How well do your people behave as stewards of your organization’s resources?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How well do your people behave as stewards of your organization's resources?

  • Very well. They're extremely responsible with company resources: 24%
  • Well. Most of the time they're good stewards with some occasional waste: 55%
  • Not well. People are pretty cavalier about the use of company resources: 16%
  • Not at all. We're very irresponsible about being stewards of resources: 4%

Treat it like it’s your own. It’s a little concerning that 20% of you have issues with your people being good stewards of your organization’s resources. A culture of waste can have a tremendous negative impact over time. While it may be $10 here and $20 there, across a large associate pool, that’s a big number. The question is what are you doing about it as a leader? When you see wasteful behavior, do you call it out? Do you clearly set spending expectations and norms? If you’re not saying anything explicitly in these situations, you’re implicitly condoning the behavior. The easiest way I’ve seen for making these corrections is to ask the person “If it was your money, would you spend it like that?” When the answer is an immediate “no” the correct behavior becomes abundantly clear.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."

When tragedy strikes

When crisis strikes, will you be ready?

That is a question that every senior leader asks regularly. We like to think that we can be prepared when disaster or tragedy strikes, but will we be?

One such person who reflected on what it was like to face tragedy not once but twice was C.J. Price, a hospital administrator at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. On Nov. 27, 1963, he put down his thoughts in a memo about what it was like to have the eyes of the world on his hospital after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and killing of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Not only must you be prepared, you must identify people who will respond well in a crisis. Look for individuals who are who is studious not rash… practiced not sloppy… and most of all self-assured and not wild-eyed.

The thing about a crisis is you never know when to expect them. The only thing for which you can prepare is have the right people with the right plan in place.

John Baldoni is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2018, Trust Across America honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Trust. Also in 2018, Inc.com named Baldoni a Top 100 Leadership Speaker. Global Gurus ranked him No. 22 on its list of top 30 global experts, a list he has been on since 2007. In 2014, Inc.com named Baldoni to its list of top 50 leadership experts. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including his newest, “MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.”

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Dan Pink: Timing really is everything

How do you make decisions? Sometimes, you might use a planned, scientific process, but you’re probably making many decisions on autopilot, by using your gut or guessing. Maybe your decision-making ability is limited because of situational constraints.

It's a lot to think about!

Unfortunately, as author Daniel Pink argues, we rarely stop to think, is this the right timing? And even if we did, how would we know what the right timing is?

The author of “Drive” and other best-sellers was a keynote speaker Sept. 23 at the 104th ICMA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Md. His most recent book, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” is an exploration of all the science behind the timing of beginnings, midpoints and endings.

The book is more than a catalogue of random science, however; it is an attempt to connect research into timing from a variety of fields and discover insights that people can apply in their everyday lives.

City and county government officials, Pink said, are an ideal audience for applying the book’s lessons, because they are always asked to “do more with less” and to improve without spending more or hiring additional people. The principles of better timing, he argued, can help local governments (and businesses, and people in their personal lives) be more deliberate, strategic and successful in when and how they take action.

Pink noted the importance of big data in these discussions. The sheer amount of data being collected today – and the computing power needed to analyze it -- could never prove useful without modern technology. This is a key lesson, Pink said, for governments looking to analyze situations and make decisions.  

He compared the promise of big data to that of the microscope. Before its discovery, we had a certain view of the world. But the microscope – and big data -- revealed a world that always existed but which we couldn’t see. Those discoveries fundamentally change how and what we see – and should change how we approach decisions.

Here are a few of the key lessons he discussed:

Think about decision-making in terms of natural time units

What is the difference between natural and artificial measures of time? For instance, seconds and weeks are human inventions – we choose to define these units in this way. But a day is not, as it reflects the length of time it takes Earth to spin once around. A year is also a natural unit of time, as it recognizes the Earth’s rotation around the Sun.

Our energy and focus modulate throughout the day in general patterns that he calls "peak," "trough" and "recovery," though not all of us experience these phases at the same time of day. The patterns of the day affect our mood, performance and decision-making.

Most of us peak through the morning, have our lowest creative and cognitive points after lunch, and then enter a state of recovery in the later hours where we might be slightly less focused but well-suited for creative thinking.

(There are also night owls, who have troughs like the rest of us but flip the periods of focus and creativity.)

Pink mentioned a few studies that reveal this daily ebbing and flowing. One study examined 500 million tweets, while another looked at many thousands of public-company earnings calls. They each revealed that timing alone caused a measurable difference in the mood expressed.

