mastermind group

Mon 13 June 2022
Brian is the Vice President of engineering for a high-growth startup with 800 employees. His company pays way above the market average but they hold an “earn your seat” mentality when it comes to the work. 
The challenge that he is facing is that his team will follow instructions and do everything they are asked to do, but won’t move the ball forward. They are always waiting for him to tell them what to do, rather than aspiring to set goals to impact the company on their own.
He would like for his team to better understand the company’s vision, both because it develops them and because most of his direct reports are interested in the compensation that comes with transitioning from a senior engineer to a staff engineer (the highest level software engineer at this company with almost a $200,000 increase per year).
Some of his direct reports want parity promotions, meaning that because they have been at the company for longer than others (which for everyone is less than a year), they deserve to get promoted.
The promotion process at his company is also really convoluted. Essentially, to get promoted, a manager has to sponsor the direct report with a 10-page overview as to why the direct report deserves the promotion.
It has gotten to the point where Brian will actually recommend his direct reports leave the company for the role they want (at a different company) for 6 months and then come back and interview for the role they wanted in the first place because it’s very difficult and time-consuming to move up in the workplace. This contributes to the job-oriented mentality that incentivizes employees to only do the bare minimum to get their paycheck.
As Brian is sharing his company’s processes with the Ambition In Motion mastermind group, he is realizing that the company may not be setting its employees up for success.
The well-above-market pay paired with the “earn your seat” mantra incentivizes people to sabotage each other, do the minimum work that doesn’t get them fired, and leave the company if they want to get to the next level.
The group suggested that Brian chat with his leadership team to discuss his thoughts because if things don’t change, they could have a bunch of people that are only there for the money and aren’t focused on the vision of the organization.
 
How does company culture impact employee motivation?
Employee motivation is the fuel that propels the organization forward. When motivation levels are high, there is growth; when it’s down, the momentum stalls. 
So, what motivates your employees? 
There are various reasons and needs that motivate employees. And your company culture has to address these reasons and needs to foster employee motivation and engagement.
Before we get into this any further, let’s start with the basics. Why do people work?
 
●     Purpose – They want to contribute to the company’s success.
●     Potential – They want to benefit in the long run in terms of promotions, salary hikes, or greater responsibilities.
●     Play – They enjoy their daily work as it ignites passion and curiosity in them.
●     Economic Pressure – The financial factors motivate them, such as a desire to earn more or fear of losing their source of income.
●     Inertia – They work because they have to; they have no goals or reasons to work.
 
If you notice, the first 3 reasons are positive, and the rest are negative. Employees with positive reasons to work tend to be productive and engaged at work. 
Companies with growth-oriented cultures encourage these positive reasons and build a culture around it.
 
How you can incentivize your employees to care about more than just salary 
Although Brian is part of a fast-growing startup, 8x growth in employee headcount within their first year, his desire for employees to care more is actually a quite common question that we hear from leaders of all company sizes; how do you make people care? 
It’s a more common problem than we’d all like to believe. It happens in every industry and workplace. This problem affects all of us. 
Unfortunately, you can’t make people care. But, you can provide all of the right elements that inspire them to choose to care about your business, your team, and their job. Here are four strategies for successful leaders that can skyrocket the results of your employees.
 
1. Share your care with your employees. 
As simple as it sounds, many leaders, even when they do care about their people, aren’t always very good at sharing that appreciation. Your employees won’t care about your company or your goals unless you care about them and their goals first. 
Learn, practice, and get good at recognizing your employees because appreciation is the number one thing that managers can do to inspire their teams to produce great work.
 
2. Cheer for effort, because it deserves it. 
As we travel and speak to organizations, we often find that many managers are confused by the difference between appreciation and incentives. Incentives can be seen as a transaction; if you accomplish “a-b-c”, then you receive “x-y-z.” 
Oftentimes incentives are presented before a project or assignment. 
Appreciation, on the other hand, isn’t solely focused on the outcome. Instead, it’s an acknowledgment of a person’s intention, hard work, and their results. When efforts and results are recognized, employees report:
a) increased confidence in their skills,
b) an understanding that they are on track and in good standing with their manager, and 
c) it creates an improved relationship with their leader.
 
3. Be crystal clear about what you value. 
Telling your employees that you expect the best from them doesn’t actually mean much to them because they don’t understand what that means to you. Employees want to know exactly what they value and appreciate.
 
4. Show them how they can make a difference 
Most people don’t apply for jobs and assume they’ll be mediocre at best. They apply for jobs at companies where they believe their skills and experiences will make an impact; where their thinking and effort will make a profound difference. 
Still, we’ve spoken with many struggling managers who can’t understand why a certain employee isn’t satisfied by simply becoming the mirrored version of a job description.
When employees are not shown that they have the capability to utilize their skills to make a difference, they may get in the habit of doing the same thing every day, without the incentive to do more. 
Encourage your employees right off the bat and throughout their time at your company to do the most that they can do, to benefit themselves and the company. AIM Insights can help you with suggested encouragement and questions you can ask your team to help convey this message. 
 
While it may seem frustrating that you can’t force your employees to care about your company, your goals, your customers, your teams, or even their own jobs, you have the ability to give them reasons to care
And, in our experience, when your employees care about more than just their salary, they’ll achieve at a level that surpasses anything you could have ever imagined.
Sun 21 August 2022
Gallup has extensively researched the relationship between employee engagement and company profitability, and they showed that engaged employees are 22% more profitable than disengaged employees. 

The tides of the economy seem to be shifting, making this a time when it is even more critical to focus on culture and employee engagement. Many companies, especially private equity-backed firms, have responded by laying off employees rather than investing in them. I was curious to know, “Why are private equity-backed firms more prone to layoffs in a down economy compared to private or public companies?”

I reached out to my network to learn more. I interviewed multiple employees, leaders, and professionals working for private equity, and their consistent answer was that “They are seeking an exit – at any and all costs and that part of achieving an exit is showing numbers that your costs are down and revenues are up.”

Ryan, a former VP of Operations, was recently laid off from a private equity-backed firm. He proposed some ways for the company to consolidate its overlapping expenses. They loved the idea so much that after consolidating those expenses they consolidated him…and replaced him with a junior middle manager to take his role at a fraction of his salary. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for eradicating inefficiencies and driving profitability. 

But can the short-term focus of achieving an exit coexist with a thriving company’s long-term goals, especially when these goals require an engaged employee base with a great culture?

I would imagine that most private equity professionals land somewhere on this scale from unapologetic to compassionate. The unapologetic professionals don’t care about the people because revenue growth reigns supreme. On the opposite side, compassionate professionals care about building a sustainable business and invest accordingly. In between these two sides, many professionals will say all the right things but their actions will reveal whether their true focus is sales and reducing costs to show short-term metrics.

Another focus of my interviews was on the reputational cost. I was curious to know if there was any reputational risk for offloading a company that looks great on paper but is a dumpster fire internally. I'm envisioning a prospective investor checking something like a Carfax to find out if they are working with somebody that has a history of leaving others to hold the bag.

Unfortunately, I haven’t received any great responses so far. 

And until we have a way for companies to assess the reputational risk of how private equity firms treat their acquired companies' employees, there is nothing to stop these private equity firms from propagating bad cultures to dump onto somebody else’s plate.

The issue with all these scenarios is harm done to the people at these companies. Hundreds of thousands of professionals work for private equity-backed firms, not realizing how little security they have in their role or the value they have in the minds of the owners. 

Or worse, many professionals end up working for a company and feeling trapped because of economic worries or personal constraints. These workers end up miserable, and the whiplash effects from ownership changes only exacerbate these effects. Imagine starting with an executive team that cares about you (e.g. the founders), and suddenly you find out that the new private equity owners want 120% more revenue but for 30% less pay. These paradigm changes wipe away years of work building company culture and leave a hollowed-out company in their wake.

Research has shown how powerful investing in culture and engagement can be for profitability. But until we have a way to hold private equity firms accountable based on their reputation for either building great companies, inside and on paper, or mirage companies, great on paper but awful inside, it will be difficult for private equity and company culture goals to align.

Thu 25 August 2022
Bridge the gap between hiring and onboarding
Welcoming new hires into your organization is an exciting process. An employee's onboarding can have a huge influence on their enthusiasm, motivation and performance. 
             As your new hires learn the fundamentals of their new jobs, you have the unique opportunity to make a meaningful first impression. 
 
Benefits of a good onboarding process
An employee's first impression of a new workplace can set the tone for their entire experience with a company. 
An engaging and exciting onboarding process can improve job performance in the long term by setting employees up for success from the moment they begin their training. In response, these employees see higher satisfaction in their jobs, increasing employee retention over time.
When a company makes the effort to create a captivating onboarding process, new employees are encouraged to engage immediately with their new surroundings, generating excitement about their role. 
An excited employee is likely to speak highly of the company they work for, improving a company's brand by word of mouth and contributing to the reputation that the organization is a great place to work.
 
Week one
During the new manager’s first week, they could be asked to think about and create a document outlining their 30-60-90 day plan. Here, they’d write down their main goals and their goals for their team, plus how they plan to achieve said objectives. 
Employees would include timelines for each set of goals and a description of what success would look like for them. 
As an employer, there are many benefits to asking your new hires to develop a 30-60-90-day plan, according to Indeed.com.
 
Benefits of a 30-60-90-day plan
-        Helps clarify their role. You can use the document to make sure new employees understand what they need to deliver.
-        Provides valuable insights. Discussions about the plan give you insight into your new employee, and you can also ask them to give you insight into your business.
-        Helps build relationships. Regular discussions with new hires can help you build a stronger team.
-        Aids in development plans. This document lets you see your new employee’s strengths and weaknesses so you can create their employee development plan.
-        Helps with time management. Starting a new role can be overwhelming, but a 30-60-90 plan gives a new employee focus and shows them where they should be spending their time.
 
With this, it’s important to keep in mind that it can be difficult for a new member of the leadership team to establish a set of goals when they aren’t 100 percent familiar with the company’s objectives or overall targets. 
It’s up to the HR team and the leader’s managers to provide any appropriate documentation and data that will help inform their goal-setting initiatives. 
This could include organizational charts, strategy and project documentation, and general company culture presentations.
 
30 days
After 30 days, the new manager may be ready to start diving deeper into their role. They may have set goals surrounding budgeting issues or cost-savings for their department or started seeking out ways to conserve other resources.
This is when they’re able to receive information and data that’s a bit more detailed, such as financial reports and forecasting analysis documents. 
As providing them with countless pages of context-less reports or stacks of old results can do more harm than good, it’s important to let them know what documents are most valuable to them and their role so they can prioritize their time most effectively.
 
60 days
Once they’ve been on the job for two months, the organization’s new manager will be expanding their company and product knowledge through multiple information streams. 
While their first month might have been more focused on high-level and general information and documentation, the second month gives them a chance to dig deeper into the areas of the business that are relevant to their own goals.
For example, if the new manager is a Director of Sales, they may want to meet with the Public Relations Team to discuss PR events that have positively (and negatively) impacted revenue.
With this in mind, it’s important that HR teams encourage members of different departments to create documents or info packets that can help new employees understand their team’s position and contributions to the business.
While it could be overwhelming for a new leader to try and get detailed information about each department across the organization right away, by having these dedicated resources created for onboarding, the new leaders are able to learn about other teams as they relate to their own goals and objectives.
 
