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Crack The Behavior Code

Create Peak Performance In 20 Minutes

Christine is known for creating strategies that are responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue and company value. Imagine if she was able to sit down with you and SHARE all of her knowledge and insigh
12/2/2020

How to Stop Workplace Bullies in Their Tracks

Season 3, Ep. 8
How to Stop Workplace Bullies in Their TracksThe VP of Finance constantly interrupts and actively prevents others from speaking in meetings. He scoffs when they share ideas or make suggestions.A Managing Director at a financial services firm publicly trashes another Director’s new strategy, tearing it apart, without having the domain expertise to truly understand what she is saying.The lead software engineer makes snide remarks about the product development process during team meetings. He publicly denounces the marketing team too.What do these three have in common? They’re bullies.Bullies are scary, shocking, embarrassing and far too often tolerated in the workplace. Why? Because we don’t want to have to deal with them, we don’t want the attack, the conflict, the discomfort. So we either pretend they aren’t wreaking havoc, or we grit our teeth and tolerate them.It’s time to stop.How We Let Bullies Thrive"Paul," the COO ofa consumer-packaged goods company manages the VP of Finance bully I mentioned earlier. During coaching, Paul realized how he tolerates, and even allows, this unacceptable behavior.Here’s how Paul is enabling the bully:He lets inappropriate conduct occur in meetings – when Paul could stop the bully from constantly interrupting and preventing others from speaking. Paul must clarify what appropriate meeting etiquette specifically is, and ensure it is honored.He acts as a go-between when the bully refuses to interact with people he thinks are “stupid”– when Paul could make it clear to both parties that they need to work things out together.He holds his anger in and compromises his integrity – when Paul could just deal with this issue directly, modeling leadership for his team and showing them a safe, respectful, collaborative work environment is required at the company.He lets others vent to him about the bully — instead of creating an opportunity to let disgruntled parties communicate their grievances directly and interface with HR.We all avoid uncomfortable human relations issues sometimes… but what is the cost? Exorbitant--as we daily give our power away, compromise our integrity, and inadvertently teach our team that bullying is acceptable.The Surprising Truth About What Bullies WantI have talked before about how we all crave safety, belonging and mattering. Often one of these is exactly what the bully wants – he or she is just trying to get it in an ineffective and inappropriate way. Take a guess at what each of the following bullies wants:Person X puts others down, makes them feel small, condescends… because inside they don’t feel they …what?Person Y spreads fear, rumors, negative gossip… because inside they don’t feel …what?Person Z talks about inequality, unfairness, how others get special treatment because inside they feel they don’t …what?The answers are mattering, safety, and belonging. Once you uncover what a bully wants, you can start to give it to them, to begin reducing what Seth Godin calls the tantrum cycle. We can also then help shift the bully from tension to empowerment. More on this in a