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1/20/2019

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

Just like we discussed with the word energy, the word efficiency has different meanings to different people. 

While many use the word with good intentions, it is easy to fall for a simple trap with regards to efficiency. As leaders, we can be tempted to settle for the lowest common denominator when it comes to initiatives that help us save or use less. In doing so, we run the risk of committing to savings that are either not sustainable, or worse, not effective even in the short term. 

What is the case for doing it anyway?

With that in mind, I would like to frame the word efficiency for us to help shape the rest of our discussion. 

The definition of efficiency is the state or quality of being efficient, or able to accomplish something with the least waste of time and effort. The key to framing our discussions is understanding the efficiency should enhance our capabilities, not limit them in any way. 

Far too often, especially when it comes to energy efficiency, people feel forced to compromise necessary performance in order to meet a goal or quota. In the long run, this compromise likely costs the organization more in hard (or soft) dollars than any savings that might have been accrued. 

So, as we proceed, we will talk about a strategy that does its best to balance strategic values and creates a program that works for everyone. 

How can you do it?

See the BIG Picture
There are a lot of ideas for how to implement more energy efficient practices in the workplace. As a Hospital, we have unique demands placed on our buildings and systems. In order to assess the value of each opportunity, we have to look at the big picture and see how our decision might impact other areas. 

Balance the Strategic Values
 We should always make sure that any change we implement balances our strategic values and delivers a net benefit to the organization. 

Do the Math.
It’s not quite algebra, but the basic math of energy efficiency is key to developing a successful program. What does it cost to implement an idea? How much savings will it generate? What are the impacts of making the change? These questions and others are important to helping evaluate options. 

Will you commit to learning more about how you can help us develop a culture of energy efficiency and sustainability at SOMC?



The post Energy Efficiency: What is Efficiency? appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Justin Clark, MBA

1/13/2019

I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by all of the comments and feedback on my first post in this series. Many people were supportive of the idea of helping conserve energy for the organization. There were great ideas and suggestions. As this series unfolds, I plan to have posts that should answers all of the questions asked. Thanks for joining this important conversation! 

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

Energy Efficiency.

The concept seems simple enough. If we use less energy, we spend less money. While that is true, in order to build the proper foundation for a sustainable program, I want us to dig a little deeper. We can do so by asking a simple question? 

What is energy?

It might seem silly to ask such a question, but we need to. 

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Without a proper definition of energy, we run the risk of not properly defining the parameters of our energy efficiency program. The definition of energy is power derived from the utilization of physical or chemical resources, especially to provide light and heat or to work machines.

From now on, when I talk about energy, I want us to think about two things.

First, it is power and that power is a resource. Like all resources, it comes at a cost. We wont focus on this here, but SOMC regularly negotiates contracts to try and secure those costs at the lowest possible prices.

Second, that resource is used to do stuff. In this case, we use it to make light, to heat and cool things, and to power equipment, machines, and devices. 

As a leader, you can use your knowledge of what energy is to construct a value proposition regarding how you’re using it. 

How can you do it?

Know what energy is.
Energy is a resource. Learning to see it this way will help us quantify its value.

See the energy you are using.
Understanding where our energy is going is necessary to evaluate how we are using it. It takes energy to turn the lights on. It takes energy to heat and cool things. It takes energy to run equipment. 

Start asking yourself questions.
Is the energy you are using necessary? Most of us have never thought about it. However, the first key to building a successful energy efficiency program is to start asking this question?

Will you commit to learning more about how you can help us develop a culture of energy efficiency and sustainability at SOMC?

The post Energy Efficiency: What is Energy? appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Vicki Noel, MLHR, SHRM-SPC, SPHR

(12/30/18)

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

Development takes effort and some leaders may downplay development as taking time away from “their real jobs”.  When leaders themselves are not taking the initiative to learn and develop, those they lead are likely to assume that development is not a priority.  Development also requires a bit of vulnerability, so others can learn with the leader and from their mistakes.  But not all leaders have the emotional intelligence to open up about their opportunities.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

As people develop, the working environment can either propel them forward or obstruct their progress.  For a culture of development to thrive, the environment must be shaped by the leader of that organization.  Those we lead pick up on the subtle signals from us on whether they should forge ahead, retreat, or play it safe.  Odds are that our environment is sending mixed messages about the value of development.  To successfully shape the environment of your organization so that coaching and development have a chance to take hold, here are a few strategies you may want to consider.

How can you do it?

Build your visibility as a role model. 
Set an example through how you act and how you develop yourself.  Start by being coachable and open to being coached and learn from those you lead.  Make your development visible.  Be first to volunteer to talk through your opportunities, invite feedback and then process your learning with those you lead.