90 days 
After three months, a new leader is usually ready to focus more heavily on their team’s development. While the new manager might have felt that they didn’t have the time or attention to properly foster their team’s growth during their first week or month, they’re usually more than ready by the third month.
They’ve completed the basic learnings required for their integration and are finally ready to turn their attention outward. This is when they can focus on their management-specific goals, such as aiming to lead a high-performing team.
Around the 90-day mark, the organization’s HR team could provide any documentation that relates to managing and supporting a team of employees. This might be formal leadership training documents, a company handbook on building and managing effective teams, or any other resource that concentrates on fostering talent within the organization.
 
Use the Right Tools
Adopting new technology and tools can streamline the onboarding process for all new leaders. These tools can help accelerate learning, maintain momentum, and make leader onboarding more effective than ever.
As mentioned above, it’s important to start the onboarding process before the new leader’s first day on the job. While setting them up with any necessary hardware and legal documents before day one is essential, understanding their team’s priorities before they’ve officially started gives them a massive head start. A tool like AIM Insights is made for exactly this purpose.
With AIM Insights, a team can participate in executive training prior to their new leader’s onboarding. This allows the newly hired leader to interact with the team in both group and 1:1 settings to understand each individual team member’s thoughts, pain points, and priorities. 
With AIM Insights training and executive coaching, the new leader is immediately privy to the issues most important to the team as a whole. These time-saving insights are incredibly valuable, allowing the new leader to get up to speed as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Once the leader has started, regular and ongoing AIM Insights coaching exchanges over their first few months help keep them on track and alert to any changes that might have occurred. 
They can gather honest, collective feedback and pulse-checks from their team, while benefiting from anti-bias software, which allows them to understand challenges and opportunities swiftly, plus build trust and connections.
Effective onboarding for leaders has long been a pain point for many organizations. With so much at stake, many businesses miss the mark when it comes to setting new managers up for success. 
With the tips and guidance above, organizations can help new leaders become valuable and impactful members of the business as quickly and effectively as possible.
And if you are a new manager interested in connecting with other people leaders to gain objectivity and improve your performance, you can check out the executive mastermind group.
Wed 31 August 2022
Effective leaders set clear expectations for their teams and align them with company objectives. This article is for new managers focused on becoming excellent leaders.
Stepping into a leadership position for the first time can be daunting, even if you feel prepared to handle your new responsibilities. Going from focusing primarily on your own work quality to overseeing an entire team’s output can feel overwhelming. 
However, effectively leading your team and experiencing success can be extremely rewarding. 
At a recent conference, a speaker mentioned that the average professional became a manager by age 25, but doesn’t receive their first leadership training until age 35. That creates 10 years of potentially bad habits to form before receiving guidance on what new managers can do to be effective in their roles.
Managers plan and coordinate tasks in a work team so that everyone does their job properly. Leaders focus on providing direction. They inspire their team to reach further and strive to maintain that level of motivation.
Each function is crucial for a company’s overall productivity although some view them as separate jobs, one can’t work without the other. The best managers are generally the best leaders. 
Few people can master both jobs, but when they do, they are able to generate great results out of engaged work teams. As a result of this train of thought, great companies see both functions as one job.
 
  1. Join an executive mastermind group 
Have you ever been faced with a new project and searched Google or YouTube to learn how to do it? Don’t you wish you had a direct resource for solving business problems? 
Many organizations recognize this need and have implemented mentorship programs to support new or rising employees. 
A mentorship program can help identify and groom high-potentials for management positions. 
Ambition in Motion is an Executive Mastermind group for servant leaders or leaders that believe the best way to lead is in service of the employees that report to them.   
This allows the use of both group and individual mentoring and group coaching and guidance as being in a leadership role can be a lonely place so having other leaders that can relate to and guide you as you work through your challenges is critical. You can be assigned to an executive mentor, personalized to your needs, interests, and field of work to guide you through any situation that may arise at your workplace. 
The executive mastermind groups also provide managers with a sounding board for problem-solving in the workplace and have been shown to increase job performance.
 
2. Participate in management training
As workforce demands keep getting more complex, management-level personnel need to adapt to the talent available. In the modern workplace, managers need to be active leaders in order to bring the best out of their teams. 
The relationship between a manager and their team can be complex to navigate. There’s more to it than telling everyone what to do; in fact, that management approach is highly discouraged. 
One great tool for management training is AIM Insights where a team of highly trained professionals will guide you through personalized training and professional development for your field of management. 
Guiding managers with 1:1's with their direct reports is a core component of AIM Insights and one of the biggest benefits the tool provides are guides to managers on how to have an effective 1:1 and what questions to ask each direct report based on each direct report's circumstances. 
It is crucial that managers and their direct reports are on the same page, and AIM Insights closes the perception gap between what a manager thinks of their direct reports and what they think of themselves.
 
3. Conflict resolution skills 
Conflict is a natural part of any relationship, working or personal. Resolving conflict is a learned skill and one that can be taught, developed, and refined. 
A study by Purdue University found that students who have hands-on learning experiences gain a deeper understanding of the concepts that are being taught. Attending a conflict resolution workshop can provide you with experience in a controlled environment so that you can better handle difficult and uncomfortable situations, and work towards a positive resolution.
 
4. Team building activities 
According to cmoe.com, Seventy-five percent of employees rate teamwork and collaboration as very important. 
Yet, 86 percent of employees and executives blamed a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as the reason for workplace failings. 
A good leader recognizes that they are only as good as the people that surround them. Instituting team-building activities allows teams time to bond together as well as provides an opportunity for them to decompress from their jobs for a few minutes.
 
5. Value feedback culture 
In order to grow as a leader and the organization as a whole, you need to address the value of good and honest feedback. You give timely feedback to your team members and you should ask for that same feedback about your performance. 
That continuous exchange of feedback helps your entire team grow as a unit as well.
You can improve through others’ insights into your work. Honest feedback is fundamental for employee engagement and that should be one of your main priorities as a leader. 
AIM Insights focuses on providing leaders with the right tools and methods to gather feedback and build more engaged teams.
 
Bad leadership habits every manager should avoid 
Oftentimes, people believe that greatness happens when you are waiting for inspiration to hit you so that you can proceed to take action. 
In reality, a sturdy toolset consists of many processes involving brainstorming, collaboration, and trial and error. Much like conflict resolution, you can refine your methods and learn from yourself, your team, and other professionals. 
Constantly growing your leadership skills is essential, but paying close attention to your leadership failures is crucial to your growth as a leader. 
These are important habits to avoid: 
 
  1. Providing only negative feedback: Managers can fall into the trap of providing feedback only during performance reviews or when problems arise. Feedback is essential to an employee’s professional development. However, the feedback includes praise for specific tasks, not just criticism. When employees experience a carousel of negative – and only negative – feedback, they can become discouraged and thus disengage from their work.
  2. Micromanaging staff: While you must oversee your team’s workflow and help staff handle roadblocks, you shouldn’t try to control them completely. It’s essential to trust your team to complete tasks as a whole and respect each individual’s work style. Forcing your workers to perform tasks counter to their typical methods can cause a significant drop in productivity as they adjust. As long as the end result is the same, give your staff room for creativity.
  3. Not requesting feedback: Poor managers rarely solicit or address questions, feedback, and concerns. Good managers offer the floor to team members so they can freely express their questions and concerns. This will often clear up misunderstandings and create a more collaborative space. Keep in mind if one team member has a question, others may need the same guidance.
  4. Shutting themselves off from new ideas: Closed-minded managers won’t accept criticism or new ideas. They become a roadblock keeping the team from performing at its best. Each team member has their own perspective on the creative process and is uniquely suited to recognize inefficiencies within their workflow. Listen to your team’s input, and use their perspectives to enact positive change.
  5. Avoiding tricky conversations: Good managers must tackle challenging situations that affect the team’s productivity head-on. Avoiding these situations lets the problem fester and can cause employee engagement to drop significantly. 
Thu 8 September 2022
It can be lonely at the top. Managers must make decisions, and there aren’t too many people they can turn to for advice. Some managers want to be the “cool boss” that is comfortable with anything (think Michael Scott hosting a meeting in the conference room). Other managers believe that there can’t be any cordiality between them and their direct reports.
 This article will explain how managers can determine what is appropriate and what is not regarding relationships with direct reports. It explains why boundaries are necessary, and how to maintain social distance from your direct reports while creating a positive work environment with open communication and feedback, which many teams struggle with.
How can you find the perfect balance in the friend-manager relationship? Should you even try?
 
The Need for Friendships at Work
Research shows that friendships at work lead to enhanced emotional well-being. It’s important to have relationships with people who you can trust. 
Sharing life events decreases anxiety, improves productivity, and satisfies our need for human connection.
Of course, this is the case for peer-to-peer friendships, not employee-manager relationships. The latter requires a much more delicate balancing act by both parties.
 
The Need for Boundaries
A peer-to-peer relationship is an equal one; at least it should be. In an ideal world, there are no power plays to be had, and the two parties can be relatively open with one another at a personal level. 
A manager, however, must maintain boundaries with direct reports because they have significant influence over the direct report's professional and financial status. And that's a game-changer.
It is really difficult to be in the same fantasy football league with a direct report that then has to be disciplined or potentially fired…talk about awkward if you are matched up against each other in the playoffs!
The manager’s role in the relationship is to promote teamwork and guide individuals in their careers. A manager-direct relationship that is too friendly can compromise this role and make effective management impossible. There would be an imbalance in the way that one employee is treated over another. 
Kim Scott, the author of Radical Candor and leadership expert, delves into the “problem” of joining a workplace and being told to be “professional,” as if every other aspect of you and your character stays at home, and you’re supposed to be strictly professional at work. 
            But that feels more robotic than realistic to the way people interact with each other. Professionalism training has been pounded into everyone’s heads since their first job. 
How can managers deal with the situation of being friendly with their employees, and also maintaining structured policies and professionalism in the workplace?
Scott relays the idea of “radical candor” as a guide to moving specific conversations between employees and managers to a better place. 
 
What is Radical Candor?
Radical Candor is a philosophy of management based on the concept of “caring personally” while “challenging directly.”
●       Practices to get, give and encourage guidance and feedback at work (praise and criticism) 
●       Strategies for building a cohesive team 
●       Tools to help you and your team get stuff done with less drama 
●       It’s not a license to act like a jerk 
●       It’s not an invitation to get creepily personal
●       It’s not just for managers, we all want to succeed 
 
Radical Candor is practiced at companies all around the world, including Amazon, The New York Times, Forbes, Qualtrics, The Wall Street Journal, and many more. 
 