minute.The Three-Step Bully Rehab PlanThere are three steps to stop bullying:1. Identify how you are enabling it, like Paul, the COO in our example earlier.2. End the enabling systemThe bully is generally playing the persecutor role, which creates the need for a rescuer to protect the victim. Then the train has left the proverbial station and we’re zooming ahead on a ride to a place we don’t want to go. We want to shift from Problem-Focused to Outcome-Focused.We want to quickly interrupt the pattern of persecutor-victim-rescuer and step out of the system by using an Outcome Frame. Ask the bully:What would you like? (the outcome they desire that they can create and maintain)What will having that do for you? (how they’ll feel and the benefits they’ll get)How will you know when you have it? (proof or criteria that will be present)Where, when, with whom do you want this? (timing, who else, scope)What might of value you have to risk to get this? (is it ok for them to have this outcome?)What are the next steps?Ask the question “What will having that do for you” a few times, as often this is where what they really want is revealed. The Outcome Frame is a potent tool to get a person to focus on the outcome, and not the problem—it helps them get unstuck. Then you can shift to an outcome-focused pattern, where the victim/rescuer/persecutor have shifted to their positive alternative.The Third Step in the Bully Rehab Plan is to:-Set up a new system with healthy boundaries and behaviors (rich with safety, belonging, mattering and shifting from tension to empowerment.)Note that if the bully is above you on the org chart, you’ll need a mentor equal or greater in stature to the bully to do the following.Our clients love our conflict resolution process (bullies or not). Set the stage – explain why you’re meeting and the outcome you want (to form a collaborative turnaround plan)State observable data/behavior – this is where you describe specific behaviors that must change and examples so the bully can “step into” the past scenariosDescribe impact – the damage that these behaviors are doing to others/the company/the bully themselvesCheck problem acknowledgement – do they agree that there is a problem? Do they agree this problem now must end?Co-create a plan – set a time period (of 30 to 60 days) where you’ll meet weekly for 15-30 minutes to track their progress on releasing the challenging. Make the plan very specific in terms of what you need to see and when you’ll know you got the outcome you wanted (use the Outcome Frame tool to help). If the turnaround doesn’t occur, state clearly what the consequences will be (such as losing their job).Check understanding – is everything clear? Anything else we need to cover? Reiterate desire for a positive resolution so the consequences can become irrelevant.Build small agreements – launch the plan and commit to ending the conflict once and for all. Be sure to track it frequently and make sure all concerned see the behavior change too.I’m thrilled to report that the Managing Director and software engineer now play well with colleagues, and the VP of Finance is in the turnaround process with positive momentum.Try this process and let me know how it goes! Show Notes1.Safety, Belonging, Mattering infographic2.Tantrum cycle: Seth’s Blog: https://seths.blog/2013/11/extinguishing-the-tantrum-cycle/ 3.Power Your Tribe graphic: Shifting from Problem-Focused to Outcome-Focused4.Outcome Frame infographic
11/19/2020

