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BoS2015 Claire Lew, Know Your Company. Don’t Be The Last to Know

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Have you ever been the last to know something in your company? You were caught off guard when a few employees didn’t agree with your company’s direction, or you had no idea that a senior employee had put in her two weeks notice.

As a business owner, CEO or manager, you never want to be the last to know something in your company. In this talk, Claire will discuss how to avoid “being the last to know” as much as possible. You’ll learn a repeatable framework so you can get honest feedback from your employees. This way, you won’t be blind sided by unexpected problems, you can retain you best employees, and you can foster a healthy company culture to help your business win in the long-run.

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BoS2015 Claire Lew, Know Your Company. Don’t Be The Last to Know

  1. 1. Don’t be the last to know. @cjlew23
  2. 2. Hi, I’m Claire Lew. @cjlew23
  3. 3. Think back…
  4. 4. Someone left your company
  5. 5. Someone left your company and you didn’t see it coming.
  6. 6. You could’ve done something about it.
  7. 7. You’re the last to know
  8. 8. You’re the last to know an employee is underperforming.
  9. 9. You’re the last to know a project is running behind.
  10. 10. You’re the last to know an employee disagrees with the company direction.
  11. 11. You’re the last to know an employee is thinking about leaving.
  12. 12. • You’re the last to know an employee is underperforming. • You’re the last to know a project is running behind. • You’re the last to know an employee disagrees with you. • You’re the last to know an employee is thinking about leaving. At
  13. 13. • You’re the last to know an employee is underperforming. • You’re the last to know a project is running behind. • You’re the last to know an employee disagrees with you. • You’re the last to know an employee is thinking about leaving. At Balsamiq
  14. 14. • You’re the last to know an employee is underperforming. • You’re the last to know a project is running behind. • You’re the last to know an employee disagrees with you. • You’re the last to know an employee is thinking about leaving. At Yesware
  15. 15. • You’re the last to know an employee is underperforming. • You’re the last to know a project is running behind. • You’re the last to know an employee disagrees with you. • You’re the last to know an employee is thinking about leaving. At PrecisionLender
  16. 16. • You’re the last to know an employee is underperforming. • You’re the last to know a project is running behind. • You’re the last to know an employee disagrees with you. • You’re the last to know an employee is thinking about leaving. At Close.io
  17. 17. • You’re the last to know an employee is underperforming. • You’re the last to know a project is running behind. • You’re the last to know an employee disagrees with you. • You’re the last to know an employee is thinking about leaving. At ServiceRocket
  18. 18. • You’re the last to know an employee is underperforming. • You’re the last to know a project is running behind. • You’re the last to know an employee disagrees with you. • You’re the last to know an employee is thinking about leaving. At Adzerk
  19. 19. • You’re the last to know an employee is underperforming. • You’re the last to know a project is running behind. • You’re the last to know an employee disagrees with you. • You’re the last to know an employee is thinking about leaving. At Adzerk
  20. 20. • You’re the last to know an employee is underperforming. • You’re the last to know a project is running behind. • You’re the last to know an employee disagrees with you. • You’re the last to know an employee is thinking about leaving. At NowSight
  21. 21. • You’re the last to know an employee is underperforming. • You’re the last to know a project is running behind. • You’re the last to know an employee disagrees with you. • You’re the last to know an employee is thinking about leaving. At Loopio
  22. 22. • You’re the last to know an employee is underperforming. • You’re the last to know a project is running behind. • You’re the last to know an employee disagrees with you. • You’re the last to know an employee is thinking about leaving. At Mailchimp
  23. 23. • You’re the last to know an employee is underperforming. • You’re the last to know a project is running behind. • You’re the last to know an employee disagrees with you. • You’re the last to know an employee is thinking about leaving. At PHC Software
  24. 24. All companies.
  25. 25. All the time.
  26. 26. 85% feel unable to discuss concerns (2009 Cornell National Social Survey)
  27. 27. 70% hesitate to speak up at work (2009 Cornell National Social Survey)
  28. 28. 42% admit to withholding information (2009 Cornell National Social Survey)
  29. 29. I’ve felt this pain, firsthand.
  30. 30. You don’t have to be the last to know.
