Operations Strategy & Implementation

Get Results - Fast

Leadership Optimization

For your Company’s Leaders Today

Author: Ashley

Pulling the andon: How to have a 1 on 1 …… The 5 steps to success – whether you’re the boss or not

Pulling the andon: How to have a 1 on 1 …… The 5 steps to success – whether you’re the boss or not

How do I have a solid, productive 1×1 (one on one – typically a meeting between a leader and his/her employee)?

What does a good 1×1 looks like?

How do I have a good 1×1 with my boss even though it’s obvious they don’t know how to have a productive one?

In the last few weeks, I have been asked by different people – both managers and employees – enough times that I took a moment to step back. In the operations world, after recognizing an error in a system, an “andon”, or an alert to notify of a problem in the system, is pulled. It’s a way to go “all stop” when something that is important to the department’s function isn’t working. The system is stopped until the problem has been fixed.

It’s time to pull the andon. 1×1’s are vital to individual success à therefore … they are even more so to the department and organization.

Why have a 1×1?

  1. It’s communication, stupid – How do you know if you don’t ask and they don’t tell you?
  2. Get on the same page – It is guaranteed you aren’t – you’re not the same person; you have different perspectives. You must continuously ask/ tell to bridge those gaps.
  3. Never be surprised – What’s the status of the 3 goals that were assigned 3 months ago? Don’t be surprised – use the 1×1’s to talk about development and roadblocks.
  4. You have no idea how far you can go – In this case, the “you” is plural. You and he/she do not know how much can be done unless you talk through objectives, issues, problems. Your job is not static.
  5. Get to know them – Last, but certainly not least. Connections will get you everywhere. Find something that you and he/ she have in common. Learn about what they enjoy – family, hobbies, work.

Leaders: How do you effectively run a 1×1?

  1. Have a plan – This should be agreed on.. they should know what to expect. Create 3-5 bullet items that you will cover. Questions to ask: What do you struggle with? Can you elaborate further?
  2. Stick to it – Once you set the agenda, do as you say – don’t move around a lot – your employee expects that. You can be flexible once your topics have been discussed but don’t go down a rabbit hole unless you believe it will get back to one of the reasons you’re having the 1×1. This manages expectations – not to mention, your very limited time.
  3. Shut up and listen. Build Trust. – Unless you have a photographic memory, take notes. You’ll want something to revisit during the next 1×1. Did they work on what they said they would? Did you? Ask the question, “To make sure I understand, you are (working on/ struggling with) XYZ?”
  4. Don’t talk about work – The 1×1 is not a time to get a report out or an update from the employee. The 1×1 is ABOUT them. If they decide they want to bring up a specific project as it relates to your agreed upon plan, allow it to happen… be ok to be candid with them if they are going off topic – especially if you’re on a time limit (and you are!)
  5. Stick to the time limit – Respect their time – and yours. If it’s 30 mins – don’t go over. If you need more time, discuss WHY you need more time – is a 1×1 the best format for the additional need? Or would an email or a discussion with another individual on a specific topic more beneficial? Close with a solid “I look forward to seeing XYZ from you by tomorrow” or “I appreciate you telling me ABC, and will get back to you by Friday”

How do you lead the 1×1 – if you’re not the leader?

  1. Have a plan … but be flexible – your boss should have an agenda. If he/she doesn’t – be ok to listen to points beyond what you want to discuss. One of them could relate to a goal that you want to focus on later… you just have to be patient and wait a little.
  2. See it from the boss’ point of view – Do you know what other objectives or goals is in front of him/ her – what’s on their priority list? What’s important right now to his/ her boss?
  3. Talk…. And listen – What’s being said? What’s NOT being said? Look beyond what he/she is saying. How is it being said? What is the reaction to what you’re saying? Be able to recognize different in emotions & moods – you may not want to bring up a certain point if you can recognize your boss doesn’t have the mindset to listen because he/she is overwhelmed that day.
  4. Focus – This 1×1 has a timeline. Stick to the plan. Don’t feel you’re supposed to be proving yourself through the 1×1. It’s about your development, your career, your path to your goals. Stay on it.
  5. Follow up – Whatever is discussed – take notes. Keep up with them… send a f/u email to your manager – “this is what we talked about… this is what I will be working on… this is what you said you would do/ help with…” – and date. This is a record and tracker – to keep you both honest!

