Guest Blog: How to Create a Solid Team by Daniel Milstein

Image result for teamThere is generally no such thing as a successful “lone wolf.” Talent might win the game, but it takes teamwork to capture the championship. Nearly everything I have accomplished so far has been the result of a group effort. From my work at McDonald’s as a teenager, to becoming the founder and CEO of the Gold Star Family of Companies, I was always aware that my success wouldn’t have been possible without the other team members’ support. If you want to succeed, you must depend on the cooperation of co-workers, business colleagues, family members and friends. Here’s how:

Build your team. You may not have a formal team to support you. However, you still have a group of people with whom you work—even though you may all have equal standing. Consider colleagues and associates as team members who can help you reach your job-related goals. Include them in your planning process when appropriate, and listen to their suggestions. You can also help them reach their goals. If you are self-employed and work alone, you still have family and friends who can provide a strong network of support for your business. Bounce ideas off of them, ask them to help spread the word about your work, and collaborate with others when necessary. Even an artist or writer doesn’t work alone. They need readers, printers, art collectors and reviewers to truly be successful. Build your team well. Fill it with those willing to support you. You cannot expect to lead a positive life if you surround yourself with negative people.

Be willing to collaborate.  Don’t aspire to be the best on the team. Aspire to be the best for the team. Many people feel competitive when working with others, and try to get their ideas heard above the rest. I’ve been in meetings where ego gets in the way of production. People get so caught up in figuring out who gets the credit that nothing gets accomplished. Sometimes things even go into litigation over ego issues. If you are simply trying to be the best on the team, you don’t leave much room for other people to grow and to lead. Don’t be a spotlight-stealer. What you build together will be stronger than what you build alone.

Create more leaders. True leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders. That’s why we at Gold Star look for new employees who have the potential to become leaders; they can continue helping us grow while they develop their careers. The great ones want to be coaches and get better every day. If you give people the opportunity to lead, they become more invested in the company. As their ideas become reality, they aspire to have even more contributions. It feels good to succeed. Teach the beginners, help them grow, and your company will thrive.

Value every team member. There is no one person on a team that should be underestimated. Everyone is important. The automobile is a great example of teamwork. In order to build a car, someone had to make the tires, someone had to build the components, someone had to mine the copper mine for the wires, and someone had to make and drive the trucks that hauled the copper ore. It takes so many people to make a car, and no one can say that the tire is more important than the copper. The car can’t run without all the parts. Every member of the team is essential.

Teamwork is the key to success. It is often said that if service is beneath you, leadership is beyond you. Someone is sitting the shade today because someone planted a tree long ago. Success is like that—it takes many steps to accomplish your goals, and a lot of hard work. As I always say, success is never owned. It’s rented, and the rent is due every day.

 


Daniel Milstein is the CEO and founder of the Gold Star Family of Companies, operating in over 40 offices worldwide, specializing in financial services, sports management, publishing, and film production. Under Dan’s visionary leadership, Gold Star has been named among Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America. He is a best-selling author and shares his other strategies for success in his new book Rule #1 Don’t Be #2: You Get What You Work For, Not What You Wish For.  Learn more at DanMilstein.com.

Guest Blog: Five Easy Steps to the Brighter Future You Deserve by Daniel Milstein

 

56677-Don-t-Stop-BelievingSuccess isn’t reserved for a select few. It’s out there and available to anyone who wants it. It’s available to me. It’s available to YOU. And I’m here to tell you where to find it.

Is there a job you’ve always dreamed of having? A business you’ve always wanted to start? A career you thought could never be yours?

When I found out that sales was the field I wanted to work in, I went above and beyond being a loan officer and opened my own financial lending business. Then, years later, realizing my other passion was hockey, I thought of a way to be surrounded by what I love. So I started Gold Star Sports Management and we now work with players who are household names, such as Pavel Datsyuk, formerly of the Detroit Red Wings- now with SKA St. Petersburg in Russia, Artemi Panarin with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Nikita Kucherov with Tampa Bay Lightning, and Nikita Zaitsev with the Toronto Maple Leafs, among others.

