Question mark light bulb

From the archives —”The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge”—Thomas Berger

In our fast-paced world of virtual meetings and overly packed calendars, communication for most managers involves an endless rut of “report and update” meetings. In these meetings, each party is responsible for reporting out updates on their progress, results, issues, etc. One by one, each person delivers prepared status updates that may or may not be the exact same updates they delivered a week ago.  The meetings are usually so packed with updates (or the façade of new information) that, in the interest of allowing everyone time to share their updates, no one has time to ask questions.

There is no greater error than failing to ask questions.

Asking questions can be an art, a skill, and a tool depending on the purpose. In every situation, I believe if you ask 3 more questions than you’d previously prepared to ask, it will completely change the outcome of the communication. Three is truly the magic number for questions. When you ask three additional questions, you’re investing in information. Three questions shows you’re not superficially interested in the topic.

Here are three instances where three questions make all the difference:Read More

Man at computer completing survey

Man at computer completing surveyExecutives across the world are facing difficult decisions regarding the future of work. Many organizations are still operating with a 100% remote workforce, while others have chosen a hybrid model that allows a small percentage of workers back in the office.

To plan for the next stage in the “return to normal,” organizations are engaging their employees for feedback. They’re asking individuals to share their preferences for working remotely full-time, working from the office full-time, or a hybrid model. While it’s important to gather data and plan the workspace strategically, there are much broader perspectives that should be captured immediately and addressed through employee surveys.

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exit-doorFrom our archives: Employers are always seeking out ways to predict human behavior. Which candidate will excel? Which comp plan will improve retention and drive the biggest results? Which employees will remain engaged? Which employees will burn out? Which employees are high risk? Which employees are planning to leave?

An HR technology vendor recently pitched their latest employee retention product to me. They believe they can predict (with alarming certainty) which of your employees are a flight risk. The algorithm they use to arrive at this conclusion is complex and expansive, but one key factor is the most predictive of an employee’s plan to leave—LinkedIn. After years of analysis, these researchers determined that people who are planning to leave their current employer not only check in on LinkedIn more often to network, but they like, share, and post more updates. 

But before you start closely monitoring your employees’ activity on LinkedIn, ask yourself this tough question: even if their social media activity has increased, what do you plan to do about it? Read More

Businessman reading a book

Businessman reading a bookThe most successful leaders share a few common activities. They often report getting up earlier than most people (5am is a common start time), they exercise daily, and they read constantly. These habits are often shared as secret ingredients for their success. In particular, executives believe that reading frequently helps exercise their brain in unique ways while helping them broaden their perspective. Additionally, it helps support the creative thinking and problem-solving processes they need to address today’s complex, ambiguous problems. Essentially, if you’ve read enough books, then someone, somewhere has shared how they addressed the problem you’re currently trying to solve.

So, why aren’t we all reading more frequently? Who has the time?

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resilience-at-workFrom our archives: Many of us grew up learning the 3 R’s throughout our education (reading, writing, and arithmetic). However, as technology changed and the needs of the workforce became more complex, educators realized the true skills necessary for success had changed as well. For the past decade, educators have been focused on teaching the four C’s that have been deemed 21st Century Workforce Skills. The 4 C’s necessary for workforce readiness are critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Many organizations report that, despite higher education’s focus on the 4C’s, new graduates still lack basic proficiency in these areas.Read More

image of hands giving thumbs up sign

image of hands giving thumbs up signAlthough there are some substantial individual differences in our need for rewards and recognition, all humans need (and deserve) to feel seen, heard, and understood. Some individuals need more acknowledgement than others, but at a minimum we never want to feel invisible (or worse—disregarded). This is particularly challenging for leaders in a year where intact in-person teams have now become virtual teams often working on a flexible schedule. While we need to be intentional about staying connected with our team members, we can unlock a stronger relationship by placing a high priority on validation.

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