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Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining. We’ve just started the webinar and I expect that we will see people join here in the next minute or two, which means we’ll get started in the next minute or two. Got a jampacked session for you so we won’t start too late. If you don’t mind. Just hang out for just another minute or so and we’ll get going.
00:00:38:14 – 00:00:58:21
Hello everyone. Thank you so much for joining. We are going to give it about 30 seconds more and we’ll get started. Thank you again for joining today’s webinar.
00:00:58:23 – 00:01:19:17
All right, Let’s go. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening for some of you. Thank you so much for joining us for our fourth webinar and a five part series about the future of work. Today’s session is going to be all about investing in leaders. I am Chris Thornton. You may have seen my face if you’ve joined some of our other webinars.
00:01:19:19 – 00:01:45:15
And joining me today is Adina Bernstein. Adina, go ahead and introduce yourself. All right, great. Thank you. I have been with that growing for seven years and I work with leaders all of the time, which is why I’m really excited to be speaking on this panel and so much so that I am actually in the process of becoming a certified coach to work with leaders knowing they play a huge role in all of this.
00:01:45:17 – 00:02:12:09
Certainly, let’s be honest, we know if leaders aren’t doing their jobs well, things sometimes have a tendency to fall apart. So I love working to help make that better. Actually, right now, working with a client who is working with their top 250 leaders to try to figure out how to work differently, certainly in the virtual world and how to be more effective in engaging with people in new and different ways.
00:02:12:09 – 00:02:43:19
So we’ll talk more about that as we go on. Absolutely. And I have been working here. I’m coming up on my eighth anniversary working at Daggerwing Group, also working with several organizations, one in particular that I’ve been working with for about two and a half years, and they’ve been focused in on their top one 5175 leaders, bringing them along, making sure that they understand strategy, that they have the right mindset and the behaviors to match that, to deliver on TV, delivering on where they need to go next.
00:02:43:19 – 00:03:04:03
So we’ll be bringing you today some some tips of things that you can be doing right now. But we’re going to focus in on the top three questions you should be asking yourself right now. And some of those might be a little bit uncomfortable. Before we get into those questions, just a little bit about Daggerwing group in case this is the first time that you’ve ever joined us.
00:03:04:05 – 00:03:27:24
Daggerwing Group is a top ten leader in Communications and Change consulting, and we do work with about 75 or 70% of our clients are in the Fortune 500, which means that we’re working with mostly large organizations, but we work with organizations of all sizes. And what we’re going to be talking about today is absolutely going to apply to any organization, wherever you are.
00:03:27:24 – 00:03:33:08
And no matter what your role is within that organization.
00:03:33:10 – 00:04:00:11
Just to remind you of where we’ve been, especially if you if you haven’t joined us before, this is a five part short webinar series, about 30 minutes each about rethinking the future of work. We started off with one hour long webinar with Michelle Mahoney, Lauren Heller and myself challenging you to think about where we are right now as we’re moving from crisis and how do you move into momentum by rethinking the future of work.
00:04:00:15 – 00:04:18:22
And we started our five part series. First one is how do you rethink the future of work? How did you how do you challenge yourself to not be stuck in the present? Because the present can be a trap with all that we’re doing, all that has happened this year, it can suck all of our energy up and we’re not looking to what the future needs to be for our organization.
00:04:18:23 – 00:04:39:04
Second part was doubling down on culture. How do we use the strengths of our culture and how do we also look carefully at the weaknesses within our culture that may not help us get where we need to go next as we’ve rethought the future. Third part was assassin prioritize. If you know where you’re going after you’ve rethought the future, there are a lot of things you could be doing to get there.
00:04:39:09 – 00:05:06:15
How do you assess where you need to focus your company’s energies and investments, especially your people’s energy, and that investment in them to be able to prioritize those few things that you’re going to do to get where you need to go. And today we’re going to be talking about the most important group that investing in leaders. If some of us have experienced this, where we’re working with leaders and before we go too much further, what do I mean by leaders?
00:05:06:15 – 00:05:29:05
We really as we use the term leaders today, we mean leaders at all levels. We might use the phrase top leaders or executives to indicate those, you know, people in the C-suite or those executives who are determining strategy, making sure that we know where we’re going. When we’re talking about leaders today, it means leaders at all levels might also hear us say people, managers.