Use the Radical Candor Framework to Guide Your Conversations 
Understanding what is not Radical Candor can help you better understand what is. These are the behaviors that everyone falls into at one time or another: 
 
●       Obnoxious Aggression: Obnoxious Aggression, also called brutal honesty or front stabbing, is what happens when you challenge someone directly, but don’t show you care about them personally. It’s praise that doesn’t feel sincere or criticism and feedback that isn’t delivered kindly.
●       Ruinous Empathy: Ruinous Empathy is what happens when you want to spare someone’s short-term feelings, so you don’t tell them something they need to know. You Care Personally, but fail to Challenge Directly. It’s praise that isn’t specific enough to help the person understand what was good or criticism that is sugar-coated and unclear. Or simply silence. Ruinous Empathy may feel nice or safe, but is ultimately unhelpful and even damaging. This is a feedback fail.
●       Manipulative Insincerity: Manipulative Insincerity (backstabbing, political or passive-aggressive behavior) is what happens when you neither Care Personally nor Challenge Directly. It’s praise that is insincere, flattery to a person’s face, and harsh criticism behind their back. Often it’s a self-protective reaction to Obnoxious Aggression. This is the worst kind of feedback failure.
 
            These are the behaviors that people can accidentally fall into in the workplace. These categories make up “radical candor.” The goal of this is to share your humble opinions directly, rather than talking badly about people behind their backs. 
            In a nutshell, radical candor is the ability to challenge others directly and show that you care about them personally at the same time. If done correctly, it will help you and all the people you surround yourself with do the best work of your/their lives and build trusted relationships throughout your career.
            However, as a manager, it can be difficult to manage these workplace relationships; constantly tweaking your approach to find the sweet spot between friendship and professionalism with your team. 
            As you’re working through this, remember that it’s important to have an outlet for yourself.
 
Managers Need Their Own Support Network
It can be lonely at the top where there must be boundaries set for working relationships. So, it's wise for managers to find their own support networks within the company culture and outside. 
A mentor can be someone within or outside your organization who has the experience and can provide you with advice. A professional career coach can also give you impartial advice and an objective opinion.
One highly-rated professional mentorship program is the Ambition In Motion Executive Mastermind Group. The key part of this program is that your mentor acts as a source of guidance and coaching, customized to your individual needs.
 
What is executive coaching? 
Executive coaches work with business leaders to enable their rapid development in the workplace. They also assist with specific problems that a board member, or senior manager, wants to work through outside of the normal business framework. 
This coaching focuses very specifically on the issues that an executive wants to work through. Thus it becomes a speedy way to improve skills and achieve personal and professional objectives.
The executive coach gives the executive feedback and a new perspective that enables them to set goals and work towards them. The coaching sessions use objective feedback to drive the executive's thought processes forward through their issues.
 
            As a manager or executive, having a support system such as an executive mentor is crucial. Following the radical candor framework will guide your conversations within the workplace. But be aware of your own need for support and friendship in the work environment and make a conscious effort to seek them out in the appropriate places. 
Thu 8 December 2022
Managers don’t just freely hand out promotions. They’re actively observing employees and looking for specific signs that an employee is ready for a promotion. They weigh multiple factors and don’t make those decisions lightly. They’re constantly evaluating performance and monitoring progress.
 
One of the first ways a manager identifies a promising employee is by looking at how little or how much direction they require from their supervisors. The first people in line for promotion are excellent self-starters. They’re the ones who take initiative without being prompted.
 
Secondly, they look at the numbers of their top candidates for a promotion. Numbers and statistics are by no means the only factor that managers look at, but they carry a lot of weight. Managers look for employees whose performance and impact at work is quantifiable by some means. That can be by looking at sales figures, year-over-year performance, customer service scores, or dozens of other metrics. It’s important that you identify what metrics are important to the future job, as those are what you’ll be measured on.
 
Other metrics used to measure an employee’s performance include: 
  1. Level of execution in work
  2. Quality of work completed
  3. Level of creativity
  4. Amount of consistent improvement
  5. Customer and peer feedback 
  6. Sales revenue generated
  7. Responsiveness to feedback
  8. Ability to take ownership
  9. Percentage of tasks completed on time 
  10. Being on time and on budget 
 
However, even after conducting all this forecasting on how an individual may be successful in a promotion, sometimes the promotion doesn’t work out, or isn’t the right fit. 
 
What happens when you give a promotion - and then choose to take it away? 
 
As you progress in your career, it's natural to want to climb the ranks at whatever company you're working at. So, when you finally manage to land a promotion, it's a career milestone you'll be sure to celebrate.
 
But what happens if you get a promotion only to have it snatched away after the fact? It's been known to happen. In some cases, your company might offer you that title change, and then renege before you've even had a chance to work in the capacity of your new role. In others, you might spend weeks, or even months, doing that new job only to have it taken back because your employers realize that it may not be the right fit for you.
 
Promotions in the workplace should be positive. They create new and exciting opportunities for employees and the businesses that they work for. They are, however, like all aspects of people management, subject to complications. Are you aware of the risks involved when promoting an employee?
 
Too often employers promote someone because they are good in their current role, but it then turns out without the necessary skill set for the new role.
 
However, from a manager and employer perspective, taking back a job promotion is never an easy process in the workplace. How can we best give promotions, knowing fully that they will work out, and avoid the possibility of having to renegotiate the terms of the promotion? 
 
SOLUTION: Temporary Addition of Responsibilities 
 
What is a temporary addition of responsibilities? 
 
A temporary addition of responsibility is the assignment of an employee to additional tasks, with two possibilities of outcome: 
  1. The employee returns to their previous position upon the expiration of the temporary action. 
  2. If a temporary addition of responsibilities is made permanent immediately after the temporary period ends, the employee is officially promoted with a new title.
 
As opposed to giving someone a new position and having the reputation of the role, a temporary addition of responsibilities allows an employer to give additional duties to an outstanding employee on a trial basis and then assess how the employee is in the new role. 
 
This sets the expectation of “if it works, then we’ll make it permanent, otherwise you can be moved back to your original position according to the trial basis,” allowing the concept of a temporary addition of responsibilities to do wonders in mitigating the risks of promoting the wrong person to a new position. 
 
How do temporary promotions reduce risks surrounding promotions and demotions? 
 
There are many risks associated with demoting an individual after a promotion. Demoting an employee may be one of the most awkward and difficult conversations you’ll have with someone on your team. Unless an employee approaches you to voluntarily request that they step back from their current responsibilities, it’s never easy to tell someone that they’re moving down the organizational hierarchy. After all, this can involve:
 
●       Fewer responsibilities
●       A less prestigious title
●       A loss of managerial status
●       A reduction in pay
 
It can be demoralizing to the employee.
 
Therefore a temporary addition of responsibilities is a policy that every company should adopt in order to mitigate the risks that come with promotions and demotions in the workplace. 
Fri 27 January 2023
Being a busy person is a challenge in many aspects, especially finding time to develop leadership skills. Such skills are essential to making it to the top of the professional ladder. Whether you’re a business executive, entrepreneur, college student, or stay-at-home parent, having great leadership skills can open up new opportunities. 

Leadership Development

First, it is important to identify a key leadership area you want to develop. You’re already limited on time, so don’t try to tackle too much at once. Review any data or feedback that you have, such as performance reviews or results of a recent 360 survey. Identify no more than two competencies or skills you want to improve.

Second, set yourself a time limit. It’s common for leaders to make critical mistakes by trying to do too much, too fast. You will get excited, watch an hour’s worth of content in one day, get overwhelmed by too many ideas and tips, and either lose your motivation or try to implement and get discouraged by the lack of results. Instead, remember this is a long-term game. Small actions you do every day will be much more effective in the long term, than short bursts of activity. And in every busy leaders’ life, getting help to enhance and encourage leadership development is easy with Ambition in Motion’s executive mastermind groups

Mentorship programs are a great way to continuously invest in leadership development throughout the organization. The program does not have to be complicated, with some basic content it can provide both people in a horizontal mentorship exposure to valuable development content.

One highly-rated professional mentorship program is the AIM Insights Executive Mentorship program. The key part of this program is that your mentor acts as a source of guidance and coaching, customized to your individual needs.

Luckily, this mastermind mentorship program has short videos, meaning that you only need to invest three to five minutes a day. Find a course that matches a developmental area you have identified. Commit to watching one or two short videos a day. And the customized coaches that you’re paired with guide you to make physical and mental notes of key takeaways and ideas for how to implement into your day.

What is executive coaching? 

Executive coaches work with business leaders to enable their rapid development in the workplace. They also assist with specific problems that a board member, or senior manager, wants to work through outside of the normal business framework. 

This coaching focuses very specifically on the issues that an executive wants to work through. Thus it becomes a speedy way to improve skills and to achieve personal and professional objectives.

The executive coach gives the executive feedback and a new perspective that enables them to set goals and work towards them. The coaching sessions use objective feedback to drive the executive's thought processes forward through their issues.

Becoming a Better Leader

Leadership development should be recognized as an ongoing part of professional life. And while dipping in and focusing on it when time allows is great, as we all know, time doesn’t always allow. That doesn’t mean that you can’t develop your skills. All it takes to become a better leader is dedication and a small investment of time.

If this still feels overwhelming, remember this: We mistakenly think that leadership development only occurs in the workplace. However, research suggests that most effective leaders learn all the time and everywhere. 

As a manager or executive, having a support system such as an executive mentor is crucial. But be aware of your own need for support and friendship in the work environment and make a conscious effort to seek them out in the appropriate places. 


Thu 9 February 2023
In January 2023, Ambition in Motion CEO Garrett Mintz faced an interesting  quandary that a participant brought to the table in an Executive Mastermind group meeting. This executive talked about the lavish praises that  her CEO had given her, but also made note of the fact that her CEO had effectively quadrupled her responsibilities. In addition to this,  despite the dramatic increase in responsibilities, this executive had received no proportionate increase in pay or benefits. 

This is a phenomenon known as contradictory feedback. While this normally happens from different managers having different expectations, goals, or communication styles, it can also happen implicitly as well. In this case, giving the praise seemed to be a reward, but additional responsibilities with no pay? That feels like a punishment. While in this case an executive fell victim to this, it could easily happen to a direct report because of poor management. Let’s talk about how to properly recognize your employees.  Recognition falls into two distinct categories: constructive criticism and properly rewarding employees. Both categories help make up effective managerial recognition. 

Giving good constructive criticism is an important aspect of being a manager, as it helps to build trust, improve performance, and promote personal and professional growth.  It is important to remember that constructive criticism should be an ongoing process, not just a one-time event. Managers should strive to create a culture of open and honest feedback, where individuals feel comfortable giving and receiving feedback, and where feedback is used as a tool for growth and improvement. By doing so, they can help to create a workplace where individuals feel valued and motivated, and where they can reach their full potential. Here are some tips for giving effective feedback to your direct reports:

·        Specific and actionable: Constructive criticism should be specific and actionable, focusing on specific behaviors or actions that need improvement, rather than generalizations or blanket statements. For example, instead of saying "you're not doing a good job," you could say "I noticed that you missed this deadline, can we discuss ways to prevent that from happening in the future?"
·        Timing: Constructive criticism should be given in a timely manner, as close to the event as possible. Delaying feedback can make it less effective and more difficult to address the issue.
·        Focus on improvement: The goal of constructive criticism is to help the individual improve, not to punish or discredit them. Feedback should be focused on helping the individual understand what they need to do differently in the future.
·        Follow-up: Constructive criticism should be followed up with regular coaching, mentoring, or feedback sessions to monitor progress and provide additional support as needed.

