You are on page 1of 12

HRDQ Insight Newsletter

In this issue...
   
Are Time Robbers Stealing Your Productivity? Building a Trust-Based Culture Taking Control of Conflict How the Negotiating Style Profile Helped More than 600 Managers and Directors to Strengthen Their Negotiating Skills

Trainer Education Series - Free Webinars

Are Time Robbers Stealing Your Productivity?
Your to-do list is a mile long, everything is labeled high priority, and the expectations are high. Time robbers. They steal from you each and every day, leaving you overwhelmed, frustrated, and spinning your wheels. And guess what? You may be the culprit. That‟s right, what derails you most is oftentimes self-imposed. Take a look at this lineup. How many do you recognize — and how can you stop the crime against productivity?

Procrastination Putting things off leads to costly mistakes, poor results, and other issues that require you to spend even more time on the task at hand. Whether you‟ve developed a bad habit, you‟re dreading the project or you‟re afraid of failing, understanding why you procrastinate is the best way to get a jumpstart. Multi-tasking You know you‟ve tried it, and some people believe it‟s what keeps them on track. But research shows doing more than one thing at a time actually slows you down and reduces the quality of your work. Learn to recognize when you‟re trying to tackle more than one thing at a time. Before you know it, you‟ll discover you can accomplish more by doing less.

Doing things more than once How often do you begin a task, put it down, and then pick it up again — back at square one? Fits and starts take a huge toll on productivity. That‟s why it‟s important to assess the urgency, schedule the work, and assign a deadline. You‟ll be amazed at what prioritizing your to-do list can do for you. An outdated to-do list Today‟s work environment is dynamic. That means your to-do list is ever changing too. So make it a regular practice to review your to-do list often. You‟re likely to find priorities have shifted, tasks need to be added, and some projects can be eliminated altogether. Distractions Instant messaging. Chitchatting. Unsolicited phone calls. Is your productivity interrupted more often than you‟d like to admit? It‟s ok, but take control. Unless you must be immediately available, put down the cell pho ne, turn off your IM alerts, and allow calls to go to voicemail. It can wait. Perfectionism You rewrite, reorganize, and reformat. And then you do it again. Are you guilty of perfectionism? Stop, put down the red pen, and think. Does the finished product already achieve expectations? You may just realize that “good enough” really is good enough. Inefficient use of technology Be honest: How often do you find yourself surfing the Web, posting updates on social media, and responding to email? Take an IT escape. Schedule time to do these activities when it doesn‟t impact your productivity. And cut down the noise by unsubscribing to lists and feeds that no longer interest you. Meetings, meetings, and more meetings Are you being held hostage in the conference room? Meetings are essential to collaboration and getting things done. But they can be a huge waste of time too. Before you respond to the next meeting request, ask the organizer for an agenda. You may find your participation isn‟t critical. And if you‟re the one leading the meeting, be mindful to stay on track and be respectful of others‟ time. You can‟t turn a 24-hour day into a 28-hour day. But you can create more time by reducing or eliminating time robbers, whether the culprit is procrastination, multi-tasking, distraction, or perfection. Maybe you‟ll even find the free time to try that great new restaurant, pick up a new read…or get some sleep. Source: Balancing Priorities: How to Successfully Manage Tasks, Deadlines, and Expectations

Building a Trust-Based Culture
Trust. It‟s the ultimate efficiency and productivity tool. It‟s also the secret to gaining a strategic advantage over the competition. But cultivating a trust-based culture can seem like a daunting task — and some OD professionals argue it can‟t be trained. We recently spoke with Laurie Ribble Libove, organizational development specialist and author ofTrust: The Ultimate Test about the benefits of building a trust-based culture and how organizations can achieve — and maintain — an optimal level of trust, especially in today‟s virtual environment.

