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Dr. Holly Latty-Mann's Blog

Archive for April 2010

When team composition changes: The good and the bad

  Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on April 30th, 2010    No Comments

Bob joins the team, and the honeymoon period is over. Are others’ morale soaring or plummeting? Are you seeing alliances and/or alienations among various people? Are you seeing morale soar and people grow?

Jennifer leaves the team. Does the morale escalate or de-escalate? Are alliances formed and strengthened among certain people who remain? Or is there a different scenario that unfolds?

Social pschologists study group dynamics from many different angles. Start a discussion with your own experience. I’ll supply what the research has to say about whatever the various dynamics. Pose a question for a quick response. Learn how to avoid repeating disaster and other tips. On the upside, learn what practices work and cause teams to thrive.

Counter Trend to the Generation Y Workplace Steretype?

  Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on April 22nd, 2010    No Comments

The “20-something” sitting next to me on a flight several months ago boldly proclaimed that he was in the perfect generation – Generation Y – to soar to the top of his Fortune-500 company. He went on to say that with the Generation Y work philosophy of “work to live” so prevalent across his cohorts, that “somebody’s got to be the CEO of GM!” With that said, he seemed to marinate in his self-assurance of his upcoming corporate ascension. I simply proposed that perhaps there were enough others sharing his view that he could encounter some unexpected competition.  He appeared unmoved.

 Is there indeed this counter movement of sorts going on here? Yesterday after having addressed the Alamance Chamber of Commerce on leadership implications within our multigenerational workforce, more evidence came in to support our need to avoid stereotyping. There were sufficient Generation Ys in the audience who spoke afterwards of their ambitions. However, they also shared their concern regarding having to job hop most of their adult life, given the forecast suggests they’ll experience some 20 careers during their adult years. And here I was thinking this was something they looked forward to and enjoyed.  I stand corrected.

 Then there was the aging Baby Boomer who voiced his opinion to me that “while the entitled Y employees show great interest in promotions, they also seem intent on working from home and maintaining hours that are not in alignment with their lofty career goals.” He then added, “Being technologically savvy does not make them suddenly understand the intricacies of business or the subtleties of what works in our industry.” Without using the words “they want more for less,” that was essentially his message.  

 Admittedly in preparing for this Chamber talk, I found the literature offering conflicting information. For example, one article would tout the similarities between, say, Generation X (born after 1960) and Y (born around 1980), while another article devoted itself to their stark differences. Then another article would glorify the most recent crop of workforce inhabitants, while the very next article would slam them.

 Perhaps like anything else, we should go back to focusing on individual differences rather than all the hype regarding our generational differences and stereotypes.   With this in mind, we may become a bit more pointed as we conduct job interviews with our future candidates – regardless of generation.

Got a Human Virus in Your Organization?

  Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on April 15th, 2010    2 Comments

Gallup found that 15% of employees are actively disengaged and busily acting out their unhappiness at work. If you can name someone who fits this description, you have a human virus in your organization who is impacting morale, turnover, productivity, profits, customer loyalty, and even safety.  Because the poll also found that 57% of your employees are not engaged, meaning they are putting in time but not energy, this sizeable group tends to become the prime target of the actively disengaged.

But, wait – there is some good news here.  You have 28% of your workforce who are truly engaged and also able to influence the same 57% who are simply not engaged.  With the actively engaged almost doubly outnumbering the actively disengaged, the prospects are good for creating a positive culture that is ready to take on your competition in innovation, collaboration, and sales.  

By formally organizing the mixture of these 3 groups to serve on committees designed to raise work morale (e.g., wellness activities, employee recognition, Fun Fridays, in-house surveys, etc.), oftentimes management can discover the underpinnings for what’s working and what’s not working regarding their engagement index.  

We’d like to hear what you have done over this past year to raise your engagement index.  I’m curious if you did anything in particular to target your Generation X or Y versus the Baby Boomers as a part of your overall effort.

Emotional Intelligence and the Holocaust: Leadership at the Personal Level

  Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on April 9th, 2010    1 Comment

I have an 82-year old friend, Solly Ganor, who amazingly survived Dachau among many other life-threatening Nazi dangers during the early-to-mid 1940s when he was just a teenager. Although there is a part of me that believes Solly had to have had some kind of constant and consistent divine intervention and guidance, unquestionably Solly’s emotional intelligence played a huge role in his own survival and that of others.