While criticism and praise are important aspects of recognizing and rewarding good employees, it should not be the only form of reward. They are not enough to motivate and engage employees and can quickly become meaningless if overused. Additionally, praise may not always align with the individual's personal and professional goals and may not provide tangible benefits that are important to the employee.

To be effective, rewards for good employees should be diverse and tailored to the individual's needs and preferences. The following rewards provide tangible and nontangible benefits that employees can see and feel and help to show that their efforts are valued and appreciated.

1)     Flexibility and autonomy: Allowing employees to have more control over their work, such as flexible hours or the ability to work remotely, can be a powerful reward. By giving employees the freedom to manage their own time, you are showing them that you trust and value their abilities.
2)     Professional development opportunities: Investing in your employees' professional growth and development is a great way to reward and retain top talent. Offer training and development opportunities, such as workshops, conferences, mastermind groups or mentorship programs, to help employees improve their skills and advance in their careers. For help promoting these benefits, use this resource.
3)     Monetary rewards: Financial incentives, such as bonuses, can be an effective way to reward employees for their hard work. However, it is important to be mindful of the reasons for the reward, and to ensure that it is tied to specific performance metrics and achievements. Using a tool such as AIM Insights can make tracking specific metrics from employees much easier.
4)     Time off: Providing employees with additional time off, such as paid time off, can be a valuable reward. This can include a flexible schedule, additional paid vacation days, or a paid day off for a special occasion.
5)     Employee events and activities: Organizing employee events and activities, such as team building exercises, company outings, or social events, can be a fun and effective way to reward employees. These types of events provide opportunities for employees to bond and have fun and can help to foster a positive and motivated work environment.
6)     Autonomy and trust: This can include giving employees more control over their work and allowing them to take ownership of their projects.
7)     Support and resources: This can include providing employees with the resources and support they need to succeed, such as access to technology, tools, or training, like AIM Insights.
8)     Job enrichment: Providing employees with new and challenging responsibilities or allowing them to take on additional projects or tasks, can be a rewarding and motivating experience. By giving employees the opportunity to grow and develop their skills, you are showing them that you value their contributions and trust in their abilities.

Managers can help to build trust and improve performance among their direct reports by giving good criticism. The key is to be clear, specific, and solution-focused, and to encourage open and honest dialogue. In addition to that, by taking a creative and holistic approach to rewarding employees, managers can help to foster a positive and motivated work environment. 

Fri 30 June 2023
Life is a constant juggling act, and for those who find themselves in the dual role of being a parent and a manager, the struggle is real. Both parenting and balancing leadership responsibilities demands unwavering attention so prioritizing one over the other can be difficult. 

How does one manage to excel in both realms without succumbing to exhaustion and burnout? 

Is it possible to be a devoted parent and an effective manager, without compromising either role? 

Successfully navigating this delicate balancing act can significantly enhance an individual's skill set and bolster their resume.

The difficulties of balancing parenting and managerial responsibilities stem from the time constraints imposed by both roles. As a parent, one needs to dedicate ample time to nurturing and caring for their children, ensuring their well-being and development. Simultaneously, as a manager, there are deadlines to meet, teams to lead, and business objectives to achieve. The limited hours available in a day often leave individuals feeling torn between fulfilling their parental duties and excelling in their professional endeavors.

Despite these challenges, successfully managing the dual responsibilities of parenthood and leadership can yield significant personal and professional growth. Going through this process can enhance a person's skills and competencies in several ways. Effective time management, for instance, becomes a necessity when balancing the demands of parenting and managerial duties. The ability to prioritize tasks, delegate responsibilities, and utilize resources efficiently strengthens one's organizational and time management skills, which are highly valued in the professional sphere.

Moreover, building strong relationships with both team members and family members becomes crucial. These skills, such as active listening, conflict resolution, and empathy, are not only essential for fostering a positive work environment but also for maintaining harmonious family dynamics.

The process of balancing parenting and managerial responsibilities can cultivate resilience and adaptability. It requires individuals to be flexible, open to change, and adept at handling unexpected situations. These qualities are highly valued in the workplace, as they demonstrate an ability to navigate challenges, remain composed under pressure, and find creative solutions to complex problems.

Here are some strategies that can help you strike a harmonious balance between your personal and professional life, ensuring that you can thrive as a parent and leader simultaneously.

  1. Setting Priorities:
The key to successfully managing the challenges of parenthood and leadership lies in setting clear priorities. As a parent, your children are your topmost concern, and as a manager, your professional responsibilities demand attention. By identifying your core values and defining what matters most to you, you can allocate your time and energy accordingly. Determine the essential aspects of your parenting journey and the critical objectives in your managerial role, allowing you to focus on what truly matters.

2. Embrace Flexibility:
Flexibility is the cornerstone of managing parenthood and a managerial position simultaneously. Understand that there will be times when one area requires more attention than the other. Embrace the concept of work-life integration, allowing your personal and professional spheres to coexist harmoniously. By being flexible with your schedule and open to creative solutions, such as remote work or flexible hours, you can ensure that you are present for your family while fulfilling your managerial duties.

3. Delegate and Empower:
Being a successful manager entails building a strong team and delegating tasks effectively. Similarly, as a parent, you can involve your family members and teach your children the importance of responsibility. Delegate tasks both at work and at home, empowering others to take on certain responsibilities. This not only lightens your workload but also instills a sense of shared responsibility among your team members and family members. Empowerment leads to personal growth for all involved parties and enables you to balance your roles more effectively.

4. Utilize Technology and Productivity Tools:
In today's digital age, technology can be a powerful ally in managing the demands of parenthood and leadership. Leverage productivity tools, project management software, and communication platforms to streamline your work processes and collaborate efficiently with your team. Use online calendars and scheduling apps to stay organized and ensure that you are present for important family events. Technology can be a time-saving resource that helps you manage both realms without feeling overwhelmed.

5. Prioritize Self-Care:
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is impossible without taking care of yourself. As a parent and a manager, it is essential to prioritize self-care to avoid burnout. Allocate time for activities that recharge and rejuvenate you, whether it's pursuing a hobby, engaging in exercise, getting a coach, or simply enjoying moments of solitude. By taking care of your well-being, you will be better equipped to handle the challenges of parenting and leadership with patience, resilience, and a clear mind.

6. Seek Support and Build Networks:
No one can do it all alone, and recognizing the importance of support networks is crucial. Reach out to fellow parents who are also in leadership positions and share your experiences, challenges, and successes. Build a network of like-minded individuals who can offer advice, understanding, and encouragement. Additionally, consider seeking external help, such as childcare services or a support system for working parents, to provide assistance when needed. You can also join an executive mastermind group to help you relate and work through challenges with likeminded peers.

Balancing the roles of a parent and a manager can be a daunting task. The time constraints, conflicting priorities, and emotional strain involved make it a challenge to strike a harmonious balance. However, successfully navigating this process can significantly contribute to personal growth, as it enhances skills such as time management, communication, resilience, and adaptability. 

The ability to effectively manage both roles showcases a strong sense of responsibility and commitment, which can be valuable assets in building a robust and impressive resume.


Fri 14 July 2023
At some point in your career, you will have to deal with a problematic colleague. Someone who is negatively impacting your day, having a bad attitude, or a detriment to your company's culture. 

How do you deal with this? How do you find enough patience to continue working with someone? What do you do if this person is not your superior or subordinate but a peer working at the same level as you? 

Being able to maintain a valuable workplace culture is challenging when having to deal with a disagreeable teammate. Nevertheless, it will happen to just about everyone sometime in their professional career. Being able to shift away from this disruptiveness, promote a positive attitude and encourage your company culture identifies outstanding leaders. 

A pessimistic co-worker can be the cause of several problems affecting a wide variety of professionals. A defeatist attitude can impact productivity, teamwork, communication, and morale within a company in addition to personally affecting team members' mental health and work-life balance. If you notice a colleague with a consistently unfavorable attitude, it is important to address it to minimize the disruption and reduce the impact of their demeanor. Focus on open communication and balance to help foster a healthy and comfortable work environment for everyone. 

Dealing with a supervisor or subordinate with an unpleasant attitude is strenuous, but dealing with a negative peer presents a whole new challenge. Superiority and titles no longer impact the relationship, one of you does not directly report to the other one, but collaboration is crucial. Understanding a discouraging or disruptive coworker is exhausting but here are some tips that may help you better conduct a beneficial relationship with a fellow employee that has a poor attitude:

  1. Lead by example
Although it may be challenging, it is crucial to keep an optimistic attitude when dealing with a difficult coworker. Even if this colleague is not your superior or subordinate, they may still learn from the work environment you are fostering compared to theirs. Being able to successfully lead people and create a warm and welcoming culture demonstrates your leadership and attitude. Being able to lead by example and exhibit a positive attitude changes the dynamic, especially when you need someone's cooperation to finish a project or meet a deadline, ensuring you are maintaining a positive attitude is important. 

2. Practice empathy
We all can get caught up in emotion. Being empathetic and working to understand where a peer's attitude stems from. Nothing can create an adverse environment like an uncooperative and adverse leader. When working in a professional environment, consider perspective vs. intent, and take a closer look at what the situation may be. You may understand a workmate to be abrupt or hasty but, maybe they have another meeting to attend. Examining a situation from the other's point of view and being able to further break down your perception of someone's attitude and actions compared to the intent behind it will help you understand how to best move forward in dealing with a teammate you perceive as hostile. 

3. Offer constructive feedback 
While it may be awkward, getting feedback is what allows us to professionally grow. Professionals may have an unpleasant attitude but do not realize how they present it, how they communicate, and how they disrupt the culture and attitude of others in their company. Work on cultivating a culture that embraces mistakes and allows employees to grow through feedback. Being able to effectively communicate constructive feedback is a great skill for all leaders. In preparing to give constructive feedback, be sure to consider timeliness and be specific in your feedback so they know exactly what they are doing that portrays them as uncooperative. It is also important to find a balance between criticism and appreciation for the work they do and ask if they have any feedback for you. Requesting feedback for yourself is crucial because not only does it allow you to grow, it creates a conversation between the two rather than a scolding of the person with a poor attitude. If this seems too overwhelming, consider talking to human resources and seeing if feedback can be worked into a performance review. 

4. Focus on self-care 
When working with a resistive colleague, be sure to take time to focus on keeping up your positive outlook to foster a productive work environment and, celebrate the small success within that relationship. Working with a troublesome coworker slowly damages your resilience and patience. It is crucial to take the time and recuperate and rebuild so you can put your best foot forward in maintaining a positive attitude and encouraging the company culture you would like to see. Some steps you could take to focus on your self-care could be setting work boundaries to make sure this doesn’t affect your personal life or setting transition times before or after your meetings with this team member to debrief and decompress. Build time into your day to do whatever will help you realign after working with this challenging teammate. 

