The Golden Rule is Pyrite

By Michelle Malay Carter on January 28, 2010 

The golden rule is pyrite.One of the greatest life lessons anyone can learn is that WE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME.?? When we treat others as we would like to be treated, it may or may not be well received.? If it is not well received, we consider the others to be ingrates, and so the downward spiral begins.

From the Carter Home Laboratory
One time a confident, gregarious little girl who had visited with her mother once before, visited my home a second time.? My daughter who leans toward the bashful side, hid from the girl.??Confused, the little girl asked me, Why is she mad at me??

This little girl, who was not the least bit intimidated or at a loss for words in social situations, could not conceive of what shyness was.? Her only explanation of why someone would hide from someone else was that they must be mad.

I wonder how much of life’s tension and anxiety stems from placing our interpretive grid over top of others actions based upon our own temperament?

Filed Under Employee Engagement, Personal Observation, Talent Management | Leave a Comment

Add Time Spans to Your Resume to Reflect Your Requisite Level of Capability

By Michelle Malay Carter on January 16, 2010 

Show Requisite Work Levels on Your ResumeI answered a question on a LinkedIn?Management Consulting?group from a person?inquiring about how to ensure you are being considered for roles at the right level.?

Assuming you have been employed at full capacity in your previous work, adding a time element to your resume’s bullet points is one of the best ways to demonstrate your level of capability, and there is plenty of research to back up my assertion.? Below is the question and my response:

“I get calls on my resume but they aren?t for the right level job. What am I doing wrong?”

What Adds to the Weight of a Role?
One of the key items that adds weight to a role is time (within managerial hierarchies – not necessarily associations or independent consulting roles).? Any given type of work can exist at a variety of levels.??For example, sales work can range from “Do you want fries with that?” to determining whether a potential market overseas is viable.

You Know This in Your Gut
If the longest deliverable in your role is 2 months, your role is fundamentally different than one that carries a longest deliverable of 2 years. So when describing your experience, specifically state some of your longest term deliverables as a way of indicating the level of complexity you can handle.

Amazing Research Correlations
Research by Elliott Jaques, validated at least six times, has shown that time span of discretion (aka the length of the longest task in a role) is the king kong indicator of what people will say is felt-fair pay for a particular role. I believe 30 potential variables were evaluated and the correlations between time span and felt fair pay ranged between +0.84 and +0.95.

Another Look at the Same Issue from Requisite Reading
This same phenomenon is why your former salary is a proxy for your ability, and recruiters and prospective employers are always curious about it.? My colleague Forrest Christian details this in his blog post, Why Recession Grads Make Less Over Time.

This Doesn’t Help the Underemployed
Unfortunately, if you have been underemployed, time spans and former salaries are going to work against you, since they reflect the level of capability you’ve been in a position to exercise, not your potential capability.? Behavioral-based interviewing has this same issue.

What does your resume say about you?

I’m OK. You’re OK.? Let’s fix the system.

Filed Under Felt Fair Compensation, Requisite Organization, Talent Management, Work Levels | 2 Comments

If You Design It, They Will Engage. Executive Leadership and Requisite Organization Design

By Michelle Malay Carter on January 1, 2010 

Executive level work.Trees and flowers don’t strive to grow.??It’s built right into their DNA to grow and to bountifully produce.

Executives Should Take a Page from Farmers
Executive leadership?should be concerned about creating the conditions necessary for employees to flourish.? People are wired to work.? They want to produce and produce bountifully.

Farmers don’t spend their days tending to individual plants.? They prepare the soil, monitor water levels, and keep the pests away.? When they do this, the plants do the “work”.

What Causes Poor Engagement? Not Poor Employees
I daresay that lack of engagement stems from lack of collective understanding of executive level work – designing and tending to the system, the environment, within which their employees work.

Looking for?a Leadership Design Blueprint?
Elliott Jaques’ Requisite Organization is a managerial leadership system that creates conditions under which all but the most disturbed employees can be successful.? Employees and managers don’t have to spend their days compensating for poor system design, instead,?they can do what they were naturally designed to do – to work and use their gifts for both the good of the organization and for a personal sense of satisfaction.

I’m OK.? You’re OK.? Let’s fix the system.

What will you spend your days this year doing – creating or coping?

Filed Under Employee Engagement, Executive Leadership, Managerial Leadership, Organization Design, Requisite Organization, Talent Management | 8 Comments

Merry Christmas – True Leaders Serve

By Michelle Malay Carter on December 25, 2009 

Regardless of your religious persuasion, one lesson we can all take from Jesus was an understanding that true leaders serve.?

This coming year I encourage you to work toward creating a workplace system that does not?drive bad power?but rather unleashes good power which is used in service to others.

