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We’d like to welcome guest blogger Jim Coyle, CEO of Nexus Business Solutions. Nexus Business Solutions helps small to mid-sized businesses implement practical solutions, utilizing the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). This was originally posted on the EOS Worldwide blog.

No one cares what you do. I know this seems a bit harsh but it is a reality all the same. There are many other companies that can fulfill the need your company currently fills or what you do. But there are probably none that can fill that need in the way or HOW you do it. It is not the “What” that your customers care about, it is the “How you do what you do” that makes you special. So, why is it that so few companies truly have their HOW documented?

There are a few of you right now that are saying, “Well, that isn’t a problem at our company. We have very detailed standard operating processes.” Then there are a few others that are thinking, “So what, my team generally understands our approach.” We find most of the businesses we work with are in one of these two camps, overly detailed processes or really nothing documented. Or worse, they have both.

We find that the right approach is in the middle. Documenting the 20% that gets you 80% of the results. That 20% would be high level steps for your 6 to 10 core processes. Not the 100 steps for each of your 20 “core” processes. This high level approach is what ends up dialing in your “special sauce.” This is how you do what you do. Taking this simplified approach is how you get the most return on your buck. If you are too detailed when documenting your processes, they will be too difficult or onerous to follow.

Once you get your core processes down, then you need to start the hard part and get them followed-by-all. I will get into the details of followed-by-all next month but understand that it is impossible to take this step if you haven’t taken the time and documented your special sauce. So, get your 6 to 10 core processes down and start truly taking advantage of your HOW.

Does your organization fall into one of those two camps? Not sure where to start? Contact us for information about how we can help.

Photo from Freeimages

The post What’s your secret sauce? appeared first on Humanergy.

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Today’s guest blogger is Spencer Westley, former Humanergy intern and current thriving young professional.

As I go to work each day, I’m continually reminded that I am no longer in college. In college, I could wake up on the wrong side of the bed, throw on a groutfit (a groutfit refers to an all-grey outfit consisting of sweatshirt material—not cute), not bother with my hair and walk to class with a rain cloud over my head. In college, it was good to look like that; the more disheveled you looked and acted, the more people could relate to your stress and feel sorry for you. For example, “Have you seen Jennifer over there? She hasn’t blinked once and is wearing what looks to be her boyfriend’s dress shirt inside out. Poor thing – she must be so busy.”

I’ve learned quickly that in Corporate America EVERYBODY is busy, EVERYBODY is tired, EVERYBODY has things in their personal life bothering them and EVERYBODY wishes they were in their jammies watching Game of Thrones. The question is, do you take that mentality into work with you, or do you leave it at the door? SPOILER: You should leave it at the door. Let me give you an example.

August 1, 2017. 7:43 AM. I was on my morning commute to work in my brand new car. I had owned the car for less than a month, and the first-adult-purchase, new-wheels high was going strong. Out of nowhere, the same exact meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs crashed into my windshield. It left the gnarliest crack you’ve ever seen right in my line of vision. I. Was. LIVID. Have you ever gone through the seven stages of grief in 45 seconds? Regardless of my angst, I had to gather myself in the next seven minutes before I stepped out of my car. I was going to work, and not only does nobody have time to join my pity party, but I also didn’t want to be known as the new guy who cries on the escalators.  

Can you always keep it in? No, we’re not statues. My point is to consider saving your emotional reactions for your friends and family. That may mean, as bad as it sounds, putting a mask on at the office. Can you talk to your friends at work? Of course, but just know when, where and how much. At the end of the day, you know your environment better than anyone else, and you get to determine your level of transparency. Just remember it may impact how you’re perceived in the workplace.

(Please note that all thoughts and opinions are my own. I do, in no way, shape, or form, speak for the Kellogg Company regarding their values, stances, etc.)

Need help calibrating your emotions at work? Or have a fool-proof tip for keeping it together? Comment below or leave us a message.

Photo by LoboStudio Hamburg on Unsplash

The post Leave it at the door appeared first on Humanergy.

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Today’s blogger is Tiffany Funk, Humanergy’s Marketing Manager.

Time. Where does it go? Do you ever walk into the office thinking about how much you need to get done and the long day that lies ahead? Then, before you can even cross off half of the items on your to-do list, the entire day has slipped away and you have no idea where it went.