My dreams were big—so big that I was hesitant to share them with my friends—but I didn’t let that stop me. Instead, I went for it, giving it all I have.  In my new book, Rule #1 Don’t Be #2, I explain in detail the lessons I learned on my way to success, and what I do every day to stay there. Here are my top five to get you started:

  1. Begin With Your Dream – What is it you really want to do? We all have a dream. For many, it’s to own their own business and to be their own boss. Some want to be the best athlete or musician they can be. Others want to write a best-selling book. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s your passion. It should be something you can’t wait to get of bed for in the morning and never want to take a sick day from. Every success story began with a dream. So write yours down and put it in a place where you can see it every day. Walt Disney once said, “All of our dreams can come true, if we just have the courage to pursue them.”
  2. Give it Your All: Dreams don’t work unless you do. I’ve observed our athletes winning in what sometimes seem to be insurmountable odds, but the one thing they have in common is they give it everything they have. They rarely make excuses and do everything possible to avoid stopping short of the finish line. The same is true for business. If you want it bad enough, you will work for it. The key is to give it everything you have, every time. I’m not satisfied at the end of each day unless I know I gave it my all. You will have to do the same, but it will be worth it. Pain is temporary but quitting lasts forever. Work so hard that your signature will one day be called an autograph.
  3. Pick a Good Team: Part of your success can be attributed to collaboration with others. None of us can go it alone—at least not very far. There is generally no such thing as a “lone wolf.” You must depend on the cooperation of co-workers, business colleagues, family members and friends. I am the author of several best-selling books, but I didn’t do it alone. I had an editor, a cover artist, and a publicist to help me come up with a publishable product and get it in the stores. While the books were my dreams and the results of my hard work and determination, I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without the help of those colleagues who had knowledge and skills in different areas than I do. Also, surround yourself with positive people. Naysayers will only bring you down. Part of having a good team is having people who look for solutions instead of problems. You can do amazing things if you have the right team.
  1. Don’t take shortcuts: We all want to get “there” faster, hoping to take a more direct route in reaching the finish line of success ahead of the rest. Most times success is a road you have to travel. Sometimes you will need more training, but often it’s more time. Malcolm Gladwell says that “10,000 hours is the magic number of greatness” whether it’s playing the violin or shooting hoops. I always say an overnight success usually takes ten years. Do your homework, plot your course and eventually you will get there. When things don’t happen right away, just remember: it takes six months to build a Rolls Royce and 13 hours to build a Toyota. There are no discounts on the price of success.
  1. Stay Positive: Failure will happen, but don’t let it get you down. Instead, learn from it. Part of achieving your dream is being able to deal with less-than-positive results. I remind myself that in every challenging situation, I either succeed—or I learn from the unsuccessful outcome. But I am still committed to the win. Stay strong and never give up. Choice, not circumstances, determines your success. I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done.

Those are my rules for staying on top of your game and achieving the dream you have always wanted. It won’t be easy, and in most cases it won’t come quickly or without a lot of hard work. But it is possible, and you can reach the success you deserve.   As I always say, success is never owned. It’s rented, and the rent is due every day. Keep working hard and I will see you at the top.


Daniel Milstein is the CEO and founder of the Gold Star Family of Companies, operating in over 40 offices worldwide, specializing in financial services, sports management, publishing, and film production. Under Dan’s visionary leadership, Gold Star has been named among Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America. He is a best-selling author and shares his other strategies for success in his new book Rule #1 Don’t Be #2: You Get What You Work For, Not What You Wish For.  Learn more at DanMilstein.com.

Guest Author Blog: #1 Strategy for Outsmarting Your Competition by Daniel Milstein

How-to-use-content-marketing-to-outperform-the-competitionWe will all face competitors during our lifetime. If you pursue your most ambitious plans and dreams, you’ll encounter more than most, and they must never be underestimated. There’s an arrogant complacency in thinking your customer or prospective employer will simply believe you’re the best because you’ve said so. Only one company or individual can rightfully claim to be #1. Rising to the top among people with whom you are competing – whether for a customer’s business or a dream job – takes hard work, cunning and determination. Hope is not a strategy. As Vince Lombardi said, the man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.

I found out early on that you can’t do today’s job with yesterday’s methods or mediocre service and hope to be in business tomorrow. First, determine exactly who and what you’re up against, and then develop outside-the-box methods to infiltrate your enemy’s camp. In my fourth book, Rule #1 Don’t Be #2, I describe a covert tool I developed early on my road to success which I call “mystery shopping”. This strategic recon work involves representing yourself as a competitor’s potential customer to explore and identify what they’re doing differently and possibly more effectively. Every competitor knew something I didn’t, and through diligent research, I was able to visualize their playbook. It’s one of the ways I was able to reach the top of my game in finance and create a “sales call to conversion” rate of 78.5 percent, which is a staggering 75% higher than the average of 3%.

