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Fri 9 February 2024
As a new hire, entering a new environment can be incredibly intimidating. Especially during the first few months, it is crucial for new hires to have sufficient resources to support them in their new role. A smoother transition to a new culture and new responsibilities can be achieved through effective mentorship. 

Why is mentorship important in the workplace?

Mentorship provides many benefits to the mentee, the mentor, and the organization as a whole. As a mentee, mentorship serves as an opportunity to gain insider knowledge of the culture and the internal processes of the organization. Assimilation to workplace culture can be a struggle for many mentees. Having a resource who has worked for the company longer to ask questions about the workplace environment can help ease some of the initial awkwardness. Mentors can also help mentees navigate the simple issues that a mentee faces such as feedback on a deliverable, or even larger scale situations such as what future opportunities to explore within the organization. A more experienced perspective on how to handle these issues both big and small can truly help ensure that new hires are set up for success. 

From a mentor perspective, mentorship is a great opportunity to make an impact and demonstrate leadership. Effectively communicating constructive feedback, improved time management, and opportunities for self-reflection can further provide professional development for mentors. This commitment to supporting others within the organization is a great demonstration of responsibility and may increase the chances of promotion consideration. 

Organizations benefit from mentorship as it can help to reduce unhappiness and turnover rates. 

Given all the benefits of mentorship, what is the best way to be a successful mentor? 

  1. Dedicating One-on-one Time Early On
If possible, set up an in-person coffee chat or lunch early on. An early opportunity to get to know each other and allow the mentee to ask any burning questions. During this conversation an important topic to discuss is what this mentorship relationship will look like. Frequency and means of communication as well as what can be done to set them up for success within the organization are great things to establish within the first meeting. 

2. Encouragement of curiosity 
Recognize that mentors are supposed to be a stress-free resource to help mentees. Create a safe space for asking questions that is free of judgement or harsh criticism. Mentees may pose questions that seem to have an obvious answer. Recall that everyone comes into an organization with different skill sets and experiences, and there may be gaps that a mentee needs additional guidance for. 

Early on after joining a new organization, employees may be interested in learning about other careers and future opportunities. Encourage the exploration of other career paths within the organization and share personal career path experiences. 

3. Sharing Personal Experience
Building a relationship with a mentee that has open communication can be difficult. Sharing personal stories and experiences can help to break the initial uncomfortability. Reflecting on areas of personal struggle during the early stages of joining the firm can identify different areas to provide insider tips/ information to ease initial difficulties for a mentee. Providing specific tips and feedback based on personal learning is the best way to both help a mentee and develop a stronger relationship. 

4. Facilitate Relationships with Seniors 
Developing relationships with senior members within an organization may be daunting to new employees. As a mentor, it is extremely important to help mentees communicate and develop relationships with senior or experienced employees. This can be a pivotal component of a mentee's future success within the organization as the networking may open opportunities for future positions that align with their interests. 

5. Hold Frequent Check-ins 
A successful practice for effective mentorship is frequent check-ins. Waiting for mentees to reach out may prove difficult as sometimes mentees may hesitate to reach out about their concerns. Periodically sending messages and regular meetings with mentees can ensure that there is ample opportunity for questions and the development of a relationship. 

6. Gather Ideas from Peers 
When mentoring a new employee, it can be helpful to gather insights from peers on mentorship tactics that were successful. Reaching out to colleagues or even previous personal mentors can be a great way to learn about mentorship. Another way to gather insights from peers is through joining a horizontal mentorship group to also experience the mentorship experience from a different perspective. Groups such as horizontal mentorship groups are great opportunities to learn from peers within the industry and to learn how to be a more effective leader. Within these groups, ideas can be shared and real-time feedback can be received. 

A key component of being a successful mentor is being a strong role model for mentees. Following correct practices within an organization, recognizing when other resources are necessary to help solve a problem, and an overall positive attitude go a long way in effective mentorship. Remember that this role requires commitment, so before volunteering to be a mentor consider the time required for the role and if it is manageable. Another consideration is that Mentorship doesn’t have an expiration date. A good mentor-mentee relationship can extend past the company-mandated timeline. Also, feel free to serve as a mentor to any new hire that asks for additional mentorship. Mentorship doesn’t require a formal written title in order to build a mentor relationship with new hires. 

A mentor’s goal is to provide assistance to new employees and guide their experience throughout the organization at an appropriate pace. Keep in mind that all mentorship relationships look different and developing strong mentor skills takes time and trial-and-error. Be patient and attentive to mentees, and there will be growth. 


Fri 9 February 2024
In 1998 Daimler Motor Company Group (now Mercedes-Benz) attempted a merger with Chrysler Corporation. On paper, Daimler-Chrysler was a perfect combination. Daimler and Chrysler brought price points for different target audiences and their respective leaders had high hopes for a successful merger of the companies. Internally, Daimler had a vertical structure with enforced hierarchical roles while Chrysler used a horizontal structure with less formalities. The two entities split shortly after because they could not find a mutually beneficial culture or compromise the two hierarchical structure approaches. 