Strengthen the learning climate of your department/organization.
Make development a priority for those on your team that want to develop.  Commit to budgeting time in your team member’s schedule so that they can participate in the organization’s development opportunities. Share projects and development opportunities with those team members to recognize and reward their desire to grow.

Make it safer to go out on a limb.
Probably the most difficult task is to create a learning environment that supports people’s willingness to take risks.  Support well calculated experimentation so people have the opportunity to test the boundaries of what they are capable of.  Expect and celebrate failures for the lessons that failing teaches us by processing the lessons learned and what to try the next time. 

What other steps have you taken to support a development culture in your department or organization?
Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.


The post Coaching: Shape the Environment appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Vicki Noel, MLHR, SHRM-SPC, SPHR

(12/23/18)

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

Change is hard.  Change is uncomfortable.  Change is messy.  And like most human beings, leaders want to take actions that keep their learning path in the “comfort zone”.  It’s comfortable to stay stuck in old patterns of behavior.  Trying new opportunities, taking risks, or making decisions that push out of that comfort zone is scary.  Fear of failure, and the behaviors that result from that feeling, are the primary reasons most leaders stall on their development course.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

To quote my favorite fitness instructor, Debbie Kielmar, “the only way to improve your body’s ability to keep in balance, is to regularly throw it “out” of balance.”  If as leaders, our goal is to improve our ability to have crucial conversations, we actually have to HAVE them, Ha!  Like the body training its muscles to respond to being thrown out of balance, leaders must push themselves into development situations, process what happened, and learn what to do differently next time for improvement.  Each time leaders have development experiences that are properly processed for learning, skills sharpen, and skin thickens.  A leader/coach may be able to see these development opportunities better than the developing leader, as that leader’s brain is a comfort seeking missile.  Here are some strategies the leader/coach can use to nudge leaders out of the comfort zone.

How can you do it?

Reward progress not just results.
Changing normal patterns of behavior is extremely difficult. As you observe the developing leader try a new skill or tactic, provide them with feedback.  Even if the experience flopped, recognize them for the fact that they tried it because that first step is tough.  Help leaders see their skill development on a continuum and recognize when they make progress.

Be on the lookout for opportunities where the leader can try new or untested skills.  
Once you know what the leader’s goals are and what skills they are wanting to sharpen, be an opportunity scout.  Look within the department and though out your organization for opportunities for the leader to serve in new roles or test new skills.  Nudge them to try by connecting the opportunity with their GAP development plan.

Build confidence for risk taking.
Help the leader prepare for the new challenge through active practice, including script writing and role play.  Share stories of your experiences with similar challenges – what went well and what did not go well.  Be a safety net.  Reassure the leader that you believe they take on the challenge, but you are there for them if they need you.

What other strategies have you used to “nudge” leaders you coach to push past their comfort zone?  Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog. We learn best from each other’s experiences.

The post Coaching: Promote Persistence and Thick Skin appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Vicki Noel, MLHR, SHRM-SPC, SPHR

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

We all are at risk of professional inertia.  The competencies our team members have today have always worked in the past, so why change?  The problem with that thinking is that the environment is changing every day, and the competencies team members once had may not be adequate for the new landscape.   Team members may also be unclear as to which competencies need prioritized development and how they can go about learning the skills needed to be successful.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

The primary role of the leader/coach is to be aware of the professional GAPS of those they serve and engage their team members in developing the priority competencies necessary for closing those gaps.  A leader/coach should use this awareness, coupled with their own experience with applying the competencies, to work collaboratively with team members on a plan to develop the competencies that will make the biggest impact on their effectiveness.  Again, this coaching process is designed for those that WANT to be coached.  Of course, if a team member is neither engaged in receiving coaching nor capable of the competencies necessary to meet expectations, then a much different management process would be used.

How can you do it?

  1. Connect with appropriate experiences and resources to develop priority competencies.  Experience is not always the best teacher.  Team members might learn the “wrong” lesson from the experience.  The “right” experiences might not be available and waiting for them might take too long for the development need.  Coaches help “shorten” the learning curve through looking out for and seizing job-related experiences that will give exposure to the team member.  Coaches also share reading and other learning methods that represent the best learning method for the competency being developed.
  2. Take advantage of coachable moments.  The best coachable moments happen when there are either surprising successes or failures and disappointments.  Coaches do celebrate successes with their team members, but also help process what happened and how this knowledge can be leveraged again for repeated success.  Similarly, for failures, coaches help team members put the failure in perspective and objectively think through what lessons were learned from the disappointment an how to transfer this learning to future situations.
  3. Teach team members how to learn for themselves.  The ultimate coaching reward is when your team member reflects on their actions/outcomes and talks through what they will do in the future…WITHOUT any coaching.  Keep this alive by modelling this behavior yourself with your team members.  Process your own successes and failures with your team so learning can be maximized.

