Failure – why it is good for us and why we should talk about it

  Recent research into mental health best practices for a client led to a review of suicide rates, seasonal spikes and possible contributing events.  It turns out that spring is in fact a time for an increase in suicidal feelings.  Understandably, a person’s likelihood of having suicidal thoughts increases with an internal sense of failure. In hopes of addressing an element of both of these, this week in we are celebrating our failures and openly discussing them with each other and with friends and family in hopes of encouraging others to do the same.  We need to be reminded we have all failed and we all will fail again.  Changing our own and everyone else’s perspective on failure is the change we really need to make.

As a people we speak to others of our successes, we boast of our achievements on social media, we fill our CV’s with accomplishments. All of this is important and we should all take pride in those things in which we have excelled. We celebrate our successes for ourselves but maybe we need to spend more time talking about our failures for others. Sharing our low points help others feel they are not alone, help others understand everyone fails, to help others appreciate that success really means learning to accept our failures and moving on to the next adventure.  Failing means you tried something new. It means you pushed yourself to a new level.  It means you were brave. 

I have worked hard in life and been fortunate enough to have had my share of accomplishments of which I am very proud. I have had my share of failures too. I have been able to learn from these failures and in time view them as life lessons (admittedly some needed more time than others). I recognize that my failures are what enabled me to achieve even more than I would have without failing along the way.  To prove this  I volunteered to share a small sample of my failures online:

So here goes, 3 of my more  memorable failures have been:

1. I’ve been fired.

2. I failed military pilot training.

3. I married the wrong man  but didn’t realize it until more than a decade later.

I ask those of you who read this to please celebrate  with me and post an example of a failure you have endured, survived and maybe even overcome.  If you are not comfortable posting, maybe you would be more comfortable telling someone about one?

If collectively we help one person feel less ashamed about their failures from reading of the failures of successful people then this will be a success.  We all fail at times. Getting back up on our feet is what makes us amazing!  

Wishing you failure so that you may achieve success,

Sue 

10 Tips for Succession Planning

 Succession planning is essential to the long term success of any organization.  Here’s 10 of our favourite things to keep in mind when designing your process to identify, develop and select the next leaders in your organization:

1. Keep the process simple, transparent and flexible.

2. Ensure program goals align with long term strategy of organization including any consideration of new senior roles to be created

3. Involvement and support of management essential to process! in fact co-ownership of process and results by HR and line is ideal

4. Add an evaluation of each candidate’s level of engagement as well as his or her developmental readiness.

5. Look at all components of performance and potential:

  • Knowing – technical job knowledge
  • Being – how does candidate act/what kind of style 
  • Doing – activities they perform (tasks, team leadership, coaching)

6. Weigh potential more than performance; although both are important

7. Be sure to create sufficient bench strength to account for retirements, departures and to allow for a true assessment of how candidates grow when challenged with direct feedback.

8. Work to have the identification of high potential leaders for all key roles (some will be listed multiple times), include expected readiness and what support/development is being given to close gaps.

9. Create a peer mentoring program whereby people are matched based on their strength and someone else’s area of development 

10. Remember that just like in pro sports, some get drafted early, some play longer in the minors, some get called up and then sent back to the minors – last season doesn’t matter but this one does!

Gen Y and Your Workplace (from our ‘Ask the Expert’ column in The Voice)

Q:  I have hired a younger employee and they do not get the way the world works.  When I was their age I worked long hours and was willing to do every task given to me.  What is wrong with this generation?

A: The presence of the youngest generation currently in the workforce, Generation Y, has caused many employers to scratch their heads.  There is nothing ‘wrong’ with this generation, it is just that they refuse to accept the current workplace norms just because they are the workplace norms.

The situation is not unlike when women started entering the workforce in large numbers.  Suddenly there was a rash of ‘women’s issues’ like parental leave and caregiver leave.  At the time it seemed like an impossible change to many employers but in reality it was a simple adjustment that benefited male and female employees alike.  Adapting to the needs of Generation Y is no different; the changes they are demanding will in fact positively impact everyone in the workplace.  Examples of these changes are:

•    A shift from managing by hours to deliverables – why do office organizations still have a punch clock mentality when the work performed is nothing like a factory environment?  Focus on what needs to be accomplished and manage by deliverables.  A work day should be about what you achieved not whether you worked 8 consecutive hours.

