Level Up!

Our Customer Success Manager, Tee Komsa and Dr. Jim chat about the importance of staying connected with your Next Level Manager (NLM)—especially when working remote.

Strong communication, active listening, accountability, and feedback are key!

Are You An Accidental Leader?

Accidental leaders are experts in their field with a high level of education and experience who were promoted into a leadership role based on their hard work and expertise. Or in some cases, are those who did not set out to become leaders, but fell into the role through good luck or being in the right place at the right time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do any of the following apply to you? 

  • You are good with people but just can’t seem to motivate your team
  • You lack formal professional development outside of your field
  • You relay information to your team, yet are finding they fail to successfully complete the tasks
  • Your hands are tied, but you don’t know what to do differently

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you might be an accidental leader

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If you identify as an accidental leader you are not alone—there are tens of thousands of you! If you have been given the responsibility of leading or managing a team, but not the support or training, here are some ways to help you effectively assert your leadership.

5 Ways to Develop Your Leadership Skills

  1. Learn to Lead: Upon being promoted, ensure you receive training for the new position; make it a condition for accepting the role. 
  2. Lead by Example: Be a behavioral role model. Be honest, supportive, and trustworthy with your team; they’ll naturally behave the same way.
  3. Ask for Help: If you need support, ask for it! Identify an experienced, recognized, and respected leader in your field to ask for advice and have conversations with. 
  4. Prioritize: What’s important and urgent? What can wait? What’s important to others? After asking yourself these questions, establish 2 x 60 minute time slots in your day when you are on “Do Not Disturb” mode—no exceptions. Use this time to complete your priorities. 
  5. Establish Ownership: Before responding to problems, identify who owns the problem and who is responsible for it. See if your direct reports can solve the problem on their own, then circle back and check in with them on their progress. 

Remember, leadership is about clarifying issues, setting priorities, and holding others accountable. Don’t just strive to be liked, strive to be respected!

What is a VSR™?

Vivo Team Vital Statistics Report

Vivo Team uses people analytics in L&D to analyze, predict, and prescribe solutions for clients. Renée answers questions about this proprietary Vital Statistics Report (VSR™) and how it came to be. Check it out for yourself with our FREE Team Assessment! 

 

Q: Let’s start here, what is a VSR™?

R: Our VSR™ or the Vital Statistics Report™ is a proven method to capture behavioral insights for leaders and their direct reports. Unlike self-directed profile assessments that look at individual tendencies, the VSR™ looks at behavioral factors of skill, will, and collaboration. The report illustrates the viewpoint of the leader and their team members regarding the effectiveness of the team, soft skills, and the alignment/connection between the leader and their team.

 

Q: How did you come up with the idea?

R: After years of providing consulting services to CEOs and their C-Suite executives whose challenge was business strategy or aligning with one another at the executive table, we recognized stakeholder interviews and analysis was critical to targeting needs. Looking at the team as a system—or family theory, behavioral change, leader and team alignment, and the cost of lost productivity—would offer unique and innovative data collection in learning and development.

 

Q: How does the VSR™ help businesses?

R: The VSR™ provides leaders the insights they need to manage and lead their teams effectively—understanding which areas are strong or weak in relation to competence, motivation, collaboration, and alignment. They also gain perspectives on the measured impact of their own leader behaviors.

Team members achieve a clear understanding of where they are doing well, where they need to improve, and understand how other team members view the team—ultimately learning that behaviors cost money!

Finally, C-Suite executives gain a measurable understanding of the effectiveness of their teams and predictive knowledge re sustaining growth of leadership within the organization. The VSR™ pinpoints how they need to develop and activate their talent.

 

Q: What were the signs or steps that lead to the creation of the VSR™ tool?

R: Simple answer: Research, study, research, study, testing, analysis, research, and more testing!

We analyzed stakeholder interview questions, studied the language of teams, researched indicators that help teams function at a high level, and conducted a survey of North American companies. This enabled us to scale our key indicator predictions. I think we ended up with about 32.

We then deployed a second survey to narrow down our key indicator predictions and got it down to about 12. Digging more deeply within our research and hypotheses we identified 6 key indicators to measure. Next, we built out an algorithm, tested it with early-adopter clients and attendees at multiple conferences throughout North America. Finally we had it tested with the University of British Columbia (UBC).

In the process of validating our 6 key indicators, UBC’s reviewing committee recognized that through our assessments we were simultaneously collecting data on team alignment and leader effectiveness, yet neglecting to report on it.

As a company with a strong culture of interactive feedback, we implemented this new knowledge through the infographic element in each indicator, in addition to the overall team alignment section. Thank you for the prompt, UBC!

 

Q: So, what are the final 6 key indicators of high performance that you landed on?

