AIM Insights

Sun 26 September 2021
Attracting and retaining talent in the summer of 2021 has been incredibly difficult – so much so that LinkedIn and other news outlets have dubbed this time period as the “Great Resignation”. I have personally interviewed dozens of executives and consistently heard sentiments like this: 

“Business is booming, but we can’t find people to staff the demand we are receiving or keep the people we have!”

Some executives I have interviewed have blamed working from home and the general burnout from the increased uncertainty as reasons for this. Other executives blame generous unemployment benefits as the reason for these hiring struggles.

This article won’t serve as a deep-dive into why the Great Resignation is happening. Instead, I’m going to focus on solutions and highlight one major way we can handle this challenge to our businesses’ viability.

According to a Gallup survey, 75% of employees who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of their bosses, not because of the position itself. 

In other words, the adage ‘people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses’ seems to ring true for people who are quitting – and with workers quitting at an incredibly high level at the moment, it is paramount that we, as leaders, do more to equip our managers with the tools and resources to be better managers.

There has been significant research into measuring work engagement and its impact on retention and productivity from teams – and if your team isn’t measuring engagement, I would highly recommend starting now. But new research is showing that there are 5 additional criteria that should be measured to understand the level of satisfaction employees have at work and their productivity.

1.       Team Cohesion – Employees’ self-assessment of how well the team has been working together in terms of their camaraderie
2.       Team Productivity – Employees’ self-assessment of how productive the team has been 
3.       Task Performance – Employees’ self-assessment of how productive, they personally, have been
4.       Manager Performance – Employees’ assessment of how effective their manager has been at leading them
5.       Organizational Citizenship – Employees’ self-assessment of their ability to be helpful to the team outside of their explicit work duties 

Caveats about measuring this data: 

1.       It should be measured monthly, at a minimum. Feelings about work and productivity change rapidly and asking annually, bi-annually, or quarterly is not enough to garner an accurate picture.
2.       It should be measured on a team-by-team basis, not a general overview of the entire company. The dynamics that occur within teams are more relevant and critical to an employee’s sense of belonging and willingness to stay at a company. Company-wide metrics are far too broad to be useful.  
3.       Managers should be provided with tools for enacting change based on these metrics. For example, conversation prompts and suggested questions for 1-on-1 meetings with direct reports can help managers address these issues early. Collecting data without immediate action diminishes the employee experience instead of enhancing it.

If you can measure this data on a month by month basis for each and every manager and their respective teams and equip your managers with suggested questions and conversation prompts to discuss with their direct reports based on the data, you are significantly better equipped to elevate the employee experience and feelings of belonging at work.

Why?

Because employees’ feelings of burnout and dissatisfaction with managers don’t happen because the manager is purposefully trying to sabotage the team or individual employees. These negative feelings typically happen because of poor communication between the manager and their employees. Most bad managers think they are good managers.

When an employee receives poor communication from their manager, there are consequences. It may cause them to do work that is not what the manager actually wanted, or to feel they are being treated unfairly, or to feel they aren’t receiving ample feedback (or too much unnecessary feedback), or just feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied with the manager in any way. When this happens, it is VITAL that the manager understands this frustration right away and have a conversation to rectify it (Kim Scott, the author of Radical Candor calls this “challenge directly while caring personally”).

If a manager doesn’t rectify the situation and this feeling of dissatisfaction from the employee festers, they are going to become actively disengaged, bring down other employees because of their dissatisfaction, and eventually leave. 

If you are a CEO and you believe that having an “open door policy” or “clear lines of communication” is enough to gather this information, you are making the MASSIVE assumption that your managers’ direct reports have the same level of psychological safety as your direct reports have with you. You are also assuming that your employees have personality traits in which they are comfortable being optimally objective with everyone they interact with across all levels of an organization. 

Overall, now is the time to equip our managers with the data and the tools necessary to build strong teams. Providing a robust system through conversation prompts helps managers understand how their direct reports are feeling about work in terms of their team cohesion, team productivity, task performance, manager performance, and organizational citizenship. If we can do that, we are much more likely to increase retention and the productivity of our teams.

A quick final note, my team and I at Ambition In Motion are working on tools and ways to research these 5 core areas that increase work satisfaction and productivity across all employees. If you are a manager that is interested in collaborating or learning more about our research, please feel free to send me an email at [email protected].

Mon 18 April 2022
What is a performance review?

Performance reviews are periodic processes in which you as an employer, or a manager, document and evaluate your direct reports’ work in a set of given time. These can feature either qualitative data, quantitative data, or a combination of both. An effective performance review recognizes both strong and weak areas of performance, provides solutions to some of these areas deemed to need improvement, and sets goals to achieve by the time of the next performance review. 

The term “Performance Review” primarily refers to the documentation or analysis involved in evaluating an employee’s performance. However, as mentioned before, the ideal review is also a process. Therefore, the term also includes any meetings or discussions in relation to this evaluation. 

Why is a performance review important?

Performance reviews are extremely useful for a company due to the potential impact that they can have. Through an effective review, a manager can successfully have an intentional conversation with an employee and help improve performance, and more importantly, keep a stream of feedback between the two tiers of hierarchy.  Compounded with regular discussions about employee progress, an individual can feel much more satisfied in knowing how their supervisor views their work, and how they can progress.

When should a performance report be written?

Many managers often struggle in recognizing when to write a performance review. To properly identify when to write such a device, it is important to realize the concept of Recency Bias. Recency bias is defined as a cognitive bias that favors recent events over historic ones. An example of this would be how a lawyer’s final closing argument in court is said to be one of the most important moments in law due to it being the last, and therefore favored, event that the jury hears prior to being dismissed to deliberate.

 To put this into the context of business, imagine that a worker has completed a very important project in January, with constant work through the rest of the year, and a below-average performance in December. Should a manager write this employee’s performance review in December, what would be the first thing to go through their mind? In most cases, it would be the latest event, which in this case would be the aforementioned poor performance in December. The report would probably focus on this, and therefore, would not be a good metric to evaluate an employee with.  Therefore, it is extremely important to remain cognizant of this bias and recall the other tasks, in this case, the project completion, and add them to the review. A performance review that is clear of recency bias is much more reliable, and also more accurate.

Once you have identified the concept of recency bias, and have taken steps to ensure avoidance of such, you can write this review at your convenience. Performance reviews are best written at the conclusion of a financial or business year but can also be written more frequently as well to create a constant stream of feedback – for leaders using AIM Insights, the data is optimized for monthly reviews. Regardless of when this report is written, it should not be the sole way that an employee is evaluated. The key thing to remember here is that an employee has no way to improve without receiving feedback or constructive criticism. If someone doesn’t know that there is a problem, how would they be able to fix it? The same applies to the employee review. Provide feedback, whether it be through a Slack message, or a text, or even a chat over coffee. This way, an employee would not get blindsided by a bad review. 

How should a performance review be conducted?

Ideally, a review is started from the very beginning of the period to be evaluated and defined by management. This boils down to recognizing what an employee has been assigned, and then what they are completing. Workforce performance management software such as AIM Insights can be used to help automate this process. The primary responsibility of the reviewer is to take notes throughout the entire period to ensure the best possible review. This helps with avoiding the aforementioned recency bias conundrum. As mentioned before, this review should be compounded with regular conversation or meetings, to allow for improvement. Once it is time for the actual written report, use benchmarks and performance indicators. In some businesses, it may be the number of sales, or the number of customers recruited. Regardless, quantitative data is objective, and can often assist in writing the rest of the report. Use thresholds and compare them to the employee’s progress to determine acceptability.  

After this review is written, a meeting should be set up to discuss this with an employee, with prior delivery of the review. While this discussion may be difficult, it is important to recognize that this is to help improve performance, as well as employee mood. Remember, keep it constructive, juxtaposing both praise and improvement recommendations. With these tips, you should be well on your way to writing the perfect performance review. Best of luck!

Tue 19 April 2022
Congratulations, you’re in charge of your team now! The dynamic at work is changing, but don’t worry, you got this! 
If you want your direct reports to respect you, it’s important that you first show them the respect that they deserve. 
Actively treating all of your workers fairly, demonstrating your value for them through your words and actions, listening to their concerns and addressing them as best you can will set you apart as a leader that they can trust and respect. 
Garrett Mintz, founder of Ambition in Motion, discusses the way that the best leaders are the ones who dole out credit and take accountability for things that don’t go the way that they’re supposed to. 
“It’s a beautiful thing when the leader doesn’t care who gets the credit,” said in a TikTok duet about leadership with Garrett Mintz and Josh Lewis, Management Consultant.
 
=> Want more videos like this? Join our Mailing List to be part of our Executive Mastermind Group. Click the link to sign up for our newsletter: https://buff.ly/3FZfhcq 
 
            At Ambition in Motion, we don’t control the content of one’s work but we can have an impact on how people interact with each other at work. 
            At your company, you are in charge of your direct reports! The respect that you receive from them must be earned, and it begins with your ability to be confident in your actions and malleable to your new work environment. 
 
How can I get my direct reports to respect me as a leader? 
-       Give out Credit 
-       Take Accountability
 
What does it mean to take accountability? 
            Being “accountable” is more than just taking responsibility, or being reliable. 
Several veins run through a truly accountable leader. 
Accountability is a skill that requires leaders to own up to a team’s actions, decisions, and mistakes. It’s also the ability to follow up on the commitments you have made within an organization and its people. 
As a leader of others, you are actively representing your organization, and promoting the quality of work that you aim to produce and to be produced by others. When things do not go according to plan, take the initiative to be the first to shine a light on the opportunity to grow, as a team.
 
What does it mean to give out credit?
            The best leaders give credit to others, they don’t take credit for themselves. 
            When you represent a team of people, one of your biggest goals is to encourage them to be the best that they can be. Just as your team is learning and growing, you are also learning how you can help them best grow and reach their highest potential by remaining malleable to their work processes. Every member of your term plays an important role in the execution of your overall goal; the more respect and power that you give to them, the more success you will find. 
            However, mistakes happen. A leader who assumes the blame, and passes the credit, send a message that mistakes are OK and that when they happen, it will be an opportunity to learn and grow. By inspiring those in your charge, your employees will emulate your best traits, which will include assuming the blame for themselves.
            The best leaders inspire others and give credit. 
 
Why is it important that I give credit and take accountability?
            Giving credit and taking accountability sets yourself apart from the team, as a guide toward your team’s overall success. The more emphasis that you put on guiding your team, rather than showcasing your leadership (by taking credit or blaming others for mistakes), the more respect you will gain from your direct reports. Check out these leadership tips: 
 
  1. Encourage your team 
            Earning your team’s respect starts with building a trusting and positive community within the team. 
Encouraging and promoting others to do their best and work together also boosts productivity because it makes employees feel less isolated and helps them to feel more engaged with their tasks.
By creating a positive and supportive work environment, your direct reports will not only trust and respect you, but they will also work harder to produce good results as they aim to live up to the high standards that you hold for them. 
 
2. Recognize and praise good work
Although it’s important to give credit to your team, public praise is great for both recognition and learning. When you publicly share specifically what was great and why it was great, not only does it have more meaning for the person being praised, but it helps the whole team learn something new.
Remember to provide details about what the person did, the impact, and the context so that the whole team learns.
When you recognize good work, you remind your team what you’re working towards, and what they’re doing right, which in turn, inspires them to keep doing better. This plethora of inspiration and praise allows for a more open-minded environment for idealization between you and your direct reports. 
Looking for a more efficient way to evaluate performance reviews within your company? Ambition in Motion offers the software, AIM Insights reports, ensuring visibility over all ongoing activities: task performance, manager performance, organizational citizenship, team performance, and goals for direct reports. Click here to learn more about how you can simplify your performance review process! 
 
3. Correct in private
Although praise is an extremely important part of your relationships with your direct reports, it is normal for things to go wrong sometimes! However, it’s important to correct people’s mistakes in private, and then later emphasize to the team what they should avoid, without calling anyone out personally. 
Private criticism is important in order to be kind and clear. Radical Candor is not the same thing as “front-stabbing”, and it’s much kinder to criticize someone in private. 
Public criticism can feel unnecessarily harsh. Private criticism will also be clearer because it’s much less likely to trigger a person’s defense mechanisms.
 
4. Acknowledge workplace adaptation
Yes, you have new direct reports! 
Yes, the workplace dynamic is different now. Own it! 
As a new manager, it’s important to remember that just as your team is learning to adjust to you, you are also learning to adjust to them and your new position.
Do not be afraid to emphasize this learning curve to your team. In order to create a culture of respect that encourages growth and high levels of success, it’s your job to make learning a part of your daily routine in the workplace. 
Learning helps people keep a broad perspective. 
An important part of your job is to know that your direct reports are counting on you to guide them. When mistakes are made, it is no one’s fault (including you), but as a manager, you make a promise to your team to lead them in the right direction as best you can, meaning you must learn to take accountability for team mistakes. However, this is a positive part of your job! Not only will you take accountability for mistakes, but you will do it with pride, and emphasize a learning curve in everything that you do, and everything that your team does; mistakes are OK! 
 
5. Be transparent about your motives  
            Transparent communication is the act of both good and bad information being shared upward, downward, and laterally in a way that allows all to see the why behind the words. 
A workplace with transparent communication is a more collaborative and trustworthy workplace, with information being openly shared between employees and across levels of the organization. 
Transparent communication also allows employees to be more innovative since they are more informed. Additionally, transparent communication encourages others to communicate openly and increases the sharing of ideas. 
When transparent communication is present between you and your direct reports, you allow the workplace to be collectively informed about the true happenings within the organization in order for them to align their actions accordingly, ultimately making your job easier and removing any confusion about the team’s overall goals.
 
 
            These leader tips will help you set the grounds for a positive, encouraging work environment. 
Real accountability requires leaders to take responsibility and pride in the art of encouraging and guiding their employees. Being an accountable leader is not as easy as it may sound, but it is necessary to bring genuine value to your team of employees and your organization as a whole. However, taking responsibility and giving out credit whenever possible will set you apart from other leaders, and enable your direct reports to respond positively to your leadership.
Mon 25 April 2022
Your team knows better than anyone what it’s like to work for you. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to tell you. When it comes to giving feedback, many direct reports figure, “Why risk it?” or “What’s the point?”
They’re cautious because they’ve heard about, or experienced managers lashing out, hurting people’s careers, or just plain ignoring them when they share what they really think. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
You can be a different kind of leader; one who understands that just about everything you do and say impacts your direct reports’ lives and performance; a leader who truly wants to hear their unpolished feedback; who proactively seeks out that feedback so that everyone can reach their highest potential, including you. 
 
Why is it important that managers receive feedback from their direct reports?
No one wants to offend the boss, right? But without input, your development will suffer, you may become isolated, and you’re likely to miss out on hearing some great ideas. 
The feedback you get from your direct reports can help to shape your management style, decision-making process, and the ways in which you interact with your team members. This kind of feedback can not only make you a better manager, but ultimately, it can also help to inspire a higher level of performance in your team.
So, how can you get your direct reports to give you HONEST feedback?
 
How can managers get honest feedback from their direct reports?
            Acknowledge the fear, and embrace your desire to be the best leader for your direct reports! 
            As the boss, you have to set the stage so people feel comfortable with you. You need to break through their fear. You know that everyone makes mistakes, even you! Tell them this. Explain, honestly and openly, that you need their feedback.
But at the same time, it’s important that you recognize how hard it might be to hear this tough feedback. It’s human nature to feel upset when you’re criticized. However, in order for you to be the best leader that you can be, and to help your team thrive, you need this feedback! Here are three ways to help you get there:
 
●     Establish a groundwork for high-trust feedback exchanges 
●     Conduct regular 1:1 meetings with your direct reports 
●     Use the right evaluation software: AIM Insights 
 
  1. How to establish a groundwork for high-trust feedback exchanges
 
Do you want your direct reports to give you honest feedback?
You can’t expect your direct reports to provide honest, open, and helpful feedback if you don’t provide it to them. It’s a two-way street. So take care to model best feedback practices that signal trust, respect, and fairness. 
Unless you already have a strong, trusting relationship with your direct reports, you likely won’t get far bulldozing your way straight into a sensitive task (e.g., “So, how am I doing as a manager?”). But most people, even new hires, will be comfortable and possibly even flattered if you initiate feedback exchanges over lower-stakes topics related to the team’s work. This will send a strong message that you care about, and rely on, your team’s opinions. 
Showing that you care about your direct reports through mutual feedback is essential! You won’t get honest feedback from your direct reports if they don’t feel safe. And they won’t feel safe if you react to the inevitable challenges of work-life with cringes, frustration, or anger. 
 
 
  1. Importance of regularly conducting 1:1 meetings with direct reports
With a loaded schedule like yours, you have limited time, your task list is endless and the goals are aggressive. And your calendar is already full of other meetings: Management meetings, Quarterly review meetings, Sync meetings, and much more…
But as a manager and leader, there’s one meeting you should have and follow: one-on-one meetings with your team.
A one-on-one meeting is a dedicated space on the calendar and in your mental map for open-ended and anticipated conversations between a manager and an employee. Unlike status reports or tactical meetings, the 1:1 meeting is a place for coaching, mentorship, giving context, or even venting.
The 1:1 goes beyond an open door policy and dedicates time on a regular cadence for teammates and leaders to connect and communicate.
 
 
 
  1. Am I using the most efficient evaluation software? 
What method do you use to conduct self/team evaluations? 
When conducting performance evaluations, things can often get messy. How often should you conduct them? What forms should be involved in the process? How long should it take everyone? 
Stress, no more! At Ambition in Motion, we’ve created AIM Insights, a software to help YOU conduct your evaluations with simplicity
AIM Insights is a tool utilized by fortune 500 companies to help teams set goals, measure performance, and engagement improvement, and create greater communication between direct reports and managers.
This software allows leaders to stay up to date on their direct reports’ engagement levels, productivity levels, and individual goals on a month-by-month rolling basis. 
 
How should managers respond to the feedback from their direct reports?
As a manager, it’s crucial that you respond to employee feedback. 
One of the biggest frustrations for employees who take the time to give thoughtful feedback is when this feedback is ignored by their peers, manager, or organization. Responding to feedback from your team members shows them that you take their ideas and opinions to heart.
Remember, it’s important to read, ponder and acknowledge all of the feedback given to you, but you’re not required to take all of it! 
Regardless of whether you decide to take the feedback or not, you owe it to the direct report who gave you the feedback to communicate your intentions. 
Sometimes it’s important that we have these conversations about our intentions in order to show our direct reports that we’re changing and growing every day. 
 
Example of what you might say if you choose to take the feedback: “Thanks so much for your feedback, John. You make a great point. I’m going to work on talking less during meetings and making sure others get the opportunity to weigh in. If it’s OK with you, I’d also like to check in with you in our 1-on-1s to see if you notice any progress.”
 
Example of what you might say if you choose NOT to take the feedback: “Thanks so much for your feedback, John. I’ve given it a lot of thought. While hearing your feedback about my meeting facilitation was helpful, I’ve decided to prioritize another behavior change right now: committing more time to coach the team. But it means a lot to me that you were honest, and I’m going to continue asking for your input.”
 
            Utilizing your 1:1 meetings to convey your thoughts and appreciation of your direct reports’ feedback is a great place to start! 
            Good luck! 
Tue 3 May 2022
Learning your company is being acquired can be a very scary revelation- especially if you don’t have any equity in the company. As Mergers and Acquisitions become ever so more frequent in today’s world, it is important to recognize what you as an employee can do to better your prospects under new management and make the most for yourself in a situation that may not only feel unfamiliar but terrifying at the same time. 

Rumors of acquisition may spread around the workplace, and at that time, it is important to appear to have no change in your work. While it is okay to start preparing for the worst, such as by polishing your resume or reaching out to friends in similar industries, 9 times out of 10, new management will not want to abandon ship with the current staff. There remains the slim possibility of layoffs though, and it is important to not appear to be slacking off with an upcoming acquisition. Ask HR or management as many questions as you need to about this. Some items that are important to ask about are stock options and benefits. These are the most likely to change during an acquisition.  It is also important to attend any required meetings. These could pertain to unfinished work, news about the acquisition, company news, or even future goals. Attending these meetings also show your dedication and passion for the role.

As the merger begins to commence, you may notice your managers or even new management holding meetings with staff in 1-on-1s, as well as host meetings. During these meetings, you have a golden opportunity to market yourself and advocate for a higher wage, more benefits, or even a promotion. Seizing growth opportunities is an integral part of the M&A process. Most companies will set up a transition structure or team, which is a temporary organization to help with merger technicalities. Being a part of this team can demonstrate your talents and abilities to any manager, past, present, or future. 

In addition to this, quantifiable data demonstrating your impact to a team as well as showcasing your individual skills can be very helpful. You may wonder how you might be able to get this data. Performance evaluation tools such as Ambition in Motion’s AIM insights can be worth their weight in gold. Tools such as this can track team performance, goal completion, manager performance, and task performance, as well as provide visibility from both direct reports and management. Due to these accountability trackers and task performance, you as an employee now have concrete proof as to just how useful you are. Also, start to understand what your manager does, or what other positions do. For example, I have a friend who works in a communications position. When he received the news that his company was to be acquired by a much larger company, he knew that this was his best chance to be able to get a promotion at the time. He started doing research into what his manager did on a day-to-day basis, learning how to file expense reports, purchase reports, and how to work with each individual vendor.  When it came time for his interview with the new management, he wowed them with his technical knowledge of the position and was offered a promotion with a $20,000 raise and a 15% sign-on bonus.

You may not always get an explicit chance to negotiate for anything during the merger. This is why managing up is so important. Explaining your goals of career advancement and success can demonstrate your dedication to your work. However, if you do get to negotiate in a meeting that is explicitly defined as such, using quantitative data, along with a polished resume will set you apart from other candidates. In studies regarding managers of companies that plan to acquire others, 75% of the time, they will attempt to hire and promote in-house, due to the higher knowledge and experience with company culture. Having good relations with your peers will also be helpful here, due to the potential references.  With all of these, you should be able to present a solid case for your promotion or whatever it is that you desire.

It is important to understand that you may not necessarily get exactly what you want. Compromise may be necessary. You may not get a $20,000 promotion. But the door isn’t closed to a $10,000 promotion. The key is to avoid burning any bridges and maintain an air of professionalism with your coworkers and managers. You will have more chances for advancement in the future, but only so long as you are regarded well, and your performance is high. If you so choose, you can always seek employment or a better-paid position elsewhere. As an employee in a company being acquired, you have more options than most people do in this time of transition.

Being acquired is scary, and even scarier when you don’t know what your next steps are, or when you don’t know what may happen to your job. Use some of these tips, and it should turn out for the best.

Mon 9 May 2022
Do you have a perfectionist on your team? The good news is that your direct report has high standards and a fine attention for detail. The bad news is that he fixates on every facet of a project and can’t set priorities.
Can you harness these positive qualities without indulging the bad? Can you help them become less of a stickler? Yes and yes. 
In fact, many people claim to be perfectionists because they think it makes them look good. But true perfectionism is a flaw more than an asset. In many cases, this compulsive behavior can be a thorn in the side of a great performer. 
Managing a perfectionist can be challenging but it’s not impossible. And when done well, you both will benefit. 
 
Discovering perfectionism in the workplace 
 
Recently, an executive from a Fortune 500 company was experiencing issues within his team; he felt that they were performing well but they were failing to give him feedback
As he dug deeper to find the reasoning behind this issue, he found that his team struggled with a competition issue. 
His team’s drive to be perfect and not show mistakes gave the executive a false sense that everything was going well. And in turn, his direct reports were hesitant to give honest feedback because they didn’t want to look bad or come off as imperfect. 
Fortunately, he had the group to work through his challenges. Just like his direct reports were fearful of going to him with issues, he was fearful of going to his boss with the issue that he built a culture that wasn’t psychologically safe and competitive which resulted in issues being hidden, and developing into larger issues. 
 
A perfectionist is defined as a person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection. It’s not necessarily a bad trait! Striving for perfection means you care a lot about your task and your desired goal. 
There are actually a lot of pros and cons to perfectionism in the workplace: 
 
Pros and Cons of perfectionism from direct reports
 
Pro – Your direct reports go the extra mile with their tasks.
Con – Your direct reports often put in a lot more work than they may communicate with you or your team, creating an exclusive atmosphere in the office where people feel as though they are in competition with each other.
 
Pro – Your direct reports look as though they really have everything together. 
Con – Your direct report lacks honesty with you and the rest of your team because they are constantly trying to attain an image of perfection in order to hide the fact that they are actually imperfect, just like everyone else.
 
Pro – Your direct reports have motivation, determination, persistence, and drive; all qualities that most people find redeeming and can make a great candidate for a job.
Con – Your direct reports often stretch themselves thin trying to constantly exude these qualities in every aspect of their work, to the point where they create an environment of competition rather than togetherness. 
 
One of the most important pros and cons of them all happens to be a huge challenge of perfectionism that acts as both a pro and a con: 
 
Pro – You never accept failure from yourself.
Con – You never accept failure from yourself.
 
There are pros and cons to everything, but the challenges to perfectionism can breed a culture of competition where no one wants to admit their mistakes. Sometimes, people end up sabotaging each other rather than working together. And worst of all, when an issue arises, people hide it and try to solve it on their own, which in turn creates a much larger problem for the team to deal with. 
 
What is the biggest challenge of perfectionism? 
 
Some signs of perfectionism in the workplace include:
●     Very high standards (and the belief they must be achieved)
●     Highly self-critical
●     Fear of failure and making mistakes
●     Over-focused on minor details
●     Obsession with rechecking/redoing work
●     Difficulty completing a task or project
●     Overachiever
●     Stressed or anxious about performance or results
●     Too much competition
 
However, the biggest challenge when dealing with perfectionism is not wanting to make mistakes. If your direct reports are struggling with perfectionism, they likely are afraid of making mistakes, and even more afraid of others (including you) finding out that they’re capable of making mistakes. 
Just the word “mistake” is capable of striking fear in a lot of people’s minds when it really shouldn’t. It makes them anxious, indecisive, and at times, overwhelmed too.
It’s not a nice feeling to be regretful about something that you worked hard for and put a lot of time into. This is where direct reports may get caught up in either trying to be absolutely perfect or simply not reaching their potential by “playing it safe” and not trying new things out of the fear of making mistakes. 
As a manager of this team, it’s your job to encourage your direct reports to find a happy medium! 
It can be very easy for your direct reports to get stuck in the area between the paralyzing side of the fear of making mistakes and gathering the courage to give it a shot, or in the area of perfectionism where they’re too scared to admit to their mistakes.  
 
How to effectively manage the challenges within perfectionism 
 
Create an environment where it is mutually understood that you (the manager) take the blame when things go wrong. 
Mistakes happen! 
A leader who assumes the blame, and passes the credit, sends a message that mistakes are OK and that when they happen, it will be an opportunity to learn and grow. By inspiring those beneath you, your employees will emulate your best traits, which will include assuming the blame for themselves.
            The best leaders inspire others and give credit. 
Giving credit and taking accountability sets yourself apart from the team, as a guide toward your team’s overall success. The more emphasis that you put on guiding your team, rather than showcasing your leadership (by taking credit or blaming others for mistakes), the more respect you will gain from your direct reports.
Here are a few important tips for creating an environment with your perfectionist direct reports where it is assumed that mistakes are inevitable, and welcomed: 
 
  1. Appreciate the positives while recognizing the negatives
Working with perfectionists can be frustrating. They tend to be impatient with or hypercritical of others and they’re not good at delegating. 
However, it’s your job to recognize that while irritating, their behavior is not all bad. It stems from a place of care for their work
In fact, because of their insistence on excellence, they often raise the standards of those around them. Be sure to tell them that you appreciate the level of enthusiasm and drive that they bring to the team, and encourage them to work more with the team, rather than against the team, on their own. 
A perfectionist wants to do what is best for them and their goals; be sure to reassure them that they will reach the highest of their potential by sharing, communicating and working inclusively.
Every employee needs feedback. But perfectionists may have a harder time than others hearing criticism of their work. 
Since critique is difficult for them, perfectionists are likely to hear only the negatives. Instead, share your apprehensions first
An important aspect in giving feedback to a perfectionist is to ensure that they know they are appreciated and valued. Don’t be afraid to ask your direct report: “Is there a most efficient way that you prefer we exchange feedback with each other?” and “What aspects of your work could use greater clarity from myself or other team members?”
With this in mind, you can deliver the input in a way that won’t make them defensive or demotivate them. 
 
Looking for a more efficient way to evaluate performance reviews within your company? Ambition in Motion offers their software, AIM Insights reports, ensuring visibility over all ongoing activities: task performance, manager performance, organizational citizenship, team performance, and goals for direct reports. Click here to learn more about how you can simplify your performance review process! 
 
            Managing a perfectionist can be challenging but it’s not impossible. And when done well, you both will benefit!
Tue 10 May 2022
As a manager, it is extremely important to understand what type of workers or direct reports you have.  Each person has a unique archetype that they tend to fit into. These don’t necessarily refer to how they are motivated, which is also another important aspect of your direct reports to keep track of. There are six archetypes that are commonly identified. 

What are the archetypes of workers?

In 2022, Forbes and Bain & Company worked together to determine how to organize workers and what characteristics each of these groups would have in common. Similar to the ubiquitous Enneagram tests or Myer Briggs tests, an aptitude test will suffice to test which group an individual fits into. The six most commonly identified archetypes are operators, givers, artisans, explorers, strivers, and pioneers. Each one of these groups has a uniquely defining trait, along with a few advantages and disadvantages.

Operators are individuals who are not really work-oriented. In the culinary world, there is a saying that there are two types of people. Those who eat to live, and those who live to eat. Operators are much closer to the former. They understand that there is more than work, and primarily work to be able to achieve other goals. Operators are excellent team players due to them not seeking recognition with every move they make and are extremely dependable. Conversely, they can lack proactivity, or will not take initiative frequently. According to Forbes, 23% of the working class in the United States are operators. This type of individual tends to align with having Job Work Orientation.

Givers are the exact opposite of the operators. They are highly results-oriented.  These individuals are often selfless and feel rewarded by making an impact in their organization or by helping others. They are a little rarer than operators, making up about 20% of the American workforce. You will often find these workers in service positions, such as in hospitality, customer relations, or even human resources. Their selflessness makes them great team players, but the amount of work they may take on could be impractical and can lead to burnout. This type of individual tends to align with having a Calling Work Orientation.

Artisans are even rarer than both operators and givers. They make up 15% of the workforce in the United States. These individuals are extremely common in fields requiring meticulousness and precision, such as in many STEM-related fields. The key identifier of an artisan is someone who is always pursuing some form of mastery in their field or a way to improve something at all times. They can be relied on to solve some of the hardest challenges out there but can get lost in the minute details and may have trouble keeping final goals in focus. They can also be aloof. Similar to givers, artisans fall into the dangers of burnout due to their need to perfect any work that they put out.  Artisans are especially common within the computer science industry, in positions such as developers or consultants. 

Explorers make up a tenth of the workforce and are frequently overlooked in favor of Operators or Artisans. Explorers typically seek out excitement and variety from work and are excellent multitaskers. However, they are not the best at finishing individual tasks. They are versatile, either being excellent team players, as well as good individual workers. Resourcefulness is a quality any explorer will have, along with a strong sense of individuality. The fashion industry is filled with explorers, with some of note being Levi Jeans and the North Face. At the same time, there are brands that allow creativity such as Starbucks which also welcomes explorers. 

Strivers can make some of the best managers in the world. Making up about a fifth of the workforce, these powerful workers are highly competitive and set high standards for themselves and their coworkers. In any successful team, you will find a striver at the forefront.  They are less risk-tolerant and are much more comfortable taking actions that are much more likely to yield success. However, having multiple strivers can lead to disaster due to their urge to be at the front of whatever project is ongoing. While they are disciplined, their competitiveness can be unproductive or worse, disruptive, in a team environment. Culinary environments such as Michelin star-rated restaurants are frequently run by strivers, such as Gordon Ramsay. This type of individual tends to align with having a Career Work Orientation.

Finally, are the rarest of the archetypes- the Pioneer, making up 8% of the workforce. These individuals frequently have a vision in mind and will stop at no end to achieve these goals. Pioneers are strong-minded and will do their best to create lasting change. However, they are uncompromising and may have trouble seeing anything other than their own view.  Many entrepreneurs are pioneers, along with activists. In today’s world, Greta Thunberg is known as a pioneer, with her strict views on climate change and global activism. She is seen as a leader throughout the world of sustainability but is often thought of as harsh due to her strict views.

Why do these archetypes matter?

                These archetypes are important to track due to the appeal of creating a cohesive team, as well as understanding what tasks are best assigned to which worker. For example, giving something that is extremely meticulous to a giver will end in success, but won’t necessarily be the best for their mental health, since they may try to do too much and burn out. Similarly, giving a task that is a gamble to a striver is a contradiction of what they will naturally want to do, and will not be the best possible task for them. 

In baseball, coaches frequently tell players to “play their natural game”, meaning that they should do what feels comfortable for them. In this case, you’re the coach. How will you choose to give tasks to your workers? By enabling them to do what they do best. 

Software such as AIM insights will be invaluable in this case by allowing you to understand your employees on a much better level. By using task completion rates and success rates, you can deduce what archetype of worker your employee fits in, and then assign better fitting tasks going forth. Archetypes will help you understand your workers, give better tasks, and get better results. 

Mon 16 May 2022
Retaining employees is an important part of building a successful team. When managers and supervisors work to make their teams feel valued and motivated, employees are more likely to stay with a company that can contribute to the company’s overall growth and prosperity. 
Every company has a mission statement and a running list of goals to work towards. Should employee retention be the next goal added to your list? 
In this article, we discuss the importance of employee retention and why it is crucial to enforce overall comprehension of Work Orientation within your company. 
 
What are the benefits of employee retention?
●     Build a strong workforce
Steady employee retention allows managers and supervisors to invest in their team members and helps them develop into more productive employees. When employees stay with a company long-term, they often accept more responsibilities, seek professional development, and help the company grow.
 
●     Increase productivity
Instead of spending time looking for and training new employees, managers and supervisors can focus on helping employees be more productive. A stable staff knows what needs to be done and how they can achieve it. They have a strong foundation for advancement based on institutional knowledge and developed skills.
 
●     Improve employee morale
Employee retention strategies are designed to increase employee happiness and job satisfaction. When managers regularly implement these strategies, they help increase employee morale overall. Employees who feel happy at work are often more willing to work toward the company's mission and contribute to a positive work environment.
 
            Although these are great benefits to retaining your employees, what is the key to achieving employee satisfaction and retention? 
            Work Orientation! 
 
Why is it important to know your employees’ Work Orientation? 
Injecting meaning into work is a new mission that companies are willingly taking on in order to attract, retain and motivate employees. Under these conditions, finding meaning in one’s work becomes an additional aim for the employee and the manager.
Everyone has their own way of deriving meaning from work. We call this your Work Orientation. According to research done by Ambition in Motion, it is evident that people generally fall into one of three major categories based on how they find meaning at work. The categories are as follows:
●     Career Oriented – which means motivated by professional growth like getting promoted or learning new skills that support career advancement. 
●     Calling Oriented – which means motivated by the fulfillment from doing the work and making a positive impact on the world with their work.
●     Job Oriented – which means motivated by gaining greater control over work/life balance and gaining material benefits to support their life outside of work.
 
When managing a Job Oriented employee, it is important to understand that they are more motivated by work/life balance and using their professional development to gain greater control and freedom over their life. Oftentimes, in a work setting, it is comforting to know that one’s company considers their workload and balance before pushing additional responsibilities onto them. 
When making long-lasting connections with your Job Oriented employees, make sure they know that you and the company value their life outside of work, and the benefits from their work will resemble that. 
 
When managing a Calling Oriented employee, know that they are motivated by changing the world through their work; making a difference in others’ lives. Essentially, their professional life and personal life missions are intertwined and it’s extremely beneficial for them to be understood and encouraged through their aspirations. Even when they’re at their peak of challenges and ongoing tasks, they find comfort in reinforcement. 
When making long-lasting connections with your Calling Oriented employees, make sure that you have regular conversations with them about why their work is meaningful, and work to find ways that reinforce and build more meaningful work practices. 
 
When managing a Career Oriented employee, remember that they are most motivated by learning new skills and gaining promotions within the company and their work. It helps them to know that they are working towards a clear path with promotions and opportunities. 
When making long-lasting connections with your career-oriented employees, it is critical that you clearly communicate your goals with them and listen to their goals within the company in order to reach fulfillment for both of you within the company. 
 