Once emotional intelligence is well honed, there is a certain social knowingness that creates communicating under difficult circumstances almost an intuitive, spontaneous engagement that favors a positive outcome.  Without the effort of conscious thinking, one can consider consequentially the possible responses  to one’s verbal and nonverbal communication and tweak accordingly, all within the matter of seconds.  It may be either what we do or say or what we don’t do or say that determines the outcome we strive to achieve. It would be extraordinary for any of us to have such high stakes as Solly Ganor as we navigate our social world through our current skill level of emotional intelligence.  

Author of Light One Candle, Solly Ganor has already earned fame in Europe. Upon reading his book that had been recommended by one of our leadership workshop graduates, Barry Koplen, I contacted Solly, and we’ve since developed a friendship that seems to have spanned years instead of months. I asked Solly if he’d be willing to offer some examples of how his own emotional intelligence likely saved his life as well as an example of how he witnessed someone else not using emotional intelligence that resultantly cost his or her life.  This is how Solly responded to the latter, using an excerpt from his original manuscript dated July, 1944.

July 1944 – “While we were marching in the rain through the streets of Kovno, some tried to escape and were quickly shot down by the guards. I could hear the submachine guns shooting all along the marching columns. Dozens of men were killed that way; nevertheless a few managed to escape. I too was looking up and down the streets trying to find a way to escape. My parents and my sister Fanny told me that I should try to save myself when an  opportunity presented itself. At one point when the rain was coming down really heavy, and the black clouds darkened the sky, I saw a man suddenly step out of the column and turn quickly into a side street. My heart began to beat faster, and I was about to follow him when he made the mistake of his life. He started running. A Gestapo man who jumped out of nowhere saw a man running and opened fire on him. I saw him fall and lay still in a puddle of water that soon turned red. If he hadn’t lost his nerve and would have quietly walked on, the German perhaps would have thought that he was a Christian Lithuanian. Only those that didn’t look Jewish and kept a cool head managed to escape.  Had I followed the man, I would have been lying there next to him, dead in a water puddle,  or, perhaps  if I used my intelligence and didn’t panic I may have walked away to freedom.  After that incident I didn’t try to escape anymore. Had I known what was waiting for us in the Nazi concentration camps,  I would have taken the risk, come what may. (Excerpts from my original manuscript.)”

Strong emotional intelligence involves the ability to automatically consider consequentially the impact of one’s words or actions.  In all fairness, I must preface my comments with the acknowledgement that under such dire circumstances, it’s hardly fair to judge anyone who made a fatal mistake. It is highly likely that when faced with almost certain death, even those with strong emotional intelligence could send out unintended cues, no matter how subtle. However, in this instance, the running was not subtle and was furthermore certain to draw attention to himself.  Our own law enforcement personnel may question people who are drawing attention to themselves in non-criminal ways (e.g., running out of a store, driving too slowly, looking nervous while examining merchandise, etc.).

Can you think of an example in a corporate setting where someone’s communication elicited a negative response such that had they thought of the possible consequences of their behaviors, they could have avoided the negative impact?

Creating innovation solutions via innovative processes

  Posted by Dr. Holly Latty-Mann on April 2nd, 2010    No Comments

 With emerging markets and globalization creating competition in unprecedented ways, who will be the winners in the mad rush to the finish line in Biotech or Energy or IT innovation – or any kind of innovation? After hearing CEO Chris Kearney of SPX Corporation present in the Wachovia Lecture Series this past week, and then speak with his board member Emerson U. Fullwood, it’s no surprise Kearney’s team members are “surfing in the waters of our economic storm” in a fashion that may have some of SPX’s top competitors just a tad nervous.

In support of the kind of leadership that ahead-of-the-pack innovation requires, on March 26, 2010 the Triangle Business Journal quoted Henry Hutchenson of ReGeneration Partners on Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind: “As this is no ordinary downturn, it will require out-of-the-box thinking to make your way through.  Pink scientifically demonstrates how we can better leverage our right brain to create innovative solutions to seemingly hopeless situations.”

The real question now becomes for our readers, “How can I tap into my right brain this way? And what the heck is housed inside my right brain anyway?” Creativity, empathy, and emotional intelligence among other jewels all occupy the right brain, and leveraging this part of your brain can be achieved through experiential workshops of a self-awareness nature.  Want to know more? Email for a white paper expanding upon innovative processes promoting innovative solutions.  We would also enjoy hearing your own success stories that required your own out-of-the-box thinking.