Serving Leadership is a Verb!

Serving Leadership is a Verb; Action Is Required!

Much has been written about the concept of servant leadership. It can be a bit confusing due to the term “servant.” For some, it conjures up an image of a person hired to perform personal domestic duties, with little input toward planning and resources. Others tie it to a philosophy of unquestioning submissive service to others.

The real goal is to focus on the idea of leadership as service to others. I like to use the more descriptive term, “serving leadership.”

Noun vs. Verb; Title vs. Action

The use of the word serving changes the meaning from a title or position to a verb; an action. Consider these definitions of serve (serving) from a quick Google search:

  1. To perform duties or services for another person or organization
  2. To be of service to, be of use to, help, assist, aid, make a contribution to, do one’s bit for, do something for, benefit

That sounds like my idea of leadership.

Then, there is the second word, leadership. What do we really mean by that? My favorite definition of leadership comes from Michael McKinney: “Leadership is intentional influence.

The use of the word “intentional” is the key. There is serious thought in leadership; it is not random. There is foresight and planning; it is not accidental. We are deliberate and purposeful in our actions; not haphazard.

Add to that the idea of leadership as serving others – to help, assist, aid, and make a contribution to – and we have a powerful declaration of our role as leaders.

Serving leadership is intentional influence to actively support the people and goals of the team or organization.

How To Practice Serving Leadership

How can we be this type of leader? Here are some intentional actions to consider:

  • Be authentic, be real, be human; relate to your team members from a place of caring about them as people, first
  • Understand the mission and goals of the organization and enlist others in it through your clarity and passion
  • Provide the resources your team needs and clear any obstacles in their path
  • Encourage and reward achievement; coach and counsel accountability
  • Listen to the ideas of others, even when – especially when – they differ from your own
  • Walk the talk; be an example of the type of behavior you expect from others
  • Put people to work in their strengths zone whenever possible to maximize their performance opportunity and contributions to the team’s success

To Learn More, Contact Us.

Let  Alber Enterprise Center help your front line and mid-level leaders develop the practice of serving leadership. Our workshop “Leading the Challenge and Finding your Strengths” is the first step toward reducing turnover rates, increasing revenues, and improving quality.

Eleanor E. Biddulph is an operations effectiveness consultant and emerging leader coach. As a Leadership Studies graduate from Otterbein University, she has honed the skills necessary to lead a dynamic, complex and rapidly growing organization. Eleanor has also been trained through The Extreme Leadership Institute, and recently joined Alber Enterprise Center’s roster of expert solution providers. 

Elder Care: It Takes a Village

If you have an aging loved one — grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle, or family friend – living in a senior nursing community or being cared for at home by a home health organization, the people performing the most menial-sounding jobs may be the most important people in their lives. They are the van driver who takes them for a day out to the mall or to the clinic for dialysis; the laundry worker who picks up their dirty clothes every morning and brings them back clean and carefully hung or folded; the activities director who brings music, art and crafts to engage their minds, bodies and hearts; the housekeeper who cleans the floor no matter what mess s/he encounters. They also are the groundskeeper who mows the lawn and manicures the flower beds; the custodian who hangs a new memento on the wall; the hairdresser who keeps them neatly groomed.

My mother spent the final eight years of her life in a nursing facility. That became her permanent home, and almost everyone treated her as if she owned the place. She knew most of the staff by name and would share with me her interactions with them. It became clear after a few months that she only spoke in detail about the employees that I mentioned in the first paragraph. The nurses and aides, of course, were giving her the physical caring she needed to stay healthy, yet the non-clinical staff were the people she told me about. She knew about their marital status and family life, what they did on their non-working time, and their favorite hobbies. Mom didn’t get to know the clinical staff on the same personal level; they had many residents who demanded their expertise, and her interactions with clinical staff were focused on medical needs.

The next time you visit your aging loved one living in a senior community, pay attention to the staff:  not only those who are giving the meds or changing bedpans, but also those working behind the scenes to make life more comfortable for the residents.