Sink or Swim: A New Leader's Guide to the First 90 Days

Season 3, Ep. 7
There are about 350 new CEOs at the world’s largest public companies right now, with 102 new CEOs in North America alone.What do new or incoming CEOs need to know? Three key things.1-Secure Acceptance From The Team OverallSuccessful CEOs frequently take the pulse of their culture. When you’re just starting out, it’s crucial to establish a baseline in order to:Gain insights into how to grow the company in a healthy, optimal way supporting core company objectivesImprove and expand a unified company culture—and discover any silos or warring factionsEffectively motivate team members—what truly motivates them may surprise youIdentify the next generation of leaders—and determine who is your best investmentWhen we’re brought in to help a current or new CEO take the pulse of their culture, we’ll look at the company’s org chart. We’ll pick a sampling of 5% of the employee base or 15-20 people (whichever # is smaller) to interview across different departments, roles (up and down the org chart) and tenures with the company.We’ll then ask them a series of questions including:What is it like to work here now?What frustrates you the most?What motivates you the most?How do you feel about your role and responsibilities?If you could wave a magic wand and have the culture be any way you want, what would that be like?How would you describe the executive team’s leadership style?Be sure to add a number of additional questions based on what you learn from the above. When we do a Cultural Assessment, we gain tremendously valuable info that helps us:1-Reduce CEO direct reports by up to 50%2-Increase CEO and key executive strategic/high value time by 5-15 hours per week3-Increase annual profit per employee by up to 40%4-Increase gross revenue by up to 60%5-Shorten the sales cycle by up to 50%6-Increase accountability and team performance by up to 35%Whether you do it yourself or get outside help, be sure to keep your eye on this information. Simply interviewing the team won’t move the needle. Interviewing, assessing, creating and executing a plan, and generating results is key to turn the tide to your favor.One of the top new CEO team mistakes includes:Avoiding the “regular people” and only spending time with the exec team and Board. This makes them feel they aren’t safe and you don’t care. How to remedy this:1.Institute Town Hall meetings, where a brief company update is provided, a vision for the year and quarter is reinforced, team members are celebrated, and a 20-minute educational session is provided. Then, end with a Q&A session where anonymous questions may be submitted in advance… no topic is off limits. A culture of candor with kindness is key. Use social technologies to create increased communication and collaboration too.2.Remember your team needs to feel safety, belonging, mattering… continually foster this.The other top CEO team mistake is:Not having a key team member assess and enroll outside help in performing a complete Cultural Assessment and then following it with a People Plan to optimize your culture.The 2nd Key Thing a new CEO Needs to do is:-Secure Acceptance from the Executive Team (will they follow you?)Next, a new CEO (or existing leader wanting to optimize their impact) needs to gain acceptance from their executive team.How: Inquiry vs Advocacy.Ask tons of questions—focus on 5 inquiries (questions) per each tendency to advocate (give orders). You must show the executive team from the start that you don’t support a culture of order takers. You support a culture of leadership, and you create them and grow them via inquiry. Ask your executive team members individually (or get outside help if you think you’ll get more pure answers) the following questions:What frustrates you the most? Have you tried to change this? If so, what happened?What motivates you the most? What motivates your team the most?If you could wave a magic wand and have the culture be any way you want, what would that be like?What is the company’s vision? Do you feel aligned with it? Do you think the entire exec team is aligned with it and executing toward it?What are our top 3 business priorities? What should they be?Then, lay out or enhance the People Plan I mentioned above. You will win the hearts and minds of your team post haste. To summarize the People Plan, you’ll need:Individual Development PlansLeadership Development ProgramsLean TrainingAccountability Structures and Rewards/ConsequencesTop new CEO exec team mistakes include:Not getting everyone aligned and focused on the fresh new priorities asapNot setting up communication and accountability structures immediatelyNot focusing on culture immediatelyThe Third Key Thing a New CEO Needs to do is-Secure Acceptance from the BoardHow: In my Boardroom Ninja blog, I outline exactly how to manage your Board of Directors to avoid a rip tide.Here are some tips: Provide a format for Board reporting. You need to make your brand equal results immediately. Provide a90-day plan with tangible deliverables, and monitor and communicate your progress every 2 weeks. Find out who the tribal leader of the Board is and establish deep rapport---and run all potentially challenging situations past them way in advance.Top new CEO board mistakes:Not meeting with each board member one-on-one to find out what their biases are, their past challenges with the prior CEO, their past challenges with one another, their top issues with the current company performanceNot communicating to the entire board in a structured manner every 2 weeks for the first 90 days. This is the make it or break it time. Overcommunicate so the Board sees you’re on top of things. Highlight concerns so they don’t feel blindsided later.Being a new CEO, or even a CEO in a growing company can be super stressful at times. Pressure is reduced considerably when a CEO gets clear on his/her areas of strength and improvement. Every CEO must assess their degree of Focus, Directness, Accountability, Influence, Sustainability. To do so, take 5 minutes by taking the SmartTribes Leadership Assessment. Your confidential results will be emailed to you immediately.Are you a new leader? What are your top priorities?SHOW NOTES1.STI’s Culture Quick Win (see our website and link to it) or reach out to us for a Cultural Assessment2.Safety, Belonging, Mattering infographic3.IDP sample from STP 4.04.#1 CEO Mistake Blog with People Plan: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2012/05/08/the-1-ceo-mistake-that-will-kill-your-company/#3d7dcefa18f55.Boardroom Ninja Blog: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2012/06/04/leo-apotheker-jack-griffin-michael-woodford-beware-the-boardroom-ninja-and-prevent-being-blindsided/#6f409065c4226.Leadership Assessment: http://app.keysurvey.com/f/402861/2c73/
11/5/2020

