<![CDATA[Sundog Coaching Group - Blog]]>Tue, 02 Feb 2016 13:49:06 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[The Similarities about what makes a Great City and a         Great Company]]>Tue, 01 Oct 2013 02:19:45 GMThttp://www.sundogcoaching.com/blog/the-similarities-about-what-makes-a-great-city-and-a-great-companyThis week I happened to come across an article by McKinsey & Company that offered some insight into how to make a city great. The article struck me on a number of fronts:

1)      The amount of the “how” that has and is being done in my hometown of Austin,  which I am confident is one of the big “whys” Austin sits atop so many “best of” lists, and

2)      That the efforts  leaders go to in order to make their cities great are the same efforts CEOs engage in to make their company’s great.

McKinsey identifies three fundamental practices that great cities do well:
  • achieve smart growth
  • do more with less, and
  • win support for change
Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Well, in reality we all know it is easier said than done, or we would have many more Great Cities and many more truly Great Companies. So let’s dig deeper at these fundamental practices and look at translating what McKinsey uncovered into what constitutes great company practices:

Smart Growth

Do more with less

Win support for change

A Great City

“… identifies and nurtures the very best opportunities for growth, plans ways to cope with its demands, integrates environmental thinking, and ensures that all citizens enjoy a city’s prosperity.”

“…secures all revenues due, explores investment partnerships, embraces technology, make organizational changes that eliminate overlapping roles, and manages expenses.”

“…builds a high-performing team of civil servants, creates a working environment where all employees are accountable for their actions, and takes every opportunity to forge a stakeholder consensus with the local population and business community. They take steps to recruit and retain top talent, emphasize collaboration, and train civil servants in the use of technology.”
A Great Company

…identifies and nurtures the very best market opportunities, anticipates customer needs and demands, and ensures all employees share in the company’s success.

…has best-in-class accounts receivables practices, pursues equity and partnerships to scale appropriately, and continuously streamlines operations to efficiently manage expenses.

…builds a high-performing team that in turn creates a workplace where all employees are not only accountable but also seek opportunities to partner across departments, and strategic alliances to forge greater outcomes. Further, they take steps to recruit and retain top talent, emphasize collaboration, and provide cutting edge technology to maximize productivity.
Again, not many differences here, right? Another parallel worth pondering is the coincidence of Great Companies thriving in, or seeking to relocate to, Great Cities in pursuit of prosperity. Sure, one could point to numerous tax incentives and the available local talent for why the likes of Facebook, Google, and Apple have set up shop in Austin over the past few years, but is that really it? Or could it be it because Great Cities breed Great Companies and vice versa?

As the Head Coach - People & Culture, I can say with confidence that the fabric and fundamentals of Austin are mirrored at Adlucent. As one of the slogans on our marquee put it:
Adlucent: Cool Company in a Hot Town.

<![CDATA[The Upside of Talking More]]>Mon, 19 Aug 2013 13:57:25 GMThttp://www.sundogcoaching.com/blog/the-upside-of-talking-morePicture
There have been numerous studies, articles, and blogs regarding the value of engaged employees and how an engaged workforce boosts the bottom line. Employees are engaged based on having a feeling that they matter, they contribute, and their employer values them both as an employee and a person. These feelings are brought about by meaningful exchanges between managers and employees. I believe many organizations are standing on the edge of a slippery slope substituting technologies (emails, texts, chats) for a good, call it old fashioned, face-to-face conversation.

I recently read a great blog that predicted that the #1 in-demand job skill in 2020 will be empathy. Yes, empathy, and, I know, it was hard for me to swallow at first, too. But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense, given the common communication defaults within most organizations.  Simply defined, empathy is the capacity to recognize emotions that are being experienced by another. Ask yourself how easily you recognize emotions via an email or chat conversation and, when you try, think about the usual outcome. I think you would agree that taking an email or chat other than at face value is almost always dismal.

At Adlucent, where I am the Head Coach - People & Culture, one of our Guiding Ambitions is to “Connect through Caring”. We further define this ambition with the following three descriptors: empathy, build deep trust, foster a family mentality. According to Gallup, caring is one of 12 elements of engagement, and I would offer the one that too often that falls to the wayside. At Adlucent we measure how well the Adlucites' (employees) behaviors align to this guiding ambition because we recognize its criticality.

Nothing can ever substitute for ongoing two-way dialogue between a manager and employee. Of course, managers need to listen first; but also talk with their mouths and not with their fingers on a keyboard or thumbs on a smartphone. Employees need to talk to one another, as well, to facilitate collaboration and build community. It is through these non-technology driven exchanges that trust is fostered and caring is exhibited.

So the next time you’re tempted to fire off a text or open that chat window, think again. Instead I would challenge you to do something that might be considered novel, and that is get up, walk the three cubicles over, and talk.  You likely will be surprised how exercising this simple skill we learned in our first year of existence will boost engagement.
<![CDATA[The Real Business Differentiators]]>Mon, 15 Jul 2013 12:01:01 GMThttp://www.sundogcoaching.com/blog/the-real-business-differentiatorsPicture
So as my inaugural blog post I thought long and hard about what to write. What could I draw on from my years and years of experience in coaching, HR and business that readers would find interesting. Then, I realized maybe the obvious is worth restating, but with a twist.

Countless blogs and articles have been written about the importance of culture, employee engagement, purpose, and the like. Most of these are well intended, but I think there are times they don't dig deep enough. Sure great companies are differentiated by culture, employee engagement, and leadership ~ but how do these sometimes nebulous things manifest to begin with and positively change. Yes, HR and leadership are a huge influence, but when you peel back the onion what do you really have?

One might say, "Well gosh, isn't it obvious? It's employees silly." The answer I would offer is partially correct. And I know this is going to sound strange from a "HR Guy", but I think it is high time we lose the terminology "employee" from the business vernacular. Some companies adopt catchy terms like "associates" or "family members", which I would agree definitely carry a different connotation than employee. But in a more general sense I  would offer employees are ideally people with a shared purpose for belonging together. So call them what they are and treat them as such ~ people! How much different would the work environment feel for you and/or the people who work for you if you were referred to as just people versus employees? Well polished corporations already have adopted this nomenclature...
I also have a set of laws given to me 10 years ago called Horstman's Laws that were developed and given to me by Mark Horstman at Manager-Tools. Hostman's Law #1 says it well too...
It's All About People
This is actually a hard-nosed, scientific and financial reality. Any hour you spend on people is a better investment than an hour spent on systems, processes, or policies. Great people can overcome average systems; average people won't live up to great systems.
So what do you say we stop using the terminology "employee" and adopt something else. And when we are asked what is the difference for our business - let's please be honest. Because when you've completely peeled back the onion, it is not employees that are the real business differentiators but it is the people and only the people.