Stock earnings calls held in the afternoon, led to more “negative, irritable and combative” conversations, Pink said, and temporarily hurt the stock price. This effect held even when controlled for company performance and other factors.

And while the maps of mood and energy were not identical, they both showed an early peak, a dip in the middle (the afternoon, for most people) and then a recovery period later on.

Context matters

Our cognitive abilities are not constant throughout the day, Pink argues, and the fluctuations in this ability can be significant. He did a thought exercise with the ICMA audience where he asked them a logic problem and then an “insight” problem. The former was a problem whose answer was essentially found in a mathematical equation, whereas the latter required a shift in perspective. Here’s the insight problem:

“Ernesto is a dealer in antique coins. One day someone brings him a beautiful bronze coin. The coin has an emperor’s head on one side and the date 544 BC stamped on the other. Ernesto examines the coin – but instead of buying it, he calls the police. Why?”

The answer – spoiler – is that people in 544 BC couldn't have known they were in the "before" times if, as Pink said Sunday, "C hadn't happened!"

Why mention logic and insight problems? Because timing matters here, too. Some people are better at logic problems in the morning (their likely “peak”) and better at insight problems in the afternoon (their likely “trough”), while it’s the opposite for other people.

What can we do about this?

There are several small steps people can take, Pink said, whether in government or elsewhere. One easy step is, whenever possible, to rearrange when you tackle certain types of tasks.

Your Daily When
From Pink's slides at ICMA (Photo by James daSilva)

In your peak hours, work on deep focus, analytic tasks. During the trough, stick to routine emails. And in recovery, you might want to try and tackle bigger-picture problems.

Breaks matter, especially when you truly unplug

Another common workplace habit is lionizing the overworker, Pink says, even if that perception is no longer as in vogue.

Breaks help us reset our energy and focus, as seen in an alarming study of parole hearings where judges were most likely to grant parole at the beginning of the day and after breaks, with that leniency declining as time went on.

Breaks are part of work, Pink argued. His suggestions for making the most of a break:

  • Get up from your desk. Go outside, if possible.
  • Be social. Break together.
  • Don’t do work on your break, and try not to even use your phone.
  • Schedule your breaks into your day.

And, if you work from home like Pink does, consider combining caffeine and a nap, as illustrated here.

Nappachino

Credit: Dan Pink

 

James daSilva is the longtime editor of SmartBrief's leadership newsletter and blog content, as well as newsletters for distributors, manufacturers and other fields. Before SmartBrief, he was a copy desk chief at a small daily New York newspaper. Contact him @James_daSilva or by email.

How you share your story demonstrates your perceived leadership

Lead Change is a leadership media destination with a unique editorial focus on driving change within organizations, teams, and individuals. Lead Change, a division of Weaving Influence, publishes twice monthly with SmartBrief. Today's post is by Jim Haudan and Rich Berens.

Having a compelling strategy story does not mean you are good at sharing it.

Let’s assume you now have a great vision statement and a compelling strategy story supporting it. What can get in the way now? The answer is the ability of your leaders to convey it effectively.

The gap between leaders thinking they are effective at telling the story and what the rest of the organization thinks is pretty stunning. After leaders give a presentation, we often witness HR or communications folks high-fiving about how well the message was delivered.

When we then ask people within the organization how they felt about what was shared and what stuck, we get an entirely different story.

Addressing this gap provides tremendous opportunity for better engagement of your people and effective activation of your strategic ambition.

Your “telling a great story” goal should be to have a three- to five-minute story that is your own, that you can tell with passion and conviction, and that inspires people to connect with the larger ambitions of the organization. From there, you can build out your story based on need, audiences, or length of time you have.

Presentation affects perception

When a leader or senior executive delivers a poor presentation, 83% of listeners develop a moderate or significantly negative perception of that person’s overall leadership ability. That is impact far beyond how good a storyteller you are. That is impact on how effective you will be as a leader. Period.

Recently, we were in a session with the executive team of a large global financial firm that was going through significant change. The goal was to determine how the organization needed to evolve to maintain and expand its leadership. We had great dialogue, and the team landed on new strategies and structures that would profoundly impact the organization and people’s jobs for years to come.

For the last half day of the retreat, we took a step back, looked at the tremendous volume of work, and tried to create the story of what was happening for the entire organization. Why are we changing, what does winning look like for us as a company going forward, and how do we bring this change to life to continue to be a leader in our industry?