If that sounds familiar, you’re in good company. Most people say that time management is an ongoing challenge they face every day at work. It may sound counterintuitive, but one of the biggest distractors, technology, can also help us stay on track.

This article has a comprehensive list of apps used as tools with the goal of helping you create new habits to better manage your time. One Big Thing is an app that can help you stay focused on a single task instead of jumping around, and Escape produces a daily report that will help you pinpoint interruptions that are repeat offenders, like social networking or opening email in the middle of a project.

Do you have a go-to app that you use for time management? Or are you looking for guidance on how to become more efficient at work? Comment below or send us a message.

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash

The post Time’s great disappearing act appeared first on Humanergy.

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Thinking about your resolutions for 2018? What new habits do you want to develop? Alternatively, what do you wish you could stop doing?

How do you create a game plan and keep those resolutions? My usual strategy: Write down a list of resolutions and hope that willpower will do the trick. I’m often able to make a good effort until late January, when the wheels fall off the bus.

What’s a better way to make a new behavior stick? Try a disciplined strategy to convert a new practice into second nature.

FACET is Humanergy’s 5-step tool that enables the discipline-challenged.

Focus: Choose one thing you want to change; keep it simple.

Accountability: Make your change a team effort; tell people of your plans develop a plan and get regular feedback.

Compelling motivation: Understand and create the pain of the status quo and/or the benefits of improving.

Easier to do: Proactively eliminate barriers and set up for action.

Tracking: Monitor your actions and progress.

Consider Jack’s example. Jack asked his employees for feedback on his performance. They consistently responded, “You interrupt us when we talk with you.” Here’s how Jack used FACET to break this habit.

Focus: Jack added a reminder to his phone whenever he had a meeting – “Listen first, don’t interrupt.”

Accountability: He told everyone about his behavior goal and asked all his employees to give him feedback on interrupting.

Consequences: Jack took $40 in dimes from his savings account. Each time he interrupted an employee, he paid that person a dime. When he went a week without giving away a single dime, he rewarded himself with a round of golf.

Easier to do: Dimes were convenient to carry and count, and his co-workers were consistently around to hold him accountable.

Tracking: Jack counted his remaining dimes daily to track progress.

Setting and reaching goals requires a combination of the right targets, motivation, willpower and discipline. Here’s to the very best you in 2018!

Have a tried-and-true process for creating new habits? Message us or comment below.

Photo from Pexels

The post 5 steps to habit formation appeared first on Humanergy.

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Seth and Sami consistently butt heads over how to move their work forward. Sami knows they need to talk, and that the conversation will be emotional and contentious. This discussion needs to happen, so that she and Seth get past their issues to make progress on their project. What’s the best way forward? How do you prepare for a tough discussion?

Prepare, don’t stew.  Over-rehearsing, rehashing grievances in your mind or airing your frustrations with other people will not prepare you for civil discourse. Instead, focus on how you’ll stay open-minded. Make a plan for managing your emotions, listening and choosing positive behaviors (even if the other person does not).

Plan the location. Make sure the spot is safe, neutral and private.

Own your own stuff. Every situation involving humans is complicated. Only in the movies is one party clearly wrong and another completely right. Figure out your biases and ways you’ve contributed to the conflict. Admit those openly and early in the discussion.

Stay focused on the future. You have mutual goals to accomplish, and those should be the driving force behind resolving the issues at hand. The past is only a useful topic if it is impacting your ability to work together.

Be thoughtful and deliberate in your planning so you don’t blurt out the first things that come to your mind. Planning means you’ll be less likely to try to change the other person, which ironically can make it easier for them to do so. Douglas Stone, an expert in difficult conversations, says people “are more likely to change if they think we understand them and if they feel heard and respected. They are more likely to change if they feel free not to.”

Want help preparing for a tense conversation? We got ya. Tell us about it below or message us.

Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash

The post Prep for a tough conversation appeared first on Humanergy.

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Susan believed that allowing her team to work flexible hours was good for the company and helped people balance work and life. When corporate decreed that employees had to work a more set schedule, Susan struggled with supporting her people and falling in line with the organization’s dictates.

Delivering bad news to your employees is never fun. How do you do that when you are ambivalent about the issue yourself?