1×1’s are a powerful tool to bridge the gap between manager and employee. It’s an ongoing process, and both sides should continue working on it to get the best results.

Discussion: What has worked for you? What hasn’t?

Nightmare Teams: Four ways to prevent your department from being the next Game of Thrones

Nightmare Teams: Four ways to prevent your department from being the next Game of Thrones

In a discussion with my leadership class this semester, a topic of “Nightmare Teams” emerged, and faster than a Targaryen dragon looking for his next meal, a list of terrible team members emerged:

How many of these have you seen on your team? By identifying these characters on your team, you can start to understand the best methods for bringing them back in the direction you’ve set:

  • Egotist – Arrogant – believes he/she is the smartest person in the group and is open with that opinion, closed to other perspectives – disrespectful
  • Polarizer – actions or behaviors create factions or divisions among team members – social destructor
  • Soloist – constantly jockeying for center stage, self-centered – takes full credit for team success but no responsibility for failure, displays a ‘better alone than together’ attitude
  • Pyromaniac – starts fires (problems) so that he/she can put them out (solve)
  • Saboteur – disingenuous, disloyal, untrustworthy – disrupter who works against the team’s success
  • Free-rider – team hitchhiker, not here to contribute, just along for the ride
  • Undertaker – gets results but leaves behind lots of collateral damage in the process
  • Ostrich – low tolerance to stress or ambiguity – buries head in the sand at the first sign of trouble (propensity to duck and run)
  • Distractor – personified speedbump – chronically disrupts progress with unfounded or pointless sidetracks – counterproductive obstacle (roadblock)
  • Catfish – morally or ethically compromised – actions reflect/discredits the integrity of the whole team

What happens if you experience multiples of these – at the same time. Here are 4 specific actions to attack your nightmare dragons now:

  1. Communication – this is the #1 reason, time and again, that people turn into a version of Cersei, or your own nightmare. How well do you know your own communication style? How well do you know others? Do they match?
  2. Delegation – is there a chance that your employees don’t have enough to do – or don’t feel they have the recognition they deserve? How well are you able to give them the things they need to feel empowered & part of the group?
  3. Conflict – will happen. Actually – conflict is good – it means that you’re challenging yourself, and the status quo. However, with your team members, and left unchecked, it can become worse than a night with the Night King, and a place you wish you had another place to run. What is your primary conflict style? How do you best manage the situation? Find out here.
  4. Motivation – The root of every person. It’s why we do what we do – and it can go well beyond Maslow’s pyramid. Do you know what motivates your team – or on the flipside – what doesn’t motivate them? How do you harness their motivation to move in the same direction – instead of the opposite?

Note: Special thanks to @Arnold Kaluza & @Rob Saunders who created the original discussion on this topics!! If you want to join us in future projects, please Like and send a PM.

Want more? Learn how to slay all these dragons with Leadership 9 Box skills within 1 month

Born or made: Three areas of leadership you don’t have

Born or made: Three areas of leadership you don’t have

Summary: Learn 3 areas of leadership that you are probably not aware of and should improve

Where are you challenged, personally, as a leader? Do you (accurately) know the areas that you can improve on as a leader?

Good leaders recognize there is always room for improvement, and learning skills is a key part. They know they are not infallible and should continue learning to improve their breadth of experiences. To admit you are still learning is not a fault – it’s a desirable trait that strong, confident leaders such as Bill Gates and many other CEO’s admit freely.

So… if we all agree that we should learn as leaders – how do you do it?

In school? Perhaps … but at best, you can only be taught leadership – you can’t learn or absorb it that way. You have to experience it. There’s no feedback loop – until you practice it.

In OJT – on the job training? Yes – this can be done – if you have the time, and the other individual training you have the experience to develop those skills you need.

In online training? If you don’t have time, this is the fastest and most flexible track to boost only the leadership skills you need to improve on the job. This is a short circuit way to download information quickly.