Elder Care Certificate

Alber Enterprise Center has created a new training program for those on the front lines who would like some help understanding the challenges of the elders in their care. The Elder Care Certificate program, designed for anyone who cares for or interacts with older adults, is a wealth of information about issues facing our aging population. This program will transform the way participants work with elders and enhance their status as caring individuals. Participants will gain expertise in dealing with the aging population, will have a better understanding of the challenges seniors face, and will be better equipped with the interpersonal tools to function as contributing members of a caring team. The modules include topics in gerontology, personal effectiveness, communication, problem-solving, and leadership/customer service skills.

The 16-hour pilot program was delivered in 2017, and the 14 participants who were randomly selected to experience the program offered high praise for their experience. One stated, “The thing that touched and inspired us the most is that it changed our attitudes and the way we look at our residents.”  Another commented: “What is the #1 thing that I will use in the future? Listening:  Making each resident or coworker feel that they are very important and have my undivided attention.”

Alber Enterprise Center is in the process of licensing the curriculum through the university’s Technology Commercialization Office. To assure that the training is delivered to as many workers as possible throughout Ohio, the Center is seeking Extension educators who would like to become certified trainers for this program and offer it in their counties. For more information, contact Anne Johnson.6754@osu.edu or Myra Wilson.2025@osu.edu.

Embracing Strengths

Dr. Donald Clifton, the founder of CliftonStrengths®, asked the question, “What would happen if we studied what is right with people versus what is wrong with people? The CliftonStrengths movement is all about focusing on what we do well, while minimizing our weaknesses.”

CliftonStrengths is an assessment that can be taken (over 19 million people have) to identify your Top 5 Strengths (you can also unlock all 34 of your strength themes). You can then take a deeper dive into your strengths, see where they play out in your life, both professionally and personally. What you will most likely find is that areas where you excel can in some way be tied back to one of your Top 5 strengths.

For example, Relator is my #1 strength. The definition of Relator is, “People who are especially talented in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.” Relationships, deep and meaningful, have always been an important part of my life, in general. In my work as an Organization Development Consultant, it is all about developing relationships. This is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work and it is something I enjoy very much.

Another strength, called Woo (winning others over), is defined as, “People who are especially talented in the Woo theme love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection with another person.” This is not a strength of mine. Walking into a room of people I do not know is very difficult for me. WOO is #30 out of #34 for me. In those situations, I leverage my Relator and try and meet 1 or 2 people, rather than “work the room” and talk with everyone.

A group of leaders in Hardin County are currently going through an eight-session community leadership development program. This is for adults who aspire to or find themselves in elected, appointed or volunteer leadership roles in their communities. One of the key objectives is to offer educational experiences which will allow participants to explore who they are and how they are uniquely gifted for the work of leading.

For the last two years, Hardin Leadership has included a CliftonStrengths session from the Alber Enterprise Center. According to Kathy Oliver, Chairperson for Hardin Leadership, “Strengths is a perfect fit in the Hardin Leadership curriculum. We offer this session as the third one, just as the participants have become comfortable with the others in the program. They are ready to explore openly. I think these selected comments reveal the value the participants received from the session:

**I found the different strengths very interesting. This helps understand the different thought processes that people have.

**I can’t think of other people’s strengths as weakness just because they don’t align with my strengths.

**How to use my strengths to my advantage and to the team I’m building.

**Knowing others’ strengths can help you work together in a work environment.

**Thank you for the validation!”

There are so many ways to embrace your strengths. According to Gallup, “The highest level of performance comes from those who focus on strengths while managing weakness.” What you will find by taking this assessment is insight and understanding in a way that you most likely have not experienced before. Or, another way to put, you might have a light bulb moment!

 Take the opportunity to get to know yourself in a whole new way. You won’t regret it.

by Anne Johnson, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach

Anne’s Top 5 strengths are: Relator | Responsibility | Arranger | Learner| Belief

To take the assessment, go to: https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com

The Credible Leader

Credibility is the fundamental trait that every excellent leader must embody.  The traits of a credible leader are demonstrated by their words.  How many of these do you say on a regular basis?

 

What do you need?