What additional strategies have you used to maximize competency development for those you are coaching?  Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

The post Coaching: Build New Competencies appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Vicki Noel, MLHR, SHRM-SPC, SPHR

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

Relationships are hard work in all aspects of a person’s life, let alone at work. Throughout relationship interactions there are “deposits” to the relationship bank account (contributions both have made toward building trust) and “withdrawals” (actions both have taken that diminish trust).  It takes effort to pay attention to this “trust balance”.  Maintaining trust also requires a level of self-awareness and humility to take ownership for individual contributions to the leader/team relationship.  Not all leaders are willing to hold themselves accountable for the time and effort the maintenance that the leader/team trust relationship requires.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Over the past five weeks this blog series has focused on strategies to build trust in the coaching relationship.  However, even with the best intentions trust can break down in this fragile relationship.  A leader might slip into old patterns of behavior.  There might emerge a new miscommunication between the leader and team member.  As a leader we might inadvertently forget to follow through with a commitment.  Even though trust is certainly a two-way street, it is the coach’s responsibility to begin the steps toward restoring trust in the relationship.

How can you do it?

  1. Make the first move.  To create the conditions for restoring trust in the leader/team relationship, you must lead the way and play your “cards” first or be the first to extend trust.  This will require you to reveal the motives behind your actions or disclose more about yourself and your thought processes than you are typically comfortable with.  When you do this, it “resets” the terms for the relationship, raises the standard for frank talk, which will hopefully demonstrate that you trust the other, so they will reciprocate.
  2. Own it – admit your mistakes.  Your team will forgive your mistakes, but they will fault you for pretending that nothing is wrong.  Almost certainly actions you will take or decisions you make will fail at times.  Leaders must demonstrate the honesty to admit to yourself first that you were wrong and the courage to apologize to others, and invite the team’s opinion on what could have been done better for the future.
  3. Recommit and follow through with what you say you will do.  Be specific with your team about what strategies you are willing to commit to going forward that will improve the leader/team relationship.  Demonstrate your commitment through your improved behavior.  And invite your team to speak up and hold you accountable when you are not demonstrating these behaviors.

When trust has been damaged with one or more of the team members you coach, what other strategies have you implemented to restore trust?  Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

The post Coaching: Building Trust – Restoring Trust With Your Team appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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Vicki Noel, MLHR, SHRM-SPC, SPHR

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

In some leadership cultures, it is acceptable for a leader to “talk” a big game and not be accountable for what they say they will do.  Leaders in these cultures behave as if they don’t really have to know anything, because title allows them to order their “people” to do the work on their behalf.  Some leaders might believe that they put in their “dues” to get to their current position so now they can coast and keep things the status quo.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

In SOMC’s leadership culture the center of trust is competence, and the consistent demonstration that leader actions match their words really matters.  Even if people believe that their leader has a heart of gold, they will have difficulty trusting their leadership if they do not believe that their leader can actually do what they say.  When there is unexplained incongruence between a leader’s words and their behaviors, the team will believe the behaviors every time.  Make sure your leadership actions reinforce trust, not detract from it.

How can you do it?

  1. Test your track record.  Take an inventory of tasks and commitments you have made to your team.  How many of these commitments have you held yourself accountable to meet?  How many have you failed to follow through on?  Develop a plan on how to revisit these commitments with your team, apologize for the failure to hold yourself accountable and communicate your plan for how you intend to follow through.  And DO IT.
  2. Admit your limits.  Do not let your confidence exceed your ability to perform.  Come to terms with what you can and cannot do and be open about it (because your team already knows your opportunities).  Utilize your teams’ strengths to minimize your weaknesses.  Asking for help from your team demonstrates that you trust them…and trust is reciprocal.
  3. Showcase what you know and “sharpen your saw”.  Draw upon your strengths and be willing to coach others with the skills for which you have a consistent track record.  Seek opportunities to research and share relevant information with your team.  Take on tasks that stretch your comfort zone, so you can demonstrate to your team that you are willing to learn.

Describe some other strategies you have used to “sharpen your saw”?  Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

The post Coaching: Building Trust – Your Team Believes You Are Competent to “Do” What You “Say” appeared first on SOMC Leadership.

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