Monday, September 4, 2017

"Utilize candour to build trust with employees"/ Nicholas Reichenbach

Jun. 19, 2017 "Utilize candour to build trust with employees": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

Jack Welch believes one of the keys to success is candour.

“I would call lack of candour the biggest dirty little secret in business,” the former chief executive officer of General Electric wrote in his best-selling book, Winning. “Lack of candour basically blocks smart ideas, fast action, and good people contributing all the stuff they’ve got. It’s a killer.”

Kim Scott, a Silicon Valley consultant, essentially agrees but worries that people intent on candour often miss an important aspect: The human element. You are trying to help the other person by being open.

She asks us to seek “radical candour,” the sweet spot between being obnoxiously aggressive and ruinously empathetic. If you come on too strong, focused solely on your needs, you can be obnoxiously aggressive.

On the other hand, she says in an interview, “if you care and don’t challenge the other person it’s ruinously empathetic. That’s the mistake most managers make – they don’t want to say anything unkind and end up profoundly unkind over the long term by not helping the person.”

In her book Radical Candor, Ms. Scott presents a matrix with caring personally about the other person on one axis and challenging directly on the other. To her, those are pivotal ingredients in communications. If people don’t challenge directly and don’t care about the other person when giving guidance, it’s manipulative insincerity.

Often, they are being political or intent on being liked. “They tell you that you did a good job to flatter you not because it’s true,” she says in the interview. That doesn’t help anyone.

Ruinous empathy involves caring personally about the other person and therefore not challenging him or her. Ms. Scott says that may be nice, but it’s not kind. To be kind, you have to help them in their career by telling them when things are not going well. Also, you must give praise, not just to strengthen the other person’s ego, but to show what good behaviour is.

Obnoxious aggression – challenging directly without caring personally – may result in short-term gains, as you push people in the desired direction. In the long term, however, it will lead to colleagues mistrusting you and shutting down.

Seek a combination of the two attributes: Challenge directly and care personally. Radical candour builds trust and opens the door for communication that will lead to good performance.

Ms. Scott stresses nobody spends 100 per cent of their time in the radical-candour quadrant. We move between all four types of communication. But you want to make sure you aren’t spending excessive time in one of the lesser quadrants, and move towards more moments of radical candour.

The purpose is to get results and Ms. Scott offers helpful ideas about how to operate in meetings. During one-on-one conversations with employees, consider it their meeting. They set the agenda.

Your job is to listen and help the subordinate clarify new ideas and think issues through better. “Be as supportive as possible. But you will still challenge in a way that can be supportive,” she says.

A breakthrough for Ms. Scott as a manager was to stop viewing one-on-ones as calendar clutter. She realized she was scheduling lunches with people outside her organization she wanted to learn from and never considered employees she worked with as people to learn from over a meal or coffee.

Most people consider large staff meetings a waste of time. To improve them, Ms. Scott recommends holding sessions on Monday morning and, after a quick round on everyone’s weekend, look at the metrics in your corporate dashboard.

Don’t ask for oral updates at the meeting; leave those to e-mails, everyone listing three to five things they did last week, but schedule a 15-minute “study hall” during the meeting so those messages are actually read. Questions are asked outside the meeting.

Also, don’t debate or decide issues in these meetings. Identify what’s important and then leave those for separate “big debate” and “big decision” meetings, where important issues are tackled. At debate meetings, people directly involved in the key issues gather to discuss them.

But don’t decide at that meeting, since that rushes people too quickly to a decision. Instead, leave that for ensuing decision meetings. Each item being decided should have an owner, who makes the final call, but only after listening to others intently.

That sounds like a lot of meetings but Ms. Scott says separating them into different formats will ultimately save time and improve effectiveness. And, of course, make radical candour a key feature of all meetings.

2 hours ago

More genius from the Institute of the Obvious.
Be honest and respectful toward others and you will gain their trust.
Whoda thunk it?

The Ladder: Nicholas Reichenbach: Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:

Nicholas Reichenbach, 42, is the founder and CEO of Flow Water, a New York-based company that packages alkaline spring water in eco-friendly Tetra Paks in Aurora, Ont. He’s started 11 companies.

As a kid, I enjoyed working and making money and selling things. We lived in a small Ontario town called Mildmay. Between the ages of 6 and 8, I would go around to neighbours with a wheelbarrow trying to sell things – like my father’s tools.

When 17, I decided to start my first serious business: a clothing store on the beach in Southampton, Ont., where we used to spend summers. I got a $1,500 small-business loan and a credit card with an $800 limit, ran it for a couple of seasons and made some good money. I also started organizing bus tours to Toronto to see concerts, and that’s how I started getting into promotion and the music industry.

My partner Billy Melnick and I ran a successful entertainment company for 10 years, not only promoting shows and concerts, but nightclub venues as well. I bought my first nightclub in Ottawa when I was 19. The capacity was 600 people and we outgrew it really fast and needed a bigger venue, so we bought Atomic.

Billy and I were promoting a global phenomenon – electronic dance music from Europe and Asia. The whole concept of Atomic was about international talent, musicians and DJs coming into Ottawa to perform. We built a multimillion-dollar business at a young age. That expanded our business acumen to being global entrepreneurs, opposed to just a local success.

Then, I got into tech. By 2001, we had sold all our businesses. I went to London to do my masters in international commerce, and started one of the first ring-tone companies. We licensed 250,000 copyrights from over 100 labels worldwide and sold them to Motorola, Nokia – all the major operators in Europe and Asia.

Every one of my companies has operated in white space – the space where consumer intention is strong, but no big company is satisfying it. We got into electronic dance music early because there was a white space – thousands of people loved it but no one was playing it. I produce product that does satisfy it, and that’s pretty much my playbook.

Hiring people is a very important aspect and HR is always a challenge. You only need two things to be wildly successful: a product that people believe in and an amazing team to bring it to market. Then, magic happens.

I went out to Silicon Valley for two years as president and board member of my video-chat company, Rabbit. That was an awesome experience, working with the best of the best. Near the tail end of my tenure, I attended Burning Man, as you do when you are in the tech industry in Silicon Valley.

At Burning Man, I had an inspirational, life-changing experience. There’s a zero-trace policy there – you have to recycle and take home everything you came with. People brought in tons of plastic water bottles and at the end, threw them all into recycling. And that’s where I got my epiphany.

I thought, there’s a huge white space here. There’s an opportunity to completely disrupt the bottled-water industry by creating more advanced packaging to put high-quality spring water inside. Flow’s source is my family’s artesian spring, which releases over a million litres of mineral water into the environment naturally every day. It was very serendipitous.

The most important thing about leadership is complete, mindful positivity. There are two ways to think in the world – negative or positive – and I fall on the positive side. That’s the greatest gift you can give – an injection of positive energy that makes people feel motivated, to feel like they want to be the most passionate and successful person that they can be.

My words of wisdom for young entrepreneurs are,Don’t ever underestimate the power of positive thought.” It’s a guiding light in what I do.

Passion is everything. If you’re not passionate about the business, magic doesn’t happen. When you’re passionate, you’re determined, you have tenacity and you have persistence.

And people see that’s what it takes to be successful. I could have made a lot more money in real estate, but that’s just not my passion.

As told to Shelley White. This interview has been edited and condensed.

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