3 Ways To Get What You Want

3 Ways To Get What You Want

No matter how much you’ve accomplished, there’s always the possibility of increasing your productivity and effectiveness so that you can achieve more of your professional goals. Follow these tips to reach higher still.

1. Set the Right Goals

The first step to achieving goals is to set the right ones. Many leadership and organization psychology experts use the acronym SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound — to help you hone in on the types of goals that will set you up for success. Besides creating a sense of urgency, a SMART goal is clearly defined. “I’ll go to the gym for an hour before work every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,” yields better results than a vague, “I’ll get in shape.”

In addition to setting SMART goals, it’s also important to focus on what you can control and not on the outcome, which is out of your control. According to Think Like a Warrior, by sports psychology expert Darin Donnelly, you’ll get the best results, and be happier, if you focus only on your effort and your attitude. Otherwise, if you focus on results and outcomes, you risk getting discouraged and giving up when something doesn’t go your way.

2. Change Your Habits

Most people know that our habits are what help or hurt us the most when it comes to goal achievement. You may be surprised to learn that one of the most effective ways to change a habit is to change your environment, according to Psychology Today.

Often people fall into negative habits due to surrounding stimuli, such as eating ice cream after dinner because you see the ice cream bowls in the cabinet while doing the dishes. In this example, you could benefit by moving the bowls so you don’t encounter them as often and can avoid the negative habit entirely. Likewise in a professional setting, correcting a negative habit could be as simple as turning your desk or working on a different team.

3. Leave Your Comfort Zone

True leaders are willing to make themselves uncomfortable at times for the sake of achieving their goals, according to Kathy Caprino, a career coach and leadership expert who contributes to Forbes. It takes courage, and a willingness to leave your comfort zone and speak up and propose changes to a system that isn’t working. When you point out flaws in the system, you’re bound to encounter naysayers who want to stay in their own comfort zones. However, when you consider what it takes to make a significant positive impact on your organization, it often requires taking a calculated risk.

Quotes from Louis Carter

Quotes from Louis Carter

Your emotional triggers cause chain reactions that can harm or revive your relationships.

Your emotional triggers cause chain reactions that can harm or revive your relationships.

When you provide genuine appreciation, you will rarely find opposition.

When you provide genuine appreciation, you will rarely find opposition.

Respect is the New Currency in the Workplace

Respect is the New Currency in the Workplace

Quote 4 Trust2

Trust is doing what you say you are going to do, no excuses.

Legacy means leaving our next generations happier than we ever could be.

Legacy means leaving our next generations happier than we ever could be.

Quote Two

The future belongs to those who discovery, research and development of our grandchildren.

Instead of throwing a “no” at people or a project, use a “yes, and” then co-create your future.

Instead of throwing a “no” at people or a project, use a “yes, and” then co-create your future.

Diversity & Inclusion Makes Headlines at Oscars

Diversity & Inclusion Makes Headlines at Oscars

Change happens in a clear process: 1. form, 2. storm, 3. norm and 4. perform. Some storming processes are more brutal than others and some can be done with humor and even grace. The best change happens with humor and invitation to dialogue to come to a better conclusion and way of being. Chris Rock is no exception. He is taking the stage tonight with his monologue at the Oscars #OscarsSoWhite.

There seems to be two methods of storming that have two very distinct outcomes.

1. Crowd/Group Riots: Some of the worst riots in history have led to the death of 100s of individuals, police officers, resignations, job loss, and unconscionable emotional upset. Such examples include the 1992 Rodney King Race Riot, 1967 nationwide riots in most major US cities that led to over 100 deaths, and the 1968 riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr which were as widespread and deadly.


2. Dialogue. On April 4, 1968, on the eve of Martin Luther King assassination, despite concerns for his safety, Robert F. Kennedy gave an impassioned speech to call for dialogue instead of violence to a rally at 17th and Broadway in the heart of Indianapolis’s African-American ghetto. RFK invited compassion instead of violence, eloquently communicating the pain he felt when his brother, too, was killed by a white man.


Senator George Mitchell spent several days in Ireland during the Peace Accords, working through the grueling emotional pain of those from North and South Ireland. I spoke with Senator Mitchell back in 1998, and he told me that being with the people, and truly empathizing with their pain and working through the details of the pain is what brought the Ireland Peace Accords to consensus.

There are common denominators to requests for help in the area of diversity based on any factor, be it sexual orientation, race, color, or gender. The common denominator is emotional pain. It doesn’t feel good to be excluded, to be hurt, to be talked down to, to be discarded, to be disrespected.