Don’t overlook the many ways to research competitors online. Exploring the social media platforms of both individuals and businesses is a great way to assess their messaging, values and target markets. You’ll be surprised by how much you’ll learn, and you’ll be a far more impressive candidate, presenter or business owner if you can demonstrate topic or market intelligence beyond the norm.

For example, this recon will be essential when you engage in the interviewing process. Prospective employers will dismiss you instantly if you can’t answer questions regarding the company you claim to want to join. Enthusiasm and a slick resume will only take you so far. Demonstrate expertise with regard to their mission and product or service line, as well as more obscure facts not every candidate will have been able to excavate. Don’t leave anything to chance. Choice, not circumstance, determines your success.

Some people have told me they’re not comfortable with researching competition. That sounds like either laziness or an excuse to me, and both must be avoided at all cost if you’re going to distinguish yourself among the rest. Excuses are nothing more than self- sabotage. Think of getting the handle on your competition as an investment in yourself you can’t afford not to make. If you’re not willing to step out of your comfort zone, you’re probably not really committed to winning that contract or big promotion you’re dreaming of.  Well, you can sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them.

Getting out in front of your competition is only one of the many lessons I share in Rule #1 Don’t Be #2. These are the lessons that have fueled my success. I’ve used them to persevere, and I use them still today. Like anyone who has achieved substantial success despite being tested by failure and adversity, I’ve found that the difference between those who will merely dream of success and those who will successfully reach their dream lies in attitude and action.

Here’s the bottom line: success or failure is only determined by where you decide to stop, and stopping should never be an option even when you do succeed. Whenever I encounter people who tirelessly go the extra mile in their quest to reach their dream, I’m reminded that amateurs practice until they get it right, but professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.  My goal is always to be better than I was yesterday. As I always say, success is never owned. It’s rented, and the rent is due every day.

 


Daniel Milstein is the CEO and founder of the Gold Star Family of Companies, operating in over 40 offices worldwide, specializing in financial services, sports management, publishing, and film production. Under Dan’s visionary leadership, Gold Star has been named among Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America. He is a best-selling author and shares his other strategies for success in his new book Rule #1 Don’t Be #2: You Get What You Work For, Not What You Wish For.  Learn more at DanMilstein.com.

Guest Blog: Three Things You Must Tell Yourself Today by Daniel Milstein

Milstein bookIn Rule #1 Don’t Be #2 I share the incredibly valuable lessons I’ve learned on my path to achieving great and lasting success.  Among the most critical, but one I find most people overlook, is the importance of keeping your self-talk positive.

As the sole architect of your destiny, you need to make sure you’re utilizing one of your greatest tools: your own voice. It’s that inner voice that will help you formulate a plan and drown out the external voices of critics and naysayers. Your voice holds the power to boost your confidence and help you both navigate and learn from setbacks when they occur.

Be very honest with yourself. Is your own voice joining the negative chorus of doubters? If the answer is yes, you’ll need to reprogram your thought process by telling yourself these three things today – and every day –for the rest of your life.

  1. Do it Now!

Procrastination is like quicksand. If left unchecked, it will pull you into a quagmire of crippling indecision. You’ll make excuse after excuse that will eventually foreclose on your dream. If you’re continually telling yourself it’s okay to do nothing, then nothing will be what you achieve. Instead, allow your inner voice to motivate you from morning ‘til night, and fiercely commit to your dream with a sense of urgency. Remember, the difference between “could” and “did” lies in planning and action, so become your own greatest coach and advocate for change. Don’t take no for an answer, especially from yourself.

  1. I Deserve This!

Whenever I meet someone who’s allowed their dream to derail, or who appears to be passing up opportunities for personal growth or improvement, I always ask why they don’t deserve their absolute best. If you’re among the folks who are settling for anything less than the success about which you dream, you simply must get out of your own way by escaping your dangerous comfort zone. Whatever your dream may be – whether it’s pursuing a career change you’ve always wanted, or finishing your degree, begin by reminding yourself that you deserve a brighter future, and then invest in yourself by giving your all to you. Never cut corners on what’s most important: your happiness.

  1. I Know I Can!

Fear of failure, including the inability to reclaim your forward momentum after a set-back, is one of the greatest obstacles to success, and one that can often be effectively addressed by empowering your inner voice. We all have fears, but we can’t habitually make fear-based decisions, or we’ll never reach our full potential. If we allow fear to paralyze our progress, we’ll create a blueprint for mediocrity, and miss the priceless lessons only trial and error can reveal. Make sure your self-talk is stronger than your fear, and relentlessly affirm, “Yes, I can!” I understand overcoming fear is not an overnight process, and may also require that you take advantage of additional resources at your disposal, such as individual therapy. I know that it can be extremely uncomfortable to get out there on whatever happens to be your personal “ledge”, but the feeling of freedom is incomparable, and I assure you the view will be spectacular.