•    Add Flexibility – similar to the point above, don’t force someone to work a firm schedule unless it is a requirement of the job (e.g. receptionist, security guard).  Allowing employees to complete assigned tasks on their schedule within required deadlines can dramatically increase both productivity and engagement.

Most important are changes regarding communications.   Ask your employees what they want from their work environment.  This is a win-win proposition.  Remember happy employees work harder!

Start Spreading The News! HR Blueprints Heads to New York This Fall!

Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The flights and rooms are booked and we’re ready to go! On September 26th, HR Blueprints will be providing a full day seminar at the 4 Points Sheraton Soho in Manhattan.

We are looking forward to sharing cutting edge HR strategies with organizations and HR professionals to our neighbours across the border.

Join us for all or any of the following education sessions designed to help you make your workplace more productive and your workforce more engaged!  Book 2 or more sessions and save!!!  REGISTER

0730 to 0930Boomers and Xers and Y’s, Oh My! (breakfast included)

There are currently four distinct generations in the workplace, each with a unique style and different needs and values.  This can create misunderstandings, conflict and strife in organizations. Learn how your organization can forge a strong and cohesive team across the generations.  Learn how generational diversity can be leveraged to create a more engaged workplace.  Learn about policies and practices that will attract younger generations as well as benefit and recognize more seasoned employees.

1000 to 1200Leveraging Flexible Work Arrangements to Drive Productivity (lunch included)

Employees are demanding work-life balance.  Employers want to do more with less.  But are these two concepts really in opposition to one another?

Learn about solutions that create more value for organizations, customers and employees.  Learn the underlying research, how these concepts can be applied in any organization, and how to positively impact the bottom line by being more flexible.

1200 to 1300Lunch (attendees from the 1030 or 1330 session invited to join us)

1300 to 1500Bias Free Selection – Screen For Talent (lunch included)

We may miss the best candidate simply because of our pre-conceived notions. In a business culture that is increasingly becoming diverse and vibrant, it becomes apparent that we cannot afford to turn down a world-class candidate because of their name, color or ethnicity. It’s time we consciously try to set our differences and perceptions apart to hire the best talent to our organizations.  Learn how to screen for talent to select the very best person for your workplace without bias.

1530 to 1730Behavioural Based Interviewing (snacks and refreshments included)

Is your organization struggling to find the right fit for your vacant roles?  Do you use your ‘gut’ when hiring only to be disappointed by the results?  Are you tired of paying the enormous cost associated with bad hires?  Learn the scientific foundation of this technique and how to leverage it in your organization.  Learn how to involve this technique into your existing selection processes to save time and money.

Key Communication Rules for Conflict Resolution

  • Create and Maintain a Supportive Atmosphere
    Try to see things from the employees’ perspective. You must both take the time to listen attentively to what each other has to say, and find out what it is the other person needs.
  • Be Confident
    State the problem as you understand it. Voice your needs clearly while still remaining open to what others have to say and what their needs may be.
  • Listen Actively
    Focus on what the other person has to say. Make sure your body language is open and receptive. Know when to be silent, let the other person finish completely. Try not to focus on your arguments while the other person is speaking. To clarify what he or she is saying, try summarizing or paraphrasing. This way you’ll ensure a better understanding of his or her point of view.
  • Probe for More Information
    Ask questions to drill down deeper into what the other person is saying. Ask for clarification in a way that will foster open dialogue. Discuss your differences openly. This way you may reveal an underlying issue or the true source of the problem.
  • Look for Non-verbal Clues
    The other person is speaking to you non-verbally as well as verbally. Be aware of his or her gestures, tone of voice, nervous habits, etc. Work on fine-tuning your ability to read non-verbal clues; as a manager, you may have to pick up on the subtle signs and respond to them.
  • Seek Common Ground
    When confronted with two opposing views, inquire about the underlying values and if appropriate, integrate the two conflicting positions rather than demand one of the parties to change his or her view.