Q: What are some of the characteristics of a trust-based culture? A: Structurally, trust-based cultures tend to have fewer layers and broader spans of control. Actions and decisions are guided by values and goals. Communication is ample and flows freely up, down, and across the organization. This atmosphere of openness often extends beyond the organization as well, to channel partners, suppliers, and customers. Q: What benefits can organizations achieve from a trust-based culture? A: Efficiency, responsiveness, and lower operating costs are the hallmarks of trust-based cultures. These benefits derive from highly engaged and committed employees who can be more productive and focus on valueadded work because they aren‟t bogged down by excessive policy and procedure or waiting for approval from multiple layers of management. They‟re also willing to go the extra mile because they feel valued, respected, and trusted to do what‟s in the best interest of the firm‟s stakeholders. Q: What does an organization that lacks trust look like? A: Low-trust organizations tend to have tall organizational structures, with lots of layers and narrow spans of control. Think in terms of impermeable silos. They are process heavy and require multiple approval levels to take action or commit resources. Employee activity is heavily monitored. Information is scarce, with access to it based on one‟s position or level. Q: What is the potential fallout for organizations with a low level of trust? A: Because low-trust organizations closely monitor all activity and engage in detailed data collection, employees come to understand that information can — and will — be used against them. They learn to engage in defensive routines to protect themselves, including the withholding of negative information or bad news. This has the effect of allowing relatively minor issues and problems to persist and fester. What could have been easily and inexpensively addressed in the earliest stages compounds into the kind of crisis or event that makes stakeholders ask, “How could they have possibly allowed that to happen?” Q: Is it true too much trust can harm organizational performance? A: It may sound counterintuitive, but when trust exceeds a certain threshold, performance can suffer or other

negative outcomes may occur. Remember that with trust comes the risk someone will exploit it for personal gain or otherwise take advantage. In organizations with a balanced approach to trust, there is sufficient monitoring to detect slacking or opportunism in its early stages. But in organizations with an extreme level of trust, monitoring is often negligible and employee empowerment is typically very high. These conditions allow good employees to flourish, but it also permits bad ones to freeload—or worse. And any harmful behavior often goes undetected until real economic harm has been done to the firm and its reputation. Q: How can teams establish and build trust in today’s virtual environment? A: The single most important factor is the opportunity for face-to-face interaction, especially at the launch of a new team or project or when there is a change in leadership, resources, or mission. Keep in mind that „face -toface‟ doesn‟t necessarily mean „in-person‟ (although that is ideal). There are plenty of low-cost options for groupvideo conferencing these days. A secondary factor in helping virtual teams to build trust is to provide a way for team members to learn about one another as people, not just as professionals. The goal is to help team members discover ways in which they are similar, because the more we have in common with someone, the more likely we are to trust. Q: What are the best first steps toward developing a culture of trust? A: First, confirm that you have the full commitment of the organization‟s leaders. If not, step b ack and facilitate a dialogue at the highest levels about the relative importance of trust in achieving the organization‟s strategic goals. Make the business argument for investing in change by educating the senior team about the comparative costs and benefits of various trust levels. Finally, provide them with an estimate of the organization‟s “trust gap” and map out a multi-year plan to influence the degree of openness, benevolence, risk-taking, and monitoring in the organization. If you want to learn more about specific actions to include in your multi-year trust plan, download the free webinar, Can You Really Train Trust?, presented by Laurie Ribble Libove. About the Author Laurie Ribble Libove is a specialist in strategic human resource management and organizational development. She earned a M.S. from the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University and a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Napa Valley College in 2009, Laurie was a Visiting Lecturer at the Haas School of Business, University of California - Berkeley and an Instructor in the MBA program at Dominican University of California. Her publication credits include training tools on change management, visionary leadership, team trust, and listening. Source: Trust: THe Ultimate Test >

Taking Control of Conflict
Workplace productivity, employee engagement, and job satisfaction probably aren‟t the first things that come to mind when you think about conflict. Since the days of Plato and Aristotle, conflict has been widely recognized as the cause of many struggles, from stress and inefficiency to poor decision making and employee turnover. Just look these eye-opening statistics:

  

Almost 85% of employees experience conflict at work. Managers spend as much as 40% of their time dealing with conflict. Employees exhaust approximately 3 hours each week in conflict situations.

Yikes! And to complicate things further, wrap your head around this: For all the damage inflicted by excessive conflict, the absence of conflict can breed a culture of mistrust and complacency:

 

According to the management team at Intel, “The only thing worse than too much conflict is no conflict at all.” Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch coined the term “superficial congeniality,” in which everything was “pleasant on the surface, with distrust and savagery roiling beneath.”