Finding the perfect team culture is challenging as is. Combining with another entity only creates additional battles for managers to face. Finding ways to maintain team or group culture through organizational changes puts a further burden on executive leadership and team managers within companies. 

In learning to deal with this new, unique workplace challenge, here are ten tips for managers in leading their teams through organizational changes:

  1. Understand the Stages of Team Development
Using the four normative stages of team development, leaders should allow teams to autonomously develop and grow into a culture that fosters specific team values. Allowing teams the time to go through the stages of forming, morning, storming, and performing to find the best-fit roles can be a daunting challenge for hands-on leaders going through organizational changes. However, by enabling new teams to flow through these changes, they will develop a productive team environment that allows a team to be efficient and effective.

2. Practice Effective Communication
Effectively communicating in times of change enables leaders to collect feedback and grow from two-way communication with their direct reports. Leaders practicing active listening will be able to voice employee concerns throughout the process of organizational change. On the flip side, leaders effectively communicating with their direct reports will provide clarity and reduce resistance to changes within a company. 

3. Use Inclusive Decision Making
In management decisions, allowing direct reports to voice concerns and opinions whenever possible will improve adaptability and allow for creative solutions that will satisfy all levels within an organizational hierarchy. Ensuring that team members feel heard and valued will foster a team culture that is beneficial to employees and executive management. Inclusive decision-making empowers company leadership to adapt from direct reports' experiences when undergoing an organizational change in addition to whole team efforts to creative problem solving that will be most beneficial to sustaining the organization's culture. 

4. Develop Employee Support Programs
If managers find that certain employees struggle with organizational changes, they should consider developing an employee support program. This may be as simple as having a point person for employees to direct questions to or creating a guide of all expected changes and how the firm will adapt. Unexpected changes create anxiety for team members that some may struggle to overcome. In dealing with anxiety in crucial conversations and organizational changes, managers need to practice caution and 

5. Prioritize Psychological Safety
In addition to developing employee support resources, a necessary concern for management should be the psychological safety of all professionals in the organization. Psychological safety can be a largely impactful aspect of an individual's ability to adjust to organizational changes and to maintain the most beneficial culture for the company. To maintain an environment of psychological safety, managers should focus on clear communication and allowing individuals a safe environment to grow and learn with the company. 

6. Foster Cohesion
In going through a merger, acquisition, or general organizational changes, establishing an environment that fosters cohesion and camaraderie can make a drastic difference. Facing changes as a united front will communicate support and community to all direct reports, especially those struggling with finding their place in organizational changes. A cohesive group also creates a safe environment for direct reports to voice concerns, opinions, or opportunities for growth. 

7. Set SMART Goals
A smart goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Managers setting team-wide SMART goals will provide realistic and effective areas for professionals to concentrate on when undergoing hectic changes that frequently disorient teams' progress. Setting SMART goals with continuous feedback is essential for the stable growth of an organization undergoing foundational changes. 

8. Celebrate Success
Celebrating successes through an organizational change brings a variety of benefits to the team working to maintain their group culture. Specifically, celebrating success at all levels will boost team morale and work to reinforce the best practices before and throughout big changes. The ability to reinforce best practices will highlight values, behaviors, and achievements that are best for the organization. In addition to moral support, acknowledgments of individuals' hard work and dedication throughout the process.

9. Collect & Utilize Continuous Feedback
The collection and use of continuous feedback is crucial to sustaining an organization's culture through large changes, mergers, or acquisitions. In collecting this feedback, consider using a platform such as AIM Insights that will aid in setting SMART goals, finding measures of feedback, and collecting the feedback year-round to provide opportunities for continuous growth across all hierarchical levels in an organization. 

10. Seek Guidance
If a manager feels that they need additional support for guiding a team through a foundational organizational change they should consider finding additional support and guidance. First, leaders should consider joining a horizontal mentorship group that will create an environment for executives and managers to speak to other professionals at their level for collective feedback and learning. Additionally, if managers feel that they need additional guidance in aiding their team, they should reach out to their company's human resources department. The HR professionals will likely have developed guides or tools that will help teams practice flexibility and adapt to continuous changes within a firm. 

Addressing organizational changes is a unique challenge with unique experiences for every team. Although a daunting challenge, managers have the tools necessary to sustain organizational culture throughout times of change. It is crucial to collect and use feedback from direct reports as the most impactful tool for determining a team's next steps, growth areas, and opportunities for learning or development. In supporting teams through organizational changes, leaders can boost employee engagement, hopefully improving job satisfaction and commitment. 