How can you determine your employees’ work orientation? 
            Click here to take this free, 5-minute assessment created by the Ambition in Motion team, to find out what your work orientation is, and how to better understand the different types of work orientations: Work Orientation Assessment | Ambition In Motion 
 
 
What are quick tips for retaining employees with your new Work Orientation strategies?
It's important to choose employee retention strategies that make sense for your workplace. The secret to retaining employees starts with understanding each employee’s work orientation. When implementing your strategies, use these tips:
  1. Ask for employee feedback
Send out anonymous surveys to learn what your team members’ Work Orientation is as well as what their goals are within the company and within their personal lives. Ask them what changes they would like to see in the workplace. Have them also list any incentives that would help them feel more satisfied and valued and stay longer. By directly sourcing team members, you can customize employee retention strategies more effectively.
            Looking for a more efficient way to evaluate performance reviews within your company? Ambition in Motion offers their software, AIM Insights, ensuring visibility over all ongoing activities: task performance, manager performance, organizational citizenship, team performance, goals for direct reports. Click here to learn more about how you can simplify your performance review process! 

2. Create a work culture that’s inclusive to everyone’s Work Orientation
Promote wellness and kindness to create a stronger work culture. When people feel you value their well-being, they may feel more comfortable coming to you when they feel overwhelmed at work. Give your team opportunities to relax and recharge after a challenging task. Let them know it's acceptable to take mental health days or to take a break when they need it.

3. Be a mentor to all
Offer your team support, advice, and guidance for their careers. Give them opportunities to take on more responsibilities when they are ready. Ask them what they would like to improve and then create ways for them to reach their goals. Share your own career journey with your team, including your successes, setbacks, and greatest career advice.
 
Tue 17 May 2022
Ever since the onset of COVID-19 and all of its variants, in order to abide by health department constraints and in the interest of public safety, more and more companies required their employees to work remotely. However, despite the distance between employees, efficiency rates skyrocketed, and more and more employees are now advocating for the ability to continue working remotely in the future. According to the Pew Research Center, 54% of employed adults want to continue to work from hope after the coronavirus outbreak ends, while only 20% of them worked from home pre-pandemic. Many workers claimed that the removal of a commute allowed them to have more flexibility with task completion. On the contrary, other workers noted that despite the many benefits of remote work, they had trouble with a few different aspects of their job. Several Americans noted some of the following problems:

·         Lack of necessary equipment or technology
·         Meeting Deadlines on time
·         Missing Adequate Workspace
·         Lack of Motivation

Some of these reasons can boil down to the type of orientation the employee has. This does not refer to any political or personal orientation, but rather how an employee derives meaning from work. Research has shown that the three following major categories generally encompass most workers. An individual can either be career-oriented, job-oriented, or calling-oriented. This article will not go into excessive detail about these orientations but will give a slight introduction to them. 

Career Oriented individuals are driven by professional growth, such as promotions, raises, or learning skills that may help them advance in the future. 

Calling Oriented individuals are motivated by the fulfillment of doing the work and making a difference or impact with their work. 

Job Oriented individuals are driven by using material benefits to support their life outside of work.  

Understanding how each of these orientations prioritizes their work/life balance can be instrumental in making the decision to allow remote work or not, as well as measuring performance success. 

How can working remotely benefit a Career Oriented individual?

                                Career Oriented workers are always striving for advancement. A remote working opportunity allows them to devote more time to work by eliminating any possible commute. It also allows them to learn different skill sets such as how to properly communicate and collaborate online. However, there is a drastic difference between the workplace environment and a remote environment. Due to the lack of proximity to others, career-oriented workers may not be able to network with their peers and superiors and may feel frustrated as a result. In addition to that, it can be hard for them to see the fruits of their labor, and consequently, to see how their superiors perceive their work. This can be countered by properly communicating with them about their goals and your goals as a manager for them. Keeping Career Oriented workers appreciated and feeling like they fit in with the team will allow them to weather any storm that may come their way, and stay in the position that they are in.

How can working remotely benefit a Job Oriented individual?

                                Job Oriented individuals know how to prioritize work/life balance, and often have goals outside of work. Arguably, they benefit the most from working remotely, due to the elimination of their commute, as well as the flexibility of working when they want to. They will also benefit mentally due to the ease of setting up professional boundaries and being able to work on personal projects. However, they may become easily distracted due to the temptations of side projects at home, as well as their other interests, such as playing video games. As a manager, it is important to be clear on what you would like them to do, and not suddenly add more onto their plate, which can disrupt their expectations and leave them frustrated. It is best to give them autonomy since they will achieve whatever goals you have of them as long as they have been communicated ahead of time.

How can working remotely benefit a Calling Oriented individual?

                                      Calling Oriented workers have a personal and work life that is extremely intertwined. They want to see how their work benefits the world, and similar to Career Oriented Workers, can easily burn out if they do not see the results of what they are doing, especially if it doesn’t appear to benefit the world. It is important to properly delegate tasks to them such as ones that directly impact the team or clients. This way, it is much easier for them to see that their work is benefitting them. While online or remote, this becomes a little more difficult, and you as a manager will need to be in communication.

                                      Without a doubt, all three of these orientations and individuals who fall in them require proper communication and management to make the most out of them, especially while remote. However, after acknowledging how remote work can affect them, as a manager, you need to figure out if remote work is worth it. The key is being able to compare success rates both before and during remote work. This comparison can be made extremely simple with performance measurement software such as AIM insights. With proper insight, you can easily determine the utility of remote work. 
Mon 30 May 2022
             If you recently received a new position at your company and were handed a portfolio of various reports and charts regarding overall past performance analysis, and told to analyze them and start your position, what would you do? 
            Of course, you can analyze the charts, and look at the trends of performance over time within the company. But what does that tell you about your position, or how you should perform to receive the best results from your new direct reports? 
            There’s simply no training for a new position in analyzing charts. 
            What do the charts mean? Sometimes trends are low, and sometimes they are high. But that doesn’t tell you what the employees were thinking or experiencing when they filed these performance reviews. 
            Charts and reports are not training. 
            In my last article, How to get your new managers to be more effective faster, I discussed the flaws within the current way that we equip new managers. 
 
The current way that we equip new managers to lead with data is flawed
Joining the leadership team is a great accomplishment, but it could also lead to the demise of a person’s career if not managed properly. 
It’s important to be able to recognize the right employee to transition into a first-time manager, but it’s crucial to help them become the skilled leader that the organization needs. But more than likely, these new managers won’t have all of the skills they need right away.
Even if someone is excellent at their job, being a new manager comes with an entirely new skill set. They are not just responsible for themselves anymore; they have an entire team to manage.
The biggest flaw when equipping new managers is the outdated protocol for transitioning positions within the company. 
When anyone is given a new position, they must go through the transition process of paperwork and assessments to assure that they are fully aware of what the job entails and what their new duties are within the company. 
Are charts and reports the proper training protocol? Or does this only confuse and lengthen the process of transitioning into a great new manager? 
 
            In order for performance reviews to be effective and accurately represent a product that is meaningful to the viewer, there needs to be more training for employees and new managers regarding the importance of performance reviews. 
            If new managers are properly trained on the importance of performance reviews, they will be able to conduct more effective evaluations and produce responses that they can work with, and build off of. 
            If employees are properly trained on the importance of performance reviews, they will continue to stay engaged and give honest feedback, knowing that it will be used for the betterment of their time at the company. 
            With proper training for both new managers and employees, new managers will be able to look at the performance reviews and analyze what needs to be changed and continue to benefit their direct reports and the company, overall. 
            
Challenges include… 
  • Managers aren't trained in why the tool is being used, diminishing response rates from employees
  • When data is collected and shared with the managers, managers aren't trained in what the data means or what to do with the data, so response rates from employees diminish. 
  • Managers are busy so asking them to sift through a "knowledge base" of helpful tips based on the data that comes in does not actually lead to them doing anything with the direct reports with the data, even if the knowledge-based was curated for them using artificial intelligence. 
  • When managers don't do anything with the data that has been requested of them from the direct reports, the direct reports become frustrated and disengaged
  • When employees don't complete the regular surveys, the performance management tools are rendered useless because there is no data to review
 
All in all, the key to new managers effectively leading their teams starts with proper training. The duties of a manager include much more than just understanding how to direct their employees in a certain direction of goals that the company aims to accomplish. 
In order for a manager to fully have an impact on their new employees and the overall change of the company, they need training in more than just the protocol transition charts.
Understanding how to effectively make an impact as a manager, make close connections with their new direct reports and emulate a positive workplace are all things that must be implemented into the new manager transition period. 
After the proper training to understand what the position entails and how the new manager can get creative with their new implementation to the job and the company, it’s important for the new manager to understand the performance review process. 
The performance review process should accurately portray evidence from employees of likes/dislikes/struggles/strengths within the company so that the manager can identify strengths, weaknesses, and goals for their team. 
So how can a company get the most out of its performance management? 
 
Performance reviews must deliver meaningful results 
            After you’ve properly trained your new managers, it’s your company’s job to provide your new managers with meaningful performance reviews to analyze. Meaningful reviews include honest feedback from employees; a product that your new manager can use to effectively lead their new team. 
            Traditional performance reviews lack meaning. Charts measure trends, but trends don’t tell a new manager how to make a difference, and how to best lead their new team. 
            Minimize the learning curve of new managers becoming effective leaders and use AIM Insights to conduct performance reviews. 
 
AIM Insights Performance Review SOLUTIONS include… 
  • All managers are trained and onboarded in a live training coordinated with the host company
  • All managers receive custom walk-throughs with an executive coach of their team's data every month with the executive coach providing guidance for each direct report a manager is in charge of
  • Managers receive unlimited email coaching to help guide them as they encounter challenges and roadblocks with their direct reports
  • When managers have effective 1:1's with their direct reports based on the data their direct reports are submitting, response rates increase and stay high, creating immense value and tracking for the company
 


 
 
  • Increased employee retention and satisfaction
  • Enhanced productivity and goal achievement
  • Improved work-life balance 
  • Streamlined communication
  • Seamless accountability
  • Greater transparency between you and your direct reports 
  • Zero prep time performance reviews
  • Alignment between employee goals and organizational goals
  • Monthly personalized tips on your team from an executive coach
Mon 30 May 2022
Previously, we’ve talked about Performance Reviews in great detail.  One of the key aspects of a good Performance Review Process is to have periodic one on ones with your direct reports. As a new manager, this is especially important since it will help you make an impression on not only your direct reports but also on your peers and upper management. An effective one-on-one is the best way for a manager to not only share feedback but also engage with their employees.

What is a 1:1?

A 1:1, or One on One, is a meeting between two individuals, most frequently between a manager and an employee. This can be about a range of topics but is generally about work-related topics such as goals or tasks. However, it is also a personal space where you as a manager can help develop your employee’s professional skills and help them with issues that may be plaguing them in their personal or professional lives. It is beyond what a work meeting will go into, by delving into personal matters and allowing for venting if necessary.  

When should a new manager host a 1:1?

Knowing when to host one-on-ones as a new manager could definitely seem intimidating. One of the most important tasks of being a new manager is getting to know your team members in respect to your new relationship. In addition to that, you should be having at least two or three of these meetings with your team members each month. Some companies like to have 1:1s every week! These meetings need to be regularly scheduled and held to allow for increased communication between yourself and your direct reports. Each of these meetings should be scheduled for between 30 minutes to an hour. Finding that perfect amount of time can be tricky. If it’s too long, neither if you will be efficient and will get bored quickly. Too short, and you may rush through a meeting and not sufficiently discuss all of your planned topics on the itinerary. I recommend starting with a 45-minute meeting and adjusting from there depending on how the two attendees felt the meeting went.

What should a New Manager say in a 1:1?

Generally, a good 1:1 will have a few different topics discussed. Some of these goals can include goal setting, previous tasks, current tasks, future tasks, as well as personal issues. Keep in mind that communication of any type is important. However, the first 1:1 should definitely be for you to set goals, introduce yourselves, and get to know each other. The tone of this meeting can set the tone of your entire working relationship for the future. This especially applies to new employees, since this is how you create a first impression and introduce them to company culture.

This first 1:1 should allow you to really create a personal connection with your employees. One of my mentors used to say that “They don’t care what you know until they know you care.”  This applies to your management relationships as well. According to Forbes, Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.  Some of the questions that you could ask are, “What can I help you with?”, “What makes you feel valued at work?”, “How do you work best?”, or “What do you want to know about me?” Personal Connections can really help you understand what makes your employee unique, such as their talents, interests, or skills. However, it is important to still maintain professional boundaries. Keep your wits about you to not only protect yourself and your company but also to avoid making your direct reports uncomfortable. Remember, the goal is to make your employee feel welcome and brought into the company culture, not to scare them away. According to Forbes, disengaged employees can cost U.S companies up to 550 Billion dollars per year. Try to engage them, but don’t scare them off. This doesn’t mean don’t be vulnerable with your team. It just means that you shouldn’t gossip or share personal information that isn’t pertinent to your role as a leader or the role itself. 

With these tips on the ideal starting 1:1, you should be able to begin these meetings with your staff, even as a new manager. Start slow and be friendly. You were made a manager for a reason; you have the skills. You just need to apply them to these meetings and without a doubt, you will be able to start a very fruitful working relationship.

Tue 7 June 2022
Todd is an executive for a high-growth tech startup that has 400 employees. His biggest challenge in optimizing his team’s performance is the ever-changing nature of the business.
Todd’s CEO and board regularly come to him with changes to the company’s operations. Sure, he is involved in many of these decisions, but often by the time the conversation gets to him, the CEO and board have already made up their mind and changes are already in the works and he has to catch up. 
The challenge is that his team has been spending the past 3 months working on a completely different plan and now, much of that work has to be scrapped for this new plan.
As a mastermind group, the Ambition in Motion team asked Todd questions to clarify his situation and then we provided some suggestions.
One of the big suggestions was getting ahead of the trends so that he and his team could be a part of the change management process as opposed to having the change happen to them. 
This requires better data collection and access to user feedback information as well as the freedom to begin experimenting with new ideas as the new information comes in.
The other big factor in all of this is properly setting expectations both for his team and for his board and CEO as the ideas he and his team come up with may not work, but at least it gives them a lens into what they are trying and gives them an opportunity to experiment.
Ultimately, the ability to set expectations both for your team and for your leadership is critical to having work where the expectations meet reality and people are excited to come to work. When people feel unclear about their role or the changes happening at work and they feel powerless over them, stress ensues and people leave or worse, become actively disengaged.
Oftentimes, this confusion of beginning a new role with a lack of understanding, training, or data, occurs most frequently amongst new managers beginning the role as a leader of a new team. 

Why is data important in an ever-changing workplace?
 Data in a workplace is absolutely essential. Data includes performance reviews, employee values, wants, and needs, as well as information about what previous employees implemented and how it impacted their teams. 
 The amount of data connected to an organization today is on an unprecedented scale and impossible to process manually; this is why it is important to invest in an effective data management system.
This is why data is seen as one of the most important assets of an organization; it is the foundation of information and the basis on which people make decisions. Hence it would follow that if the data is accurate, complete, organized, and consistent, it will contribute to the growth of the organization. 
Most importantly, the right data alongside proper training is what will lead a new manager thoroughly into the position of effectively leading a new team. 
These are some of the additional and undeniable benefits of effective data and how it can effectively improve a rapidly changing workplace.

1. Increases productivity
If data can be accessed easily, especially in large organizations, your company will be more organized and productive. It reduces the time that people spend looking for information and instead ensures that they can do their job efficiently. 
Employees will also be able to understand and communicate information to others. Furthermore, it makes it easy to access past correspondence and prevent miscommunication due to messages lost in transit.
For new managers, being able to access and identify information about past performance can boost effective leadership faster than having no data at all.

2. Smooth operations
A seamless operating system is every business’ dream and data management can make that a reality. It is one of the determining factors in ensuring the success of an organization; if one takes too long to respond to their customers or to the changing trends around them, they run the risk of falling behind. Heightening the data within performance reviews will allow for quick transitions of productivity for teams. 
A good data management system will ensure that you respond to the world accordingly and stay ahead of the competition.

3. Cost-effective
If you have a good system in place, you will spend less money trying to fix problems that shouldn’t have occurred in the first place. 
 Most importantly, improperly training new managers will lead to a decrease in productivity and ineffective leadership, which will ultimately lose time and money for the company. 

4. Better decision making
When everything's in its place, and everyone knows where to look for it, the quality of your decisions improves drastically. By nature, people have different ways of processing information, but a centralized system ensures a framework to plan, organize and delegate.
Additionally, a good system will ensure good feedback, which in turn will lead to necessary updates to the process that will only benefit your company in the long run.

Get ahead of the struggles that come with change; engage in the best management practices 
Performance review data must deliver meaningful results.
After you’ve properly trained your new managers, it’s your company’s job to provide your new managers with meaningful performance reviews to analyze. Meaningful reviews include honest feedback from employees; a product that your new manager can use to effectively lead their new team. 
 Traditional performance reviews lack meaning. Charts measure trends, but trends don’t tell a new manager how to make a difference, and how to best lead their new team and minimize the learning curve of new managers becoming effective leaders.
 So why do managers need more than just data to effectively lead their team? 
 There’s simply no training for a new position in analyzing charts. 
 What do the charts mean? Sometimes trends are low, and sometimes they are high. But that doesn’t tell you what the employees were thinking or experiencing when they filed these performance reviews. 
 Charts and reports are not training. 
 However, putting effort into detailed and trustworthy performance management with coaching will enhance training for new employees in new positions as well as guide your company in tackling the changes that occur within a workplace, and quickly making effective leadership decisions. 


Tue 7 June 2022
As a manager, it is particularly important to understand the value of DEI, also known as Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion.  This is especially highlighted in June, which is known as LGBTQIA+ Pride month. 

During this time, it is extremely common and almost expected that companies do something to acknowledge gay diversity, often combined with public statements, image management, as well as events. However, during the other 11 months out of the year, it is often that these very same companies fail to be as inclusive as they claim to be. Some even refer to this as “Performative Activism.” While LGBTQIA+ pride often falls victim to this act, performative activism can also include racial diversity, as well as gender diversity. 

The key question to ask is, how can managers foster diversity, while at the same time avoiding committing performative activism?

Understanding Your Biases as a Manager

                Bias doesn’t always manifest itself in terms of outright action. According to the Open Society Foundation, “Implicit bias occurs when someone consciously rejects stereotypes and supports anti-discrimination efforts but also holds negative associations in his/her mind unconsciously.” In other words, this bias is not described by outright action, but rather by microaggressions. More than 85% of all Americans consider themselves to be unprejudiced, but in actuality, the majority of United States Citizens hold some degree of implicit bias (Open Society Foundation). 

                Implicit bias is hard to spot easily, but it is often shown through microaggressions or actions that are driven by subtle or unintentional discrimination. 

Some examples of this are how judges have been found to grant longer sentences for darker-skinned defendants than fairer-skinned defendants. 

Lesser managers have been shown to not invite certain demographics in for job interviews or to not give the best performance reviews. 

Implicit Bias can often even be seen in the medical field. A growing issue within recent culture is that women have had to advocate for themselves when in severe pain. Doctors have been more likely to brush off female pain and chalk it up to menstrual pains. 

                With all of this in mind, avoiding implicit bias is trickier than you think. A great way to start is to take the Project Implicit Quiz. This is a test designed by Harvard, Yale, Washington, and Virginia researchers. This survey can help show implicit attitudes that you may not have been aware of at first either. 

An example of this would be how you may believe that men and women should both be prominent in the scientific world, but at the same time, commonly associate men with science over women. 

After taking this assessment, it is a great idea to review your actions and figure out the source of them. Did your second-in-command receive his promotion because of his merit, or because he looked like you? When making a decision on who to terminate out of two direct reports, what was the deciding factor? 

Allyship as a manager

                Understanding how to make the office the safest place for all of your workers can make a difference in their lives, as well as help them feel safe and understood. Once again, in the effort to avoid performative activism, it is important to truly believe in what you are doing and make an effort to stand by what you preach. While this could start by posting signage expressing support for certain groups, there are other ways to show support.  

Speaking of bias once again, try to figure out what biases may be in your company. The most common areas that biases tend to be within a company are hiring, promotions, giving raises, and delegating tasks. Self-analyzing this bias can help you see where you can improve as a company.  

                Additional structure improvements can also add a lot to your company’s success. A standardized interview process, with the same questions, asked to applicants regardless of gender, status, race, or any other colors, can help find you the best candidates for the job. Blind application processes can also be successful. If you’ve ever seen the Voice, a hit TV music reality show, you’ll notice that the judges start a performance with their back to the auditionees. This allows them to disregard gender, race, and anything else about the applicants. 

In the same way, if you can remove information about the applicant that is extraneous to their qualifications, you can minimize unconscious bias in the hiring process.

Business management software such as AIM Insights can be very handy in your decision-making as a manager. By removing any sentiment from this process, and solely relying on data, you can make the best decisions on who to promote. If you notice your management is staffed by a certain type of person, unconscious biases may be in play. Using the data, and that alone can help you determine who is the best person for a job. 

                Holding your employees accountable is one other way that you can show your allyship. Actions speak much louder than words. If you notice that the best performance reviews are all going towards a certain demographic, it may be time to review the process, as well as to have a one-on-one with each of the reviewers. Being attentive to what is being said in the workplace is important too! While it is important to let Human Resources do what they do best, you as a manager can set the tone for how your employees interact with each other. Lead by example! Avoid using targeted language, and do your best to make others welcome. 

In an elevated position, you are at the forefront of what your employees deem appropriate and inappropriate.  

                Eliminating bias and opening your company up to diversity can be challenging at first. But keeping an open mind, being self-reflective, and leading can set you up for success. The harder you look at yourself, the better the results will eventually be. The best things are never easily acquired, so be prepared for difficulty. Best of luck!

Fri 10 June 2022
LinkedIn News recently published an article about Walmart’s $200k store manager problem. The article shines a light on the fact that simply paying higher salaries doesn’t necessarily create great leaders. 

Leaders at Walmart realized that they needed a multi-pronged approach to developing reliable, effective managers, so they started investing in manager training and coaching to help develop their managers.

Walmart is learning the same lesson as many businesses: great leadership requires investment and effort. I’m going to cover how we got into this position and what we, leaders in organizations, need to do to minimize the learning curve of a new manager becoming an effective leader.

How did we get here?

The rapid increase in job transitions over the past few years (sometimes called The Great Resignation) has caused people to rethink their priorities for work. 

Some people qualified for leadership roles have learned that they just don’t like the responsibilities of being a leader.

Some new managers from outside the company fail to understand or adapt to the culture, and therefore struggle to get buy-in from the new teams they are inheriting.

Some new managers have never managed before. Their promotion to a management role is an opportunity for growth, but instead, they aren’t provided the guidance on how to effectively lead. 

These are just three examples of how manager development can go wrong. Without a strong system for training managers, replacement and resignation can rapidly spiral out of control and have long-term consequences on company culture and productivity. 

I recently wrote about how to maintain you’re a-game as a leader, where I described how many universities have downgraded degrees in management into co-majors or tag-along credits instead of being its own degree path. This happens because most recent graduates aren’t being hired to manage people so for universities to boost their placement rates and starting salary rates, it is more advantageous to train students in degrees that companies need from recent graduates right now. This shortsighted approach to management training is one of many contributing factors to the very issues facing companies today. 

The dearth of up-and-coming managers has led to greater turnover for both managers (e.g., they struggle with the transition) and the direct reports in their charge (they aren’t going to put up with a bad boss). This self-sustaining cycle of turnover can wash away company culture in months and take years to rebuild. 

What can we do about it?

1.       Equip managers with the tools and data to better understand their direct reports

There is no such thing as an effective one-size-fits-all management philosophy. That mode of thinking contributes to turnover.

Why?

Because people are driven by different motivations at different stages in their life.

One metric that we measure at Ambition In Motion (AIM) is Work Orientation. Our custom assessment measures what drives you at work and helps you understand how your work should fit into your life.

Some people are motivated by professional growth (Career Oriented), some people are motivated by work/life balance (Job Oriented), and some people are motivated by the value of their work for changing the world (Calling Oriented). Everyone has a mix of these motivations, but one type usually stands above the rest for an individual.

If you understand the Work Orientation of each of your direct reports *at that moment in time*, you can craft your leadership style for that person based on what drives them.

And that “at that moment in time” is important because Work Orientation is fluid. Unlike personality, which is generally consistent throughout life, Work Orientation is constantly in flux. Life events (starting a family?), professional events (getting a promotion?), epiphanies (deciding to start your own business?), influence from friends and colleagues (friend’s company has gone completely remote while yours hasn’t?), and more will mold your Work Orientation over time. Our job as managers is to be on top of these changes and adjust our leadership style and actions to manage your direct reports at that moment in time.

A good start for preparing to manage direct reports is reading about it. I’ve written about How to Manage Career Oriented Direct Reports, How to Manage Calling Oriented Direct Reports, and How to Manage Job Oriented Direct Reports in the hyperlinked articles.

The other big tool to equip managers with is a system for observing whether their perception of the workplace, productivity, and culture is shared by their direct reports. When leading a team, it’s difficult to get out of your head. This tool gives them the ability to observe and understand whether the team members agree (or disagree) with the manager’s assessment of individual productivity, team cohesion, and other metrics.    

This information is critical because perception gaps cause people to become disgruntled. People tend to judge themselves on their intentions and others on their perceptions. I was five minutes late because traffic was absurd today and nobody could predict it; you were late because you don’t care about being on time. Finding and understanding your perception gaps help you find real solutions.  

Managers need to understand where their people are coming from and empathize with their direct reports (and provide clarity) when there are gaps.

My team and I developed AIM Insights to identify the most important metrics for managers to understand their direct reports and cut through the noise. AIM Insights collects and measures everyone’s perception of their: task performance, team cohesion, team productivity, organizational citizenship, and manager performance.

If a direct report feels like they aren’t performing well, but a manager thinks they are performing great, this indicates that the direct report lacks clarity as to what success looks like in his role. Once the manager has this information, they can clarify expectations for that team member and help support long-term productivity and engagement.

And vice versa, if a direct report feels like they are performing great, but the manager disagrees, that indicates that the direct report lacks clarity as to what success looks like and that the manager must clarify expectations and help the team member improve their work.

2.                   Train managers how to act on that data and make their direct reports feel heard

The number 1 issue with any performance management tool in any HRIS platform is equipping managers with the training to interpret and act on the data to make tangible improvements. 

If a company surveys its employees but then doesn’t equip managers to do anything with that data, that company is wasting its employees’ time, creating frustration, and depleting engagement. 

Why? 

Because that data isn’t just for the executive team to review quarterly or annually. That data needs to be acted on!

If managers don’t identify productive actions from the data, there is no incentive for the direct reports to give an honest response, if they bother to respond at all. 

Therefore, it is critical that companies, if they ask for survey data from their employees, train their managers on how to interpret the data and have effective 1:1’s with their direct reports based on that data.

3.                   Actively coach managers throughout their tenure and support the need to adapt to the ever-changing nature of leadership

Leadership is an ever-evolving field. Economies are changing. Consumer demands are changing. Employee demands are changing.

Reviewing the employee salaries and benefits packages of companies even as recently as 5 years ago has drastically changed between now and then. What might have been thought of as outlandish and unnecessary is turning out to be required of job postings (my local Uhaul has a billboard that says “start today. Get paid today.” which was unheard of 5 years ago). 

Managers should be coached throughout their time as a leader with an organization, not just when they attend random offsite training. Leaders can’t just wait for the company to hire a speaker or host an event when they need to handle difficult circumstances. Life doesn’t consider the optimal timeline for you to get the training just in time. Sometimes stuff happens you need to be ready to handle it. 

Building rapport and offering consistent guidance helps managers handle the seemingly insignificant issues and builds the foundation for ensuring they won’t turn into massive issues.

Getting new managers to become effective leaders takes time. It isn’t easy and it isn’t obvious. Hopefully, these tips help your company excel and thrive in the future.
Mon 13 June 2022
A good office is diverse in many ways, and a good manager has picked his staff with a sense of diversity in mind (or if the team was inherited, ideally diversity was considered when picking the team members). Race, Sex, Creed, Religion, and Work Orientation are all important aspects to keep in mind. However, one aspect of employees that is often understated is age.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics department, 34.9% of the working population is below the age of 30. With this age comes equally diverse amounts of experience. An effective workplace will have employees of vastly differing ages, from high-school-age interns, all the way to individuals contemplating retirement.   

Therefore, the key question that you may ask is, “how can I as a manager foster growth for entry-level employees and help them contribute regardless of their lack of experience?” The answers to this question are far simpler than you think.

Why are Younger employees so useful?

Younger and entry-level employees bring a lot to any company they work for. Firstly, entry-level positions pay less than more senior positions. Please recognize that less pay typically equates to fewer responsibilities. It is perfectly acceptable to expect a certain amount of work from your younger employees, but you should expect more work from your senior employees. 

Entry-level workers are also a clean slate for the most part. A very frequent issue while hiring is encountering certain philosophies or ingrained ideas. For example, if I had to hire for a data management job between John, who has 1 year of experience, but uses cloud-based storage, and Dave, who has over 20 years of experience and uses physical hard drives, I’d probably pick John. Industries are always adapting and evolving, and stagnancy can be harmful.

Finally, what entry-level workers lack in experience, they can make it up in enthusiasm and engagement. They are often willing to put in extra time to ensure the quality of their work and will be in constant communication with you and their coworkers to be the best they can be.

What should a manager teach newer direct reports?

Skills that a manager can best impart to a new direct report are primarily soft skills. Direct reports are often very knowledgeable about the topic or tasks that they have been assigned but may lack office etiquette or may also have trouble understanding workplace dynamics.

                 When you were an entry-level worker, what did you struggle with? According to Glassdoor, many entry-level positions are client-facing, and often also require intra-office communication. What tools of the trade do you use to pacify angry clients? How do you coordinate a meeting with your entire team? How did you learn to delegate all of the tasks your bosses gave you?

                Teach them about how to properly communicate with your coworkers. Should they email someone directly, or would it be better for them to call a secretary? How do they need to request time off? Does it have to go through Human Resources? Through a direct manager? Does their team need to know? All of these answers just went through your head in the blink of an eye. Entry-level workers don’t have those answers yet. 

                In addition to this, there are often tricks that you use in your daily work that not everyone has the knowledge to be able to utilize. Imagine the following scenario. Microsoft Excel has a feature where users can fill a cell and its contents down a column or in a row. This is especially useful in relation to formulas and expressions utilizing other cells since it can allow you to finish an entire table in minutes. 

                However, if a user were to manually enter data into every cell, it could take drastically longer. Simply teaching a worker this small trick could make their work more efficient and could allow them to work on other tasks. 

                Remember that your experience is a privilege that not everyone has been afforded yet. Use it to help the person who may one day help others down the line as well. 

Why should you help foster these younger workers?

1.       It’s the right thing to do. When you entered the workplace, I’m sure you had troubles at some point and had some form of mentorship. Without that initial leg up, how else do you think you succeeded in the workplace?
2.       Younger workers may often have a few ideas that in spite of their experience can be extremely valuable. Have you ever heard the saying “The way to solve an impossible task is to give it to someone that doesn’t know its impossible?” 

                The same concept can apply to these entry-level workers.  Due to the fact that they haven’t been with your company for a long time, they may approach problems in a different way than your coworkers that you may have been with longer. As a result, you then have a different perspective that can be very helpful.

3.       You need to realize that you and your coworkers will not be around forever. New opportunities arise, retirement beckons, and situations occur. Entry-level employees can be developed into senior positions, and the improvement in their skills can only help the company. 

                All in all, younger workers can be a tremendous boon to your company, but only if you can properly nurture them. Set them up almost like a sapling. Continue to help them, and eventually, they will grow into an asset that will change the way your company thrives. 

Even if they don’t stick around, be a reference for them. Let them use the experience that you have given them to help more and more people, and keep the training chain going. It will only help.

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.
Wed 29 June 2022
Employee Turnover is one of the most irritating and damaging problems that a business may face. There are a few reasons that this can occur, but luckily, most of these reasons can be easily rectified or ameliorated. 

What exactly is Employee Turnover?

                Employee turnover is the phenomenon in which an individual leaves their position for another position, or to be free of the workforce. There are traditionally two types of this. The first type of turnover is voluntary turnover, which is when someone chooses to leave their position. Examples of this can be retirement, seeking a higher position, or taking time off to take care of a family.

                The second form of turnover is involuntary turnover, which is when someone is forcefully relieved of their duties. This is often initiated by an employer or human resources. This can include being let go, fired, demoted, or a few other actions. 

                According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most industries have a turnover rate of 19%.  A turnover rate is calculated by taking the number of employees that leave within a specific period of time by the average number of employees working in that time frame. The lower this rate is, the better it is for the employer. 

Why is turnover so bad?

                The hiring process is not an easy one for a manager, nor is it inexpensive. The process of hiring the best possible candidate includes a few tasks. Not only does this job have to be posted and then advertised, but then needs to be screened for and interviewed. All of these cost large sums of money, estimated to be on average about a third of the employee’s yearly salary, which equates to around $16,500 in many cases. In addition to that, it costs time and money to train new employees and then set them up with corporate devices, insurance, and any other plans they elect to sign up to.  Turnover also has the unfortunate aspect of reducing productivity due to fewer hands on deck. 

                Turnover is often easily avoidable as well.  According to the Work Institute’s 2017 Retention report, 75% of the reasons for employee turnover can be prevented, many of which can be blamed on poor management. Employees often choose to leave because of a lack of challenges, feeling underappreciated, or bored. However, they also leave due to poor communication, lack of advancement, mistreatment, or being overworked. 

                Fixing some of these problems can help increase your retention rate, and consequently decrease your turnover rate. However, understanding that the fault can fall mainly on management is key to helping improve retention. Executive coaching programs such as Ambition in Motion’s AIM insights can help your managers learn about commonly made mistakes, along with how to avoid them. AIM Insights also offers executive mastermind groups, which function similarly to Masterclasses. 

Increasing Retention Rate

                The following problems are three of the reasons that most frequently cause employees to leave, along with some suggested solutions.

1.       Unclear Job Descriptions that do not portray a position accurately
This can be rectified at the source of the problem. Have your current direct reports have a hand in designing these job position descriptions. They understand these positions the best since they work in them every day.
2.       Poor compensation
This is often difficult to fix since your company may not always be able to simply add more money to the payroll budget. However, it is important to understand how to give fair and adequate compensation. This should be given based on experience, skill, and how much you expect out of them. Do not expect someone for who you are paying the bare minimum to go above and beyond in every task you give them
3.       A Lack of career advancement opportunities
There is a certain type of employee known as a career-oriented worker. These individuals strive to gain advancement and continue working. Without any promotions or opportunities for advancement, they tend to lose interest and will look elsewhere for jobs. Do not be afraid to give more opportunities to your employees. Have faith in them.

 Better communication will also almost always help with issues related to trouble retaining employees. According to a report made by TinyPulse on employee retention in 2018, there is a 16% retention rate decrease for employees who aren’t receiving or giving feedback. 

A good 1:1 can not only give your employees feedback and a feeling of appreciation and recognition but also show you as a manager what you need to improve in order to retain your employees. Regular and honest communication will show your employees that their help is valued and that you care about their growth as a direct report as well as a person.

A good onboarding program can work wonders as well. In a survey by CareerBuilder, 9% of employees who have left their company blame it on a poor onboarding experience, and 37% of those employees say that their managers weren’t even present during the onboarding.  More details will follow about how to create an effective onboarding process, but at the very least, make it as thorough as possible for your newer direct reports, and be present and attentive at these meetings.

Through communication and improvement, you can keep your turnover rate as low as possible, and succeed in the workplace. 

Wed 6 July 2022
What is a People Leader AIM Insights Certification?
            The time has come to train your managers to be the best that they can be. 
To be consistent with the visions, values, and strategies of most organizations, managers need to receive information on how to strengthen their capability to meet their organization’s goals. Accordingly, if those skills and capabilities are left unattended, managers will not achieve the desired impact and effectiveness of the company. 
             By training your managers in effective leadership skills, you can increase the productivity of your workforce. 
            There’s no better way to ensure that your managers are the utmost prepared to lead at your workplace than the AIM Insights People Leader Certification. 
            Taking the time to become AIM Insights People Leader Certified will evaluate how your leadership is impacting the quantitative output of your team paired with the qualitative sentiment of working for you as a leader, and overall it will show prospective employers why you are a great leader of people. 
            After all, managers and leaders provide direction to staff and ensure they are performing at or above expectations. They need to have the ability to assess problems, manage situations, and provide sensible solutions.
Evaluating the effectiveness of leadership within this certification helps leaders identify strategies and techniques that can be employed to encourage the durable effectiveness, performance, and productivity of the organization and its members. Management training that comes with the AIM Insights People Leader Certification program provides feedback that managers can turn into immediate actions.
The AIM Insights People Leader Certification is the only management certification that both teaches and evaluates a leader's ability to impact their team over time. 
 
