique, right?

Um, no.

When behavioral interviewing doesn't work well, it's because you haven't giving your managers the training they need to be successful.  Actually you might have given them the training.  What you haven't done is given them the gift of failure.

For anything related to manager training, failure=role play as part of your training.  You've got to give them real practice using the skills you're teaching them.  If they don't fail as a part of your training, there's ZERO chance they're going to try and use the skill in the real world.

If you don't force people to fail in your training, they'll never be effective in their real lives as managers.

Is behavioral interviewing the end all/be all?  No.  But it's an effective way to drill down on candidates (no hypotheticals! What did you do specifically in that situation?  Not the team - you!) if you give your managers the training they need.

I'm cool if you don't like behavioral interviewing - shine on, you crazy diamond.  Just don't fail to give managers what they need and then blame it on the Internet.  That's called rationalization not to train.

PS - If you're in the market for cool training your managers will actually like, check out my training series called BOSS - Leadership Skills for the Modern Manager.  It's full of stuff that will engage your managers and give them the skills (and initial failure) they need to get better!  Bonus - below is the first video we show as part of our behavioral interviewing training - featuring Vince Vaughn and Owen Willson (email subscribers click through for the video).


The Trap of Non-Specific Feedback As a Replacement For Coaching...

If you look around long enough in your life - especially if you have kids - you'll see a pattern emerge.

People are trying to coach others as much as they can, but they default to non-specific feedback that is unhelpful at best and counter-productive at worst.

Want some examples?  Sweet!  Here you go:

"Try Harder"

"You Just Need To Work More"

"Focus"

"Be Patient"

"Give Them What They Want"

Read that list.  Odds are that you've used most, if not all, of these in the course of your day to day life coaching someone - a friend, a kid, a parent, a team member at work, and yes - someone you manage.

Those non-specific words feel like coaching, but they're not. They're proxies for you actually taking the time to figure out why someone is failing (big and small), as well as analyzing how they could help themselves.

Most coaching tools engage the person who needs coaching to ask them what they can do differently.  That's a start for getting to specifics that might make a difference.

But in the corporate world as well as non-work life, it's easy to be prescriptive and tell the person what to do in order to get better results.

That's failure #1 if you're responsible for coaching someone.  You didn't engage them, you told them what to do based on what you see.

Failure #2? Using any of the phrases above or anything similar.

You gotta really try harder.  Focus on it.  Be the ball, Danny.

Non-descriptive feedback sucks.  Stop telling people to focus and try hard. 

Lead them in a conversation about what they can do (specifics!) to get better results in any circumstance/scenario you're coaching them in.


Here's The Video I Send Team Members When I Think People Are Stupid...

If there's anything I've tried to live up to in my professional life, it's the need to communicate things to the lowest common denominator in any organization.  After all, life moves pretty fast, and if you don't stop to look around and consider whether all the people you are communicating to understand what you're saying, you're destined for failure.

So we (you and me) work to communicate to that lowest common denominator.  But sometimes you find yourself putting out a training guide on how to mute a call on the iPhone - because someone told you that was needed.

I've had that type of moment in the last month.  It was surreal, and I was part of putting out a guide so remedial that I could hear this Talking Heads song playing in the background.  

How did I get here?  The days go by...

Do some people need a guide for how to mute calls on an iPhone? (not the real situation, but work with me...)

No. No they don't.  We create these types of guides 10% of the time because people aren't intelligent enough to figure out what's in front of them.  The other 90% of the time?  We create these guides in response to people not using a technology/process because they're too lazy. 

So of course - we MUST create a training guide to take that excuse off the table.  

Then they don't use the tech/process moving forward and the managers in question never address it in performance.  Because you know, that's hard.

When all this goes down, I have a simple video I send the people I care about who are impacted by doing the aforementioned work that will be ignored.  It's called "Spelling Bee" from a comedian named Brian Regan (rare clean comedian) and the set is Regan making fun of how dumb he was in school.  Play the video below (email subscribers click through for video) to hear about his challenges in Spelling Bees and Science Fairs.  It's gold.

Soon you'll be sharing this with your own team and saying "IT'S A CUP...OF...DIRT.  I CALL IT CUP OF DIRT"....

Enjoy. 


CAPITALIST WEBINAR: 5 Signs Your Performance Problem is Actually a Manager Problem...

By now you’ve heard the news.  Performance Management is dead and we’re told SMART companies are killing the performance review altogether.

There’s just one little problem with that popular theme – a recent CEB study shows that across companies Image001that have eliminated the performance review, manager/employee conversation quality declined 14%. Managers actually spent LESS time on informal review conversations and employee engagement dropped 6%.

My take? You don’t have a review problem – you’ve got a manager/feedback problem.  That's why I'm doing a webinar entitled "5 Signs Your Performance Problem is Actually a Manager Problem".  What could go wrong, right?

Join Halogen and me (KD) on March 28 at 2pm EDT and we’ll explore the disconnect, including the following goodies:

· Why the managers you support fail to coach and provide feedback, formally or informally – even though they’ll tell you to your face they consider it to be critical.

· How you can make your performance management process more meaningful and lightweight by introducing agile coaching methodologies into your organization.

· How to link a coaching/feedback strategy to more formal items like goal setting and performance management.

·  A roadmap for how to make your managers more focused on the career advancement of their direct reports – the surest way to get the attention of employees on all things performance-related.

Your managers are the most important link to performance.  Join us and we’ll show you how to make them better coaches, whether they love or hate the performance review. 

REGISTER BY CLICKING THIS LINK


The Uber Thing: Now Is Your Chance to Get Funding for Leadership Training...