5. Seek mentorship  
Dealing with a negative attitude can be emotionally draining. Finding a mentor who has had similar experiences that will be able to provide specific advice and guidance can help you maintain your productive attitude and continue to foster the workplace environment you want to have. To avoid gossip, seek connection with professionals outside of your company in a horizontal mentorship program to learn how others in the same position are dealing with problems similar to your own. 

When working with a frustrating peer, it is important to maintain professionalism, gossip is inappropriate in a professional environment. However, being able to vent about these problems is a great way to release some frustration. Consider reaching out to your company's human resources department, you can request an off-the-record meeting, and explain you do not want to have this person notified but just need someone to talk to about the situation. 

Remember that moving on from a difficult co-worker takes time and effort, do not expect to see changes overnight, stay focused and committed to maintaining your optimistic attitude and fostering a productive and healthy work environment for those around you, and do not let others' negativity hinder your happiness. 


Fri 14 July 2023
Bad news can come in many forms and at unexpected times. Getting passed up for a promotion, receiving undesired project results, or even recognizing disparities in workplace treatment are just some experiences that can decrease motivation and divert progress. These experiences may feel detrimental with little hope for recovery. 

A large contributor to how adversity is handled relies on ones mindset before, during, and after receiving the news. Even during unsuccessful moments, prioritizing your frame of thinking will allow for the best future steps. 

When encountering difficulties, it is natural to default to a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset is a frame of thinking that inhibits the ability to look past the issue at hand. Individuals who possess a fixed mindset believe that their skill set is relatively inflexible so there isn’t much opportunity for improvement. Setbacks are perceived as limitations of their skillsets which leads those with fixed mindsets to avoid challenges. 

To overcome hardship implementing a growth mindset may lead to honing adaptability, embracing creativity, continued optimism, and the motivation to acquire a new skill. A growth mindset stems from the belief that everyone has the ability to continue to develop skills and make improvements based on continuous efforts. One isn’t stuck in their current position with a growth mindset because they can take steps to improve and continue to learn in any given situation. This perspective is particularly important when dealing with setbacks, and can be implemented daily to concentrate on your objectives.  

The growth mindset recognizes that challenges will arise and these setbacks serve as opportunities for growth. Possessing a growth mindset may even lead to the pursuit of new challenges as they will serve as further areas to expand knowledge and experience. Utilizing this framework can encourage passion and purpose in both personal and professional settings due to the ability to maintain an optimistic perspective. Overall, this perspective aims to work towards a more fulfilling life because one isn’t self imposing mental limitations. 

Maintaining a growth mindset in the face of bad news is a challenge, but it is achievable with diligent effort and continued practice. These are some initiatives geared towards developing a growth mindset during challenging moments to increase your ability to take productive first steps. 

  1. Process your emotions: 
Acknowledge your emotions and why you are frustrated with the situation. When receiving bad news it is natural to feel disheartened or frustrated with the outcome. Allow yourself the opportunity to embrace these emotions and process them. Recognize the root of your feelings and why it made you feel that way. Initial negative reactions are common when dealing with difficulties and are part of life. 
2. Reframe the situation as a learning opportunity: 
Seek potential lessons you can learn from the situation and ways you can approach this problem differently going forward. Reflecting on what went poorly may direct you to a new skill you can learn that will be beneficial in the future. Spend time analyzing tangible things that can be enhanced rather than dwelling on things out of your control. 
3. Acquire feedback: 
Gathering feedback and receiving constructive criticism work to determine areas that need improvement and are good ways to prevent the repetition of similar setbacks. Reaching out to others who have more knowledge of what occurred can provide clarity and prevent you from wondering what went wrong.  
4. Identify alternative solutions:
Depending on the situation at hand, there may be additional pathways to pursue to achieve your desired outcome. Pursuing alternatives may mean having a conversation with a coworker about different processes that can be implemented, or a conversation with management to learn what opportunities are available/ feasible. Identifying alternative solutions may ultimately lead to pursuing a position at a company that aligns better with your interests and will value your skill set appropriately. Allow time to use your creativity to find different solutions. 
5. Seek support from peers or outside resources:
When managing a setback, speaking with peers can allow you to gain perspective and recognize that others have experienced similar hardships. Vocalizing your outlook on the obstacle will allow for collaborative problem-solving and lead to informed decisions. Surrounding yourself with individuals who positively support and encourage you is key to maintaining a growth mindset. An alternative approach is to seek a mentor removed from the situation and learn how they may approach the current difficulty. A mentor's guidance will allow you to be accountable in your pursuit of growth. 
6. Establish Goals: 
Goal setting is a powerful tool when working towards a growth mindset. After enduring a difficult situation, creating attainable ways to move forward will allow you to have productive results despite obstacles. Determine what your current goals are and then break them down into smaller more achievable goals. By breaking down your goals, you can maintain motivation and gain a sense of accomplishment. Goal setting creates a strong foundation for accountability and motivation for improvement. 

Successfully navigating a setback isn’t an easy endeavor, but maintaining a growth mindset will work toward more rewarding results. Bad news isn’t a determinant of continued misfortune if it is used as motivation to pursue new goals. 

Remember that upholding a growth mindset is a continuous process and one that takes time. Commit to embracing challenges as opportunities for development and recognize that a growth mindset can help achieve success in difficult times. 


Mon 31 July 2023
When we think about curiosity many of us revert back to our childhood. We are reminded of the freedom to discover new characters in books or find different approaches to attacking a math problem or fun ways to cause an explosion during a science experiment. We may even think about playing in the sand and exploring the perfect mixture of water and sand to build our best castles. Being curious comes naturally to children. It’s part of childhood.

But curiosity is key to growth and discovery for leaders. 

Curiosity is the secret ingredient to helping leaders understand new trends and grow their leadership skills. Being curious empowers leaders to take risks, deal with failure and regroup to make a comeback. 

How curious are you? 

It may seem easier to just keep doing the same things over and over that we have mastered through the years, yet eventually that thinking will just get us stuck and bored. To remain relevant in our fields, leaders must develop a keen sense of curiosity and commitment to continued learning.

Five Strategies To Grow Curiosity In Leaders:

  1. Understand the Importance of Curiosity 

Curiosity is essential for leaders to grow as it drives continuous learning, adaptability, innovation, and creativity. Curious leaders listen actively, empathize with others, and make better-informed decisions, fostering engagement and motivation within their teams. 

By seeking out diverse perspectives and investigating problems deeply, they develop a growth mindset and build a learning culture, leading to personal and organizational development. Ultimately, curiosity empowers leaders to navigate complexities and embrace change, staying relevant and effective in an ever-evolving world.


2. Identify An Area To Grow

No matter where we are leading from or what point we are in our career trajectory, leading is synonymous with learning. The first step in developing our leadership curiosity is to decide on the area we need to grow. Leaders can do this by:

  • Evaluating how they stack up to the current skills required in their field
  • Choosing an interest that fascinates them that may add to their leadership toolbox
  • Asking colleagues what experiences or knowledge could help them become stronger performers
  • Joining a networking group that shares information about their industry.


3. Look For a Mentor

Another great way to cultivate our curiosity is by reaching out and finding a mentor. Mentors can be bosses in or outside of our departments or they can be friends or even relatives. 

Ambition in Motion's executive mastermind group is a valuable resource for executives and managers as it provides access to experienced mentors who offer personalized guidance, networking opportunities, and valuable insights for navigating leadership challenges. The program enhances leadership skills, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness while promoting continuous learning and professional development, ultimately empowering mentees to achieve greater success and fulfillment in their roles.

The magic of a mentor is that they can:

  • Help leaders see possibilities and even connect them with interesting leaders.
  • Discuss helpful skills and experiences to grow their careers
  • Share their powerful stories of missteps and mistakes
  • Guide leaders how to best approach difficult obstacles


4. Practice Your New Discoveries 

Of course, the best way to master what our curiosity has led us to is by using the new- found knowledge, experience or skills. Try applying it on the job or in a volunteer position. Test it out with colleagues or incorporate it into a project you are working on. Even think of sharing it with a co-worker because if we can teach it we have truly learned it.


The Ripple Effect of Leadership Behavior

Curious leaders are always on the lookout for new ideas and approaches. When leaders encourage curiosity among their teams, they create a culture that fosters innovation and creative problem-solving. As team members feel empowered to explore different possibilities, the organization as a whole becomes more adaptable and can respond better to challenges.

Additionally, when leaders judge themselves based on their intentions rather than only the outcomes, they can better understand their actions' impact on their team. This self-reflection enables them to admit mistakes and learn from them openly. Such vulnerability and transparency contribute to creating a culture of trust and psychological safety, where team members feel safe to voice their opinions without fear of judgment.

A curious leader is naturally more inclined to listen to their team members actively. By showing genuine interest in their employees' perspectives, ideas, and concerns, leaders can boost employee engagement and foster a sense of value and appreciation within the workforce. Engaged employees are more likely to be motivated, productive, and committed to the organization's goals.


Mon 9 October 2023
Conflicting interests are unavoidable within an organization. Although challenging, aligning conflicting interests is necessary for effective decision-making. Executives and shareholders all tend to have the common objective of company success, however, each individual may have a different set of criteria and incentives that determine what constitutes success. Recognizing these differences in interests to promote success, is important when navigating a situation in which there are many conflicting interests at hand.

Examples of conflicts that arise from parties with competing incentives include: 
  • Sales teams only receiving their commission checks once a client has been onboarded by the onboarding team and the onboarding team wanting to be thorough in the client onboarding processes. The onboarding team is incentivized to be thorough while the sales team wants to get their commission as quickly as possible. 
  • Customer success teams receiving feedback from clients in terms of what technological features need to be created to best support the client and then disseminating that information to the technology team and ask the technology team to prioritize this feedback. The tech team is incentivized to complete the tasks on their roadmap and the customer success team is incentivized to keep the client. By adding a new task on the tech team’s plate, they now have to figure out where this goes in priority order compared to their other tasks while the customer success team thinks it should be their number one priority.

Steps to approach conversations when parties have conflicting interests include: 

  1. Create a flexible strategy 
It is important to recognize personal company goals and strategies that will be used to achieve them prior to meeting with others to discuss future initiatives. This self-reflection period ensures that all ideas are articulated clearly in this environment with differing interests. After developing goals and implementation strategies,  it is important to identify areas of flexibility within these strategies. Even when plans are thoroughly suited to achieve personal goals for the company, it is likely that there will be areas that require adaptation to best incorporate the perspectives of others. 

2. Define and understand each party's interest 
Prior to or at the beginning of a meeting it is important for each party to articulate their interests. Creating this understanding early on will allow everyone to have some common ground and know why others' interests are a certain way. Certain factors may contribute to these interests, such as organizational policies, deadlines, or resources that are applicable specifically to an individual's role. Being conscious of these different parameters for other's decision-making will encourage a more empathetic environment. 