Fri 9 February 2024
You've recently been appointed as the new team leader of a marketing department within a technology company. The team comprises experienced marketers who have been working together for several years. Your mandate is to revamp the marketing strategy to align with the company's new product roadmap. To effectively assess the talent of your team, you conduct one-on-one meetings with each team member to understand their expertise, interests, and career aspirations. 

Based on your assessments, you reallocate roles and responsibilities to leverage each team member's strengths. Additionally, you involve the team in brainstorming sessions to co-create the new marketing strategy, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment. Despite initial resistance to changes in processes and priorities, transparent communication, ongoing support, and tangible results help garner support from the team, leading to successful implementation of the revamped marketing strategy.

You were brought in for a reason: to make change. However, joining a pre-established team as a new leader requires a delicate balance of assessment, communication, and leadership. 

As a newly appointed team leader, your task is not only to assess the talent of your team but also to initiate constructive changes that align with organizational goals. While the team may already be familiar with one another, your presence signifies a need for transformation and improvement. 

Before you start making any changes or decisions, take some time to understand the current state of your team, the organizational culture, and the expectations of your stakeholders. Observe how your team works, communicate with them, and solicit feedback from others. Identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your team and your role. This will help you avoid making assumptions, identify potential challenges, and align your goals with the team and the organization. 

Without this crucial step in the process of your transition into the team, and the team’s adjustment to your presence, you may risk falling into the trap of implementing changes based on incomplete or inaccurate information. This could lead to resistance, confusion, and ultimately, failure to achieve desired outcomes. By taking the time to understand the current state of your team and the organizational context, you lay the groundwork for informed decision-making and effective leadership.

Strategies for the Adjustment:

  1. Establishing Credibility: As a new leader, you must quickly establish credibility and earn the trust of your team members. Without trust, it can be challenging to implement changes effectively.
  2. Assessing Existing Talent: Understanding the strengths, weaknesses, and potential of each team member is crucial for making informed decisions about team composition and task assignments.
  3. Navigating Existing Dynamics: Pre-established teams often have their dynamics, communication styles, and power structures. Navigating these dynamics while introducing changes requires finesse and diplomacy.
  4. Overcoming Resistance to Change: Resistance to change is natural, especially when team members are accustomed to a certain way of working. Overcoming this resistance requires clear communication, transparency, and involvement in decision-making processes.

3 Strategies for Success:

  1. Build Relationships and Conduct Talent Assessments:
Take the time to understand each team member individually, including their backgrounds, motivations, and aspirations. This builds rapport and lays the foundation for trust and collaboration. Simultaneously, utilize assessments, feedback sessions, and performance reviews to gain insights into their skills, strengths, and areas for improvement. Objective data will inform decisions about team composition and development initiatives.

2. Communicate Vision, Involve the Team, and Lead by Example:
Clearly communicate your vision for the team and expected outcomes, aligning goals with organizational objectives to provide context and direction. Foster a culture of inclusivity by involving team members in decision-making processes, soliciting their input, ideas, and feedback. This increases buy-in, promotes ownership, and cultivates accountability. Additionally, lead by example by demonstrating expected behaviors and values such as professionalism, communication, and adaptability, setting the tone for team culture.

3. Manage Change Gradually, Address Resistance Proactively, and Monitor Progress:
Introduce changes gradually, allowing time for adaptation and feedback, as incremental changes are often more palatable and less disruptive. Provide support and resources to facilitate the transition. Anticipate resistance to change and address it proactively by acknowledging concerns, providing rationale, and creating a safe space for open dialogue. Monitor progress continuously, soliciting feedback from team members and stakeholders to identify areas for improvement, and adapt your approach based on evolving circumstances.

Implementing these strategies enables new leaders to effectively navigate the transition, mitigate risks, and foster a culture of collaboration, accountability, and continuous improvement within their teams.

By building relationships, conducting talent assessments, and involving the team in decision-making, you can effectively navigate existing dynamics and implement constructive changes. Remember to lead by example, manage change gradually, and address resistance proactively to foster a culture of trust, collaboration, and continuous improvement. With patience, empathy, and strategic vision, you can transform a group of individuals into a high-performing team capable of achieving organizational success.


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.  


Fri 26 January 2024
Change is inevitable and often necessary, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy—especially for your team of employees. When processes are updated or reworked, you may face pushback, confusion, and frustration from your team. 

Even when a lot of work is done into analyzing and improving your processes, all that work is for nothing if people don't adopt and follow the new standards. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place to implement new processes and get employees on board from the start. 

How can you guide your employees through accomplishing tasks for their current responsibilities while adding in a new tool that the company has acquired for use?

Understanding the Dynamics of the New Tool

To effectively lead a team through the integration of a new tool, a manager must first gain a comprehensive understanding of its dynamics. Beyond merely grasping its functionalities, the manager should discern how the tool aligns with the current workflow. Workshops, training sessions, and identification of key features that enhance efficiency are essential steps in this understanding process.