Why is AIM Insights Leadership Training important for managers? 
1. Enhance Your Skills
Do you want to improve your ability to negotiate, communicate, critically think, manage time, or collaborate with your team?
The AIM Insights People Leader Certificate program strengthens your skills as a leader and decision-maker within your company. 
Achieving this certificate is the key to every company enhancing management skills as leadership and management skills are among the most important qualities of top executives. 
 
2. Gain Practical Knowledge
You’ll gain practical knowledge by analyzing case studies and real-life examples. 
The AIM Insights People Leader certificate program incorporates the latest management concepts, such as employee engagement, company culture, incentives and rewards, purpose-driven leadership, and how to lead multi-generational teams. 
Studying such concepts will improve your ability to lead and direct your business’ operations and people.
 
3. Expand Your Network
When you earn the AIM Insights People Leader Certificate in management and leadership, you have the chance to connect with like-minded individuals from around the world. 
You can consult your community of AIM Insights mentors and teammates to share career interests, pose course questions, seek advice regarding a work challenge, learn about a new industry, or connect about another topic. 
Networking with other leaders and managers is a great way to share experiences and gain new perspectives in any workplace. 
 
4. Share With Your Team
Through your learning, you may uncover a cost-saving strategy or come up with an idea to improve your company’s culture. 
Sharing your leadership certificate knowledge with your team is an influential career benefit. It’s also a strong selling point if you’re trying to convince your boss to pay for your professional development. 
If you’re part of your organization’s management team, you can share leadership insights directly with your team.
 
5. Develop Your Leadership Style
Investing time to study leadership and management with AIM Insights will help you develop your leadership style. As you complete coursework, certain approaches may resonate with you more than others. 
The advantage of studying while working is that you can apply course knowledge to see what leadership styles work best for you and your team. 
As you do this, you’ll also become more confident in your management abilities.
 
6. Boost Your Competitive Edge
Completing the AIM Insights People Leader Certification in leadership and management demonstrates your business expertise. 
It also builds your resume and can make you more qualified for senior positions, especially compared to individuals who haven’t invested in their professional development.
Earning certification shows drive and passion for improvement. 
After all, the best leaders never stop learning.
 
Explore the AIM Insights People Leadership Certification
It couldn’t be easier to become a Certified People Leader! 
            Begin by scheduling an interview to see if you qualify - you must be currently leading a team in a management role in order to qualify for the certification! 
            Proceed to set up AIM Insights for your team, and review your monthly data with an executive coach who guides you on how to improve your overall performance management scores. 
            Become AIM Insights People Leader Certified after 12 months, and reap the benefits as follows! 
 
●     Understand how your performance as a leader compares to other leaders
●     Leverage this data (and certification) as a basis for negotiating a bonus, raise, or promotion
●     Gain insight into why certain team members are performing better than others
●     Receive executive coaching guidance to help you gain certification
●     Showcase your certification to prospective employers and on LinkedIn
●     Distinguish yourself as an incredible people leader from others vying for similar opportunities as you
 
The AIM Insights People Leader Certification is the only management certification that both teaches and evaluates a leader's ability to impact their team over time. 
Wed 6 July 2022
Do you have managerial experience in the corporate workforce? Or are you a current manager angling for a raise or more responsibilities? Regardless of your current position, as a manager, you can always benefit from learning how to market and improve your skills.

Understanding your Weaknesses as a Manager

                To be an ideal manager, there are two aspects of your leadership style that you need to recognize- your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Ideally, whatever changes you make need to help eliminate or improve your weaknesses, while either keeping your strengths the same or also improving them. In order to work on your weaknesses, you need to understand what they are.

                This is where a good managerial 1:1 will come in handy, as well as foster an environment in which your direct reports are willing to talk to you about your tactics as well. Horizontal Mentorship is an excellent system to implement in your workplace in order to receive this feedback. Once you identify these problems, you can then proceed to attempt to rectify them. Often, some of your own mentors can assist with these, such as former managers, higher-level administration, as well as some of your peers. But eventually, you will hit a point where you can’t really progress any further.

 Management is similar to any other career. There’s basic education and training you get, such as an undergraduate degree, and then the equivalent of a postgraduate degree, such as an MBA. But there is a flaw with an MBA. According to Southern Nazareth University, hosting a strong MBA program, the following classes are some of the necessary courses required to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration. 

1)      Business Essentials
2)      Exploring Business Strategies
3)      Marketing for the 21st Century
4)      Business and Law
5)      Management Analytics
6)      Management Accounting

You’ll notice something particular about these classes. While they are no doubt useful and are a boon for any manager, they tend to focus more on the financial and accounting aspects of business management. None of these classes can really help you with the soft skills of a business. Low inventory turnover? Low-profit margins? High expenses? Get an MBA; that’ll help you without a doubt. 

That MBA just turned into an expensive piece of paper when faced with those types of problems.  MBAs are great and definitely cultivate very healthy financial businesses. However, a business is more than just profits, losses, and breakeven points. A business is all of the people that make it up. Effective management means not only having success with the financial parts, but also taking care of your human capital, and leading them to the best of your ability. 

Fortunately, there are people equivalent to the MBA. These are known as Leadership Certification Programs. Through these, you can not only fix your individual flaws as a leader, but also demonstrate your skill to your leaders, and then potentially advocate for raises or promotions. 

What are People Leadership Certification Programs?

                A People Leader Certification Program is a process designed to both teach and evaluate a leader’s ability to impact their team over a set period of time. The closest academic certification would be a degree such as a Master of Leadership. However, not only does this require full-time work, but it is also extremely expensive. Also, you do not get to continuously practice and hone your skills while in this academic program. 

                People Leader certification occurs simultaneously with your work as a manager and will often require you to execute what you have learned in the workplace as a way to learn more effectively. The best way to hone a strategy is by putting it under fire, and as such, a program such as this can help hone your skills. 

                The curriculum often discussed within a leadership certification program is as follows:

1)      Personal Leadership
2)      Intercultural Leadership
3)      Service Leadership
4)      Strategic Planning
5)      Conflict Negotiation and Resolution
6)      Organization

It is evident how this curriculum helps any manager. The questions originally posed above can easily be answered by the programs stated above. In addition to that, this training is focused on people management as opposed to financial management, making it more suited for someone who works with direct reports. 

                People Certification Programs are still very new in the business world. Almost every single one of them are hosted through a college, such as MIT Sloan, Cornell Dyson, or UPenn Wharton. It is rarer to see a privatized one. However, Ambition in Motion has created the AIM Insights People Leader Certification through their AIM Insights tool. By combining business analytics with communication with direct reports and executive coaching, managers have the potential to distinguish themselves from others with the same goals.

How does the AIM Insights People Leader Certification Work?

                AIM insights already have three key components to their mentorship process, the performance management tool, the executive mentorship program, and the horizontal mentorship program. Combining all three of these creates a unique and effective way to help managers improve.  Using this in conjunction with a direct report response collection process provides a tailored experience that is unique to you. 

                Start by scheduling an interview with them! You must currently be leading a team in order to participate in this program, due to the requirement of getting feedback and statistics from your team members. Set up AIM Insights and commence work as normal. 

                AIM insights provide an aggregated score known as a SMART Impact score, which is composed of three sub-aggregates.

SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

1)       Smart Goals Set- the number of goals set by direct reports that fulfill the SMART requirements as a percentage in relation to the total number of goals set.
2)      Goal Relevancy- The number of direct report goals that are rated as highly relevant to the overall company goals, once again as a percentage.
3)      Goal Impact- Your rating for each DR Goal on a scale including Low, Medium, and High in terms of how it moves the team forward. 

By using these productivity Metrics in conjunction with an executive coach who can guide you on how to improve your scores, you can not only improve this score but become better as a manager as well. 

How does a People Certification Program Benefit Me as a Manager?

                A good People Certification program can allow you to do the following:

·         Highlight to your senior leadership why you deserve a promotion or raise
·         Show prospective employers why you are a great leader
·         Compare your strategies to other leaders
·         Evaluate how you impact both the qualitative and quantitative output of your team

You also gain a certificate and all of the data used to coach you, which you can then showcase to employers, and your professional network, and also be able to leverage to negotiate additional benefits. 

The world is constantly changing. Be a good leader and be flexible with it. Don’t be afraid to go “back to school” to become an even better leader. A people leader certification program is a great place to start this. 

 

Wed 13 July 2022
Do you have big dreams of advancing to a management role within your company, becoming a CEO at a top firm, or maybe even owning your own business one day? 
Having the proper leadership and management training will help you turn those dreams into reality.
Solid leadership is important in all organizations and companies, especially in today’s fast-paced business world. 
Without solid leadership, companies fail to build trust with their customers and employees, which could result in uncertainty and inefficiency, and subsequently, lead to some unfortunate consequences.
 
As a manager, what kind of relationship would you like to have with your employees … Leader? Friend? Teacher? Mentor?
… the person who motivates them, guides them, encourages them, and makes them want to win?
Forward-thinking managers have discovered the same skills coaches use to create winners in athletics work in a business setting as well. 
The AIM Insights People Leader Certification is designed to teach you powerful employee coaching methods to open up a multitude of opportunities and solutions for any situation your career takes you to and monitor the impact of your leadership.
 
What is the AIM Insights People Leader Certification?
            There’s no better way to ensure that your managers are the utmost prepared to lead at your workplace than the AIM Insights People Leader Certification. 
Begin by scheduling an interview to see if you qualify - you must be currently leading a team in a management role in order to qualify for the certification! 
            Proceed to set up AIM Insights for your team, and review your monthly data with an executive coach who guides you on how to improve your overall performance management scores. 
            Become AIM Insights People Leader Certified after 12 months, and reap the benefits that come with being an incredible manager.
            Taking the time to become AIM Insights People Leader Certified will evaluate how your leadership is impacting the quantitative output of your team paired with the qualitative sentiment of working for you as a leader, and overall it will show prospective employers why you are a great leader of people
            After all, managers and leaders provide direction to staff and ensure they are performing at or above expectations. They need to have the ability to assess problems, manage situations, and provide sensible solutions.
Evaluating the effectiveness of leadership within this program helps leaders identify strategies and techniques that can be utilized to encourage the durable effectiveness, performance, and productivity of the organization and its members. Management training that comes with the AIM Insights People Leader Certification program provides feedback that managers can turn into immediate actions.
The AIM Insights People Leader Certification is the only management certification that both teaches and evaluates a leader's ability to impact their team over time. 
 
Learn at Your Own Pace with AIM Insights
The flexibility of an online leadership certificate is a huge career benefit. It enables you to spend time on your professional development when it suits your busy schedule. 
You can learn at your own pace and access on-demand materials anywhere, anytime. Developing good online learning habits will help you manage your time and stay focused.
Many managers fear that they won’t have time to complete a Leader Certification during their work-life routine. 
Self-paced learning is perfect for anyone with a busy work schedule or hectic family life. It allows you to fit your learning in pockets of the day that suit you. Learning at your own pace can mean a lot more than just being able to study at night or after work.
However, the AIM Insights People Leader Certification acts as an active learning program that goes along with your day-to-day management tasks and provides you with a leader certification that will boost your career benefits. 
In a lot of ways, the program saves you time because you can move around to different modules of the learning program as they fit into your schedule at work; instead of having to prepare for 1:1’s with your direct reports, you can use the AIM Insights People Leader Certification program to help you prepare. 
And most importantly, you can change the due date of your own surveys so that you can go as fast or slow as you want to through the AIM Insights People Leader program. On top of this, demonstration videos can be fast-forwarded or slowed down! 
 
Why is the AIM Insights People Leader Certification worth your time?
Make your team members want to give 110% for themselves, and for their team.
You'll instill the kind of energy and enthusiasm that makes productivity soar. 
How? 
Supplement your own managerial abilities with compelling employee coaching and counseling skills, and watch the incredible results.
This team-building seminar will teach you step-by-step, how to produce a manager's "game plan" to ensure you'll reach your goals and objectives. Plus, find out how to maximize every employee's best abilities and uncover strengths and talents you never knew existed!
Transform your work group into a cohesive, coordinated team!
Imagine how much your team could accomplish if it functioned as one well-organized unit. This team-building training shows you how to pull everyone together with a shared drive and purpose.
Invest just one day of your time, and the benefits of employee coaching will change your life as a manager. 
You'll witness an exciting synergy among your employees, mutual support within your group, a sense of interdependence and exchange, and, most of all, incredible productivity from your team as a unit.
To recap, these are the top benefits that the AIM Insights People Leader Certification provides, accommodating your busy schedule: 
·         Understand, on your own time, how your performance as a leader compares to other leaders
·         Utilize the AIM Insights program performance management assessments to gain insight into why certain team members are performing better than others
·         Conduct performance management during your regularly scheduled time at your workplace and use the certification program as a guide 
·         Prepare for 1:1’s with your direct reports using surveys and guides provided by the AIM Insights People Leader certification program 
·         Receive executive coaching guidance on your time, at your own pace
·         Leverage this data (and certification) as a basis for negotiating a bonus, raise, or promotion 
·         Showcase your certification to prospective employers and on LinkedIn
·         Distinguish yourself as an incredible people leader from others vying for similar opportunities as you
Wed 13 July 2022
More and more senior leaders are pushing for increased credentials from their managerial staff. In 2020, 43% of US firms had business managers holding an MBA or some form of advanced business degree.  This is almost twice that of the percentage in 1980, which was 26%. 

Recently, companies and schools have been creating certification programs in lieu of these postgraduate programs. These include Cornell’s business strategy certification, Harvard’s Executive Education Certification program, and Ambition in Motion’s AIM Insights People Leadership Certification. How do you choose what type of education you want? How do you choose between an MBA and a people leadership program?

The costs of an MBA vs the costs of a Certification

It goes without saying that college is expensive. An MBA holds true to this statement. According to Experian, the average tuition cost of an MBA is $66,300. However, this is an average and falls victim to outliers. The online MBA program from the University of Texas Rio Valley is relatively inexpensive $17,000. However, the MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania costs $161,810. 

MBA Today lists that among the top 30 MBA programs, the cheapest one would be $55,727 for a full-time two-year program. This means that working will be much more difficult due to academic commitments. In addition to tuition and administrative fees, students need to pay for textbooks, supplies, any equipment (such as laptops, computers, electronics), and transportation. If you are required to relocate to study in this MBA program, you may also need to pay for moving costs and rent. Out-of-state students may even need to pay additional tuition.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 50% of graduate students take out student loans for an MBA program and complete their programs with an average of $74,707 in debt. 

 In contrast, a leadership certification program rarely leaves the 4-figure mark at all. According to CIO,  the costs of these programs range from $1800 to $5700, while the leadership coaching for executive training ranges between $150 an hour to $500 an hour. There are generally no textbooks or supply costs, and most definitely no moving costs. Certification programs have the capability to be held completely online. 

In addition to this is the cost of lost wages. During a full-time MBA, it is difficult to hold a job, and you will often have to teach a course at the school you are matriculating in. At the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, full-time MBA students are required to teach managerial and financial accounting courses to undergraduate students. This holds true for many other schools. 

Under a certification program, you can actually hold your position and continue work as normal, since it will allow you to practice skills that are taught in these courses. Therefore, you don’t lose any wages.

Applications

Applying to an MBA program is completely different than applying for a certification program. An MBA program has a much more comprehensive application process and runs the risk of applicant rejection. 

Most MBA programs require either a Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT for short, or a Graduate Record Examinations, or GRE. Some schools actually require scores for both examinations. Applicants are also required to provide letters of recommendation from managers, colleagues, and mentors, and potentially provide references as well. In addition to this, undergraduate grade point averages are taken into consideration. Finally, to complete the first stage of the application, applicants are then required to write a statement of intent, which is similar to an undergraduate college application essay. 

After all of this is completed, applicants then need to wait a few months, and may have the opportunity to be granted an interview. Most MBA programs require an interview before officially accepting a student. The acceptance rate for the interview stage ranges from 34% to 75% in the top 20 MBA programs. The averages end up being a 62% rate of acceptance.  After a long and grueling interview, you have between a 10% and 40% chance of being accepted. 

A certification program is much easier. Simply verify your identity, provide billing information, and register for the course. If there is an executive coaching portion to the program, your company may have to meet some performance metrics as well. 

Time Commitment

The average MBA program takes about two years to fully complete, assuming that it is a full-time program. Online MBAs or Hybrid MBA programs can take a while longer. During this time, expect a majority of your day to be occupied by classes, homework, research, as well as any other responsibilities required by your programs, such as being a Teaching Assistant or an exam proctor. 

People leader certifications are more fluid. Since you can view most of the coursework asynchronously, or entirely online, you determine how long the program will take. If there are executive coaching or mentorship programs in your certification, you may have to give up an hour per month or a period of time similar to this.  

The Curriculum of an MBA vs the Curriculum of a Certification Program

Courses for an MBA are often very generalized, with a skill set focused on financial management and structural management.  Some of the courses include the following:

1)      Business Essentials
2)      Exploring Business Strategies
3)      Marketing for the 21st Century
4)      Business and Law
5)      Management Analytics
6)      Management Accounting
 
           These are all important topics and can definitely add value to a company if a manager executes them correctly. However, an MBA doesn’t necessarily help with soft skills and isn’t marketable in all scenarios. If you want practical and applied skills, an MBA isn’t for you.  For example, if you are working as a manager in a field outside of finance, such as in a scientific field, or engineering, it would be best to either get a leadership certification or a degree more relevant to that workplace.
            
            A people leadership certification utilizes soft skills and is much more specialized than an MBA. Examples of topics covered in a certification course include the following:
 
1)      Personal Leadership
2)      Intercultural Leadership
3)      Service Leadership
4)      Strategic Planning
5)      Conflict Negotiation and Resolution
6)      Organization
 
            These topics are frequently discussed and encountered in the workplace and are important points to address with your direct reports, peers, and superiors. 

Conclusion

            Without a doubt, an MBA can be a very powerful tool, and in the right hands, can dramatically improve a company. However, with all of the expenses and rigor in mind, along with the focus, it is also best to consider if a people leadership certification might be a better fit for you. Neither is worse than the other, but some may be better in certain scenarios. Evaluate yourself, and your ambitions. 

Thu 21 July 2022
There’s no better way to ensure that you, as a manager, are the utmost prepared to lead at your workplace than the AIM Insights People Leader Certification. 
            Taking the time to become AIM Insights People Leader Certified will evaluate how your leadership is impacting the quantitative output of your team paired with the qualitative sentiment of working for you as a leader, and overall it will show prospective employers why you are a great leader of people. 
            After all, managers and leaders provide direction to staff and ensure they are performing at or above expectations. They need to have the ability to assess problems, manage situations, and provide sensible solutions.
            However, this certification cannot be easily gained. Not only will this program test your skills and knowledge of management, and allow you as much or as little time as you need to practice these skills within your workplace, but you will also be challenged to learn more and be the best manager that you can be. 
            The AIM Insights People Leader Certification requires you to engage your direct reports in your certification process to prove your qualifications as a leader. 
            This is how the AIM Insights People Leader Certification is the only management certification that both teaches and evaluates a leader's ability to impact their team over time. 
 
How does the AIM Insights People Leader Certification engage your direct reports? 
 To get the aim insights certification, you need to have at least 75% positive response rates from your direct reports. 
This means that your employees will take surveys assessing their feelings about their task performance, team cohesion, team productivity, organizational citizenship, engagement, and how they feel about you as their manager. 
If the scores come back low, it reflects on the manager. However, if your direct reports like you and your management skills, they’ll give you great feedback, resulting in great scores. 
This is how the AIM Insights People Leader Certification drives accountability from managers
However, don’t let this scare you. Although this management certification must be earned, the AIM Insights team is ready to help you learn how to be the best manager that you can be in order to earn this certification. 
Employees want to feel like they belong, like their work matters (to the customer, team, or organization), like they have the tools and skills to do the job competently, and they are positioned for stability and relevance. 
In addition, many employees want to feel like they are growing and making progress. 
With these needs and concerns of the direct report in mind, let’s go through some general questions that you should be sure to ask your direct reports during regular check-ins to create a better and more inclusive employee experience.
 
1. How would you like to grow within this organization?
It’s important to figure out what growth opportunities each employee needs for optimum development, whether through coaching, mentoring, visibility, or challenging work assignments.
You might also ask, “What role would you love to do (whether it exists or not), and what can I do as your manager to encourage your development in this company?”
 
2. Do you feel a sense of purpose in your job?
Managers can play a meaningful role in helping employees understand how their roles contribute to the organization’s broader mission. But helping employees feel a sense of purpose must go deeper than this to tap into what’s purposeful to employees about their job and connects with their own values.
 
3. What do you need from me to do your best work?
The most effective managers respect and care about their employees by knowing them as individuals, acknowledging their achievements, having performance conversations, and conducting formal reviews. 
These supportive behaviors build a work environment where employees feel safe experimenting with new ideas, sharing information, exploring development opportunities, and supporting each other.
 
As you explore what your employees need to do their best work, you might also ask, “What is your biggest frustration, and what action can I take to help you deal with it? What have you been trying to tell me that I’ve not been hearing? How would you like to be recognized?”
 
4. What are we currently not doing as a company that you feel we should do?
The best managers let workers know that their opinions count by promoting open dialogue and providing honest feedback on employees’ opinions and suggestions, supporting good ideas, and addressing unfeasible ones. 
By asking individual team members what they feel the company could be doing better, what market opportunities the organization might be overlooking, and how to leverage company resources more effectively, you’re validating that their thoughts matter.
You might also ask things like, “Are you satisfied with our current work from home/hybrid policy? If not, what do you think needs to change? How satisfied are you with the tools you use to communicate with your colleagues when working remotely?”
 
5. Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
To determine whether your employees are focusing on their strengths, you might also ask, “What is the best part of your job? Which of your talents are you not using in your current role? What part of your job would you eliminate if you could?”
When managers make checking in with these five questions a regular part of how they interact with their employees, it helps ensure that people feel seen and valued. And when managers help individuals on their teams feel that way, they’re more likely to be rewarded by employees who become advocates for the department and organization, no matter how long they stay.
 
The AIM Insights People Leader Certification program is for managers who strive to become elite and grow to more senior roles in their careers. So what’s next? 
            To recap, this management certification cannot be gained. It has to be earned. And the work and relationships that you build with your direct reports will show to your certification, including the following: 
 
●     You need at least 75% positive response rates from your direct reports 
○     What they think about you as a leader 
○     Performance review from your direct reports
○     Good scores/feedback 
●     Your direct reports sign off on your certification by evaluating your performance
●     AIM Insights People Leader Certification drives accountability from managers
 
Begin by scheduling an interview to see if you qualify - you must be currently leading a team in a management role in order to qualify for the certification! 
            Proceed to set up AIM Insights for your team, and review your monthly data with an executive coach who guides you on how to improve your overall performance management scores. 
 
Become AIM Insights People Leader Certified after 12 months, and reap the benefits as follows! 
 
●     Understand how your performance as a leader compares to other leaders
●     Leverage this data (and certification) as a basis for negotiating a bonus, raise, or promotion
●     Gain insight into why certain team members are performing better than others
●     Receive executive coaching guidance to help you gain certification
●     Showcase your certification to prospective employers and on LinkedIn
●     Distinguish yourself as an incredible people leader from others vying for similar opportunities as you
 
The AIM Insights People Leader Certification is the only management certification that both teaches and evaluates a leader's ability to impact their team over time. 
 
Thu 21 July 2022
Recently, I wrote an article on the differences between a professional degree and a people leader certification. While most people understand how a graduate degree is earned, such as the coursework, thesis, and potentially work-study, not many people really know the processes behind a leader certification program due to its novelty. Recently, Ambition in Motion pioneered their own AIM Insights People Leader Certification, and we’ll be giving you a little more information on it as well.

How to sign up for the AIM Insights People Leader Certification

                To be able to enroll in this program, you need to be leading a team. Direct Report reviews are a critical part of this program, and without them, you will not be able to receive the full benefits of the certification. In addition to this, you must have a certain level of engagement and response rates from your direct reports from the previous six months. You will also need to enroll in the AIM Insights program.  If you believe you fit these metrics, feel free to schedule an interview with CEO Garrett Mintz at your convenience.

What is included in the AIM Insights People Leader Certification Program?

·         Unlimited Email Executive Coaching Guidance
·         Conversation Prompts for your 1:1s
·         Certification
·         Customized monthly executive coaching videos and guidance

The First Tier of the  AIM Insights People Leader Certification

                There are three tiers to the AIM Insights People Leader Certification- Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. These can all be worked on concurrently, but each tier has certain requirements and unique features. 

                The first tier of certification allows you and your direct reports to get an understanding of AIM Insights and its platform. Ideally, this should take about six months, but can be retaken if necessary. The main goal of this tier is to become acquainted with AIM Insights but also to increase communication between you and your direct reports. 

Direct report responses are requested by the platform once a month, asking about goals, personal feelings, and feedback about the team. The primary requirement to pass Level 1 is to have at least 75% of your direct report responses within a 6-month period.  For example, if you were managing ten direct reports, the highest amount of reports you could have would be 60. Ideally, you should be aiming to get 60 every period. However, the minimum number of responses required to get a Level 1 Certification would be 45.

This certification signifies that you have been consistently measuring your team’s productivity throughout the period, as well as their sentiment. Level 1 also demonstrates how you have assisted your team and how they feel about their cohesion, productivity, and engagement. 

The Second Tier of the AIM Insights People Leader Certification

The second tier of certification can be worked towards starting on the fourth month that you are using AIM Insights. This is to allow you as a manager to work through an acclimation period for not only yourself but for your direct reports as well. Level 2 of the AIM Insights People Leader Certification not only focuses on consistent measurements, but also on Goal setting, Productivity, and Positive Sentiment.

To earn the Level 2 Certification, you will need a 75% response rate from your direct reports, just like in the Level 1 Program. However, you will now need to demonstrate this response rate over a period of 12 months or over 12 of whatever period length you have decided upon.

Your productivity metrics are evaluated, and must meet our average manager threshold in at least two of the following four categories:

·         SMART Goal Quantity- At least 70% of your goals should be rated as SMART 
·         Goal Relevancy- At least 70% of your goals must be rated as relevant to team goals
·         Goal Impact- At least 70% of your goals must be rated as either medium or high impact
·         SMART Impact Score- Each of your direct reports must have a SMART Impact Score of at least 30, with a maximum possible score of 108- This is flexible!

A Smart Impact score is designed to have each of your Direct Reports have at least 1 medium or high-impact goal per month. A 50/50 Split allows for 30 points.  For goals accomplished, each medium goal is worth 2 points, while a high impact goal is worth 3 points. 

For those of you who may also be unfamiliar with the term SMART, it is a mnemonic devised by Management Review to guide in the setting of goals. SMART describes the following descriptors for any goals that are set by management:

Goals should be:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Time-bound

In addition to this, you must achieve at least 80% in 3 areas of your sentiment review from your direct reports, or an average of 75% across all of these metrics. This requires at least 6 cycles of data, and only cycles with at least a 75% response rate will be counted in this. 

A level 2 Certification signifies that your team has higher productivity than the average manager and shows more concrete proof of how well you work with your team. With more quantitative data supporting this such as SMART Goals and tracking, combined with more qualitative data, your certification is much stronger. 

The Third Tier of the AIM Insights People Leader Certification

The final level of the AIM Insights People Leader certification is the Level 3 Certification. Similar to Level 2, this combines goal setting with productivity and team sentiment. However, in comparison to Level 2, Level 3 focuses on having even stronger productivity.

Like the Level 2 certification, you need to have at least a 75% response rate from your direct reports. You can’t improve without any feedback!  Once again, similar to the Level 2 Certification, your productivity is measured, but using higher numbers.

·         SMART Goal Quantity- At least 80% of your goals should be rated as SMART 
·         Goal Relevancy- At least 80% of your goals must be rated as relevant to team goals
·         Goal Impact- At least 80% of your goals must be rated as either medium or high impact
·         SMART Impact Score- Each of your direct reports must have a SMART Impact Score of at least 30, with a maximum possible score of 108- This is flexible!

Your sentiment rating needs to also be higher for every cycle. You now must have an 85% average across all of your metrics, with only cycles with more than a  75% response rate counting for this. The end goal of this certification is that your team’s productivity is now over 5% greater than the average team’s, and that you are also having better sentiment scores than the average manager. 

All in all, the AIM Insights People Leader Certification can offer a lot to both you as a manager, as well as to your team. 
Wed 27 July 2022
Congratulations, you’re in charge of your team now! The dynamic at work is changing, but don’t worry, you got this! 
If you want your direct reports to respect you, it’s important that you first show them the respect that they deserve. 
Actively treating all of your workers fairly, demonstrating your value for them through your words and actions, listening to their concerns, and addressing them as best you can will set you apart as a leader that they can trust and respect. 
Remember, you are in charge of your direct reports! The respect that you receive from them must be earned, and it begins with your ability to be confident in your actions and malleable to your new work environment. 
At Ambition in Motion, we understand the struggle of inheriting a new team of individuals who have already been working together, whether they previously knew you or not. 
 
How to ensure that your inherited team is successful
Inheriting a team can be very successful if you focus on the right ways to channel its energy. 
The first step when inheriting a team is to thoroughly assess it by holding a mix of one-on-one and team meetings, supplementing with input from key stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, and colleagues outside the team. 
You’ll also look at team members’ individual track records and performance evaluations. After you’ve interviewed everyone, discuss your findings with the team to ensure that you are all on the same page in regards to overall performance and your shared goals, individually and as a team.
Winning over a team is hard. Any time employees have to adapt to a new manager, they may take time to open up and be vulnerable.
No matter how sensitive you try to be, and how much you try to avoid new manager mistakes, just being there might send shock waves through the team.
Don’t take it personally: It’s just part of how teams work. The introduction of any new person, including a leader, requires the group to do a collective reset. With that said, you can control how your employees get to know you as their manager (and you should).
Here are five tactics that help you win them over:
 
1. Go First
Don’t hang back waiting for the people on your team to come meet you: Seek them out.
Remember, one of people's top desires is to be seen and acknowledged (by their boss, but also, generally). When you start, do some managing by walking around. Introduce yourself, and ask questions.
It may be awkward at first, but introducing yourself and meeting people on their own turf is a great first step to build trust and credibility with your employees. Sometimes meeting people on their own “turf” in a virtual setting can be meeting with them at times that are convenient for them.
 
2. Understand the Team Culture
Culture; the beliefs, assumptions, and unwritten rules that guide and inform people’s behavior; is a sensitive thing. Seek to understand before being understood.
No one likes being told their culture is wrong or broken (even if it is). For example, maybe people have a habit of chatting across their desks all day long, and you think it’d be an instantly more productive environment if these conversations were moved online or set times on the calendar.
While your goal is to help everyone work more efficiently, they’ll view you as someone who’s instantly upending their workflow.
A smart move is to wait and talk to team members about how you think this shift will be helpful. Instead of rushing to make cultural changes, take the time to make everyone feel like they’re a part of them.
 
3. Roll Up Your Sleeves (and Get to Work)
First impressions really do count, and people like to know their boss cares. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and help out when the group’s under pressure to deliver and you can help.
In other words, be the leader who sits with the rest of the team for a bit and stuffs envelopes on the day of a major mailing, or help carry event materials from the service elevator along with everyone else. This is what AIM Insights calls organizational citizenship or work that needs to get done but isn’t expressly assigned to you.
Taking part in that “no-fun but highly necessary” team activity shows you don’t believe you’re too good to do the hard, mundane tasks. It’ll make talk about being a team player that much more believable because you’ve already demonstrated you mean it.
 
4. Create a Team Goal List
A goal list is a descriptive and compelling statement of the beliefs and values that guide the team’s actions. Over time, you’ll want to take what you learn about the team and their work to form a goal list, and invite them to help you create it!
A goal list is best when followed by a mission statement that motivates the team each day, and helps them feel more like a unit.
 
5. Celebrate the Team’s Accomplishments
School yourself on the history of the team by asking each person what he or she’s most proud of to date.
Ask about successes (and failures) and how those events have impacted people. As you learn about those things that make the team strong, celebrate them. For example, are there any traditions to acknowledge top performers or hit new milestones? 
If everyone enjoys team lunch after something major is wrapped or getting a shout-out in a department-wide email, don’t feel like you have to establish new ways to mark success.
Not just that, but people will remember what you do first. If you begin by acknowledging what’s working, as opposed to leading with criticism, people will be more excited to work with you.
 
So how can you stay organized in effectively getting your newly inherited team to buy in?
There’s no better way to ensure that you are the utmost prepared to lead at your workplace than the AIM Insights People Leader Certification. 
Taking the time to become AIM Insights People Leader Certified will evaluate how your leadership is impacting the quantitative output of your team paired with the qualitative sentiment of working for you as a leader, and overall it will show prospective employers why you are a great leader of people. 
After all, managers and leaders provide direction to staff and ensure they are performing at or above expectations. They need to have the ability to assess problems, manage situations, and provide sensible solutions.
Supplement your own managerial abilities with compelling employee coaching and counseling skills, and watch the incredible results.
This team-building seminar will teach you step-by-step, how to produce a manager's "game plan" to ensure you'll reach your goals and objectives. Plus, find out how to maximize every employee's best abilities and uncover strengths and talents you never knew existed!
Many managers fear that they won’t have time to complete a Leader Certification during their work-life routine. 
However, the AIM Insights People Leader Certification acts as an active learning program that goes along with your day-to-day management tasks and provides you with a leader certification that will boost your career benefits. 
In a lot of ways, the program saves you time because you can move around to different modules of the learning program as they fit into your schedule at work; instead of having to prepare for 1:1’s with your direct reports, you can use the AIM Insights People Leader Certification program to help you prepare. 
Click here to learn more about the flexibility and benefits of receiving an AIM Insights People Leader Certification: https://ambition-in-motion.com/blog/how-to-get-a-leadership-certification-at-your-own-pace 
 
AIM Insights Challenges Experienced Leaders to Do Better
At Ambition in Motion, we don’t control the execution of one’s work but we can have an impact on how people interact with each other at work. 
The AIM Insights People Leader Certification is designed to teach you powerful employee coaching methods to open up a multitude of opportunities and solutions for any situation your career takes you to and monitor the impact of your leadership.
This is what makes the AIM Insights People Leader Certification the only management certification that both teaches and evaluates a leader’s ability to impact their team over time. 
Winning over a new team, especially a well-established one, takes humility, patience, and restraint.
And remember, even if you’re the most experienced leader, it never hurts to brush up on your skills by seeking out advice and taking the AIM Insights People Leader Management program to advance your career with an official certification in your management skills.
Most important of all, give the team time to get to know you and accelerate the process by being curious and appreciative.

Wed 27 July 2022
A good workplace is only as strong as its weakest link. In most cases, the weakest link in a work environment is actually poor communication and engagement. Miscommunication costs many companies large sums of money and can severely damage their employee retention as well. 

In a research report conducted by Expert Market, 28% of employees cite poor communication and engagement as the main reason for not being able to deliver work on time. They also found that miscommunication can cost companies with one hundred employees an average of $420,000 per year. In 2019, 80% of the employee workforce reported feeling stressed in their positions due to poor communication. 

How does workplace engagement really help in the workplace?

Gallup has much to say about poor workplace communication as well. Higher employee engagement can translate into 24% better retention, 21% more profitability, and 17% more productivity. In addition to that, 90% of employees rank good communication as key to a healthy work environment.

So how do you boost your engagement rates? Especially in a time when more and more direct reports are looking for remote work? Even if you may be socially distanced, there is no reason that you cannot be properly communicating and engaging within the workforce. AIM Insights can assist with all of this, along with so much more.

How does AIM Insights Work?

“At first I was a little nervous getting started (using AIM Insights) because I didn't know how my team would receive the survey. But after using the tool, I am learning so much more about my team that I didn't know from our previous 1:1 conversations and it is helping me connect with my team on a deeper level.”

These words were used by the Vice President of Sealed Success of Zendesk, a software-as-a-service company. AIM Insights utilizes a horizontal mentorship strategy combined with additional employee feedback programming to assist with communication. Ambition In Motion has realized that there is a science behind the relationships between mentors and mentees, and why some are successful, and some aren’t.  

The main goal of Ambition in Motion is to work with companies to connect their people together in order to improve engagement, productivity, and retention.