Clearly, conflict has been given a bum rap. But conflict itself is not the problem. In fact, it can be the secret to a competitive advantage when it‟s harnessed and well-managed. And that starts with education. Rather than attempting to eliminate conflict, equip people with awareness, knowledge, and an effective strategy. That is, awareness of how individuals typically react in conflict situations, knowledge of the consequences that result from those reactions, and finally, the ability to select the most effective strategy for responding to conflict in a productive manner. Model Conflict Theories of conflict have shifted and evolved since Classical Greece. Today, the grid first introduced by psychologists Robert Blake and Jane Mouton in 1964 continues to be the predominant conflict model. A matrix that combines an individual‟s degree of concern for work output with his or her degree of concern for people generates five different conflict strategies: Integrating, Compromising, Competing, Smoothing, andAvoiding.

Strategy Avoiding

Characteristics Leaves issues unresolved Ignores personal needs Fears conflict

Drawbacks Complacency Resentment Lack of willingness

Appropriate UsesAppropriate Uses Trivial Issues Need to buy time Reduce tension temporarily


Yields to others Selfless Prefers harmony

Portrays the victim Goals are not met Pushover Undermining Erodes trust Avoided by others Neither needs met Must revisit issues Dissatisfaction Requires time Can be exhausting Complex

Create goodwill Keep the peace Develop rapport Need quick action Protect core values Emergency situations When time is an issue Parties have equal power Need temporary fix Important issues Need mutual agreement Long-term solutions


Argues/debates Wants to be right Directs the outcome

Compromising Negotiates Finds middle ground Concedes Integrating Mutually beneficial Listens actively Problem solves

As you may have guessed, Integrating is the ideal strategy for successfully managing conflict on a consistent basis. But even though its problem-solving focus yields positive results, there are times when it‟s not possible to invest the energy and collaboration it requires. That‟s why it‟s important to understand the situation, evaluate the options, and then choose the best-suited conflict strategy. You don‟t have to cringe when you‟re in the midst of conflict. With some skill and know -how, you — and your organization — can reap the benefits of conflict done right! Sources: Taking Control of Conflict and Conflict Strategies Inventory Back to Top ^

Case Study: How the Negotiating Style Profile Helped More than 600 Managers and Directors to Strengthen Their Negotiating Skills
Capitalizing on a Growth Trend after a Bottom-Floor Drop Like so many industries in America, the hotel industry experienced a number of volatile years between 2006 and 2012. After a high in 2006, the occupancy rate (Occ%) and the average dollar rate (ADR) plummeted dramatically between 2006 and 2009 before it began to rebound as the

economy recovered. (See Figure 1 below.) The average daily rate represents the average income per paid occupied room during a given time frame. This combined with the occupancy rate is the foundation for measuring a hotel‟s financial performance.

Gary Turner, an expert in negotiating styles and leadership training, was contacted by his client, the Vice President of Sales for a nationally-recognized upscale hotel chain. “Although the organization‟s 2012 average daily rate was better than the national average, my client‟s 2013 strategic goal is to achieve an even higher rate—without damaging the occupancy rate,” said Gary. The Vice President of Sales was responsible for ensuring the General Managers and Directors of Sales were equipped to achieve this goal. Does Negotiating Style Help or Hinder Results? Each of the client‟s hotels is managed by a General Manager and a Director of Sales who are responsible for managing costs and maximizing sales. While both roles are required to negotiate as part of their everyday responsibilities, their objectives are different. The General Manager‟s negotiations are centered on securing operation services and supplies such as repairmen, paper products, and more through a network of vendors. The Director of Sales, on the other hand, is focused on selling accommodations to the hotel‟s client base, including extended-stay reservations and à la carte services. Gary‟s client raised questions about negotiating style and how it impacts the objectives of each manager‟s role:

Do General Managers have the urge to drive a tougher bargain because of the underlying pressure to maximize revenue? Are they more demanding when making purchases?

 

Are Directors of Sales more accommodating now because “times are good” and “being nice” might help them to establish beneficial long-term relationships with clients? Are Directors of Sales hesitant to charge the higher rates that would increase the average daily rate but damage the occupancy rate?

