Great Leaders Understand Why Small Gestures Matter – From Harvard Business Review, January 2020

An excellent read on how a genuine, personal touch and the human factor can really elevate your business:

 

https://hbr.org/2020/01/great-leaders-understand-why-small-gestures-matter

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The Unexpected Benefits of Pursuing a Passion Outside of Work

The Unexpected Benefits of Pursuing a Passion Outside of Work

HBR – November, 2019

Christmas Opening Hours and Our New Address

 

Davitt Corporate Partners would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We are excited to start the new year at our new office in 10 Herbert Street, D02 EF99!

Please note that our offices will be closed from Monday the 23rd of December 2019, reopening on Thursday the 2nd of January 2020. We will have very limited access to email during this period. Should you need to contact us urgently, you can reach Adrienne Davitt on 087 242 9120.

This year we supported Dogs for the Blind, Front Line Defenders, Focus, 4Ocean, Uplift and St. Vincent de Paul.

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A slightly belated Happy 83rd Birthday (December 16th) to the inspiration that is Heather Birkett Cattell; an American Clinical Psychologist by training, however, she is much better known for her work in Organisational Psychology, along with her husband, Raymond Cattell. Raymond is, without a doubt, the most influential and important Psychologist in the history of Psychometric Testing and, in particular personality assessment.

For those of us who use, appreciate and understand that not all personality tests are created equally and that so called “expert systems” may produce a “report” – actually, it’s an insult to call them reports – they may produce documents describing the results, they are hopelessly limited in terms of how they explain the interaction of different factors. If the personality profile produces a very unusual interaction, or even just a score, they will, of course, have a stock phrase to explain this highly unusual interaction. Stop!!! This is supposed to be a birthday wish.

Apart from her extensive work on the 16PF, Heather wrote the seminal work, in my opinion, on the 16PF: The 16PF Personality in Depth by Heather Birkett Cattell,  1989 

It is also worth mentioning Essentials of 16PF® Assessment by Heather E. P. Cattell and John Schuerger, 2003 (yes, it’s a different Heather Cattell. This Heather is the daughter of Raymond and Heather Birkett).

While we’re on the subject of personality tests, please do not ever use the DiSC. I will ask Dr. Steve Blinkhorn to put together a few words on the DiSC. If you don’t already know about it’s origins, you will be utterly amazed!

  

What is a Culture Survey and Why Does My Organisation Need One?

The culture of an organisation directly affects its performance and the bottom line. Improved performance is a direct result of increased employee engagement. Data from Queens University Centre for Business Venturing shows that an organisation with an engaged culture reaps many benefits, including:

 

  • 20% less absenteeism
  • 26% less employee turnover
  • 15% greater employee productivity
  • 30% greater customer satisfaction levels
  • 100% more unsolicited employment applications

 

Therefore, if your organisation is looking to increase its performance, it needs to improve on its employee engagement. Culture surveys provide you with tangible objectives for change. By repeating your survey regularly, it is possible to measure progress and identify key areas which require additional focus, in turn, increasing both performance and profits.

A culture survey will enable you to focus on the most critical aspects of your companies’ culture which will drive results and enable you to make the behavioural changes which can have the most significant impact.

 

Considerations 

The creation and deployment of an employee engagement survey is a reasonably simple process.  More complex are the ways in which the survey is positioned with employees:

  • a statement of purpose
  • policy and procedure
  • respecting individual anonymity
  • how the results and outcomes will be communicated
  • commitment to action on the part of the organisation

In our experience the success of an intervention pivots on the extent to which the above matters have been anticipated, planned for and employee expectations set by the organisation.

 

Recommendation

 

We work with organisations to ensure that an appropriate policy and procedure is in place to facilitate the successful execution of your survey.  This initial stage would involve reviewing the way that the initiative was described. This would include:

  • why the survey was being conducted
  • what was being requested of each individual
  • how the opinions of each individual would be collected
  • how it would be processed and by whom
  • how the results of the survey would be used by the organisation
  • how the results and consequent actions/initiatives would be communicated to employees

 

The above points represent critical steps in ensuring that the survey has a net positive outcome for the organisation. The risk of not giving due consideration to these points is a profound and negative impact on attitudes and morale.

Questions used in the survey are tailored to the organisation, this is not a one size fits all approach, because of course no two organisations are the same and nor are their objectives, goals and priorities.

We would work with you to disseminate the survey and gather the results. We would analyse the results and report to key stakeholders on:

  • The whole organisation
  • Department by department
  • Job level

We present the report of the results in an readily understandable format, identifying implications and with suggestions on future actions.