Not only can Ambition in Motion seamlessly work with the HRIS systems you already have in use, but it can then proceed to add on your current processes. Direct reports are sent regular monthly surveys to complete, which are then reviewed by AIM Insights Executive Coaches. After this review, these coaches will then discuss these responses with you and your fellow managers to see how you can improve and what topics you should discuss within your direct report 1:1s.   

These surveys are anonymous and are only between direct reports and AIM Insights. With anonymity, direct reports are more likely to give candid feedback, and more thorough feedback. The surveys do not require much time and are easy to take.  

How can you improve communication between you and your Direct Reports using AIM Insights?

Every month, direct reports are sent an automated survey from the AIM Insights platform. The average monthly survey is about 10 questions long and takes about two minutes each. The end of every quarter culminates with a 50-question survey, which is still fairly short, amounting to about 5-8 minutes each. 

Each of these surveys will have questions pertaining to the following categories:

·         General Overview questions- introductory questions acquainting executive coaches with direct reports
·         Performance Questions-  Questions discussing Performance and Task Completion and Rigor over the past 30 days
·         Goal Questions- Questions asking about some of the Direct Reports’ Goals over the near future
·         Work Orientation Questions- Questions regarding how an employee views work
·         Job/Career/Calling Outcome Questions- Questions pertaining to how a direct report views work, and what they hope to achieve from their occupation
·         Engagement Questions- Questions asking about how an individual feels about their involvement at work

The end goal of these questions is to get a better understanding of what you should discuss within your 1:1s. Proper communication can allow a tailored 1:1, which is just overall more beneficial to both you and your direct reports. Tailoring these periodic discussions allows you to eliminate answers to questions you both already know and have a healthier conversation. 

How can you improve your Direct Report Engagement using AIM Insights?

            Similar to other HRIS systems, AIM insights has a task management and assignment feature. This allows you to determine priorities, importance, deadlines, and many other important factors in goal setting. More importantly, you can also assess your direct reports’ goals, and then enter your own feedback through the program on how these tasks were completed. 

            AIM Insights Executive Coaches can analyze all of this data as well and give you additional feedback on your goals. For example, take this anecdote into account:

            Imagine you have a direct report; let’s name him Bryce. He is an entry-level direct report, recruited straight from his university, and is still fresh to workplace dynamics. Bryce has been noted to prioritize his work/life balance, being an avid golfer and about to be married. You recognize that Bryce has a large amount of potential, and thus, plan to give him more responsibilities. Therefore, you give him direct control of an extensive project requiring constant attention and feedback and cannot be accomplished within 40 hours a week. Instead, it would require about 80 hours of attention to complete.

 To your dismay, instead of showing excitement and anticipation with this new responsibility, he declines the opportunity and hands in his two-week notice to Human Resources. Despite the fact that you had been giving him more out-of-work opportunities, and more and more responsibilities, he chose to leave. What went wrong?

            If you had more information about your direct reports, you would have been able to see how you made a mistake interacting with Bryce. With Ambition in Motion, the monthly surveys and executive coaches would have alerted you to the fact that Bryce is a Job Oriented Professional. Consequently, it is frustrating for him to lose control and freedom over his life. He would not have been the best candidate for this role, which would be better suited to someone who is Career Oriented.

            It’s okay to have trouble with communication. What matters is how you address these flaws. AIM Insights can make a large difference in how you fix this. 

Sun 31 July 2022
The great resignation has impacted companies in many ways, and this has helped employees gain more leverage. Companies gave out inflated titles and higher salaries to lure workers, and organizations became less concerned about hiring people with frequent job changes in recent years. 

More recently, however, rising inflation is causing fear of an imminent recession, and that volatility ends up diminishing the incentives for job-hopping. This may signal the beginning of a new post-great resignation era, but its consequences will continue to ripple out in the coming years. The companies that can successfully maneuver through this transition will be far better off than the companies that don’t.

The great resignation provided many companies with an opportunity for growth in the years to come, but this opportunity requires these companies to grapple with the effects of high managerial turnover. Many 1st or 2nd-year employees have had three or four different managers since starting work, and frequent manager turnover is a major drag on building an engaging and productive company culture. 

Some of these new managers are newly promoted novice managers from within the organization that must learn on the job. Others are highly experienced outside hires that must learn the company culture with a new team. And some new managers were outside-hires without any experience managing and had to learn how to manage a team while learning the company culture as well. These all can cause friction at the company, but even a perfect hire requires more than a few months to establish a resilient team culture that can handle turnover. 

Because of the transient nature of the great resignation, employees have become used to expecting to be working under a new manager every six months. This lack of consistent leadership has eroded the trust and sense of identity professionals have with their company and companies need to start addressing this now because this erosion will have lingering ramifications for years to come. 

Why?

Because professionals that identify with their organization are what make an organization profitable. I am a sports fan, so I will create a football analogy. Most general managers in the National Football League (NFL) prefer to build the core structure of their team through the NFL draft. Rookies have relatively cost-effective contracts and are locked into those contracts for 4-5 years. Once the rookie contract ends, NFL teams determine if players are worth the massive salaries that come with paying a veteran player. Considering that the NFL has a salary cap, there is a finite amount of money that can be spent on each player, so teams that win are the ones that can get the most ROI from their players and their contracts. 

Employees that identify with their company are like football players on their rookie contracts. They are creating a surplus for the team because they are providing more value than they are receiving. I am not suggesting that companies underpay their employees. But I am saying that employees that identify with the company in which they are working will go the extra mile to make sure their work is done right.

When those employees that identify with the company become leaders, this directly benefits the company. This increases their long-term value, and this effect is multiplied as their impact propagates across multiple direct reports. 

Granted, not all employees that identify with the company are great leaders – there is typically training that is necessary for these new managers to become effective leaders. 

But my argument is that leaders that don’t identify with their company will never go the extra mile to make sure that things are done right. They will follow core leadership tenets (if they are trained), clock in, and clock out. Going the extra mile just isn’t worth it for them because whether the company succeeds or fails isn’t a major factor to them. Under normal circumstances, this doesn’t usually matter. But sometimes a make-or-break moment arises, and team success, project success, or even company success will be determined by how one leader responds to a new situation.

How can you tell if your employees have formulated an identity within your company?

One early indicator is in the words people use to refer to the company, especially around people outside the company. If they refer to the company as “they” or “them” or “it” instead of “us” or “we”, that is typically an indicator that they don’t strongly identify with the company.

Another indicator comes from responding to bad news. If bad news comes out about the company or if the company is going through a particularly stressful time, how leadership responds will be a critical factor for employees. Are your leaders going to defend the company and work through it? Or are they going to deny responsibility and make excuses?

Employees that identify with their company will go far to defend their company and ensure its success. And when things are stressful, they will stay late, take on extra tasks, and do what is necessary to make the team succeed.

Why?

Because they identify the company’s success with their success. When the company succeeds, these employees feel a sense of pride in the company. When the company makes a mistake, they feel it and want to be better.

Therefore, companies that can build that sense of identity faster than others are the ones that will succeed.

Before spending any money on leadership training and developing managers into effective coaches, mentors, and leaders, companies first need to focus on making sure that all their managers identify with the company and know how to inspire that same mindset in their direct reports.

The best way to increase the number of employees that identify with the company is by increasing engagement.

Engagement is the combination of:

·        The amount of energy employees receive from doing the work
·        The connection employees feel to the mission of the company
·        The camaraderie employees have with fellow employees
·        How much the work complements their strengths

Your plan for increasing the amount of employees that identify with the business should start with increasing all four categories of engagement. 

Therefore, if you are a business owner or leader, the questions you should be asking yourself are:

·         What are we doing to ensure that employees are getting into flow when they do their work? Are we scheduling meetings at inconvenient times for them? Are we creating bottlenecks for them from doing the work that they get energy from doing? What are we doing to help our employees manage their time? How can we help them spend more time on tasks that give them energy and optimize the time for the work that detracts from it?
·         What are we doing to connect the mission of the company to their own personal mission and goals in life? Are we tactlessly shoving the corporate mission down their throats? Or is our mission an uninspired afterthought that’s rarely shared? Are we adequately meeting the mission on our end or is there a blind spot between leadership and the rest of the company?
·         Are we creating an environment in which employees can have a good time together on non-work tasks? – Most companies are pretty good at this but this is only ¼ of the equation for boosting engagement.
·         What are we doing to identify our employees’ strengths and how are we putting them in a position to succeed? Are we only promoting strong individual contributors to management roles, even though the skills set to be successful as a manager is different than the individual role they were performing?

Companies that can set a plan to boost engagement faster than other companies will become an ideal destination for prospective employees that want to work for a company in which their employees will work hard for them because they identify with the company. 

Tue 2 August 2022
In the last couple of months, Sam’s team has grown immensely. They have good ideas, insights, and most importantly, engagement and the ambition to work together and take on more has spiked. 
Sam’s team’s engagement levels have been increasingly growing, making his team and company much stronger and ultimately more successful. However, he doesn’t have any quantitative results to show this because of economic and regulatory factors that have impacted his team’s ability to achieve the results they set out at the beginning of the quarter (before the economic and regulatory changes occurred).
It takes time and effort to grow a team to reach success. If people aren’t engaged, then a team’s overall efficiency and success rates will reflect that. However, when a team is engaged, the company is open to reaching high levels of success. 
In Sam’s case, the CEO found their lack of quantitative results concerning. Going into the meeting, Sam was excited to present their team’s growth and improvement as a unit. How can Sam approach this conversation with his boss, and show the team’s growth and improvement over the last couple of months, without quantitative results? 
 
Here are some helpful tips when having a performance review discussion with a boss who doesn’t think you’ve accomplished much: 
 
Mentally prepare yourself before the conversation
Before entering the meeting, tell yourself that regardless of how the meeting goes, it's just a meeting about one individual's perspective of your performance. Performance discussions are simply a way for you to receive information and feedback about how you're performing in a particular position within the company. 
It isn't an evaluation of your personal worth or how you would perform in a different position or with a different company. Don't take the feedback too personally. Instead, use their comments as you see fit to improve at your job and interact with colleagues.
 
Think before you react
When receiving negative feedback for poor work performance, it can stir some emotions that can quickly surface. If this happens to you, do your best to take a deep breath and count to three before you react with an outburst that might make matters worse. It's best to take the time to listen to your manager's input and allow yourself a few days to process the information before reacting or responding. 
If this is a case where your boss may not realize that your team is growing stronger and making improvements as a unit, but may not have reached a big goal yet, you can take a moment to show your boss that you hear what they’re saying, and then communicate the growth that is progressing between you and your team. At the end of the day, your boss may not empathize why regulatory/economic/any other factor outside of your control is impacting your team’s ability to perform, but it is critical that your boss understands that they are occurring and that your team is pivoting and making improvements given the circumstances.
 
Ask your boss for a performance improvement plan
If you believe there is validity to your manager's points, ask for an improvement plan that outlines specific goals and objectives. Make sure you align with your manager on specific ways to improve your work performance. This is a radical suggestion as typically performance improvement plans come from the top down. But if you specifically ask for it and craft it with your leader, you can control the outcomes in which you are being measured against versus them determining them for you (without their empathy or understanding of the situation).
The goals and objectives should be specific and quantitative with a specified time in which to reach them; the more specific, the clearer it will be that you have met the goals as requested.
 
Keep the communication open
Ask your manager if you could schedule some regular meetings with him or her so you can discuss your progress and the current state of performance. 
Having regular communication with your manager is beneficial regardless of performance, but especially when performance is a concern. 
Every month with AIM Insights, direct reports are sent to an automated survey from the AIM Insights platform. The average monthly survey is about 10 questions long and takes about two minutes each. The end of every quarter culminates with a 50-question survey, which is still fairly short, amounting to about 5-8 minutes each. 
 
 
Seek training and education
Ask your manager for suggestions or training resources that could help you improve in the work areas that were identified as your problem areas.
This type of action demonstrates initiative and shows that you genuinely care about your work performance.
Another simple and easy way to demonstrate this initiative is via AIM Insights.
Similar to other HRIS systems, AIM insights has a task management and assignment feature. This allows you to determine priorities, importance, deadlines, and many other important factors in goal setting. More importantly, you can also assess your direct reports’ goals, and then enter your own feedback through the program on how these tasks were completed. 
AIM Insights Executive Coaches can analyze all of this data as well and give you additional feedback on your goals.
 
 
Work with a career or personal coach
If you're struggling at work and genuinely want to improve, consider hiring a career or personal coach to help you. 
Sometimes hiring a coach can be very expensive. One cost-effective way to get coaching is via AIM Insights.
Not only can AIM Insights seamlessly work with the HRIS systems you already have in use, but it can then proceed to add to your current processes. Direct reports are sent regular monthly surveys to complete, which are then reviewed by AIM Insights Executive Coaches. After this review, these coaches will then discuss these responses with you and your fellow managers to see how you can improve and what topics you should discuss within your direct report 1:1s.   
These surveys are anonymous and are only between direct reports and AIM Insights. With anonymity, direct reports are more likely to give candid feedback, and more thorough feedback. The surveys do not require much time and are easy to take.  
 
 
Why is it important to track employee engagement as a form of team progression?
To analyze employee engagement, you need to know what your organization is doing well and where you can improve. Knowing how to measure employee engagement is the jumping-off point for evolving your engagement strategy.
Some things are easy to measure because they are concrete, individual concepts: like the time it takes you to drive to work or how many red lights you can hit without being late. But employee engagement is a bit more difficult. It isn’t concrete, and it’s influenced by many factors.
 
Before we talk about measuring engagement, let’s review how we define it:
Employee engagement is the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their places of work.
According to Gallup, organizations with highly engaged employees have 17% higher productivity and 21% higher profitability. 
Bottom line: engaged employees work harder and stay longer.
 
Here are some key benefits of measuring employee engagement:
 
  1. To build trust. Asking for feedback from employees shows that you care about their opinions and how they feel at work. Prove that you’re there to listen and you want to create the best experience possible.
  2. To help everyone understand what’s going on. Once you have the data—share it with everyone—leaders, managers, and front-line employees. This gives everyone the opportunity to help contribute to a better culture.
  3. To understand trends. Understand what’s happening in your organization by location, team, over time, or compared to industry benchmarks. Keep a pulse on how and where the organization is (or isn’t) progressing.
Engagement is the culmination of how team members feel about:
·         Their camaraderie with other team members
·         Amount of energy they receive from doing the work
·         Whether or not the work compliments their strengths
·         How much they align to the mission of the company
 
How can I showcase my employee engagement?
            One unique element of AIM Insights is its ability to deliver data on a team-by-team basis in terms of engagement. E.g. it can inform me how engaged my team is which impacts engagement, productivity, and retention.
            There’s no better way to ensure that your managers are the utmost prepared to lead at your workplace than the AIM Insights People Leader Certification. 
            After all, managers and leaders provide direction to staff and ensure they are performing at or above expectations. They need to have the ability to assess problems, manage situations, and provide sensible solutions.
 
            Even if you haven’t had any big recent wins, tracking your overall employee engagement and metrics that showcase that you have been able to pivot, despite not many tangible outcomes yet, allows you to see your team’s progress over a period of time and show your boss that you are putting in the work to get on track.
Tue 2 August 2022
It is exceedingly important to build an environment conducive to allowing team members to communicate with each other as well as with you, their manager. This is particularly important as it pertains to feedback.

                In fact, according to Gallup, managers who receive feedback on their strengths and weaknesses show an 8.9% increase in profitability, while teams with managers that gave feedback report a 12.5% increase in profitability. 

                Feedback can truly add to the workplace. But while it is often a stated responsibility for a manager to give critical feedback, it is often difficult to encourage your direct reports to give feedback as well. This is a concept known as 360-degree feedback or two-way feedback. And you can alleviate this problem in a few ways. 

Creating an environment in which Feedback is appreciated

                Whenever you inherit or create a team, you should have a good 1:1 with any member of staff. This should help you not only inspire your team and show them your mindset but also allow you to set an environment in advance. While in this meeting, you should not hesitate to explain how you value both giving and receiving feedback, but also explain why you value this so much. The key is creating a culture where people feel enough psychological safety to give feedback – not a passive-aggressive culture that says the right words but doesn’t deliver psychological safety.

                In addition to this, you should also model certain behaviors through your own work to help demonstrate your passion for this. Try doing some of the following:

1)      Show interest in what your direct reports are doing- keeping a common image of you caring for their interests will help foster this environment where they don’t feel uncomfortable with conversations with you.
2)      Accept your mistakes and acknowledge them- most people will feel more comfortable with telling someone if they’ve made a mistake if this person frequently acknowledges their errors. Own up to your mistakes!
3)      Recognize the power dynamic- To your direct reports, you rank higher than them. There is an inherent power difference here, and it is natural for them to be nervous about calling you out. 
4)      Read Implicit Language- Before asking for feedback, it is important to figure out the ideal time and appropriateness of asking for feedback. Sometimes, when an employee is particularly stressed, they may not be able to give the most effective feedback. 
5)      Take Immediate Action- If you are getting feedback from your direct reports and proceeding to not act on it, do you really think that they will be giving you any more feedback in the future? Taking action on feedback signifies your dedication to your direct reports, as well as how much respect you have for them. Not acting on it would show that you either don’t care or don’t respect their feedback. Don’t be that person. 

How to Receive Feedback as a Manager

                Ironically, the same way that your employees should receive feedback is the exact same way that you should receive feedback. This is a process of grace and dignity. Here are some concepts to keep in mind while accepting feedback.

1)      Be an Active Listener- Being an active listener means asking for details, presenting interested body language, and being polite. Leaning in, using facial language, and using hand gestures are all good examples of body language. It is important to let the other person speak, and not try to stifle them though. 
2)      Cross-Check Feedback- The more people that are saying a specific topic, the higher chance that this topic holds true. For example, if most of your direct reports are noting that you have trouble issuing deadlines, then this is probably a very discerning feature of yours. If a topic is mentioned by one direct report, it still is worth looking into, but the more frequent a topic is, the higher priority it should be.
3)      Be Polite- This should go without saying, but at any point, if you feel that you are getting emotional, adjourn the meeting or discussion in favor of a later date. It is not a good idea to have emotions while in this discussion. 
4)      Ask for Examples- Anecdotes and specific examples can be very handy for the effectiveness of feedback. If an employee says that you have trouble delegating duties, it may be hard to understand how. But imagine if you received this feedback: “During the period of time that we were working with company A, you had a lot of tasks on your plate while we were unused, and you were frequently irritable.” That says a thousand times more than the former feedback. 
5)      Be Aware of What you Say or Do- The actions that you take while and after receiving feedback can dictate your entire reputation in the office.  If you overreact in front of one of your direct reports, imagine how the rest of them will feel about giving you feedback. 

Using Services to Garner Feedback

HRIS systems can often be your best friend in terms of getting feedback from your direct reports. Many of them can automatically prompt direct reports to submit their own feedback. 

Ambition In Motion also offers a service known as AIM Insights, which can assist you with communication between you and your direct reports. Each month, a survey is sent out to your direct reports to fill out. The most important questions on this survey pertain to performance, task completion, and rigor over a period of time. These allow you to get candid feedback and then see how your direct reports feel about their tasks.  

In addition to that, AIM Insights’ Executive Coaches will give further evaluation and feedback to you and your fellow managers. Feedback between you and your direct reports can also be anonymous, allowing your employees to feel safer expressing their opinions.  

Sometimes, it’s not only scary to receive feedback or criticism but equally scary to give it. Understand the position that your employees are in, because at the end of the day, it is their company just as much as it is yours. You might organize them, but their day-to-day work will define the company. Let them make it a better place for themselves, as well as you and your fellow managers. Be empathetic, welcoming, and an active listener, and you will turn out just fine. 

Wed 10 August 2022
"The customer is always right; The customer comes first." 
We've all heard these mantras, either as part of our jobs or as customers ourselves in the marketing materials of countless businesses. 
However, extensive research shows that customer satisfaction is more effectively built by first focusing on employee happiness.
 
At the July Executive Symposium last Thursday, July 28, 2022, Todd Coerver, CEO of P. Terry’s Burger stand stated his belief that “the customer is not always right.” 
He demonstrated the way that he invests in his employees because investing in them is just as critical as investing in the company. 
Coerver’s stance on the always-known “customer is always right” rule poses the question: “Is employee loyalty more important than customer loyalty?”
 
The idea of putting employees before customers seems counterintuitive, but it's not entirely new. 
Over 20 years ago, a group of business professors from Harvard University had been working on a model that validated this concept. James Heskett, Thomas Jones, Gary Loveman, W. Earl Sasser, and Leonard Schlesinger were comparing results from their own studies and synthesizing other research to construct a model to explain the outstanding success of the most profitable service-based companies.
 
It began with Sasser’s research, conducted with his former student Fred Reichheld. The duo took aim at a long-standing assumption of business: market share is the primary driver of profitability. If a company can increase market share, it will increase sales while taking advantage of economies of scale to lower costs and thus increase profits. 
When the pair examined a variety of companies and the existing research, however, they found that while market share is one factor in profitability, another factor better explains the most profitable companies: customer loyalty
Based on their research, Sasser and Reichheld estimated that a mere 5% increase in customer loyalty can yield a 25 to 85% increase in profitability. 
This finding laid the foundation for the five Harvard professors’ search for the causes of customer loyalty. After studying dozens of companies and troves of research, they created a model that tracked the origins of customer loyalty. 
They called it the "service-profit chain."
 
The service-profit chain links together several elements of the business model in a linear relationship: Profit and growth are driven by customer loyalty
 
But first let’s take a step back… How is customer loyalty achieved? 
Loyalty is influenced by customer satisfaction.
Customer satisfaction is stimulated by a high perception of the value of the service.
Value is the result of productive employees. 
Productivity stems from employee satisfaction.
 
Put another way, profits are driven by customer loyalty, customer loyalty is driven by employee satisfaction, and employee satisfaction is driven by putting employees first.
 
According to Forbes, a recent study demonstrated that managers play a significant role in employees’ satisfaction and the service-profit chain. 
A trio of researchers led by Richard Netemeyer of the University of Virginia collected data from a single retail chain that included 306 store managers, 1,615 customer-employee interactions, and 57,656 customers. 
The researchers were testing the effect of managers’ performance and satisfaction on employees, and hence its effect on customers’ satisfaction and the overall performance of the managers’ stores.
 
They found that managers’ actions, customer satisfaction, and store financial performance were indeed linked. These results support the argument that management’s support of employees significantly contributes to Heskett and his colleagues at Harvard internal service quality, the first link in the service-profit chain. 
The findings from the research of Netemeyer and his team also suggest that flipping the organizational chart really works. 
It’s essential that managers understand that their role is to support employee satisfaction and hence customer satisfaction, in no small part because their success in this role clearly has a major impact on the financial performance of their company.
 
The belief shared by many corporate leaders that hierarchies ought to be flipped and customers put second is simple in theory, but difficult to put into practice. 
Turning the organization around requires turning loyalties around. 
Leaders must demonstrate that their loyalty is to employees first, trusting that their employees will then be more loyal and caring to their customers. 
It’s a big gamble, but the results speak for themselves.
 
How can you demonstrate an employee loyalty policy in your workplace? 
 
All companies want to attract the best possible talent to their workplace. But who would want to work with a company that treats its members as disposable assets?
Investing in your employees is a great business opportunity, and it builds a solid reputation for your company. 
People want to work for organizations that promote their growth and value their opinions. 
When you recognize the importance and value of your employees, you remind your team what you’re working towards, and what they’re doing right, which in turn, inspires them to keep doing better. 
This plethora of inspiration and praise allows for a more open-minded environment for idealization between you and your direct reports. Engaging in your team will allow for an engaged work environment at your organization. 
If you’re looking for an efficient way to track your progress with your team as you engage in them, AIM Insights ensures visibility over all ongoing activities: task performance, manager performance, organizational citizenship, team performance, and goals for direct reports. 
Implementing employee loyalty at your organization is great. But tracking overall performance throughout this process will be crucial to understanding its impacts long-term. 
 
Just like the research that Harvard professors, James Heskett, Thomas Jones, Gary Loveman, W. Earl Sasser, and Leonard Schlesinger conducted, happy employees equal happy customers. 
When you inform your employees that the customer is always right, it pits the employees against the customers, with the customers always coming out on top. This creates problems on multiple levels.
 
●     It undermines the authority and control of the employees.
●     It often causes employee resentment against managers.
●     It signals that management supports customers more than employees.
●     It shows a lack of trust that employees can appropriately resolve difficult situations.
 
The reality is, supporting your employees will lead to happier customers.
It’s important to remember to take your employees’ side in a positive way so that the customer understands that you and your employees are the experts of your business, and you aim to help the customer. 
However, some customers may not be happy if they are not treated as though they are correct, and that is okay. 
Believe it or not, there are some customers you do NOT want. If a customer constantly complains, abuses employees, or creates stress for your company, they’re not worth it. It doesn’t matter how much money they pay.
 
A bad customer:
 
●     Erodes employee morale
●     Requires an unusually high amount of resources
●     Increases employee stress levels
 
 
There may be times when you have to “fire” a customer in order to protect your company and employees. If you’re planning on staying in business for the long haul, you need to avoid terrible customers.
Dropping bad customers may cost you a little revenue in the short term, but it’s better in the long term for your business.
Wed 10 August 2022
Management is often a position of mentorship in addition to leadership. One important aspect of mentorship is education, and consequently, many companies are willing to sponsor some form of education or professional development for their employees. After all, better employees equate to better profitability and efficiency

                However, it often comes as an unpleasant surprise that the professional development budgets are often frequently underutilized, or even worse, unused. What makes it even worse is that some of your direct reports don’t even know what they have access to. In a survey by Guardian in 2017, only 49% of employees could accurately recite what benefits they selected.  Thus, you might ask, “How can we get our direct reports to make use of the corporate education advantages?” The answer is far easier than you might think.

What is Corporate Education Sponsorship?

                Corporate Education Sponsorships are a phenomenon in which a Direct Report chooses to participate in further education or certification at the company’s expense. According to Statista, 47% of companies offer this in some aspect, and an additional 8% offer student loan repayment.

                Most companies actually prefer this over formal training and talent development programs, due to many inherent benefits of sponsorship.

Why should you offer Corporate Sponsorships to your Direct Reports?

                These sponsorships allow you as a manager to set up the best possible employee workforce that you could ever ask for. Sponsorship works as a development program, an engagement system, and even a recruiting incentive. 

                Think about it from your employees’ perspectives, and you can easily see how this would be an amazing recruiting opportunity. Not only would an employee have the potential to get a degree, thus expanding their skills, but would also be able to move up in the company ladder, and consequently get more pay.

                From a managerial perspective, you receive just as many benefits. First of all, at the end of the day, you will have better educated and more skilled employees. This alone balances out the cost of the programs. According to Human Capital Theory by Dr. Arnaud Chevalier and Gary Becker, higher education increases productivity. 

                Also, you will have loyalty from your direct reports. If a company were to pay for your education, and their only condition is for you to stay and work for them for a certain amount of time, you’d definitely buy into the company culture a little more than before. 

                An even better perk for your company is that you can often claim tax breaks, credits, or deductions. The IRS has been pushing for companies to fund employee education, and if a company meets certain guidelines regarding education, they have some options available to them regarding taxes.   

                On a more personal note, I was able to benefit from Company Education Sponsorships, and it completely changed my life as I serve as a paramedic.

                A Paramedic, or even an EMT Certification costs thousands of dollars, and as an individual barely out of high school, I had no way of easily affording this. However, a local rescue squad offered to fund this in exchange for me working with them for at least 6 months. I was able to pursue my certification, which I had originally planned to defer for a couple years, and consequently, was able to make my dream come true much earlier than anticipated. I went on hundreds of calls, some of which included lifesaving measures, along with medical evacuation, and was often the only Paramedic on duty at times. I was able to give back to the squad that paid for me to receive this advantage, while still benefitting.

How should you offer these Company Advantages?

                There are generally two different ways that Corporate Education Advantages operate. The first method is through reimbursement. This means that your direct reports will undergo their certification or education, and then upon completion, your company then compensates them for the cost of their education.

                Alternatively, your company could sponsor a direct report’s education, paying for it from the point of enrollment. This is often paired with a contractual requirement for the direct report to finish their coursework or risk having to pay back the cost of the degree or certification.  

                Regardless of the method, most companies also require a minimum amount of time served at the company after receiving a sponsorship or reimbursement.              

What Advantages should you sponsor?

                Typically, companies can sponsor a variety of degrees, certifications, or programs. The main consideration is that it is a relevant field to that of your industry. Here are some of the most common sponsorship targets:

·         GED- Some employees may have had extenuating circumstances while they were in high school and were forced to drop out. A GED can completely change their life.
·         Bachelor’s Degree- Undergraduate education can often have a fiscal barrier, which some individuals might not be in the best financial status to pursue.
·         Master’s Degree- Postgraduate degrees are often pursued only after experience in the workforce. Sponsoring this and combining it with a work agreement can result in an extremely valuable employee
·         CPA- This one is only common within the accounting field but is frequently sponsored. 
·         PhD- Sponsoring these is much rarer, and it is only really common to have a PhD program sponsored within the clinical or scientific fields. 
·         People Leader Certifications - This type of certification is a much newer innovation and provides quality education and experience for a fraction of the price of an MBA. While these certifications are often offered by educational institutions, companies such as Ambition In Motion have pioneered their own versions of this, such as the AIM Insights People Leader Certification.

Advertising Your Company Incentives

                Getting your direct reports to be aware of what exactly they have access to begins with the job posting. According to Gallop, 64% of workers cited significant increases in income or benefits as “very important.” So, wouldn’t it make sense to advertise using these incentives? Recruiting fairs, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and Handshake, among others, should not only list financial benefits, but also some incentives, such as Corporate Sponsorships, insurance, time off, and any other associated perks.

                In addition to this, any new employee orientation or in-service should always reiterate the opportunities available to direct reports. The more times that this is brought up, the more likely an employee is to look into this. 

                Have your benefit companies come advertise with you as well. For example, if you have an MBA sponsorship, have a professor or dean come and speak about the merits of getting an MBA. Using these advertisements helps your credibility. 

                Also, create partnerships with local schools and certifying boards! See if they can reduce prices with you in exchange for exclusivity deals and similar concessions. Cut costs and see what you can do.

                An education can completely change an individual’s life and improve your own business as a result. It feels like a no-brainer. So don’t be afraid to push your company incentives. 

Sat 20 August 2022
Executive Coaches are qualified professionals who work with individuals- primarily executives but also high-performing employees- to help them improve in many ways.  They often work with these leaders on goal setting, goal achievement, communication, and act as a sounding board for ideas. 

Normally, this can cost quite a pretty penny- up to $3,000 an hour. However, Ambition In Motion has created a new program facilitating executive coaches and mentorship which only costs $150 a month. But how does this happen? What makes AIM Insights so different?

Why is it so important to have Executive Coaches?

Executive coaches often have extremely high business acumen. Whatever some of your goals may be, they can help you accomplish them. An impartial third party can often help judge your ideas as well. Because they will keep your information confidential as well, they can really create a relationship built upon helping you and improving your business and ease your fears about corporate espionage or similar topics. 

Another benefit of having an executive coach is that they often have extensive experience to draw upon. Every coach has led a team, founded a business, sold a business, or done something in their respective industry to warrant being hired solely for an advisory position.  

               Executive coaches can also point out weaknesses far easier than someone connected to your company. It is always easier to find an error if you are objective towards what you are auditing, which does hold true for executive coaches. 

               Think of an executive coach similar to how you would think of an athletic coach. No one would argue that Lionel Messi is one of the greatest players to have ever played soccer, or that Tom Brady is one of the greatest football players ever. However, despite both their respective skills, both of them have made use of coaches and improved their already formidable skills. The same concept holds true for you as a manager. Regardless of performance, everyone should have a mentor and educator in their back pocket. 

How can AIM Insights be provided at a far more cost-effective rate compared to traditional executive coaching?

               The key question here is how a cost is determined for Executive Coaches. After all, with a steep cost, you’d be curious. Typically, these coaches spend hours upon hours in what is known as the discovery process. This involves reading over 1:1s, checking exit interviews, reading performance reviews, looking at goals and successes, and so much more. Naturally, with hourly pay, this will add up, hence the high costs. 

               However, with AIM Insights, the platform automates this entire discovery process for the executive coaches, condensing it into easy-to-read graphics and briefs. This saves them quite a few hours and allows them to not only be able to work with their clients faster, but also to reduce their costs. 

               In addition to this, executive coaches tend to be great at their craft, executive coaching, but if assessing the total amount of time they are working, for example, the time it takes to develop business (online or in-person), there is a lot of total time spent in the process of serving a client. Ambition In Motion can once again automate this process. By creating a marketplace where coaches and managers can come together, coaches can spend their time coaching and developing business by showcasing their abilities as a coach. 

How else does AIM Insights differ from other executive coaching programs?

               One of the most important things that can be written about AIM Insights is that it can be completely tailored to your specific scenario. Picture the following: Your water heater burst overnight, and you and your family wake up to six inches of water in your living room. Who would you call to fix this?

               In this case, you are probably most likely to call a plumber. And why might you call a plumber as opposed to a general contractor or a handyman? The answer is obvious- the plumber specializes in this type of scenario.

               Executive coaching works in the exact same way. One executive coach cannot be good at all aspects of leadership. With AIM Insights’ pool of executive coaches, the tool can provide leaders with a coach who will be more experienced with their specific field and problems. 

               For example, AIM Insights has coaches that specialize in coaching sales leaders, others that specialize in coaching tech leaders, others that specialize in certain personality assessments like DISC, Strengthsfinder, Predictive Index, and Culture Index, and many other areas. The point is that multiple coaches can be assigned to a company based on their needs and drivers. Essentially, it is a marketplace where managers and executive coaches can come together.

               AIM Insights executive coaching can also be paired with a full people leader certification program, in contrast to others. Certifications are often much cheaper than postgraduate education, and can also provide unique benefits that are more tailored to your actual career.

               Executive Coaching can be nerve-wracking and can be expensive. But you don’t have to let it be either of the two. 
Sat 20 August 2022
Coaching enhances performance. It can benefit anyone, not just athletes. Just like athletes, leaders are under pressure to perform every day. And just like with athletes, coaching is the best way to ensure that leaders can perform at a high level.
Workplace coaching is a burgeoning industry with a growing body of literature to support it. In this article, we break down workplace coaching, how it works, and how you can use it to help grow your organization.
 
What is executive coaching? 
Executive coaches work with business leaders to enable their rapid development. They also assist with specific problems that a board member, or senior manager, wants to work through outside of the normal business framework. 
Unlike training, 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.
 
What are the main uses of executive coaching? 
There are many uses of executive coaching but the most common reasons for engaging a coach include the following:
 
●       Onboarding or Transitioning: when a board member or senior manager is promoted, coaching can quickly help them prepare for their new role. It's also a very useful method for helping someone who is transitioning from one area of responsibility to another at the same level.
●       High Potential: individuals who are identified as having real talent, can often be coached to accelerate their personal development within an organization.
●       Organizational Change: coaching can support transformative business programs to ensure that leadership can keep pace with change.
●       Neutral Party Support: sometimes the executive will need to run ideas over a sounding board to be better able to articulate them in their own business.
●       Personal Effectiveness Programs: if the executive themselves plays a coaching role, for example in their management position or during 360-degree review processes, coaching can help them develop their own approach.
 
Why is executive coaching important in the workplace?
Coaching enables leaders to deal with the unknown.
The workplace is a dynamic environment, characterized by turnover and volatile market forces. The beauty of coaching is that leaders do not need to know everything in order to be effective; instead, they need to know how to empower those around them.
Executive coaching gives businesses a way of developing their senior staff in a cost-effective and timely manner. 
Coaching sessions enable the staff member to concentrate on the issues that are most critical to their performance, without the fluff of lengthy training courses. They allow the director or manager to remain at their post whilst developing and thus don't take away from their contribution to the business.
It can be said that executive coaching is one of the most important methods for improving the skills of your leaders and directors. 
It should be easy to demonstrate a clear return on investment for this kind of coaching. And anything that has a positive impact on the bottom line is something that your business should be considering.
 
Identifying Your Workplace’s Coaching Needs
If you are interested in bringing a coach on board, there are several ways to identify the coaching needs of your workplace.
First, you can bring in a consultant with expertise in gathering information in organizations through surveys, assessments, and interviews.
There is no better way to identify needs than by talking to the people involved in your organization. 
In this case, you can select a sampling of your staff to interview, asking them about the skills and resources that they feel they need to do their job effectively.
If you feel that employees are not giving honest feedback or you are stuck, it may be time to bring in a consultant.
 