  31. 31. Don’t be the last to know TODAY
  32. 32. Why it matters TODAY
  33. 33. Why it happens TODAY
  34. 34. How to avoid being the last to know TODAY
  35. 35. Why does it matter?
  36. 36. $$$
  37. 37. Disengagement
  38. 38. Managers who give little to no feedback to employees result in 4 out of 10 workers being actively disengaged. (2009 Gallup study of over 1,000 US based employees)
  39. 39. For each disengaged employee, a company loses $3,400 - $10,000 in salary due to decreased productivity. (2009 Gallup study of over 1,000 US based employees)
  40. 40. Turnover
  41. 41. of people would today consider finding a new job. 74% (2013 study by Harris Interactive)
  42. 42. The most actively engaged workers (54%) give the highest agreement rating to this statement: “I feel I can approach my manager with any type of question.” (2015 Gallup Employee Engagement Survey)
  43. 43. Experts estimate that replacing an employee costs a business 150% (2013 Inc Article) of an employee’s salary
  44. 44. Accidents & Mistakes
  45. 45. (2010 survey of 2,600+ across industries) Employees directly intervene in only about 2 of 5 unsafe actions and conditions that they observe in the workplace.
  46. 46. Why does it happen?
  47. 47. Fear
  48. 48. Futility
  49. 49. 1.8X
  50. 50. What can we do about it?
  51. 51. How can we avoid being the last to know?
  52. 52. Overcome fear & futility
  53. 53. Ask & Act
  54. 54. Ask
  55. 55. Why is asking important?
  56. 56. Answers only come when you ask questions.
  57. 57. Overcome fear.
  58. 58. Your goal: How do I ask for information in the least threatening, least biased way possible?
  59. 59. What makes it so hard to ask good questions?
  60. 60. It’s easier to jump to an answer, rather than ask a good question.
  61. 61. We value tasks > relationships.
  62. 62. How can you get good at asking for feedback?
  63. 63. Ask 1 2 3 4 5
  64. 64. Ask 1 Go first.1 2 3 4 5
  65. 65. Go first.1
  66. 66. Ask for advice, instead of feedback.
  67. 67. “I could use your advice…”
  68. 68. Admit a vulnerability.
  69. 69. “I’m struggling with…”
  70. 70. Figure out how you’re getting in the way.
  71. 71. “How is my behavior making things worse for you?”
  72. 72. Ask 1 Go first.1 2 3 4 5
  73. 73. Ask 2 Shoot the elephants.2 1 3 4 5
  74. 74. Shoot the elephants.2
  75. 75. Make it clear you’re looking to learn, not to judge.
  76. 76. “I’m asking this question because I want to learn…”
  77. 77. Tell your employees you want them to be honest.
  78. 78. Kindness and honesty are not mutually exclusive.
  79. 79. “Don’t worry about being nice. Be helpful.”
  80. 80. “Sugar-coated answers don’t help anyone.”
  81. 81. “Please feel free to argue with me.”
  82. 82. Ask 2 Shoot the elephants.2 1 3 4 5
  83. 83. Ask 3 Be specific.3 1 2 4 5
  84. 84. Be specific.3
  85. 85. Ask about one thing.
  86. 86. “What’s one thing…?”
  87. 87. Ask about a specific event, milestone, or project.
  88. 88. “What’s something we should talk about at our next all-company meeting?”
  89. 89. Timebox your question.
  90. 90. “In the past two weeks…?”
  91. 91. Ask for concrete information.
  92. 92. “Can you give me an example?”
  93. 93. “How’s it going? Anything we can improve on?”
  94. 94. “How’s it going? Anything we can improve on?” “Things are pretty good. Nothing I can think of really.”
  95. 95. “How’s it going? Anything we can improve on?” “I’ve been wrestling with some big- picture stuff about how the company could get better, and would love your help with it. What’s one thing in the past week we could’ve done better?” “Things are pretty good. Nothing I can think of really.”
  96. 96. “How’s it going? Anything we can improve on?” “I’ve been wrestling with some big- picture stuff about how the company could get better, and would love your help with it. What’s one thing in the past week we could’ve done better?” “Hmm, well the other day, I had to sit down with our new hires to remind them what our focus was. So maybe we’re not as clear about our vision as a company as we should be. I’m just concerned that they’re not spending the best use of their time, and we’re more inefficient than we should be.” “Things are pretty good. Nothing I can think of really.”