As I look back at the journey I’ve traveled to achieving success, I can definitely attest to the power of my own self-talk. There have been fears and set-backs to be sure, but I resolved the first time I met the wake-up call of ground-shaking disappointment to never consider myself as having failed. I either win or I learn. There are times when the road will be steep, challenging and tiring. It is during those especially trying days that you must be able to rely upon your inner voice to drive you on. It will mean the difference between giving up and persevering. The only time you run out of chances is when you stop taking them.

Start listening to your voice today. What are you saying?  Do you believe you can succeed? It’s true that whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re going to be right.  When you do find yourself achieving success, make sure your self-talk remains positive and motivating. You don’t want to start telling yourself you’ve arrived and become complacent. As I always say, success is never owned. It’s rented and the rent is due every day.”

 


Daniel Milstein is the CEO and founder of the Gold Star Family of Companies, operating in over 40 offices worldwide, specializing in financial services, sports management, publishing, and film production. Under Dan’s visionary leadership, Gold Star has been named among Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America. He is a best-selling author and shares his other strategies for success in his new book Rule #1 Don’t Be #2: You Get What You Work For, Not What You Wish For.  Learn more at DanMilstein.com.

Guest Blog: Creating a Positively (or Negatively) Contagious Culture

Today’s Guest Blogger is author, Anese Cavanaugh. Anese discusses how we can “show up” and use the Super 7 to support our cultivation.

When we talk about creating culture, it’s easy to get sucked into an “outside-in” approach. “What will we do? What are the things we’ll put in place to create an awesome culture?” Free lunches, cool rooftops, foosball tables, karaoke night, field trips, trust building, organizational values roundtables, and other initiatives are all created with the best of intentions. Some of the initiatives are effective and inspiring; while others fall flat, feeling like something being “done to” people or a “box being checked”.

Regardless how many things we do to create an awesome culture, if we’re missing the fundamentals, we’ll only get so far.

We have to look at the being of culture… not just the doing.

In order to bring people along and have them feel invested and engaged, we have to ask questions like, “How do we want to show up? What will we stand for? Who will we have to be to cultivate and nourish the culture we want?” And then we want to invite each other into the conversation.

These questions give us a couple of great places to look.

First, who will YOU be as a leader? How will you show up in order to create the kind of culture you desire?

It all counts.

People often think that culture is up to “the other guy”, “the leadership team”, or the infamous “they”. While these “guys” all play a role in impacting culture, what’s even more accurate and powerful is that each person in an organization (or any system) creates the culture – we emanate the culture we want (or don’t want) to be a part of.

Who the leader is being creates culture, who you are creates the culture, the janitor, the CEO, and everyone else has their own unique stamp on culture creation. We can’t help it. We’re human. We create culture together simply by how we show up.

It starts with how we decide to show up everyday, how we regard others, how accountable we are for our actions, if we walk our talk, what we tolerate, how honest we are, our intentions, our energy, and our presence with others. We are our best bet at creating what we want. And we’re contagious. We set the tone.

This super power can be used for good or bad. Sincerely dig into this idea collaboratively as a team — or even better an organization – and you can create whatever culture you wish.

In addition to showing up, you want to consider what kind of structures, principles, and agreements you have in place to support you and your organization in creating the most healthy and positive container to grow that culture in.

In Contagious Culture I talk about 7 very useful components to consider when setting yourself up for success (or not) in creating a healthy culture. I call these the “Super 7 of Cultural Health”.

Without knowing too much about each of these, I’ll bet you can already start to assess which one’s you and your organization are strong in and which need some TLC.

The Super 7:

  1. Shared values, vision, and purpose
  2. The intention of contribution and service
  3. Safety to show up, speak the truth, and take risks
  4. Curiosity and vulnerability
  5. Accountability and ownership
  6. Reciprocity
  7. Conscious measurement and rewards

When you have these 7 humming (or at least sincerely in process) you build trust, amplify positive energy, and create an environment where people can show up authentically and powerfully at work. Ready? Go. Be. Do.

 

About the Author

Anese Cavanaugh is the author of Contagious Culture: Show Up, Set the Tone, and Intentionally Create an Organization That Thrives. She’s also the creator of the IEP Method® (Intentional Energetic Presence®), a framework for helping people create positive impact.

 

Guest Blog: Every Leader Has Secrets – What are Yours?

