• 18 Oct 2014 3:44 PM | Anonymous

    I have yet to meet the business leader who has enough people, time, and resources to get everything done on the “to do” list. Why? Because the list seems to grow exponentially making it feel like you are running fast-forward on an infinite hamster wheel. Preaching “do more with less” does little to change the situation and creates cynicism. And adding staff may not be an option.

    Get your team (and yourself) off that hamster wheel by taking proactive, repeatable steps to evaluate and redesign work and deploy talent to get the mission critical assignments done. Try out the approaches below and let me know which work best when combined with your own tried and true methods.    

    1. Catalogue the work – Create a list of the work to be done and organize it (ex. one-time project vs. daily transactional or operational work).

    2. Align the work – Identify work that supports achievement of the organization’s strategic objectives.

    3. Prioritize the work - Evaluate each work list item on the basis of importance and urgency or other criteria you deem most valuable. When thinking with others my favorite approach is simple. Draw an X & Y axis ranging from low to high for both importance and urgency. Divide the chart into four quadrants. Plot each work item in the applicable quadrant. Then highlight the work that’s aligned with strategic objectives from step 2. Reflect on the results; it can be eye opening.

    4. Eliminate work – Start with the work that scored low on both importance and urgency. Ask “Is the work accomplishing what it is supposed to?” and “Can the work or part of the work be discontinued?” Once all work items have been reviewed for elimination then move on.

    5. Assess quality expectations – “Have appropriate quality standards been set for the work?” Sure some work must be completed to meet the highest quality standards, while “good enough” is “good enough” for other types of work. Make the distinction.

    6. Analyze for improvements - Where quality needs enhancement, collect and analyze data and trends that help identify root causes of problems and opportunities for the most significant quality improvements.

    7. Streamline work flow – Ask “Is there a better way to complete this work?” Redesigning a simple process may be a breeze, so just do it. Streamlining a complex process involves many people. Be sure to engage the employees who actually do the work. And don’t overlook streamlining communication flow since it is always ripe for enhancement. 

    8. Automate – Automation may go hand in hand with streamlining processes assuming a positive ROI. Make sure the business process drives automation tool functionality otherwise you may be back at square one in no time.  

    Steps 6, 7, and 8 may require time and effort in the short run. If you and your team can visualize the long term value then it will be worth the effort. This is especially true if work was eliminated prior to taking on redesign efforts.

    9. Redeploy employees – The redesign of work often changes the skills needed to complete it. So, assign employees to the work that optimizes their strengths.

    10. Develop and delegate – The redesign of work often creates employee development opportunity be it for new skills, tools, or process. And cross training coupled with delegation moves your benchstrength building and people succession efforts forward.

    Some leaders will reflect on the above steps individually which is a great start. You’ll want to engage team members since they know where the opportunities reside for streamlining and improvement. Plus it’s a win / win when employees experience the sheer joy of influencing the design of their work, eliminating work, and recharging by learning marketable new skills.

    Putting this process in place and routinely using it will help optimize your team’s energy, productivity, and contribution. The hardest part is developing the habit. So, as leader what small steps will you take over the next three months to navigate a hefty work load while working within a limited budget?

    Carol Bergeron is the author of 'People Succession: Lessons From Forward Thinking Executives in Middle-Market Companies' which highlights the 7 steps Carol uses to accelerate the design and implementation of succession planning & management. For more than 16 years and through a mix of consulting, coaching, facilitation, and speaking services, Carol has helped leaders become talent magnets. And in doing so these leaders have experienced the sheer joy of helping people advance their careers and their organizations excel.  (www.bergeronassociates.com, 781-376-4071)


  • 18 Oct 2014 3:19 PM | Anonymous

    Hesitant to groom the next generation of leaders for your role? Here’s why people succession belongs on the front burner.

    1. You will be labeled a “lifer” in your current role. Yes, that’s right. Failing to groom successors obstructs your own career advancement since no one is ready to move into your role.

    2. You can kiss the reputation as an effective “Talent Magnet” goodbye. New hires and existing employees recognize and pursue great people developers. Thus top talent will not flock to you when job openings occur. Instead filling your openings will be frequent and more difficult than need be.