00:05:29:07 – 00:05:50:18
But that’s the group that we’re talking about, our non C-suite, non top executive leaders. Certainly we’re not leaving them out either, Max and Chris Yeah, sorry. I’ll just add, actually, while we’re talking about investing in leaders, you know, when we say investing too, it’s you know, we have a tendency to think money and training and certainly some of that applies in tools and all of that.
00:05:50:20 – 00:06:16:17
But also what we’ll talk a lot about is the investment of time and energy and really helping to bring them along and make sure that they’re part of everything and every step. Absolutely. Absolutely. And at the end of today’s session, we’ll talk about the fifth one, Build trust every single day, which will happen in about two weeks. So I mentioned that we have three questions that you should be asking yourself right now to make sure that you’re investing in leaders so that they can help deliver on the future.
00:06:16:19 – 00:06:40:20
The first two are going to be challenging and maybe even uncomfortable for for some of you. And we’re doing that to make sure that we’re jolting ourselves out of the predictable and just ticking the box and saying, yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll do whatever we’ve always done. For leaders. They love what we’ve been doing. I’m sure they’ll love what we do now if we just keep doing the same thing and we’re telling you very clearly you don’t know.
00:06:40:20 – 00:07:04:08
That’s true. Right now, so much has changed for our leaders. So much has changed, and the expectations for them for what we’re putting on their back and expecting them to do, whether it’s it’s challenging them to lead teams in a different way, to lead a now virtual team or a partially virtual team with some people working remotely, some people in office or in the facilities working.
00:07:04:14 – 00:07:24:09
We’re asking them to be even more attuned to the challenges, the personal challenges both within their life and their team members life. We keep putting things on top of the back of managers. We’re saying that what we have been doing may not necessarily be what they need next to move forward into the future. So let’s get into those questions.
00:07:24:15 – 00:07:48:00
First question is, did you change the destination of where you’re going without bringing the leaders along? Dinner? We’ll be talking about that next. The following question is how are you setting up leaders for fail failure and being brave enough to ask yourself that question to say, What am I doing right now that is going to undermine their success?
00:07:48:05 – 00:08:10:18
What am I doing that won’t get them where they need to go so that they can lead our people forward and deliver for our customers and for our clients? And the third one will give us a little bit of relief. How can you help your leaders right now? What are the things you can do right now no matter where you’re going in the future that will give the leaders the things they need to be successful right now.
00:08:10:20 – 00:08:33:24
So with that, let’s get into the first question, Edina. All right, Perfect. Well, I think this first one of you, did you change the destination without bringing meters along? Unfortunately, we see this happen all the time. Sometimes it’s just not intentional. You know, things happen that are moving so quickly. You need to take action. Something’s happening. It can be easy to forget about meters and the role that they play.
00:08:34:00 – 00:08:53:11
I’m working actually with a client right now. They have a brand new CEO. She is creating a new operating model, new structure, new behaviors, new ways of working. She’s working with a really close knit group of people to define what all of that looks like and what that change plan is in order to get board approval in a couple of months.
00:08:53:11 – 00:09:18:06
And she is very hesitant to go out with anything until it’s been approved by the board. And so what we’re working with her on is how to even just try to start having conversations, listening to people, even to try to understand potentially what barriers might exist that might impact process change, whatever that might look like, to help make sure there’s not radio silence, that people are at least knowing something’s going on.
00:09:18:12 – 00:09:48:22
It’s people. They’re not dumb. The rumor mill is buzzing already. There’s lots of questions being asked, and simply by engaging in different ways, can help mitigate any risk that might be might be happening. So if we can take a look at the next slide, you know, it’s not new information to know that people look to their immediate managers as a source of information, how to take what guidance and direction on what actions to take.
00:09:48:24 – 00:10:14:24
It comes from their direct manager. And so just recently, Gallup issued a poll in the midst of COVID that half heard that less than 40% of managers believe that they’re being kept in the loop. So if they’re confused and they don’t know what’s going on, you can just imagine what kind of chaos that is creating in all different parts of the organization or just a multitude of different directions that people are going.