Anticipating and Tackling Resistance

Resistance to change is a common hurdle when introducing new tools. A proactive manager anticipates this resistance and addresses it head-on by fostering an open communication culture. By highlighting the benefits of the tool, showcasing its ability to simplify tasks or improve outcomes, and encouraging feedback, a manager can mitigate resistance and build team buy-in.

In-depth training is paramount for a seamless transition. Managers should prioritize providing numerous opportunities for team members to acquire the necessary skills. This can involve arranging training sessions led by experts, offering online courses or certifications relevant to the tool, and creating a supportive environment for peer-to-peer learning within the team.

Tailoring Integration Plans to Team Roles

Recognizing the diversity of roles within the team, a manager should tailor integration plans accordingly. Collaboration with team leads to create role-specific implementation strategies and providing targeted training based on individual responsibilities are crucial steps. This approach ensures a more personalized and effective integration for each team member.

Integration of a new tool can potentially disrupt existing workflows if not managed carefully. Managers must anticipate these disruptions and develop strategies to mitigate them. Gradual implementation, starting with less critical tasks, and having contingency plans in place for unexpected issues can help minimize disruptions and maintain productivity.

Achieving a balance between ongoing responsibilities and the adoption of new tools is crucial for a smooth transition. Here's how you can manage this delicate equilibrium:

1. Prioritize and Delegate:
  • Identify critical tasks that require immediate attention and focus.
  • Delegate responsibilities effectively, ensuring the workload is distributed efficiently.

2. Monitor Progress:
  • Regularly check in with team members to gauge their progress with the new tool.
  • Address any challenges or roadblocks promptly to prevent disruptions.

3. Foster Collaboration:
  • Encourage collaboration among team members to share insights and tips on using the new tool.
  • Create a supportive environment where team members help each other navigate the transition.

Celebrating Milestones and Recognizing Efforts:

Acknowledging achievements and efforts throughout the transition is vital for maintaining team morale. Managers should take the time to celebrate milestones and recognize the hard work put in by the team. Establishing a system for acknowledging individual and collective achievements, organizing team-building activities, and reinforcing a positive mindset by emphasizing the long-term benefits of mastering the new tool contribute to a motivated and engaged team.

Successfully leading a team through the integration of a new tool demands a multifaceted approach. Managers must not only understand the tool's dynamics but also proactively address resistance, provide comprehensive training, tailor integration plans to team roles, manage potential disruptions, establish a support system, and celebrate achievements. By adopting these strategies, leaders can guide their teams through the challenges of change, ensuring a smooth and efficient transition in the dynamic landscape of Fortune 500 companies.


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 12 January 2024
The success of an organization is heavily dependent on the collective performance of its teams. With these cross-functional collaboration dynamics, managers can encounter situations where the underperformance of teams outside of their direct oversight impacts their team's performance. Addressing and rectifying the underperformance of other teams may appear challenging due to the intricacies of organizational dynamics. Through embracing proactive strategies and creating a positive environment, managers can develop mutual support and elevate the organization's performance. 

Identify the Issue 
Determining that an inefficiency stems from the underperformance of another team may be easy, but it may prove difficult to identify the specific issue caused by this underperformance. Gathering data to specifically support observations can help to uncover the root of the issue. Data can be observational data or even the collection of performance metrics for the team/ projects. 

Gathering data can also be conducted through receiving feedback from direct reports. Their sentiments and experiences working in conjunction with the underperforming team may yield important insights that are not reflected in the data. Feedback can be gathered outside of the team as well. It is possible that other teams that collaborate with the underperforming team are experiencing similar issues and may have a different perspective on the situation. Consider gathering as much information as possible to develop a complete understanding of the current problem. 

Communicate with Team Leader 
After gathering information and identifying the issue, communicating with the other team leader is an imperative next step. As a manager of an outside team, no feedback should be given directly to individual team members; any concerns should be directed to the manager of that function. Set up a one-on-one meeting with the other manager and transparently communicate the situation. 

During this conversation, ensure that the productivity concerns are shared in an empathetic manner. Placing blame on the manager will not evoke a productive conversation as it will put them on the defensive. Clearly articulate the data that was collected to demonstrate how the underperformance is impacting the organization and other teams. 

It helps to practice this conversation ahead of time. Having a coach to help practice and guide the conversation can be incredibly helpful in the message sticking. 

This conversation is also an opportunity to collaborate on a mutually beneficial solution. Come prepared with potential resolutions that the other team manager could implement. Recognize that as an outside party, these solutions may not be feasible, so be conscious that the other manager may have a different perspective. 