Today’s Guest Blogger is AmyK Hutchens, Founder of AmyK Inc., a firm specializing in leadership, innovation and sales Think Tanks. For more from AmyK, sign up for her webinar:

How to Webinar: How to Win Big in Business and in LifeWin Big in Business and in Life
Date: 
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Time:
12:00 PM
Speaker:
AmyK Hutchens

 

 

 

 

Every Leader Has Secrets – What are Yours?
by AmyK Hutchens

Part I

There are reasons why leaders pop antacids, drink a little too much, abuse their power, lose followers or fall from grace. Everyone keeps secrets and leaders are no exception. In fact, there are three specific secrets leaders share that prevent them from achieving greater success faster: Imposter Syndrome, Self-Criticism Fixation and Comparison Condition. These afflictions, when not dealt with, truncate success. However, when they are overcome, not only do they unleash potential, they help leaders meet and exceed their vision.

1. Imposter Syndrome is when leaders experience feelings of inadequacy and chronic self-doubt that persist even when results indicate that the opposite is true. Leaders often have the internal mantra, “I do not belong here. I’m not worthy of being taken seriously, and everyone will soon discover that I’m a fraud.” Unfortunately, many successful, smart, talented leaders believe they are neither good enough nor have enough to play in the coveted sandbox of “innovator and game changer.” These leaders end up behaving poorly in an attempt to cover up their fears. Leaders who fear being “caught” may avoid taking risks that could reveal their perceived inadequacies, or they settle for less, not believing they deserve better than mediocre results, mediocre talent or average opportunities. These fears undermine their success by manifesting real life mistakes and self-induced failures.

When leaders replace their feelings of inadequacy and paranoia about being discovered a “fraud” with a healthier, more realistic assessment about their strengths and contributions, they build self-confidence. Their confidence then helps them move forward with greater momentum. When leaders focus less on their skill-gaps and more on how best to leverage their gifts and talents, as well as the gifts and talents of those they lead, they create new value.

 

To continue reading about the other 2 secrets, Self-Criticism Fixation and Comparison Condition, check back next week for Part II of AmyK Hutchens’ Guest Blog.

Guest Blog: The 6 Critical Steps Required to Transform Culture

Part II of John Mattone’s thoughts on cultural transformations in your organization
Don’t forget to sign up for John’s webinar with us, tomorrow, January 26th!

social business culture-expertIP

The 6 Critical Steps Required to Transform Culture

  1. Culture starts with the CEO. Are you a CEO who ‘Thinks Different” and “Thinks Big”?
  2. Do you counter-balance “Thinking Different” and “Thinking Big” with heavy doses of humility? In other words, do you have the guts to be vulnerable and recognize that while you may be great in certain areas both individually and collectively as a company, you still have …gaps that need to be addressed to achieve greatness? Are you able to see and feel the pain associated with staying the same and are you able to get your team to see and feel the pain? People only consider changing when the pain associated with staying the same is perceived to be worse than the pain associated with change.
  3. Creating a compelling future for your people and teams? It starts with great leadership at all levels.
  4. Are you able to change mindsets? If you can change mind sets you can change behavior. If you can change behavior, you will change results.
  5. Are you able to push the talent levers in support of your new culture?
  6. Are you passionate and diligent in measuring progress and course-correcting?

Corporate Culture Exists Whether You Define It or Not

Whether you articulate it or not, your organization has its own culture. When corporate culture is ignored, it might evolve in a way that’s good, but then again, it might calcify into a culture that drives away your best people and stifles improvement efforts. Know the goals you want the organization to achieve and learn what changes are necessary to achieve them. Change is hard, but nothing worthwhile is easy.

 

About John Mattone

John Mattone is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on leadership, talent and culture. He is the author of eight books, including three best-sellers and has been recognized by The Thinkers 50 and Globalgurus.com as one of the world’s top ten leadership authorities and executive coaches.

 

No women? Leaky Pipeline? Here’s how to fix it.

Today’s guest blogger is Jodi Detjen, Managing Partner at Orange Grove Consulting, Professor of the Practice in Management at Suffolk University in Boston, MA and co-author of The Orange Line:

Microsoft announced on November 23 that the percentage of women decreased by almost 2.5% since last year.  The reason? Changes in their workplace meant that women – who predominated on the production line – were laid off.  The real reason?  Too many women at the bottom and too few at the top:  The leaky pipeline.

Too often excuses about the leaky pipeline are rationalized as women’s choices or insufficient talent availability.  In fact, there are two key reasons why the pipeline continues to drip.