00:10:15:01 – 00:10:42:02
So next slide. You know, I actually saw this in a in a Gartner article this week, and this stat really surprised me. I hadn’t heard it before. Maybe many of you have, but the information is, you know, you need to say the same message ten times in ten different ways for 10% of retention. And I was just a little blown away because that feels like a lot of effort for a little bit of chaos there.
00:10:42:04 – 00:11:11:11
So there’s certainly a lot that can be done to to help move that along. Yeah. Edina, when you showed this to me, my heart sank. And part of that is because I’ve worked in internal communications, leading functions, and for internal communications throughout my career. And to hear this is kind of a punch in the gut to say, is it worth it?
00:11:11:13 – 00:11:34:07
What are we doing? Are we just creating noise? And and I know that I know that good communication can can have a real impact. But this ten by ten by ten, it really stuck in my head this week as we were preparing for this webinar of both that that sense of is it am I going to have an impact and how do I make sure that I’m having an impact?
00:11:34:07 – 00:11:51:22
And fortunately you’ve got some good tips for what we can actually do to make sure it does have an impact. Yeah, absolutely. I know it’s kind of alarming and I think the reality is we’re never going to have a crystal clear picture of what the future looks like and having that all buttoned up is is not going to work.
00:11:51:22 – 00:12:14:22
But there are some things that people can do to help make the messages stick, kind of break through that clutter. So you’re not doing a 100 times effort in communications because then that’s just a lot of noise that’s out there. So really, it’s about being visionary in your communications and painting the picture, but enabling flexibility for what that looks like in the day to day.
00:12:14:24 – 00:12:38:20
So some might not be brand new, but just really important reminders and things that are just so essential, especially now it is about communicating frequently. If you think you’ve done it a lot, you really haven’t done it enough. And that Gartner quote and stat is really driving that point home. But emphasize the why. I mean, certainly spend a lot of time talking about the why why are you doing what you do?
00:12:38:20 – 00:13:05:05
You’re doing? Why is your future direction what it is? Why is it important? Because then that will ultimately empower people to figure out the how and they can do it as they need to in the moment and make those directions that they have that clear guiding light that this helping them, certainly providing multiple channels for open dialogs, feedback, getting two way conversations going.
00:13:05:05 – 00:13:32:22
There’s a ton of tools and platforms that can help with that can even be different focus groups, but different ways to really make sure you’re not shutting down communications, especially when everybody is so virtual and spread out. It can be easy to feel isolating at home alone, away from your colleagues. You got to understand and address those concerns and questions early and often to know what is happening and how things might be impacting future plans.
00:13:32:22 – 00:14:03:17
There are so many potential gaps and things that top leaders just don’t see or think about, but asking and hearing about it from people will really help to mitigate any risks that you might come across. And lastly, we say it all the time, but be honest and transparent. And you know, really what that means is it’s not necessarily sharing every single detail and every single thought that you have in every moment, but it’s about explaining what you’re working on, what timelines might look like and where you’re going.
00:14:03:17 – 00:14:23:15
And if people do ask questions that you’re not able to respond to, you can say, we’re still working on that. I’m not able to tell you the details of this strategy. And, you know, for maybe legal reasons or whatever the issue might be. But even just being able to say that can help people feel like they’re not being intentionally excluded.
00:14:23:17 – 00:14:48:10
You know, Dana, you talked about that client who was was waiting for everything to be approved by the board before they started bringing people in and bringing top leaders along. I sometimes see when when I include language like this of being honest and transparent, I sometimes see clients with their they react strongly. Let me say to that phrase of be honest.
00:14:48:10 – 00:15:16:22
And because they’re as if we were saying that they were lying, that’s not that’s not what we mean. But there’s that sense of withholding and intentionally hiding things that may be coming that make people feel like they’re their leader isn’t being honest with them. They’re not being forthright with them. How are you helping your client make sure that as as they’re navigating, not sharing everything until it’s approved, but sharing some of it and being bringing people?
