You’ve just completed a great project, met the deadlines and brought it in on budget. You are feeling good but nobody says a word? As days go by nothing comes back and you start to doubt your success. The internal dialogue ramps up to a point where you become totally focused on whether or not you did indeed complete a successful project. You venture to ask a couple of questions of the people from whom you may have expected some positive feedback but the bemused looks set you back even further so what’s going on?
Unconscious behaviour patterns are playing out here. You may have a high need for recognition and appreciation because your external reference system means you value other peoples opinions, external qualifications etc in order to measure your own success. Internally referenced people, on the other hand, measure their success against their own internal measures. They include the word ‘I’ to a large degree in their conversation and don’t need others to tell them they have done a good job. They will be bemused when externally referenced people ask for feedback and unconsciously view it as ‘needy’.
No feedback needed, thanks
Internally referenced people don’t take kindly to feedback because unconsciously they have a high degree of certainty that they are right (they are not always of course!). The unconscious thinking is that ‘if I don’t need feedback then nor does anyone else’. Consequently they don’t give it out and if they do it can sounds contrived and awkward. This type of behaviour can often come across as ‘confidence’ and will invariably help the internally reference person up the promotion ladder. They can also be very hard to give feedback to so here is a tip for you –
If you want to give feedback to an internally referenced person start with ‘Of course you probably already know this ……..’
In my work as a leadership facilitator, I often work with organisations who include ‘Trust’ or ‘Trustworthiness’ in their company values. This is a worthy value indeed and is often described in terms of accountability, responsibility for outcomes, transparency and supportiveness – again all very virtuous. So why is it that when I ask groups of employees about their company values, they can only just about remember them and find it difficult to describe them in meaningful terms? Of course, the first reason is sometimes obvious – they have been imposed on them from above and employees have not been given the opportunity to engage with the values and work out what they mean in terms of behaviour. In which case they remain just words that appear on the walls of the organisation or on the website but not in the hearts of the employees.
But let’s take a deeper look –
In reality, as an employee, you are asking me to trust my fellow employees to complete projects and tasks that are going to keep both internal and external customers happy. Seems simple enough? So, what gets in the way? Perhaps a delve into unconscious behavioural preferences might give us some answers. The following continuums of preference will help us gain some insights.
Specifics – Big picture
People who prefer to work in the detail of a project are unlikely to trust the person with a big picture perspective to ‘do the job as well as I can’. The big picture perception is that ‘this person will never get it done because he/she is so bogged down in the detail so I can’t trust them to get it done within the deadline’.
Internal Reference – External Reference
Internally referenced people don’t need others to tell them the way things are going or whether something is going to work – they simply ‘know’. They are not always right of course but that’s ‘just the way it is’. Externally referenced people measure their success externally i.e. someone else’s validation or a measure such as a degree, medal or certificate. Internally referenced people see this as ‘flakey’ as externally referenced people often ask for feedback. So, trust flies out the window here too. Externally referenced people can view the internally referenced guy/gal as arrogant and ‘can’t be told’ so is obviously untrustworthy.
Procedures – Options
Procedural people get things done by following a procedure which has either been tried before or has been clearly laid out for them.Options people review different choices and will often rewrite new procedures, much to the annoyance of the procedurals. Definitely can’t be trusted because they change their minds!Procedurals on the other hand, from the perspective of the person who prefers choice, can’t be trusted to get creative and come up with new ideas and innovations!
Considerers – Doers
Considerers like to take their time to consider every aspect of a project before setting off. ‘Oh we’ll never get this off the ground’ shout the doers. ‘If we want it done by the deadline considerers can’tbe trusted!’ ‘Woha – hold back’ shout the considerers to the doers. ‘We need to think this through – if you are just going to take off, we will make mistakes and get it wrong’. Definitely can’t be trusted.
And of course, there are many more unconscious patterns that make us either unconsciously trust or mistrust people. These are extreme examples but nonetheless common in organisations and at grass roots level are far more dominant than the values passed down from above. So now we have conflict and are in need of an answer.
The answer is simple – recognition and acceptance. Recognising these patterns and valuing them all is paramount to success. Put a detail and global person together and they will come up with an excellent answer. A procedural person will put an options idea into practice and follow it through beautifully. But trust will only come about through awareness of and capitalisation on, behavioural preference!
If you would like to know more about behavioural preferences and how they affect our results please call Pat on 07768 92224 or email [email protected]
Pat Hutchinson is the co-author of Brilliant NLP, the Brilliant NLP Workbook and How to be Confident with NLP. She is also the author of How to Sell with NLP all published by Pearson Education. She has been working with leaders using NLP for 21 years. For more information about Pat please see her Linked In profile
How do you know when you interview someone for a job that they will live up to your Company Values? How do you measure employee behaviours against your Company Values?