Reason #1 is entrenched organizational bias that limits decision makers’ ability to see alternatives.  Decision makers fall into the trap of promoting people that look and act just like me rather than identifying candidates outside the traditional path.  Managers make decisions for women rather than asking them (e.g. she won’t want to do that international trip; she has young kids at home). Women hear comments like: she shouldn’t present; it’s an audience of all men and they will want to hear a man speak. It also limits the way work is defined such that work becomes focused on how many hours we can extract from employees rather than cultivating ideas and innovation.

Reason #2 is more hidden and less identified.  These are the hidden assumptions women make about themselves that limit their career ambitions.  These too show up as rationalizations: I can’t go on that international trip; who will take care of the kids? I can’t ask my husband. Or as limited opportunities:  I don’t want that promotion.  I’ve never done that before.  I’m not qualified.  I’ll try in a few years.  After a while, these hidden assumptions start to become fact and become unconscious.

The problem with unconscious bias is that we don’t see it.  The problem with raising consciousness is we don’t know what to do about it.  The way to manage both reasons is to face the bias head on and then shift our mindset about it.  That is, we notice the bias, we look at the impact, then we reframe how we think about it.  Instead of she shouldn’t present, we ask, who’s the most competent and compelling speaker for this audience?  Instead of I don’t want that promotion we think, that promotion will help me grow.  I will learn and be able to contribute more. I will figure out the details as I go.

Changing our mindset changes everything.  We move from a limited, contracted world-view to one with significantly more options.  We have choices.  We can experiment.  And the end result?  The pipeline stops leaking.  Working with only one reason won’t work.  The bias is in both places.  The solution isn’t easy but it also isn’t impossible.  We simply reframe.

detjen
Jodi Detjen
Jodi@orangegroveconsulting.com
@jodidetjen

For more information on overcoming biases in the workplace, join Jodi Detjen for our upcoming Soundview Live webinar, Overcoming the Biases that Can Limit Women’s Careers on Tuesday, December 8th.

 

From Outsourcing To Global Talent: Common issues

Our guest blogger today is Ernest Gundling, PhD, Managing Partner at Aperian Global, a consulting firm he co-founded in 1990, and coauthor of Leading Across New Borders: How to Succeed as the Center Shifts.

 

Many companies with established outsourcing operations have found that the talent picture is changing. Tens of thousands of employees in places like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Surat, or Noida were originally hired to crunch data overnight while their Western counterparts slept, or to write pieces of code that were parceled out by project managers located elsewhere. However, people who have been performing these roles for years now have become more technically adept and have greater business experience; younger employees are also entering the workforce with higher expectations from the beginning.

Employees in traditional outsourcing locations now often aspire to broader and more responsible roles: leading project teams, interfacing directly with customers, authoring entire reports, scoping and designing new systems. Firms that are able to meet these aspirations will retain their top talent; those that do not are likely to lose it. It is not easy to make the transition from existing outsourcing roles to a global talent approach that matches each employee’s developmental stage with the opportunities available around the world. Beyond simply placing an employee in a new role, there are often critical skill gaps that need to be addressed. Consider the mutually frustrating encounter between a Western manager and his Indian counterpart outlined below.

Example: The Report
Michael, a team leader for a pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland, comments,

“Two weeks ago, I sent a report along to our team in Surat with the raw data and information on the target audience. I followed up with a check-in call to make sure that Jas, the person in India assigned to this project, had gotten the documents and see if he had any questions. I told him that, ideally, I needed the report in two weeks, and asked if he was okay with that. He said, ‘sure.’

“Two weeks later, I got the report back and saw that while Jas had integrated the raw data, the implications had not been interpreted at all. The key messages were not clear and the nuances in the tone and language were just not right for my European audience. Actually, the report was unfinished in many ways. So it was now up to me to rewrite it, without any cushion time, which then impacted my deadline. I would say that this feels pretty typical of my interaction with the team in Surat, although they are supposed to be providing end-to-end report writing services.

“I expected Jas to take the data and interpret it based on his expertise. He should be able to discern which messages need to come across to the audience and then craft those messages in a way that will make sense to our audience and add value to me. It will be quicker for me to just do the rewrite now rather than spend so much time explaining all the changes. I expect another professional like me to be able to own the communication he is writing and deliver a product that is complete, on time, and reflects a deep understanding of the material. We don’t necessarily get that from our team there. If there is a question about something, I am always available. I am just an e-mail away. But those questions should come up early enough for me to address them, without impacting the deadline.”