Find the best-fit executive coach for your company’s needs 
            AIM Insights has hundreds of executive coaches that specialize in specific areas of expertise: sales, technology, operations, etc. 
            Fill out our executive coaching form and the AIM Insights team will pair you with the right executive coach for you. You also have the option to be put on a rotation over a period of time with multiple executive coaches that specialize in different areas of business. 
Regardless, these pairings are made based on metrics and feedback tested by AIM Insights. When you begin, you will be asked to take assessments that will generate the most effective executive coaches for you. 
This can even be done through the AIM Insights People Leader Certification program, where you will be paired with an experienced coach, personalized to your field of management, working with you through gaining a management certification to excel in your career. 
What difference does AIM Insights bring to executive coaching? 
Lots of benefits at a fraction of the cost. 
There are two reasons why AIM Insights is cost-effective: 
 
1.     The insights from the initial assessments done on the executive client allow the executive coach to have enough feedback and guidance to give to the manager immediately 
2.     This is more effective than the executive coach going out and marketing themselves on LinkedIn, commenting on posts with no guarantee that they will be given a job. By creating a marketplace for managers and executive coaches to come together, coaches can spend more time coaching.
            
AIM Insights has hundreds of executive coaches, ready to guide you at a customized level. If you want to see efficient, long-lasting improvements within your organization, and you believe that executive training can benefit you, set up a meeting to speak with the AIM Insights team and find out how you can get started with a customized executive coaching program
 
As Bill Gates said:
 
“Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player. We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” 
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.
Tue 30 August 2022
In a time when more and more workplace injuries are occurring, it is important for managers and leaders to improve safety in the workplace, particularly in areas where there is a higher risk of injury. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,  the Construction and Manufacturing industries make up 10 of the top 15 fields where injuries occur in the workplace. 

                      Safety incidents don’t even solely affect the workers involved. They also have a strong trickle-up effect, as a result of fines, litigation, and replacement training. In 2022, Dollar General was struck with a 1.3 million dollar fine by the Department of Labor for staggeringly dangerous work environments, including but not limited to obstructed exit routes, missing sprinklers, and inaccessible electrical panels. 

                      With all of this in mind, managers should not only care about their profit line but about the safety of their direct reports. But how can these leaders improve safety in the workplace while still maintaining their profits? 

Safety Costs Associated with Incidents

                      The first cost that a manager should recognize is one of the steepest scaling costs in the manufacturing industry- the EMR, or experience modifier rate. This is a number that insurance agencies will use to determine premiums and compensation rates. EMRs are determined based on a specific company’s historical cost of injuries and future risk chances. This number is then compared with the average losses other companies accrue in a specific state. 

                      The average EMR tends to gravitate around 1.0. The lower an EMR is, the lower the compensation amounts are, which also applies vice versa as well. In addition, the higher an EMR is, the higher the insurance premiums are. EMRs are considered to be very accurate due to a concept known as Experience Rating, which states that history tends to repeat itself. Losses in the future will probably be similar to those of the past. 

                      EMRs are extremely important in the Manufacturing and Construction Industry for one sole reason. Every business in these industries is required by State and Federal Law to have the following insurance coverages: 

·        General Liability Insurance
·        Professional Liability Insurance
·        Vehicle and Auto Insurance
·        Inland Marine Insurance (Refers to any equipment that is towed)
·        Contractor License Bonds
·        Workers Compensation Insurance

              Some states may even require further insurance. All of these insurances have periodic costs known as premiums, which can be increased depending on how often the insurance was used. Imagine how quickly this can add up. Insurance can be extremely expensive. It is important to note that insurance does not always cover negligent activity.

              Businesses should also account for costs associated with OSHA requirements. OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and is the federal board charged with “ensuring safe and healthy working conditions by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance”. They can also audit workplaces, and determine if they are in violation of safety protocol. 

              OSHA also mandates that workers receive a certain amount of company-funded training. This is required to be kept up to date and does get checked frequently as well, so it can’t be completed in-house and under the radar. For example, when I worked as a lifeguard, I was required to receive training in managing bloodborne exposure, basic and advanced first aid, bodily waste management, and hazardous chemical management. 

How does a manager improve safety in the workplace?

              The first step in adding safety to the workplace is to conduct very thorough examinations of your personnel, equipment, and workspace. 

                      Personnel examination refers to checking any of their personal certifications and doing a thorough background check. Managers should also contact prior employers. User error is a common bane in the construction industry, and 86% of contractors admit to having made an error in the field. The severity of an error can make a very big difference, however. In addition to that, a common sanction placed on dangerous employees is for certifications to be voided. Checking into the history of a certification can make a big difference. While some managers believe that people may improve, it is important to remember that in the construction industry, safety should always be the number one priority. Background checks are important to read over due to potential liability. If a worker has been sued in the past for negligent behavior, bringing them onto staff could prove to be dangerous, and if a mistake is repeated, litigious. 

                      Equipment examination should be something that a manager not only trains workers on but should be proficient with themselves. Heavy machinery such as forklifts, cranes, and bulldozers, along with their associated equipment such as ratchets, braces, and supports should always be examined before any use. In addition to this, managers should frequently bring in experts and mechanics to determine the safety and longevity of their specialized equipment. While yes, these machines are expensive and built to last, nothing can be left up to chance with them, due to the inherent danger that they pose. 

                      Workplace examination is something that an outside entity or inspector should assess. The ideal goal of this is to ensure OSHA Compliance, as well as to ensure that the workplace is a safe area to be within.  OSHA will also conduct this examination, for a fee

                      The next step in adding safety to the workplace is to create a proper education program. Managers should facilitate a space in which it is not only okay but welcomed for workers to ask questions about safety compliance and regulations. The environment should be designed in a way to offer as many educational opportunities as possible for this. In my experience as a paramedic, I was also required to attend monthly in-services, where we would have our squad leader going over every safety feature and regulation in not only the house but also on our ambulances.  This not only gave us refreshers on the safety tools already present but ones that were brand new as well. This actually ended up saving one of my coworkers’ lives. In our in-service, we were taught about the C02 Fire Suppression System within the AIRTIGHT server room connecting us to 9-1-1 Dispatchers and our radio systems. One very important thing that was noted was the fire axe planted next to the door. C02 Fire Suppression Systems are designed to be waterless and can extinguish a fire without creating a mess or damaging electronics. However, the C02 removes the oxygen from the room, strangling the fire. Naturally, this is incredibly dangerous for individuals in the room.  This system ended up triggering while a technician was working in the room. If he didn’t know where the axe was to break the window and allow oxygen to come into the room, he would’ve most likely suffocated to death. Thanks to his safety training, he was able to escape with his life. 

                      Another thing managers in the manufacturing industry can do to increase safety is to implement AIM Insights. AIM Insights and the subsequent AIM Insights People Leader Certification can help companies improve their safety by deploying a bottom-up approach to helping employees identify innovative solutions to improving safety and communication guidance from executive coaches on how to handle difficult situations when a manager has an employee not abiding by safety rules. 

                      Safety is a product of tolerance. The more we tolerate bad behavior, the more likely accidents will occur. AIM Insights helps managers bridge a gap between the inconvenience of following safety procedures with the discomfort of confronting somebody in a manner that drives mutual understanding and compliance.

                      This should assist managers with starting to improve safety within their workplaces. It is important to note that incidents will always happen within the work sites. However, with proper management, this number should go down and enable a safer area.  

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 1 September 2022
Construction managers often face several challenges in the workplace, as well as outside of it. Whether it’s pulling permits or workplace injuries, there is almost always some form of challenge that they face. However, the following tools are what every construction manager should have to ensure that their day gets easier.

1)     AIM Insights

Human Resources Information Systems are often one of the most useful tools by a manager for a few reasons, including tracking employee data, retaining demographics, and automation of tasks for HR staff.  AIM Insights integrates seamlessly into this, allowing managers to set goals, determine completion, as well as monitor the status of training. AIM Insights is particularly beneficial in the construction space as it leverages a bottom-up approach to helping front-line employees set goals that are safety-focused. Early studies have shown that when employees set their own goals focused on safety, they are much more likely to partake in safety activities.

For example, on a mining site, employees frequently wouldn’t wear goggles because they would fog up, blurring their vision, which is dangerous when drilling. So many employees wouldn’t wear their goggles or only temporarily wear them to appease their boss or senior leadership. Once they started implementing AIM Insights, different employees started proposing safety goals and solutions, and eventually, they were able to find a pair of goggles that were similar to pool goggles where they were close to their eyeballs and they didn’t fog up while still providing safety for their eyes. When the employees participated in the solution versus being told what to do, they were much more likely to follow the safety protocols.

In an industry marked by injury and litigation, tracking the status of training can help prevent both of these. Along with this, managers can earn a people leader certification to help improve their skills. This certification would include executive coaching as well. 

2)     Estimation Software

Contractors will always be asked for one number upfront by a client- how much a project will cost them.  This number is often devised by calculating the cost of all required materials, the cost of pulling permits, and the cost of labor.  The company’s own profit margin may be taken into account as well. Sometimes, creating a quote requires contacting multiple vendors to determine costs. However, this software can automatically request multiple quotes from different vendors at once. Using software can save an estimator hours of time that could then be better served elsewhere. Estimation software also has a lower margin of error than an individual. In addition to this, this type of software can also find where to cut costs as well. Software such as this can evaluate subcontractor bids and compare them to each other, and then to the schedule of the clients. It can then automatically find the most efficient and inexpensive option. Estimation software can also determine procurement timeframes as well, which is much harder to do by hand. 

3)     Cloud Storage

There are a lot of moving parts in creating a project. The two most important individuals in a project are often the Owner and the Manager. These two often have several important decisions to make regarding purchasing materials, assigning staff, and other logistical details. Having this information easily accessible to multiple people at once for both asynchronous and synchronous work can make a massive difference for users.  In addition to that, when determining budgets and expenditures, having multiple people working on a document at the same time can dramatically improve efficiency. Imagine using an online version of a database as opposed to Microsoft Access. Access databases are a great choice, but are limited to only one user being able to access them at a time. An online, cloud-stored database has no such weakness. 

4)     Construction Accounting Software (And an accountant)

The most common practice for accounting is to operate around a period of time. For example, most companies tend to release quarterly or yearly, or maybe even monthly statements. The problem with this for contractors though, is that most jobs have some form of unique input or requirement. They are also perpetually opening and closing projects during the year. 

Consequently, contractors have their own methods of accounting, known as Construction Accounting. This is centered around each project, as opposed to a period of time. Construction Accounting software is better designed to assist with contractors’ specific timelines and schedules, and as such, is a much better fit for them.  This will allow the average project manager to be able to track budgets, assets, and liabilities, while still receiving information pertinent to their industry.  It is important to note that this is not a substitute for finding a CPA. However, it may assist a manager in checking their finances. 

5)     Insurance

All state laws, and some federal laws, require contractors to have a certain amount of insurance.  The following are just examples of what most areas require.

·        General Liability Insurance- This covers bodily injury claims, medical payments, covers any property damage, as well as copyright infringement.
·        Professional Liability Insurance- This covers any financial damages from the services you provide. For example, if a web developer makes a mistake on an e-commerce site, he could be sued for missed sales opportunities. With professional liability, this would be covered.
·        Vehicle and Auto Insurance- This is insurance needed in order to drive or operate vehicles as a form of transportation. This would protect a contractor in the event of a car accident while driving to a site.
·        Inland Marine Insurance – Funnily enough, this does not in fact have anything to do with the sea or ocean. Inland Marine Insurance refers to covering any product, materials, or equipment when transported over land, or warehoused by a third party. This is especially important for project managers who are transporting heavy equipment or materials. Auto Insurance does not cover damage caused to these. However, Inland Marine Insurance will in fact do so.
·        Contractor License Bonds- These are purchased from state licensing boards and are often necessary in order to comply with building codes and are a condition for permits or licensure. 
·        Workers Compensation Insurance- This insurance is similar to General Liability Insurance but can cover gross damages on the worksite. It is far more specialized than general insurance, and typically has higher amounts of coverage.
6)     A Network

                      This is more often the case within construction, rather than general contracting, but most project managers have a network of subcontractors that they will use for each project. This network includes civil engineers, carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians, and often quite a few other trades. 

                      A powerful network enables managers to have a quality talent pool for any of their upcoming projects and eliminates the need to have to hire and file checks on every contractor they have, saving time down the line. Managers can often get preferred vendor rates from subcontractors in exchange for having them on retainer as well, cutting costs dramatically.  

                      With all of this in hand, a good manager should be able to make the most out of their projects, and will easily be able to succeed at their job. 

Fri 2 September 2022
Ask - Don’t Assume

As a new manager, it is easy to forget about budget planning. However, don’t assume you don’t have a budget for investing in your team’s growth. Ask your department leader or finance partner if you have employee training, engagement, morale, or a miscellaneous budget line item. The department budget is not often earmarked for this type of spending and HR's companywide program spending.

Don’t Let Uncertainty Stop You

If your department does not outline employee engagement or growth as budget line items, discover what price point your department lead or finance partner would be willing to invest in solutions to support key business objectives. Typically you will get a rough idea of a range that they would be willing to consider for future proposals. Again, understanding your budget helps you strategically be proactive in how you support your team member's growth equitably. 

Identify the Problem

Assess the underlying root cause to inform the best investment solution. After identifying the problem, you may be able to leverage a current solution your company already has in place. Not sure where to start? One easy tool I like is asking yourself WHY five times. This tool helps you become curious and review all the data to identify the problem. As a result, you can now quantify the gap you seek to solve to ensure your team's future success. You may need to contact your HR partner or department leaders for additional data.

Write a Business Case that Gets to Yes!

Now you are ready to write a clear business case that outlines your:
  • Desired future state
  • Current state
  • Gaps holding you back
  • Supporting data
  • Request to invest in the proposed solution to implement 
  • Expected assumptions for the return on investment
For example, 
  • Desired Future State: I would like to better understand the well-being of my team members, get on the same page as them, and have more impactful 1:1’s so then they are more productive and engaged at work.
  • Current State: I have 1:1’s with my team but they are unstructured and I still feel that there are opportunities to build team trust.
  • Gaps holding you back: Lack of data and coaching to inform next steps as to how each of my direct reports feel at work.
  • Supporting Data: Exit interviews, engagement surveys, and anecdotal feedback
  • Request to invest: $187 per month for the AIM Insights People Leader Certification (see details below).
  • Expected Assumptions: More engaged team, increased team productivity, increased team trust, improved morale, and less quiet quitting. 

Don’t have enough data?

If you don’t have enough data to support your expected assumptions, think about how you might implement a trial or beta test of the solution to see the outcomes. Many products have a freemium or trial period that you can utilize as a beta test. If a software download is needed, ensure it aligns with your company’s data policy guidelines. Ensure you have identified your baseline KPI metrics before starting the beta test to compare with the results. If there is a significant positive change, your business case is now stronger!

The AIM Insights People Leader Certification is a great way to boost your performance as a leader and distinguish yourself from other leaders as you seek promotion. The AIM Insights People Leader Certification gathers feedback from your direct reports and provides executive coaching to guide you as you improve your team’s performance. The Certification showcases that you are not only a leader that drives results, but that you care personally about your direct reports’ well-being and ability to thrive. 


Sat 10 September 2022
The AIM Insights People Leader Certification is the only management certification that both teaches and evaluates a leader's ability to impact their team over time. The AIM Insights People Leader Certification program is for managers who strive to become elite and grow to more senior roles in their careers.

Some of the core benefits of becoming AIM Insights People Leader Certified:

·        Highlight to your senior leadership why you should be promoted
·        Show prospective employers why you are a great leader of people
·        Compare your leadership score to other leaders
·        Evaluate how your leadership is impacting the quantitative output of your team paired with the qualitative sentiment of working for you as a leader
·        Distinguish yourself as an incredible people leader from others vying for similar opportunities as you

How does it work?

1.      Create an account and add your direct reports to your team
2.      AIM Insights prompts your direct reports to complete monthly assessments to better understand their sentiment about the work they are doing and the quantitative tasks they are focused on
3.      Managers receive executive coaching every month based on the results shared in the assessment
4.      After applying the advice given by the executive coach, managers can observe their team’s improvement in both sentiment and productivity over time

Are there different levels to the AIM Insights People Leader Certification?

Yes. And unlock traditional certifications which certify people based on time and exam completion (typically based on rote memorization), the AIM Insights People Leader Certification levels are determined based on your team’s scores over time.

What does it mean to become Level I Certified?

Timeline: First 6 cycles (typically 6 months) in AIM Insights - can be retried over the next 6 months if unsuccessful

Quantitative

  • You measured your team's productivity metrics (at least a 75% response rate) consistently over the first 6 months of the certification period - Example: With 4 Direct Reports over 6 months, you should expect 24 responses. You need to have 18 (or more) responses during that first six months to qualify. 
  • Productivity is measured by the percentage of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals set, the percentage of goals relevant to the outcomes you hope to achieve with your team (how your leader determines your team's success), the percentage of high and medium impact goals set compared to low impact goals, and the SMART-Impact Score (the number of SMART goals accomplished weighted by their impact)

Qualitative

  • You measured your team's sentiment scores consistently over the first 6 months of the certification process
  • Sentiment scores evaluate your direct reports' perception of their task performance, team cohesion, team productivity, organizational citizenship, engagement, and manager performance

What does it mean to become Level II Certified?

Timeline: First 12 cycles (typically 12 months) in AIM Insights

Quantitative

  • Your team's productivity metrics are greater than the average manager's scores (specific terms below)
  • Productivity is measured by the percentage of SMART goals set, the percentage of goals relevant to the outcomes you hope to achieve with your team (how your leader determines your team's success), the percentage of high and medium impact goals set compared to low impact goals, and the SMART-Impact Score (the number of SMART goals accomplished weighted by their impact)

Qualitative

  • Your team's sentiment scores have increased over the 12-month certification process and are greater than the average manager's scores (specific terms below)
  • Sentiment scores evaluate your direct reports' perception of their task performance, team cohesion, team productivity, organizational citizenship, engagement, and manager performance

Terms

·        60% of Goals were rated as SMART
·        60% of Goals were rated as relevant to team goals
·        60% of Goals were rated as medium or high impact
·        A minimum SMART Impact Score above 25 for each direct report
·        An average sentiment score of 75% or higher in all categories or at least 80% in 3 categories

What does it mean to become Level III Certified?

Quantitative

  • Your team's productivity metrics are far greater than the average manager's scores (specific terms below)
  • Productivity is measured by the percentage of SMART goals set, the percentage of goals relevant to the outcomes you hope to achieve with your team (how your leader determines your team's success), the percentage of high and medium impact goals set compared to low impact goals, and the SMART-Impact Score (the number of SMART goals accomplished weighted by their impact)

Qualitative

  • Your team's sentiment scores have increased over the 12-month certification and are on average far greater than the average manager (specific terms below)
  • Sentiment scores evaluate your direct reports' perception of their task performance, team cohesion, team productivity, organizational citizenship, engagement, and manager performance

Terms

·        75% of Goals were rated as SMART
·        75% of Goals were rated as relevant to team goals
·        75% of Goals were rated as medium or high impact
·        A minimum SMART Impact Score above 30 for each direct report
·        An average sentiment score of 85% or higher in all categories or at least 90% in 3 categories

How the AIM Insights People Leader Certification Helps You

Ø  Understand how your performance as a leader compares to other leaders
Ø  Leverage this data (and certification) as a basis for negotiating a bonus, raise, or promotion
Ø  Gain insight into why certain team members are performing better than others
Ø  Receive executive coaching guidance to help you gain certification
Ø  Showcase your certification to prospective employers and on LinkedIn
Ø  Distinguish yourself as an incredible people leader from others vying for similar opportunities as you

What are the elements of the AIM Insights People Leader Certification?

Executive Coaching

Receive monthly executive coaching based on your team’s scores so you can adjust your leadership style to best drive your team’s results.

Gap Analysis

Closing the perception gap between what you think of your direct reports and what they think of themselves is critical to helping you understand where you need to create clarity for your direct reports.

Goals Report

Giving you insight into what your direct reports think they need to be focused on can help you alter and adjust your direct reports' paths so your team doesn't waste time via miscommunication.

The goals report also helps you overcome subjectivity and recency bias when reviewing your direct reports because you will have a full understanding of everything your team has been working on over the time period being reviewed.

Org Chart View

Providing you access to skip-level teams down through your organizational unit can help you pinpoint where challenges might be existing and on which specific teams.

Communication Templates

Guiding you with your 1:1s with your direct reports is a core component of AIM Insights and one of the biggest benefits the certification process provides is guiding you on how to have an effective 1:1 and what questions to ask each direct report based on each direct report's circumstances.

Work Orientation

Learn what drives you at work as well as your direct reports so you can better understand your unconscious bias as a leader and craft a leadership strategy based on what drives each of your direct reports.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the first step to getting started with the AIM Insights People Leader Certification?

Schedule an interview with our team to see if you qualify to become certified.

If you are accepted, you will be prompted to get started using the AIM Insights Tool with your team and begin the certification process.

How do you implement it?

AIM Insights will remind your direct reports every month to complete a survey on your behalf. As their scores come in every month, it will inform us if you are or are not on track to receive your certification - your assigned executive coach will walk you through how to improve your scores every month.

Are there limits to the number of direct reports I can have using the tool?

There are no limits to the number of direct reports using the tool.

Do you offer support?

AIM Insights provides unlimited email executive coaching guidance and monthly coaching videos customized for you from executive coaches

Do I need to re-certify myself after receiving certification?

Yes, every 6 months after certification you will have your team re-assessed and every 3 years you will have to complete a new recertification to stay up to date - or you can keep using the tool on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Can I take the certification again in subsequent years if I want to increase my level?

Yes, you can re-certify as much as you would like to try and boost your scores.

Fri 16 September 2022
Most managers and companies tend to prioritize results and goals over other aspects of the work like team chemistry or organizational citizenship. Generally, direct reports assume the role of a vital cog in this process. However, when direct reports fail to meet expectations, it can result in a lot of work for their peers, as well as their managers. Consequently, the first step a manager will take is often a reprimand followed by termination.

Why Terminations aren’t necessarily the Best Option

            Firstly, the most important aspect of terminating, or firing an employee, is that a replacement worker must be found. Sometimes, a manager can get lucky and find a good candidate in-house, but the majority of times, they need to go through the entire hiring process once more.  

The hiring process includes posting an advertisement, reading through applications, scheduling and hosting interviews, conducting background checks, validating certifications, and on top of that, an onboarding process. In addition to that, the former employee will typically receive some form of a severance package with the parting of ways.  Termination also eats up time with exit interviews, appeals, and potential litigation as a result of unlawful termination claims. 

All in all, terminations can be very expensive for time and money. But how else should a manager deal with an employee who isn’t necessarily living up to the expectations held of them?  There are typically a few options.

Understanding the Root of the Problem

As with many other discrepancies within the workplace, communicating with an employee can often result in finding the source of the problem. Oftentimes, people have personal baggage that may make its way within the workplace. In addition to baggage, worker stress is a very real phenomenon. In most circumstances, bad employees aren’t intentionally bad employees, they just made decisions that negatively impacted the business and didn’t have anyone to bounce the idea of logic off of before acting.

Signs of worker stress include the following:

·       Reclusive Behavior- This does not include introverted behavior, but rather the contrast between this and previous behavior.
·       Change in  Body Language- This once again, does not necessarily mean introverted behavior,  but rather withdrawn activity, slumps, and similar posture.
·       Personality Clashes- When someone is in distress or dealing with trauma, they may lash out at other people, or attempt to withhold their grief. 
·       Change in Productivity- Trauma survivors tend to have harsh changes in how much work they can accomplish.

One thing to take note of is that these are often signs of distress within most areas, but are often better exposed within the workplace. If a manager notices that one of their direct reports undergoes a sudden change in attitude, while also displaying signs of anxiety or depression, it may be best to have a 1:1 with them. Being empathetic will often yield much greater results than being confrontational within this 1:1. Understand that it takes a significant amount of trauma for a person to have changed a significant amount. 

A good example of this would be from one of my jobs while in high school, which was the role of a swim coach. I was a member of a team of 7, with shifts assigned to us by our aquatics director each week, and sometimes also by our camp director. We continued in this way for two to three years, and then all of a sudden, we were either missing pay, not getting our names on the schedule, or worst of all, not receiving a schedule whatsoever. We ended up complaining to our director since it appeared that our camp director was not fulfilling her job requirements, and as a result, damaging our financial abilities with no regard for or time. 

Our boss was a very thorough individual and was able to have a healthy conversation with our camp director, out of concern for her performance, as well as her well-being. It had turned out that she had not only lost her father the previous week but had also been given additional responsibilities by the overall site director. With no other relatives, she alone was in charge of managing all probate-related duties and processes, but also organizing funeral details and bills. All in all, she was completely overwhelmed. 

Now, in worse managed work environments, this camp director, despite boasting over 15 years of experience in the field, would’ve been terminated. However, our boss knew her potential, and that this was a life-changing period of time for her. Therefore, he took on additional responsibilities and gave her as much time off as she needed. About a month later, she came back and was able to not only resume her original responsibilities but also that of her new position, to much more success. 

The moral of this story is that being empathetic is well-advised. Proper communication with direct reports is not only better for workplace relationships, but also ideal for difficult situations such as this. Providing accommodations for workers can eliminate the need for a replacement process.

How to Help Employees who are having trouble meeting expectations

While there are often employees who are undergoing significant personal situations, some employees may be unaccustomed to their new workloads, and responsibilities, or just find the material difficult. In this case, it is the manager’s responsibility and duty to try to assist these individuals. 

Using an impartial process can often help employees who are struggling. These are often known as Performance Improvement Plans or PIPs. The one problem with these is that they are often viewed extremely negatively, and often as a pathway to termination. Rather than giving strong targets that must be hit in order to maintain a job, managers should give fluid and flexible objectives that will not only allow for more success, but also for employee education and improvement. Using a device such as AIM Insights can also allow for a manager to have greater ease checking what goals have been met, along with more aggregated data about these goals, such as percent of goals achieved, and similar functions.

No manager should want to terminate an employee but may feel pressure to do so. While termination may still be required, it is best to approach these situations with empathy, and attempt to solve the problem in-house without resorting to this step.

Tue 27 September 2022
When a company has a direct report that isn’t necessarily meeting expectations, its managers generally take action. This is not an unreasonable process, since a direct report that isn’t performing can cause complications for the rest of the team members. One of the most frequent actions taken by a manager, or potentially even Human Resources, is what is known as a Performance Improvement Plan, or a PIP. 

               The main goal of a Performance Improvement Plan is to correct an employee’s issues that management has grievances with. At least, that’s how they are perceived on paper. In actuality, PIPs are often used as a way to either remove responsibilities from a direct report or as a way to force an employee to quit of their own volition, thereby attempting to negate the need for unemployment. According to Lawyer Mike Carey, a Connecticut-based employment law attorney, only 5% to 10% of employees stay with a company after starting a PIP. 

               In many workplaces, leaders view a PIP as a “gateway” to getting that person off the team.

What else is wrong with a PIP?

               There are several problems with PIPs:

·        PIPs provide no formal legal protection- Employees under a PIP can still choose to go to litigation for wrongful termination or a hostile work environment. 
·        PIPs often cause additional work for team members- PIPs often mean that employees have reduced responsibilities to display improvement and competence, which often means that their removed responsibilities are passed along to their peers.
·        PIPs require a large amount of maintenance and supervision- A properly set up PIP with a responsible and empathetic manager requires near-constant communication and monitoring, which not only burns time but also can be overwhelming for the employee.

Can a PIP be beneficial?

               The modern-day definition of the Performance Improvement Plan, as stated above, is not sustainable, and overall, just doesn’t benefit employees or employers in any way.  However, a modified format of this plan can work but will be strongly dependent on how willing a manager is to assist the employee. 

How to determine if a PIP is appropriate to use

               The first step of a PIP should be to determine if it is even a good idea to implement or attempt to start. 

1)      Is termination the end goal? Or is the employee too good of a potential asset to consider terminating? Depending on a manager’s answers to these questions, a PIP may not be appropriate. The goal of a Performance Improvement Plan is to Improve employee performance, not intimidate them out of a position. If a manager is already dead-set on terminating an employee, it is better to do so than to attempt to not only patch this relationship and try to repair preconceived opinions. 
2)      Certain issues are better handled with a formal structured plan, while others will not benefit from that. If a direct report is having trouble with meeting deadlines, or similar performance issues, a performance improvement plan will be a good option. However, if they are encountering disciplinary issues, such as fighting with other staff, or insubordination, an improvement plan would not be the best option.
3)      Empathy can go a long way in regard to staff not necessarily meeting expectations. If a manager notices that one of their direct reports undergoes a sudden change in attitude, while also displaying signs of anxiety or depression, it may be best to have a 1:1 with them. Employees have personal lives as well, and issues can easily trickle over from the personal to professional realms. Managers should use this 1:1 to see if there are any underlying factors or circumstances that may have caused this decrease in quality from their subordinates.

Setting up a Performance Improvement Plan

               When setting up a performance improvement plan, a manager should be straight to the point with their direct reports. This conversation should include the following aspects:

·        Who- This refers to not only who will be undergoing this performance improvement plan, but also to whom they will report, as well as a contact for them within Human Resources.
·        What- This will include information such as what a performance improvement plan is since most direct reports will have a different outlook on PIPs in comparison to management.
·        Why- This will generally entail an explanation as to why the employee is being forced to undergo this PIP.  This explanation should include quantitative data, such as how often work was handed in after a deadline or a percentage of tasks that they have done that were deemed incomplete or lacking.
·        How- This would include what would be known as the “Terms and Conditions.” This will be further expanded on, but in short, the Terms and Conditions include what an employee will be required to do as part of their improvement plan. In addition to this, the terms should explicitly go into detail about what will happen if further expectations aren’t met. This is most often termination. While termination is not the desired outcome of a PIP, it is still a potential outcome, and often an option after this process.

The Terms of a Performance Improvement Plan

               The goal of a PIP is once again, to improve an employee’s performance, and help them either learn new skills or rectify previously known misconstructions. Therefore, a set of goals should be set for this employee to attempt. Similar to the goals that a manager should have, these should all be SMART Goals. As a note of reference, SMART Goals are designated as Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

·        Specific allows a manager to put more explicit details on their goals, such as what they may pertain to.
·        Measurable means that there is a quantitative element to the goal
·        Attainable means that these goals are actually possible to do
·        Relevant refers to how the goal relates to company goals and mindsets
·        Time-Bound means that there is a chronological element to the goal

Here are some examples of goals that can be proposed to prospective PIP targets.

·        Employee A must have a task competition rate of at least 75% over the next three weeks
·        Employee F must conclude 85% of their training modules within the next 2 weeks
·        Employee must increase their customer conversion rate to at least 5 customers per week by the start of next month. 

One great way to measure and track these goals you are measuring with an employee you have put on a performance improvement plan is with AIM Insights.

With this advice, a manager should be able to start, create, and implement a PIP. These can be difficult to follow through with but will help not only the company but also the employee. 

 

Wed 12 October 2022
Business Innovation is defined as an organization’s process for introducing new ideas, workflows, methodologies, services, or products. The primary objective for business innovation is to maximize revenue, while also working for brand perception. 

            Companies such as McKinsey and Accenture deeply value innovation, with both citing over 80% of their executives believing their future success to be dependent on innovation. However, a growing concern among executive leaders is that not enough people are defining innovation as a strategic priority.  So the key question for managers is “How can managers propose and then continue to implement new ideas?” 

Proposing your Ideas 

            When proposing an idea, it is important to sketch out what problem this idea will address. This is a concept drawn from Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen’s Jobs to be Done Theory, which talks about creating a product to fill a need. While your idea may not necessarily be filling a consumer’s need, it could be benefitting the business in some capacity. 

            An idea doesn’t necessarily have to be new either. The Yellow Taxi concept in New York City has been around since 1907. However, many consumers raised concerns about the scarcity of the taxi, as well as prices. Consequently, in 2012, Garrett Camp, Travis Kalanick, and Ryan Graves created UberX, which raised millions of dollars within the year, and has become a ubiquitous name in the transportation industry. 

            After finding a target problem to fix, managers can then think about how they want to fix this problem. The four most common aspects to consider when attempting to solve a problem in terms of business innovation include the delivery process, location, costs, and participant experience.

·       The delivery process includes how a product or service is delivered, which includes a timeline of when it is delivered. It also can refer to how convenient the process is for either the clients or the vendors.
·       The Location describes where a product or service is offered. 
·       Cost often makes a significant difference in company expenditures. Determining how to offer a product or service and differentiating it from other companies with a lower price can improve company efficiency.
·       Participant or Customer Experience is one process that may not necessarily drive up profits but is worth its weight in gold for a different reason. If direct reports are happier with a process due to its lack of stress or lack of difficulty, it puts the company in a much better light in terms of recruiting.  

Once managers have come up with the idea and planned it, they then have to consider the rigors of implementing this idea. However, the implementation of an idea within the business innovation process can often prove to be as challenging if not more so than the planning phase. 

Implementing the Idea 

            In 1991, consultant Geoffrey Moore published Crossing the Chasm, a book that gave many high-tech startups a marketing blueprint to give their product the initial traction needed to reach the majority of the market, and not dying in the “Chasm”, a term coined for the gap in time between the early adopters and the majority, 

            An idea in the workplace will work very similarly to the technology adoption life cycle. This cycle can get very confusing, but at its core, it is a bell curve distribution.

            Think about when the iPhone was first released. Did it instantly make it throughout the market? No, since everyone loved their Blackberries and Nokia Phones. It took a while for it to make its way into the population. An idea behaves in a very similar method as well. Some people within the workplace will instantly gravitate to the idea and acclimate to it quickly. However, there are other employees who may take longer to warm to the idea. These are often employees who have been in a position for longer periods of time or have more experience within the field. 

Encouraging the Adoption of an Idea

            Clear communication with direct reports after proposing an idea will give managers- and the idea- a lot more support.  There are a few key actions that managers should take during this process as well to help improve reception.

1)     Post throughout the workplace and online- disseminating information in clearly written correspondence will inform everyone about the change in policy. Explain what actions the business will be taking to implement the changes, and also set goals that have to do with this policy, such as trying to fully convert to the new policy within a certain timeline. As always, your goals should be SMART goals.
2)     Explain why these changes were made.  Being open with your employees about what prompted management to make these changes can help them empathize and potentially recognize how management is trying to help them. For example, explaining that a change in policy will make a task about twice as fast as before will definitely appeal to them. 
3)     Provide a way for employees to raise concerns about the implementation of an idea. It is completely okay for an idea to be changed following concerns from employees. It is also entirely possible that an idea may not necessarily be completely perfect for a workforce.
4)     Offer training sessions to help supplement postings of the new policy, especially if it’s a massive procedural change. Employees need to be fully informed in order to properly follow policy. 
5)     Review the changes periodically with employees in 1:1s and use quality rating systems to both evaluate and be evaluated on how well the change has worked for your employees. AIM Insights can assist a business in this by integrating with HRIS software and allowing employees to both be reviewed and to give feedback.

Change can be scary, but can make a big difference in how a company functions, as well as how well they do. Don’t be afraid to make this change.               

Wed 12 October 2022
Do you ever find yourself or your team in a rut? Maybe this is an often occurrence, or maybe it happens sporadically. How can you maintain team motivation?
Workplace motivation can be broken down into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Intrinsic motivation is the desire to accomplish goals and develop professionally. Extrinsic motivation involves work factors such as pay and promotions. 
Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are important ways of driving behavior. When you understand the differences between the two types of motivation, you also gain a better understanding of how to encourage people.
Knowing how to motivate yourself and others is imperative to getting things done and reaching goals. Identifying your internal and external motivators can help you be more efficient, feel more satisfied and achieve growth in your career. 
 
What is intrinsic motivation?
Intrinsic motivation is when you feel inspired or energized to complete a task because it’s personally rewarding. In other words, you're performing the activity because of some internal drive as opposed to an external force or reward. 
With intrinsic motivation, the behavior itself becomes the reward. 
 
What is extrinsic motivation?
Extrinsic motivation is when you’re inspired to perform a task either to earn a reward or to avoid punishment. In the case of extrinsic motivation, you're not completing the task because you like it or find it satisfying. 
Instead, you're completing it because you think you'll avoid something unpleasant or you'll get something in return.
 