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This kind of behavior dates back in our memories to the schoolyard bully and back in history to the stone aged man dragging “his woman” by the hair. It is not to be tolerated, however, it must not be fought with any other weapon but dialogue, consensus building, empathy, caring, and moving toward a better and more understanding human right. The human right to be seen equal in the eyes of all.

Betting Against the Future: Analytics and Insurance Talent Management

Betting Against the Future: Analytics and Insurance Talent Management

Human resources professionals in the insurance industry face a unique set of challenges from both technology and talent. Analytics have made a splash in many industries, but their direct application to insurance HR is not always readily apparent.

Turning your HR operations into a data-driven powerhouse requires convincing management that the investment is worth it. You can note that leading talent management and enterprise resource planning systems offer a bevy of metrics and options to select key performance indicators. But, these often won’t help you apply metrics, KPIs, or global data to your workforce.

You need quick, small wins that address some of the most significant problems you face. This quick dive into predictive and workforce analytics can help you learn where applications may exist and how to think about data for your organization.

Measuring Knowledge Transfer

As an HR professional in the insurance market, you know the industry faces a workforce gap. For many of you, it’s growing.

The aging and retiring workforce has pushed out middle management in almost every industry. The Millennial workforce focuses on digital skills and insurance, as an industry, has struggled to give itself a technologically savvy appearance. Today’s insurance workforce is seeing the most skilled practitioners retire and struggling to pass on lessons to a small set of younger workers that lack significant industry experience.

The transfer of knowledge across the divide is essentially for long-term health of each insurer. If you’re not tracking the success of employees during and after the knowledge transfer, then you might be wasting your employees’ time and harming your company’s long-term viability.

Your analytics should extend to track the formal and informal mentoring that goes on in the workplace. This can be tracked via established programs and with simple questions in a weekly review or check-in that ask: Who was the most helpful in the office this week? Did anyone show you something you didn’t know? What was it?

Onboarding programs already require significant interaction between new employees and your top staff. However, these are often limited to checking off a box so that you know everyone has practiced with your software and read the harassment policy. Following through with talent tracking that knows who demonstrated the software may help you find bottlenecks.

If Dave just gives your employees the handout but Michelle walks them through each process, there’s a potential that Michelle’s trainees will perform better over time when training on complex tasks. However, Dave may achieve the same results when it comes to understanding and adhering to corporate policy because nothing beyond reading the policy is needed.

Michelle’s hands-on approach can then be reserved for training on complex systems where gains are largest. If she enjoys mentoring or the process being reviewed, you might see even higher gains in bridging the skills gap.

Once you establish a baseline of this data, predictive analytics can help you find similar benefits in your knowledge transfer as well as many other KPIs.

Considering KPIs: The Average Time to Settle a Claim

One of the top KPIs across almost all insurers is the time it takes for the company to settle a claim. This data can be tracked across touch points to see how long each person takes to complete their part of the settlement process, as well as tracked separately for each policy the insurer offers.

Policies all have different claims periods so it’s not uncommon to see different a large gap between the speed of closing claims across products. No analytics program will deliver a paradigm shift in claims processing that resolves medical claims faster than a theft.

However, analytics may help you optimize the claims process across your products.

Breaking down the entire process and tracking each individual element may show you that claims in a certain region take longer to have an inspector visit, or a specific hospital may take five calls to get a document compared to your average of three.

Applying predictive analytics to this process can help you best identify partners or employee traits that make someone right-fit for a particular position.

You may also discover common elements that have no negative impact, but highlight areas for improvement. A medical insurer may find that new doctors’ offices are using a certain type of EMR/EHR, and a software improvement on the side of the insurer can yield proper integration so those records auto-populate claims forms.

This is just one KPI, but tracking its data can help insurers realize operational efficiencies that have positive benefits throughout an entire operation.

Consider the EMR/EHR example. Predictive analytics may show that you can expect a certain volume of claims with offices using a specific format. It may also tell you that you can expect a quicker and cheaper claims resolution process after you integrate to use that format. Underwriters now have a reason to offer a small discount for working with integrated partners, using claim resolution data to create a preference for products that will have shorter resolutions in the future.

Taking the Next Steps in Workforce Optimization

Pairing analytics with performance reviews also gives you a chance to ask one of the most important questions for top performers: What aspect of the work do you like the most?