R: Communication, Accountability, Interactive Feedback, Structures, Emotional Intelligence, and Cohesion.

 

Q: Has the VSR™ changed or progressed since the initial launch?

R: Yes! We constantly test our assumptions about the VSR™ with client feedback, peer reviewed awards, ongoing research, and product development while considering technological advancements, coach/trainer insights, and workplace developments. We continue to learn and innovate as our clients use the VSR™.

 

Q: Which key indicators does the VSR™ pinpoint as needing the most development among your clients?

R: In a recent poll we conducted among HR leaders, 35% said Communication was the area of development their organization needed right now, followed by Feedback at 19%. This is also the story when looking at our VSR™ data. Our average indicator scores across all clients (before training) is Feedback at 62% and Communication at 66%. A score of 80+ signifies a healthy, highly functioning team.

 

Thanks for chatting with us, Renée! 

 

The First Steps to Building an Inclusive Workplace

Building a truly inclusive workplace may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Start by thinking about these questions: 

  • Do all employees have a voice in meetings? 
  • Are all employees taken seriously? 
  • Are all employees involved in decision-making? 
  • Do all employees feel safe to speak up?

If you answered no to any of the above, that’s okay! Recognizing where improvements can be made is half the battle.

A great first step is to consider our six key indicators of high performance. Developing these skills does not only lead to the creation of highly-functioning teams and leaders—training in these areas also forms a solid foundation for inclusivity. 

  1. Communication norms ensure everyone within the organization has a voice and an opportunity to participate in and influence projects—supporting company growth. 
  2. Effectively identifying and managing your emotions while navigating the emotions of others (i.e., emotional intelligence) promotes psychological safety and supports inclusivity.  
  3. Inclusivity requires all of us to be open and willing to learn from one another. Interactive feedback can be used to bridge gaps and foster solutions.
  4. Encourage a culture of accountability—follow through on promises. Such actions demonstrate a commitment to inclusion. 
  5. Facilitate a culture where all viewpoints and opinions are heard. Implement meeting structures and norms; use tools to ensure a balanced form.
  6. To increase team cohesion, encourage employees to explore their unconscious biases. Analyze behaviors and assumptions which naturally builds trust, support, and receptivity among team members.

Find out more: DOWNLOAD (PDF)

Equip your teams and leaders with the skills necessary to build an inclusive workplace that drives collaboration and creativity.

Fostering Connection on Remote and Hybrid Teams

“Remember, true culture is not about perks, proximity of team members, or the processes you have in place, it’s about inclusivity.” 

– from How to Adapt Company Culture for Remote Work

 

According to Zoom’s recent white paper, How to Adapt Company Culture for Remote Work, it’s impossible to go “back to normal.” The dynamics of collaboration have forever changed. The now ubiquitous video conferencing platform suggests we must remember that being in the same building does not ensure employee connection. The key to preventing isolation is to develop a thriving company culture. 

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best workplace activities we’ve seen that promote company culture and connection that can be easily deployed online.

  1. Share and celebrate wins often, even the small stuff! Try our D.O.S.E.
  2. Plan weekly development meetups, where smaller groups get together to work on learning something new together.
  3. Offer professional development opportunities.
  4. Assign a mentor to new employees for 30 minute chats once every week or two.
  5. Organize a monthly online games happy hour (e.g., create your own Jeopardy game, B.I.N.G.O., or try a game pack from Jack Box). 
  6. Create online water cooler chats using a communication platform such as Microsoft Teams or Slack.
  7. Host virtual birthday parties to celebrate team members.
  8. Send out surprise care packages! Have everyone come on Zoom to open them together.

The bottom line? With the shift to remote/hybrid workplaces not everything has to pivot 180°. Leverage the tools at your fingertips to ensure your teams feel connected and valued, regardless of location. Define, activate, and monitor your company culture and be prepared to reflect, reassess, and adapt along the way! 

To help kick-start your workplace culture endeavour, we’ve created a fillable PDF handout to encourage a team brainstorm ‘sesh. Try it out!

Holy Shift!

Change is a constant; and we’re not always given the liberty of time.

Change happens. It happened before, and it’s happening again. We all experience, manage, and measure change differently. Do you get stuck and retreat or is it an easy and effortless transition? More importantly, how do you want to handle change?

You’ve heard different versions of it ad nauseam over the last 18 months: change, shift, pivot, adapt! Conversations about how to deal with change have inundated the workforce and our lives. So, how do you manage change and the pace of change successfully?

Here are our 5 tips to navigating change:

  1. Determine a path and implementation plan. In doing so, consider what the best case scenario looks like, and establish a clear understanding of employee willingness.
  2. Recognize each individual at the table, their pace of change, and willingness to influence one another.
  3. Monitor and measure the pace of change (established in Step 2), looking at behaviors, not personalities.
  4. The Domino Effect, i.e., once this changes, what else is going to have to change as a result?
  5. Measure how your internal change is keeping pace with your external stakeholders.