What are the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation?
The main difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is that intrinsic motivation comes from within and extrinsic motivation comes from outside. 
However, the two types of motivation can also differ in their level of effectiveness.
Extrinsic motivation is beneficial in some cases. For example, working toward a reward of some kind can be helpful when you need to complete a task you might normally find unpleasant.
While extrinsic motivation is helpful in certain situations, it may eventually lead to burnout or lose its effectiveness over time. Intrinsic motivation is typically more effective long term for completing tasks and achieving goals in a way that makes you feel fulfilled. 
Here are some comparisons between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation:
 
Intrinsic motivation:
-        Cleaning your house because you like it tidy
-        Reading a book about a subject that interests you
-        Playing trivia because you like the challenge
-        From a work perspective, this could be choosing a pay cut to work for a nonprofit you are passionate about
 
Extrinsic motivation:
-        Cleaning your house so your house guests don’t label you as “messy”
-        Reading a book because you have to for work
-        Playing trivia because you want to win a prize 
-        From a work perspective, this could be choosing a job because of the pay
 
 
How can intrinsic and extrinsic motivation be used effectively in the workplace?
            Daniel Pink is a modern writer on business & management, with a strong focus on the changing nature of work and the workplace. 
His book published in 2009, “Drive: the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” focuses on the importance and effectiveness of three intrinsic elements to motivation at work: autonomy, mastery and purpose.
Pink argues that the evidence of scientific studies on motivation and rewards suggests that, for any work task that involves more than the most basic cognitive challenge, basic financial reward systems do not work. In fact, they can lead to worse performance.
He accepts that money is a motivator at work, but once people perceive that they are paid fairly, then they become much more motivated by intrinsic elements. Once people are paid fairly, they look for more from their work.
This is why Pink concludes that autonomy, mastery and purpose are the most influential aspects of motivation.
 
Autonomy 
According to Pink, autonomy is the desire to direct our own lives. Pink argues that allowing employees autonomy runs counter to the traditional view of management which wants employees to "comply" with what is required of them.
However, if managers want employees to be more engaged in what they are doing (and they should - as tasks become more complicated) then allowing employees autonomy (self-direction) is better.
For example, some firms allow employees to have time at the workplace to do whatever they want. This freedom to spend time doing their own thing leads to many more innovative ideas and solutions.
The growth of flexible working practices is another good example of allowing staff more autonomy.
 
Mastery
Pink argues that humans love to "get better at stuff" - they enjoy the satisfaction from personal achievement and progress. Allowing employees to enjoy a sense of progress at work contributes to their inner drive.
By contrast, a lack of opportunity at work for self-improvement or personal and professional development is liable to make employees more bored and unmotivated.
A key implication for managers is to set tasks for employees that are neither too easy or excessively challenging. Pink calls such tasks "Goldilocks tasks,” otherwise known as tasks that are not "too hot or too cold.”
 
Purpose
Pink describes purpose as the desire to do things in service of something larger than ourselves. He also argues that people intrinsically want to do things that matter.
For example, entrepreneurs are often intrinsically motivated to "make a difference" rather than simply aiming for profit maximization.
Most of us spend more than half our waking hours at work. We want that time to matter.
In addition, employees need to know and understand the mission and goals of the organization and appreciate how their work and role fits into what the organization is about.
 
 
Intrinsic motivation
You can apply intrinsic motivation in several ways at work. Providing and receiving positive feedback is often an effective way to increase motivation. 
If you're interested in fostering intrinsic motivation among your team, consider the following:
 
●       For managers: To support intrinsic motivation among your team, be intentional with your feedback. Constructive criticism can help your team understand your standards and expectations while working together to achieve a goal or complete objectives effectively. Be sure you're not giving an abundance of praise for work that's not meaningful to your team. AIM Insights is a tool managers can use to help them give intentional feedback and ask intentional questions.
●       For employees: As an employee, you should consistently tell managers when and how their feedback helps you to be motivated. Consider positive feedback when their guidance was particularly helpful, which can help intrinsically motivate them to continue managing you successfully because they feel satisfied about the positive effect of their efforts. 
 
Extrinsic motivation 
In some settings, extrinsic motivation is necessary for day-to-day work. Extrinsic rewards like bonuses, commissions, or prizes may be the preferred way to promote interest in certain difficult or unfulfilling tasks. 
To successfully use extrinsic motivation, consider the following:

●       For managers: When you want to use extrinsic motivation as a manager, it's important to offer rewards strategically. While external rewards can effectively motivate your team to take on a new challenge, learn a new skill, or hit a quarterly goal, you should also make sure you're giving them the resources necessary to take on projects and skills they're passionate about.
●       For employees: Work for the rewards that please you, but be aware of your limits and take breaks when you need them. Reflect on what is motivating you and notify your manager about any lack of resources or misdirection that impedes the proper motivation, and therefore, reward.
Thu 13 October 2022
It is not easy for most of us to ask for help or money. Often, the leading blocker holding leaders back is some sort of fear. Unknown fears can keep us from even taking a step into the uncomfortable to objectively seek to understand the problem our team is facing, which means our teams will continue to operate at sub-optimal levels.

Face your Fears First

It is good to first take a step back and become self-aware of what might be holding us back from understanding some concerning trends on the team. It’s hard to think clearly about a problem if blinded by subconscious fear. Get curious about what is coming up for you by asking yourself some of the following questions:

  • Are you trying to be perfect?
  • Is there someone you are trying to please? 
  • What is a time in the past that you had a similar situation and you successfully navigated through it? What did you do then that might help you now? 
  • Imagine the worst-case scenario, and what ideas could help you avoid that from happening? 
  • Or, visualize a happy outcome, and talk through with someone what steps led you there. 

In doing this, you are becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable. You can start to outline some next steps to understand how to face your fears and ask the right questions that lead to discovery, solution identification and action.

Problem and Solution Identified, Now What?

Leaders often get stuck here. In our previous blog, we discussed how to build a business case. During this process, it is important to identify who has the authority to approve the budget for the business case, and who the project will impact. When mapping this out, you will often find leaders who are both impacted and need to approve. Once you have identified who these are, reach out to them and include them into the process of building your business case. Before your discussion meetings, be sure to plan in advance, so you can tailor your conversation to the audience.

Get to Know your Audience

For each key individual you plan to speak with, create an outline of who they are in preparation of your meeting.  You can do this by answering the following questions: 

  • Is this individual an early adopter and open to change, or typically avoids change?
  • What is the key business objective this person is currently focused on? 
  • What motivates this person? What do they value? What do they care about?
  • How does your proposed solution positively help this individual more effectively, or efficiently obtain their key business objective?
  • If we don’t focus on this solution, what will block us from successfully meeting business critical quarterly targets?
  • How does this person best communicate and take in information? Do they need to see data in advance, and have time to reflect before the conversation? Or, do they like to brainstorm and want to feel like a key collaborator?
  • What is the authority approval this person has in the final purchase decision?
  • What questions or objections do you anticipate they will have about your proposed solution? How do you plan to respond to these?

In answering these questions in advance, you now may see common themes that build into your open questions and speaking points for the agenda of the meeting. You may see some commonalities amongst the key individuals and decide a group meeting might be better. However, if someone is typically negative to change and is the main budget approver. You may want to have a pre-meeting with them, in which you just ask open questions to obtain better answers to the above questions. You may want to ask questions that guide them to self awareness around the problem, and get their insight and feedback into the solutioning in order to obtain buy in. 

Understand the Budget Appetite

As you step through these conversations, you want to be respectful, and transparent. You don’t want individuals to feel like you are going around them. The goal is to create a shared common objective and collaboratively build a business case that already has your approvers buy in. 

As you move to build the business case, you should naturally get a sense for the budget appetite of the individuals. In your conversations with them, you should have a sense for the following: 

  • Is there a budget range we can work within for this?
  • What have we typically spent in the past for similar sized projects?
  • Is there budget left unused that we could reallocate for this project?
  • Is there anyone else who needs to approve, that maybe you missed?

Be sure to ease into the budget conversations, at this point they should have a sense of the shared common pain and gap, and that without this solution no one will be successful in meeting their targets. 

Crossing the Finish Line

If you have made it to this point, you have been working with your key approvers to obtain feedback and buy in into the creation of your business case. You know the budget range, and the approval chain. If you sense hesitancy, remain curious and ask open ended questions to understand what remaining questions may be keeping you from a Yes. It may be as simple as the group is risk adverse, and wants to try out the solution with a pilot group first. Adjust your business case, accordingly, and then work to finalize. This iterative approach will help your case be stronger, ensure you didn’t miss any blindspots, show your ability to influence cross-functionally and bring people together to create a win/win outcome.


Sun 20 November 2022
All successful managers have some form of personality trait or talent that predisposes them for leadership. Some of them may have attained this skillset through years of education and training, while others may have been naturally gifted with this, but at the end of the day, one factor holds true. These talents can be categorized into a Goleman Style

            Daniel Goleman is an American author, psychologist, and journalist, best known for writing a book in 1995 called Emotional Intelligence.  Some of the topics in this book aren’t necessarily ones that pertain to managers, but they can still get value out of reading it. However, the main point of interest from this work is that of the descriptions of Leadership styles, more commonly known as the Goleman Styles. 

            Each Goleman Style has both good values and bad values associated with them, and Dr. Goleman has recommended that the most effective leaders make use of all six of these styles. The styles are as follows:

1.     Commanding Leadership
2.     Visionary Leadership
3.     Democratic Leadership
4.     Coaching Leadership
5.     Affiliative Leadership
6.     Pacesetting Leadership

Overviews of the Goleman Styles

Each of the Goleman Styles has been studied by psychologists and business leaders to determine their flaws and benefits. For more information about the stories, I recommend reading the book Emotional Intelligence. While some of the concepts in this book may not hold true today as a result of further research, the leadership styles are still known to be true. 

1)     Commanding Leadership can also be known as Authoritarianism or Directive Leadership and is most often viewed as a negative method of leadership. In this style, the leader is responsible for making all the business process decisions. Leaders must exert tight control over their workplace and workforce and have a very clear goal in mind with what to work with. This is especially effective within workforces where employees are low-skilled or inexperienced, as well as in situations in which a leader might be called upon to make quick decisions. Commanding Leadership can also ruin direct-report engagement, since no one other than a leader will generally have any input on decision-making. Therefore, it is often passed up on in favor of different styles. 
2)     Visionary Leadership is largely dependent on a leader having a final goal in mind. This leader can then go on to inspire their direct reports and harness their participation and goal setting to accomplish this goal. Examples of these leaders include Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. While this form of leadership can completely allow for a corporate overhaul, it has a major flaw in terms of short-term problems. An example of this can be seen in Gandhi’s journey to free India from British Imperialism. While he was able to accomplish his goal in 1947, his marches were often divisive, prioritizing men over women, and Hindus over Muslims, along with upholding the Caste System, which are all problems that plague India to this day.
3)     Democratic Leadership completely enables all members of a team to participate in the decision-making progress. Any member can come in with an idea and can determine whether or not the idea is worth going forth with by using a consensus amongst other members, along with a final ruling by a leader. Democratic Leadership is particularly useful at getting team member involvement and retaining staff, but has a flaw in its speed, often taking time to come up with decisions. This can be dangerous when quick decisions are required to be made. 
4)     Coaching Leadership is all about Service Leadership. In this rarer form of leadership, a leader’s primary responsibility and first priority is to coach team members to develop and improve over time. This can dramatically assist in retention and engagement and creates a more skilled workforce. However, coaching can often prove to be very difficult, and does not provide an immediate result. This form of leadership is highly synergistic with AIM Insights and the AIM Insights People Leader Certification.
5)     Affiliative Leadership solely targets the feelings of direct reports. The main goal of this is to make everyone “feel good.” This is especially useful in situations where a pool of individuals are in disagreement. HR professionals are often highly adept at Affiliative Leadership and patching relationships between people. This relies on having a strong moral compass and a strong desire to avoid tension. One fatal flaw with this form of leadership is that these leaders are often avoidant of conflict and have trouble making difficult decisions that may cause someone to suffer. In business, there are sometimes difficult conversations that are well-needed, such as talking to underperforming employees. Affiliative Leaders may not necessarily be the best at addressing this.
6)     Pacesetting Leaders are similar to Commanding Leaders in which they are both the primary driver of the workforce. The concept of the Pacesetting Leader is similar to that of a Pacesetter in a marathon. These individuals serve as an example and the epitome of the statement “do as I do.” Pacesetting leaders are often highly motivated, are good at clearly communicating tasks, and are talented at setting trends. These leaders have expectations of their subordinates and know exactly how much work they can do without failure. This style of leadership can also stress direct reports and does not allow for much feedback or engagement. Therefore, it has another similarity with Commanding Leadership in that it is poorly regarded by direct reports.

Understanding what situation to exercise each type of leadership is a benchmark of a talented leader. While Commanding and Pacesetting Leaderships aren’t to be used at all times, they have certain benefits in certain scenarios. The individual fallings and strengths in each style can allow for a balanced leadership style, and overall make a better leadership experience as well. Goleman Styles aren’t a panacea by any means, but they can come together to truly make a leader. 

Thu 8 December 2022
Financial Managers often oversee other workers within their company’s finance departments, while also assigned several tasks of their own. These managers are often responsible for the creation or delegation of some of the following tasks, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.

·       Preparing Financial Statements, business activities, and forecasts
·       Monitoring financial details 
·       Supervising Employees in Financial Reporting and budgeting
·       Reviewing Financial Trends
·       Analyzing market trends

Most importantly, financial managers are often responsible for advising senior leadership in terms of decision-making for business processes. Most of their decisions are data-driven and require strong analytical skills. However, since many of their ideas come from aggregate functions and data, they are strongly dependent on making sure that they have their intermediate functions and data given to them. This work is often passed down to direct reports, despite its high importance, and often serves as a method of determining whether an employee is deserving of a promotion. 

In addition to this, a manager cannot truly start or submit their work until this intermediate work is completed and handed it. With the necessity of this work, financial managers often utilize software platforms known as Human Resource Information Systems, or HRIS for short to track productivity and task competition rates. Most of these systems also make attempts to track feedback but are often lacking in this regard. This is where Ambition In Motion can come into play in a very effective way.

Ambition in Motion provides a product and service known as AIM Insights. This service is a platform that integrates with the already present HRIS systems and is meant to improve worker communication, engagement, and retention. AIM Insights can be of use to most financial managers by addressing several problems that they face within their everyday careers.

AIM Insights can track when a goal is completed. This can enable these financial managers to have the highest possible efficiency when working on goals by being able to put aside certain tasks with confidence that they will be notified when things they are dependent on are completed. No need to check with a direct report every few hours to see if something has been completed yet! AIM Insights can automate this process and eliminate the tedious step of rechecking repeatedly.

AIM Insights provides a highly developed executive coaching program, with renowned experts available to consult about business decisions. Using the data that the managers themselves have provided, these experts can advise on what they would do differently, and how the manager could improve. For example, say a manager has one direct report that is highly skilled at cleaning strings of data, with another direct report highly skilled at accounting. In the pressure of a looming deadline, a manager might assign work that isn’t necessarily suited for each direct report. The expert might be able to see things differently, due to their objective and educated background, and consequently, create a more comfortable working environment for the direct reports. Since AIM Insights is also a third party, these mentors are not privy to workplace dynamics or personal problems, and as such, can provide a more clear and more unbiased opinion when it comes to making business decisions.

AIM Insights can also be a source of feedback for a manager. Many times, managers wish that they had more honest and direct feedback, but since their direct reports are worried about consequences, they may not be as open with their feedback. AIM Insights provides a rating system and requests feedback from direct reports as they submit their work, thereby eliminating a human interaction requirement from this feedback submission process. A quote from Kari Ardalan, a Vice President of Scaled Success at Zendesk explains just how effective this feedback submission is:

 “At first I was a little nervous getting started (using AIM Insights) because I didn't know how my team would receive the survey. But after using the tool, I am learning so much more about my team that I didn't know from our previous 1:1 conversations and it is helping me connect with my team on a deeper level”

Improving the quality of feedback submissions can allow a manager to make more educated and informed decisions, while also allowing them to get to know their direct reports much better. Increased engagement has been shown to occur when interpersonal relationships are stronger in the workplace. Workers realizing that their boss pays attention to them, and their responses can give them a sense of acknowledgement and recognition that will then improve their engagement rates.

This feedback can also allow a manager to realize what jobs their employees prefer or what work they struggle with. This can allow a manager to make their business processes more efficient, as well as open a potential education avenue for their direct reports.

Overall, financial managers face multiple challenges, but interpersonal relationships and interdependency problems can be easily avoided. Contact Garrett Mintz for a free demonstration of AIM Insights and see how well this can work for your business. 

Thu 8 December 2022
Human Resources Managers are some of the most integral parts of a business and employee life cycle. Their duties include recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and training employees, addressing interpersonal concerns, terminating employees, and administering employee benefits. These jobs require high amounts of administrative duties, along with reading and aggregating of data. 

As a result, most companies, if not all companies, are large enough to warrant having Human Resource professionals or departments utilize software platforms known as Human Resource Information Systems or HRIS for short. HRIS systems are designed to help organize most of the data required to accomplish HR tasks. However, most of these systems to not have a way to validate the data, or to edit it to be in the most convenient format for the readers. This is where Ambition in Motion can come into play. 

            Ambition in Motion offers a service known as AIM Insights. This service is most frequently used by Operations Managers to increase worker engagement,  worker productivity, and goal-setting skills. However, this product can be applicable to any form of manager, whether it be a construction manager or a proprietor of a start-up. 

AIM Insights is able to integrate with most frequently used HRIS systems and can also be of use for Human Resource Managers. Here are some of the ways that Human Resource Managers can use AIM Insights.

How AIM Insights can help HR Managers

1)     Onboarding Assistance for New Direct Reports- When a new worker joins a company, while they might know who they directly report to, they might not necessarily know how they fit into the company, along with their corporate hierarchy. On top of that, using the organizational chart found through Microsoft Teams or Slack can be very time-intensive and tedious. AIM Insights can provide easy-to-understand organizational charts through the platform itself, which can easily be distributed.  
2)     Performance Tracking for Performance Improvement- When an operation manager chooses to put an employee on a performance improvement plan, most HR leaders will mandate that HR is consulted to make sure that the company is best protected in terms of legal matters. When HR has access to the productivity rates and task completion rates of the direct reports, it assists them in finding legal precedence and benchmarks to help ensure that the plan is warranted and legal in order to avoid wrongful termination suits or similar problems.
3)     Getting Employee Feedback and Engagement Rates-  Human Resources Departments often rely on employee testimonials as an attraction option for hiring decisions and also for determining the quality of management. AIM Insights has been stated to have produced more genuine and honest feedback from direct reports. Burt Tellier, the Vice-President of North West Rubber, who are customers of AIM Insights, has stated the following: “(They) were looking at the tool and were taken back at the feedback (They) were receiving. People were willing to reveal more in (AIM Insights) than they were when chatting with them face-to-face.” 
4)     Provided Communication Templates­- AIM Insights provides communication templates and can create a standardized format of official communication within an office. For a Human Resources manager, this should be worth its weight in gold. A clear and concise delivery of a message that will be formatted the same across departments means that an HR worker doesn’t have to scrutinize memos as closely, since there would be a predetermined format.
5)     Removal of Recency Bias-  Managers frequently have to write performance reports about their direct reports. These reports are often read by Human Resources when making choices on laying off workers. However, these reports often fall victim to a phenomenon known as recency bias or the “what have you done for me lately” bias.  Recency bias is defined as a cognitive bias that favors recent events over historic ones. An example of this would be how a lawyer’s final closing argument in court is said to be one of the most important moments in law due to it being the last, and therefore favored, event that the jury hears prior to being dismissed to deliberate. Since AIM Insights requires that managers file feedback on each individual task and goal as they are sent in, it allows objective feedback free from recency bias.
6)     Discrete Outside Experts- Ambition in Motion provides third-party experts to assist with business decisions and to receive feedback. Employees are much more likely to be honest with their opinions with individuals who aren’t necessarily interacting with them on a daily basis. In addition to this, AIM Insights can create executive coaching relationships with their highly qualified experts. AIM Insight executive coaches include Management PhD holders, Cognitive Psychologists, and many other high level fields. This mentorship relationship can provide an invaluable opportunity for your Human resource managers.
7)     Saves HR Work- AIM Insights is focused on improving employee engagement and retention. Employee Engagement rates have been observed to plummet before an employee leaves. With AIM Insights, a focus is placed on engaging with employees, and thereby mitigating the risk of employees leaving. While a manager is often responsible for driving the culture of a workplace, HR can often help motivate employees as well.

Human Resources Managers often have to make several difficult decisions, while also making sure that their company is well protected at the same time. Using tools such as AIM Insights can allow them to automate certain tasks, gather more objective data, and make educated decisions based off of all of this. 

Wed 21 December 2022
“Work Hard, Play Hard.” We’ve all heard this term countless times. Oftentimes, it’s plastered on core value statements and repeated by colleagues as a badge of honor, supposedly as motivation for balancing work and play.  
 
There is no argument with working hard - it’s vital for any company to succeed. Without unwavering determination and an auspicious work ethic, your competition will out shadow you in a moment's notice.
 
But employees today aren’t interested in playing hard. They are interested in balance and work/life integration. The concept of play hard can have many connotations. By saying work hard, play hard, we are directly or indirectly communicating that all of our time must be at work or with work colleagues. Essentially, if we are working hard and then spending our free time playing hard with our colleagues, we are not allocating any time for ourselves to reset and recharge. On top of that, the notion of “play hard” also has many connections to partying and drug use/abuse which is not conducive to a balanced culture. 
 
The term “work hard, play hard” is a major red flag when being stated as a part of a company’s values or mission statement. 
 
“Play hard” glorifies a degenerate culture. Picture a group of suited bankers wearing loose ties, in a loud nightclub, spending a lot of money on bottle service, and making morally questionable decisions; then, showing up to work the next day hungover and reveling in party stories while “working.” These actions only work against the employees, owners and investors of the company. 
 
“I have nothing against drinking and do my share. And there are plenty of TaskUs events where we serve alcohol. However, I do not want to promote constant partying as an important part of our company’s culture, whether intended or implied,” Jaspar Weir, President of TaskUs, said. 
 
It creates social pressure to drink with your colleagues or be left out. Not to mention that being hungover and tired at work is unproductive. In general, getting wasted around your colleagues just isn’t a great idea. 
 
It perpetuates the tech-bro stereotype that startups, and even well-established companies, desperately need to change. Companies fostering toxic work environments, especially poor treatment of women, and fraternity-like cultures of heavy drinking and partying play a role in this stereotype. Employees, amplified by media cycles, are screaming that this behavior will not be tolerated. 
 
So, no more play?
 
No, we should all have fun!
 
Work Hard, Play Hard connotes that work itself is not fun, and all play happens outside of the office as a way of evening the scales between the doldrum of work and the excitement of what play can entail. We spend way too much of our waking adult lives in an office. Therefore, it’s in every company’s best interest to focus more on creating fun work environments that people enjoy, and ultimately promote employee engagement and better business results. 
 
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend nearly 40% of their day working - more than any other single activity in their day. Happiness makes people more productive at work, according to the latest research from the University of Warwick. Economists carried out several experiments to test the idea that happy employees work harder. In the laboratory, they found happiness made people around 12% more productive.
 
Employers must provide meaningful, quality interactions with employees where they can relate to one another on a personal level. This gives managers insight into why a normally productive teammate is falling behind due to underlying personal life stressors. It allows us to all be human together and enjoy time together at work.
 
Here are a few ideas for how to create a fun work environment: 
 
  1. Celebrate Small Wins
An essential aspect of a fun workplace culture is where people feel good about themselves and their work. While appreciating major accomplishments is necessary to increase employee morale, celebrating the small wins can be just as effective.
An employee has always been helpful to his team members. When an employee stayed late to cover a sick colleague’s work. When someone always comes to work on time. Or keeps his workplace immaculately clean. The tool AIM Insights measures this metric and calls it organizational citizenship.
Such day-to-day acts should not go under the radar and be appreciated as such.
It will indeed impart some positive vibes, laughter, team bonding and establish an overall fun working environment.
 
2. Ask employees what they want 
The best way to create a fun working environment is to ask your employees about what they want. There is usually a generational and positional gap seen between the manager and the team members.
Thus, what you may consider fun at work might not necessarily be so for the employees.
Therefore, consider it an excellent practice to ask or gather feedback from the team about what you should do to make the working environment more fun.
More often, you’ll find that they’ll be more than happy to help you since it benefits them as well. Also, it will provide an excellent bonding opportunity between the manager and the team members.
 
3. Team Building Fun Activities
Team building activities that involve some strategy, skills, and team members working together can be incredibly effective in creating a fun work environment.
Such fun activities provide a plethora of benefits, including:
 
●       Aids the team members into honing their strategic skillset.
●       Promotes team bonding through activities such as icebreaker questions.
●       Helping combat work pressure and stress.
●       Increase in creativity and confidence levels.
●       Inspires better communication between team members.
●       Such fun activities help to bring team members together and actually bond over something that all enjoy.
 
This creates a sense of camaraderie and that their colleagues can be friends. Perhaps, the most crucial benefit is that the learning and collaboration developed during such team-building fun games can help in the actual working environment.
 
Having fun without hard work does not promote good business. Ditching the “work hard, play hard” mantra and focusing more on creating a fun work environment doesn’t mean people are happy, but it is a step in the right direction to allowing employees a fun expression of their job, in a safe and responsible manner. 
Thu 5 January 2023
Have your team members been acting differently or producing lower-quality work? Maybe there's an increase in requests for sick days or your direct reports seem disengaged during meetings? Unfortunately, all of these could be the early signs of team burnout. 
 
Burnout is quite common in today’s workplace. Two-thirds of full-time workers report experiencing burnout on the job, and it’s a phenomenon that impacts employees across all industries and roles, not just people in senior positions or traditionally high-stress jobs.
 
However, there’s hope: as a manager, there are several ways you can mitigate the impact of burnout on your team.
 
How do you identify team burnout? 
 
It’s critical that managers identify the signs of burnout early on. However, it’s important to note that they aren’t always easy to identify. 
 
You may assume that an employee has been missing deadlines or coming into work late because they are simply lazy. Or that the unusually negative, critical team member is simply in a “bad mood.” But these actions can be signs of burnout.
 
It’s also important to keep in mind that employees can experience burnout in their personal lives, which can carry over into their work. Managers shouldn’t assume that an employee is immune from burnout just because things at work aren’t busy.
 
To help you better identify the signs of burnout, look at the common physical, mental, and emotional symptoms below:
 
Physical symptoms of burnout
●       Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
●       Loss of productivity 
●       Fatigue
●       Loss of appetite or change in eating habits
●       Lack of sleep 
 
Mental symptoms of burnout
●       Constant worry and anxiety
●       Inability to focus clearly
●       Increased mental distance or apathy
 
Emotional symptoms of burnout
●       Feelings of negativity or cynicism 
●       Irritability
●       Emotional fragility or heightened sensitivity
●       An increased tendency to start arguments or make harsh comments
 
While these signs can be used to identify burnout in individuals, the same evaluation can also be used to assess teams. If multiple team members seem to be suffering from any of these symptoms, or if your team seems to be experiencing a general loss in productivity, there’s a chance that they may be experiencing burnout. 
 
How to help your team deal with burnout
 
Once you think you’ve identified burnout on your team, how do you manage it before it becomes problematic or long-term? 
 
1. Understand the root cause 
Before you take any action, take the time to understand the root cause of your team’s burnout. This will not only help you identify how to best help your team, but it’ll also demonstrate that you’ve noticed they’re not being themselves and want to help them overcome this obstacle.  
 
There are many potential contributing factors: a heavy workload, lack of leadership, no clarity around roles or expectations, and unfair treatment are common work-related causes of burnout. Of course, there could also be other factors outside of work that contribute to your team’s burnout such as financial or family-related stress.
 
Here are a few tips to help you identify the root cause: 
 
●       Have in-person conversations. Even though your entire team may be experiencing burnout, have conversations on an individual basis. 1-on-1 conversations are a good opportunity to address your direct reports' wellbeing. Addressing the entire group can be intimidating and make it difficult for members to open up. So schedule time for every employee and try to understand what they’re going through. Each person may also be able to share their perspective as to what’s happening at a team level.
●       Ask questions. Keep in mind that it may feel scary for employees to open up about their struggles in the workplace, especially to their managers. They may fear repercussions or worry about being perceived as less hardworking than other team members. If your employee seems to have a hard time starting the conversation, approach them with empathetic questions, such as, “What’s on your plate right now that’s overwhelming?” or “Where are you feeling the most stress?”
 
Other strategies can make it easier for people to open up about their experiences, too, such as ensuring confidentiality or connecting the employee to a third-party expert (such as a coach or therapist) that they may feel more comfortable working with. Sometimes, your employee may not feel ready to open up, and that’s okay too. Don’t force them to talk if they don’t want to but let them know you’re always available whenever they’re ready. Tools like AIM Insights can help leaders accomplish this goal.
 
2. Be an advocate 
As a manager, one of your most important roles is to serve as an advocate for your team. This means making sure your direct reports are well taken care of and supported. This is especially true when it comes to burnout. Depending on the reason for the burnout, the way you advocate for your employees can take on different forms. Here are a few examples to inspire ideas: 
 
●       Protect their time. If your team suffers from a heavy workload, one of the best things you can do is protect their time. What does this look like in practice? If someone approaches you to see if your team can take on a project, push back or say no. Also, let your team know that it’s okay to turn down work themselves if they feel overworked – this will empower them to regulate their own workloads.
●       Provide access to relevant resources. Regardless of the root cause, burnout can have very serious mental health consequences. Connecting employees with resources, such as information about wellness programs or wellbeing guides can be helpful. However, as a manager, you should also know that you’re not expected to be a mental health professional. So don’t hesitate to point your employees to an external source of mental and physical health support, whether that’s in the form of a healthcare professional or therapist. 
 
3. Demonstrate compassion and empathy
Compassion and empathy are useful tools for the workplace – especially when dealing with issues like burnout. There may be times you get frustrated with your team, or they get frustrated with you as you overcome this obstacle together. This is totally normal, so remind yourself to view the situation through a compassionate and empathetic lens. This will make it easier to get through the challenging times together. Below are ideas for how to demonstrate compassion and empathy: 
 
●       Don’t take it personally. It may be tempting to view your team’s burnout as a personal failing, but that’s not the case. At the end of the day, many factors can lead to burnout, no matter how hard you try to prevent it. So, when practicing empathy and compassion on your team, make sure you’re applying it inwardly, as well.
●       Think about what’s best for the team. A useful way to practice empathy is to ask yourself: what’s best for the team? The answer may vary by individual. What’s best for some employees is to take a vacation or personal leave and unplug for a bit. Others might need to clarify work priorities or have something taken off their plate. For some, it may be to support them if they decide to quit their job. This option can be challenging, but sometimes leaving an unhealthy work environment is the best thing employees can do for themselves and making sure that you’re supportive about their decision is the best thing that you can do for them. 
Tue 17 January 2023
Sometimes, one of the most difficult actions for a manager to take is to understand when to take a leave of absence. 66% of managers suffer from burnout, and according to Gallup, this number is only increasing. After all, managers often are in a unique position between direct reports and executives. Not only are they assisting their team below, but simultaneously assisting a team above. In addition to that, they have their own problems to face as well, including hiring, training, and retaining employees. This quote from Harry Levinson from the Harvard Business Review sums up the quandary faced by managers:

“In my role, I’m the guy who catches it all. I don’t know how much longer I can last in this job.”

While we have explained how to manage burnout as a manager, there comes a point that it is important to throw in the towel, even temporarily. However, there are a few steps to take for the sake of professionalism and to help both your team as well as your senior leadership team. After all, a manager’s absence is a phenomenon that will have a drastic impact on the rest of the team. Therefore, planning for before, during, and after the leave will be the manager’s responsibility. 

Before the Leave

Before your actual leave, one of the most important things to do is properly notify all of your coworkers, whether they be your direct reports, your peers, or your superiors. This is extremely important. Plan on assigning a point of contact as a substitute for you in order to make the most out of this break as well. Separation from work can be extremely valuable.

Notifying an executive team or any superior of a leave of absence can be daunting at times. The key here is to provide written documentation in conjunction with the human resources department explaining the following

·       What- Is this a leave of absence? Is this a step down and a break at the same time? Be sure to clarify exactly what steps are being taken during this break.
·       Why- Explain any reasoning as to why this action is being taken. No answer is an incorrect one but explaining the rationale behind mental health reasoning can add credibility to this report.
·       When- Clarify the dates as to when any breaks are being taken, as well as a timeline approximating a return to duties. While it is okay to have an indefinite duration, adding statements such as “no less than” or “no more than” can help senior managers in finding coverage.

Leave transition paperwork behind. While your leave may not necessarily be a permanent one, it is a leave, and staff contacting you should be unnecessary. This break is meant to refresh you and help with your mental health, as opposed to being on-call support. This paperwork should include team goals, some dossiers, and current tasks. A tool like AIM Insights can be a great way to document all of this information in real time. Hopefully, someone within your team is temporarily elevated to a managerial position. However, if senior leadership promotes someone unfamiliar with the team, they need to be well equipped to hit the ground running. Therefore, thorough paperwork will be extremely helpful. In addition to that, it will assist the team chemistry by allowing the substitute manager to understand individual personalities as well as specialties.

During the Leave

Many managers will struggle with the actual leave component of their planned leave. After all, their role is such an active part of the workplace that it ends up being very time consuming. Having this much free time can be somewhat daunting. So, what should a manager do with their time off?

1)      Log out of any work accounts- This break is meant for rehabilitation, as stated before. It is not meant to transfer you to remote work. Express that employees are not to contact you, unless there is an emergency, and only if there is an emergency.
2)     Get help- Taking a leave of absence is a drastic step. Simply taking a break for mental health and not taking further action is unproductive. Reach out to doctors, therapists, and mentors to look at further action.
3)     Take some time for yourself-  During this time, explore interests, and look at activities outside of the scope of the job. The goal of this is to reduce high levels of anxiety and stress. Use this time accordingly.       
4)     Contact superiors- If you are making any changes to your original planned break, let your superiors know, so they can then pass on further instructions to your substitute. In addition to that, keep them appraised on your projected return. This will assist them in reintroducing you to the workplace. In addition to that, let them know if you plan to reduce your duties in any capacity. It is okay to say that a job entails a little too much. Smart delegation can help with this as well.
5)     Prepare yourself to return- This seems a little straightforward, but it is a fairly important aspect of the leave. Work can be stressful, especially coming back off of a break. Imagine missing a few days of school. When you came back, it was a completely different unit being covered in math, a brand new animal to dissect in science, and somehow the school lunches got even worse. Returning to work after a mental health break can be extremely similar to this. Acknowledge that there may be changes, and that you may have a bit of work ahead of you in reacclimatizing to the work environment.

At the end of the day, being a manager is yet another job which will take up time and effort.  While this position is one of support and mentorship, sometimes it is in fact a manager who needs the aforementioned things. It is okay to ask for help, and more than okay to take time off to focus on returning stronger. 

Fri 20 January 2023
Do You Have an Intentional Leadership Development Strategy?
 
As Henry Ford once said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”
 
Henry Ford’s words have never been more pertinent as organizations struggle to hang onto their top performers in this economy. And though it’s tempting to instinctively go for that new external hire with a lot of ideas, what if there was already an internal leader poised for the challenge?
 
Leadership development strategies will not only prepare future leaders but improve talent retention across the organization. 
 
When evaluating your own leadership development programs and strategies, there’s only one approach that will set you apart and improve talent performance and retention – and it can be applied to any strategy you already have in place.
 
Why Is Leadership Development Important?
 
Leadership development is important because it helps your employees grow. It teaches them how to lead while developing leadership skills and qualities to become better leaders today - and for the future.
 
Leadership development aims to develop an individual's skills and abilities for leadership. It can be done in many ways, such as through on-the-job training, mentoring or coaching, and self-development.
 
Another reason leadership development is essential is that it helps organizations grow while they develop their employees' skill sets. In addition, it helps businesses better understand what they need to do to succeed in the future.
 
Furthermore, it helps individuals understand how they can advance in their careers, take on more responsibility, and become more successful while earning a higher salary.
 
Employees who can develop their skills and become more effective will be able to serve your organization and its customers better. They will also feel more fulfilled in their jobs, which makes them more likely to stick around longer.
 
Leadership development helps employees learn new skills and become more effective, which improves their performance as well as the performance of those around them. This can positively impact the bottom line if it leads to increased sales or improved customer satisfaction scores.
 
After all, high salaries are not the only thing that make employees want to stay. Top-performing employees want to be valued and appreciated for their hard work; relationships and continuous opportunities in the workplace to let their talent shine will motivate them to stay at a company, rather than to leave. 
 
Investing more time to tailor your leadership development strategy though is necessary to stay competitive and increase retention rates. The generic classes and training programs that have been a product of traditional leadership development strategies are not going to cut it. You must intentionally invest in each leader you’ve identified as a top talent. One way you can do that is provide them with executive coaching and metrics via AIM Insights.
 