  97. 97. Ask 3 Be specific.3 1 2 4 5
  98. 98. Ask 4 Look to the future.4 1 2 3 5
  99. 99. Look to the future.4
  100. 100. Ask about what could be better in the future.
  101. 101. People tend to be more honest when you ask about the future, versus the past.
  102. 102. “Going forward, what’s one thing…?”
  103. 103. Ask 4 Look to the future.4 1 2 3 5
  104. 104. Ask Do it often.5 1 2 3 4
  105. 105. Do it often.5
  106. 106. Practice Habit Culture
  107. 107. One-on-ones Social opportunities Company pulse surveys All-company get togethers
  108. 108. Don’t just talk to managers – go to the source.
  109. 109. Ask 1 2 3 4 5
  110. 110. Ask 1 Go first.
  111. 111. Ask 1 Go first. Shoot the elephants.2
  112. 112. Ask 1 Go first. Shoot the elephants. Be specific. 2 3
  113. 113. Ask 1 Go first. Shoot the elephants. Be specific. Look to the future. 2 3 4
  114. 114. Ask 1 Go first. Shoot the elephants. Be specific. Look to the future. Do it often. 2 3 4 5
  115. 115. Applying this to your company…
  116. 116. The four questions you should ask every employee…
  117. 117. “If someone asked you to describe the vision of the company, would a clear answer immediately come to mind?” 1
  118. 118. “Do you think the company is the right size? 2
  119. 119. “Have you ever been afraid to suggest an idea at work because you thought someone might shoot it down?” 3
  120. 120. “Do you feel like you're spread too thin right now?” 4
  121. 121. Applying this to your company…
  122. 122. Company Checklist
  123. 123. During your next leadership team meeting: Ask for advice.
  124. 124. During your next leadership team meeting: Ask for advice. Before your next employee engagement survey: Shoot the elephants about why you’re doing it.
  125. 125. During your next leadership team meeting: Ask for advice. Before your next employee engagement survey: Shoot the elephants about why you’re doing it. In your next all-company meeting: Ask a specific question vs. “Got any feedback for the company?”
  126. 126. During your next leadership team meeting: Ask for advice. During your next one-on-one: Ask a question that looks to the future, not just to the past. Before your next employee engagement survey: Shoot the elephants about why you’re doing it. In your next all-company meeting: Ask a specific question vs. “Got any feedback for the company?”
  127. 127. During your next leadership team meeting: Ask for advice. During your next one-on-one: Ask a question that looks to the future, not just to the past. Before your next employee engagement survey: Shoot the elephants about why you’re doing it. In your next all-company meeting: Ask a specific question vs. “Got any feedback for the company?” Ask yourself: “When’s the last time I talked to someone other than a manager?” Increase those interactions.
  128. 128. Ask 1 Go first. Shoot the elephants. Be specific. Look to the future. Do it often. 2 3 4 5
  129. 129. Act
  130. 130. Act 1 2 3 4 5
  131. 131. Why is asking important?
  132. 132. Action is how you overcome futility.
  133. 133. Why ask, if you’re not going to act?
  134. 134. What makes it so hard to act on feedback?
  135. 135. We’re busy.
  136. 136. We’re biased.
  137. 137. How can you get good at acting on feedback?
  138. 138. Act 1 2 3 4 5
  139. 139. Act 11 Listen without judgement. 2 3 4 5
  140. 140. Listen without judgment.1
  141. 141. (Easier said than done.)
  142. 142. Acknowledge your biases + assumptions.
  143. 143. Being right vs. Getting it right
  144. 144. Write down the feedback.
  145. 145. Ask yourself: What does it feel like to work for me?
  146. 146. Don’t get defensive.
  147. 147. Being defensive is the killer of an open culture.
  148. 148. Assume good intentions from your employee, and your defensiveness goes away.
  149. 149. Act 11 Listen without judgement. 2 3 4 5
  150. 150. Act 2 Recognize the messenger.2 1 3 4 5
  151. 151. Recognize the messenger.2
  152. 152. Sometimes, that’s all the employee is looking for.
  153. 153. Gratitude is an important contributor to employee engagement.