Or do you? Do you know what areas your leadership abilities are the strongest – or they areas that need work? How do you know you really know it?

Henry Mintzberg developed 3 areas of leadership that many people overlook:

  • Administrative – the ability to lead through management of tasks and duties
  • Interpersonal – the ability to lead through interacting with others
  • Conceptual – the ability to lead through vision and insight
Managerial Roles: Interpersonal, Decisional, Informational. Ashley Prisant
Managerial Roles: Interpersonal, Decisional, Informational. Ashley Prisant

In general, many leaders overlook their skills in these areas because they see their skills as a whole – or believe that leaders are made – and you’re built with the skills you have. Or.. they feel they have been “trained” without demonstrating their abilities. Perhaps it’s to themselves as leaders or others, and they falsely believe they have leadership skills they don’t. They end up falling grossly short – resulting in missed goals, missed opportunities, and failing employees.

Ok… so this is great in theory (literally) – but how do you practice? How do you – or your managers – know – you understand these concepts?

  • Developing your skills is an ongoing process. You can do it on your own time – but the importance is getting it done. Leadership 9 Box helps develop your skills AND give you the feedback in the most important leadership skills – such as conflict management, motivation, innovation, communication and delegation. You get immediate feedback and are guaranteed to improve your skills because you build on the experiences you have, with the knowledge you build.
  • Get a mentor – or 2. Reach out and get feedback on the skills you need to develop – and listen. Feedback is the best form of flattery. Good leaders value feedback as a way to learn and improve – both themselves and their team.
  • This week – aim to get feedback from 3 different sources about a specific leadership skill (such as communication, delegation or conflict) and reflect on their differences or similarities. How can you build on what you’ve learned?

Get exclusive pre-release access to our upcoming Leadership 9 Box online leadership and training – create your FREE account in the next week and get 3 free leadership assessments and access to 3 courses, activities & discussions with Leadership SME’s (subject matter experts)

Published on LinkedIn

Leadership 9 Box: Quick-start Guide

Leadership 9 Box: Quick-start Guide


How is Leadership 9 Box set up?

There are a total of 4 sections in each module, with a total of 9 Modules (9 boxes, 9 modules!).

Each section contains the following:

  • A short 10-question survey to understand your current skills as a leader. You can choose to give this to your manager/ peers for a 360 review.
  • Goals/objectives of the section to clearly state the purpose. If it is not a section you need, simply move on to the next one!

A section can take between 15 minutes to 1 hour to complete. Some will find it will take them longer to master the content and will choose to go back to the section.

Leadership 9 Box


G. Tactical Operations

H. Business Acumen

Innovation Leadership



D. Communication

E. Strength & Motivation

F. Leader & Conflict



A. Time Management

B. People Management

C. Delegation & Organization


Level of Primary Influence ——>




How should I get started?