Amy Gallo in HBR’s How to Deliver Bad News to your Employees recommends gaining a complete understanding of the decision before communicating it to others. Ask the right questions to gain knowledge about the context and reasons for the company’s position. There may be an opportunity to weigh in or even appeal a decision that you believe to be unwise.

If the die is cast, and you can do nothing about the outcome but accept it, do that, and don’t hesitate to employ Gallo’s next step – communicate directly and honestly with your people. Allow them to vent, if they need to do so, recognizing that it is a waste of time to debate a decision that has already been made. Don’t share your own misgivings with your team. After all, their job now is to implement the decision, not second-guess it.

One of the most difficult things to do is to communicate a decision with which you don’t agree. Be sure to come to terms with your own issues, so when you communicate the news to your staff, the non-verbal messages are managed.

Have a foolproof way to communicate the bad news? Comment below or message us.

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The post I hate to tell you this, but… appeared first on Humanergy.

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Mrs. Knote, who stood about 4 feet 10 inches (6 feet if you included her beehive hairdo), was my fourth grade teacher. Her short stature did not equate with the force of nature that was Mrs. Knote. When asked recently to list the characteristics of someone I admire, Mrs. Knote was first on my list. Many years later, her influence on my life continues.

What did she do to make such a lasting impression, and how have I tried to emulate her?

Be present. My other teachers were physically in the classroom. Mrs. Knote was both tangibly and emotionally present. When she looked at you, she SAW you.  As a person. There is something powerful and affirming about being truly seen by another human being.

Weigh in.  Although she let us work out our issues, Mrs. Knote knew when to intervene or offer an observation. She enforced the classroom rules of kindness and helpfulness with direct feedback.

Be willing to work as hard as anyone. Though she never complained, all of Mrs. Knote’s students knew that she worked tirelessly for our benefit, made sure everyone had lunch money (probably from her own pocket) and spent most after-school hours working one-on-one with a kid who needed extra help. She expected us to push ourselves, and she served us as though teaching were her calling, not her job.

Servant leadership doesn’t get the press it did when Robert Greenleaf wrote about it in 1970. Yet there is great power in the leader who does not seek power for herself, but works steadfastly to build others’ capabilities and success.

Mrs. Knote taught me that true leadership isn’t about me. “The goal of many leaders is to get people to think more highly of the leader. The goal of a great leader is to help people to think more highly of themselves.” -J. Carla Nortcutt

Want to be more like Mrs. Knote? Have an exemplary leader story? Comment below or message us.

Photo by J.J. Thompson on Unsplash.

The post Be like Mrs. Knote appeared first on Humanergy.

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Some team members hate conflict. Instead of openly airing the issues, conflict-averse people often go to their best friend on the team and complain about other team members. They say things like, “I don’t want to make trouble” or “It won’t help anyway.” Having aired their grievances, they feel a bit better, and they go on with their work as if conflict has nothing to do with them.

People who hate conflict still HAVE conflict. Not directly addressing it doesn’t make conflict disappear. In fact, when avoiders talk to others instead of the person that’s bugging them, conflict often festers in the “injured party” and affects the receiver of the information as well. The uninvolved person is now a part of the conflict, since it’s been plopped into their lap.

If your team doesn’t address contention regularly and in a timely manner (e.g. within 24 hours), it’s time to have a conversation. Set up team rules and expectations around conflict and communication. Instead of working around a sticky issue, address it forthrightly and as immediately as possible.

Whenever people work together, expect some conflict. You may even want to encourage spirited debate, if it means that you’re having more direct, honest and respectful communication around what really matters.

How do you deal with underground conflict? Tell us about it below or contact us here.

Photo by Eddie Kopp on Unsplash

The post Conflict aversion? appeared first on Humanergy.

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We’d like to welcome guest blogger Jim Coyle, CEO of Nexus Business Solutions. Nexus Business Solutions helps small to mid-sized businesses implement practical solutions, utilizing the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). This was originally posted on the EOS Worldwide blog.

Have you ever struggled with letting someone else do something that you can do faster, better, and with less effort? If you really think it through, you know that if you don’t pass the task on, you’ll be doing it yourself forever.

If this task is in fact the best use of your time, then maybe the staff member isn’t needed. But if there’s a better use of your time, then you have to delegate it to someone else who will do it slower, not quite as good, and with more effort. You have to let go of the vine*.

How much of your week is spent doing these types of tasks?

Do you take ownership of the wrong issues?