Setting clear expectations is another key component of communicating underperformance. Articulate key metrics that should be improved and actionable steps the team will take to make these improvements. Implementing changes can take time, so collaborate on a feasible timeline so that these steps can be accomplished. Making numerous drastic changes in a short period could worsen the underperformance. 

Provide Resources 
Recognize that an underperforming team can be incredibly difficult for the other team leader to navigate. As a peer, providing additional support and resources can create a more efficient route to resolution. At the intersection of functions, there may be areas where both teams can improve their processes to streamline performances. 

With many team responsibilities, directly providing support to the other manager may be difficult. Sharing resources such as performance tracking software or external coaching can provide relief without personally assuming responsibility for providing constant support. 

Document Everything 
From the beginning stages of addressing the underperformance of teams, ensure that all information is documented. Specifically, when communicating with the team leader of the underperforming team, it is crucial to create a record. During the conversation, ensure that diligent notes are taken regarding the issue that is communicated, resolution steps, and future expectations. Following the conversation, share the meeting documentation with the other team leader to ensure both parties are on the same page and provide a reference for the future. 

Documentation serves as a record if further steps are required. If collaboration with the other team leader is difficult or the resolution steps are not adhered to, reaching out to upper management may be the next step. Providing this record of previous communication and acknowledged expectations will allow upper management to have a better understanding of the steps previously taken to resolve the issue. 

Reach Out to Upper Management 
The previous strategies are good methods to work towards a solution, however, complications while collaborating on a solution can arise. After valiant efforts to solve the issue don’t prove successful, consider reaching out to upper management. If both managers have exhausted all potential solutions, involving another member of leadership can help to provide a different perspective. 

Another instance that may require upper management involvement is if the other manager has extreme resistance to resolving the solution. Serious efforts should be made to collaborate with the other manager or even encourage them to independently consider strategies to increase performance. However, if they are unwilling to discuss the problem or refuse to make adjustments, involving management may be a more effective step. Using the extensive documentation of all the steps taken to resolve the issues, communicate what the problem is and potential solutions. Articulate that the other manager was contacted and share the records of attempts to resolve the issues with them before deferring to upper management. 

Monitor Progress 
Following the implementation of adjustments, monitor for improvements. Analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) for the underperforming team's responsibilities for improvement can help track the impact of the implemented solutions. Gathering feedback from both teams can also serve as a gauge of the effectiveness of the solution. 

Periodic check-ins with the other manager are another beneficial method for monitoring progress. Dedicating time to discuss the adjustments made and how it has affected both teams will help to make sure both teams are moving in a positive direction. Results from adjustments may not be observed immediately. After some time, if there is little improvement, consider finding an alternative solution. 

Support a Positive Environment 
When improvements occur, recognize and celebrate them. Continued positive reinforcement can motivate the team to sustain these improvements. Making changes can be difficult, so even the small success should be celebrated. Approaching the situation with understanding and a positive attitude will encourage everyone to truly help the team succeed. 

The ability to address and help resolve the underperformance of teams outside of one's oversight is a testament to effective leadership. Communicating, collaborating, and problem-solving can contribute tremendously to overall success. Proactively addressing team underperformance will not only elevate their success but also develop a culture focused on collaborative success. 


Fri 12 January 2024
Most managers find it challenging to build a perfectly harmonious environment for a team. Accounting for different personality types within groups is critical to creating an environment of success.

Developed in the late 1940s by Donald Fiske as a psychometric tool, the five-factor model of personality traits creates a guide for leaders to better understand dimensions that heavily impact the personal and professional lives of every individual. Commonly, managers will use an online platform to gauge these traits in their direct reports however, grasping the foundation of this model will allow managers to make informed decisions based on observed behavior in the workplace. Managers may gain a better insight into organizational culture, work-life balance, psychological safety, leadership styles, and decision-making processes through an improved understanding of the dimensions within the five-factor personality model.

Using the five-factor personality model, individuals' traits will be measured on five distinct dimensions: extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. To better gauge individuals' on these dimensions, managers should consider utilizing a software or personality test that will provide a better insight into the makeup of a team. Additionally, in constructing a productive work culture, managers may consider a horizontal mentorship program that will expose them to other executives with invaluable experience. Horizontal mentorship will allow executive professionals to better connect with their peers and find innovative solutions for growth and change within a team. With clarity and identification of the five personality dimensions within a group, managers will be able to construct the culture most beneficial for their specific team. Here is how each of the big five personality dimensions impacts the workplace:

  • Extraversion
Direct reports ranking high in extraversion are outgoing, warm, and welcoming. These are great traits to improve camaraderie and community within a team. Those who are introverted may prefer to work independently, while extroverted individuals will seek work with others. However, managers should consider the efficiency of highly extroverted individuals who may err on the side of a relationship-oriented mindset. Many consider extraversion to be preferred yet, individuals on either end of this spectrum bring strengths to a team. Additionally, managers should be deliberate in the inclusion of professionals falling in either category. Managers should focus on personally engaging to ensure individuals feel satisfied and valued within a team. 