00:15:16:24 – 00:15:35:05
How are you going after that? Be honest and transparent. Yeah, I mean, it’s really too simple things that we’ve been able to do. And there it’s part of it is really just keeping it very simple. And so one is equipping the top 80 leaders in this case to hold a bunch of different listening sessions, to really talk to people.
00:15:35:05 – 00:16:01:05
We’re giving them some prompts and questions, but this gives them an opportunity also to hear what questions other people have to feed it in. And so it is kind of just it’s filling that space of the several weeks until until things are solidified where people are. There are still conversation happening. People can feel like they have a voice and are participating in some way, which is really going a long way.
00:16:01:05 – 00:16:23:04
And then the other piece of it is in turn being able to say, Here’s our timeline, we’re working on X, Y, and Z strategy and activities. We will be presenting it to the board on this date. And at this time we’ll be able to share more information with you. And it seems to be working. I mean, it’s just really people just want to know that they can be involved and prove their value.
00:16:23:04 – 00:16:44:20
And that’s what this is doing for sure. We’ve got a question that’s that’s been asked of what role does measurement play? I’m going to get into questions that can lead us to doing the same thing over and over, because leaders say that they’re they’re just fine in the next question, Is there anything that you want to address in measurement here?
00:16:44:22 – 00:17:08:18
So in measurement for a lot of this, there’s a couple of different things, but for some pieces it is it is highly qualitative. And so I always recommend asking really 3 to 5 next questions that you can monitor periodically and you can do it through a survey or you can, you know, a quick SurveyMonkey or something or through focus groups or even interviews.
00:17:08:18 – 00:17:35:17
And it’s about do people understand what’s going on? Do they believe that this is the right direction for the company? Do they know what their role is? Do they feel engaged and inspired by it? And are they getting what they need from their managers? And so asking all of those and especially doing that early can give you a good baseline and it can give you an indication of what areas you need to dial up to do.
00:17:35:17 – 00:17:57:14
They have the information, tools and resources and getting what they need from their managers are usually the key indicators we see when those are low. We know what we need to do to help move it along. Absolutely. Because of time. Let’s keep going then. Yeah, this is great. Let’s get into that second question. But you want to talk about the impact, though, of if you do these things, what do you get exactly.
00:17:57:14 – 00:18:25:02
Last real quick here, know when when people are involved, when they’re part of the journey, there’s just no question there’s so much correlation between the satisfaction and engagement that your employees have and also your customers, which is so important. And we see a lot more of an uptick in innovation as well because people are able to, you know, they feel more comfortable taking risks, trying things because they know what that big why and future vision is.
00:18:25:04 – 00:18:43:17
So it works. You know, it works. So your question to question number two, how are you setting up leaders for failure? Remember, this is flipping the what do we need to do for leaders and saying if we do what we’re doing, how does that set them up for failure and assume that it does? It may not, but assume that it does.
00:18:43:17 – 00:19:15:09
And what would you do differently? As we talked about earlier, we keep putting things on the back of middle managers, people, managers, and they are they’re also managing people day to day. Look, no one’s job is easy within an organization, but we know that that tension point in an organization or that friction point often is that that middle manager level where top level leaders are expecting and driving and the grassroots is saying, give me direction, help me focus and help me figure out how to deliver, given everything else that I need to do right now.
00:19:15:11 – 00:19:42:21
There’s something in there right now that if we sense of that sense of putting one more thing on someone else’s back or on the back of middle managers can actually actually make us withhold information which will get into one of the ways you may be setting up your your leaders for failure. But first, one of the ways you might be setting your leaders up for failure is this aggressively positive culture.
00:19:42:21 – 00:20:08:12
We sometimes call this a manic cheerleader type of mentality where everything is positive. We’re all working so hard. Look how hard we’re working. People are stretching in ways that they never have before, and they’re they’re going above and beyond. We see that discretionary effort of not just doing my job, but doing beyond my job to make sure it all gets done.
00:20:08:14 – 00:20:33:06
Wonderful behaviors in an aggressively positive culture or that manic cheerleader culture. It can feel like if I say anything negative, then I’m I’m placing myself on the outside and I want to be part of this team. And so I have to be aggressively positive about that. The watch out there is that you may be incentivizing failure or incentivizing silence when failure occurs.