Take the 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development. The learning and development model corresponds to a proportional breakdown of how people learn effectively, based on a survey asking nearly 200 executives to self-report how they believed they learned:
 
●       70% from challenging assignments
●       20% from developmental relationships
●       10% from coursework and training
 
This illustrates that every leader learns differently. It’s important to customize your leadership development strategy based on how a top performer processes information. Not only will this better prepare your internal leaders for their career trajectory within the organization, but it’s also a unique benefit that will improve your organizational retention and offer them an incentive to refuse external offers.
 
Customize your Leadership Development Strategy to Fit Your Organization
 
Customizing your strategy should build on what you already have in place. For example, pair your top performers with a leadership consultant who can give real-time executive coaching in the moment, whether for general leadership development or while integrating into a new leadership role.
 
Companies often spend a lot of time, effort, and money investing into their technology, operations, and facilities. While these areas are important places to invest, these companies often end up ignoring the best investment opportunity: leadership development. 
 
Businesses that invest in their employees achieve more success more often than those businesses that do not invest consistently in their people. Studies have shown that employees who went through leadership training programs increased their capability by 25% and their performance by 20%. 
 
During the age of the “Great Resignation,” initiatives that focused on retaining employees were more important than ever. As referenced in this Cornell post, 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. 
 
Having effective leaders who invest in their people’s development is one of the best ways to reduce turnover rates and improve employee satisfaction. Happy employees are more productive, and that energy will resonate throughout the rest of the company. 
 
By training employees in best leadership practices throughout the organization, you create a culture that shows you are invested in the success of employees. 
 
Hayden Brown, CEO of Upwork, who is passionate about “re-engaging and activating the managers in the business,” especially with so many employees working remotely.
 
Upwork holds a monthly Zoom gathering called One Upwork Forum, where managers can share information with each other about changes their driving, DEI initiatives, and anything they’re struggling with. While this is a candid, peer-to-peer gathering, it’s sponsored by a rotating executive, someone “who’s willing to kind of nurture and be the voice and the champion” of the group, Brown told me.
 
As Brown put it: “I think that’s been a really great way to drive that engagement and have that group kind of helping each other as they’ve gone through so much change.”
 
Peer support, as opposed to top-down feedback, offers several benefits, including “insight into diverse perspectives,” “opportunities to practice new skills in a safe space,” and an “enduring support network.” Having managers practice their skills together is also another opportunity for professional development.
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. 

Thu 23 February 2023
In today's fast-paced and competitive business world, organizations must continuously strive to improve their efficiency and productivity. One way to achieve this is through the use of SMART goals. SMART goals provide a framework for employees to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives that can help them focus their efforts and achieve their goals efficiently. 
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. It's a widely used framework for setting goals that helps to ensure that goals are well-defined, realistic, and achievable.
  1. Specific: Goals should be clear and specific, so that it's easy to understand what the goal is and what needs to be accomplished.
  2. Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable, so that progress can be tracked and success can be determined.
  3. Achievable: Goals should be realistic and achievable, given the resources and limitations available.
  4. Relevant: Goals should be relevant to the overall objectives of the individual or organization and align with their values and priorities.
  5. Time-bound: Goals should have a specific deadline, so that there is a sense of urgency and accountability to achieve the goal within a specific timeframe.
 
Here are the benefits of using SMART goals and how they can increase efficiency and organization in the workplace.
 
Clarity and Focus
The first benefit of using SMART goals is that they provide clarity and focus for employees. When employees know what they need to achieve and have a specific goal to work towards, they are better able to focus their efforts and avoid distractions. This increased focus leads to greater efficiency and productivity, as employees are better able to manage their time and resources.
 
Prioritization
Another benefit of SMART goals is that they help employees prioritize their tasks and activities. When employees have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, they can prioritize their work and ensure that they are working on the most important tasks first. This reduces wasted time and effort on less critical tasks, leading to better use of time and resources.
 
Motivation and Engagement
SMART goals also increase employee motivation and engagement. When employees have a specific goal to work towards, they are more likely to be engaged in their work and motivated to achieve their objectives. This increased motivation leads to greater productivity and efficiency, as employees are more committed to their work and focused on achieving their goals.
 
Measurement and Accountability
The 'M' in SMART stands for measurable, which means that progress towards the goal can be tracked and measured. This provides a sense of accomplishment and progress, which can motivate employees to work more efficiently. It also provides a basis for accountability, as employees can be held responsible for meeting their objectives.
 
 
SMART Goals: A Guide to Helping Your Employees Achieve Their Objectives
 
Goal-setting is a critical component of success in both personal and professional life. However, setting goals is not enough; they must be well-defined, measurable, and achievable in order to be effective. By setting SMART goals, individuals and organizations can focus their efforts, track their progress, and increase their chances of achieving their desired outcomes.
 
Here is a 5-step guide on how to teach your employees to set SMART goals and help them achieve their objectives.
 
  1. Teach Employees to Set Specific Goals
The first step in the SMART goal-setting process is to ensure that the goals are specific. Employees should be encouraged to define exactly what they want to achieve and the outcomes they are hoping for. Specific goals help to provide clarity and focus, making it easier for employees to determine what they need to do to achieve their objectives.
An efficient employee 
 
2. Emphasize the Importance of Measurable Goals
The next step is to ensure that the goals are measurable. This means that employees should be able to track their progress and determine whether they are on track to achieve their goals. Measurable goals also provide a sense of accomplishment as employees see the progress they are making towards their objectives.
 
3. Encourage Achievable Goals
Goals should be achievable, meaning that they should be realistic given the resources and limitations of the employees and the organization. Helping employees to set achievable goals can increase their confidence and motivation, as they see that their efforts are making a tangible difference.
 
4. Focus on Relevant Goals
Goals should be relevant to the employee's job and the organization's objectives. Relevant goals help to ensure that the employee's efforts are aligned with the organization's priorities, and that their goals are contributing to the overall success of the company.
 
5. Emphasize the Importance of Time-bound Goals
Finally, goals should be time-bound, meaning that they should have a specific deadline. This provides a sense of urgency and helps to keep employees focused on their objectives. It also allows for regular check-ins and progress updates to ensure that the goals are on track to be achieved.
 
AIM Insights is an online platform designed to help managers and employees collaborate more effectively on goal-setting and performance management. It provides managers with tools to help employees set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals, track progress towards those goals, and receive feedback and coaching throughout the process. Here are some ways AIM Insights allows managers to help their employees set and achieve their goals:
 
●       Facilitates goal setting: AIM Insights provides a structured process for setting goals, including prompts for identifying areas of focus, creating measurable objectives, and setting timelines for completion. Managers can use this process to guide employees in setting meaningful goals that align with the organization's overall objectives.
●       Tracks progress: The platform allows employees to track their progress towards their goals and provides managers with visibility into that progress. This enables managers to identify potential roadblocks and provide support and guidance to help employees overcome them.
●       Provides feedback: AIM Insights encourages ongoing feedback and coaching between managers and employees. Managers can use the platform to provide feedback on employee performance, offer suggestions for improvement, and recognize progress towards goals.
●       Supports performance conversations: AIM Insights facilitates regular performance conversations between managers and employees. This allows them to review progress towards goals, discuss any challenges, and adjust goals as needed.
 
The use of SMART goals is an effective way to increase efficiency and organization in the workplace. By providing clarity and focus, prioritization, motivation and engagement, measurement and accountability, and organization and planning, SMART goals help employees achieve their objectives efficiently and effectively. Organizations that encourage the use of SMART goals can expect to see increased productivity, improved performance, and greater success in achieving their goals.
By using AIM Insights, managers can help their employees set goals that are aligned with the organization's objectives, track progress towards those goals, and provide ongoing feedback and coaching to support goal achievement. This, in turn, can improve employee engagement, motivation, and overall performance.
Once employees have set their SMART goals, it is important for leaders to review their goals and help them achieve their objectives. This can be done through regular check-ins and progress updates, as well as providing resources and support to help employees overcome any obstacles they may face.
Teaching your employees to set SMART goals is a valuable investment in the success of both the employees and the organization. By providing clear guidelines and support, leaders can help employees achieve their objectives, increase their satisfaction and motivation, and contribute to the overall success of the company.
Thu 23 February 2023
Perfectionism is a trait that many managers struggle with. On the surface, striving for excellence and attention to detail can seem like positive attributes, but when taken to extremes, perfectionism can lead to negative outcomes, such as burnout, micromanagement, and missed deadlines. Managers will be challenged to properly strike a balance between achieving perfection and being overly attentive.

The Pros and Cons of Perfectionism

It is important to note that being a perfectionist is not entirely negative- here are some reasons why being a perfectionist can be advantageous for a manager:

·        High standards can lead to better quality work: When a manager has high standards for their team, it can encourage team members to put in the extra effort to produce higher quality work.
·        Attention to detail can prevent mistakes: When a manager is focused on achieving perfection, they are more likely to catch mistakes or errors before they become bigger problems.
·        Perfectionism can drive innovation: A manager who is always looking for ways to improve and achieve better results can inspire team members to think outside the box and innovate.
·        Perfectionism can set a positive example: When a manager holds themselves to a high standard, it can inspire team members to do the same and strive for excellence in their own work.
·        Perfectionism can enhance the company's reputation: High-quality work can help establish the company as a leader in its field, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

On the contrary, being too much of a perfectionist can have negative consequences, such as the following:

·        Perfectionism can lead to a lack of progress: When managers are too focused on perfection, they may spend too much time obsessing over details instead of moving forward. This can lead to missed deadlines and missed opportunities.
·        Perfectionism can lead to burnout: Managers who are perfectionists may put excessive pressure on themselves and their team members, leading to burnout and stress.
·        Perfectionism can hinder creativity: When managers are too rigid in their expectations, team members may be less likely to take risks or suggest new ideas for fear of falling short of impossible standards.
·        Perfectionism can damage morale: Team members may feel discouraged and demotivated if they feel they can never meet their manager's high expectations.
·        Perfectionism can be expensive: Striving for absolute perfection can result in unnecessary expenditures of time, money, and other resources.

So with all of this in mind, it isn’t surprising that many managers struggle to find the ideal balance for just how perfect they should be. Here are some tips on how to do so-

 

1)     Set Realistic Goals

One of the main reasons why managers become perfectionists is that they set unrealistic goals for themselves and their team. While it's important to aim high and challenge yourself, it's equally crucial to be realistic about what can be achieved within a given timeframe.

To avoid falling into this trap, managers should start by breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks. They should also ensure that each task has a clear deadline and is achievable within the given timeframe.

Use SMART criteria to set goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This approach helps ensure that goals are focused, measurable, and achievable within a given timeframe. SMART goals are a core component to how leaders can manage their team using AIM Insights. Here is an article on how to set SMART goals

 

2)     Prioritize Tasks

Another way to avoid perfectionism is to prioritize tasks according to their level of importance. Managers should focus on completing the most critical tasks first, and then move on to less urgent ones. Prioritizing tasks can be daunting at first, so the key in prioritizing is as follows:

a.      Identify the most urgent tasks that require immediate attention.
b.      Determine which tasks will have the greatest impact on the organization's goals and objectives.
c.      Consider the resources available, including time, budget, and personnel, and allocate them to the most critical tasks.
d.      Break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable steps to help manage time and resources more effectively.
e.      Regularly review and adjust priorities as circumstances change.

 

3)     Embrace Mistakes

Perfectionists often have a hard time dealing with mistakes or failures. They tend to view these as a reflection of their own inadequacies, which can lead to self-doubt and anxiety.

To avoid falling into this trap, managers should try to adopt a growth mindset. This means embracing mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as a sign of failure.

By viewing mistakes as learning opportunities, managers can become more resilient and better equipped to handle challenges in the future.

4)     Delegate Tasks

Another way to avoid perfectionism is to delegate tasks to team members. Managers often feel like they need to do everything themselves to ensure that it's done correctly, but this can be a recipe for burnout and inefficiency.

Delegating tasks not only helps managers to free up their time, but it also empowers team members to take ownership of their work and develop new skills. Using tools such as AIM Insights can also assist in determining how much a direct report already has on their plate before delegating further tasks on to them. Furthermore, it is important to make sure that these members are okay with additional responsibilities or are being adequately compensated for the increase in their role.

5)     Set Boundaries

Perfectionists often have a hard time setting boundaries around their work. They may feel like they need to be available at all times and respond to every email or message immediately.

To avoid falling into this trap, managers should set clear boundaries around their work hours and availability. This means turning off their work phone and email outside of work hours and being clear about their response times.

Setting boundaries can help managers to create a better work-life balance and avoid burnout.

6)     Focus on the Big Picture

Finally, managers can avoid perfectionism by focusing on the big picture. While attention to detail is important, it's equally crucial to keep the larger goals in mind.

By focusing on the bigger picture, managers can avoid getting bogged down in minor details and maintain perspective on what really matters.

Perfectionism can be a challenging trait to overcome, but it's essential for managers to find a healthy balance between quality and efficiency. By setting realistic goals, prioritizing tasks, embracing mistakes, delegating tasks, setting boundaries, and focusing on the big picture, managers can avoid falling into the trap of perfectionism and become more effective leaders.

Fri 10 March 2023
Leading a team can be challenging, especially when you are not an expert in the type of work being done. It's essential to have a clear understanding of your role as a leader and how to build a strong team that can work together to achieve success.

 While it might seem a little daunting to have to lead a team that does something you have no ideas on how to do, it is important to remember that this is common practice in all sorts of industries. Captains of cruise ships do not necessarily know how to operate the galley, but are often required to oversee the entire operation, including the cooks. The concepts travel across all sorts of businesses.

Business magnate Elon Musk used the phrase “ I didn’t go to Harvard, but I employ people who did.” This phrase should embody your mindset with this problem. In the context of a manager who isn't an expert in the type of work being done, this phrase suggests that the manager may not have the same level of technical knowledge or experience as their employees, but they recognize and value the expertise of their team members. The manager understands that their role is to lead and support the team, rather than to be the expert in every aspect of the work.

By acknowledging the strengths and expertise of their team members, the manager can leverage those skills and knowledge to achieve the goals of the organization. The manager can also provide guidance, mentorship, and resources to help their team members succeed, even if the manager doesn't have the same level of technical expertise.

This article will go into a few ideas on how to manage despite inexperience with a task.

  1. Build a Strong Team

As a leader who is not an expert in the type of work being done, it's crucial to build a strong team. Look for individuals who have the necessary skills and experience, and who can work well together as a team. Hire people who are passionate about the work being done and who have a strong desire to learn and grow. Encourage your team members to share their knowledge and expertise with one another and create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

2. Be a Good Communicator

Effective communication is one of the most important skills a leader can have. As a leader who is not an expert in the type of work being done, it's essential to be clear, concise, and consistent in your communication. Keep your team informed about what is happening and be available to answer their questions. Regular communication helps to build trust and fosters a sense of teamwork and collaboration. Have frequent 1:1s with your direct reports to determine how to keep moving forward with your tasks.

3. Be a Problem Solver

A good problem solver can be useful in many different situations. When faced with a challenge, work with your team to find creative solutions that are feasible and effective. Don't be afraid to try new things and take calculated risks. Encourage your team to do the same, and create an environment where failure is seen as a learning opportunity rather than a mistake.

4. Learn from Your Team

As a leader who is not an expert in the type of work being done, it's important to learn from your team members who are. Take the time to understand what they do and how they do it. Ask questions, listen to their ideas, and be open to feedback. By doing this, you can gain a better understanding of the work being done and the challenges your team faces. It also helps to build trust and respect with your team members, as they will appreciate your interest in their work.

5. Set Clear Expectations

It is essential to set clear expectations for your team. This includes goals, deadlines, and performance expectations. By setting clear expectations, you can help your team stay on track and achieve success. Make sure your team understands what is expected of them and what success looks like. Provide regular feedback and celebrate successes along the way.

6. Be Humble

It's okay to admit when you don't know something. As a leader who is not an expert in the type of work being done, it's important to be humble. Acknowledge your limitations and rely on your team to fill in the gaps. This approach not only shows your team members that you value their expertise, but it also creates a sense of trust and respect.

7. Focus on Leadership Skills

As a leader who is not an expert in the type of work being done, it's especially essential to focus on your leadership skills. This includes skills like delegation, decision making, and problem-solving. It's also important to develop your emotional intelligence, as this will help you understand and relate to your team members.

8. Be a Visionary

As a leader, it's important to have a clear vision for your team. This includes understanding the goals and objectives of the organization and how your team fits into that vision. Communicate your vision to your team and inspire them to work towards achieving it. By having a clear vision, you can create a sense of purpose and direction for your team. Understanding your leadership style and work mentality can assist with this.

9. Be a Coach

As a leader who is not an expert in the topics that you are attempting to manage, it is vital for you to stick to the topics that you have more credibility in, or topics that you are also more comfortable in. Attempting to show expertise in a topic you have no experience will make you look worse in your direct reports’ eyes. Be a mentor to your staff. In addition to that, assist them in setting SMART Goals, and utilize AIM Insights with them. Improve their overall office skills, and assist wherever you can.


In conclusion, leading effectively when you are not an expert in the type of work being done requires a combination of humility, strong communication skills, problem-solving ability, and the ability to build and empower a strong team. By focusing on these key elements, you can overcome the challenges of leading in an unfamiliar field and achieve success.



Tue 28 March 2023
Leadership is a critical aspect of any organization, and the skills and abilities of its leaders can significantly impact its success. However, not all leaders have had the benefit of formal training, and many may find themselves struggling to keep up with the demands of their roles. Fortunately, there are several effective ways for managers to upskill leaders who have received minimal formal training. Some of these include opportunities, while others include actual education.

  • On-the-Job Training- One of the most effective ways to upskill leaders is through on-the-job training. This approach involves providing leaders with opportunities to learn and develop new skills while they are actively engaged in their roles. This can include assigning them to new projects or tasks that challenge their abilities and providing them with feedback and support as they progress.
  • Mentorship and Coaching- Another effective way to upskill leaders is through mentorship and coaching. This approach involves pairing leaders with experienced mentors or coaches who can guide them through the process of developing new skills. Mentors or coaches can provide regular feedback and support, as well as offer insights into best practices and strategies for success. One way great tool to help upskill untrained leaders is AIM Insights which provides both coaching and metrics to help leaders better understand their teams.
  • Online Courses and Workshops- Many online courses and workshops are available that can help leaders develop new skills. These courses cover a wide range of topics, from leadership and management to specific technical skills, and can be completed at the leader's own pace. Online courses and workshops are particularly useful for leaders who may not have the time or resources to attend in-person training programs. Sponsoring manager’s further education can also go a long way in developing a leader and their loyalty.
  • Conferences and Networking Events- Attending conferences and networking events is another excellent way for leaders to upskill. These events provide opportunities to hear from experts, exchange ideas with peers, and build valuable professional connections. Leaders can learn about new trends and best practices and gain insights into how other organizations are approaching similar challenges.
  • Job Shadowing and Cross-Training- Job shadowing and cross-training opportunities can help leaders gain exposure to different areas of the organization and develop a broader range of skills. This approach involves temporarily switching roles with another leader or team member or spending time observing and learning from someone in a different part of the organization. Leaders can gain valuable insights into how different teams and departments operate and learn new skills that they can apply in their own roles.

In addition to the actions mentioned above, there are a few actions that direct reports and leadership can take, along with senior managers. As a leader, you have a responsibility to help newer managers learn more about leadership. Effective leadership is essential to the success of any organization, and providing guidance and support to new managers can help them develop the skills they need to be successful in their roles.

  • Encourage Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing- Encouraging collaboration and knowledge sharing among managers can also help unskilled managers improve their skills. Managers who have more experience and expertise can offer valuable insights and guidance to their less experienced colleagues. Creating a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing can help managers feel more comfortable seeking advice and support from their peers and can facilitate the sharing of best practices and lessons learned.
  • Be a Role Model- One of the most effective ways to help newer managers learn about leadership is to lead by example. As a manager, you should model the behaviors and qualities that you want to see in your team. By demonstrating strong leadership skills, you can show newer managers what effective leadership looks like in action.
  • Provide Clear Expectations and Goals- Managers who lack experience or skills may struggle to meet the expectations of their roles. Providing clear expectations and goals can help managers understand what is expected of them and what they need to achieve. Setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) can help managers stay focused and motivated and can provide a roadmap for their development.
  • Offer Regular Feedback and Support -Another way to help an unskilled manager is by offering regular feedback and support. Managers who are new to their roles or who lack experience may struggle to identify areas for improvement and may not know how to address them effectively. Regular feedback and support can help managers understand their strengths and weaknesses, identify areas for improvement, and develop plans to address any shortcomings.
  • Delegate Responsibilities- Delegating responsibilities to newer managers can help them develop their leadership skills. By giving them ownership over projects or initiatives, you can provide them with opportunities to practice decision-making, communication, and other leadership skills. Be sure to provide clear guidance and support as needed but allow them to take the lead and learn from their experiences.
  • Provide Opportunities for Leadership Development- Providing opportunities for newer managers to develop their leadership skills can help them build confidence and improve their performance. Consider offering leadership development programs, mentoring, or coaching to help them build the skills they need to be effective leaders.
  • Encourage Continuous Learning- Effective leaders are always learning and growing. Encourage newer managers to seek out learning opportunities, such as attending leadership seminars or workshops, reading books on leadership, or networking with other leaders in their industry. By supporting their professional development, you can help them build the skills and knowledge they need to be successful leaders.

Helping untrained managers develop the skills they need to succeed is critical to the success of any organization. Providing training and development opportunities, offering regular feedback and support, encouraging collaboration and knowledge sharing, providing clear expectations and goals, and offering coaching and mentoring are all effective ways to help unskill managers improve their skills and become more effective leaders. By investing in the development of their managers, organizations can improve their overall performance and achieve greater success. 



Mon 17 April 2023
With the ChatGPT revolution upon us, many business leaders have been wondering if there can be a productive application of AI (artificial intelligence) within their business.

Sure, AI can help students plagiarize an essay into a good grade,
but can it help companies increase their teams’ productivity?

One option that my team at Ambition In Motion has been testing is
integrating AI into our goal setting system via our AIM Insights program.

Here’s how it works. Every month we ask the direct reports of a
leader to input their goals. We ask direct reports to determine their own goals
(as opposed to the manager) because research shows that people who set their
own goals are much more likely to achieve them. 

This has been a great system so far, but one challenge is that not
every employee is adept at consistently setting SMART (Specific, Measurable,
Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals. The issue is that while most
people can understand the idea of a SMART goal, it takes practice to get
comfortable setting and achieving SMART goals each month. 

Some managers believe that their employees are incapable of
setting SMART goals. In those cases, those managers are likely micromanaging
and haven’t figured out how to find a balance between their perfectionist
ideals and the practical reality. People are more than just automatons, and
that kind of treatment builds resentment and enables reactive behavior instead
of proactive behavior. 

Employees that can independently set their own SMART goals have a
massive ripple effect on the entire company. When employees set their own SMART
goals, their leader trusts them and doesn’t need to be constantly looking over
their shoulder to make sure they are on track. 

When leaders aren’t constantly looking over their direct reports’ shoulders,
they can effectively lead more people and focus on tasks that can have a
multiplying effect on the business. 

Lastly, both leaders and employees can achieve greater balance
with their work. As opposed to checking, re-checking, and re-checking again a
direct report’s work, the time both leaders and employees are working can be
effectively utilized and allow them to stop working at reasonable hours.

How do we get to a point where employees are autonomously setting
their own SMART goals?

AI!

When a manager sets goals with their direct reports, the manager
thinks that their direct reports are fully participating in the goal-setting
process but in reality, that manager is setting the goals for their direct
reports. Essentially, those managers are enabling their direct reports to not
think for themselves and come up with their own goals and instead tell them
what they want them to do.

This is micromanagement.

The best leaders share an objective that their team needs to
achieve and the key results that they believe it takes to achieve that outcome.
They then empower their direct reports to achieve those key results in whatever
fashion they deem fit. Remember, you are paying these people for their skills
and expertise: learn to trust their instincts.

This leadership style works when direct reports know how to
effectively set SMART goals. It falls flat when employees don’t know how to set
SMART goals.

The reason why AI can be so powerful in this process is the
immediacy of the feedback.

Behavior change and positive habit formation occur when one’s
pattern is disrupted and the feedback they receive is immediate.

Leaders could make themselves available immediately after a direct
report has set their goals to share their feedback on whether the goal is SMART
or not, but that is incredibly time-intensive and not conducive to the leader
achieving their own tasks that they need to focus on. There is interesting
research from Cal Newport on the mental residue people build when they switch
tasks throughout the day. If a leader were to take this route and make
themselves available every time an employee sets a new goal, they would be
constantly switching tasks, building mental residue, and diminishing their own
productivity.

Essentially, leaders are busy and there needs to be a better way
for employees to get immediate feedback on their goals.

AI changes all of that with the immediacy of feedback. In our AIM
Insights program, when employees set goals every month, our AI integration
gives those employees immediate feedback as to whether or not their goal is
SMART. If it is SMART, AIM Insights gives immediate positive reinforcement to
employees that their goal is SMART. If it is not SMART, AIM Insights gives
employees suggestions on how they can re-write that goal as a SMART goal. 

This AI integration into AIM Insights has increased the number of
SMART goals set by employees, their ability to autonomously set SMART goals on
their own, and subsequently, those employees’ and leaders’ productivity.

The ripple effect ramifications from this type of innovation can
be huge for the productivity of teams. Sure, employees will be more productive
in less time worked, but they will also be more resilient. 

Employees (and really everyone) tend to be resistant to change, so
when a company pivots their business model or the way they work, there is
always some amount of resistance that is met with the proposed change. 

When the process in which employees set goals doesn’t change, only
the objective, they are more likely to embrace the change in direction because
the way in which they set goals and achieve key results doesn’t change. The way
in which they work doesn’t materially change, only the objective and key results.
This makes for a more resilient team and that’s able to adapt to change. 

This can positively affect the way in which companies integrate
people and strategies during mergers and acquisitions, enter new business
opportunities and markets, succession plan and promote people, and any other
action that might disrupt the way in which employees currently work.

Companies and leaders that can quickly adopt AI into productive
applications will give themselves a major boost into the future.

Mon 24 April 2023
Change is an essential part of any organization, and it is crucial for growth and development. However, employees who have been with a company for 10+ years can be resistant to change. They may be set in their ways and comfortable with the current processes and procedures. This resistance can be a significant obstacle for companies looking to innovate and improve. 

  1. Communicate the Need for Change

One of the most important things you can do to get employees to embrace change is to communicate the need for it. When employees understand why a change is necessary, they are more likely to be receptive to it. It is essential to be clear about the reasons for the change and how it will benefit the company.

For example, if you are introducing a new software program, explain how it will streamline processes and save time. If you are changing the company's mission statement, explain how it will better align with the company's goals and values. By providing a clear and compelling reason for the change, you can help employees see the bigger picture and understand why it is necessary.

2. Involve Employees in the Change Process

When employees feel like they are part of the change process, they are more likely to embrace it. Involve them in the decision-making process and ask for their input. This will make them feel valued and give them a sense of ownership over the change. When employees feel that their voices are heard and their opinions matter, they are more likely to be invested in the change.

For example, if you are introducing a new performance review system, involve employees in the selection process. Ask for their feedback on the options and what they would like to see in the new system. When employees are part of the decision-making process, they are more likely to buy into the change and support it. 

When employees are part of the decision-making process, this follows the Democratic Leadership Goleman Style. This method completely enables all members of a team to participate in the decision-making progress. Any member can potentially come in with an idea and can determine whether or not the idea is worth going forth with by using a consensus amongst other members, along with a final ruling by a leader. Democratic Leadership is particularly useful at getting team member involvement and retaining staff, but has a flaw in its speed, often taking time to come up with decisions. This can be dangerous when quick decisions are required to be made. 

3. Provide Training and Support

Change can be intimidating, especially if it requires learning new skills or processes. To help employees adjust to the change, it is essential to provide them with the necessary training and support. This will make them feel more confident and capable, which will increase their willingness to embrace change.

For example, if you are introducing a new software program, provide employees with comprehensive training on how to use it. This could include online tutorials, in-person training sessions, or one-on-one coaching. When employees feel comfortable using the new program, they are more likely to embrace it and use it to its fullest potential. 

Certain platforms, such as AIM Insights often are delivered to businesses with training packages or training professionals included in their respective packages. Opening these up to your staff can alleviate confusion and create more buy-in as well. 

In addition to this, we strongly recommend pushing your corporate education sponsorships and similar benefits towards your employees. This builds high amounts of employee buy-in loyalty and will allow for a better trained employee base as well.

4. Celebrate Successes

When employees successfully adapt to the change, it is essential to acknowledge and celebrate their efforts. This will help reinforce the idea that change is positive and encourage others to embrace it as well. Celebrating successes can also help create a sense of momentum and excitement around the change.

For example, if you are introducing a new project management system, celebrate when the first project is successfully completed using the new system. This could include a team lunch or a shoutout in the company newsletter. By celebrating successes, you are showing employees that their efforts are appreciated and that the change is having a positive impact.

5. Address Concerns and Resistance

Even with the best communication, involvement, training, and support, some employees may still be resistant to change. It is essential to address their concerns and resistance head-on. It is crucial to listen to their concerns and take them seriously. By doing so, you can identify any potential roadblocks and develop strategies to overcome them.

For example, if an employee is resistant to using a new software program, find out why. Perhaps they are not confident with their computer skills or have had a bad experience with a similar program in the past. By understanding their concerns, you can provide additional training or support to help them overcome their resistance.


In conclusion, getting employees who have been with the company for 10+ years to embrace change can be a challenge, but it's not impossible. The key is to communicate the reasons for change, involve employees in the change process, provide training and support, and recognize and reward those who embrace the change. By following these tips, companies can successfully navigate the challenges of change management and create a culture of continuous improvement that benefits both employees and the organization as a whole. Embracing change is crucial for companies to remain competitive, and by working together, all employees can contribute to a successful transition.



Fri 12 May 2023
Starting a new job can be an exciting and overwhelming experience. From meeting new colleagues to learning the ins and outs of a company, there are many new things to adjust to. For managers and leaders, it's important to understand how their employees feel during this onboarding period, and to provide the necessary support to help them succeed. Unfortunately, not all managers prioritize this aspect of leadership. 

Recently, a new hire, Samantha, at a Fortune 500 company was excited to start her new job as a marketing coordinator at a tech startup. She had high hopes and was eager to prove herself. However, when Samantha arrived on her first day, she was given a brief orientation and then left to figure things out on her own.

She didn't know who to turn to for guidance or how to navigate the company's systems. Samantha felt lost and unsupported, and it wasn't long before she began to feel frustrated and discouraged. Within a week and a half, Samantha quit her job.

This scenario highlights the importance of guidance and support for new employees. Managers and leaders must take the time to onboard and provide clear direction to new hires. Without proper guidance, employees like Samantha can quickly become overwhelmed and feel unsupported, leading to a high turnover rate.

The first 90 days of employment are critical for new hires as they adjust to their new work environment, culture, and expectations. It's important for managers to make the onboarding process as smooth and welcoming as possible to set the tone for a successful work experience. This includes checking in regularly with new employees to understand how they're feeling and what support they may need. When employees feel that their manager cares about their experience, they're more likely to feel engaged, committed, and productive.

It's crucial for managers to understand that the first few weeks of an employee's new job are crucial to their success in the role. By providing guidance and support, managers can help new hires feel more comfortable and confident in their new position, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and better long-term retention rates.

What steps can managers take to improve the onboarding process?

Managers can take several steps to support new employees and better understand their feelings during the onboarding period. 
  1. First and foremost, they should make themselves available for questions and provide clear expectations for what is expected of the employee. Regular check-ins can also help managers understand how the employee is feeling and address any concerns or challenges they may be facing. 

2. Additionally, providing opportunities for employees to meet with other team members and learn about the company culture can also be beneficial.

3. AIM Insights is a tool that can help managers track and understand the first 90-day onboarding period for new employees. AIM Insights is a platform that allows managers and leaders to gain insights into their team's performance and engagement levels, and provides actionable steps to improve their team's success. One of the most important features of AIM Insights is its ability to track the onboarding progress of new employees.

Through the use of surveys and other assessment tools, AIM Insights helps managers understand how new employees feel about their onboarding experience. This allows managers to identify any potential issues and take proactive steps to address them before they become bigger problems. For example, if a new employee feels overwhelmed by their workload or doesn't feel like they have received enough guidance, AIM Insights can help managers identify these issues early on and provide the necessary support to help the employee succeed.

In addition to helping managers understand how new employees feel, AIM Insights can also help new employees adjust to their new workplace. By providing personalized coaching and mentoring, AIM Insights can help new employees develop the skills they need to succeed in their role and feel more confident in their abilities. This can help new employees feel more comfortable in their new workplace and can improve their overall job satisfaction.

With the help of AIM Insights, managers can avoid similar situations and ensure that their new employees are set up for success. By tracking the onboarding progress of new employees and providing personalized coaching and mentoring, AIM Insights can help managers identify any potential issues early on and provide the necessary support to help new employees succeed.


Fri 19 May 2023
In today's highly competitive business environment, exceptional leadership skills alone may not guarantee promotions. Many great leaders often wonder why their efforts and capabilities go unnoticed when it comes to advancing their careers. 
Many outstanding leaders find themselves facing a common hurdle: effectively communicating their leadership capabilities to key decision-makers. 
Leaders often encounter struggles when it comes to effectively communicating their leadership abilities. These challenges can hinder their ability to showcase their skills, connect with their teams, and gain recognition for their accomplishments. 
However, by addressing this challenge head-on and employing strategies to enhance their communication skills, leaders can distinguish themselves from the crowd and increase their chances of promotion.
The key lies in their ability to effectively communicate their leadership prowess and demonstrate their impact. This is where AIM Insights, a cutting-edge performance management tool, comes into play.

Unleashing the Power of the AIM Insights Performance Management Tool
While possessing remarkable leadership skills, extensive experience, and a track record of success, great leaders may struggle to convey their true potential to key decision-makers. This communication gap can impede their promotion prospects, leaving them feeling undervalued and overlooked. 
AIM Insights provides actionable insights and metrics to leaders and organizations to help them improve performance, enhance communication, and drive results. AIM Insights is a robust performance management tool designed to address the challenges associated with effective communication of leadership capabilities. 
By harnessing the capabilities of AIM Insights, leaders can differentiate themselves and significantly improve their chances of promotion.
 
Here are 5 reasons why AIM Insights is the tool to help you best communicate your leadership capabilities:

  1. Comprehensive Performance Metrics:
AIM Insights provides leaders with a comprehensive array of performance metrics, enabling them to track their achievements and demonstrate their impact. These metrics encompass key performance indicators (KPIs), employee engagement levels, project success rates, and financial performance, among others. By utilizing AIM Insights, leaders can quantify their contributions and showcase their ability to drive tangible results.
2. Objective Self-Assessment:
AIM Insights facilitates objective self-assessment by allowing leaders to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses with precision. This valuable feature empowers leaders to understand their leadership capabilities better, identify areas for improvement, and capitalize on their strengths. Armed with this knowledge, leaders can refine their communication strategies to effectively highlight their competencies and achievements.
3. Goal Alignment and Progress Tracking:
AIM Insights facilitates alignment with organizational goals and tracks progress towards them. By clearly demonstrating how their leadership initiatives directly contribute to overarching objectives, leaders can position themselves as valuable assets to the organization. This alignment showcases their strategic acumen and reinforces their commitment to the company's mission, setting them apart as leaders who comprehend the bigger picture.
4. Real-Time Feedback and Coaching:
AIM Insights incorporates real-time feedback mechanisms, enabling leaders to receive timely insights on their performance. This feature facilitates continuous improvement by highlighting areas that require attention or development. Through constructive feedback and targeted coaching, leaders can enhance their leadership communication skills, making them more effective at conveying their capabilities to decision-makers.
5. Dynamic Reporting and Visualization:
AIM Insights offers dynamic reporting and visualization tools that transform complex data into compelling narratives. Leaders can leverage these tools to create visually appealing reports and presentations, effectively conveying their accomplishments and impact. By presenting data-driven insights in an accessible and engaging manner, leaders can make a lasting impression and capture the attention of key stakeholders.