The Power Primer

Season 3, Ep. 6
In my experience, leaders either use power well or they don’t. Thankfully, I’ve met more that fall into the “use power well” category. Here are four powerful leaders and the lessons they taught me. I hope their wisdom will touch you too.Andy Grove: Be GraciousAndy Grove always tried to feed me. He was that kind of man, making sure others were comfortable. He was the most gracious billionaire of the dozen or so I’ve met, and the one I’ve most wanted to emulate. When I first pitched him to invest in my venture capital fund he told me my presentation was “lucid.” That to me was a huge compliment. Later, when he introduced me to his wife, he said “this is the woman that is managing our money”—which was too generous as I managed an infinitesimal amount of his staggering net worth.The more wealth and power he acquired, the more gracious, considerate, kind he was to me. He always met me “where I was” intellectually and asked questions that were simple, straightforward and effective. His assistant always worked with my calendar to find a mutually appropriate meeting time so I felt respected and like we were equals. That equality was a remarkable and rare experience.Bill Gates: Be CertainIt was 1985 and Windows was being trashed in the press. It had recently been launched and was full of bugs, was a commercial disaster, and was nearly unanimously ridiculed. Bill was unfazed. He said Windows was going to be the world standard, it was just a matter of time. We just had to keep plugging away at it, people would come to embrace it, they just didn’t “get it” quite yet.Society often implies that we need to succeed to then be confident. But Bill taught me the exact opposite: you start with certainty, with confidence and then the proof shows up. It took until 1990 for Windows to become the desktop standard. Bill kept believing and moving through all the criticism for five years. Why? Because Windows was going to be the world standard. It was just a matter of time. He was certain of it.Larry Ellison: Be BoldBack in the day before Oracle was the market leader, their competitor Sybase regularly ate Oracle’s proverbial lunch. Head to head on sales calls Sybase was technically superior… and yet Larry told the world he’d eat their lunch. As his team marketed and sold with bold claims of superiority Oracle got lucky: Sybase had some problems, their stock price crashed, and things started to fall apart. Larry seized the day and put Oracle on top. When one of my startups needed Oracle licenses and we couldn’t afford them I decided to be bold with him. I offered Larry stock options in my company in exchange for Oracle software. He told me I had guts to try that. I said I learned the behavior by observing him. He laughed, signed the stock document, and had his people give me six-digits worth of software. And he never even executed the stock options.Stephen Hawking: Be WarmI met Stephen at a White House lecture he was giving. This excerpt from my book Rules for Renegades says it all:“Hi,” I say crouching before the seated man. He’s alone, slumped over the little desk attached to his wheelchair. “Your speech was terrific,” I tell him. “You make physics so . . . accessible. Thanks.” He smiles and shifts a little, preparing to type a reply into his speech synthesizer. Aware of the effort I say, “You needn’t respond.”He looked up at me, into me, with deep dark eyes—no black holes here. His eyes embraced me in a down-duvet hug. And there it was: connection. I could feel his anguish, his giant, potent mind trapped in a tiny, twisted body. And right then my insecurity evaporates: I no longer care that I’m not a player, that I’ll probably never be all that important. Because my quest for success had been about being seen, about banishing the perpetual feeling of invisibility and inconsequence, about making sure I mattered. And right then, I did. I felt seen all the way through.And I realized that this...this is a moment that I’ll remember, this very real, better-than-a-handshake moment: the touchless shake, the soulshake, of Professor Stephen Hawking.Be Gracious. Be Certain. Be Bold. Be Warm.Great leaders choose to lead, and they work hard to be the person that others choose to follow. They provide a vision for the future and a mission that their team believes in. They cultivate the desire to improve. Are you cultivating that intangible drive and passion for excellence, for being all that you can be? How can you cultivate the traits discussed above, not only for you but for your team members?Show Notes:Energetic Weight and Say What You Mean infographics5 Ways Great Leaders Make Work Meaningful: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2016/04/30/5-ways-great-leaders-make-work-meaningful-for-employees/#41bc52275742Link to RFR: https://www.amazon.com/Rules-Renegades-Money-Career-Individuality/dp/0071489754
10/22/2020