Filed Under Requisite Organization | 2 Comments

Engaging Employees Through Operationalizing Good Power, Starving Bad Power, and Disallowing No Power

By Michelle Malay Carter on December 21, 2009 

Exercising Good PowerI was struck by a message on Good Power Versus Bad Power?at my house of worship last week.? It occurred to me that this is what PeopleFit endeavors to do within Managerial Hierarchies.

Throwing The Baby Out with the Bathwater – Egalitarianism
We are kidding ourselves to believe?managerial hierarchies can be?egalitarian.? Power must be exercised.? We can “nice up” the word power by calling?it leadership or authority, but?it is power just the same.

So then the question becomes,?if power must be?excised, how can we set up a managerial leadership system to channel power to every one’s advantage??

Designing for Good Power
Elliott Jaques’ Requisite Organization Model outlines just a system.? Here is how it addresses power to create an environment of trust and fairness.? Without trust and fairness, employees disengage.

Operationalizing Good Power

Starving Bad Power

Making sure that at least two sets of eyes are on each employee by:

Disallowing No Power

What kind of power do you experience in your organization?

I’m OK.? You’re OK.? Let’s fix the system.

Filed Under Accountability, Employee Engagement, Executive Leadership, Managerial Leadership, Organization Design, Requisite Organization, Talent Management, Work Levels | 3 Comments

Even Leaders Have Leaders – How Do We Sort Out Who Leads Whom?

By Michelle Malay Carter on December 15, 2009 

Who can be a cognitive thought leader?Employees Crave True Leadership
Employees?don’t begrudge being led.? They resent being asked to submit to the leadership of someone who doesn’t add value to their thinking.?

Management Myth Busted
Simply having?more experience does not automatically qualify someone to be a thought leader for anyone with less experience.

Danger, Danger – Promotions by Tenure
Many a mistake has been made promoting by tenure (aka experience) when the decision should be based first upon the promotion candidate’s cognitive capability for higher level work.? Knowledge, skills and experience play a part, but they mean nothing if the?candidate cannot handle the complexity associated with the higher level work.

Even leaders have leaders so how do we sort out who leads whom?
Fortunately, outside of organizations, no forced sorting is needed.? People naturally find and align themselves with those who can offer them leadership.? Within organizations, if we subordinate employees to a manager who is not more cognitively capable, the employees will suffer.?

Let the Disengagement Begin
When their manager “feels” like a peer, they will feel the inherent unfairness of the situation.? The may feel micromanaged.? They will ask for the big picture view and not receive it.? They will resent that their manager has the right to assess their performance, and they will be incredulous that their manager is paid more than they.??Their whole work?experience lacks integrity for them.

It’s Time to Create a Collective Understanding – Work Levels
Understanding requisite work levels has a partner reality – understanding the requisite cognitive level necessary to be successful in a given role.? When someone is not yet?cognitively capable of the work in a role, no amount of experience can fill the gap.

I’m OK.? You’re OK.? Let’s fix the system.

Have you experienced being asked to submit to the leadership of someone who could not be your thought leader?? How did it go?

Filed Under Employee Engagement, Executive Leadership, Managerial Leadership, Requisite Organization, Talent Management, Work Levels | 4 Comments

Doing Things Right Versus Doing the Right Things – Operational Work Versus Strategic Work

By Michelle Malay Carter on December 10, 2009 

Drawing a distinction between operational levels and strategic levels.We can convert the famous Peter Drucker quote about management being doing things right and leadership being doing the right things into requisite work levels speak.

What Drucker was drawing a line between was the operational work levels in an organization and the strategic work levels in an organization.

Doing Things Right aka Current Operations
The work of requisite work levels 1 through 3 is to make the best use of current resources to most effectively deliver today’s products and services to today’s customers.? Theirs is to decide how to make the best of what has been allocated by the executive levels.? This is where the money is made within organizations.

Doing the Right Things aka Strategic Intent
The work of requisite work levels 4+ is decide how current operations needs to change in order to deliver goals that fall out more than two years.? Theirs is to decide whether the organization is doing the right things to be viable in the future.

No Need for Leadership Snobbery
I’ve said before in one of my most visited posts, that innovation must occur at all levels, although it will look different by level.? Leadership is the same way.? If we use Elliott Jaques’ requisite organization definition of leadership:?The ability to set purpose or direction for others and then get them to move in that direction with competence and full commitment; then all managers must be exercise leadership, for that is their role.?

It’s not just executives who are leaders.? I daresay that?minute-for-minute, first line managers spend more time exercising leadership than executives do.

What do you think?

I’m OK.? You’re OK.? Let’s fix the system.