To start the activity, we broke the executives into two teams and gave them 60 minutes to work through the overall narrative and create a 3-minute story. The task was addressing the company’s 10,000+ employees and making the case for why this change was necessary and exciting and something everyone would want to be a part of.

Now this is a very bright set of executives running an excellent company. They have all the right degrees, global experience and a track record of success. They were also fully engaged in this challenge and working through the storyline.

Compelling, clear story

As both teams gave their pitch, the CEO sitting next to us gave us a funny look and then leaned over and whispered, “These stories suck. I would not get out of bed in the morning and be excited about this.”

This was astounding, as these people all worked through the critical strategic challenges, achieved alignment, were fully on board with the overall direction, and were excited to tell the story to the rest of the organization. And even with those requirements present, their stories did anything but inspire.

Think about your story; make sure it is compelling, clear and understandable and be sure that success is defined when you see the energy and passion that you have for the subject in the faces of your people.

 

Jim Haudan is co-founder and chairman, and Rich Berens is CEO and chief client fanatic, of Root Inc. Haudan and Berens' "What Are Your Blind Spots?: Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back" is written to help professionals scrutinize their approach to leadership and figure out personal blind spots.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for SmartBrief’s free e-mails on leadership and career development, among SmartBrief's more than 200 industry-focused newsletters.

5 tips for recruitment, retention

From what to listen for—and avoid!—during job interviews, how to vet remote workers and why it's time to rethink your hiring protocols, five tips to help sharpen your recruitment and retention strategies, from stories in SmartBrief on Workforce.

Screen for emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence has been linked to job success and retention but it's commonly overlooked during the hiring process, writes Kellie Brown of Humantelligence. Brown recommends you add three questions to your vetting process, including one focusing on areas needing improvement.

Watch for these clues during job interviews. Job candidates often give clues on whether they are right for a position as they tell an interviewer about themselves. Miranda Marquit discusses what to look for, including schemes interviewees use to come off as compatible.

Consider hiring remote workers. Companies can reach a wider, richer pool of talent by expanding their search to remote job seekers. But success depends on several factors, and Alexis Bruemmer of DigitalOcean advises managers to ask four questions, including whether remote work truly fits the position.

Ditch outdated hiring practices. Some hiring procedures are long overdue for change, according to a recent conversation among Reddit users. Four stand out: the cover letter, "ghosting" a job candidate after an interview, ambiguity about salaries and stalking potential hires on social media.

Avoid these questions when interviewing. Asking job candidates insightful questions is an understandable focus for interviewers, but you should be cautious about certain questions that might cross a legal line. Marci Martin outlines a long list of topics that questions must not explore.

Kanoe Namahoe is the editorial director for SmartBrief Education and Workforce.

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How to avoid a culture war in business

Each month, When Growth Stalls examines why businesses and brands struggle and how they can overcome their obstacles and resume growth. Steve McKee is the president of McKee Wallwork + Co., an advertising agency that specializes in working with stalled, stuck and stale brands. The company was recognized by Advertising Age as 2015 Southwest Small Agency of the Year and again in 2018. McKee is also the author of “When Growth Stalls” and “Power Branding.”

SmartBrief offers more than 200 newsletters, including SmartBrief on Leadership and newsletters for small businesses and marketers and advertisers.

Tom is a friend of mine. Tom is a triathlete. Tom missed his last event due to a broken collarbone. Because Tom went over the handlebars on his bike.

I’m already on record as having said swimmers are odd ducks. But bicyclists are nuts. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that almost every serious cyclist I know has had a brush (or two) with death. They have their own code words and rituals, spend a fortune on two-wheeled contraptions, sport funny shorts, wear shoes they can’t walk in and look at the rest of us as if we’re the strange ones.

Runners and cyclists (and swimmers, too) like to tease each other, and for the most part it’s all in good fun. We’re just different. And most of the time when we run into each other on a single-track trail it’s not a problem, with one or the other yielding the right of way.

I was reminded of this the other day when I had to step to the side of my running trail to let pass a couple of mountain bikers coming the other way. I didn’t mind; for the most part, runners and cyclists understand and abide by respectful rules of engagement, and there have been plenty of times when they’ve had to stop for me.  But after the second cyclist zipped past me with a breathless “thank you,” I realized that, standing there in the weeds with my hands on my hips, I may have looked perturbed. I didn’t mean to; I was only trying to catch my breath.