  • Openness
Highly open individuals are curious and independent. These individuals can be easily identified by their willingness to try new things and their innovative ideas. Individuals demonstrating high openness will strive in a culture that promotes autonomy. On the other hand, individuals lower on this scale may be more practical and conservative in their thinking. Both are great assets to teams. Those with low openness are generally task-oriented and will ensure a practical completion of a task. In contrast, those with high openness find new and innovative solutions to bring to a group. In considering different levels of openness within a team, leaders should deliberately search for a balance of openness and utilize feedback when implementing changes. 

  • Agreeableness
Highly agreeable individuals are trusting and compassionate. These individuals are great assets to improve camaraderie and the community feeling within a team. However, managers should be aware that individuals demonstrating high agreeableness may internally struggle with sharing their own opinions and speaking up for themselves. When working with direct reports that demonstrate high agreeableness, managers should focus on asking direct questions and communicating the importance of genuine feedback to these individuals. If an individual demonstrates low agreeableness such as being overly critical or harsh, their personality may detriment psychological safety within a team. To monitor potentially harmful personality types, managers should collect feedback and work with professionals to develop SMART goals in moving forward with a collaborative, productive, and compassionate team. 

  • Conscientiousness
Highly conscientious individuals are generally well-organized, dependable, and hard-working. These members are an incredible asset to a team and will likely improve efficiency and outputs. However, if a team member exhibits low conscientiousness, they may be more impulsive and flexible. Nevertheless, people with low conscientiousness bring strengths to a team. For example, these individuals may be more creative, outside-of-the-box thinkers and more willing to take risks than those who exhibit high conscientiousness. In working with professionals who demonstrate high conscientiousness, managers should promote a healthy work-life balance. Highly conscientious professionals may struggle with perfectionism, and extreme focus on details and may have a hard time walking away from tasks. 

  • Neuroticism
Individuals expressing high neuroticism may have a tendency to be easily stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious. With the factor of neuroticism, managers should be deliberate because topics of anxiety and mental health are personal and sensitive in the workplace. Yet, mental health heavily impacts the success of professionals. Although many think it unfavorable, individuals demonstrating high neuroticism bring invaluable strengths to a team. Generally, individuals ranking high in neuroticism are detail-oriented and, have a heightened sense of empathy for others. Additionally, professionals demonstrating high neuroticism have displayed a correlation with an increased motivation to change with feedback, which is an extraordinarily favorable strength in the workplace. Those low on the scale of neuroticism are calm and even-tempered but, may not be as prepared and cautionary as those with high neuroticism. In addressing neuroticism within teams, managers should focus on feedback and the promotion of work-life balance to ensure a healthy environment. 

Across the above big five personality traits, each dimension is good in moderation. To develop an outstanding team, managers need to find the balance and ideal work environment that accounts for the team chemistry of the above traits. Managers should carefully consider the big five personality traits when determining project assignments and task prioritization.

Furthermore, the most impactful measure in determining an ideally structured work environment for a team is gathering and analyzing feedback. The best method of utilizing feedback is conducting continuous reviews rather than an annual performance review. For an improvement in the feedback process, managers should consider using software such as AIM Insights that will provide continuous feedback across all levels. In addition to this software, AIM Insights provides executive coaching and tools for SMART goal setting that will drastically improve the growth of teams. 


Fri 12 January 2024
Throughout history, forces such as globalization have reshaped most employees’ jobs. Technology, including AI, stands to revolutionize those positions even more. Soon, some jobs may no longer exist, while many will look different than they do now. Other roles companies haven’t dreamed up yet will be necessary. These are solid reasons businesses can’t afford to grow complacent. 

Fortunately, leaders have two highly effective talent development tools available to them: upskilling and reskilling.

Upskilling and reskilling employees are learning techniques that prepare companies for the changes happening now. Continuous learning is the foundation for success. 

Key Differences Between Upskilling and Reskilling

While there is some correlation between the two approaches, upskilling differs from reskilling in that it doesn’t seek to move someone into a new role. Upskilling enhances an employee’s existing abilities by teaching them new tricks of the trade. A position may require brand-new knowledge, but there’s still a business need for it. An example of upskilling is an IT technician who takes certification courses on newly released software.

In contrast, reskilling prepares current workers for different roles. The positions they’ve been doing for several years might be on their way out. While there’s no longer a market demand for the employees’ existing skills, the business doesn’t want to replace them. Instead, the company can train these workers to embark on altered career paths.