Here are some examples of some of the values of three of our major high street names –
The first and the third have a brief description of what each of them means. The second one is a straightforward list of words.
Working in large companies as an independent consultant I am intrigued to know what the values mean to the employees. If appropriate during a group session I will often ask who knows what they are and have learnt not to be surprised at the number of people who either don’t know or have them written down somewhere and have to retrieve them in order to answer the question. This is often despite the fact that they are written on large posters all over the building. So why does this happen? It’s simple – it’s about connection, meaning and expectation.
I am going to use a simple model to explain what I mean.
The Alignment Model
Gregory Bateson and latterly Robert Dilts came to the conclusion that we exist at different levels –as individuals, teams and organisations.
At the very highest level we have a PURPOSE. In organisations this is often put in terms of a mission statement or more fashionably as a simple a Purpose for the organisation. As individuals and teams we have a purpose, whether consciously or unconsciously, behind everything we do and want to achieve and, if stated clearly, this purpose will help to keep us on track.
At the next level down we have IDENTITY/ROLE. In other words what role do we and others play in achieving the purpose. This is not so much about job title as the changing nature of the roles required of us in relation to each purpose eg, facilitator, coach, educator, entertainer, manager, designer, support, minder and so on.
Now here comes the level of VALUES AND BELIEFS. What is important to us as an organization, team or individual? Companies spend time determining high level values as seen above and display them on their websites and walls. The expectation here is that employees will understand them, integrate them and live by them at work.
CAPABILITY comes next. Do we have the capability to fulfill the purpose. What’s missing? If it’s important and we believe it’s possible then this level can be satisfied.
Effective BEHAVIOUR is the result of all the above levels being aligned. This is the visible part of the process and the one that is often judged.
Finally its behaviour, often unconscious once it becomes habitual, that determines the culture or the ENVIRONMENT of the organization – it’s the visible and kinaesthetic manifestation of all the levels of above.
What happens in organisations in relation to values?
Organisations are very good at coming up with a set of meaningful values. The question is meaningful for who, and how do we test for them at interview and beyond? How do they become part of the muscle of the organization? The trouble with values is that they are generally stated in high level, abstract language that is open to interpretation by individuals if indeed they get that far. Abstract words generally remain just that – abstract! Hence the inability often of people to relate to them, own them and live by them.
Take collaboration for example. If you were to walk around an organization with this value what sort of behaviours would you see? Collaborating with who, when, about what? Does everyone have to collaborate or just a few people? What does collaboration look and feel like? How do I test for this at interview without asking a direct question about collaboration to which the interviewee is likely to have a prepared answer, particularly having read the values on the website beforehand? Collaboration is a working preference that not everyone is comfortable with.
And what about humility? How would people demonstrating humility in the workplace be behaving? Or passion? Passion in organisations is often missing if research into job enjoyment is anything to go by. Passionate about what? How does it show?
The reason for the disconnect is often because organisations stop when they get to the values level. The people who determined the values in the first place know what they mean to them and make the assumption that everyone else will know what they mean. They also, until now, had no way of measuring them effectively.
Harrison Assessment Talent Solutions
More than 30 years ago Dr Dan Harrison began to conduct some research into what makes people perform well in the workplace. His research concluded that if people enjoy at least 75% of their work they will do it well and become more productive. He also utilized paradox theory in the design of his unique talent solution which has been developed and refined over the years to become one of the most effective talent solutions on the market today. Basically saying that assessments that utilize a bipolar measuring mechanism are missing the point that people can demonstrate a combination of two opposing traits – it’s not a question of either or it’s a combination of both which produce balanced versatility of behaviour. For example, being frank doesn’t mean that you are never diplomatic. You can have both traits. These two factors alone make Harrison Assessments one of the most effective business tools on the market today. It is this system which can determine the behaviours which sit behind the values and which can be measured by completion of an on-line SmartQuestionnaire™.
Using the HATS system, organisations can create a template for the behavioural expectations of their employees. This template can then be utilized in recruitment, alongside similar job specific templates and can also be incorporated into the appraisal system if appropriate. This latter has the strong benefit of raising awareness of behavioural expectation as well as giving managers the confidence to ask questions in relation to such, normally subjective, aspects of performance. Such conscious awareness of expectations creates a culture that directly aligns with the values and purpose of the organisation.
If you would like to know more about matching behaviours to values call 44 (0)7768 922244.