Sometimes, however, genuine conflicts do arise. Maybe both runner and cyclist are in a serious training mode and stopping or even slowing down will screw up their workout. Maybe one is fighting exhaustion and forgets or neglects protocol. Maybe one is wearing ear buds and can’t hear the other coming until it’s almost too late. Whatever the case, sometimes we run into each other. Sometimes literally.

At that moment, there are always two options. The first is to retreat into our clannish distinctions, mouth off and judge one another based on our differences. The other is to demonstrate understanding and offer grace (and, if warranted, an apology).

After all, we have much more in common than the form of exercise that divide us. We’re all athletes. We’re all glorying in God’s creation. We’re all working hard. We’re all trying to improve. We all have families waiting for us to come home safely. Most of all, we’re all human.

I suspect you see where I’m going with this. In business, as in athletics, there are times when we’re going to run into each other. Internal conflicts between divisions, departments, offices, floors, teams and individuals are unavoidable, and they can be as destructive as they are distracting.

In fact, research shows that they are not only the most common but the most debilitating internal dynamics with which companies have to deal. Sometimes culture wars themselves cause companies go adrift for the simple reason that, if you’re not working together, well, you’re not working together.

As with weekend warriors, when a clash happens in business it can go one of two ways. We can go tribal and think the worst of one another, or we can give each other the benefit of the doubt, presume each other has good intentions and focus on the fix.

A little humility and intentionality can go a long way in making things right. That is, in fact, where most of my company’s consulting engagements begin: by identifying and addressing what’s really going on, underneath the surface of struggling organizations.

Alas, restraint requires maturity. If human nature wasn’t what it is, "The Office" would never have taken off and "Dilbert" wouldn’t be turning 30. We like to laugh at interpersonal conflict, as long as it isn’t our own. When stuff happens in real life, we don’t find it funny, and it’s natural to retreat into resentment. The fact that it’s natural, however, doesn’t mean it’s helpful. Or productive. Or responsible.

What we see on TV and Twitter reflects and reinforces our worst tendencies, but behavior like that doesn’t work in the real world.

Mutual understanding can do wonders for a corporate culture, but it must begin with each of us, individually, making the difficult decision to engage rather than divide. To focus on our commonalities rather than our differences. To practice restraint and exercise empathy.

When you see someone coming the other way -- on a bicycle, in business, or in life -- recognize what they may be struggling with. Cut them some slack, and even step aside if need be. Most of the time we all want to get to the same place, even if our mode of transportation differs.

GE’s lessons won’t determine whether you succeed or fail

The early morning news on Monday that General Electric ousted CEO John Flannery was surprising to many of us, and it certainly matters to investors, analysts, employees and competitors (and probably historians).

But does the success or failure of GE’s CEO really matter that much when it comes to how most of us lead, manage and plan each day? Not necessarily.

For one thing, an increasing percentage of Americans are working at large companies, but it’s still not a majority, and most of us aren’t running these companies or even their divisions. Our direct reports (hopefully) are a small group of people, even if we’re ultimately responsible for larger causes. The communication, relationship-building and coaching we do in these small groups is a vital part of any leader’s job, and you can have almost any title and work in almost any setting while doing it.

That said, GE has long been looked to as an example of corporate product strategy, innovation, how to assess performance, ways companies can internally manage talent and leadership development and even the state of the US economy. Not to mention the cult of Jack Welch. So, we’ve been looking to the company for insights for a long, long time.

What I would say today is to look past the headlines. GE’s long-declining stock price is obviously a problem, but the stock price is merely a byproduct of actions taken. You won’t find leadership lessons by tracking a stock graph. Comparing superficial character traits of the company’s recent CEOs probably isn’t helpful for most of us, either. And we have to be careful of lauding or criticizing innovation efforts, such as Predix, in hindsight alone.

Basically, there are few black-and-white lessons that you can lift from GE’s story and apply to your world. So, what’s left? Here are a few areas I’d suggest looking into and then comparing and contrasting with your organization:

Can you say what your organization does?

If you can’t, or your newer and lower-ranking employees can’t, this could be a communication problem. That’s serious, but there is a mission there that simply needs to be promoted more. There are a lot of ways to go about this, some more expensive than others, but the answers are there.