An Assessment of Negotiating Style Gary‟s recommended starting point was a self-assessment of personal negotiating styles. Based on Ury and Fisher‟s collaborative win-win model, and heavily influenced by the highly-respected Thomas-Kilmann conflict resolution model, the Negotiating Style Profile offers a simple framework for determining one‟s negotiating style and interprets how that behavior is likely to affect relationships and results. Presented with 30 different statements, individuals were asked to choose one of seven possible responses, ranging from Completely Characteristic to Completely Uncharacteristic. Scores revealed a preference for one of five negotiating styles: Defeating, Accommodating, Collaborating, Withdrawing, or Compromising. More than 600 General Managers and Directors of Sales were surveyed using the Negotiating Style Profile online selfassessment. The assessment results were grouped by title and then compared to the national norm:

Summary of Negotiating Style Profile Results:

   

The distribution of styles between the General Managers and Directors of Sales is relatively parallel across the five negotiating styles. The Defeating, Accommodating, and Compromising styles are consistent with the national average. The General Managers and the Directors of Sales both possess a higher rate of the Collaborating style than the national average. The General Managers and the Directors of Sales possess the Withdrawing style less than the national average.

Combined, the Negotiating Style Profile scores indicate that both the General Managers and Directors of Sales practice problem solving and patience more than most negotiators and they do not have the tendency to withdraw from the negotiating process. (See Figure 2 above.) Variations of each of the five negotiating styles may be appropriate in certain scenarios, and sometimes negotiators may want to use a specific style for a particular type of negotiation. For example, if the other party exerts superior

power over the subject of the negotiation, a Withdrawing stance might be the most appropriate course of action in order to achieve an agreement. However, the style that produces the best results most consistently is the Collaborating style. When satisfying mutual needs is a paramount concern, both parties can harness problem-solving strategies that benefit both the outcome of the negotiation as well as the relationship of the parties. (See Figure 3 below.)

Negotiating Success Is a Matter of Style Using the Negotiating Style Profile as the basis for insight and knowledge, Gary‟s next step was to focus on the importance of raising the organization‟s average daily rate by employing collaborative skills such as active listening and questioning. While this may be considered a basic skill, evidence shows that even the best collaborators lack the ability to “hear” what is being said and ask questions that elicit important and valuable information. He utilized role play simulations as skill practice, with the General Managers acting as the client (a.k.a. the purchaser of

accommodations). In one situation, a Director of Sales “negotiated” with a potential client who wanted to reserve 30 suites for an organization that was in town during the summer months to centralize its IT function. The potential client received a bid from a competing hotel for a nightly rate of $80. But what the Director of Sales did not know was three pieces of important information about the potential client: 1. There were several complaints about the competing hotel and it was not the first choice of accommodations for the organization‟s employees and their families. 2. The potential client‟s organization was building a new corporate office directly across the street from the Director of Sales‟ hotel location. 3. Part of the centralization project required employees to get up during the middle of the night for “system test crashes.” During the simulation, the potential client was instructed to withhold these valuable tidbits unless the Director of Sales specifically asked for the information. The client was also told to pay extra to stay at the Director of Sales‟ hotel — if it became necessary to complete the negotiation. The role play took approximately 10 minutes, at which time the participants were told to come to an agreement in increments of $5. Figure 4 below illustrates that not everyone got the same deal — some negotiated a better deal and some were not as successful.

Following the role-play simulation, Gary surveyed the Directors of Sales to see how many thought to ask the potential

client: 1. 2. 3. Have you received any complaints about the accommodations at the competing hotel? Where is the location of the organization‟s new IT function? How often — and when — were the employees expected to be on site at the new office?

Approximately one-third of the negotiators thought to ask at least one of these probing questions. The negotiator who achieved the $105 rate did obtain this information and used it to drive the higher suite rate. (See Figure 4 above.) Conclusion As the Negotiating Style Profile revealed, Collaborating is the dominant style of both the General Managers and the Directors of Sales. While this style will help them to reach successful negotiating outcomes, Gary supplemented the training with skill practice to further develop their skills. The role-play simulations helped the Directors of Sales to apply the insights gained through the self-assessment. Specifically, they learned the importance of asking probing questions to uncover important information relevant to the negotiation. Coupled with action planning, the Vice President of Sales is confident the hotel chain will experience an average daily rate increase to achieve its 2013 goal. Click here for more information about the Negotiating Style Profile.

Gary Turner is an award-winning consultant and speaker with more than 30 years of experience in training and development. He has worked with many prominent organizations, including M&M/Mars, Con-way Freight, Warner Brothers, and Owens & Minor.

One hour of learning. A lifetime of knowledge.
Free Webinars - Register Today!

Trainer Education Webinars Each month we deliver new webinars to help you better understand HRDQ products, gain industry insight, and explore new ideas. Webinars are first offered live, with time for interaction with presenters. Each webinar is

recorded for viewing after the live date.