Brain-Based Proof That You're More Effective Working at Home

Season 3, Ep. 5
Over the past 5 years we’ve been tracking how our clients, executives in senior leadership, sales, marketing, finance, operations, improve performance in three key areas by working from home .5 to 2 days per week.The results are surprising.1-Make Better Decisions—Faster40 = the number of hours per week that companies expect people to be strong decision-makers3-5 = the actual number of peak decision-making hours that people reportYou make better decisions when you have a chance to reflect on all aspects of what needs to be considered—and not when you have the proverbial gun to your head. As we know from meta programs (see the Show Notes for more on this topic, they are essentially the lens through which a person experiences the world), if you’re on the reflective end of the Active (take fast action)-Reflective (consider, ponder, analyze THEN decide) continuum, this is even more crucial. When you are insulated from interruptions and can control your environment you make better decisions, because your brain experiences less stress.Speaking of stress, let’s consider the massive amount of uncertainty that exists in today’s workplace.Thanks to Harvard Medical School research we now know that 75% of people in uncertain scenarios will make decisions based on fearful assumptions—they are expecting something bad to happen. The result is decisions that are risk-mitigation and pain avoiding, with little or no strategic vision in mind. Vision isn’t possible because fear shuts down the prefrontal cortex, so we have no access to our innovative, problem solving, planning parts of our brain.Client result:●300% increase in hours of peak decision-making time each week- based on training their brain in managing their emotional state.2-Design Better Strategies and Solutions--Faster10% share of people who do their best thinking at work39% share of people who do their best thinking at homeIn the relentless pursuit to be strategic, extract and demonstrate value, and provide optimal solutions all the time, the workplace is a continuous pressure cooker. This means the brain is often in fear and disaster prevention instead of in analysis and designing the outcomes we want. What happens on our best day? How did Einstein form strategies and solutions? When asked how he created his theory of relativity he said first he felt it, then he saw it, then he could articulate it. He let his mind wander, have visions, form connections, then he formulated the visions into something he could tangibly communicate.Einstein also said “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of coming attractions.” We need to engage the emotional brain by seeing, hearing, feeling ourselves standing in the future when the strategy is being executed. How is it going? How are people feeling? Are they embracing it? What’s working? What’s not? Now take this learning and ask yourself what you need to adjust right now, before you lock in and launch the strategy.As leaders the more we balance the logical (prefrontal cortex) planning part of the brain with the emotional (mammalian) area of the brain the more effective our strategies will be.Client result:●200-400% increase in the quality of strategies - by giving their brains space to feel into the future before a strategy is deployed.●73-97% increase in ability to influence outcomes/others – due to more time to thoughtfully craft communications.3-Increase Focus and Have More New IdeasEver had the feeling that something isn’t quite right, but you can’t quite put your finger on it? That’s the intuitive part of our brain, the insula, at work. This is why we often have great ideas when on vacation, or when shooting hoops or hiking in nature. Our brain is wandering, forming connections, resolving incongruencies, testing out theories. Working from home enables more vision time. Many of our most successful clients allocate one half to one full day per week (Fridays are best) for Vision Time. This is where they let their brains wander, and countless new products, strategies, alliances have resulted.Our clients that allow Vision Time or even Vision Retreats (solo time in nature for a weekend) consistently crank out market-leading products, ideas competitors haven’t had, and innovative approaches to leverage assets and efficiencies. Give your brain a break and see the great insights that come from it.Client results:●300-500% increase in innovation across the company when they first followed this process themselves, then taught their teams.●20-47% weekly increase in time on high value activities – due to reduced distractions and drama of the workplaceSo working at home makes us faster and better!Harvard Medical School Research: https://hbr.org/2013/09/nice-or-tough-what-engages-empMeta Programs blog https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2013/06/26/how-to-influence-anyone-any-time-anywhere-4-subconscious-secrets/#109a5cb61ec8Make Your Team Smarter Overnight - 5 Brain-based tools: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2014/01/06/make-your-team-smarter-overnight-5-brain-based-tools-in-pictures-infographics/#4aa8350e460a
10/8/2020

Are You Killing Your Career By Avoiding Conflict?

