Thursday, March 28, 2019

4 Things Ethics Is Not






A company’s ethics will determine its reputation.

Good business ethics are essential for the long-term success of an organization. Implementing an ethical program will foster a successful company culture and increase profitability.

A company's ethics will have an influence on all levels of business.

It will influence all who interact with the company including customers, employees, suppliers, competitors, etc.

All of these groups will have an effect on the way a company's ethics are developed.

It is a two way street, the influence goes both ways, which makes understanding ethics a very important part of doing business today.

Ethics is very important, as news can now spread faster and farther and quicker than ever before.

Simply stated - Ethics refers to standards of behavior that tell us how human beings ought to act in the many situations in which they find themselves. Whether as friends, parents, children, citizens, businesspeople, teachers, professionals, and so on.

I will cover Ethics more in future blogs but for now, I think it is helpful to identify 4 Things Ethics Is NOT:

-Ethics is not the same as feelings. Feelings provide important information for our ethical choices. Some people have highly developed habits that make them feel bad when they do something wrong. But many people feel good even though they are doing something wrong. And often, our feelings will tell us it is uncomfortable to do the right thing if it is hard.

-Ethics is not following the law. 
A good system of law does incorporate many ethical standards, but law can deviate from what is ethical. Law can become ethically corrupt, as some totalitarian regimes have made it. Law can also be a function of power alone and designed to serve the interests of narrow groups. It may have a difficult time enforcing standards in some important areas and may be slow to address new problems. 

-Ethics is not following culturally accepted norms. Some cultures are quite ethical, but others become corrupt or blind to certain ethical concerns. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" is not a satisfactory ethical standard.

-Ethics is not science. Social and natural science can provide important data to help us make better ethical choices, but science alone does not tell us what we ought to do. Science may provide an explanation for what humans are like, but ethics provides reasons for how humans ought to act.


The challenge is that there are two fundamental problems in identifying the ethical standards we are to follow:

- On what do we base our ethical standards? 
- And how do those standards get applied to specific situations we face?

Ethics is NOT an easy topic. But it IS a topic that needs to be addressed by our businesses and business leaders. I will dive more into this subject in future blogs.

For more information about Business Ethics, or to see how The Cobalt Group can help you do an ethics assessment, or help you with any other business or leadership challenges you are facing, Contact us.

We want to hear what you think. Leave a comment and let’s start a discussion.

Copyright © 2019 The Cobalt Group LLC. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

5 Benefits of Clearly Defined Coaching Goals



If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to know when you get there?

In the coaching side of my practice I sometimes run across clients that have been previously told to ‘improve their performance’, but not what part(s) of their performance actually need improvement. When coaching a client/employee it is important for both the coach and the client/employee to have specific goals and timelines.

Goals have to be established in order to give direction and purpose to the coaching session whether it is a client or an employee. Ambiguous goals are usually never achieved and may cause frustration, at a minimum.

Defining Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time  driven (SMART) goals will plot a marker in the horizon. It’ll act as your beacon. Without that beacon you are navigating blindly.

Having no clearly defined goal causes frustration for both you and your client/employee because there never seems to be any improvement or progress. It creates a constant cycle of failing to meet some objective – a cycle that will keep repeating without a clearly defined goal.

Setting a clearly defined goal gives you and your client/employee direction and purpose. Imagine being handed a bunch of tools and materials and told to build something without a clear vision or goal of what is to be built. 

The same holds true for developmental goals. It is not good enough to tell your employee they must improve in sales or build widgets faster. These types of goals create more confusion because they do not know where to start because they don't know where they're specifically going.

Here are 5 benefits to establishing clearly defined goals upfront for your client/employee:


  • Both you and your client/employee have a better chance of starting in the right direction together

  • Coaching time is more efficient once goals are discussed upfront

  • You are able to plan ahead of the session and prepare targeted questions

  • Coaching session are direct and avoid meandering

  • You, as the coach, will come across more clear, instilling confidence in your client/employee


Going back to the building analogy, you may end up building a stool when what was really needed was as birdhouse. Clearly defined goals are the cornerstone of effective and successful coaching. 

By establishing clearly defined goals you help to set your client/employee up for success.

For more information about coaching and mentoring, or to see how The Cobalt Group can help you with this or any other business or leadership challenges you are facing, Contact us.

We want to hear what you think. Leave a comment and let’s start a discussion.

Copyright © 2019 The Cobalt Group LLC. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

10 Important Ways to Increase Employee Engagement


As I stated in a previous blog, employee engagement is the next level above employee satisfaction.

Basically stated, employee engagement is the level of commitment and involvement an employee has towards their organization and its values.

There are two components of engagement:

Rational Engagement
The involvement, understanding and motivation an employee has in his/her job.