These insightful Tubthumping lyrics will have been heard a fair few times over recent weeks and years as we saw the England team move closer to a European trophy than we’ve seen in over 50 years. And granted, this song is more about the singers bragging about their drinking prowess than leadership success, but the sentiment still rings true…
It’s not necessarily the leader or the team who never fail that are the most successful, but those who fail, learn, and come back again and incorporate those learnings that can reap even greater benefits than ever. As Nelson Mandela says,
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
One of the most important qualities of a leader is resilience. Developing resilience, combined with perseverance, will help us and our teams not only to succeed in the good times, but to learn, grow and succeed through the crises, set-backs and ever-changing landscape we navigate.
Resilience and Perseverance – what is it?
Someone who demonstrates resilience and perseverance is someone who persists in the face of adversity, obstacles or setbacks including effectively managing a crisis and quickly adapting to change. There are a number of supporting behavioural traits, preferences and motivations identified and benchmarked which we can consider as essential in contributing to this:
Authoritative: The desire for decision-making authority and the willingness to accept decision-making responsibility.
Optimistic: The tendency to believe the future will be positive.
Persistent: The tendency to be tenacious despite encountering significant obstacles.
Pressure Tolerance: The level of comfort related to working under deadlines and busy
Self-Improvement: The tendency to attempt to develop or better oneself.
Stress Management: The tendency to be relaxed and manage stress well when it occurs.
Wants Challenge: The willingness to attempt difficult tasks or goals.
Other traits that could be considered helpful though perhaps not as essential in building resilience include; analytical, collaborative, frank, influencing, relaxed, truth exploring, assertive, flexible and open/ reflective.
Traits to avoid
As with the philosophy of Ying / Yang – in that most things tend to work best when in balance – there are also a number of behavioural traits which need to be avoided that could seriously hinder developing and demonstrating resilience and perseverance such as:
3 reasons resilience and perseverance are important for a leader
The world of work is filled with challenges and what currently feels like a constant need to be adapting to operational challenges, financial challenges and cultural challenges.
1 – As a leader, it’s our responsibility to lead through the good and bad. Our team needs to know that, whatever else is going on, we are there to support them and to help them learn and grow from the challenges they face too.
2 – Times of challenge can also be viewed as times of opportunity. Adapting to situations will require creative thinking and problem-solving. Facing and dealing with a crisis can offer a chance to show compassion and integrity. Getting through a struggle can give us a chance to develop and expand our leadership skill set and also to be a good role model for those around us.
3 – Facing difficulties and helping our teams to develop and grow not just in spite of, but because of those difficulties will help to strengthen our relationships with our teams, and help to build engagement and trust.
Throughout the Euro 2020 campaign Southgate demonstrated excellent leadership qualities, generating respect and admiration across the board. Southgate’s comments on last night’s loss epitomise these qualities:
It’s down to me… Nobody is on their own. That’s my call and it totally rests on me… We win and lose together.
Now he, captain Harry Kane and the team will be adding resilience and perseverance to the mix, ready to accept the disappointment of their loss, take pride in what they have achieved together, learn lessons from every match played and every shot taken and move forwards with their eyes firmly set on next year’s World Cup.
As Harry Kane has said:
We will look back and look at things we could have done better. That is what we have to learn from … that’s football and we have to get over it and move on. We have to build belief from this, we have a great young squad. We have to dust ourselves down, hold our heads high and get ready for that tournament.
It’s often said that we don’t know what we are capable of until we have to dig deep, pick ourselves up and overcome a set-back, and that we often surprise ourselves with what we can handle.
By objectively measuring our resilience and perseverance, we can explore our strengths and identify and consciously work on the areas that can help us improve it, so it will no longer come as a surprise that we can get through the challenges we face and come out the other side even stronger.
Well done to the England Team and see you at the World Cup next year… we’ll be cheering for you.
The traits, preferences and motivations listed above have been identified and benchmarked by Dr Dan Harrison and the Harrison Assessment. Resilience and Perseverance is one of the 10 Harrison Assessment Leadership Behavioural Competencies. This framework measures people’s individual skills and areas for development against 10 essential Leadership Competencies in an objective way.
Each competency is made up of a series of essential traits, desirable traits and traits to avoid. Development candidates complete a short, online SmartQuestionnaireTM. Responses are then mapped against each of the Harrison Leadership Competencies which can then highlight areas of strength and areas for development both for an individual and for a team.
You can download a sample Behavioural Competency report here.
If you would like to find out more about the Harrison Leadership Behavioural Competencies, other pre-defined competencies, or indeed about creating a bespoke competency, please call us on 07768 922244, email [email protected] or leave us your details and we will contact you.