 

Great leaders get things done through others. So after setting a clear course ahead, they ask regularly, “What do you need?”  After all, to ensure that our teams succeed, we must make sure they have everything they need.  Knock down obstacles, provide resources, guidance, and clarity.  We serve them so that they succeed.

 

Tell me more.

 

Great leaders don’t jump to conclusions, but hear out the full story so they can make better decisions.  Our team members crave being heard and when there are two sides, both sides want a full hearing.  Ask for details.  It’s the details that matter.  This runs counter to our culture of a fast pace and too much to do.  Great leaders know when to step back, slow down, and intentionally focus on the matter at hand.

 

Keep in mind our values…

 

If your team ever gets off track or is having trouble with a decision, elevate the discussion and go back to your core values.  It brings clarity and focus on what truly matters most.  On a regular basis, insert your core values into any discussion and watch how it fosters ownership and engagement.

 

I trust you.

 

Foster more trust with your team by expressing your trust in them.  This says you believe in them and have confidence in their skills and abilities to get the job done.  When we give others a great reputation to live up to, they will strive to reach it.  

 

Well done!

 

Great leaders celebrate and talk about high performance.  They cultivate gratitude when effort is shown, goals are met, or just when everyone pulled together.  It’s inspiring when it happens and great leaders talk about proud stories of achievement. 

 

So, how did you do?  How many of the above have you said to your team?  Less than perfect?  No problem.  Let this be a reminder to say what highly credible leaders say.

 

Here at the Alber Center, we have a passion for helping leaders be their best.  If this short article was useful, please consider partnering with us to help make this year your organization’s best ever.  Leadership matters and it would be an honor to come alongside you to foster the leadership that builds healthy, high-performing teams. 

A Humble Ride

In the “staging” area, about to start pedaling with hundreds of others in the 10th annual Pelotonia cycling event for cancer research.

Pelotonia. You’ve heard about it, no doubt, from the thousands of riders, corporate sponsors, co-workers, friends and neighbors. In fact, many of you are likely riders or volunteers. Born from a mission to mobilize people toward one goal – to end cancer – Pelotonia has become a sustaining and far-reaching movement. The green arrows that are part of the brand identity can be seen in front of rural farms and as murals on the side of skyscraper buildings.

This is about my first experience with Pelotonia – as a rider this 10th anniversary year on August 4, 2018. While I had participated in other organized bike races/fundraising efforts in past years, I had hesitated to ride in Pelotonia because of the sheer numbers of participants. “The Greatest Team Ever” and over 8,000 bicyclists had seemed overwhelming and daunting to me. I had thought, with that many riders, how can it be well organized? Will I be “safe”?

I rode this year because I decided to step out of my comfort zone just a little – for my sister, Rachel, who suffered cancer twice in her life and fought the battle until August 25, 2012. I rode for my dad, who lived until nearly age 80 after his diagnosis of prostate cancer that was caught too late.  I rode for my niece, Karen, my neighbor, Trish, and my sisters-in-law Adrienne and Marcy – all of whom have survived breast cancer. And so many others.

While I raised $1,685 for cancer research, I also raised my level of gratitude, humility and awareness of the far-reaching effects of cancer. To say this was an eye-opening experience would be an understatement. I was fueled by people whom I met before and during the 45 mile trek.

I had intended to ride with the Team Marion cyclists – some riding the century and others in the 45 route, like me. However, God must have had other plans for me because they hit the road early and I was left to find other cyclists to keep me company…not a difficult feat by any stretch!  I’m a people-person, and before I had even checked in at the registration table – where volunteers cheered for me as a first-timer – I met a couple from my little hometown of Bellville, Ohio.

The couple, wearing Team Buckeye bike jerseys, happened to be the parents of a boy who has persevered through cancer and become well-known in my area for his inspiring and positive

attitude.  After the initial, awkward, handlebar-to-handlebar start along High Street in downtown  Columbus, I came upon a “Survivor” jersey in front of me, worn by a woman I’ll call Mary. I pedaled up next to her and we chatted. Mary couldn’t have been more than 35 years old, and she told me she had survived treatment for Hodgkin’s (or Hodgkin)-Lymphoma.  What struck me the most was when she said this: “I had one of the most treatable kinds of cancer. With Hodgkin’s-Lymphoma, about 90 percent of those diagnosed see a full recovery after treatment, so I had a realistic hope that I’d be OK after undergoing chemo. There was light at the end of the tunnel. What I want to see – what I’m riding for – is all those other cancer patients…we should ALL be able to have that realistic hope for recovery.”