3. Develop open communication and active listening
Respectful communication is pivotal when managing conflicting viewpoints. Creating open communication will allow for clarification of ideas, voicing concerns, and considering other perspectives in order to formulate the most effective solutions. Open communication also consists of encouraging everyone to contribute. If someone hasn’t contributed much to the group discussion, invite them to share their ideas to ensure everyone is on the same page. 

During the discussion, be mindful of utilizing active listening habits. Taking notes (if appropriate), providing nonverbal cues, and maintaining eye contact is incredibly important in signaling to others that their contributions to the conversation are valued. Failure to actively listen to others may prevent them from being receptive to ideas later shared. 
 
4. Identify shared goals 
To unify a group, it is helpful to recognize what commonalities exist. Within an organization, everyone tends to have similar hopes for future success for the organization as a whole. While the methods to achieve this success may vary, articulating this common goal can help emphasize that everyone is doing their best to fulfill this shared purpose. 

5. Compromise 
Being willing to be flexible and negotiate can help to manage these differing interests. Sticking to a rigid predetermined set of demands will only lead to a stand-still. Compromising on aspects of a plan demonstrates to others that collaboration can help achieve the best possible solutions for all parties. 

Developing innovative solutions may also be a way to best fulfill everyone's needs. It may be possible that all presented solutions aren’t able to properly achieve the best outcome for the group. In that case, brainstorming and innovating can help create a brand-new plan that wouldn’t have been achievable without the input of the whole group. 

6. Finalize and implement solutions 
When determining the final solution, reiterate the conclusions made to double-check that everyone has reached a similar understanding of the future steps. Ensure that these final plans are in writing and shared with everyone involved in the conversation so they can be referred back to it. Having a finalized document with this consensus will make the implementation of the solution more efficient because it can help to ensure everyone is taking action in the appropriate manner. 

It can be incredibly difficult to manage conflict without the proper knowledge of personal conflict management habits and other strategies that are suitable for handling conflict. Incorporating conflict management instruments can help to develop optimal strategies for navigating conflicting interests. The Thomas- Kilmann Instrument is an assessment developed to determine ways to improve personal conflict management strategies. After completing the assessment, individuals will receive their evaluation of overall assertiveness and cooperation during conflict scenarios. From this placement, they will be provided with different strategies to improve their conflict-solving skills. Identifying areas of personal improvement can be difficult, so utilizing an assessment tool that is dedicated to identifying areas to develop for handling conflict can be incredibly valuable. 

Joining an Executive Mastermind Group where you can have a group of peers share their feedback on your situation and provide suggestions can be a great opportunity to best prepare to handle these situations.

Managing conflicting interests can also be utilized as an opportunity for growth. If a meeting wasn’t as productive as anticipated, it can be a time to reflect on personal negotiation skills and different approaches to improve upon communication and cooperation in later discussions. 

Aligning conflicting interests can also be achieved through more preventative measures. Building capacities to prevent conflicts of interest can work to ensure leaders are on similar pages. This can be implemented through changing metrics in which different departments are evaluated or even in-depth discussions to develop a shared framework for company growth. Implementing training activities to develop strong cooperation and strategies for compromising can also be beneficial to prevent stagnant conflicting interests going forward.  

It’s important to keep in mind that aligning interests doesn’t mean 100% agreement at all times. Oftentimes, compromising leads to outcomes that fulfill everyone's needs to an extent, but don’t fully achieve what they sought out to. Leaders need to know how to best align these conflicting interests to prevent impasse and achieve organizational success. 


Fri 17 November 2023
There are many ways to lead a company, but most leadership styles tend to be either transactional or transformational.

Understanding Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is characterized by leaders who inspire and motivate their teams to achieve beyond the expected, encouraging innovation and fostering a sense of collective purpose. These leaders are visionaries, capable of articulating a compelling vision for the future and instilling a sense of passion and commitment among their followers.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc., exemplifies transformational leadership. Known for his visionary approach, Jobs inspired his team to create groundbreaking products, shaping the technological landscape and setting new industry standards.

Transformational leaders often require a support system to help them navigate the complexities of their role and maintain their innovative edge. Mastermind groups, consisting of like-minded individuals who collaborate and share insights, play a crucial role in fostering creativity and providing valuable perspectives.

Mastermind Groups for Transformational Leaders

Mastermind groups serve as a forum for transformational leaders to exchange ideas, challenges, and experiences with peers who understand the unique demands of visionary leadership. Ambition in Motion Mastermind Groups, in particular, offer a structured platform where leaders can engage in thought-provoking discussions, receive feedback, and gain fresh perspectives from a diverse group of professionals. This collaborative environment empowers transformational leaders to refine their strategies, overcome obstacles, and stay at the forefront of innovation.

Mentorship for Transformational Leaders

In addition to mastermind groups, mentorship is another crucial element for transformational leaders seeking to enhance their skills. Mentors provide guidance based on their own experiences, offering valuable insights that can help leaders navigate complex challenges. Ambition in Motion, recognizing the importance of mentorship, facilitates connections between experienced mentors and transformational leaders, creating opportunities for personalized guidance and knowledge transfer.

Understanding Transactional Leadership

On the other hand, transactional leadership is characterized by a more structured and task-oriented approach. Leaders employing this style focus on the day-to-day operations, using a system of rewards and punishments to motivate their teams. Transactional leaders ensure that tasks are completed efficiently, and they are often concerned with maintaining order and adherence to established procedures.

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, is a notable example of transactional leadership. Welch was known for his emphasis on performance metrics, setting clear expectations, and implementing a system of rewards for high-performing employees.

Transactional leaders thrive in environments where efficiency and productivity are paramount. However, this style may lack the innovation and long-term vision associated with transformational leadership. While transactional leaders excel in managing routine tasks and achieving short-term goals, they may benefit from a broader perspective to adapt to changing business landscapes.

Mastermind Groups for Transactional Leaders

Transactional leaders, too, can benefit from mastermind groups as a resource for professional development. Ambition in Motion Mastermind Groups provide transactional leaders with a platform to connect with peers facing similar challenges, enabling them to share best practices, streamline processes, and enhance their leadership skills within the context of their operational focus.

Mentorship for Transactional Leaders

Mentorship is equally valuable for transactional leaders looking to expand their leadership capabilities. Ambition in Motion recognizes the diverse needs of leaders and offers mentorship opportunities tailored to the specific challenges faced by transactional leaders. Through personalized guidance, mentors help transactional leaders refine their operational strategies, adapt to changing circumstances, and foster a more collaborative and dynamic team environment.

Understanding the differences between transformational and transactional leadership is crucial for effective decision-making. While transformational leaders inspire innovation and vision, transactional leaders excel in managing day-to-day operations. Recognizing the unique demands of each leadership style, Ambition in Motion Mastermind Groups emerges as a valuable resource, providing a platform for leaders to connect, collaborate, and grow.

Whether one leans towards transformational or transactional leadership, the support systems offered by Ambition in Motion, including mastermind groups and mentorship opportunities, present invaluable resources for leaders seeking to refine their skills, overcome challenges, and stay ahead in an ever-changing business landscape. By leveraging these resources, leaders can cultivate a more comprehensive skill set, ensuring success in their respective leadership roles.


Fri 17 November 2023
As communication has become more immediate, it is also increasingly casual. Receiving emails that are overly aggressive or written in an inappropriate tone are situations that many people encounter within the workplace. Whether it is a message from a team member or a direct report, it is important to be conscious of how to respond to these situations to remain professional while upholding boundaries. 

Here are some steps to help navigate responding to an unprofessional email: 

  1. Maintain Composure 
An initial reaction to an aggressive or rude email is often anger or frustration. It is important to recognize and refrain from acting on this initial response. Taking deep breaths to calm down or even stepping away from the situation and finding a distraction for a few minutes can help to de-escalate initial reactions. 

After regaining composure, reread the email to see if the message still seems inappropriately aggressive. If the message still seems overly harsh, identify the elements that are concerning from the actual context of the message. This will help to complete a more objective analysis of the email and allow for a more constructive response. 

2. Consider the Method of Response 
Depending on the sender of the email, a response may be most appropriate over email, the phone, or in person. If the sender is someone who works nearby, approaching them in person may be the most effective method to handle the situation. Over email, messages can be misinterpreted and words that seemed harsh may not have had that intention. Talking things out can prevent any miscommunications that result from written communication. 

The relationship with the sender may also help determine the most appropriate means of communication. If the sender is a direct report, an in-person meeting to discuss the aggressive message can help to convey the severity of their actions and deter them from communicating with this tone in the future. 

3. Establish Clear Boundaries 
When dealing with inappropriate emails, it is crucial to communicate boundaries to prevent these issues from occurring in the future. Clearly and assertively articulating areas of discomfort and that this type of behavior is unacceptable. Be concise and specific about what is inappropriate within the message. 

Establishing boundaries is an important step to communicate that their tone is not welcome in future messages, however, avoiding escalating the situation is crucial during this step. Communicating with a polite tone can help to prevent the sender from feeling attacked. Discussing the message itself rather than targeting the sender when criticizing the tone can prevent them from feeling the need to be on defense during this conversation. 

4. Proofread 
If the best method of communication is emailing, proofread any response before sending it. Ensuring that there is a neutral tone, concise sentences, and no redundant information will allow the recipient to clearly understand any response. 

Maintaining a professional tone is vital because the situation can quickly spiral out of control if there is inappropriate communication on both sides. Responding aggressively or passive-aggressively may further validate the sender's feelings and encourage them to continue this unprofessional tone going forward. 

5. Document the Interaction 
It is essential to document this interaction in case aggressive emails continue in the future. Save copies of the emails with headers and time stamps as evidence of this interaction. This documentation will be beneficial to submit to supervisors or human resources if the aggression continues. Keeping evidence will help to maintain a clear timeline of events and ensure that these interactions aren’t lost. 

When documenting the interaction, also ensure to document how the situation was handled. Saving any emails that were sent in response to this inappropriate email can help to document instances in which boundaries were set and communicated to the sender. This way if the sender continues to act unprofessionally, there is a record that they were told that this behavior is unwelcome. 

6. Seek Support 
Don’t hesitate to seek support if the inappropriate behavior persists. Reaching out to colleagues, supervisors, or human resource professionals to share concerns can be a helpful resource. Horizontal mentorship groups can also serve as a beneficial resource to gain insights from others who have encountered similar situations. Having this support system can help to navigate this difficult situation and introduce an outside perspective. Additionally, reaching out to these outside individuals within the firm may allow others to find a resolution. 

When seeking support, it is incredibly beneficial to have the documentation available to show them. This will allow these outside resources to have a better understanding of the situation at hand and allow them to provide more direct support as they are aware of what was specifically said. 

7. Learn and Improve 
The final step when dealing with an inappropriate email is to learn from the interaction. After addressing the inappropriate behavior, the next response can be used to gauge the effectiveness of how the behavior was addressed. This can help to improve personal communication skills going forward. Take note of what worked and what may have been unsuccessful to identify areas for improvement going forward. 

Although difficult to navigate, these interactions can serve as a great opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. Evaluating how personal communication contributed to the de-escalation of the situation can serve as a beneficial tool for any difficult situations that arise in the future. 