00:20:33:06 – 00:21:08:23
And what I mean by that is stop and think about if you if you remember a couple of years ago, there was a certain brand of phone where you couldn’t take it on planes anymore because the batteries were exploding or catching fire. And when when the post mortem was done on that or the after action review was done on that, one of the contributing factors, certainly not the only but one of the contributing factors, was this sense that employees and leaders in particular couldn’t speak up when they saw something wrong, when they had concerns, because it was this sense of and this inevitable train that was flying so fast.
00:21:09:00 – 00:21:41:17
Mixing my metaphors there. But it was moving so fast forward that we couldn’t stop it. We had to keep that momentum going. And even though they knew there were things that were wrong, they just feel that they couldn’t speak up. We believe and we’re working with some clients right now who are trying to change that aggressive, massively positive mindset or expectation that you’re only bringing the good things forward to make sure that they are creating space and time for employee days and leaders in particular to say, I have concerns.
00:21:41:19 – 00:22:06:01
It’s not that I’m not part of this team, I am part of this team. But being part of this team means bringing concerns and raising concerns to the surface. So that could be one of the ways, especially for internal communicators since that you heard, that’s that’s part of what my career has been. We can put out so many stories and internal comms where we’re recognizing the hard work of people we sometimes miss.
00:22:06:03 – 00:22:22:23
We can we can reinforce that aggressively positive culture, this inevitability of it’s all good. We need to make sure that we’re building an chances for for leaders to say, I’ve got concerns and I need help. The second thing is, and I mentioned earlier, that that sense of, I don’t want to put one more thing on your back.
00:22:22:23 – 00:22:44:20
Front line manager, people manager. I know you’re so busy. You’re managing today and you’ve got so many demands coming at you. I don’t want to add one more thing on to you. And you could be failing to share why you’re taking actions and think about that, that we’ve all had it. This is this has to be all of us on this call where we see things being done by leaders and we don’t understand why.
00:22:44:20 – 00:23:03:00
So we see action, but we don’t have explanation. What we end up doing is what Edina talked about earlier. That rumor mill starts kicking in. It starts interpreting actions of the top leaders at all levels, but especially in that middle management level. Right. Because employees are coming to them saying, what’s going on over there? Why are they doing this?
00:23:03:03 – 00:23:23:24
Why did that meeting happen? What is this new initiative that no one’s told me about? That middle manager role is really difficult. So you aren’t bothering your leaders by telling them why you’re doing things. In fact, you’re showing deep respect for them to make sure that they understand what is coming. So that sense of I know you’re busy, I didn’t want to bother you.
00:23:24:03 – 00:23:46:19
I’ll just let you know about it later. That’s a really big indicator that something is wrong in your culture where you don’t have a way to balance the demands of today and the changes that are coming for the future. That is absolutely setting leaders up for failure. So if those are the big watch outs and the big concerns, where’s the hope?
00:23:46:19 – 00:24:02:14
Edina is going to bring that to you With the third question, there is hope. There is some things that we can do. And, you know, some of it is really just about not forgetting things that have worked really well and continuing to do that. So some of the foundations you you can take a look at the next slide.
00:24:02:14 – 00:24:31:03
You know, these haven’t changed. I think we’ve been seeing a lot of it. I’ve seen a lot of it with some of my clients when certainly when COVID hit originally as some of the social justice actions activities really picked up, it’s paralyzed some of my clients and not knowing how to act because things just feel so different. So it’s just some simple reminders, you know, really make sure that vision is really clear and that it’s articulated, that people understand what it means and checking for that understanding.
00:24:31:05 – 00:25:04:15
And you do that by bringing people along, both leaders and employees. You know, everyone needs to know what is going on and have a role there. We talked about that, making sure you’re equipping them with the right tools, talking points for leaders, real simple bullets of what that is training. You know, there’s different programs and things that you can do that still hold true and really one of the most important things is that accountability piece and making sure leaders are being held accountable to what their role is and making sure those expectations are really clear up front.