Meanwhile, Jas, an Indian team leader based in Surat, expresses his own frustrations:

“The project with Michael could have gone better. When Michael called, I had not yet had time to look at the documents he had sent since I was working on a couple of other reports. So I didn’t have any questions at that time and figured I could rely on my team here in Surat to figure out any elements I didn’t understand. The thing is, I can constantly discuss and get help with my local team if I have an issue, but how can I do this with Michael? I don’t even know him. If I start out by asking a million questions, he will think that I don’t know anything and I will lose credibility with him.

“When I finally got around to looking through the materials that Michael sent, I realized that it would take a lot of time to write this report. By that time, I only had a week left to complete it. I worked late hours with other members of my team trying to finish this document to meet Michael’s timeline. I was hopeful that we could complete it, but we were only able to finish it to a certain level. Anyway, it’s better that I get Michael’s input on what we already have written and then make changes from there.”

Often they give us only a small amount of information and then get angry when we aren’t able to read their minds. I am just responsible for doing the work I am given, to the specifications which have been outlined. Our client stakeholders determine those specifications. I am not in a position to argue with that. If they would give me more information or be more readily available—or if we had a relationship—that would be different. But the work is still just thrown over the wall to me and then there is silence. I try to match the specifications they send, but they often want me to make things up out of thin air. It is not my place to be offering my opinions in this kind of paper. I am just trying to give them what they want.”

Key Competencies
This dynamic between Michael and Jas points to the core struggles in play as organizations try to reposition themselves for global relevance. Most organizations recognize the trends and are in the process of aligning themselves to benefit from the global economic shifts. But they have found that their internal talent management processes are unable to keep up with, much less effectively drive, the organization’s global growth. The transition to global talent sourcing, it turns out, is not just a matter of hiring more global workers. It requires a colossal mindset shift in the organization and new approaches to delegation, teamwork, employee engagement, knowledge transfer, performance evaluation, and developing the competencies needed to make all of these possible.

Accountability & Communication

There are many components to building an executive presence, including posture, dress, gestures such as the form of one’s initial greetings, and so on. The rules for these are largely unwritten and vary somewhat by culture. There are also important general skills required of employees who aspire to join the executive ranks in most multinationals. There are clearly things that Jas could do in the report scenario just discussed to make the interaction more successful. Becoming a full-fledged global team partner brings with it a higher level of accountability. He currently appears to be expressing a kind of passive/aggressive attitude that is unlikely to establish him as an executive peer. If he wants others to see him as a true global partner, he needs to take more responsibility and initiative, and step out of an outsourcing mindset himself. There is a danger that he will create a self-fulfilling prophecy: if he assumes that he is being treated as a second-class corporate citizen and acts accordingly, he may find that this is indeed the way that others treat him, even if corporate policy is to move away from outsourcing. How can Jas get a virtuous cycle going by altering his approach?

If Jas is unclear about his responsibilities, it’s up to him to reach out and request clarification from Michael while expressing his intention to get the job done. It is not helpful to his reputation to provide a half-baked response and feel resentful about his role, especially if he is assuming that the ultimate responsibility lies elsewhere. Jas also needs to cultivate a particular skill of distilling and communicating key messages. Inexperienced people in his position tend to provide large volumes of detail without sufficiently digesting or interpreting the information. The term “executive summary” highlights the expectations of leaders who are exposed to large volumes of information on a daily basis. They want to know the main points and to have the option to drill down for further detail as needed; likewise, they expect their peers to be able to both synthesize and probe.

Several familiar cultural patterns were probably in the background of the initial response Jas gave to Michael: deference to hierarchy, a preference for relationship-based interactions, and reluctance to draw direct conclusions for others who will make their own inferences. For Jas to be effective at higher levels in this organization, however, he will need to understand these patterns and take steps to flex his own style. It is neither possible nor desirable for him to become a Westerner, but his current mentality will not serve him well in a global leadership position. Jas may find that Michael is amenable to meeting him partway if he asks him for help and expresses an eagerness to learn new skills.

Developing Future Leaders

There is responsibility on both sides in this example. It is all too common for a person in Michael’s role to conclude that Jas lacks business acumen and other essential leadership capabilities,evaluating the report Jas has produced negatively while doing the work himself or steering it elsewhere. Michael can help to break the cycle of unmet expectations and critical performance evaluation by reaching out to Jas and learning more about his capabilities and developmental needs.

It may be that Jas is not the right person for the role, but it is more likely that he needs hands-on mentoring, exposure to best practice models, and constructive feedback that will enable him to grow into his position. Jas will feel more comfortable talking about his developmental needs if he feels that Michael believes in him and is actively involved in providing support. Michael will also be better able to target what he delegates, and to accurately anticipate and rely upon the work that Jas produces. They should get to know each other a lot better, and this is a worthwhile investment of Michael’s time in spite of the geographical and cultural distance that separates them.