It is important to consider inappropriate messages on a case-by-case basis. The relationship with the person, their position within the firm, and the context of the email, may warrant different responses. The context of the email is particularly important to consider because in some cases, a frustrated email may not entirely be inappropriate. 

For instance, if a team member completed their portion of the project, but the remainder of the project was not completed by the deadline. In this scenario, the team member may be frustrated and rightfully so as they upheld their responsibilities. Validating their emotions and owning up to mistakes may be critical aspects of responding to an email in this capacity. 

When dealing with an inappropriate email, there are many things to consider when assessing how to respond. The most important thing to remember when handling these difficult situations is to remain professional and consider what can be done to prevent this behavior from persisting going forward. 

Fri 15 December 2023
Mergers and acquisitions present opportunities for companies to streamline their operations, develop economies of scale, create synergies, and establish various other growth opportunities. Despite all these beneficial changes a company may experience, mergers and acquisitions can be a stressor for employees as there are many uncertainties. 

Undergoing mergers and acquisitions can create structural and cultural changes for organizations, leaving employees unsure of what to anticipate. Organizational changes and redundancies within the workforces of both companies can lead employees to have serious concerns about their job security. 

Even minor changes that result from mergers and acquisitions such as cultural shifts, slight process adjustments, or changes in communication channels can enhance the anxious environment and threaten psychological safety. Recognizing the emotions arising from these changes is essential for a smooth transition and continued team success. 

Here are some ways to create a more people-focused approach to navigating a team through a merger or acquisition: 

  1. Develop a Communication Plan
When conveying the news of a merger or acquisition it is important to consider how to best articulate the intentions of the decision. Communicating the overarching vision, company beliefs, and future of the company that led to the decision can help employees better understand the motivations for undergoing such changes. Presenting an optimistic vision for the company will encourage employees to support the new direction of the company. 

Lack of communication or poor communication can lead to the spreading of misinformation and decreased employee engagement. To prevent issues from arising with employees drawing inaccurate conclusions about future steps, ensure that there is constant communication as the process evolves. Immediately when information is allowed to be shared with direct reports, communicate the information to demonstrate that all employees are valued and informed. 

2. Ensure Transparency
Simply communicating updates to the team isn’t sufficient during uncertain times. Honest and frequent updates are most suitable for ensuring all members of the team understand how the changes will personally impact them. 

When permissible, communicate as much detail as possible about the deal's implications. Although it may feel obligatory to reassure team members that everything will work out and they won’t be negatively affected, it is important to communicate the truth. If there is a risk that the team will be impacted by layoffs or structural changes, communicate that uncertainty and work with them to develop action plans. If the team does experience negative changes as a result of the deal, it is best to avoid a complete blindside. 

3. Positive culture 
Continuing to celebrate team successes can help to improve team morale and motivation. Amidst these big changes going on within the organization, recognizing the achievements of individuals or the team as a whole can help empower the team and reinforce a positive future outlook for the team. 

Connecting these celebrations to the core values of the merged company. Aligning the celebrations to organizational values reinforces their importance within the organization. Drawing these parallels will ultimately help reassure the team that their efforts are valued and key attributes of the entire organization. 

4. Involve and Empower Team
During times of uncertainty, it is crucial to allow direct reports to be involved wherever possible. Opportunities to share concerns, feedback, or other insights will allow employees to feel heard. Providing such opportunities will allow for a smoother transition to the new organization since adjustments can be made to best support the team. 

Team involvement develops a sense of ownership. During times of uncertainty, employees may begin to search for outside opportunities. Allowing employees to make an impact on the organization through their input and inclusion in the decision-making process, will increase their sense of commitment to the firm. 

5. Provide Resources
As a manager, providing ample resources for team members to navigate these changes is a necessary step. Mentorship initiatives, training programs, or external professional development opportunities can help employees prepare for potential future steps. 

Directing team members to consult with human resources or other applicable internal resources can serve as a good reminder of the readily available options they can contact. Continuing to identify various resources that can support team members will help ensure that they feel more in control of their future and can make more informed decisions. 

6. Lead by Example 
Increased stress is inevitable when transitioning through a merger or acquisition, however, employees look to their manager as an example of how to handle these unpredictable times. Remaining composed and adaptable will encourage the team to exemplify these characteristics as well, and embody the vision of the organization. 

Exemplifying other characteristics such as prioritization of work-life balance is another key way to guide a team to stay on track. During periods of change, ensuring all team members take care of their well-being and not overworking themselves can help to prevent additional stress. When direct reports see their manager balancing their personal life and their work obligations, they will feel more comfortable making balance one of their priorities which will ultimately lead to a more sustainable work environment. 

As a manager, it is important to continue to advocate for the team and take steps to support their best interests. During these periods of uncertainty, managers serve as a guide for their team to help them understand what is going on around them. 

Determining the best method to navigate these organizational changes can be incredibly difficult. Utilizing horizontal peer mentor groups can be a powerful tool to gain insight into how others in similar situations manage their teams. Within these groups, peers can share strategies they found to be successful and advice specific to the situation at hand. 

Remember that managing a team through large organizational changes such as mergers and acquisitions is specifically difficult for managers as they must balance personal stress resulting from the changing environment along with team concerns. Strategies on how to best lead a team depend on the team dynamics and the changes the organization is experiencing. Keep in mind that big changes are stressful and personal mental health should be prioritized. A sound-minded manager will be most suitable for leading a successful team through mergers and acquisitions. 


Thu 28 December 2023
Effective communication is a key component of successful leadership, and an important contributing factor to developing effective communication is word choice. Carefully chosen words when communicating can help to empower, motivate, and guide teams more effectively. While many managers recognize the importance of word choice, it can be difficult to identify areas of improvement. 

When communicating with a team or direct reports there are two main considerations: what to say and how to say it. While the message is incredibly important, how the message is communicated can directly affect how it is received and interpreted. Being conscious of how words can be used to properly communicate messages is an important skill for managers to develop. 

These are some strategies to consider when communicating with a team and direct reports: 

  1. Use Confident Verbs
Replacing words that undermine a leader's confidence is an important word choice consideration. Weak verbs should be substituted for more confident phrasing such as “we will”, “I know”, or “I believe” to convey reassurance and empowerment to a team. Dedicating time to developing more assertive language will help to improve team buy-in and can even contribute to improved self-confidence. 

A common way that managers compromise their confident word choice is through over-apologizing. While it is important for managers to be conscious of when they have made a mistake and to own their actions, over-apologizing can be a detrimental habit. Continuously apologizing for a mistake can present miscommunications and decrease credibility tremendously. Ultimately, over-apologizing spends unnecessary time and shifts managers away from their confident word choices. 

2. Be Concise 
Avoiding overly complex language and unnecessary jargon is a great practice for creating concise wording. Simplifying word choice can help ensure all team members understand and avoid confusion. Choosing specific words that are simple yet effective will also make communication more efficient. 

When developing more concise language, eliminating idioms and metaphors can also prove beneficial. If a team member doesn’t understand a figure of speech or is unfamiliar with it, the phrase can lose its meaning and cause a lot of unnecessary confusion. Working to avoid such phrases can help ensure that everyone understands the message while eliminating unnecessary words that take up additional time. 

3. Take Time 
Devoting time to consider proper word choice is an underutilized practice. If an instance occurs that seems difficult to navigate and may not have a ‘right answer’, don’t feel pressured to respond right away. Stepping back and communicating that more time is needed before providing a firm answer can help to ensure ideas are communicated correctly. 

Taking time to carefully consider a response can be done with both written and verbal communication. While more commonly implemented for written communication, stepping back from a conversation can be used with verbal communication similarly. During the conversation, indicate that more time will be needed to properly consider the next steps and provide a specific timeline of when they can expect a response. Clearly articulating the future steps is necessary to ensure that both parties understand when the situation can be resolved. 

4. Specify Terms 
When communicating with a team, specificity is key to ensuring everyone is on the same page. Terms such as ‘commitment’ may be interpreted differently across a team. To one team member commitment to a project may mean staying over time until completion, others may interpret commitment as delaying other projects until further notice. Being specific about how the team should be committed to the project would provide more unified results. Similar terms such as punctuality can also have varying interpretations across a team (or even between a manager and an individual). Clarifying expectations and being conscious of these words can help to ensure everyone has the same understanding. 

Avoiding standardized responses to team members can also work to improve specific word choices. Rather than telling a team member “I will look over your work and get back to you”, more concrete language should be used “I will review your work and provide feedback by Wednesday”. Articulating more specifically what the team members can expect will help them to feel more valued. Using generic language will leave increased ambiguity for team members and create an uneasy environment. 

5. Positive Intent 
Articulating a positive intent when communicating with a team is vital to improve morale. Even during difficult times, shifting language to have a positive frame will motivate employees.

When developing more positive word choice while relaying constructive criticism, avoiding the negative construction of sentences should be implemented. Words such as just, try, and maybe are passive words that aren’t empowering to a team. Using phrases like “we will’ gives a much more positive energy. 

6. Inclusive and Respectful 
Specifcially when communicating within a team setting, leaders must be inclusive of everyone. Utilizing words that address the group as a whole will ensure that everyone is prioritized throughout the meeting. 

Avoiding unintended microaggressions is another key aspect of developing inclusive and respectful word choice. Addressing personal unconscious bias can work to consider how they may be present within word choice and help to take steps for more inclusive wording. Employee engagement and sense of belonging can be diminished when there is a lack of inclusivity and respect from their managers. By carefully considering word choice, managers can ensure everyone feels comfortable within the workplace. 

Identifying strategies for improving communication is incredibly important in making adjustments, however, it is equally important to develop a plan to ensure consistency and proper application. An effective way to improve word choice is to model communication off of executives who are well-known for their communication skills. Finding executives with styles of communication that are effective can give inspiration on how to handle difficult situations or even more day-to-day examples. 

A word choice reminder is another method that can be used to ensure consistency. Designating certain items such as a bracelet or ring as a word choice reminder can be a way to constantly form these beneficial habits. Even more directly writing a note or daily phone reminder to keep word choice in mind throughout the day can effectively make these adjustments. 
When considering these strategies it is important to develop tangible ways to 

Practicing the implementation of proper word choice strategies is one of the most effective ways to ensure improvement. Role-playing a scenario with a peer or coach can help to thoroughly consider the precise wording to use when tasked with communicating difficult messages to a team. During these practices, peers or coaches can help to provide feedback and continue to ensure effective communication. 

Managers who recognize the impact of word choice can positively contribute to the improvement of their work environment. By developing strategies and concrete improvement steps, managers can enhance their communication skills and build a stronger team. Remembering that the words managers choose can have a direct impact on the productivity of their team will guide the team to be more effective and cohesive. 


Thu 18 January 2024
Goal setting is a critical element to any successful team. If businesses fail to create an environment for team members and leaders to set goals, then they are firefighting.

Firefighting is the concept of having employees tactically react to emergencies that come up in the business as opposed to strategically creating long-term solutions for those challenges. Firefighting is exhausting, mentally draining, and leads to burnout for employees. Firefighting is also highly inefficient. 