By now you've heard the news coming out of Uber. We always knew that this startup darling had a rough and tumble culture, and let's face it - sometimes that's needed to spark innovation. But reasonable people know you can have a performance-based culture without creating an environment full of bad stuff - including harassment.  

If you've always wanted to get budget for manager/leadership training, now is the right time to ask. Share this recent quote from Uber founder and CEO Travis Kalanick in the next week with the right person: India-uber

"My job as your leader is to lead…and that starts with behaving in a way that makes us all proud," he wrote. "That is not what I did, and it cannot be explained away. This is the first time I've been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it."

 Sound like any talented manager/leader in your organization? Of course it does.  Kalanick sounds like Jimmy Swaggert admitting his sins back in the day.  Look it up Gen Z, that's even before my time.

So share the Uber news and quotes with your boss and have a recommendation for what you can do to get your managers trained up.  Be sure to make my passion project a part of those conversations - the Boss Leadership Training Series from Kinetix.  It's pretty good and you can laugh with your managers as they get to watch clips like Vince Vaughn from Dodgeball talking about goal setting. Our series is a nice alternative to other capable solutions you'll see from people like DDI - we like to have a little more fun than the traditional approach.

Need more fodder to have that conversation about funding than just the harassment stories at Uber and the above quote from the CEO? Watch this video, which is a conversation between Kalanick and an Uber employee that started out OK and went horribly wrong.  Caught on camera - ugh.  The best manager training should give your managers/leaders a simple roadmap to following without resorting to closing in a way that places blame on the employee.  

Go get that budget and get something done.  Even if the Boss series I shared with you above is too much for the man.


Can Coding Camps/Schools Get You a Job? The Real Answer Applies to All Career Changers...

In a post-Trump world where AI is increasingly eliminating jobs that aren't coming back to the states - or to earth for that matter - it's a good exercise to think about workforce development/retraining alternatives that are out there. 

Let's look at one of those alternatives that has been especially hot. Coding bootcamps, which are Code camp 12- or 14-week programs that teach software engineering - are increasingly seen as failures by those who hire software developers here in the states.  Here's the backdrop from a Bloomberg article:

"When they first became prevalent a few years ago, coding schools were heralded as the answer to the technology industry’s prayers. “We can’t get enough engineers because the field is growing so rapidly,” said Tony Fadell, the former head of Google’s Nest smart thermostat company, in a recent promotional video for a nonprofit coding school, 42. Companies complained they couldn’t hire programmers fast enough, and meanwhile, many jobseekers said they couldn’t find employment. Just give those people an engineering crash course, the reasoning went, and voila, problem solved. 

But the great promise of these schools training a new generation of skilled engineers has largely fallen flat. Coding House’s spectacular fall is an extreme case, but interviews with more than a dozen coding school graduates reveal that when they do land a job, often their engineering education doesn’t cut it. Many admit they lack the big-picture skills that employers say they want. Training them often requires hours of hand-holding by more experienced staff, employers say. The same holds true for graduates holding computer science degrees, but those employees generally have a better grasp of broader concepts and algorithms, recruiters said.

Mark Dinan, a recruiter who works with Bay Area technology companies like Salesforce, said many companies have told him they automatically disqualify coding school grads. “These tech bootcamps are a freaking joke,” he said. “My clients are looking for a solid CS [computer science] degree from a reputable university or relevant work experience.” Startups can be more flexible than established companies, he said."

The article goes on to report that 91 full-time coding bootcamps exist in the U.S. and Canada, with almost 18,000 people set to graduate from them this year. That’s up from 43 schools two years ago, and about 6,000 graduates. Tuition averages over $11,000 at non-degree granting programs that generally last around three months, but it can go as high as $21,000. Some schools take a cut of future salary instead of tuition.  

So let's say you're a former production line worker in Michigan with the right makeup for software development.  You voted for Obama in 2012 and went Trump in 2016, but you're not waiting around for anyone to save you.  You financed your tuition, took on debt and learned lots from a coding camp.  But now you can't get a job.

You've got reason to be pissed, right?

Well, no you don't.  The rise and fall of coding camps is just another chapter in book about career change.  Career changers who have had success pivoting in how they provide for themselves and their families are all similar in one important way:

Career changers never believe education will deliver a new career to them. They understand that passion and the display of work in the new field of choice - often for free - are required to get employers to take a chance on them and provide the additional investment needed to complete their transition.

Think about what I wrote above.  If you or someone you love wants/needs a career change, I'm here to tell you - don't plan on that happening if you aren't willing to do free work.  The work doesn't have to be extensive, and it doesn't have to be particularly excellent - it just needs to show that you've got some passion about making the transition you indicatied you're serious about.  You know - the transition you indicated when you applied for a job that you're not qualified to do in any way.

I mean, damn - wake up.  The world doesn't care that you got 3 months worth of education - or 4 years for that matter.

It needs to understand that you're serious about the transition you want to make and you're not some old dude that's going to crush everyone's mellow from the first day you hit the cube farm.

If you or someone you love is retraining themselves, try to help them understand that they need a simple portfolio of work they've done in their transition field of interest in addition to a coding bootcamp certificate. See my posts on portfolios here.

BONUS - listen to my friend Tim Sackett's interview of Nate Ollestad (director of recruiting at Duo Security) as they dig into coding camps and the types of candidates they produce compared to top-name schools. The question, they find, is less about what type of degree a candidate has, and more about what they're doing with it.  Click the link above to hear that interview or just use the player that appears below.

Word.