This Pelotonia rider couldn’t agree more.

 

Alice Hutzel-Bateson is the Communications-Marketing Coordinator for Alber Enterprise Center. For information about Pelotonia, visit http://pelotonia.org/

 

How to Understand and Deal with Different Generations

To effectively deal with the four generations of employees and customers, we first need to get to know them.

Matures – born before 1946

These people could be your parents, grandparents or even your great-grandparents. They tend to be task oriented. Matures believe in rules of conduct and respect for authority. When they were young, they did not question; they simply did as they were told. Society was characterized by a militaristic, top-down structure. After all, many matures grew up during World War II or the Korean War. Members of this generation, for the most part, want conformity and rules.

There has always been inter-generational conflict. Members of the next generation (Baby Boomers) probably approached Matures with “You know, maybe there is a better way to do things.” Matures likely responded with, “No! This is the way has always been done. And it always will be done this way!”

Baby Boomers – born between 1946 and 1964

Most members of the next generation of employees desire meaningful work, and to have a bottom-line impact on the success of the organization. But they also want praise, recognition and appreciation for their extra hours and hard work, as well as the resulting financial rewards that accompany them. Boomers live to work.

In general, this generation is probably the most materialistic of the four. The attendees of my workshops theorize as to why the generations act the way that they do. One attendee speculated that Baby Boomers are so materialistic because many of their parents, who were Matures, struggled financially while they were growing up. Therefore, Matures instructed their Baby Boomer sons and daughters, “We don’t want you to deal with the hard times that we had to endure. Go make something of yourselves!” So Boomers did.

Generation Y – born between 1965 and 1980

Many of my attendees who are Gen Y feel like they are the forgotten generation. “Everybody seems to talk about Baby Boomers and Millennials,” they say. “Nobody seems to ever mention us.”

Like the Baby Boomers, most of Generation Y wants meaningful work. But with that desire comes an important caveat: they also desire a healthy work-life balance. They want relaxed dress codes, flexible leave policies and a freedom to do their job. Finally, they want a boss who is sensitive to their need for work flexibility and family values.

Millennials – born between 1981 and 1995

The next group is currently the largest generation in the workforce. Millennials (or Generation Y), for the most part, want to participate on a variety of substantial, important projects, which will allow them to learn and use new skills, especially their technical skills.

Millennials desire work that is personally rewarding. Because, unlike Baby Boomers who live to work, Millennials only work to live. They believe in Y.O.L.O. – you only live once – so you need to experience all that life has to offer, especially outside the job.

This generation likely wants a boss who is more like a coach or mentor; they dislike bosses who are formal or hierarchical.

Some interesting facts about Millennials …

What percent of today’s adults are currently married with children compared to Baby Boomers of the same age?

  • Baby Boomers – 50%
  • Millennials – 12%

What percent of Millennials expect to stay on the job for less than three years?

  • 91% – which will translate into 15 to 20 jobs over their working lives

Where do Millennials want to live?

  • 41% say in or near the cities

The key to success in dealing with each of these four different generations is the platinum rule – do onto others the way that they would like to be done unto.

 

Changes are Coming to Hazardous Waste Management

Changes Coming to Hazardous and Universal Waste Management in Ohio

Hazardous waste generator improvements are coming!   These changes are good, but will require generators here in Ohio to review their hazardous waste programs and be prepared to incorporate these changes by May 2019.

New definitions, requirements and regulatory references have been established for all categories of waste generators and also changing the smallest waste generator category known as Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQGs), to now be called Very Small Quantity Generators (VSQGs).   All the changes are far too extensive to cover in a short blog, but some of the most significant changes will be covered.