Getting started is easy! Follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the course catalog
  2. Choose the course(s) that interests you and challenges your leadership skills! Register for the first section. For example, if you wanted to improve your communications skills, you would register for D: Communications for Leaders
    • Note: You will have two options for each course:
      1. Course only – You will have access to the 4 e-learning sections of the module & pre/ post assessments
      2. Course + SME Access – In addition to access to the 4 e-learning sections of the module and pre/post assessments, you will also have access to all activities & discussion. You will have the opportunity to review & turn in activities to a Leadership SME who will evaluate and give tailored feedback. Upon completion of the module, you will get a L9B Certification for the module, which can be immediately posted on LinkedIn as an official LinkedIn certification.
  3. Take the assessment. Each Section 1 of a module (A1, B1, C1, etc.) has a short 10-question assessment aimed to help you self-identify your current abilities of the topic. Be honest. There are no right or wrong answers. You will get a score at the end.Note: A score of 50 does NOT mean failing (this is NOT a college course, after all) – but it shows your areas of strength and opportunity.
  4. Take the course. Review each section. Learn the material and read the additional information.
  5. Complete the activities. Each section has 2-5 activities aimed at building SPECIFIC skill strengths. Some may require you to talk to others at work, to reflect on a specific time, or to do specific activities.
  6. Turn in the activities. Once you are done with each activity, turn it in via the Activity portal in the section. If you have the Leadership Influence or Elevate (silver or gold) plan, a Leadership 9 Box SME will give you feedback within 48 hours.Note: Leadership SME’s will evaluate your material based on content and how well you completed the assignment. The scores range from 1-5: 
    Score Description
    1 Well done, above average understanding of the activity.
    2 Good job, the leader understands the activity, but could work on specific areas if desired.
    3 Good, but not enough to pass – the leader has some understanding of the material, but may be short on content, or missing a key component.
    4 Fair, not pass – the leader may have some understanding of the material, but is missing large parts of the content or several components.
    5 No pass – the leader has not shown understanding of the material, and is missing large if not all parts of the content and many components of understanding.
    Note If you get a 3, 4, or 5, the SME will give specific instruction on what was missing and what is needed to pass.
  7. Join the discussion! Each section has a discussion board – aimed at sharing specific topics relevant to the discussion. Share your viewpoints and experiences, and give feedback to others
  8. Get your certificate! For each section you complete, you get a certificate automatically added to your Profile. You will be given a choice to:
    • Download the certificate
    • Share certificate on LinkedIn (you will need to login to your account using the credentials of your profile)

What if I have questions that aren’t answered here? What if something is incorrect? How do I give feedback?

Leadership 9 Box, Questions and Feedback on TalentLMS, Steps 1-7
Leadership 9 Box, Questions and Feedback on TalentLMS, Steps 1-7

All you need to do is send a message to the L9B team using the L9B Portal. Follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Sign in to your Leadership 9 Box (L9B) account and point to Messages on the top navigation bar.
  2. On the drop-down list, click Send message.
  3. Click the Recipients field to choose who receives your message from the drop-down list.Note: Select the group that best answers your questions:
    1. System administrators – for LMS Platform issues, courses incorrectly loading, general feedback https://www.squarepegsolutions.org/shop-courses-online/
    2. Course instructors – if you have specific questions about a specific course, feedback on the course, or question on the evaluation that goes beyond one activity
  4. Type a Subject for your message.
  5. In the Body text area, type your message.
  6. If needed, you can also add images or attach external files to your message.
  7. Click Send message.
Leadership 9 Box

Leadership 9 Box

What is Leadership 9 Box?

Leadership 9 Box (L9B) takes a hybrid approach to building your leadership skills both online and through a customized approach with real, live subject matter experts chosen for your specific development. You will find Leadership 9 Box will focus on strengthening your core of conceptual, interpersonal, and administrative skills as based on Henry Mintzberg’s management theory.

A leader must have some level of competence in all 3 areas to remain successful, and yet, many leaders continue to fall behind because they have not received, learned, or understood the basics on the skills of leadership.

You determine the pace of your journey, and Leadership 9 Box is here to provide you with the tools and expertise you need to take both your career and your personal development to its highest.

You have the flexibility to alter your subscription plan at any time, whether that is asking for more insight or to scale back. We want you to be successful and can help advise which tier works best for your needs. We can’t wait to join you.


Leadership 9 Box


G. Tactical Operations

H. Business Acumen

Innovation Leadership



D. Communication

E. Strength & Motivation

F. Leader & Conflict



A. Time Management

B. People Management

C. Delegation & Organization


Level of Primary Influence ——>




Why Leadership 9 Box?

Whereas many other leadership programs deliver great content, few have a built-in feedback loop* designed to guarantee** that the material learned is not only learned¸ but the leader also has the ability to immediately apply the skills.

  • Feedback loop – Ever been to a class where you passed just by sitting there? How much did you actually learn? With the L9B course – you will get a real-time evaluation from experts in their field – so you will know how well you can use specific leadership skills.
  • Guaranteed skills – Every leader that has used the techniques in this course has improved their leadership skills. Some say they are better equipped to handle difficult situations or can communicate better. Others say they have up to an hour back in their day (nearly 15% improvements).  L9B is not for everyone, and the leader must be willing to learn new ways beyond their normal areas they typically operate.