As opposed to strategically coming up with a process to handle common issues as they arise, firefighting is asking individual employees to create unique processes for handling the same issues. This means that the company is not leveraging the knowledge and experience from multiple employees that have already solved that issue. Instead, they are leaving an effective, easy solution on the backburner as challenges arise since nobody can find the time needed to implement it. 

In most work environments firefighting is inevitable, but it shouldn’t be your team’s primary focus. Employees should be either following a proven process to solve that challenge, or they should be experimenting and tweaking potential solutions to create a proven process.

One of the best ways to combat a culture of firefighting is with goal-setting. Goal-setting is the practice of reflecting on the challenges one has faced over a certain period of time, ideating on what process or solution can be implemented so then that challenge is less painful or frustrating to handle in the future and then work on testing the best way to go about achieving that desired result. 

Most business owners and executives may read this and think to themselves “Let’s start having our employees set goals” or “We have an HR system that allows us to set goals and we encourage our employees to set them”. 

These comments miss an important fact: most employees suck at setting goals. And to be fair, that’s not their fault! Good goal setting takes practice, and many people let that skill atrophy if they ever learned it at all. 

They have never been taught proper goal-setting techniques like setting goals that are specific, measurable, relevant, attainable, and time-bound. And even if they have learned about SMART goals, they probably haven’t practiced this skill enough to turn it into a habit. 

And even if a couple people on the team are good at setting goals, you still need company support to ensure that goal setting stays as a high priority. If nobody at the company is holding those that struggle at setting goals accountable for setting good goals, those that are good at setting goals have little incentive to continue setting goals because those that struggle to set goals are not being held accountable.

This is even more critical at the managerial level.

If managers aren’t setting goals or are setting poor goals, this lack of skill in this area permeates to their entire team. This ripple effect causes the employees of a manager that doesn’t set goals or sets poor goals to have a culture of firefighting – because if businesses aren’t strategically thinking about how to build processes to handle the challenges that comes up, then they will be reactive to whatever challenges they encounter.

The other challenge in goal-setting for managers is isolation.

Even if a manager knows how to set goals effectively and consistently sets them, they still need to understand their company’s objectives to set great goals. If they are isolated, they will set goals based on unclear or out-of-date objectives that were determined internally from the past. 

To clarify the difference between objectives and the typical goals set by direct reports. Objectives are top-down, publicly shared and ambitious goals that are strived for over a long period of time. They are set by company leaders to shape the company’s next months or years. Once a company has set an objective, teams will set goals that help achieve that objective. These goals are the steps in the process that determine a company’s ability to achieve the objective. 

It’s important to note that objectives are typically broad and non-specific (e.g., optimize operational efficiency and scalability). So, for an objective like optimize operational efficiency and scalability, team members might measure its success with goals like reduce software deployment time by 30%, or enhance server infrastructure to accommodate a 20% growth in user base without performance degradation. At the end of a successful push, team members and leaders will know whether the objective was met because the achieved goals all contributed to optimizing operational efficiency and scalability. 

An easy way to understand this concept is by following the format recommended by this article; a company will achieve an objective  as measured by several key results. Check out a few examples below to see what this looks like. Also note that an objective is typically supported by 3-5 goals.  

Objective: Drive Business Growth through Market Expansion.
1) Enter at least two new target markets, increasing the customer base by 20% in those regions.
2) Achieve a 15% increase in annual recurring revenue (ARR) through upselling and cross-selling to existing customers.

Objective: Drive Business Growth through Market Expansion.
1) Enter at least two new target markets, increasing the customer base by 20% in those regions.
2) Achieve a 15% increase in annual recurring revenue (ARR) through upselling and cross-selling to existing customers.

Because the world (and thus the company) is constantly changing and evolving, if managers don’t have any concept as to what innovations are coming within their departments, they run the risk of their goals getting stale and outdated.

Companies can combat this by having their manager join executive mastermind groups where they are exposed to leaders outside of their company and can learn from their experiences.

Or

Companies can leverage AI to help their managers not only set effective goals, but set goals based on the goals set by other managers of similar teams in similar industries are setting. Through artificial intelligence, managers can glean suggested objectives and goals based on what other leaders of similar teams in similar industries are doing. 

How?

AIM Insights has an AI integration that can identify the industry, title, and department of a manager and provide suggested objectives and goals to that manager based on what other leaders in similar roles are doing. AIM Insights also helps managers from across the company see what goals other team members and managers are setting so they can get a better understanding as to what other departments and managers are focused on.

Why is this important? 

If companies have managers struggling to identify what is the most important thing that they should be focused on (this typically occurs after prolonged periods of firefighting), having suggestions based on AI can help managers quickly realign and get ideas. When used in conjunction with an executive coach and knowing the goals of other managers in other departments at the company (that are also using an executive coach), managers can combine cutting-edge technology with an experienced professional to get the best of both worlds.

When managers and teams have extended periods of firefighting, doing any work that is strategic can be really hard to pick back up. Employees can become so jaded by strategic work like goal-setting that they sometimes end up weighing the cost of time spent goal-setting as a sacrifice to their ability to put out a certain number of fires. This zero-sum thinking is devastating for a company’s long-term health.

“I can’t believe I just spent 15 minutes goal setting! I could have spent that time checking 5 emails or handling a customer issue.”

If employees develop this mindset around goal-setting, it creates a toxic environment and a culture that is too incentivized to put out fires without considering ways to preemptively stop the fires from ever starting. 

There is a story about the early days of Amazon. Jeff Bezos was on the floor with some of his employees packing boxes and shipping them out. Bezos said to his employees “we should get knee pads.” Another employee chimed in “No, we should get packing tables.”

When employees and managers don’t take the time to regularly set goals, they are blinded by what they can do to put out their immediate pain (knee pads help alleviate pain from an uncomfortable position) instead of focusing on an innovative solution that can eradicate the challenge altogether with a side-benefit of increased productivity (getting packing tables).

AI suggestions for goal setting and objective setting can be a great way to quickly get employees thinking about what they can focus on to handle their issues. 

Keep in mind, these are suggestions, not mandates. AI can be a great starting point for assisting in goal setting, but it is the human receiving the AI suggestions that needs to approve those goals and subsequently act on achieving them.



Fri 26 January 2024
Everyone experiences times of nervousness and anxiety. It's human nature and, it's contagious. Many struggle to manage these feelings on their own and unmanaged anxiety can lead to rash and spontaneous decision making. Impulsive communication and decision-making will foster an internal feeling of urgency that others mirror which may spread across groups and offices creating immense stress and anxiety for all levels. 

Anxiety can stem from a variety of sources. Specifically in the workplace, anxiety can stem from: poor workplace culture, unclear expectations, too heavy of a workload, conflict with superiors, organizational changes, job insecurity, lack of control, or imposter syndrome. Additionally, managers' words and actions have a higher impact on creating or mitigating anxiety due to their hierarchical position and perceived power within an organization. Similar to the effect of stress or anxiety in an individual's personal life, workplace anxiety can cause a variety of problems such as sleep deprivation, poor work performance, body aches, or physical ailments. Within teams, managers may have a hard time identifying causes of anxiety, or worse, managers may be the cause of anxiety within a team. 

Leaders “venting,” gossiping, or complaining to their team members creates a different culture that fosters anxiety and worry for team members, usually leading to a counterproductive work environment. Once a team leader begins complaining to their teams about executive management, timelines, the work environment, or other team members, their direct reports become uncomfortable in the workplace and anxious about their performance. 

Similar to anxiety, gossip is a detriment to the work environment and is certainly contagious within the workplace. Both productive and counterproductive work cultures can foster and spread gossip across a team or office. Many feel the need to gossip to be “in the know” or to protect themselves from any potential conflicts within a group. Gossip encourages judgment, cliques, and toxic work behavior that may undermine the success, camaraderie, or expansion of teams. Moving into a psychologically safe and comfortable work environment, managers must reduce any occurrences of gossip and spreading of misinformation to create an environment that values every individual team member. 

To better understand the ripple effect of gossip and anxiety, consider Trish who is a partner at a large accounting firm. Trish has been facing struggles with the corporate office creating unreasonable timelines for completing projects and, Trish is becoming frustrated with a professional on her team, John who submits unfinished and unpolished reports. Trish is feeling anxious due to a heavy workload and a lack of support from her team. Trish decides to vent about her challenges with the corporate office to Leo, a manager in her team. Now, Leo is self-conscious about his performance and focuses on overworking and taking on extra responsibilities, eventually leading to burnout. Also after their conversation, Leo begins to lose faith in their company and has decreased organizational commitment to their firm. Throughout the next week, Leo discusses his feelings with other team members, leading to a spread of stress and anxiety in the workplace. 

As in the above example, venting and crucial conversations can lead to a spread of anxiety team-wide which exponentially grows, creating an unproductive work environment and negatively impacting the mental health, work-life balance, and personal lives of team members. If managers are feeling anxious or overworked, they should consider finding a new channel. Potential outlets may be horizontal mentorship, executive mastermind groups, or coaching opportunities that provide a safe space to share challenges. 

Horizontal mentorship enables leaders in similar positions to share issues they are facing in the workplace and creates an open environment to learn from peers in lateral workplace roles. Opening new opportunities to grow and learn in a dynamic environment catered to the specific problems faced in the workplace makes horizontal mentorship a great tool to reduce anxiety and gossip in the office. 

Executive mastermind groups serve as a peer advisory service that allows leaders to share a problem they are facing and receive feedback and advice from executive-level professionals. Through Ambition In Motions Executive Mastermind groups, leaders can find horizontal mentorship, peer advisory resources, and experiences that support individual and team learning which in turn, helps to reduce managers' stress and anxiety. 

Finally, managers may consider executive coaching opportunities to improve their team environment and mitigate causes of anxiety. Ambition In Motion offers both team and individual coaching to improve communication and productivity team-wide. In an executive coaching program, individuals are paired with an experienced coach who aids in setting SMART goals and, creating a process for collecting and analyzing measures of success for these goals. 

In working to reduce overall workplace anxiety, managers should concentrate on reducing gossip within the workplace. Gossip fosters cliques, damages professionals' reputations, erodes trust, and spreads misinformation which will eventually detriment workplace morale. Gossip in the workplace may also lead to unnecessary conflict and a decline in productivity. 

Even with understanding the implications of workplace gossip, it is still challenging for a manager to control or decrease gossip in the workplace. Managers working on decreasing gossip in the workplace should focus on leading by example. Building a cohesive team that promotes collaboration and communication will work to decrease gossip throughout a team. In having a more collaborative team, misinformation will be challenging to spread because direct reports will build a community and embrace camaraderie within the team.

Other steps to reduce gossip in the workplace may be to set clear expectations about professional behavior or to host a seminar explaining the negative effects of gossip. With clear communication, individuals will be less likely to spread misinformation. However, if a manager feels that their team needs additional guidance, they should always communicate with human resources and find out about other tools or resources available to leaders and team members for the betterment of the team.  


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