Satellite Accumulation Point Management

 EPA has revised quantity limits for acute hazardous wastes (1 qt for liquids and 1 kg for solids) at satellite accumulation points as well as marking requirements on hazardous waste containers at satellite accumulation points.  Containers must still be marked with the words “Hazardous Waste” but now also have markings indicating the “Hazards” of the waste.

For Small and Large Quantity Generators, Satellite Accumulation Points must now meet generator-specific emergency preparedness and planning requirements, which previously only applied to a generators 90-day or 180-day centralized storage areas.

Emergency Preparedness and Planning

Requirements pertaining to emergency preparedness have been expanded to include posting emergency response information “next to telephones or in areas directly involved in waste generation and accumulation of hazardous waste”.  Further, all Large Quantity Generators (LQGs) will be required to prepare and submit to local first responders or the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) a Quick Reference Guide.

Episodic Generation

Many generators have been forced to scramble to meet higher generator category requirements or take the risk and liability of being in non-compliance when unplanned (or even planned) hazardous waste generation causes the generator to exceed their normal generator category limits.  Under the new rulemaking, EPA allows for a one time episodic hazardous waste generation event (planned or unplanned) allowing a VSQG or SGQ to remain in their normal waste generator category.

Source:  https://www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/final-rule-hazardous-waste-generator-improvements

 

High Performing Teams

High Performing Teams:  Three Pitfalls to Avoid

Have you ever been on a really great team?  Why was it great?

Great teams that accomplish amazing goals and are enjoyable to be on do not happen by accident.  It takes a savvy team leader and team members who are willing to risk sharing their unique strengths and differences for the good of the team.

How do we build these great teams and what are some of the pitfalls to avoid?

#1 – Negative Thinking

Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.  Helen Keller

Building great teams starts with building a strong foundation of respect and trust.  Without these, the team will always struggle with communication, judgmental attitudes, personal agendas, and lack of valuable transparency.  Teams that have a foundation of trust perform better.  According to Paul J. Zak in his Harvard Business Review article, the Neuroscience of Trust, employees of high-trust companies as compared to low-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 76% more engagement, and 29% more satisfaction with their lives.  Wow – who wouldn’t want to be part of this team!

Given the strong importance for trust, why is it team members do not respect and trust one another?  I believe we need to take a good look in the mirror and determine to stop thinking the worst of our teammates.  We need to expect the best and not jump to negative conclusions.  We need to get rid of the stereotypes we think, believe, and act on about one another.

If we want to be part of a great team then it is time to start giving our teammates the benefit of the doubt, to trust them, to forgive them, to put ourselves in their shoes, to encourage them, and to share credit with them.  In fact, when we start thinking positively about one another, amazing things can happen.

#2 – The Meeting-After-the-Meeting

Great things in business are never done by one person.  They are done by a team of people.  Steve Jobs

Admittedly, I have on a few occasions been part of “the meeting-after-the-meeting”.  You probably know this pitfall too.  It goes something like this:  you sit through a meeting where the leader and maybe a couple of teammates do all the talking, enthusiastically make the decisions, and then the meeting ends with you feeling confused, in disagreement, or with a lack of energy.  At this point, the “meeting-after-the-meeting” occurs.  You stick around afterwards commiserating with another teammate about the terrible decision or you huddle somewhere to criticize and complain.

If we want to be part of a great team then we need to risk speaking up during the meeting and sharing our thoughts, ideas, and disagreements.  Obviously, we need to be respectful but if we do not speak up, the team misses out on valuable input and possibly the best idea for great success.  Let’s decide today to stop “meeting-after-the meeting” and make sure each team member is encouraged to respectfully speak up, ask questions, and voice concerns.

#3 – My Idea or The Best Idea

None of us is as smart as all of us.  Ken Blanchard

Which is better, my idea or the best idea for the team?   If you have ever been part of a great team, you probably responded with “the best idea for the team”.  Unfortunately, we often refuse to truly embrace our teammate’s ideas.  We may not outwardly say it but rather our refusal plays out in subtle ways.  We don’t take part in the follow up, we lack energy to stay on task, or we just plain do not do our part.

