Monday, 20 April 2015

Come Join The Conversation On LinkedIn

Hi all,

I invite you to join me on my blog over at LinkedIn.  I have moved the conversation over there to be able to include more voices.  My posts can be found at  I hope to hear your opinions over there soon.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

WIFM – Writing Competencies Correctly

Too often companies believe that they can purchase competencies off the shelf and with a little tweaking have them fit your organization.

Creating company specific competencies right means they are developed:
-       In house
-       Information collected from incumbents who are highly successful
-       Information collected from those interacting with the role or level
-       Ensure only one behaviour for each behavioural statement
-       In house content validation
-       Consistent with the values and strategic business plan

This is whats in it for you, if you choose to do competencies right

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The ADHD Organization (Part Two)

Does Your Organization Have ADD?

As someone who has grappled with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) I recognize the signs when I see the behaviours in others. While there is no diagnostic tool to categorize those behaviours in organizations, I think it’s fair to say that many organizations mirror similar challenges.

For instance, have you ever worked hard to meet a deadline for a project that does not seem to fit with the organization’s strategic plan? Has that deadline changed a few times along the way, becoming more or less urgent for no apparent reason? And after you met the deadline did you discover that your work was not going to be used, at least not immediately?

If so, your organization is probably the type that reacts first and thinks things through later.

Have you ever been involved in the launch of a new program before a previous program has been given time to take root? Or have you noticed when a program that is supposed to cover the whole organization has a different message or content at different levels or divisions of the organization?

If so, your organization is probably the type that has trouble staying the course, and also fails to communicate with any clarity and consistency to employees.

Does your organization turn quickly to outside leaders to run the business or solve its problems during moments of crisis?

If so, it is probably the type that does not recognize the importance of culture or its own values.

There are a hundred other manifestations of organizational behaviours that mirror ADHD. Many organizations are obsessed with deadlines, busy-ness, and change at the expense of careful thought, consistency, and focus. This type of hyperactive responsiveness and quick changes in position, culture (values) and vision is pervasive today.

In humans, ADHD is caused by the persistent firing of neurons in the brain, such that the brain works in overdrive constantly in order to keep up and “feel normal.” In organizations, I would argue that a leading cause of a similar hyperactivity and overdrive comes from the persistent noise of Wall Street with its demands to achieve more and more every 90 days.

What consequences do organizations with ADHD suffer? The anxiety of urgency certainly overwhelms efforts to focus on longer-term objectives. Such organizations also tend to focus on immediate problems at the expense of noticing anything else happening around them. Ironically, as a result, when new opportunities or challenges arise, they do not show awareness or respond in helpful ways or make needed adjustments on time. Organizations with ADHD characteristics also suffer from high turnover, low productivity, and problems with safety, customer service, and quality.

For people with ADHD there are a variety of very helpful treatments. These include a mix of approaches from behavioural training to medical prescriptions.  While there are no pills for organizations yet, there are some behavioural changes that can lead to much better results.

For example, ADHD organizations should:

·    Encourage face-to-face meetings as much as possible, so that people will need to actually pay attention to one another
·       Reward leaders who prioritize what’s important over what’s urgent
·       Recognize and reward those who live the values, especially in difficult circumstances
·    Set project goals that are clearly linked to helping the organization advance toward its strategic plan and overall vision
·       Realize that culture trumps strategy and that values are the root of the culture
·       Resist an “Us versus Them” mindset
·       Provide sufficient time to get work done and avoid crisis-making through deadlines
·       Show appreciation for employee contributions
·       Unplug when possible
·     Hold people truly accountable by stopping the blame game and excuse making and focusing on performance improvement in line with values

It Gets Better
Like any person, it can be difficult for an organization to come to terms with the idea that it has ADHD. The acceptance is even more difficult emotionally than it is intellectually. But it is only through such acceptance that serious action can result.

When I came to understand that I had ADHD 12 years ago, I learned that self-awareness was 75% of the battle. But without making effort and seeking help you can’t manage the journey alone.

Organizations that become aware of their ADHD need to make sustainable changes to their work processes and culture to create a healthy and desirable place to work. Not only will this payoff in better organizational performance, but also it may distract Wall Street in a good way for a change.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The ADHD Organization (Part One)

Just what HR needs more anachronisms that make no sense: OADHD (or Organizational ADHD).  In my next pair of blog posts I am going to discuss ADHD and organizations.

As a person who is living with ADHD, I found Daniel Goleman’s recent post on the ADHD organization most interesting.  I responded with a comment that he missed the point and the characteristics he attributed to the ADHD organization do not reflect the attributes of ADHD.  I was surprised by the number of likes and comments on my comment, almost unanimously agreeing that he missed the concept al together. But I do agree the headline grabbed you in to read the post. 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Finding Your Way Around 360 Feedback (Part Three)

For my third (and final) part of my blog postings on 360 Feedback, I am going to focus on the outcome of the feedback.  It is important to get the feedback right, but it is also vital that the feedback receiver do something with this newfound information about themselves.  Below are some thoughts on ensuring the best use of the data collected.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Finding Your Way Around 360 Feedback (Part Two)

In the first part of my post on 360 Feedback, I discussed general policies and ideas.  In today’s post, I am going to focus on some more specific ways to optimize your gains from feedback.  Let me know other ways you have found to help ensure quality feedback and outcomes.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Finding Your Way Around 360 Feedback (In Three Parts)

My first blog post of 2014 is going be in three parts.  I wanted to discuss one of my favourite topics 360 (or Multi-source) Feedback.  I felt that there is a lot to discuss and I wanted to give each post an opportunity to be discussed and dissected.
In an effort to limit the subjectivity in understanding people’s performance, the logical conclusion is to gather data from multiple perspectives.  This all makes sense. I clearly remember my days at a school in New Jersey and the head of the system cautioned me to be careful about exceeding budget year over year. I figure it was for a just cause, education, the results would prove their worth.  So after three years of my stubborn approach to the feedback he called me aside and shared with me a saying from his grandmother.  A saying I often draw on when providing feedback from 360˚ reports: “if one person tells you your drunk, you can ignore it; if two people say you are drunk you might want to pay attention and if three say you are drunk, lay down.” 
This simple saying encapsulates the essence of the thought behind 360 Feedback.