What level of Leadership 9 Box is for me?

Three subscription levels of L9B empower you to choose what works best for you:

  1.          Leadership Impact (LI) Bronze Level – You will be able to take part in all sections, modules. You will be able to do all of the activities and join the discussion

  2.   Leadership Influence (LIN) Silver Level – In addition to Leadership Impact (Bronze), you will also be able to take part in all of the activities. Once you complete the activities, you will have a highly experienced leadership SME (subject matter expert) focusing on your answers and evaluating them for leadership effectiveness, understanding the content, and the ability to apply it in a real-time leadership situation.             

    • Upon completion of all activities and discussion in a module, you will receive a Certificate of Completion that you will be able to share with your own leadership team, post on your LinkedIn profile and in your office to confirm your higher level skills as a leader in those areas.

    • Certificates will be given for each module, each course area (Conceptual, Interpersonal, Administrative) and overall “Certified 9 Box Leader.” You have the ability to post this certification on your LinkedIn profile to show others your leadership abilities. 

  3.           Leadership Elevate© (LE) Gold Level– The highest level of opportunity for a leader in Leadership 9Box. You will receive everything in the previous two levels as well as up to two hours of one-on-one training with a highly experienced leadership SME.

    • These sessions can be focused on specific subject areas, or developed and tailored around your specific leadership career needs.


How does Leadership 9 Box work?

There are four sections in each module, with a total of 9 Modules (9 boxes, 9 modules!), provides:

  •           A short 10-question survey to understand your current skills as a leader. You can choose to give this to your manager/ peers for a 360 review.
  •           Goals/ objectives of the section to clearly state the purpose. If it is not a section you need, you can move on to the next one.

The section will take between 15 minutes to an hour to complete. Some will find it will take them longer to master the content and will choose to go back to section. Once you purchase, at any level, you will be able to visit all sections as many times as you wish.

Once you are in the section, you will find three main parts:

  • Part 1- Instruction – 15-30 minute information on section topic
  • Part 2 – Discussion – on various topics on the section topic
  •  Part 3 – Activities – to confirm knowledge of the section topic

Take Leadership 9 Box Courses
Add Coaching
LinkedIn Group

Leader’s dilemmas: How to turn Rock Stars into Super Stars…or let them go

Leader’s dilemmas: How to turn Rock Stars into Super Stars…or let them go

by Ashley Prisant Lesko, Business Executive

Leader’s dilemmas: How to turn Rock Stars into Super Stars – or “promote” them to customer

Summary: It takes a STRONG leader to fix a Rock Star on their team, however those leaders that do find their teams are stronger – and their employees respect the level of accountability the leader has proven to hold every person on the team.

It’s now 2019, the last year in this decade. We’ve seen some tumultuous times, and leaders of all kinds have been challenged in many ways.

What is a leader? A leader is simply one that aims to influence another person’s behavior or actions. You don’t have to have a title to be a leader. Anyone that chooses can become one

I have worked in several companies, and all of them had their share of Rock Stars and Super Stars. As a leader, you want to get away from the Rock Stars as quickly as possible and hope that you can have several Super Stars in your midst.

Super Stars are the ultimate team players. They lead from the sidelines, from the center and anywhere they are needed. Their primary goal is to do what’s best for the company, but they won’t lose what personally motivates them (such as outside of work) to do it. If taken care of, Super Stars are the most loyal employees; they know their job as well the job of several others. They have significant knowledge on their organization, their work to the point that makes their organization more successful by doing their job or feel the pain if they do not. However, even though most Super Stars know how important they are to their organization – they never use it against the company.

Rock Stars, on the other hand, can be team leaders, but many times chose the easier (and more self-serving) path of taking care of #1 – themselves. Like Super Stars, they have significant knowledge on their organization. They know their knowledge is vital – and use it to their advantage as much as possible. This could be in the form of attitude, work load (choosing to work less), or demands (pay raise, position, perks) beyond normal expectations.