But not being able to explain what the organization does could also mean it’s less of an organization and more of a holding company, if not a mess. As former Medtronic CEO Bill George wrote almost a year ago about GE’s plan to focus on three core areas:

"GE's deep problem today is that it doesn't know what business it is in. There is no central purpose that unites its disparate businesses, or enables them to be greater than the sum of its parts. Even GE's three remaining businesses – aviation, health care, and energy and power – bear little relationship to each other. As CNBC's Steve Liesmann noted after Flannery's announcements, why not go all the way and split GE into three separate companies, thereby eliminating the corporate staff and associated corporate costs?"

Are outsider CEOs better? It depends

You’ll probably see a lot of opinions about whether GE was right to reach outside its ranks for John Flannery’s replacement. Some people will be bullish on the change, while others won’t, and they'll have well-articulated reasons.

What’s research say? There can be a benefit to an outsider CEO from another industry, but that’s not a universal answer, as outsider CEOs can face conflict when they try to implement changes and find themselves kicked out almost as quickly as they were ushered in.

The bigger lesson, at least according to that research, might be in the mindset you seek. This requires careful detail to succession planning, talent management and board responsibilities rather than gambling on the magic of a CEO. As Matt Palmquist of Strategy+Business wrote:

“Rather than breadth of experience, boards and recruiters should look for a proven track record of challenging conventional wisdom and experimenting with unconventional ideas—especially those that pay off.”

Don’t underestimate the difficult of big changes

Reorganizations might be necessary, but they always involve discomfort and pain. Layoffs occur. People are asked to change roles, relocate, abandon their old ways of thinking for new ways. The new plan isn’t always justified (at least not to the satisfaction of those affected) and can easily become perceived as a burdensome directive.

Restructurings, reorganizations, reconfigurations: They are each complex, and they each have situational challenges that require organizational introspection, as Stephane J.G. Girod and Samina Karim wrote in Harvard Business Review last year:

“Whether you are restructuring or reconfiguring, the way you group and allocate activities and resources must play to your strengths and differentiate your company from competitors. That might seem obvious, but not all firms have the discipline to follow this guideline—or even understand which practices are most suited to their situation.”

GE probably could do better in its rethink, but the lessons found there might not necessarily help your reorganization, especially if you don’t work for or run a multinational industrial public company.

Instead, think about your people, your job titles and what functional areas of control you give your managers, as Pingboard CEO Bill Boebel advises:

"As you’re giving thought to your organization’s leaders, identify those who are 'people' managers and those who are 'work' managers. People managers are excellent at leading a team, while work managers are those more skilled at overseeing tasks."

 

James daSilva is the longtime editor of SmartBrief's leadership newsletter and blog content, as well as newsletters for distributors, manufacturers and other professions. Before SmartBrief, he was a copy desk chief at a small daily New York newspaper. Contact him @James_daSilva or by email.

GE’s lessons won’t determine whether you succeed or fail

The early morning news on Monday that General Electric ousted CEO John Flannery was surprising to many of us, and it certainly matters to investors, analysts, employees and competitors (and probably historians).

But does the success or failure of GE’s CEO really matter that much when it comes to how most of us lead, manage and plan each day? Not necessarily.

For one thing, an increasing percentage of Americans are working at large companies, but it’s still not a majority, and most of us aren’t running these companies or even their divisions. Our direct reports (hopefully) are a small group of people, even if we’re ultimately responsible for larger causes. The communication, relationship-building and coaching we do in these small groups is a vital part of any leader’s job, and you can have almost any title and work in almost any setting while doing it.

That said, GE has long been looked to as an example of corporate product strategy, innovation, how to assess performance, ways companies can internally manage talent and leadership development and even the state of the US economy. Not to mention the cult of Jack Welch. So, we’ve been looking to the company for insights for a long, long time.

What I would say today is to look past the headlines. GE’s long-declining stock price is obviously a problem, but the stock price is merely a byproduct of actions taken. You won’t find leadership lessons by tracking a stock graph. Comparing superficial character traits of the company’s recent CEOs probably isn’t helpful for most of us, either. And we have to be careful of lauding or criticizing innovation efforts, such as Predix, in hindsight alone.

Basically, there are few black-and-white lessons that you can lift from GE’s story and apply to your world. So, what’s left? Here are a few areas I’d suggest looking into and then comparing and contrasting with your organization:

Can you say what your organization does?

If you can’t, or your newer and lower-ranking employees can’t, this could be a communication problem. That’s serious, but there is a mission there that simply needs to be promoted more. There are a lot of ways to go about this, some more expensive than others, but the answers are there.