The emergence of artificial intelligence is one clear driver of this phenomenon. If AI eliminates receptionist jobs in the next few years, HR departments could identify employees in receptionist positions and offer to prepare them for various customer service specialist roles. The training these workers receive equips them with the skills they require to transition. Reskilling doesn’t simply build on existing abilities but may augment transferable ones.

The Benefits of Upskilling

Many managers believe talent walks out the door because of money. Although they’re not necessarily wrong about that, low pay isn’t the only contributing factor. A lack of career growth is one of the main drivers of turnover in organizations, regardless of industry. Employees don’t want to feel stuck in a dead-end job. They want to be challenged, take on stretch assignments and advance in their careers.

Advancement doesn’t always mean ascending to management. Bumping an employee to a senior specialist role with new responsibilities can keep them committed to the organization. Upskilling is a way to give workers the learning opportunities they crave. It also builds an internal talent pipeline, saving the company from having to find external candidates for senior positions.

When employees see a business investing in their career growth, it can boost productivity. Learning opportunities tend to increase job satisfaction, which leads to better outcomes. And the improved skill sets themselves contribute to more desirable business results.

The Benefits of Reskilling

Disparities in the skills roles demand and the knowledge employees have is creating internal problems. Staff members won’t be proficient enough to transition into roles businesses need to function. And finding skilled talent outside the organization will become more expensive than it is today.

Reskilling shows that leaders are thinking about the future. Once a role becomes irrelevant or redundant, it’s an unnecessary expense. Staff members who hear rumors of downsizing are more likely to jump ship. Those who stay may grow increasingly dissatisfied as their roles lose meaning, making it challenging for the business to remain competitive. When companies prepare employees for what’s coming, they can avoid layoffs, voluntary departures and loss of morale and productivity among employees who stay.

How to Develop New Skills 

From courses to new qualifications, taking charge of your own development is vital. As both upskilling and reskilling both take time and commitment, it’s important that you have the necessary motivation to seek out these new opportunities. 

Here are five ways for you to better your skillset, whether you’re looking to grow your career in your current company or branch out into something new.  

1. Become More IT Literate
Despite technology’s increasing prevalence in our lives, many of us are not as IT literate as we could be. Studies from PwC show that 40% of workers successfully improved their digital skills during the pandemic. With many of us having to work remotely, this was of course a necessity, but there is still always room for improvement.  

With the increasing reliance on technology in our society, growing your career in a more IT centered direction can help you to future proof the path you’re on, and create exciting and rewarding new career opportunities. 

2. Enhance Your Soft Skills
Soft skills are essential for self-improvement, and they’re something that you can work on in your own time, and often and minimal to no cost. They’re not technical skills that require a specific qualification, typically soft skills are the skills you pick up along the way over the course of your education and career. 

Being able to communicate effectively, work as part of a team, self-motivate, and manage your time are all valuable skills that are sought after in all workplaces. Including them on your CV is of course important, but you need to be able to demonstrate them in action, from the day of your interview and throughout your career to come.

There are tools out there to help you develop these skills, from apps that make planning your time easier, to self-help books that can teach you how to communicate well with others. Start dedicating some of your free time to these soft skills and you’ll see an improvement in your work and become a more attractive prospect for a business.

3. Advance Your Qualifications
If you feel like you’ve reached as far as you can go with your current level of education, then your next step in your upskilling and reskilling journey might be furthering your qualifications.

Returning to school or university isn’t easy for everyone, especially if you’ve already embarked on your career. However, with remote mastermind learning programs like AIM Insights, you can study on your own time with real executive mentors guiding you, allowing you to fit your education among your other responsibilities.

4. Attend Conferences, Seminars, and Workshops
Attending conferences is now easier than it ever has been before, with many of them now often having the option to attend online, limiting the amount of time that you need to take off work. It is also a great way to learn from the experience of experts in your field.

Similarly, there are numerous online resources that can provide you with valuable tools for your self-improvement, from YouTube videos, to LinkedIn Learning, where you can access a variety of business, creative, and technology oriented courses.    

5. Shadow Others in Your Company
Upskilling and reskilling are not only beneficial to you, but also to your employer. Having multiskilled employees can aid in a company’s growth and expand the type of work that your organization can take on. 

If you’re interested in learning another role within your industry, then speak to your employer about shadowing one of your colleagues. This way you can gain first-hand experience in other aspects of your field and help you take the next steps towards taking on more challenges at work and enhancing your performance. 

As the workforce transforms, so must the approach to leadership and learning, creating a path toward a future where innovation and adaptability are a priority.


Thu 28 December 2023
In 2021, employees held unprecedented power, their every move capable of instigating a wave of resignations. This era was characterized by a constant game of one-upmanship, with companies trying to outdo each other in offering the best benefits and perks to attract and retain talent. Job loyalty seemed like a never-ending battle, as the workforce conveyed the luxury of choice, leading to a culture of job-hopping that became the norm.