Emotional Engagement
The attitudinal attachment an employee has to his/her company.

In essence, employee engagement is a barometer that determines the relationship of a person with the organization.

At the heart of the engagement model is Leadership. This is where it starts. Your organization’s leadership sets the tone for your employee engagement model. And the engagement strategy must be directed from the top down. 

The challenge facing the organization’s leadership is to move the employee beyond the way each feels about his/her job to the attitudinal attachment each employee has to his/her company.

So as you develop your employee engagement strategy, here are

10 Important Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

1. They Need to Know what’s Expected of Them

2. They Need to Have the Right Equipment to do the Job

3. Give Them the Opportunity to Do What They Do Best

4. Have a Formal Plan for Recognition & Praise

5. Care for Them as a Person

6. Let Them Know Their Opinion Counts

7. Build a Connection with Them and the Mission of Your 
Organization

8. Talk With Them About Their Progress – formally and informally

9. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Grow

10. Encourage Professional and Personal Development

As your organization develops your engagement plan remember, the KEY to successfully engaging employees is getting to know each employee – not engaging a “them”.

For more information about engaging and mobilizing employees, and to take our free self-assessment about how well you are engaging and mobilizing, or to see how The Cobalt Group can help you with this or any other business or leadership challenges you are facing, Contact us.

We want to hear what you think. Leave a comment and let’s start a discussion.

Copyright © 2019 The Cobalt Group LLC. All rights reserved.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Why TEAMWORK Matters



You have a passion about something and decided to turn it into a career. You are building, or have already built, a business to bring your good or service to market. 

Or, you're part of a bigger company and are responsible for part of that organization.

Undoubtedly, you want your business or organization to be successful. But, with all of the moving parts to running them, what are the important things to be focusing on? 

While you are diligently creating and executing your business plans, go-to-market strategies, and all the other pieces of the pie, there is one important ingredient that is overlooked, or taken for granted too often:

TEAMWORK

Why does this matter? Because running a successful organization requires an effective team!

The simple truth is that effective TEAMWORK does, among other things,  the following:

- It enhances the sense of accomplishment and promotes camaraderie

- TEAMWORK helps build enthusiasm and creates a more supportive atmosphere

- It creates collaboration in the organization – the sum being greater than the parts

- When employees use their talents together they are better able to overcome roadblocks and accomplish the mission   

- Teamwork encourages interaction across organizational divides – and externally with partners and customers

There are many other benefits of effective TEAMWORK. The point here is, TEAMWORK must be an important ingredient for any successful organization.

So here’s the question... 

Does your organization demonstrate effective TEAMWORK and reap the benefits?

We'd be glad to discuss that with you. The Cobalt Group can facilitate over 150 different workshops for your organization, six of them listed below are entirely focused on teamwork and team building.

  • ·        Building High Performance Teams Inside the Company

  • ·        Building High Performance Teams in a Remote Workforce

  • ·        Team Building for Managers

  • ·        Team Building Through Chemistry

  • ·        Teamwork and Team Building

  • ·        Virtual Team Building and Management

For more information about how to achieve better TEAMWORK, or to see how The Cobalt Group can help you with this, or any other business or leadership challenges you are facing, Contact us.

Please share this with your friends and colleagues.

We want to hear what you think. Leave a comment and let’s have a discussion. 

Copyright © 2019 The Cobalt Group LLC. All rights reserved.

Monday, December 10, 2018

5 Characteristics of Engaged Employees



Employee engagement is the next level above employee satisfaction. The difference between the two is distinct.

Satisfied employees perform under a more transactional relationship. They are willing to give X amount of work and time because the company gives them Y in return. 

Engaged employees, in contrast, will go beyond a transactional relationship and are willing to give greater levels effort and time. They put more into their jobs because they are passionate about seeing the company and its customers succeed. Employee engagement is a barometer that determines the relationship of a person with the organization.

These are certain characteristics that are traits of more engaged employees. Among them are:

1.      They have a belief in the organization. Engaged employees feel connected to the mission and values of the organization. They want to contribute to its success.

2.      They have an understanding of the ‘bigger picture’. These employees know what is expected of them and they know how what they do fits into the overall strategy of the organization.

3.      They work to make things better. Engaged employees seek out ways to improve the organization and the products or services they sell.

4.      They are respectful and caring to colleagues. These employees appreciate that each has a role and that each bring certain strengths to the solution. They genuinely care for each other.

5.      They are willing to go ‘above and beyond’. Another characteristic of an engaged employee is their willingness to go the extra mile to achieve the goals of the organization. They do so out of commitment to the organization’s goals and values,

At the center of any organization’s engagement model is its leadership. The tone for employee engagement is set from the top to the bottom of the leadership chain. To succeed, it has to be an all hands effort. The organization’s leadership must move the employee beyond the way each feels about his/her job to developing the attitudinal attachment each employee has to his/her company. This is the difference between having satisfied employees to having engaged employees. And it's not that hard.