I may talk a good game about wanting the team to succeed but when their ideas do not benefit me or my personal goals, I may have a tendency to protect my own idea.  If we want to be part of a great team, then what is best for the team is to tap into and embrace ideas from all team members. I need to let go of thinking my idea is the best idea and trust the collective team for the best idea.  After all, “none of us is as smart as all of us.”  What holds you back from embracing change and others’ ideas?  Consider your motives and ways to overcome the fear of the unknown.  Once we accomplish this, then we are well on our way to becoming a great high performing team!

 

Reinforcement: What, Why, & How?

Reinforcement – What, Why & How?

How effective is your organization’s training? According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), 90 percent of training is forgotten within days no matter how skillful or engaging the trainer is.  If research studies are accurate, very few of your learners have actually changed their behaviors as a result of training. Reinforcing knowledge and skills learned in training or professional development programs is a process that takes time and strategic investment. Ultimately, your training will be more effective because of reinforcement.

What is reinforcement? Basically, “…training reinforcement is a solution that uses your current training material, learning objectives, and (reinforcement) goals to reinforce important skills and knowledge learned during a training event or course.”[1]

One explanation – and one aspect to reinforcement – is the Ebbinghaus Retention Curve, which displays the percentage of a topic that we recall after paying attention to it repeatedly. Named for psychologist Herman Ebbinghaus, this concept is about teaching people to remember something important. Ebbinghaus hypothesized that it is much harder for learners to retain something that is not meaningful to them, and that learners will have more success if the learning is stretched out over a period of time, instead crammed into a short burst. However, remembering information is only part of the issue when it comes to training and development.  Changing behaviors and/or developing new habits based on one’s training – that’s the other part of the issue.   A good reinforcement tool maximizes your training investment dollars and helps to change your learners’ behaviors.

So how do you change behaviors? Training reinforcement focuses on changing old habits and developing new ones. “Without behavior change, you’re not reinforcing; you are only reminding.” – Anthonie Wurth.  One of the founders of Mindmarker®, Wurth understood that your training content must be reinforced with small, bite-sized messages to engage the learner. More than a reminder service, Mindmarker® is considered the leader in training reinforcement.  The three learning phases of your reinforcement program are: awareness, knowledge and skills, and behavior change.  Of course, timing and content are critical to the process through each phase.

Just a few of the benefits of training reinforcement, according to Mindmarker®:

  • Training reinforcement leads to better training practices, which creates superior performance results.
  • A fully-integrated training reinforcement program helps decrease the amount of knowledge lost post-training.
  • With the training dollars spent by businesses each year, it’s critical to obtain the highest ROI.

Alber Enterprise Center has been integrating post-workshop reinforcement for clients who want specific behavior changes in workshop attendees, and those clients have seen positive results.  As you can imagine, instead of the normal 10-20% retention of the workshop material, clients are realizing a much higher return on their training dollar investment.

[1] From Mindmarker “Beginners Guide to Reinforcement” page 6

Marketing Your Small Business

One of the ideas I like to share with my audiences is for each of them to form an Advisory Council. Here is how it works: Once a quarter, take your best customers out to dinner to a fancy restaurant or country club. It especially helps if these customers are what best-selling author Seth Godin calls “sneezers,” people who are most influential in your community.

After dinner, ask your Advisory Council some questions like, “I’d like to give you a sneak peek at some new products and services we are thinking about rolling out. What do you think?” or “This is our new business plan for next year. What advice would you give us?”

And you know, it really doesn’t matter what they say. The important thing is that you made these people, who seem to know everybody in the community, feel important.

Not only will they be happy to meet other like-minded, influential members of the community at the quarterly meeting, they are likely to become lifetime customers themselves. (After all, who among your competitors are treating them so royally?)  Best of all, they likely will be unable to contain their enthusiasm around others about how you make them feel special.

After their quarterly meeting with you, if they overhear someone shopping for products or services that you offer, they are likely to chime in to the conversation, beginning with words like, “You know, if that is what you are considering, you really need to see my friends. They’ll take really good care of you!”

And we all understand the power of personal recommendation and that word of mouth is the most influential and effective form of marketing you can get.

And you too can get it, for the price of dinner and some drinks, simply by making your best customers feel important.

Seth Godin