00:25:04:17 – 00:25:28:08
So often it’s just that people don’t know what they’re supposed to do because we assume that they, you know, if they’re a leader, that they should know what to do. But you really can’t make assumptions. And so to hold them to that accountability, it’s incorporating things into their KPIs, into their goals, what they’re being rewarded, promoted, incentivized to do, should all align to what your strategy and direction is.
00:25:28:08 – 00:25:55:17
Otherwise what gets measured gets done. And if they’re not being held accountable to it, they won’t do it. But what is different and what has changed a little bit, at least on the next slide, is this need for empathy. We to I think we may be lost, Chris, but I speak to it the the need for empathy. I think we’re seeing it everywhere.
00:25:55:17 – 00:26:27:24
You never know, especially certainly in the political landscape right now. But companies to employees and people are demanding it. They need to see it role models from themselves, but also need to know how to display it for for their employees. And so much of that starts by just asking, asking questions, asking putting yourself in people’s shoes, asking them why they’re feeling what they are, what their thoughts are, and what they what they think they should do.
00:26:27:24 – 00:26:52:00
And just engaging in that conversation. It goes such a long way. People are really demanding that. And also it’s about giving leaders the space to do what they need. That space might mean time. It might mean, you know, not maybe being so micromanaging in some ways to stay on top of everything, but, you know, just making sure your trusting them to give them the breathing room that they need.
00:26:52:02 – 00:27:18:01
And when I saw this, quote, you know, learned like mad, I think that’s just so key. It’s adding that tolerance for failure and just making sure that you’re learning from that failure. So for everything that Chris talked about in some of those examples, just making sure people are learning from what’s going on and just trying to iterate and keep going forward and not not holding it to, you know, to to be too detrimental.
00:27:18:03 – 00:27:38:00
And lastly, keeping it simple, you know, it can be easy to want to give toolkits and toolkits and talking points and lots of materials and tools for people, but really be clear of what do you need to know? What do you need to do and make sure that is is just really crystal clear for people is really key.
00:27:38:02 – 00:27:58:19
So, hey, Adina, I’m back. How are you? Welcome. We missed you. Just a little power outage in the neighborhood. No big deal. Just perfectly timed. Thanks. Thanks for for going. So, listen, we were just about out of time. Lauren, do you mind going on to the next slide? So just a recap. Did you change the destination without bringing leaders along?
00:27:58:19 – 00:28:18:24
That’s a question you’ve got to ask yourself. Second question is being brave and asking yourself this question. Listen, it’s just you. You can have this as a as a broader discussion and that we encourage you to. But starting with yourself, how are we setting up leaders for failure, doing what we’re doing right now? And then finally, number three, how can you help your leaders right now?
00:28:18:24 – 00:28:47:18
Athena gave you some great examples exactly of what you can be doing right now, especially in the empathy space, to make sure that leaders are experiencing that support so that they can then go demonstrate it. We did have a question earlier that I wasn’t able to get to about how do we what’s the correlation between leaders who are personally organized and being able to move forward in the organization and deliver what they need to do?
00:28:47:18 – 00:29:14:23
I think a simple answer to that is in the work that we’ve done with Cox Communications, with some of their leaders is, well, it may not be about personal organization. What it really does come down to is making sure that they are building time and for their priorities. And if it’s not scheduled, especially as every day presents new challenges for ourselves and for our leaders, if it’s not on our calendar, it will not get done.
00:29:14:23 – 00:29:32:12
Meaning, if you need to coach people, you’ve got to schedule time. If you need to build in time to listen, you have to schedule time. If you need to go and make sure that you’re checking in with your people, especially your top leaders, it’s got to get on that calendar. Edina, anything to add to that? No, I was going to say the same thing.
00:29:32:12 – 00:29:52:18
Priorities are key. I mean, there should be simple. You can’t do everything. We always want to do everything but have 2 to 3 priorities. What are they? And everything needs to ladder up to that. Otherwise, it’s Why are you doing it? Absolutely. Listen, we’re out of time for today. Thank you all so much for joining us and join us next time, if you would.
00:29:52:18 – 00:30:12:24
We will be focusing in on the fifth element of our five part series, How to Build Trust Every Day. Thank you all. And if you need to get in touch with us, there’s information to get hold of Edina and myself. Thanks, everybody. Take care. Thanks.