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Unas Spotlight: The success equation

During a recent Talent Dynamics Profile Debrief session, I was explaining a key principle and the client suddenly got it. In fact they gave me a whole new metaphor for it, which I said I would share with you.

We were discussing how this person’s lack of focus is having a real negative impact on their business. Typically when this happens with people their energy is dissipated across too many projects. That will have an impact on the people who they are interacting with as the vibe they give off is likely to be more scattered than focused. Even if they don’t realise why, that scattered approach can stop people buying from you or even wanting to work with you.

At some level they’ll have a gut reaction that you’re not really committed to or perhaps not confident about some aspect of the product or project. Stop for a moment, do you remember ever thinking that something would be very logical to do but for some reason you didn’t because it just didn’t feel right?

Another result of this lack of focus is that often they don’t complete things or see them right through to fruition. It can be a great way to have lots of motion – which feels good – yet little progress.

A key distinction that we use at TDHQ when dealing with this situation is that just because you have a garden full of plants and busy (with weeds in it too) that doesn’t mean that you necessarily have a great garden. Even pretty weeds can have a dramatic negative impact on the flowers. Multiplication is sometimes about division. Remove a large patch of weeds and suddenly a small patch of flowers come into bloom and grow rapidly.

If you think of the word ‘integrity’, one of its meanings is ‘the state of being complete or undivided’. It’s about being whole and complete like the number 1. The point this client made is that if you are less than 1, i.e. divided into fractions then that’s a problem when you attempt to multiply your results. You see, when you multiply a fraction it keeps getting smaller!

Whether you like maths or not I know everybody like’s adding up their profits. If you want the sum of your profits to increase, then increasing your focus is definitely an equation for success.


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Unas Spotlight: Politics versus Performance

Picture this scenario: a group leaves the boardroom, dispersing into twos and threes towards their respective offices. The HR director and Communications Director are complaining about the Finance Director and how he wants to measure everything. “How can we measure happiness?” says one. The sales director goes to meet with his sales manager. “Marketing doesn’t have a clue what we really need. I keep asking for more leads but all she is concerned about is our branding, she says getting leads is our job!” he says with frustration.

Meanwhile, the managing director is having lunch with another business owner. “I don’t get it, we have meeting after meeting. They seem to get along yet if anything, performance is worse than six months ago?” She replies, “Are they actually focused on how they can help each other be more effective?” This stops him dead in his tracks because he knows that even though his team are among the best in their fields individually, they’re each more concerned about their own area, then the company as a whole. 

Does this sound familiar? How many times have you experienced political infighting whether overt or incredibly subtle? It is like a cancer spreading through an organisation. Cropping up in all sorts of ways and motivating decisions that gradually push up operating costs and will ultimately reduce revenue too as customers feel its effects.

How can you prevent this taking hold, or eliminate it if it’s already taken root? The key is not just in having conversations; it’s in the quality of these conversations and if you want to have great quality dialogue, ask great questions! Start off with some discussions with your team members, individually or as a group, and then as you get results and become more confident take it to other teams within your organisation and even to your external stakeholders. Here are some suggestions of questions to get started:

  • How can I help you be more effective?
  • In which ways do I help the team most?
  • In which ways do I help the team least and what could I do/not do instead?
  • Ask yourself, “How much do I trust each individual within the team to deliver?”
  • What needs to happen to improve your trust in others if this score is low?
  • Ask yourself, “How much do I believe each individual within the team trusts me to deliver?”
  • What needs to happen to improve your others’ trust in you if this score is low? If you don’t know, ask them.
  • How do I add value to the company?
  • How do I help you to add value to the company? 

Think about it. If people were constantly focused on how to help each other be more effective, how much complaining are they likely to do? How much time are they likely to spend talking behind each other’s backs when there is a forum and means for this kind of open dialogue? Organisational negative politics is like hope; it is not a course of action. 

You and your team will answer questions that you probably have never been asked before. The true dialogue that this exercise creates can bring about changes in attitude, engagement and performance that thousands spent on trust exercises and teambuilding often fails to deliver. These conversations generate effective actions. This kind of dialogue is what turns soft skills into hard skills that show a genuine financial return. 

Would you like to get a glimpse of what this feels like? Simply book meetings with your team this week, listen and take on board what people tell you and be honest with them too. Work together to come up with the actions that will make a difference and watch the results unfold… 

Please comment or email me directly, to let me know how you get on, or if you would like to receive more information about this, at  Una@talent-dynamics.com


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Unas spotlight: Reaping The Rewards After Restructuring, Redeployment And Redundancy

For some people it must seem like a merry-go-round when they experience the upheaval of round after round of restructuring, redeployment and redundancies. Every few years the company is turned upside down and yet often doesn’t seem to gain the benefits. 

This must cause a lot of confusion to those in charge. They do their best to streamline the organisation, to cut costs and to introduce better ways of working. Why is it that their efforts often don’t seem to work as well as they would like? 

Perhaps these changes would work better if talent were at the centre of strategy. If you take somebody who isn’t as highly productive in one area of the organisation there is no guarantee that that they will do better in another. How can you tell if you will ruin somebody’s high-performance by tweaking their responsibilities? How can you tell who to keep and who to let go? 

At Talent Dynamics we’re talking with some public sector organisations, many of which are facing extreme cuts in funding. Like many organisations in recent years they are faced with having to deliver more, with less and less resources. It is simply not possible to do this by cutting costs alone. In my opinion it requires a change of thinking, yet provides an opportunity to come out of this downturn with a much better and stronger organisation. 

When it comes to redeployment, moving people around like pieces on a chessboard may allow you to keep a few pieces in the short term but can cost the game in the longer term. Like any game of chess, a good strategy and thinking ahead will help all concerned. 

For employees being redeployed, getting to understand how to get and stay in flow can be very enlightening and really change their attitudes about their situation. If there is a suitable position then it’s clear to everybody why they are suited – and perhaps were not suited to previous posts! If there are no suitable positions within the organisation they are probably going to want to go and be in flow somewhere else. Where you do have high performers being redeployed then you can ensure that they are not placed somewhere that will take them out of flow and they can continue to add value. 

This is itself is very powerful. The more an organisation can help its staff to be in the right roles with the right accountabilities, then the more they get to keep staff where they can be in flow and really add value. Not only is this likely to reduce the stress of everybody involved, it’s also likely to reduce the cost of redundancies. In addition, you can watch productivity soar, even with people who may have struggled in the past…


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