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  • Are We Thinking About Organizational Culture the Wrong Way?

    03/27/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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    Is your corporate culture unifying – or unintentionally divisive?

    Before you answer, you should read this Harvard Business Review post by John Traphagan.

    Most of us accept the common definition of “corporate culture” as a shared set of values, attitudes, standards and beliefs that characterize how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions.

    But, according to Traphagan, viewing culture as a unifying thing (albeit an intangible one) is neither accurate nor useful. He makes several arguments to support his position:

    1. Culture isn’t merely a unifying force that brings people together; it’s also a tool people use to wield power and draw proverbial lines in the sand. As such, culture provides a basis upon which employees can contest or counter certain ideas or values – making culture as much about division as it is about unity.
    2. Values that are presented as “commonly held” by members of an organization aren’t really all that common. What’s more, people may agree that a certain value is important, yet fundamentally disagree on what that value really means. For example, values like “freedom” or “hard work” or “social responsibility” are incredibly difficult to define – and even more difficult to garner unilateral support for.
    3. Values espoused specifically to unite employees might not actually achieve their intended purpose. Research cited in the post indicates that, rather than making everyone feel included/appreciated, common values such as diversity can actually make people feel singled out or even threatened.

    Could our Thinking About Corporate Culture be all Wrong?

    To the extent we view it as a unifier, perhaps. Any attempt to unite employees with organizational culture is an act of power. Individuals will react to that exercise of authority differently, based upon how closely the espoused values align with their personal beliefs.

    Looking for Ways to Improve Your Organizational Culture?

    Read this earlier post on how to prevent negativity from undermining the success of your team. Then give our recruiting experts a call. We will quickly and cost-effectively refer candidates with the personality traits and soft skills to help you build a more positive culture. Contact our national employment agency today to get started.

     

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Key Tips for Making High-Stakes Leadership Decisions

03/20/17 7:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Chicken or beef?

Wouldn’t it be great if all leadership decisions were as simple as choosing which entrée you’d like? But as you know all too well, most business decisions carry greater weight and are much more convoluted:

Take on a huge client that doesn’t quite fit your strengths…or take a pass?

Stay the course…or pivot your business?

Hire more employees…or outsource a function?

As an executive, the decisions you make impact your employees, customers, stakeholders, and sometimes even the world at large. No pressure there, right? And when the stakes are high, time is of the essence, and you have several equally good (or equally bad) options, making sound decisions becomes even more challenging. And more vital.

There is no “magic formula” for making effective, high-stakes decisions, but you can use these four tips to consistently make the smartest choices:

Get Comfortable with Being a Little Uncomfortable

When you have to make decisions based on limited or conflicting information, don’t let the lack of clarity paralyze you. Nobody has a crystal ball (well, not one that can predict the future, anyway), and making decisions in the face of uncertainty is simply part of doing business. The best leaders are comfortable with take calculated risks – and the only way to gain that comfort level is through practice.

Breathe

This one sounds simple (because it is), but it’s extremely effective. When an important business decision creates a pressure-cooker environment, press the pause button and take a moment to calm your mind. Closing your eyes and taking a few slow, deep breaths engages your parasympathetic nervous system. Focused breathing not only calms your nerves, it gets your mind out of reactive mode and into responsive mode – which allows you to engage the higher order brain functions that yield better decisions.

Apply the “4R” Test

Once you’ve gathered available intelligence and laid out your options, consider the following questions to determine your best course of action:

  • What will you regret if you fail to take any action at all? The higher the potential regret, the sooner you should make a choice.
  • How tough will it be to reverse course? The easier a decision is to repeal, the faster you should make it.
  • What will the repercussions be? The broader the impact, the more carefully you need to tread.
  • How will the decision impact your organization’s resilience? Give more weight to decision options that will build your company’s resilience.

Avoid Binary Thinking

Making tough decisions in high-pressure situations typically intensifies caution and limits creative thinking. Instead of framing options with yes/no questions, take the blinders off. Assemble a cross-functional team to examine the issue; fresh perspectives may lead to new alternatives you hadn’t previously considered.

Make a Great Decision: Make Exact Staff Your Staffing Partner!

Whether you need to engage great decision-makers or give yourself more time to focus on decision-making, the experts at your local Exact Staff office are ready to help.

 

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No One Likes to Do It, But Here Are Four Signs It May Be Time to Fire an Employee

03/13/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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They insist on bringing their exotic pet to work. Every day. Off leash.

They converted their cubicle to a nail salon – and business is booming.

Their daily “lunch break” has devolved into a five-hour nap.

Firing these (thankfully fictional) employees would be a cinch. But in the real world, deciding to terminate an employee is rarely as cut-and-dry. Typically, managers are forced to make tough judgment calls, believing that coaching and rehabilitation might turn around a problem employee. Fear of lawsuits and genuine concern for the employee’s well-being make it even more difficult to pull the proverbial plug.