And remember from a previous blog, the KEY to successfully engaging employees is getting to know each employee – not engaging a “them”.

For more information about engaging and mobilizing employees, and to take our free self-assessment about how well you are engaging and mobilizing, or to see how The Cobalt Group can help you with this or any other business or leadership challenges you are facing, Contact us.

We want to hear what you think. Leave a comment and let’s start a discussion.

Copyright © 2018 The Cobalt Group LLC. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

3 Questions You Must Answer to Know if You’re Setting Your Employees Up for Success




If you’ve ever had employees work for you then you’ve likely been in the situation where you have to decide whether or not to let them go for poor job performance. How did you get there? What led that employee to perform poorly? If you’re in a leadership role your job is to set your people up to succeed; to give them what they need to do what you hired them to do.

There are legitimate reasons to fire someone little to no notice. For me that would involve willful or gross negligence, or criminal activity. In those cases the answer is fairly simple – termination is warranted right then. There are other factors, as well, that would rightly lead to ending their employment with you.

But, if you have an employee that is struggling to do what you hired them to do and you are considering letting them go, there are three questions that you must answer before you make that decision:

1.      Did the employee know what was expected of him/her? It seems like a simple question but I have worked with a few clients that had let people go without knowing if the person knew what was expected of them. If your employee doesn’t have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, then how could they know what they were supposed to do?

2.      Was the employee properly trained to perform their duties? There have been many times when I have seen people thrown into a job or a task without adequate, or sometimes any, training to do the job. That seems incredulous in this day and age but it happens more often than you would think. If they haven’t been shown the proper way to do the job, how can you expect them to do it properly?

3.      Does the employee have the right tools to do the job? This is the last question I ask. If they know what is expected of them, and have been properly trained to do the job, were they given the appropriate tools? If the employee’s job is to drive nails into the wall, sending them out with a spoon is of little help. Why weren’t they given a hammer?

Our job as leaders is to set our employees up to succeed. The calculation is simple – our success is dependent upon their success. If you can’t honestly answer ‘YES’ to each of these questions, you have set them up to fail. And in that case, you have failed as a leader, too.

Make sure you can answer each of those questions with a resounding ‘YES’.

For more information about employee engagement, or to see how The Cobalt Group can help you with this or any other business or leadership challenges you are facing, Contact us.

We want to hear what you think. Leave a comment and let’s start a discussion.

Copyright © 2018 The Cobalt Group LLC. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 19, 2018

7 Questions Every Leader Must Communicate To Employees


Engaging and mobilizing employees can feel like an overwhelming challenge. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are many simple strategies to engage and mobilize employees. Most cost almost nothing to implement, can be put into place immediately, and have huge impact.

The benefits of an engaged workforce are numerous. Among them are:
  • Committed employees
  • Increased productivity
  • Lower turnover
  • Higher performing workforce

As well, the cost of an unengaged workforce can detrimentally affect your bottom line. Among these disadvantages include:
  • Increased turnover and associated costs
  • Lower morale
  • Decreased loyalty, creativeness, and energy 
  • Reduced productivity


This is a topic that goes well beyond one blog post and I will be addressing it more in future blogs. But for now let’s look at some questions to ask.

There are seven simple questions every leader must answer and communicate to employees. Do it often, it matters. Small, informal conversations about performance go a long way – especially when they include teachable moments about different situations and details.

The questions include:
1.      Do you understand what I expect from you?
2.      What are you doing well?
3.      What, if anything, can you be doing better?
4.      What, if anything, do I want you to do better?
5.      (If appropriate): What will happen if you improve (e.g., more responsibility, more time with leadership, more desirable assignments)?
6.      (If appropriate): What will happen if you don’t improve?
7.      How can I help?
While all of these questions are important, and certainly not the only questions to be asking, the last question is especially important. It shows the employee that the leader cares, and is not merely relinquishing responsibility or shifting blame.

The KEY to successfully engaging employees is getting to know each employee – not engaging a “them”. The truth is, engagement is easy. Committing to improve engagement is where it gets hard. Make employee acknowledgement and recognition part of the fabric of your leadership.

For more information about engaging and mobilizing employees, and to take our free self-assessment about how well you are engaging and mobilizing, or to see how The Cobalt Group can help you with this or any other business or leadership challenges you are facing, Contact us.

We want to hear what you think. Leave a comment and let’s start a discussion.

Copyright © 2018 The Cobalt Group LLC. All rights reserved.