But not being able to explain what the organization does could also mean it’s less of an organization and more of a holding company, if not a mess. As former Medtronic CEO Bill George wrote almost a year ago about GE’s plan to focus on three core areas:

"GE's deep problem today is that it doesn't know what business it is in. There is no central purpose that unites its disparate businesses, or enables them to be greater than the sum of its parts. Even GE's three remaining businesses – aviation, health care, and energy and power – bear little relationship to each other. As CNBC's Steve Liesmann noted after Flannery's announcements, why not go all the way and split GE into three separate companies, thereby eliminating the corporate staff and associated corporate costs?"

Are outsider CEOs better? It depends

You’ll probably see a lot of opinions about whether GE was right to reach outside its ranks for John Flannery’s replacement. Some people will be bullish on the change, while others won’t, and they'll have well-articulated reasons.

What’s research say? There can be a benefit to an outsider CEO from another industry, but that’s not a universal answer, as outsider CEOs can face conflict when they try to implement changes and find themselves kicked out almost as quickly as they were ushered in.

The bigger lesson, at least according to that research, might be in the mindset you seek. This requires careful detail to succession planning, talent management and board responsibilities rather than gambling on the magic of a CEO. As Matt Palmquist of Strategy+Business wrote:

“Rather than breadth of experience, boards and recruiters should look for a proven track record of challenging conventional wisdom and experimenting with unconventional ideas—especially those that pay off.”

Don’t underestimate the difficult of big changes

Reorganizations might be necessary, but they always involve discomfort and pain. Layoffs occur. People are asked to change roles, relocate, abandon their old ways of thinking for new ways. The new plan isn’t always justified (at least not to the satisfaction of those affected) and can easily become perceived as a burdensome directive.

Restructurings, reorganizations, reconfigurations: They are each complex, and they each have situational challenges that require organizational introspection, as Stephane J.G. Girod and Samina Karim wrote in Harvard Business Review last year:

“Whether you are restructuring or reconfiguring, the way you group and allocate activities and resources must play to your strengths and differentiate your company from competitors. That might seem obvious, but not all firms have the discipline to follow this guideline—or even understand which practices are most suited to their situation.”

GE probably could do better in its rethink, but the lessons found there might not necessarily help your reorganization, especially if you don’t work for or run a multinational industrial public company.

Instead, think about your people, your job titles and what functional areas of control you give your managers, as Pingboard CEO Bill Boebel advises:

"As you’re giving thought to your organization’s leaders, identify those who are 'people' managers and those who are 'work' managers. People managers are excellent at leading a team, while work managers are those more skilled at overseeing tasks."

 

James daSilva is the longtime editor of SmartBrief's leadership newsletter and blog content, as well as newsletters for distributors, manufacturers and other professions. Before SmartBrief, he was a copy desk chief at a small daily New York newspaper. Contact him @James_daSilva or by email.

Have you ever used online video-based learning for professional development?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

Have you ever used online video-based learning for professional development?

  • Yes, all the time both for me and my team: 54% 
  • Yes. but just for me: 35%
  • Not for me, but I have for my team: 5%
  • Neither my team not I have ever used it: 7%

Video is ubiquitous, but are you getting the value? 89% of you are doing some form of video training for either yourself or you and your team. It’s important to ensure you’re getting the value from those hours behind the screen. After a course, are you tying the course learning objectives to real-world projects? Are you checking back in on skill development for time periods following completion of a course? Are you holding yourself and your people accountable for using the methods they learn in the videos? If you’re not demanding application and reinforcement, you’re likely just logging more hours behind a screen. It’s important to find ways to put those great video courses into practice if you want to get the value out of them.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."

Have you ever used online video-based learning for professional development?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

Have you ever used online video-based learning for professional development?

  • Yes, all the time both for me and my team: 54% 
  • Yes. but just for me: 35%
  • Not for me, but I have for my team: 5%
  • Neither my team not I have ever used it: 7%

Video is ubiquitous, but are you getting the value? 89% of you are doing some form of video training for either yourself or you and your team. It’s important to ensure you’re getting the value from those hours behind the screen. After a course, are you tying the course learning objectives to real-world projects? Are you checking back in on skill development for time periods following completion of a course? Are you holding yourself and your people accountable for using the methods they learn in the videos? If you’re not demanding application and reinforcement, you’re likely just logging more hours behind a screen. It’s important to find ways to put those great video courses into practice if you want to get the value out of them.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."