Organizations committed to global talent development will make sure that Michael is also held accountable for enabling his global colleagues such as Jas to move to the next level of performance. Leaders who are consistently able to do this will in the long run add far greater value to their companies than they will by deliberately or inadvertently shutting the door to those who could learn rapidly with the right kind of guidance.

Global Talent: The Rewards
Moving from mutual frustration to effective collaboration is complex because it requires a level of self-awareness and conscious effort from everyone involved. Jas cannot do all the work himself, and neither should Michael. When enough key individuals do learn to work together in a way that combines their skills, however, the results can be quite powerful, including retention of vital personnel, greater employee engagement, mutual learning, and higher levels of performance all around. Companies that create the formula for this will discover a powerful accelerator to their global growth, and a competitive edge versus rivals that remain stuck in old outsourcing models.

To learn more about leading in a global economy, join Dr. Gundling for our Soundview Live webinar: Leading Across New Borders.

Tips for Telling Compelling Stories When Training Leaders

Our guest blogger today is Dr. Paul White, author of Sync or Swim, continuing from last week’s blog on telling stories.

John was struggling with how to handle a difficult situation with a key vendor for the company. He went to his supervisor, Stephanie, and asked her advice on what he should do.  Rather than telling him what to do, or even giving her direct input, Stephanie replied, “John, let me tell you a story …”  She went on to tell a story about an experience she had early in her career and the   consequences of her decision over the years. When she was done, she paused and waited.  After a few seconds of silence, John smiled and said:  “Got it.  Thanks.”  He stood up and left the room, even though Stephanie hadn’t directly answered his question.

Throughout history and across cultures, stories have been used more than any other form of verbal expression to communicate foundational life lessons.   If you read the Greek philosophers, the wisdom literature from Asia, and the literature across the centuries designed to teach guiding principles for life – the “authors” used stories grounded in daily life rather than just stating the principle (or making lists of them, as most business books and articles do today.)

Tips for Telling Stories

Some people are natural storytellers – they just “do it”.  People listen to them, laugh, and enjoy hearing their stories.  For the rest of us, we need to work at it a bit.  Otherwise, our stories seem to fall flat with little impact on our listeners and sometimes there is just an awkward silence when we finish.  So here are some tips for learning to tell effective stories.

Where to Get Your Stories.  There are several sources for stories but the best one is your life.   You’ve gone through some situations that were challenging, hair-raising, and funny.  You were there so it is easy for you to remember. Some personal experiences and the stories that flow from that have to do with direct life experience.  You were there, felt the feelings, know what the dangers were, and how you felt when you got through the situation.  Other experiences are more indirect.  You were there but it was someone else going through the situation and you watched what happened (think about your parents while you were growing up, situations with your children, trips with friends).

A second treasure trove of stories are those told by others. This can include stories told by friends and family, stories told by authors in books, or the situations created and demonstrated in movies and TV shows. (By the way, movies are the modern cultural equivalent of orally told stories in past cultures.) YouTube videos also provide good visual short stories.  Note that trying to retell a story you’ve heard told by a friend can be difficult to tell effectively to others (especially if you only heard it once).

Practical Suggestions.  When telling a story, start by giving the context and setting (the “set up”) for what happens in the story is critical.  Some people start into a story without giving the listeners any clues either that they are telling a story or what the overall context is.  Next, share the main character’s perspective on what is going on – how did they see the situation?  What were they feeling?  This heightens the interest and energy level.  Then, make sure you get the sequence right. Not much “kills” a story more quickly than the storyteller having to go back and correct themselves (‘No, that’s not right.”) about what happened and when.  Clearly describing the challenge or dilemma (along with the person’s feeling response) is the next critical step.  Make sure your listeners know what the problem is that the character is facing, and their emotional response to the situation.  Tell what decision was made or the action chosen and then describe the result and its on impact you and the others in the situation.  Sometimes listeners “miss” an important part of the story or the context and need to be told exactly what happened and why it was important.  If needed, tell the lesson you learned.  In many stories, this is obvious, but sometimes the lesson you learned is important to delineate.

We all have interesting stories to tell. Sometimes we just need to stop and reflect, and then think about the best way to share the story in a way that will connect emotionally with others.

To learn more about communication at work, join Soundview and Dr. White for our webinar: Communicating Effectively Through Change.