  154. 154. Set an example in your company for how to handle dissenting opinions.
  155. 155. “I really appreciate you sharing that…”
  156. 156. “It means a lot to hear…”
  157. 157. Act 2 Recognize the messenger.2 1 3 4 5
  158. 158. Act 33 Explain why you’re *not* doing something. 1 2 4 5
  159. 159. Explain why you’re not doing something. 3
  160. 160. Most employees just want an explanation.
  161. 161. Without an explanation, employees fill in the blank with assumptions.
  162. 162. Be direct.
  163. 163. “Here’s why we’re not doing this…”
  164. 164. Don’t make it personal.
  165. 165. “I think” “I feel” “me” “the project” “the company” “us” vs.
  166. 166. At the end of the conversation, follow up and ask what people think.
  167. 167. “What do you think?”
  168. 168. Act 33 Explain why you’re *not* doing something. 1 2 4 5
  169. 169. Act 44 Emphasize what you share in common. 1 2 3 5
  170. 170. Emphasize what you share in common. 4
  171. 171. Point out what you agree on.
  172. 172. The point of feedback is to learn – not to win.
  173. 173. You’re all playing on the same team.
  174. 174. “I know we don’t agree on everything, but here’s what I do think we agree on…”
  175. 175. Act 44 Emphasize what you share in common. 1 2 3 5
  176. 176. Act Knock out a quick win.5 1 2 3 4
  177. 177. Knock out a quick win.5
  178. 178. Timeliness matters.
  179. 179. Take advantage of the low-hanging fruit.
  180. 180. Delegate :-)
  181. 181. “Because of this, we’re going to do this…”
  182. 182. Act 1 2 3 4 5
  183. 183. Act 1 2 3 4 5 1 Listen without judgement.
  184. 184. Act 1 2 3 4 5 1 Listen without judgement. Recognize the messenger.2
  185. 185. Act 1 2 3 4 5 1 Listen without judgement. Recognize the messenger.2 3 Explain why you’re *not* doing something.
  186. 186. Act 1 2 3 4 5 1 Listen without judgement. Recognize the messenger.2 3 4 Explain why you’re *not* doing something. Emphasize what you share in common.
  187. 187. Act 1 Listen without judgement. Recognize the messenger. Explain why you’re *not* doing something. Emphasize what you share in common. Knock out a quick win. 2 3 4 5
  188. 188. Applying this to your company…
  189. 189. Company Checklist
  190. 190. During your next one-on-one: Write down what they say. Shows your listening — prevents you from being defensive
  191. 191. During your next one-on-one: Write down what they say. Shows your listening — prevents you from being defensive During your next all-hands meeting: Recognize the messenger.
  192. 192. During your next one-on-one: Write down what they say. Shows your listening — prevents you from being defensive During your next all-hands meeting: Recognize the messenger. In your next company-wide email: Talk about the last thing you just implemented because someone gave you this great idea.
  193. 193. During your next one-on-one: Write down what they say. Shows your listening — prevents you from being defensive In your next one on one or all hands meeting: Talk about one thing you’ve been all talk no action on, and explain why you’re not doing it. Explain what you have in common. During your next all-hands meeting: Recognize the messenger. In your next company-wide email: Talk about the last thing you just implemented because someone gave you this great idea.
  194. 194. Act 1 Listen without judgement. Recognize the messenger. Explain why you’re *not* doing something. Emphasize what you share in common. Knock out a quick win. 2 3 4 5
  195. 195. How to overcome fear & futility?
  196. 196. Ask & Act.
  197. 197. You may be thinking…
  198. 198. “I’ve got a lot of other stuff to do.”
  199. 199. If you don’t know your company well, how do you expect to run your company well?
  200. 200. “This is all great in theory, but how do I remember to do all of this ‘in the moment’?”
  201. 201. Start with one thing.
  202. 202. Culture doesn’t happen overnight.
  203. 203. “Honestly, this makes me a little nervous.”
  204. 204. What employees think and how they feel – that all exists whether or not you choose to know about it.
  205. 205. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
  206. 206. Prove your intentions through your action.
  207. 207. How can I be more helpful to you?
  208. 208. You don’t have to be the last to know.
  209. 209. Thank you, Bos! @cjlew23
  210. 210. Questions? :-)

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