15 must-have questions you need to be a better communicator

One of the current COVID-19 trends I’m noticing is people becoming re-disconnected from their team or organization (many due to the new school year starting) and they have reverted back to disorientation from recommitment regarding change (Time to Effectiveness).

As a result, people are wanting more “air time” from their leaders. They don’t want answers on how to fix things, they want to be listened to. Some leaders find this difficult. I would say, “It’s simple. Just ask them How’s it going?” As your people become more disconnected, their answers to this question become more shallow. You may hear, “Fine.” or “I’m busy.” or “I’m living the dream.” or “I’m hangin’ in there like a hair in a biscuit.” The best leaders today are leveling up their communication game by asking better questions. It’s time to be better.

Below is a list of 15 questions you may use for any conversation, project, sales call, annual review, situation, roadblock, challenge, and opportunity. These 15 questions come from four of the most simple, practical, and valuable tools I have found for starting conversations. The first four questions on this list come from the AAR (After Action Review). Questions 5-8 come from the RealTime Coaching model WDIP (Want-Doing-Is-Plan). Questions 9-12 are from the “SWOT” model (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats), and the last three questions are from a simple approach called “Continue-Stop-Start”.

Here are the 15 questions:

#1. What did we set out to accomplish?

#2. What actually happened?

#3. What are the sustains?

#4. What are the improves?

#5. What do we Want?

#6. What are we currently Doing?

#7. Is what we’re doing working?

#8. What is our Plan?

#9. What are our Strengths?

#10. What are our Weaknesses?

#11. What are our Opportunities?

#12. What are our Threats?

#13. What should we Continue to do?

#14. What should we Stop doing?

#15. What should we Start doing?

You will need to put your style on these questions. Take these and make them your own. Here’s an example: Instead of asking “What did we set out to accomplish?” maybe the better fit is “What were your sales goals for the year?”. Instead of asking “How’s it going?”, maybe a better question is “What are you doing that’s working best right now (sustains)?”

The questions work. They take practice and an intentional shift from your old style. If you have questions on the questions, reach out to me. We go in-depth with these questions as well as uncover how your personality style is helping and holding you back in our RTC workshops.

Ryan Lisk: ryan@liskassociates.com or call 859-421-7966.

Categories
Professional Development

Competencies: How to Develop Your Personal Skills & Talents

Competencies are personal skills or talents you need to do your job well. Competencies are the most developable area of your personal talent report.

I have created a brief video on competencies here: Competencies

While the personal talent report does a good job of listing the competencies and the scores, you will now need to go do something to develop the skills you need for your job.

First, determine which of these competencies you most need for your job. You may have a Lisk Associates job benchmark highlighting the top competencies needed for your job. If you have this list, compare your scores to the benchmark to determine where you are already great and where you need work. You may reach out to me (ryan@liskassociates.com) and I will tell you if I have the competencies list for your job. If you don’t have a job benchmark, no worries, you have options. One option is, Lisk Associates could create a job benchmark for your position which would determine the top 7 competencies for your position (there is a small charge for this service). Or, you could do-it-yourself and simply look down the list to determine the top 7 competencies most important for your job.

Once you have determined the top competencies for your job, you need the “How To” guide. There are three places for How To:

#1. TTIDevelopment.com – This is a free do-it-yourself website offering from TTI. While the price is right, the content lacks the action items you may be looking for. If you are looking for a deeper definition for each skill and an accountability template, this would work. I have attached the worksheet for Self Management here.

#2. The Complete Leader – The Complete Leader was co-authored by Ron Price and my dad, Randy Lisk. The book works well as a field guide with one chapter devoted to each of the 25 competencies. The book retails for $49.95. Example: Self Management chapter is 7 pages covering “What is self-management”, “Why is self-management important”, and “How is self-management learned”. There are suggestions and potential exercises sprinkled in. There is value in this as the off-the-shelf handy reference guide.

#3. TheCompleteLeader.org/competencies – Lisk Associates has partnered with TheCompleteLeader.org/competencies specifically for competency development.

Sticking with our same example for the competency of Self-Management, TheCompleteLeader.org has 46 different references for Self-Management here. The content has ideas, articles, videos and an action-oriented coaching guide for each competency. While it’s the most expensive option at $199 for a 1-year subscription, it meets the Lisk Associates 5x ROI model as I believe anyone with minimal effort will get over $1,000 of skill development return on this investment.

Reply back to me (ryan@liskassociates.com) and we will set up your account today. We offer discounted site licenses for your team, department, business, or organization.

Thank you for your partnership with Lisk Associates.  

Categories
Team Building

Time To Effectiveness (TTE)

I first want to give credit to my colleague, Brent Patmos for introducing me to the concept of Time To Effectiveness. When on-boarding a new employee, re-boarding a current employee, building a team, or re-building a team, it’s all about TTE. To decrease your team’s TTE, you have to flatten the curve. In other words, it’s a competitive advantage for you, your team, and your organization the longer your people and teams spend in “Recommitment”.