The challenge for companies with Rock Stars is that typically, Rock Stars are made, not born. The company has allowed these individuals to grown in the organization as a single point of failure – someone who is more important to the organization – than the organization is to the Rock Star. The organization needs the individual – more than the individual needs the organization. This could even appear to the point of blackmail (“if you don’t give into my demands (as a Rock Star), then I will leave the company, and you will lose XYZ information”) if not kept in check.

How do you prevent growing Rock Stars?

1- Take a look at your team for Single Points of Failure. Is there anyone on your team that is the only person that has knowledge of an area?

2- If so, build a plan for a backup, develop a playbook, create a training plan, set up a bench of individuals that can grow in the job

3- If you find that the Rock Star recognizes their position may be threatened (“knowledge is power! If I have all the knowledge, then I have power”), explain your plan going forward to have backups – to help them and everyone else. Encourage them to become Super Stars – becoming team players in the process. If the Rock Star continues to challenge you – you may be forced to hold them accountable – either they train others, or they have to leave your organization

Some may challenge the advice in #3 – and rightly so. If you get rid of the Rock Star, don’t you lose the knowledge? Digging a bit deeper, you’ll find that most Rock Stars are seen by their peers as a poison pill that gets away with things that others don’t – and unjustly so. By keeping a Rock Star, and allowing him/her to continue – you put your organization at risk with their singular knowledge and your team as a breakdown in teamwork can occur.

I find many leaders struggle the most with the last paragraph – and I have found myself in that category. It does take a strong leader to upgrade a Rock Star into a Super Star on their team, but it can be done.

Leaders that go beyond and hold their Rock Stars (and teams) accountable find their teams are stronger.

It’s 2019. This is the year YOU can make it happen.

Originally published on LinkedIn

Express Yourself: Outside of your comfort zone

Express Yourself: Outside of your comfort zone

We’ve all heard the saying, “If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life”. Hopefully, most of us have found ourselves in a career path where we truly enjoy what it is we are accomplishing. But what if I told you that loving what you do, your daily motivation, and efficiency at work, can all be connected to one aspect? Talent engagement. After reading, “To Get More, Try Giving More ” by Ashley Lesko, it was made clear the influence talent engagement has on job satisfaction and work efficiency.

The more an individual utilizes their natural strengths the more pleasure they will find in their craft. Simply because, who doesn’t love doing the things they are good at? And no, this does not mean if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing to leave and never look back. It just means to find opportunities to engage your talents- even if that includes stepping out of your comfort zone.

For example, I’ve always been good with technology, analytics, and writing. The analytic and writing skillsets I developed from a communication studies background, and technology is something I’ve just always enjoyed. Therefore writing on sporting events for the local paper wasn’t an issue for me, but it became rather repetitive. One day I was asked to commentate some High school football games over the radio; I was excited yet also reluctant. Yes, I knew the language associated and the analytical numbers aspect of the sport and the radio technology was no challenge. But the job was still outside my comfort zone, I am a naturally reserved person until I become comfortable. Therefore the thought of my voice becoming known by thousands of people in my area did not ring well with me, especially the task of developing a radio personality. Yet I went with it; expressing myself and my talents in a new style. Fast forward to present day, and I love every moment of it and can’t wait until this upcoming football season where I will commentate again.  

Therefore, my advice to you; exploit ways to engage your talents at work and you will experience a happier, more productive, you.

By: Brooks Rynders

Are you maximizing the value of your Employee Supply Chain? Three ways to increase your team’s worth by the end of the week.

Are you maximizing the value of your Employee Supply Chain? Three ways to increase your team’s worth by the end of the week.

Former business school students, pop quiz – what’s the definition of a supply chain in an organization? One source talks about supply chain as the system that facilitates the flow (of products, services) through the business. Another explains that managing the supply chain is a must- have because “an optimized supply chain results in lower costs and a faster production cycle”. It includes all of the steps to get it from the producer to the customer.

Have you ever thought of your team as having their own supply chain? If so – knowingly or not, you have worked on your company’s Employee Supply Chain.