Review this information regularly through workforce management practices like templated performance improvement plans. A steady stream of data will allow HR professionals to track these desired work areas and identify opportunities for top performers and rising stars to experience more of the work they enjoy.

We know that happy workers tend to perform better. The University of Warwick quantified that last year with a study[i] that found happy workers are 12% more productive, while unhappy workers are 10% less productive.

Applying this via analytics and PIP templates is pretty straightforward and won’t impose on any HR team. Review performance data to identify the areas where each employee perform best. Add a question to the PIP template that asks them what work they most enjoy or where they feel underutilized. Review responses and build a list matching your star employees with their desired work areas.

When new opportunities arise in one area, match it with the top employee for that work area. If this creates a gap in another work area, match the top employee for that process, and so on.

Specific to insurance, this may move your team around where certain members interact with vendors while others are your new front-line when claims are first made. Employees who have the best relationships with your inspectors or adjusters may be able to leverage that into improved performance and operational efficiency.

Analytics provides that information that your knowledgeable HR team can use to identify gaps. Modern software and talent management best practices prepare them to capitalize on each opportunity.

Measuring What Matters Most According to HR Professionals

Measuring What Matters Most According to HR Professionals

Almost every aspect of workforce management and top talent identification is viewed as a “high” or “very high” in terms of importance by the HR professionals in our recent BPI survey of over 50 organizations in various industries ranging from financial services, oil and gas, healthcare, insurance, to manufacturing and retail services.

This shows that analytics has the potential to impact talent management at every level but may also signify that analytics is viewed as a catch-all.

It takes a specific analytics plan and strategy to turn predictive modeling into a useful tool, especially for “Productivity” and “Leadership,” which had the largest score in the “very high” designation.

Question: To what extent are the following analytics important to your organization?

An interesting interpretation of this data suggests that actual outcomes, such as increases in productivity and retention, are more important than a measurable ROI.

This is further borne out by the most important metric in the realm of productivity being the ability to place employees to maximize performance, which could lead to significant gains but the volume of changes may make attribution of success very difficult.

HR professionals recognize that leadership talent must be nurtured by placing it in the right position that match their functional expertise and leadership strengths.

Determining Who to Keep and Promote

Survey respondents overwhelmingly sought out analytics to help them solve concerns identifying and predicting who should be retained because they’ll become a star leader.

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Some important responses to consider:
• 82% want analytics to help them determine the best training and development approaches for their top talent.
• 80% turn to analytics to determine what characteristics demonstrate or predict team leader effectiveness.
• 73% say the top retention analytic goal is determining who HR professionals should strive to keep based on projected future contribution.

An HR team’s strength is in its ability to understand the intersection of employee strengths and firm resources. The ultimate goal is to use analytics to determine the most effective training methods and applying them to the employees with the highest probability of being future standout employees.

Past research from the Best Practice Institute has identified a few key attributes that top executives share, especially when looking at globally influential brands.

These characteristics can generate significant returns when tracked and include:
1. The ability and desire to acquire new skills quickly.
2. The ability to bring together people of disparate backgrounds.
3. A knack for maintaining operational efficiency in unfamiliar environments.
4. Vision to build organizational support that incorporates both creative solutions and specific action steps.
5. The mental fortitude and willingness to understand new people, cultures, and situations.

Identifying these elements and building metrics that track them as a whole or in part — such as crafting an algorithm that predicts whether an individual will improve after training — becomes easier when using currently effective management as a baseline.

When algorithms and metrics are validated by future growth, increased buy-in and funding can be easier to achieve if leadership sees itself as a model for success.

Where Should You Start?

Software is often the most compelling eye candy when HR practitioners find a little room in the budget for analytics improvements. We often tend to think we need to find that money before anything can be done, but that’s not the case for many professionals.

The first place to start is reviewing the systems and processes already in place. This includes both your analytics paradigms as well as your review process that generates the data used in your analytics. Reviews happen much less often than you’d think.

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More than half of respondents check revisit their analytics capabilities once a year or less.
If you’re not reviewing your analytics processes often enough – we suggest quarterly or when your company and its workforce undergo any significant change — you’re making it more difficult to achieve your goals.

Reviewing employee progress more often has proven to yield better results for retaining top talent and addressing employee inefficiencies. This information is the perfect guide to improving your analytics by marrying predictions with results. However, waiting to revise an analytics strategy until this data is “cold” can mean significant missed opportunities in the interim.