Let’s look at a couple examples: First, let’s talk about on-boarding a new employee. When on-boarding, TTE represents how long it takes a new employee to provide a positive return to the organization. For new employees, there is lots of “Anticipation”. There’s excitement, anxiety, uncertainty, and energy. They’re not effective yet, because they don’t know what to commit to. They don’t have clarity yet. A new employee may quickly move through “Letting Go”, makes sense as they don’t have already let go of the last job they had and are moving on to something new. For new employees, I like to think of “Appraisal” and “Commitment” vs. “Reappraisal” and “Recommitment” as it is their first experience with both of those. When a new employee reaches commitment, they are focused and effective.

We are seeing a trend in re-boarding current employees and as they navigate the new way to work they are spending more time in “Letting Go” and “Disorientation”. There is confusion, doubt, and maybe even some depression. Current employees need to work through “Letting Go” and “Disorientation” before getting back to “Reappraisal” and “Recommitment”.

I have noticed leaders feel as though they cannot spend any time in “Disorientation” as that would be a sign of a weak leader. I don’t agree with this…I believe a weak leader is not using any tools to help navigate change. Strong leaders are helping themselves and their teams maintain effectiveness.

Let’s look at a second example which I will call “Re-building” by using a sports story. You’re a college sports coach. College sports teams are going back to campus. 75% of your team is returning from last year, but things are going to be different so you must re-build the team. Your team will have more “Anticipation” than usual and you have less time to get your team effective. As coaches, our goal is to get our team to “Recommitment” as quickly as we can while enhancing relationships which we call “Do With RealTime Coaching”.

Every player will experience all five stages of this model. The time they spend in each stage will vary. It is also possible to have a player get to “Recommitment” only to fall back to “Disorientation” or another stage as they lose focus for some reason. Our team will reach maximum effectiveness when we are all at “Reappraisal” and “Recommitment” together. The single best way to get your players to “Commitment/Recommitment” is to show them this 1-page model and ask them how they are feeling about the season and where they are. Take notes with the date, what stage they are in and why they feel that way.

If you are a coach or leader and are serious about TTE of your team, there’s another strong way to shortcut your TTE and that is with our Style Insights Playbook.

Reply back to me on how I could help your team improve your Time To Effectiveness.

4 Tips to Adding an Assessment to Your Selection Process

Last month I had a client tell me, “I would have never hired someone without meeting them in person…until now.” The hiring landscape is changing….again. 6 months ago we were talking about having the lowest unemployment numbers in history. Now, we have 10+% unemployment and it’s not far-fetched to think into today’s working environment a new hire may never see their manager in person.

You can buy anything you want online without touching, feeling, and experiencing it. Some things you know well (like toilet paper) and don’t need to do any virtual research. The bigger the investment, the more research you may do. There are few bigger investments in an organization than people. It’s time to up your game and add an assessment to your selection process. Here are 4 tips to adding an assessment to your selection process.

#1. The assessment must be valid, reliable, and free of adverse impact. Price doesn’t mean a thing if the tool you’re using doesn’t meet the criteria of the EEOC and the OFCCP. A good assessment company will have this information readily available. If not, move on. Our assessment partner is TTI Success Insights. We believe they are a leader in the assessment industry.

#2. You must use an assessment that measures more than just behaviors. Using any single-factor tool is like a flip of a coin, especially if it’s behaviors-only. A single-factor tool is not good enough for selection and you would simply be wasting your money.

#3. You have to know what you’re looking for. To do this, you need a job benchmark to determine what traits and talents are needed for superior performance in a specific job. This allows you to hire for fit.

#4. Use an assessment that can be used after the hire. The hiring process makes up less than 5% of an employee’s tenure at your organization. What about the other 95%? I recommend an assessment that can be used for professional development after the hire such as on-boarding, team-building, leadership development, and executive coaching. See how we develop competencies here.

At Lisk Associates we want to help you make your next great hire, even if you never meet them face-to-face. Check out our Selecting The Best web page or reach out to me: Ryan@Liskassociates.com

Categories
Professional Development

How to Flatten Your Own Curve During Major Change

We have heard a lot about flattening the curve regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. However, leaders we’ve worked with have been flattening curves of change for years. While the idea of flattening the curve makes sense, many leaders don’t have the tools to actually make it happen. I have attached a 7-page “1-pager” from Lee Hecht Harrison (a worldwide leader in career transition and executive coaching/development) giving you the tools to help transition changes quicker and more effectively allowing you to recommit and refocus sooner regarding change. The model consists of five phases each individual experiences regarding change:

Anticipation – Knowing or expecting that something is going to happen.

Letting Go – Facing the fact that things are different and letting go of the past.

Disorientation – Things are no longer what they were or how they are going to be.

Reappraisal – Taking a new look at the situation and addressing options.

Recommitment – Reconnecting to a sense of purpose.

Here are three takeaways from my experience working with this change model.

#1. Don’t assume you know where anyone else is on the curve. All a leader has to do is: Bring up the topic of change, show the model with the simple definitions, and ask where each person feels they are right now on the curve.

#2. People will experience some time in all five phases, but the time they spend in each phase will vary depending on the person.

#3. Don’t forget CBAAM!! CBAAM is the acronym on the last page regarding resiliency: Cope-BounceBack-Absorb-Adjust-Maintain

I hope you find this blog simple, practical, and valuable. #PeopleFirst