    3. Underperformance in developing, delegating, coaching, and mentoring employees detracts from your overall leadership effectiveness. Executives will start to wonder if leadership is the best role for you since your talent management skills are not up to par.

    4. The “lifer” perception spirals into “square peg / round hole” over time. Your responsibilities will change given a myriad of dynamic external and internal forces. Helping yourself and your employees anticipate, prepare, and adapt to the changes is paramount and requires effective talent management skills. To do otherwise results in capabilities obsolescence for you and your staff.  

    How do you get started developing the next generation, even if your organization has no formal people succession program in place?

    1. Dissect your role, its responsibilities and identify the most important capabilities needed now and in the future. Use this list of capabilities as the ones you want to develop most in your employees.

    2. Mix up work assignments so that everyone on your team is learning and doing something new. First map out the work that needs to get done and who is currently doing it. Then look for development opportunities that foster employees to use untried skills or strengthen existing ones. Do this in collaboration with employees for the best results. And be sure that skills needed in your role are being developed by others.

    3. Piggyback development action planning onto the existing performance management system. Don’t have one? Then build your own. You and your employees will take development more seriously if action plans are written down, measured, and there are scheduled check-ins.

    4. Strengthen coaching, mentoring, providing feedback, and delegation skills in yourself and among the members of your team most likely to delegate work. Set the expectation to use these talent management skills on a real-time basis.

    5. Conduct check-ins with employees so you and they know how they are progressing.

    6. Share your approach with your boss and Human Resources so that they know of your pro-activity in advancing the careers of your employees and yourself.

    Carol Bergeron is the author of 'People Succession: Lessons From Forward Thinking Executives in Middle-Market Companies' which highlights the 7 steps Carol uses to accelerate the design and implementation of succession planning & management. For more than 16 years and through a mix of consulting, coaching, facilitation, and speaking services, Carol has helped leaders become talent magnets. And in doing so these leaders have experienced the sheer joy of helping people advance their careers and their organizations excel. (www.bergeronassociates.com, 781-376-4071)


The Neuropsychology of Motivation

Posted on Wed, Jan 25, 2012

Resistance. Technically, it’s what we OD types live for. After all, if it weren’t for resistance – what need would there be for change agents? More importantly, where would we get our thrills? The thrill of seeing someone see the light. The thrill of turning a challenging change corner. The thrill of opening up possibility for hundreds of people in one fell swoop, providing relief or catalyzing a success. The thrill of making a difference in people’s work and lives.

Our success as change agents is predicated on our ability to meet resistance, shake its paw, and help it see a brighter way. Happily, new developments in neuroscience, brain scan technology and neuropsychology are delivering even more thrilling tools for us to do our job well. But will it be our job alone?


Mass v Individual Motivation

From Frederick Herzberg to Daniel Pink, we’ve uncovered, confirmed and refined our understanding of the underlying tenets of motivation. We know there are external factors that organizations and managers can use to create motivating circumstances and environments and that there are internal factors that only the individual can define and satisfy for him or herself.

We’ve gotten better at incorporating that knowledge into our organizational systems but we still, in large part, take an outside-in approach to motivation and engagement. What if we added an inside-out approach to our efforts? How might the individual take more responsibility for identifying and managing their own internal motivation factors?


The Neuropsychology of Motivation

Developments in neuropsychology and modern motivation theory are giving us the ability to do just that. So many exciting things are coming out of a variety of fields that are combining to give us a clearer picture of how our minds, emotions, behavior and relationships work. From Martin Seligman’s Optimism to Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow Theory to David Rock’s SCARF Model, we have more and more effective ways to influence our relationship with the world around us. And these ways are available to all of us simply by better understanding - and managing - our brain.

Resistance: An Individual’s Responsibility


By synthesizing all the good stuff we know into a practical, accessible framework of tools that anyone can use, Helle Bundgaard, Founder of Motivation Factor® has developed a way to give individuals the ability, responsibility, and even accountability for getting and staying motivated. She’s translated complex brain research into everyday applications.

For change agents, these new tools give us greater ability to move those organizational mountains. We’ll still get the thrill of watching insight bloom and action unfold. We’ll even see more of it.


Address: P.O. Box 320361, West Roxbury, MA 02132

Phone: +1 (617) 259-6262

Email: programs@mbodlg.org

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