However, the dynamics have shifted in favor of the employers. Companies, no longer dominated by the constant threat of mass resignations, began to reassess their organizational structures. Layoffs became the order of the day, leaving many employees with a sense of overwork. The burning question that arises amidst this transition is whether organizations were, in fact, overstaffed for an extended period, and the current sensation of overwork is merely a consequence of employees not being accustomed to being utilized to their full potential.

The Burning Question: Was the Market in 2021 Overstaffed and Underutilized?

A critical question emerges: were organizations overstaffed all along, and is the current sensation of overwork merely a consequence of employees not being accustomed to being utilized to their full potential? The answer lies at the intersection of organizational strategy, workforce optimization, and the ever-evolving nature of the job market.

This transition prompts a detailed examination of the pros and cons inherent in both the employee-driven market and the employer-dominated market. In the former, where employees held substantial power, the workforce was motivated, and competition for talent spurred innovation. However, a culture of job-hopping and a lack of loyalty posed considerable challenges for long-term planning.

On the other side of the coin, the employer-dominated market introduces the potential for an optimized workforce, strategic resource allocation, and increased efficiency. Yet, the process of restructuring may lead to layoffs, causing uncertainty and impacting employee morale. Employees may also feel overworked initially as they adapt to the demands of a more optimized structure.

As organizations move with this new reality, the imperative is to strike a balance that transcends the constraints of an employee-driven or employer-dominated market. The pros and cons of each scenario underscore the intricate dance between employee satisfaction, organizational efficiency, and strategic resource allocation. The challenge, then, becomes a battle between creating a work environment where employees feel valued, engaged, and utilized optimally, and organizations can meet their goals without succumbing to the pitfalls of either extreme. It is a narrative of balance, where the flow of workforce dynamics converge to create a sustainable and thriving workplace ecosystem.

Employee-Driven Market
Pros:
  • Motivated Workforce: Employees felt empowered and motivated, knowing their skills were in high demand.
  • Innovation through Competition: Fierce competition for talent led to innovation as companies sought to distinguish themselves.
  • Emphasis on Well-being: Companies prioritized employee satisfaction and well-being to attract and retain talent.
Cons:
  • Lack of Loyalty: The culture of job-hopping eroded loyalty, making long-term planning challenging.
  • Constant Turnover: High turnover rates made it difficult for organizations to maintain stability and continuity.
  • Short-Term Focus: Companies often focus on immediate benefits to retain employees rather than long-term strategies.

Employer-Dominated Market
Pros:
  • Optimized Workforce: Companies can strategically allocate resources, ensuring each employee is fully utilized.
  • Increased Efficiency: A more efficient organizational structure has the potential to enhance overall productivity.
  • Strategic Resource Allocation: Employers have the autonomy to allocate resources based on strategic goals.
Cons:
  • Layoffs and Uncertainty: Restructuring may lead to layoffs, causing uncertainty and impacting employee morale.
  • Adjustment Period: Employees may feel overworked initially as they adapt to the demands of a more optimized structure.
  • Risk of Burnout: The push for efficiency may inadvertently lead to burnout if not managed effectively.

Contrary to the perception that an employer-dominated market signals a lack of staff, a closer examination reveals that it may be a pursuit of workforce balance. This shift challenges long-held assumptions, urging organizations and employees to reconsider their perspectives on efficiency, engagement, and optimal resource utilization. The shift from the employee to the employer-dominated workforce showcases the balance of fewer employees being used at their potential rather than many employees being used at partial potential. 

Not a Lack of Staff, but Workforce Balance

One of the primary challenges in understanding the nuances of an employer-dominated market lies in dispelling the notion that it is synonymous with a dearth of staff. Instead, it should be viewed as a strategic endeavor to achieve a harmonious equilibrium in the workforce. Companies are recalibrating their structures not due to an inadequate workforce but to align resources more precisely with the organization's goals. This shift emphasizes the need for a lean, agile, and finely tuned workforce, rather than an outright scarcity of personnel.

Mindset Shift Required

As organizations pivot towards a more optimized workforce, a shift in mindset becomes imperative. Employees, who may have grown accustomed to a culture of potential underutilization during the employee-driven era, now find themselves in a landscape where being fully utilized is the new norm. This adjustment period demands a recalibration of expectations and work habits. A proactive approach to embracing challenges, acquiring new skills, and contributing to the organization's overarching objectives becomes paramount for individual and collective success.

Opportunities Amidst Challenges

While the transition to an employer-dominated market brings its share of challenges, it also brings a load of opportunities for personal and professional growth. Employees, once accustomed to the comforts of a less-demanding workload, can now seize the chance to showcase their skills, take on more significant responsibilities, and contribute meaningfully to the organization's success. This shift offers a platform for continuous learning, skill development, and career advancement as individuals adapt to the evolving demands of the workplace.


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