Definition: Employee Supply Chain– the end to end operational process of an employee’s impact on an organization:

  • Acquiring – (producer) Stage of hiring decision, intake, onboarding/orientation
  • Developing – Stage of skills training, performance management, and leadership development (transit, in-process)
  • Retaining/Exiting – promotion, actualized leadership, and outplacement (retirement, attrition)

An optimized Employee Supply Chain (ESC) blends operation and HR tactics to maximize employee’s talent engagement, capacity & productivity. An optimized ESC strategically & strategically reduces uncertainty for an organization in employee expenses.

The goal is to optimize your Employee Supply Chain and maximize the value for one of your top organization expenses – your employees. It is a process for recognizing that support in a certain area, the decision to hire, the hiring process, the onboarding process… and then the development, growth, and evolution through the organization’s cycles – reviews and moves, and at some point – either promotion or attrition, to complete the chain, could make the difference in a bottom line by reducing overall expenses by 5-10% or more.

Anyone that has a hand in ANY part of Employee Supply Chain (ESC) as described above – has the ability to grow, influence and enhance the strength of their own Employee Supply Chain.

Business Dictionary notes that producers at the beginning of the supply chain (in the case of ESC, the initial decisions made by CFO’s, CEO’s, CHRO’s and hiring managers of the employee process) can only compete through the supply chain. Unless the rest of the supply chain improves, “no degree of improvement at the producer’s end” can make up the problems downstream in the supply chain.

So… that means – if you own:

  • Initial Decision to hire (capacity, organization need)
  • Hiring process (recruiting, interviewing)
  • Onboarding Process
  • Job Functionality (training, teamwork, interaction)
  • Job Process (development, growth, and evolution through reviews, transfers)
  • End of Job-Life (promotion, retirement, attrition)

… you have ownership of part of your organization’s Employee Supply Chain.

How optimized is your own team’s Employee Supply Chain? Let’s briefly take a look.

  • Ineffectiveness
    The graph above demonstrates how wasted costs is associated with being ineffective in your Employee Supply Chain.

    Having more employees than you need. You hired 5 people, yet you really only needed 3 people…. But didn’t realize that until 6 months later. Perhaps you weren’t equipped with the understanding of the capacity of the individuals – or the job. Perhaps you followed an example of a model that did not match with your business. Ineffectiveness is having wasted costs due to more employees than the organization needs in the business.

Potential outcomes… Employees in this group could be underutilized, overutilized undertrained and could have a sense of loss meaning/ understanding of their place in the company

Ask yourself…. How can you determine if you’ve hired effectively? What can you do to help to reduce ineffectiveness in the future?

  • The diagram above exhibits the role inaccuracy plays in the Employee Supply Chain. Hiring at an inaccurate moment leads to wasted time/costs.

    Inaccuracy – Accuracy deals with timing – which can be everything. You know you will need to hire a business analyst to help shoulder some of the work – so you hire in Q1… but realize later that two other employees had the ability to do the work, at least until Q3. As a result, Inaccuracy and wasted time/ costs evolved you hired earlier than needed, as you could have delayed the hires, reducing employee expenses for the year.

Potential outcomes… Employees in this group may also feel underutilized if hired too early, or overutilized if hired too late (“you need me to do too much at once, I don’t understand!”). They may feel like a “5th wheel” and a lack of connection to the company.

Ask yourself…. “What is the capacity of my team that I already have? How much do I know about the job needs that I’m hiring?”

  • Inaction – Whereas the first two elements of loss in the Employee Supply deal with the hiring itself, the final one deals with the results when those have happened
    As you can see above. When employees are not working at full capacity, there can be severe lost opportunities and costs.

    , or if the employee loses the drive to complete the job. Typically, an employee initially begins a job with 100% effort – once (s)he is trained, they perform (or generally want to) at 100%. Over time, due to many reasons (manager, lack of motivation, engagement, etc.), this effort decreases, resulting in a 70% or 80% output (productivity). Multiple this by a number of employees… and you suddenly find yourself with much less employee productivity… and paying the same price in employee expenses!

Potential outcomes… Employees in this group feel disengaged, unproductive – and may or may not know it. They tend to have multiple strengths or talents that are not being utilized and may be considered siloed into their current job instead of being able to contribute in other areas of their work.

Ask yourself “At what capacity do I think my team is? If they are not 100%, do I know why? Can we help them?”