Season 3, Ep. 4
Are You Killing Your Career By Avoiding Conflict?Bob is the CEO of a thriving construction company. The only trouble is he works75-hourweeks, because he “picks up the pieces” when his key leaders drop the ball. Yet he hasn’t made it clear they need to own their work.Sharon is the SVP Sales at a mid-sized software company. Her salespeople are highlycompensated, yetcontinue to miss their numbers. And their compensation hasn’t been reduced.What do both leaders have in common?They’re avoiding conflict.How Your Brain Handles ConflictMany of us have been socialized or learned as adults that conflict is “bad” and in order to succeed, we should appear optimistic and positive at all times. Yet while this avoidance of conflict leads to superficial harmony, it denies what is really going on, and undermines genuine trust.When conflict occurs, many leaders (like Bob and Sharon) have a tendency to participate in it versus lead through it. It’s comfortable to do this, becauseour brains are wiredto want to belong.Fear of ostracism leads to fear of conflict… but when weavoid conflict, it has a tendency to escalate.The state of conflict or friction in the workplace (or life) is something I call theCritter State. [explain Critter State] We dive into Critter State when we feel threatened. Any time there’s conflict, the animalistic instincts in our limbic and survival systems kick into gear. This undermines communication and teamwork — and fuels aggression. All of this leads to even more issues.Here’s what to do:1.UnpackHowYour CultureCreatesConflict, And Address It.Chances are goodyou’ll find:Recurring low/incompletecommunication, leading to mis-matched expectations and misunderstandings in general,so make sure communication is actionable, accurate (have the communication “receiver” echo back what they heard) and complete (ensure dependencies and contingencies are being considered)Infrequent or incompletefeedback, leading topeople not knowing if they are on or off trackNo consequences for droppedaccountability, so the pattern repeats.Follow the above links for brain-based tools to help in each scenario.2.Know Your Conflict Avoidance Strategy.Avoiding conflict comes in three flavors:Passivity—doing nothing and hoping the problem will go away, or waiting for the actions of others to fail,Overly compliant and trying not to rock theharmony boatof the relationship versus trusting that the relationship will be stronger when ideas and opinions are discussedhonestly,Overly controlling without including time for discussionand connection.While each of these strategies has a time and a place where they are effective, they will damage results, morale, and sustainability if they aren’t stopped. Through coaching Bob and Sharon came to understand their conflict avoidance pattern. Next, I needed to give them some tools to move through conflict more comfortably…3.Ask Open-Ended Questions to Design A Shared Outcome.This will enable you and the other person(s) to move from the Critter State and into the prefrontal cortex (woohoo! Now you’re in yourSmart State). To design the better-feeling reality that you all want you’ll use an Outcome Frame.AnOutcome Framehelps you create a strong vision of the state you want to be in. Here are the basic questions:What would you like?What will having that do for you?How will you know when you have it?When, where, and with whom would you like it?What of value might you risk or lose?What are your next steps?Use this tool to discover how your team can move forward in conflict. Have them answer these questions in order to assess where they really want to be. The Outcome Frame is a terrific conflict prevention tool as well.4.To Stir Up Healthy Conflict, Use APinata.Consider yourself the “PinataMaker.”Offer potential solutions as if you werehangingup aPinataand expecting everyone to take a hit at it. No whacks to the idea, no candy comes out. This mindset may help your team to not get too attached to an idea or solution before others have had their say. And at the same time, it’llallow youa wayto offer ideas for discussion before they are fully formed in your own mind. Work with your coach to make this collaborative solution-forming style feel safe and productive.Recognize that when you are willing to have direct, non-judgmental conversations about topics like low accountability, blaming behavior and boundaries, youare able tocreate powerful learning opportunities for your team and for yourself. Scan your relationships and identify with whom you are holding resentments, festering worries about some of their behaviors, or withholding some other information out of worry they may not like what you have to say or because you have written them off.Net-NetLearn why your culture has conflictavoidance, and put the tools mentioned above in place to reduce it.Understand your conflict avoidance strategy. With this awareness you can “catch” it, become conscious of it, and choose to use our conflict navigation tools.Use an Outcome Frame to set a plan for thefuture, andunderstand where your team wants to be.Use aPinatawhen you need to mix it up!How will you overcome workplace conflict by using these tools? Let’s discuss!SHOW NOTESTools to unpack cultural conflict: communication, feedback, accountabilityFeedback Frame infographicOutcome Frame infographic