 

Managing change and the pace of change is only half the battle. You need the skill and will to lead through change successfully. Start by developing your teams and leaders in the six key indicators of high performance and transitioning through change will be a breeze!

Communication
Dependable communication strategies reduce misunderstanding, minimize work delays and enhance overall productivity.

Interactive Feedback
What’s happened in the past and expected future results provide essential information to make important decisions and improve performance.

Emotional Intelligence
In a work environment, identifying and managing your emotions while navigating the emotions of others is rarely taught or discussed.

Structures
Efficient, successful teams depend on a structure everyone knows and anticipates to unify and streamline processes for conducting work.

Accountability
Teams that hold each other respectfully accountable drive innovation, trust, and productivity within organizations.

Cohesion
Cohesive teams are more successful and productive. A culture of cohesion increases satisfaction, engagement, and collaboration.

Arm your leaders and team members with the skills they need for the next change-induced battle!

Psychological Safety: A Win-Win for Wellness and Performance

Psychological safety—the shared belief that it’s safe to take interpersonal risks as a group—fosters healthy team dynamics and interpersonal relationships. This can have a positive effect on high-quality decision making, innovation, and ultimately lead to highly-functioning leaders and teams. 

A voluntary, participatory team sport, psychological safety is a two-way decision: 

  1. A personal decision about whether to “risk it” or not is made based on one’s own personal history/experience. 
  2. How people are behaving on a team will either promote or obstruct a sense of psychological safety on a team. 

If someone on your team thinks it’s not safe to speak up, they will not feel safe in the group, regardless of what the group is doing. This can lead to missteps or mistakes that may not have occurred if they did feel safe to speak up in the first place!

Like baking, psychological safety requires a specific recipe for it to rise:

  1. Know: because we feel more comfortable with people we know.
  2. Respect: the key to recognizing and appreciating another’s contributions.
  3. Value: being willing to seek to understand other points-of views.
  4. Risk: the willingness to be open to others when you don’t know or understand yet.
  5. Trust: what follows risking when a person consistently behaves with a respectful response to you.

Now, take a moment to consider the following: 

  1. What’s one behavior that positively impacts your sense of psychological safety?
  2. What’s one behavior that negatively impacts your sense of psychological safety?

So, how can you build psychological safety on your team? Let’s start with you!

Self-awareness is the ability to recognize what you are feeling, understanding your emotional responses to events, and recognizing how your emotions affect your behaviors. 

  1. Try building self-awareness on your team by first recognizing, and then sharing, how you best like to work or communicate, and even how you like to be recognized. Encourage your team members to do the same.
  2. Being able to manage your behaviors is essential to taking responsibility for your actions, and it can save you from hasty decisions that you later regret. We call this self-management, where the goal is to respond to people so that both parties “win”.

    How you respond to people is a choice. Try to avoid knee jerk reactions, even by taking a pause or walking away. Delaying your reactions can increase the probability of a productive conversation where you actively listen and the other party feels heard—a win-win!

You’re not going to increase your psychological safety overnight, and self-awareness and self-management can be tough nuts to crack. But, being aware of them and knowing they are an important part of workplace wellness is a great start! 

Try Our 30-Day Meeting Challenge!

You may already be working on some personal goals—exercise, yoga or drinking more water—but have you set your sights on any professional goals? We have an idea for you and your team!

We’re challenging YOU to cut meeting times by 25% to increase team effectiveness while saving time and money.

To get started, download our 30-Day Meeting Challenge Tracker – it’s rewarding to see your efforts pay off!

Print Version (PDF)
Spreadsheet (Excel)

Here are some tips on how to do it well:

  1. Cut every scheduled one-hour meeting to 45 minutes – no exceptions! (Few meetings deserve an hour, many deserve only 20-25 minutes tops.)
  2. Have an agenda for every meeting and stick to it.
  3. Begin and end every meeting on time.
  4. Consider who needs to be in the meeting. Does everyone have to be in the meeting for the entire time?
  5. Does the project or topic need to be a regular meeting or only as necessary?
  6. For all virtual meetings everyone has cameras on to increase connection and efficiency.

After the 30 days, divide your number of meetings under 45 minutes by your total number of meetings (then multiply by 100) to get your final score.

For added fun and accountability, collect money for a local charity as part of the challenge!

Let us know how you did at:
Email: hello@vivoteam.com
Social:
#30daymeetingchallenge
Facebook: vivoteamdevelopment
Twitter: @vivoteams
Instagram: @vivoteamdevelopment