How are you maximizing your employee supply chain? Share this… and share your story.

In additional news:

  • Last month, I asked you how to “make” it as a manager. Thank you to the many of you that contributed and congrats to Curt from Dallas TX on his $25 Amazon gift card! Be on the lookout for the summary and results in upcoming months! Thank you!


Are you too “big” to care… as a leader? 3 ways to help you reset… before someone does it for you

Are you too “big” to care… as a leader? 3 ways to help you reset… before someone does it for you

  • Have you been in your position for more than a year? More than 2? 10?
  • Do you have trouble remembering the last time you sat down with someone from your team and talked about something OTHER than the next project or task that is due?
  • Could you share 3 facts about each individual on your team – that is NOT work related?
  • Do you know what your employees want to do next in their job? For their careers?

Take a look… if you answered “yes” to more than one of these, you may have (knowingly or not) become too big to care as a leader. (Picture by Abbey Pansy)

Or… does this classify someone that you know? Someone… that you WORK for (or try to) on a daily basis? In one of the lowest points of my work career, I became “too big to care”. I focused more on what I needed to do to fix the overall problems – then on my team that could actually fix the problems.

It’s 2017. No time for lamenting where you are. Let’s move forward and get it done.

So how do we tackle our situation here? We now have managers that have potentially grown so big in their job that they have become comfortable, complacent, callous, careless, confused, or even just cranky … too big to care as a leader. Leaders have been recognized as those with the responsibility to lead others. Here is a few ways to help you (or a leader you know) get back to what’s important.

  • Have a real conversation. One that doesn’t include work. It can be difficult, and for some, it seems remote to talk about things other than work but don’t forget – they are people too. They aren’t just a number. You hired them because they added value to the company – at some level. What value can they add to you? Your team? What are their interests? Find a few ways to help them open up and the work may open up too.
  • Find out what makes them tick. Really. Pop Quiz. What is the motivation style for each of your employees? Is it the carrot? Stick? Do they do their best work alone? With periodic checkups? Take a few minutes to find out. Ask them to complete the free assessment the Talent Engagement Zone (TEZ) or buy the book Strengths Finder – and talk about the results. How can you give them more of what they already have… and one? How can you build that into the goals and critical needs of your organization and team? Ask.
  • Share about what makes you tick. REALLY. It’s important to know the things that make your employees want to work harder – but your interests, strengths, and motivations are just as important.  Where do your interests and theirs align? Where do they want to go… that’s similar (or even parallel) to where you want to go? How can you go there together?

 It’s understandable that not everything will align. You may want to run the company, and an individual may just want to do a good job (and securely KEEP the good job). What doesn’t go together? How do you break the two up and resolve those differences? Sharing stories about yourself makes you a little vulnerable, but it also opens your employees to the REAL you… which will help them better understand and better relate to you. No one’s perfect, right? It’s ok to let them see it, too.

The year is young and the snow is still cold. Focus on your 10% and show you’re not too big to care.


2016 in Review: 15 reasons you are better (at work) now than you were in 2015 

2016 in Review: 15 reasons you are better (at work) now than you were in 2015 

It’s time for the Company Holiday Party, and figuring out how much you’re actually going to get done before the end of the year. For many, this time of year is when you look back on all of the successes, the failures, the ups and downs, the hires that came in that made you laugh and the fires that you were glad to see go (well, most of them). It’s the time to wind down – or wind up (if you’re in retail or anything remotely related to holiday shopping) and New Year’s Resolutions.


But… for many others – it may also be the time that makes you question “What am I doing here (in this job, department, company)? What did I even do this year?”

 You did. A lot. Run through this “I didn’t wait for anyone to get it done” checklist and see how many items you actually addressed in 2016.

  1. Saving your ass-ets at work
  1. Getting it done
  1. The Strengths you didn’t realize you weren’t using

Did more than you realized? Perception is reality – recency bias helps you forget about the things you did at the beginning (of the year) – so you more than likely did more than you realize.

What represents 2016 to you? Share your link or story below… the ones that resonate the most in the group will be mentioned in next month’s article!