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The Invisible Drain on Your Company’s Culture

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Here’s a hard business truth: No workplace is free of the ravages of distrust. Anyone who’s ever held a job knows the frustrations that emerge when coworkers don’t trust each other – the miscommunications, rivalries, inefficiencies, morale problems, and turnover that, in the end, distract people from their work and make life stressful. And ultimately, research shows, cost money.Dr. Mark Scullard, a PhD psychologist who serves as senior director of product innovation for Wiley’s Workplace Learning Solutions division, has studied distrust in the workplace and found its source: individual insecurity. It’s not insecurity itself that’s the problem, though; it’s our drive to cover it up...
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A Winning Approach to Employee Development

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Managers play a critical role in developing the people on their teams. Without strong leaders and a strategic management plan, people often become complacent or feel unfulfilled and “stuck” in their jobs. Harvard Business Review recently shared Sydney Finklestein’s article on the importance and challenges of this, “Why a One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Employee Development Doesn’t Work.” Finklestein proposes that managers make employee development more personalized (thus, more effective) by creating a detailed spreadsheet to easily track information about each of their employees. Data would note the following for each direct report:

  • Observations and assessments of the employee’s potential
  • Employee’s preferred work styles
  • Motivators, both intrinsic and extrinsic
  • Career an...
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Don’t Be Upstaged by Workplace Drama

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“To be, or not to be? That is the question—” okay, so that isn’t the question we’re asking in this blog post. But we are discussing drama, although the type of drama we’re referring to happens in the workplace, not the theater. According to a recent Wiley study that asked 12,000 people, “What is the first word or phrase that comes to mind when you think of ‘interpersonal conflict in the workplace’?” one answer was exceedingly prominent. Any guesses? (Spoiler alert!) It’s “drama.”

But while poor Hamlet was waxing poetic over the all of the dreadful tragedy that Shakespeare thrust upon him, drama in the workplace is generally a reaction to one core issue: conflict. As we’ve mentioned, conflict is an uncomfortable but unavoidable part of any organization...

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Building Culture on the Job Site: a Success Story

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The construction industry is one full of stress and challenges. From project delays to a lack of resources, construction industry workers face many obstacles to ensure our communities are built correctly and on schedule. When you add lots of different people of varying trades, backgrounds, and work styles to the mix, tensions can run high. Often times, these workers (like most of us) are not taught how to deal with workplace conflict, so issues go unresolved, or even escalated.

One organization is determined to change all of this by providing support, education, and ensuring safe work conditions for its members...
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Reframing Conflict: from Evade to Engage

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When it comes to dealing with the uncomfortable things in life—fears, threats, stressors—our “fight-or-flight response” is often triggered. We hear this phrase a lot, but it is indeed a real physiological phenomena; something deep in our nervous system that urges us to either prepare for battle (fight) or flee the sticky situation (flight).Conflict, especially in the workplace, is certainly one of those uncomfortable parts of life. Yet with workplace conflict, it seems that most people choose to simply avoid or delay. We’re talking about a “no-fight-only-flight response” here. To most of us, catching a cold or losing your keys sounds preferable to addressing conflict with a coworker...
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It’s Time to Stop Confusing Perks for Culture

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Dog-friendly workspaces. Flexible PTO. Shoe-optional dress code. Free beer on Fridays. The idea of company culture has become almost synonymous with this idea of a very modern workplace—think less law firm, more Google.But culture isn’t about standing desks and catered lunches (although, free food is never a bad idea). According to Melissa Daimler, “there are three elements to a culture: behaviors, systems, and practices, all guided by an overarching set of values.” In her HBR.com article, she explains that a great culture exists when all three elements are aligned with each other, as well as with the organization’s values. When “gaps start to appear,” problems soon follow. With enough problems and a little time, great employees start to leave.

What, then, makes a cul...

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Conflict’s Drag on the Workplace

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What’s the first word or phrase that comes to mind when you think of “workplace conflict”? We’re guessing that super fun or awesome or beneficial aren’t exactly at the top of the list. In a recent study, Wiley asked 12,000 Everything DiSC® participants (from executives to individual contributors) this same question, and their responses were pretty much what you’d expect:

It’s no surprise that the general sentiment around workplace conflict is almost exclusively negative. These responses are most likely driven by the many toxic behaviors that provoke conflict and wreak havoc on our collective workplace cultures. We’ve all seen these tendencies rear their ugly heads. Here are just a few of the most common destructive conflict behaviors...
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Enter the Matrix (of Motivation, that is!)

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In our last post, we discussed the important role that managers play in creating a motivating environment for their employees. This week, we’re switching gears to focus more on the individual (aka you!) and what you can do to find (and maintain) motivation at work.

For starters, motivation isn’t exactly optional in the workplace. Within each workday, we are constantly striving toward change. Whether it’s leading a team toward a shared objective, or something smaller like completing an expense report, successfully driving change by taking action day in and day out defines the very nature of work.

And this is not always easy! Sure, some days we’re operating in our “flow”, but we all have our fair share of days where work feels like a grind...

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Your Users’ Guide to YOU

Up-Front Information is a Game-Changer 
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How many times have you experienced the anxiety of a change in the workplace? This could come from a promotion, a transfer, starting a new job, or even getting a new boss. It’s an uncomfortable, but generally unavoidable part of taking on new career opportunities. Part of that innate worry stems from a place of “I hope I’m good at this”, but a lot of it can come from a place of, “I hope these people get me.” The worry is valid—being misunderstood is a major concern for most people, in all facets of life. Ted Hockey, CEO of TD Ameritrade, set out to proactively ensure his new employees (over 7,000 of them) had a clear, accurate understanding of him before his first day.

In his Fast Company article, “I wrote a users’ guide to mys...

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Powering Employee Development: A Success Story

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Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, Southwest Business Corporation (SWBC) provides hundreds of insurance, mortgage, and investment solutions to financial institutions, businesses, and individuals worldwide. Since the late 1970s, SWBC’s workforce has grown at an increasing rate thanks to their strong relationships with financial institutions and insurance companies. However, the company had no formal processes to pursue training and development opportunities for their growing staff. As they continued to expand, SWBC knew they needed to invest in their employees for the company to thrive.Everything DiSC® provided the framework for SWBC to create a program for employee development that aligned with their organization’s values and culture...
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