It may take a significant investment, but brands like Microsoft have proven that competency modeling with repeat revisits can yield significant gains and raise baseline efficiency in just a few years.

HR professionals told us that they have many high hopes for analytics programs, but putting a paradigm into practice can be difficult. Talent management analytics is mature enough to have established best practices. So, HR leaders can benefit from seeking out training, research, and events that provide real-world examples of analytics in play.

How to Win the Battle for Business Growth: President Lincoln’s Lessons from War

How to Win the Battle for Business Growth: President Lincoln’s Lessons from War

Sometimes in the heat of our day-to-day battles in business, it may almost feel like wartime. Overdue deadlines, budgets that are never sufficient, logistics that have an almost perverse way of undermining our best efforts. Where can we turn for solace and for help?

Think about President Lincoln, fighting a war he did not want, being embattled on all sides by conflicting interests and unrelenting political adversaries and facing the collapse of the Union. Sometimes we think we have it tough, but how could he carry out his mission and save the Union as well as stay in office?

The President knew people, he knew how they behave, how they react to circumstances and how they can be led toward someone else’s goal. Lincoln had a few rules that he followed and we could not do better than to emulate his principles.

Get Out of the Office

His first rule was to get out of the office and get to know his assets, get his own answers. During the first months of the war, he made certain he met every new soldier personally, shook hands with him and thanked him for coming to the nation’s aid in time of crisis. During those early months, the President spent more time away from the White House than he spent there.

Read The Forbes Article, How To Connect Powerfully And Avoid Bonding Mistakes For Peak Leadership Performance – by Louis Carter

Today, we know this as MBWA; Management By Walking Around. Lincoln had a deep respect for the men in his army, from privates to generals. He knew that it was vital for the army and its leadership to have the same objective as him.

When we sit in meetings listening to staff, we have to assume they know the people under them, but he learned that was not always the case. He had to make sure he had a firsthand knowledge of the problems and the issues.

Persuade Rather Than Order

His second rule was to persuade rather than coerce. He knew that he could order people to do his bidding, but they would not necessarily be doing what they thought best. By not ordering but by his manner of persuasion, he could accomplish so much more, because his subordinates had been part of the plan and had a deeply felt investment in the things they were about to do.

Lincoln, because of his deep respect for his fellowmen, he was able to enlist their support even for decisions they would have rejected if they were ordered to carry them out. Instead he was able to build a team of supporters who shared a common goal and objective.

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This reluctance to dictate sometimes did not serve him well. He was slow to replace unsuccessful general officers as soon as he should have but even the ones he replaced maintained their respect for him.

However, even though he had many people who thought poorly of him at the start, Lincoln knew that he would be much better as a leader if he got people to like and respect him, but that respect truly was something Lincoln and all men have to earn.

Lead by Being Led

His third maxim was to lead by being led. He listened very carefully to everyone who had a stake in the decision, asked the right questions to penetrate to the issue rather than the peripheral matters.

Leaders always must know the right questions to ask and be able to evaluate the quality of the answers. Lincoln was a master at this. It also elicited the best answers from his team; he knew that he alone did not have all the answers.

He had to rely on others and that made them feel deeply committed.

Encourage Innovation

This led him to his fourth rule; encourage innovation. He could get the best and brightest around him but he knew that if he did not listen to them, he might as well have know-nothings. His cabinet was full of skeptics and political adversaries but he soon won them over by valuing their help and accepting it graciously.

To not listen to his advisors and his subordinates was to waste their talents and substitute his. They would feel much more committed to a strategy when they had a hand in its conception.

Couch Issues in Wisdom

Abraham Lincoln was a great storyteller. He used stories as a way to get his points across in a non-threatening way, by putting it in the context of his homespun humor.

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He knew that if people could laugh at his stories and jokes; if they had a smile on their faces, it would be very much harder for them to disagree. One of his famous saying was “You catch a lot more flies with a spoonful of honey than with a gallon of gall.”

Relax and Get Your Perspective Back

The President also knew that the greatest enemy of good decisions is exhaustion, especially mental exhaustion. He and his wife made it a point to visit plays, concerts and musicals frequently, sometimes every week, just to get his perspective back.

It was not to diminish the seriousness and gravity of the day, but rather to feed his inner man with enjoyment and relaxation.

These are all valuable lessons we can apply every day in business, industry and finance. Take advantage of the lessons President Lincoln taught.

Join the ranks of great business leaders on the best network for leaders, Best Practice Institute.

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