Let me introduce you to Monkey Insurance. I’ve never thought of myself as an insurance salesman, but the more I help develop leaders and managers in my clients’ companies, the more I connect them to Monkey Insurance. There’s a great book called The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey by Kenneth Blanchard, Hal Burrows, and William Oncken. In this book, they explain their philosophy that managers shouldn’t take on problems (monkeys) that aren’t theirs. When managers take on monkeys, they end up becoming the hopeless bottleneck for the company. In the book, they explain that there are ways to help managers to let go of the vine and get the monkeys back with their rightful owners. One of their main strategies is Monkey Insurance.

Monkey Insurance empowers your team

There are two forms of Monkey Insurance. The first type, Recommend, then Act, should be used if the issue is large enough or the implications are of the nature that you should be in the loop on what action is taken. In other words, the team member should come back to you with their recommendation on how to resolve the issue and then take action. If the issue is something that should be delegated to the team member to own fully, but you still need to know what was decided, then use the second form of Monkey Insurance called Act, then Advise. Then you’ll know what was decided but your time isn’t needed to get things going.

The whole idea of using Monkey Insurance is for you more than your team members. Use either form of insurance as needed to get comfortable with your team completely owning their area. It also helps you to get to the point of no longer needing any form of insurance on their monkeys – because, like all insurance, there is a cost. The cost is your time and you need to get to the point that your organization is getting the highest and best use out of your time, which is seldom dealing with other people’s monkeys.

So, insure if you must, but make sure you’re slowly letting go of more and more of the vine until your team is the self-reliant team you’ve always dreamed of.

*Thanks to Kevin Armstrong and Sean O’Driscoll for their insight.

Are you carrying around too many monkeys in your job? Comment below or send us a message to tell us about them!

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We’d like to welcome guest blogger Corey Fernandez, Humanergy’s newest Lead Coach and Trainer. He’s a seasoned facilitator and coach, as well as an avid outdoor enthusiast. Get to know more about him here.

ABC Solutions has developed a new cleaning product called Peachy Clean, and the marketing team needs to create a plan that will introduce the product and deliver strong sales. The team is divided about next steps, including different taglines and marketing strategies. The marketing director needs to figure out how to get them aligned and moving forward.

Team decisions can be a can of worms. Easy, one-size-fits-all solutions are tempting to implement (e.g., That’s it, I’ll just decide myself! or Let’s vote!), but the truth is that team decisions are best made along a continuum, ranging from one-person pronouncements to the entire group coming to consensus.

Command: Person with authority decides
Consult: Input is given, then person with authority decides
Vote: Everyone votes and majority rules
Consensus: Everyone gives input and the group comes to agreement

(For more on this, read Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, especially Chapter 9.)

How do you decide which decision-making strategy is best? It comes down to the degree of individual agreement and individual commitment you need. Agreement (A) is the degree to which each person believes that this is the best solution. Commitment (C) means each person will give ongoing support, effort and perseverance for the solution.

Command solutions may mean that everyone has 100% A and 100% C, however, in practice this is often not true. Consult and Vote may be more transparent, but often A and C aren’t explored fully. Group decisions based on Vote can backfire if everyone isn’t fully on board, because people can “have nothing invested in success and often have something invested in failure.” In the case of Peachy Clean, team members could vote for a marketing approach that they are not fully committed to supporting. Down the road, their buy-in may waffle and follow-through will suffer.

The consensus process of the “70% agreement and 100% commitment (70/100) model” is an explicit method for ensuring quality solutions and commitment. Though people will buy in if they agree 100%, many durable decisions can also be achieved at 70% agreement. (I can support this even if it isn’t exactly what I want.)

Commitment is key. When people commit whole-heartedly (and mindedly) to the decision, they’ll follow through and make it work, even if it isn’t their first choice. Bob may prefer the slogan, “Peachy Clean makes super sheen,” but he’s willing to commit 100% to “Peachy Clean is peachy keen.”

If you’re tempted to jump right to a Command decision to save time, remember how hard it is to unravel the problems created by weak commitment. If the issue requires an aligned team investment to solve it, you’re better off getting a 70/100 decision up front.

Want to streamline team decisions or have a helpful hint for agreement and commitment? Comment below or message us here. We love helping teams create magic.

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The post Group decisions: agreement, commitment or both? appeared first on Humanergy.

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