When it comes to making a firing decision, every situation and individual is unique. Still, seeing one or more of these signs from an employee will make your decision to let them go a whole lot easier.

Coaching and Training Hasn’t Helped

You thought that your employee’s performance issues could be attributed to a lack of job skills – but working with them to improve their abilities hasn’t helped at all. In fact, it’s made things worse. Instead of boosting their performance and attitude, the training you’ve provided has only made them surly and defensive.

Their Behavior has Gone from Bad to Worse

When you confronted your employee about their unacceptable work behavior (e.g., arriving late, inappropriate conduct, excessive absenteeism), you expected them to react by fixing the issue and trying harder on the job. Instead, your request for change was met with disinterest. And their bad behavior hasn’t just continued – it’s become worse.

They’re Bringing the Whole Team Down

In the past, you’ve been able to contain the damage your employee has created. But lately, their bad behavior and attitude has produced a nasty ripple effect – negatively impacting everyone who has to deal with them. Instead of having one problem employee on your hands, you now have a whole slew of upset co-workers. And frankly, you can’t blame them.

They Can’t Handle Change

Change is unavoidable, especially in your successful, fast-paced company. But instead of embracing that change and making the required adjustments, your otherwise hard-working employee has railed against it. Their obstinacy has completely eroded his performance, which has only caused them to dig their heels in further – and fall further behind.

Hate Firing People?

Navigating employment waters can be tricky, and it becomes even more difficult when workflow is unpredictable or your company is tackling a critical project requiring specific, short-term expertise.  How can you avoid the risk of a firing-related lawsuit, while still finding the people you need to get your work done?

Put the Exact Staff family of companies to work for you.  When you engage temporary employees through us, you get the capabilities and capacity you need – right when you need them.  Since we are the employer of record for temporary staff, your company also avoids a potential quagmire if it becomes necessary to replace a temporary associate.

If you need flexible access to true professionals, or simply need to replace a problem employee, give our national employment agency a call.

 

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The Secret to Creating a Speech That Works and Motivates

03/6/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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Ever come out of a presentation feeling energized and ready to take on the world?

What was the speaker’s secret?

How did he keep you engaged and effectively deliver his message?

It could’ve been his or her gestures.

In public speaking, the way you express yourself nonverbally is just as important as – if not more so than – what you actually say. In fact, well-known (but often misrepresented) research by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA, shows that:

  • Nonverbal elements (things like posture and gestures) are particularly important for communicating feelings and attitude.
  • When deciding whether we like someone who’s delivering an emotional message, body language is more important than the speaker’s words or even tone of voice. Body language accounts for 55% of our decision, while words and tone account for just 7% and 38%, respectively.
  • For emotional communication to be effective and meaningful, nonverbal aspects must support a speaker’s words and tone of voice.

In a nutshell?

When it comes to giving a motivating speech (especially an emotional one), the nonverbal stuff is really important. So once you craft your message, here’s how to use gestures to deliver your presentation in an engaging way:

Adopt the Right Base Posture

When you’re giving a speech, you need to have a comfortable framework for your body when you’re not gesturing. The best resting position for your arms is hanging naturally from your shoulders, with your thumbs resting gently on the side of your legs. It may feel initially awkward, but it looks just fine to your audience.

When you adopt this comfortably neutral pose, any gestures you make require significant movement – which makes them more noticeable, even to people in the back of the room.

Choose the Right Gestures to Support Your Message

Effective gestures fall into three main categories. Use these sparingly to boost your confidence, support your message and enhance the meaning of your stories:

  • Symbolic gestures (e.g., thumbs up, pointing up/down) are useful for reinforcing numbers, position or other words.
  • Descriptive gestures (e.g., using hands to define a shape or approximate distance) help you better communicate abstract ideas and/or movement.
  • Emotional gestures (e.g., clenching fists, wringing hands, fist pumping) reinforce your feelings.

Don’t Overdo It

Every time you make a gesture, you require your audience to shift attention from your words to your actions. A certain amount of gesturing will enhance your stories, but overusing them will only undermine your effectiveness – and make you look manic. Take a “less is more” approach.

Avoid Distractive Gestures

When you’re uncomfortable with public speaking, that discomfort is naturally reflected in your gesturing. Unconscious reactions like the following may be misinterpreted by your audience:

  • Placing your hands on your hips (may come across as condescending or parental)
  • Crossing your arms (may read as being disagreeable or defensive)
  • Thrusting your hands in your pockets (may be misconstrued as nervousness – and can lead to other distracting behaviors like jingling change or keys)

Be mindful of what you’re doing with your hands and arms to ensure your nonverbal cues complement your message.

Need More than a Great Speech?

Sometimes, an effective, motivational speech is enough to rally the troops and boost productivity in your workplace. But for those times when you need extra help, Exact Staff’s temporary employees are here to provide support – keeping your staff happy and working at their peak for you. To learn what our national staffing agency can do for you, schedule a free workforce consultation today.

 

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