Photo credit: gmeaders_ch

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Filed Under Executive Leadership, Managerial Leadership, Organization Design, Requisite Organization, Strategy, Talent Management, Work Levels | 1 Comment

The Highly Committed, Over Committed Employee – Likeable But Not Capable

By Michelle Malay Carter on December 2, 2009 

Over committed employee - cannot do the jobMy Experience – Managers Have Big Hearts
Managers are a compassionate breed.? They tend to want to exhaust all avenues before deciding to remove an employee from a role that s/he is not performing to standard.? They try training, they try coaching, they try pleading, etc.? The idea that anyone can do anything if they want to and if apply themselves has done us all a disservice.?

She’s A Great Person but The Job is Not Getting Done
Today we will look at one of the most difficult cases for managers to deal with.? A likeable employee who works hard, is committed, accepts feedback, but then still does not get the job done.

This post is number four in a series of four. The series titles and links are listed below.

  1. Possible Negative Manifest Behaviors of an Underutilized Employee
  2. Possible Positive Manifest Behaviors of an Underutilized Employee
  3. Possible Negative Manifest Behaviors of an Over committed Employee (not yet cognitively capable of the work level required of the role)
  4. Today’s Post – Possible Positive Manifest Behaviors of an Over committed Employee

No Need to Fire, No Need to Label
As I said in my last post, when a employee is over committed, it does not mean they cannot contribute. It means they cannot contribute as needed in their current role. When managers see this type of behavior, it?s time to consider redeploying the employee into a position where they can shine.?

The alternative is for the manager to do the work himself or for the manager to distribute it amongst the underperforming employee’s peers.? Each of these solutions has negative ramifications.

Possible Positive Behaviors of an Over Committed Employee

I’m OK.? You’re OK.? Let’s fix the system.

Filed Under Requisite Organization | Leave a Comment

The Overcommitted Employee – When No Amount of Training Will Help

By Michelle Malay Carter on November 29, 2009 

Mismatch to Role
As much as Americans hate to admit it. There are some jobs that are beyond the cognitive reach of some employees. No amount of training, coaching, or personal effort will help the situation. Today we will look at the behaviors a manager might see in this instance.

What to Do?
We all mature in cognitive, problem solving capability over our lifetimes. Eventually this employee might mature into being capable of a higher level role, but it will not be training that gets him there.? In the meantime, when this situation is encountered, it is in every one’s best interest to reassign the person to a role that matches their current capability.

This post is number three in a series of four. The series titles and links are listed below.

  1. Possible Negative Manifest Behaviors of an Underutilized Employee
  2. Possible Positive Manifest Behaviors of an Underutilized Employee
  3. Today’s Post – Possible Negative Manifest Behaviors of an Over committed Employee (not yet cognitively capable of the work level required of the role)
  4. Possible Positive Manifest Behaviors of an Over committed Employee

No Need to Fire, No Need to Label
When a employee is over committed, it does not mean they cannot contribute.? It means they cannot contribute as needed in their current role.? When managers see this type of behavior, it’s time to consider redeploying the employee into a position where they can shine.

I’m OK.? You’re OK.? Let’s fix the system.

Filed Under Accountability, Corporate Values, Employee Engagement, Managerial Leadership, Requisite Organization, Talent Management, Work Levels | Leave a Comment

What Are Your Employees Thankful For? Fruitful Work or Fruit Baskets?

By Michelle Malay Carter on November 25, 2009 

Employee Engagement Through Corporate Thanksgiving Gifts?  Try fruitful work instead.It’s Thanksgiving week in the US.? I will resume my current post series next week.? In the meantime, I want to recognize my mentors by saying:

May God bless those who have been put on this earth to teach and to those who generously impart their gifts without concern toward personal gain or status. I live in the prosperous shadow of such people and am honored to be counted among their students. Thank you.

Now, on to my Thanksgiving Post…

What Are Your Employees Thankful For?? Keeping Employees Engaged is Simple
Organizations diligently work to keep their employees engaged and productive.? Gifts and perks are great, but my list of the minimum criteria for engagement is short and clear.? If your employees cannot be thankful for the following items, skip the fruit basket this year and get to work on your making managerial leadership system requisite.

-A clear picture of their role, and clear assignments.

-A role matched to their current cognitive capability level.

-Accountability matched with requisite authority.

-A manager who adds value to their thinking. (aka has cognitive capacity one level higher than the employee)

-Explicitly defined role relationships with others as arranged by their manager. Employees shouldn’t be left to beg or manipulate others to get their work done. (For example, if A and B disagree, who decides? If A needs services from B, what is B’s obligation to A? If A recommends something to B, must B do it or can B choose to decline idea?)

-Felt fair pay.

I’m OK. You’re OK. Let’s fix the system.

Filed Under Corporate Values, Employee Engagement, Executive Leadership, Felt Fair Compensation, Managerial Leadership, Requisite Organization, Talent Management, Work Levels | Leave a Comment

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