Managing Your Personal Impact

First impressions are, undeniably important in terms of building your personal brand. Most of us are aware that others make decisions about us within the first few seconds of meeting us. However, if we are striving to make a positive impact on others, it is important to follow-up, with behaviours which support those impressions. Ways to improve and maintain your personal impact include:

 

Initial Impressions:

Demonstrate confidence – while this may not come naturally to everyone, practising until you do feel confident  will help. Push yourself to do things you do not feel confident doing, such as speaking publicly. After doing it a few times, it will become easier and you will be less inclined to shy away from such situations.

Personal grooming – ensure that you are always smartly turned out. This does not mean that you need to have the latest in terms of style, but ensure that your clothes are neatly ironed, shoes shined and heeled, and that hair and nails are neat – these points are equally important for men as they are for women. Also, ensure that you dress appropriately for the occasion and adhere to the dress code.

 

Body Language:

Pay attention to how you carry yourself, posture is important and is something which can seriously affect your personal impact, either in a negative or a positive way. Stand tall, sit up straight and carry yourself with confidence.

Make eye contact with the person to whom you are speaking. People who do not make eye contact can come across as suspicious or nervous, neither of which is a desirable impression to make. However, take care not to prolong it to the extent that it comes across as aggressive. Maintaining appropriate eye contact projects confidence and trustworthiness.

Control your facial expressions. If you are speaking with someone, try to appear interested and don’t allow your eyes to wander around the room. Your face can easily betray feelings of boredom, disinterest or anger.

 

In the Workplace:

Timing – don’t just be on time, be 5 minutes early to meetings. If you are running late, ring ahead to let the person know. If you are responsible for delivering a piece of work, make sure that this is delivered on time and if this becomes impossible, due to circumstances beyond your control, be sure to communicate what is happening to the relevant stakeholders as soon as possible. Try to offer some alternatives or solutions to the problem and apologise. Do not become known as unreliable.

Don’t be a gossip – if you have nothing positive to say, say nothing at all. Gossip in the workplace breeds resentment and mistrust – don’t be someone who contributes to this.

Listen to others – even those who are junior or less experienced. Don’t be known as the person who takes up all the airtime.

Encouraging Innovation in Your Organisation

Innovation is currently a popular buzz word in business and what many organisations are striving for in order to succeed in today’s competitive environment. How can we encourage innovation within our own organisations?

  • In order for people to feel comfortable generating, and perhaps more importantly, voicing new ideas, they need to feel confident that they will be met by a receptive audience. This is an attitude which can be fostered by an organisation’s leadership team and management. Ensure that people feel that their ideas are listened to and not disregarded, as this is a sure-fire way to discourage an innovative mindset in employees.
  • Diversity within an organisation is a factor which has been shown to lead to greater innovation. A study by the Boston Consulting Group found that “companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue, due to innovation” (Forbes, 27th June, 2018). A diverse group will be less likely to fall victim to group think, where everyone simply agrees with the consensus of the group and nobody wants to challenge this.
  • The ideas of junior, or less experienced members of staff should be listened to as well as the more senior leaders. While a lack of experience can lead to a lack of awareness of potential pitfalls, this may at times be a good thing. Ideas can then be teased out to see what these pitfalls might be and how to avoid them. But coming up with the idea in the first place without self-limiting beliefs is a good first step in terms of innovation.
  • Allow time for innovation – schedule weekly team meetings where employees can bounce ideas off each other. Some companies, allow employees a set amount of time to take during their working day to work on ideas which may not be strictly related to what they are currently working on, but this time can allow for people to consider possible ideas which they may not otherwise have thought of.
  • Implement good ideas. Employees who take the time to come up with new and innovative ideas will quickly become frustrated if the idea is not used, or at least tried out, despite it being a good one. If the idea is not deemed suitable, feedback should be given to the employee as to why this is, so that they are not discouraged from submitting ideas in the future.
  • Reward employees who come up with innovative ideas. The rewards need not be monetary, they may come in the form of praise and recognition, increased holiday days or more flexible working hours. For the best results, try to tailor the reward to the individual so that it is something which is actually important to them. Some may be highly motivated by public recognition, while others may dislike being the centre of attention. Try to reward employees in a way which is meaningful to them.
  • Adapt what is already a success – Apple was named as the most innovative company of 2018, but as Steve Jobs put it “we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas”. Don’t be afraid to look at what your competitors are doing and finding a way to improve on it. Or look further afield, at other industries and “steal” from their successful ideas.
  • Failure should not be frowned upon – in fact ‘intelligent failure’ should be accepted as part of an innovative organisation. It is impossible for all ideas to succeed, but if fear of failure prevents people and organisations from trying, innovation is far less likely to happen. Learn from failures and see what could be done differently the next time around.