Leaders face the challenge of effectively communicating their leadership capabilities to secure promotions and recognition. By acknowledging and addressing these communication struggles head-on, leaders can distinguish themselves from the crowd. 
Employing techniques such as crafting compelling narratives, emphasizing results, fostering effective listening, embracing authenticity, and continuously honing communication skills will enhance leaders' ability to communicate their unique leadership capabilities. 
AIM Insights, a powerful performance management tool, empowers leaders to overcome these obstacles and distinguish themselves from the crowd. By utilizing AIM Insights' comprehensive performance metrics, objective self-assessment, goal alignment, real-time feedback, and dynamic reporting features, leaders can enhance their communication of leadership capabilities. 
Through the utilization of AIM Insights, leaders can position themselves as high-impact performers, increasing their chances of promotion and ensuring their exceptional leadership skills are recognized and rewarded accordingly.


Fri 16 June 2023
As an employee, you're not expected to work at the same company forever. Whether you're looking to advance within your current organization or explore new opportunities elsewhere, having a strong resume that highlights your accomplishments and skills is essential. 

Building your resume continuously throughout your jobs allows you to capture and showcase your accomplishments, demonstrate career progression, reflect continuous learning, seize unexpected opportunities, tailor your resume for specific positions, build confidence and self-awareness, prepare for performance reviews, and demonstrate career commitment. Here are some reasons why direct reports should prioritize resume-building throughout their careers:

  • Documenting Your Accomplishments: Continuously updating your resume allows you to document your accomplishments and contributions while they are fresh in your mind. By capturing your achievements in real-time, you ensure that no valuable experiences or skills are overlooked or forgotten. This documentation serves as evidence of your capabilities and helps you present a comprehensive picture of your professional growth.
  • Showcasing Career Progression: A continuously updated resume demonstrates your career progression over time. It allows potential employers to see how you have advanced, taken on increasing responsibilities, and acquired new skills and experiences. This progression showcases your ability to adapt, learn, and succeed in different roles, making you a more attractive candidate for future opportunities.
  • Reflecting Continuous Learning: Updating your resume regularly reflects your commitment to continuous learning and professional development. It shows that you actively seek new challenges, acquire new skills, and stay updated with industry trends. Employers value candidates who demonstrate a growth mindset and a willingness to expand their knowledge and expertise.
  • Seizing Unexpected Opportunities: Opportunities can arise unexpectedly, such as a new job opening or a chance to work on an exciting project. Having an updated resume readily available allows you to seize these opportunities promptly. It enables you to respond to job postings or network with potential employers without delay, increasing your chances of being considered for desirable positions.
  • Tailoring for Specific Opportunities: Each job opportunity is unique, with its own requirements and desired qualifications. By continuously building your resume, you can easily tailor it to match the specific needs of different positions. This customization allows you to highlight the most relevant skills, experiences, and accomplishments that align with the job requirements, increasing your chances of being selected for interviews and ultimately landing the job.
  • Building Confidence and Self-Awareness: Updating your resume provides an opportunity for self-reflection and self-awareness. As you review your accomplishments and experiences, you gain a deeper understanding of your strengths, skills, and professional journey. This increased self-awareness boosts your confidence and helps you articulate your value proposition during interviews and networking interactions.

However, it can be challenging to recall and effectively communicate all the tangible contributions and achievements you've made throughout your career. This is where AIM Insights, a powerful performance management tool, comes into play. By keeping track of your accomplishments at work, AIM Insights helps you build an impressive resume that showcases your value and potential to prospective employers.

One of the key features of AIM Insights is its ability to provide you with tangible portfolio tasks that demonstrate your impact on the organization. These tasks are curated based on your performance evaluations and feedback from your manager, allowing you to focus on the areas where you excelled. By completing these tasks and documenting the results, you create a tangible record of your achievements and contributions. This not only helps you recall specific examples when updating your resume but also provides concrete evidence of your abilities and the value you bring to the table.

A notable aspect of AIM Insights is its emphasis on SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). When you view the "goals" section on AIM Insights, you can see the percentage of SMART goals you've set and accomplished. 

This feature not only encourages goal-oriented behavior but also provides a clear indicator of your performance and progress. It showcases your ability to set high-impact objectives that contribute to team success and drive overall performance. This information is invaluable when it comes to presenting yourself as an effective and goal-driven professional on your resume.

Another valuable aspect of AIM Insights is its ability to generate an impact score average based on your evaluations. This score reflects the overall impact of your work and highlights your contributions to the team's success. Being able to quantify your impact in this way is immensely beneficial when updating your resume. Prospective employers are always looking for candidates who can demonstrate measurable results and tangible achievements, and AIM Insights provides the data to back up your claims.

Furthermore, AIM Insights allows you to compare your impact scores with those of your peers. This feature provides context and perspective on your performance, showing how you stack up against others in your team or department. It offers valuable insights into your relative strengths and areas for improvement, allowing you to tailor your resume to highlight your unique abilities and stand out from the competition.

By utilizing AIM Insights, you gain several advantages when it comes to building your resume: 
  1. Firstly, you have access to tangible metrics and portfolio tasks that demonstrate your accomplishments and contributions. This gives you a structured framework to showcase your skills and abilities effectively. 
  2. Secondly, you can leverage the feedback and evaluations provided by your manager through AIM Insights. This feedback not only gives you a clear understanding of your performance but also serves as valuable evidence of your capabilities when constructing your resume.
  3. Lastly, AIM Insights tracks your progress and growth within your position and the organization. It provides a comprehensive record of your achievements, milestones, and professional development. This information is invaluable when it comes to updating your resume over time, as you can accurately reflect your career trajectory and demonstrate continuous improvement and growth.

AIM Insights is a powerful performance management tool that simplifies the process of keeping track of your accomplishments and helps you build a compelling resume. By providing tangible portfolio tasks, tracking SMART goals, generating impact scores, and facilitating manager feedback, AIM Insights empowers you to effectively showcase your skills and achievements. Whether you're aiming for career advancement within your current organization or exploring new opportunities, AIM Insights equips you with the tools and data you need to present yourself as a high-performing, results-driven professional.


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.


Mon 31 July 2023
As professionals, everyone has different hopes for the workplace culture they want to experience. As leaders, many may find it difficult to actualize culture changes that every employee will embody. 

The main struggle of enacting new change is that humans are creatures of habit. Routine work habits and communication patterns become repetitive and can get anyone stuck in a rut of redundancy. After years or decades of the same unwavering schedule and workplace practices, it is hard to motivate divergent values throughout your company. As leaders, it is hard to get everybody on board with enacting a cultural shift, even when it is for the better. 

Changing company culture can be a daunting task. It can take time to unwind cultural norms that have developed over years and people can be very resistant to change in all facets of their lives. Initiating culture changes takes consistent time, effort and resources, and patience in the results. 

How do company leaders motivate change and get each employee to practice a new wave of  cultural values? 

From a bird’s eye view, it is easy to imagine the differences culture can cause in the overall makeup of a business, including increases in efficiency, improvements in workplace comradery and overall happiness at work. However, employees can sometimes be affected by tunnel vision and find it challenging to see the bigger picture and importance of workplace culture. Here are four steps on how to get your employees to join in on a new wave of culture changes:


1- Include employees in forming new values 
From an executive position, it can be difficult to know what those several levels below you can most benefit from. In forming your new company values, the most crucial step for getting every employee on board is making sure the new values are important to employees and inspire them to create change throughout the company. Find what values upper management wishes to prioritize and collaborate with other professionals at the company to find a set of values that will enhance everyone at the company. The best way to have employee buy-in is to prioritize values many already find important. Additionally, resistance to change can be minimized by transparency in new values. Many people have anxiety and growing pains when change is in effect due to uncertainty, but if the unknowns are minimized, the change resistance may be too. 

2- Initiate Training Curriculum
To implement your company's culture and get everyone on board, start at ground zero. Implement portions and examples of your culture into training and development throughout your company or better yet, create training programs tailored to specific goals and values. To ensure this is impactful, consider using different training platforms and methods, and include real life applications and examples on how you expect this culture shift to affect your company as a whole. For example, if you want your company culture to reflect a value in innovation, explain to your employees how you are working on embracing mistakes and finding creative solutions  in the workplace. 

As a second portion of training and development, consider implementing a leadership program to teach leaders how these cultural changes should be exhibited in each of their teams. Teaching leaders to lead by example can be tricky when it is in unprecedented areas for individuals. As part of a leadership training, it is important to emphasize a united front to the rest of your company to ensure buy-in from all employees firm wide. 

3- Practice what you teach
One of the most impactful methods of leadership is leading by example. If you want your company's culture to prioritize its people, show that in your everyday actions. After beginning training and development to adjust your company’s culture, be sure to exhibit these values in your everyday life. By demonstrating your ideal culture, you gain credibility and support from others, and inspire others towards new goals. Those in lower level positions look up to those within leadership and will follow your lead of implementing different priorities in your company's culture. Finally, practicing what you teach is crucial for holding yourself accountable and working towards self- growth. If you want to lead a company that prioritizes compassion but you yourself have trouble exhibiting this, your employees may have a hard time endowing such a shift. Self-growth allows us all to become more aware of ways we can better ourselves, and will exhibit to your employees that you are all working on growing and learning at the same time and that it is a team-effort that will result in improved culture for the entire company. 


4- Monitor Feedback and Celebrate Success
Sometimes from a leadership position, it is challenging to see the effect of changes from a top-down view. It is impossible to grow without feedback so, once you have implemented your cultural shifts, be sure to collect feedback at specified intervals from all levels to better understand the execution of changes throughout your employees.  In receiving feedback, it is also important to celebrate success and keep an optimistic view moving forward. Consider using different systems to celebrate success, maybe publicly recognizing those who exemplify your new cultural changes and values. Finding time for both of these items can sometimes take the back burner nevertheless, it is important to collect feedback and celebrate success for continuous execution of your revised culture. 

Remember that these changes won’t happen overnight. It is important to be patient and understanding as everyone begins to enact new habits and values throughout their professional life, it can be a long process to unwind decades of repetitive habits and values. A good leader is able to understand and empathize, be patient in understanding that it is hard to change something as broad as culture and that in practice, your company’s culture will develop and with passion, people will follow. 
Mon 31 July 2023
Effective prioritization is essential for achieving success and developing a competitive edge in organizations. The implementation of an efficient prioritization management process is critical to optimize productivity, streamline operations and best utilize available resources. 

Why do other teams work the same amount of time, but yield greater results? How can my team use resources effectively and meet deadlines consistently? 

Developing an effective process to prioritize tasks involves more than arranging tasks in order of importance. A well-designed approach considers various factors such as complexity, resource availability, impact on the organization, and relation to other tasks. Crafting a system that is tailored to the specific goals of the organization can allow leaders to direct their teams toward success. 

Here are some key components to consider when creating an effective prioritization model. 

  1. Reflect on the Team's Objectives: Understanding the goals of the team and the company as a whole will keep in mind the bigger picture. From here, you can align your priorities in the direction of the organization to ensure all business values are adhered to. 

2. List Tasks: Create a comprehensive list of tasks that need to be completed to visualize everything. All tasks can be placed in different categories based on their importance and urgency. Tasks that are incredibly time-sensitive and important can be included in one group and create similar groups for tasks that lessen in time sensitivity and importance. 

3. Determine Task Dependencies: Identify tasks that must be completed before starting other tasks. Ensure that tasks with dependencies are prioritized before their dependent tasks. 

4. Consider Resources and Constraints: The availability of resources is extremely important when prioritizing tasks. Consider time, budget, and manpower requirements when considering each task. Assess whether each task can realistically be completed given the available resources. 

5. Avoid Overloading: Assigning too many tasks to team members can lead to burnout and overall decreased productivity. When delegating tasks it is important to be realistic about the number of tasks assigned to individuals and teams. 

6. Establish Deadlines: Specify realistic deadlines for tasks based on their predetermined levels of urgency and importance. Ensure that these deadlines take into account the dependencies identified in the previous step as well. All deadlines should be communicated to team members, relevant managers, and any other pertinent stakeholders. 

7. Gather Team Member Insights: After establishing deadlines get input from team members on the prioritization of tasks. Team members might have key insights into the complexity of each task. This step is valuable in ensuring that individuals and teams can handle tasks as additional insights can ensure that time constraints are appropriate. 

8. Utilize Management Software: Incorporate software to help organize tasks effectively. Tools can be helpful when keeping track of upcoming deadlines, task progress, and even individual team members' performance. 

9. Evaluate and Adjust Regularly: Goals, resources, or other factors may shift over time and affect how tasks are prioritized. Evaluate task priorities regularly to ensure that tasks continue to be aligned with the evolving goals of the organization. 

10. Communicate Clearly: Articulate all tasks effectively to team members and ensure that they understand the importance of the priorities. Communicating clearly mitigates misunderstandings and focuses on goals. 

Recognize that in dynamic work environments, priorities should mirror the ever-changing landscape. While priorities are essential, being flexible is important when handling unforeseen changes or emergencies. Prioritizing may be perceived as a rigid structure for organizing tasks, however, adaptation is an important aspect that must be implemented in real-world applications. 

Remember, effective task prioritization is aligned with the organization's overall goals. Continuing to adjust and optimize the prioritization system can enhance productivity and achieve optimal results in the workplace. 

When discussing prioritization, delegation is another important skill to implement. Delegation can develop employees' skills, allow managers to focus on higher-level responsibilities, and ultimately increase team productivity. Here are some important guidelines for productive delegation. 

  • Identify Tasks to Delegate: Determine which tasks require critical decision-making and which can be delegated without compromising quality. Delegate tasks that provide learning opportunities for team members while allowing you time for more strategic work.

  • Play to Team Members Strengths: To effectively delegate, it is crucial to recognize the strengths of team members. Understanding each individual's skills and expertise will guide you in delegating appropriate tasks that best align with their abilities. Delegation can also serve as an opportunity to develop skills for team members. Creating these growth opportunities can strengthen the team as a whole. 

  • Set Clear Expectations: Clearly communicate desired outcomes and expectations for each delegated task. Communicate specific deadlines, quality standards, and any task constraints. 

  • Provide Resources: Ensure team members have the necessary support and tools to complete the delegated tasks effectively. Identify steps they can implore if they are struggling throughout the process. 

  • Establish Check-ins: Set up regular progress checkpoints, offer guidance, and provide feedback. These meetings can be used to address any issues that arise and ensure sufficient progress is being made. 

  • Encourage Questions: Foster an open environment where team members feel comfortable asking questions and seeking clarification. This can be achieved through avoiding micromanagement and asking for their feedback as well. These initiatives can build trust and open dialogue for them to share their perspective. 

  • Recognize Efforts: Acknowledge the hard work of all team members and celebrate accomplishments. Positive reinforcement builds motivation, confidence, and commitment to the tasks. 

  • Reflect on Experiences: Regularly take time to reflect on your delegation and assess what can be improved upon in future delegation efforts. Be open to delegation feedback from team members too. Gathering feedback can generate new ideas for implementing more effective delegation practices. 

  • Defend Team Decisions: At times, team members may make decisions within their delegated tasks that create tension with executives. When responsibilities are delegated, managers must support their team. Delegation can be used as a tool for the development of skills and provide growth opportunities. Team members must feel comfortable their manager will support them to other executives as this will build team strength. 

Implementing strong delegation techniques along with task prioritization will create systems that allow effective time utilization. A system that incorporates both strategies can provide growth opportunities for your team, utilize resources effectively, and successfully manage deadlines. 


Thu 17 August 2023
Diversity of thought and different backgrounds have become increasingly recognized as invaluable aspects of a high-functioning team. They are attributed to high levels of innovation and the consideration of diverse perspectives. 

Companies can only harness the value of having diverse perspectives when team members feel comfortable vocalizing their thoughts.

An incredibly important aspect of an effective team dynamic is psychological safety. This term was introduced by Harvard organizational behavioral scientist Amy Edmondson and is defined as “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.”  A team that embraces diverse ideas and allows members to challenge the status quo can allow for increased success and higher team retention rates as members will feel more comfortable making contributions. 

Posing a simple question like “What is the goal for this project?” may sound simple, but often times people fear that asking such questions will present themselves as ignorant. Creating an environment that encourages team members to feel comfortable sharing their questions, big or small, is a crucial aspect of cultivating psychological safety. 

To determine whether a team has psychological safety consider the following: 
  • Do all team members feel valued? 
  • Can team members take risks without fear of backlash? 
  • Do team members openly voice their concerns? 
  • Is curiosity encouraged or deterred? 
  • Can team members ask for help? 
  • Is it okay to fail?

If these questions reveal areas that require team improvement, the next 3 tools can be incorporated to create a safer workplace environment:  

  1. Demonstrate Engagement
Being present when conversing with colleagues will make them feel more valued during interactions. Things as simple as closing a laptop or silencing a phone can decrease distractions during conversations. Body language is another powerful tool when creating an engaged presence. Nonverbal cues such as facing the speaker, making consistent eye contact, and nodding occasionally demonstrate active listening. 

Equally important listening habits include asking thoughtful questions and presenting follow-up questions if necessary. Once an idea has been shared, recap what has been said to demonstrate understanding. If further clarification is necessary this is the opportunity to ensure both parties are on the same page. 

During conversations, it is imperative to avoid placing blame. Trying to find someone at fault will discourage team members from taking risks and may lead to dishonesty in the future. Rather than pointing fingers, work to find solutions for the problem at hand and develop methods to prevent future issues. Use this situation as a learning opportunity. 

Leaders can determine the engagement of their team members through pulse or engagement surveys.

2. Cultivate Inclusivity in Interpersonal Settings
Actively developing an inclusive environment for team members can create an open environment that facilitates sharing. Provide information about personal working habits and preferences. Encourage other team members to share their working styles as well. Knowing more about how different people work allows for a greater understanding of what to expect from each other in the future. 

Expressing gratitude for team members' work establishes an inclusive environment since members know that their contributions are valued. Along with spreading positivity, preventing negative talk among colleagues is equally important. When overseeing a team, complaints about team members should be listened to and taken into consideration, however, spreading gossip or unnecessary negativity should be shut down immediately. 

Creating inclusivity can also manifest through building rapport. Ask team members about their life outside of work and try to remember important aspects of their personal life. If team members share important upcoming events, inquire about the event later on. 

Establishing open communication about meetings is another important aspect. Prior to or at the beginning of meetings, communicate the intentions of the meetings so everyone can be on the same page. Also, make it easily accessible for team members to schedule meetings and provide ample availability to allow for such meetings.

3. Facilitate Open Decision Making 
Ensuring a collaborative decision-making process will allow team members to feel valued. Encourage input and feedback from all individuals. When working to create a more open environment, team members may not initially feel comfortable voicing their insights. To counteract this, invite the team to share criticism and vocalize questions. This can be done by posing open-ended questions or areas of personal concern. 

When facilitating meetings, restrain from interrupting members of the team. Cutting others off may discourage members from sharing in the future. Furthermore, prevent team members from interrupting one another. This can be done by immediately shutting down the interrupter or even circling back to the individual who was interrupted. 

Another effective method for open decision-making is communicating clearly. Make sure to articulate soundly and speak at a volume that is audible to everyone. Prompt others to speak at an appropriate volume as well. If everyone can hear the conversation and understand what is being discussed, they will be more likely to contribute. 

When reaching conclusions, explain the decision-making process thoroughly and articulate how the final decision was reached. While relaying the conclusion, acknowledge input and positive contributions from other team members. Although not all team members will be on board with each decision, this will show that their work in reaching the conclusion was beneficial. 

4. Encourage Risks 
People often try their best to avoid facing failure. By doing so this limits potential successes or learning opportunities. Have an honest conversation about failure and why it shouldn't be a point of fear. This conversation can be a moment to be vulnerable and share personal experiences dealing with failure. Open the conversation to others to share their thoughts on failure as well. 

Encourage team members to take educated risks by leading by example. Team members will feel more comfortable taking risks if they see this in action. The team as a whole will shift from a mindset of perfectionism to a mindset of growth. Embrace mistakes and discuss takeaways one on one or in a group setting.  

When creating a risk-taking environment, team members must be supported to other executive members. Celebrate the successes of team members during the risk-taking journey and share the learning moments as well. Ensure that these risks aren’t portrayed negatively to executives as this will prevent team members from employing creativity in the future. 

Utilizing these steps can build psychological safety among existing team members. Focusing on a culture of psychological safety is equally important during the employment process. During hiring be conscious of candidates that possess a positive mindset. Consider which candidates would empower their team members and further the progress toward a safe team environment. Team members who are motivating and proactive bring out the best in those around them and can positively impact the productivity of the team. 

Achieving psychological safety takes a conscious effort from the entire team. As a manager, it is crucial that a positive example is set to encourage a risk-free environment for all. 


Fri 25 August 2023
"I'm struggling to find motivation to go to work, I don’t know what to do. Any advice?" Maria recently faced a significant setback at her workplace. Maria was overlooked for the top position within her organization despite being highly qualified and receiving encouragement to apply. 

Maria had put in considerable effort to secure the role, so when the decision favored another candidate, it became a public letdown that not only affected her personally but also led them to question the priorities of her leadership. While she contemplated resigning, her dedication to her team and the ongoing projects held her back; she was determined to see it through. 

Moreover, Maria had financial incentives, including a bonus and stock vesting, that made staying for another 9 months advantageous. With the job market appearing uncertain, she felt hesitant to make a hasty job change. Therefore, she opted to remain until the end of the year. However, she’s currently grappling with the challenge of moving beyond her disappointment and discovering the enthusiasm to face each workday.

Maria is not alone. Experiencing a promotion setback can be a challenging and disheartening experience, especially when someone new is chosen over for a position you felt you deserved. However, this setback doesn't have to define one’s career journey. 

  1. Acknowledge and Process Emotions
It's natural to feel a mix of emotions, including disappointment, frustration, and even self-doubt. Acknowledge these feelings without judgment. Create a space to process these emotions, whether through journaling, talking to a trusted friend, or seeking professional guidance. Remember that all emotions are valid and a natural part of the process.

2. Take a Step Back
Resist the urge to make impulsive decisions. Take a step back to gain perspective. Consider the bigger picture of one’s career trajectory and the organization's goals. Find out if this setback truly outweighs the positive aspects of one’s current position. By allowing more time to process, there’s capability of making a rational decision.

3. Find the Reason Behind Not Getting a Promotion
Actively explore what went wrong, evaluate the situation appropriately, and consider what could’ve been done differently if given the chance. They also gather feedback from a wide variety of people (including superiors, peers, and subordinates), making it clear that they want honest feedback, not consolation.

Approach your superiors or colleagues for constructive feedback on your performance and candidacy for the promotion. Honest feedback can help to understand areas for improvement and self-development. Use this feedback to create an action plan to enhance your skills and competencies.

4. Weigh the Options: Stay or Move On
After gaining clarity, weigh the pros and cons of staying with the organization versus seeking opportunities elsewhere. Consider the culture, work-life balance, growth potential, and alignment with long-term goals. Remember, setbacks are temporary roadblocks that can lead to new paths for success.

5. Utilize Data and Metrics
Quantify achievements by using performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs). Tools like AIM Insights can help to benchmark performance against industry standards and the organization's expectations. Use this data to illustrate one’s individual contributions and potential impact on the organization.

Consider how your performance compares not only within your organization but also across industries. AIM Insights highlights instances where you've demonstrated leadership, innovation, and adaptability. Showcasing achievements will position you as a top candidate for future promotions.

6. Transform Setback into Motivation
Use the disappointment as a catalyst for personal and professional growth. Set new goals for skill development, leadership qualities, and innovation. Focus on self-improvement and demonstrate prolonged commitment to continuous learning and growth.

7. Network and Mentorship
Build a network within and outside of the company. Engage in conversations with mentors and peers who can provide guidance and insights. Networking can open doors to new opportunities and perspectives, aiding professional development.

8. Set Clear Career Goals
Refine career goals based on personal experiences and the insights gained from this setback. Create a roadmap for where you want to be in the short and long term. AIM Insights is an example of a platform that can easily align goals with the organization's objectives, ensuring a mutually beneficial partnership.

Setbacks are a natural part of one's journey, and each of these steps can assist an individual in accessing wellsprings of value and motivation. These resources can aid in navigating through moments of disappointment and empower the individual to seize control, optimizing their circumstances and progressing according to their preferences. Additionally, maintaining a positive attitude has the potential to distinguish the individual and position them as a valuable asset to a respective organization.

Remember that setbacks are temporary, and with the right mindset, you can navigate the challenges and emerge even stronger in your professional journey.


Fri 25 August 2023
Can money buy happiness?

The overall happiness ranking for people making $40,000 a year was 3.5 out of 5, for those making over $300,000, the happiness ranking was 3.89 out of 5 (Forbes). 

If a 7.5x increase in salary from $40,000 to $300,000 only increases happiness by 11%, what will increase happiness? How can executives increase employee retention by focusing on job satisfaction?

Many companies face high turnover rates that are both counterproductive and costly. High turnover rates are commonly attributed to compensation compared to other roles but, more goes into job satisfaction than salary and benefits. Happiness is determined by more than a paycheck, after a certain sense of financial security, happiness can no longer be derived from income. Employees will search for engaging jobs with future opportunities and a sense of belonging in the workplace in their new roles if they feel unfulfilled. To reduce turnover, leaders should hone in on employee engagement and organizational support to increase both job satisfaction and job performance.

Job satisfaction is how fulfilled someone feels within the scope of their professional and personal roles. The challenge of this metric is that each person may be seeking different goals toward feeling gratified at work. Some may seek high compensation or benefits, work-life balance, recognition, future opportunities, workplace culture, or job-specific content. With increased job satisfaction, job involvement, and motivation are improved, leading to better job performance, once the performance is high, most feel a better sense of achievement and happiness. 

Job satisfaction and job performance are codependent and directly related.  When an employee feels that they are doing well or have high performance, they feel more satisfied and fulfilled by their role. On the other hand, if an employee has poor performance, they will feel burdened and disconnected from their job and company which can lead to counterproductive work behavior. To better increase direct reports’ feeling of contentment, focus on employee engagement and organizational support. 

Employee Engagement 
 It is a good leader's responsibility to be involved and engaged not only in their work but with their team members. To help employees find workplace purpose, begin by focusing on employee engagement. Although seemingly simple, there are a plethora of factors that contribute to employee engagement. Being able to pinpoint direct reports’ points of engagement will allow for increased job satisfaction and motivation. Engaged employees should show enthusiasm, initiative, collaboration, adaptability, innovation, and continuous learning. 

Executive leaders should focus on the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in employee engagement. Many employees who feel underrepresented or unvalued are apt to leave a company. Be conscious and genuine in the inclusion of employees and throughout the hiring process to embrace all backgrounds where employees feel respected. Overall focus on employee engagement will allow leaders to spot those engaged and focus on including those who aren’t to avoid turnover. Being able to improve employee engagement will unlock a new ability to increase job satisfaction and therefore job performance, thus reducing turnover.

Finally, prioritize company culture to reflect the values of employees. Work towards building an environment where professionals can embrace their mistakes, learn as they go and collaborate with others in their team. Between an encouraged growth mindset and a supportive environment, turnover will decrease and employees' happiness and comfort in the workplace will increase and lead to increased productivity. 


Organizational Support
Organizational support is what an organization does to demonstrate its support for employees’ well-being, development, and success holistically. Executives should find innovative ways to help communicate this to employees, through actions and initiatives. For example, a company may consider a mentorship initiative where employees and executives or leaders can connect and discuss topics outside of job performance, such as career progression or work-life balance to exhibit the genuine care an organization has for its people. 

Other forms of organizational support for a company to consider would be creating focus or interest groups for certain topics, such as a working parents group, a veterans support group, or even trivial topics like fantasy football or a book club. These initiatives serve several important purposes in communicating organizational support and working to reduce turnover.  First, they bring members of a company together to build a community and increase employee engagement. Additionally, groups based on a commonality allow people to develop friendships and relationships that will improve loyalty to the organization. Finally, these initiatives allow a company to show their employees that they are more than just an employee and that they are valued for more than just the work they produce. 

Additionally, firms may consider health and wellness programs and rewards or recognition programs. These programs would allow employees to feel seen and valued beyond their contributions in work tasks and potentially exhibit those who are leaders within the organization, and those who exhibit outstanding citizenship behavior, going outside of their job role and taking initiative to improve a process or colleague’s job. Organizational support does not need to come from a direct supervisor or boss, but from the organization as a whole, in different channels.

As in all business processes, feedback is crucial for growth. Executives and leaders should utilize quantitative feedback through retention and employee turnover rates. Consider the use of retention data or employee surveys to understand how team leaders may find more impactful methods to focus on employee engagement and organizational support for increased job satisfaction and contentment for employees. Additionally, consider the use of two-way feedback so leaders and direct reports can have open communication about opportunities for growth and strengths that enable a more personal and genuine connection with a company and its leaders. 

As mentioned above, a mentorship program will strongly increase an employee's perception of organizational support; however, each employee's goals and expectations for fulfillment in their job differ. Have patience throughout this process of bettering the workplace environment both for the sake of the employees and the company. These initiatives will allow leaders to gain insight into their employees to find better methods of increasing comprehensive engagement specific to the members of their teams. 


Sat 9 September 2023
In the pursuit of personal and professional development, executives and managers often set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound objectives that serve as a roadmap to success. While the SMART framework is undeniably effective, there is one critical element that can make or break one's journey towards achieving these goals: the immediacy of feedback.

Immediate Feedback: The Catalyst for Growth

Immediate feedback serves as a powerful catalyst for growth. When individuals receive prompt and relevant feedback on their actions and progress, they gain valuable insights into what is working and what needs improvement. This real-time information enables them to make necessary adjustments, increasing their chances of staying on track and achieving their SMART goals.

Imagine an individual with a SMART goal to increase search engine optimization within a sector of their organization. If they receive immediate feedback on their daily user interaction data and routine, they can make immediate adjustments based on their performance. This ensures that their efforts are aligned with their goal, preventing deviations that could hinder their progress.

Enhancing Motivation through Timely Feedback

Motivation plays a pivotal role in goal achievement. Immediate feedback can serve as a powerful motivator by acknowledging progress and highlighting areas where improvement is needed. When individuals see that their efforts are making a difference, they are more likely to stay committed to their goals.

For example, in a professional context, an employee striving to meet quarterly sales targets benefits immensely from immediate feedback on their performance. Knowing they are on track can boost their motivation to maintain or even surpass their efforts.

Fine-Tuning Strategies for Optimal Results

SMART goals often require careful planning and strategic execution. Immediate feedback allows individuals to fine-tune their strategies in real-time. By understanding what works and what doesn't, they can adjust their approach to optimize their chances of success.

Imagine a new sales team member. If they set goals that aren’t SMART and aligned with their team’s overall sales quota, they will be a big reason for why the team doesn’t achieve this outcome. If they receive immediate feedback on their sales goals, they can identify the specific areas where they need to focus their efforts. This enables them to adapt their outreach efforts and time management skills accordingly, increasing their chances of achieving their sales goals.

Feedback as the Engine of SMART Goal Achievement

For a SMART goal to be truly "smart," it should serve as a driver for ongoing learning and improvement. Feedback is the engine that propels this process forward. In the absence of immediate feedback, goals may lose their capacity to inspire personal growth and development.

Consider a professional aiming to increase their productivity, a classic SMART goal. If they don't receive regular feedback on their performance and efficiency, they may struggle to identify areas for improvement. Immediate feedback empowers them to make real-time adjustments, thus enhancing their productivity and ensuring that the SMART goal remains both achievable and time-bound.

Another perspective to consider is that feedback is instrumental in crafting SMART goals in the first place. When individuals have access to timely information about their progress and performance, they can set more specific and realistic objectives.

For instance, someone aspiring to run a company may initially lack the precise knowledge of their current leadership level. Immediate feedback through regular responsibilities helps them set a measurable goal for their growth at their organization. Feedback transforms a vague desire into a SMART goal by providing the necessary data and insights.

Real-Time Guidance and Clarity

Ambition In Motion's AIM Insights program offers teams a significant advantage by leveraging AI-generated goal setting and immediate feedback. With AIM Insights, teams experience an accelerated and more efficient goal-setting process. Traditional methods often rely on managers to set goals for their direct reports, potentially stifling employee autonomy and creativity. However, AIM Insights encourages employees to formulate their own objectives, harnessing research-backed benefits that self-set goals are more likely to be achieved.

One of the program's standout features is the integration of artificial intelligence to provide instantaneous feedback during the goal-setting process. AI evaluates whether the established goals align with the SMART criteria. This immediacy in feedback empowers employees to fine-tune their goals promptly, resulting in a higher rate of SMART goal achievement.

Immediate feedback ensures goals are not just "SMART" on paper but also in practice. It transforms them from static aspirations into dynamic pursuits of continuous learning and improvement. Without feedback, SMART goals can become stagnant, limiting personal and professional growth.

Feedback breathes life into SMART goals by enabling individuals to adapt, improve, and set new, more ambitious targets. If we don't have immediate feedback, we may question whether a goal is truly "smart."


Sat 9 September 2023
Most companies struggle with middle management because they are quick to promote but slow to train. Serving as the intermediary between executives and their direct reports, middle management bears the weight of demands from both sides. In this unique position, many managers struggle with role alignment, work-life balance, and effectively connecting with their teams. Upper-level leadership goals are communicated to managers with little direction on how to attain that particular result. Managers seem to be given an end destination without a map of how to get there, leaving most feeling misplaced. Learning how to face this unique set of challenges is a daunting task yet, critical for both personal and organizational growth.  

How can someone new to middle management learn how to efficiently please both executives and their direct reports? How can executives provide managers with a better roadmap to reach their desired destination?

Once promoted, every individual is faced with a particular set of challenges. Commonly, these challenges include communication changes, leadership difficulties, role ambiguity, and trouble managing a practical work-life balance. Receiving feedback from both upper management and direct reports can help new managers get acquainted with their roles. However, receiving this feedback on an annual or semi-annual basis is not frequent enough to show growth. To help managers become better acquainted in their role, consider utilizing AIM insights. AIM Insights is a tool that works to provide accessible, quantitative feedback metrics to managers and provide better organization-wide alignment resulting in an improvement of overall productivity. 

Managers commonly face problems with a lack of control and alignment. Executives create organizational goals and managers are left to carry them out with insufficient guidance on the direction of the company goal. Managers are left to execute the goals set by executive management even if they find them impractical, unattainable, or struggle to understand the purpose. AIM insights displays a variety of tools to help leadership within an organization communicate and achieve or even exceed goals with improved transparency and alignment that improves satisfaction and productivity while reducing turnover.

Beginning with communication, AIM insights works to help middle managers streamline communication with direct reports and improve communication with executives to better understand organization goals. Creating personalized communication plans that lead to a better connection between managers and their direct reports. AIM insights works with managers and executives to promote constructive feedback and drive continuous improvement, allowing teams to reach their full potential. 

Additionally, AIM insights works to create plans that improve transparency and accountability with managers and direct reports. This software will enable managers to be more transparent about big picture and long-term goals with direct reports that will in turn be more accountable and more loyal to their organization. Being able to employ year-round performance metrics will enable managers to address problems as they arise and quickly analyze their team to work in a more efficient and productive manner. The accessibility of this important quantitative information allows managers and even executives to be more adaptable and agile in strategy, smoothly addressing issues and pivoting to avoid problems along the way. 

Data-driven goal setting allows employees to set SMART goals that are certainly attainable and timely, with the help of their managers. These goals allow managers to better identify problems and leaders within their team, frequently eliminating bias that may occur in evaluations. Being able to align each employee's goals with the organization will quickly exhibit strengths and differentiate firms from their competitors. Having clearer purpose and transparency improves productivity, leading to higher goal achievement and increased employee satisfaction, leading to higher retention rates organization-wide.  

Another important point of AIM insights is the development of feedback. Generally, once promoted, managers may go a few months without receiving direct feedback on their job performance. AIM insights enables managers to view goals and feedback constantly, having access to goals and utilizing specific metrics that clearly demonstrate different aspects of the organization and directly align performance areas with leaders’ goals. Being able to use these concrete metrics provides clarity and encourages managers to hold themselves and their direct reports accountable for reaching their own goals. 

Job satisfaction and job performance are directly linked. So to improve job satisfaction, managers should feel fully equipped with the tools to have high performance. This will reduce turnover and boost the efficient use of company resources. In addition to these benefits that would specifically aid managers, improved job performance and job satisfaction is crucial for direct reports as well. Having managers who are strong leaders, know how to communicate well, and genuinely enjoy their jobs will lead to the same traits in their direct reports. Having AIM Insights to provide clarity on these individuals will allow for streamlined objectives and goal-setting, making it easier for both managers and their direct reports to enjoy their workdays and be as productive as possible while maintaining their team. 

AIM Insights is just one aspect from a catalog of different tools to improve the experience of middle management. In addition to AIM insights, consider implementing mentorship programs that help managers better understand what personal steps they may take to better their careers and goals. Furthermore, managers should focus on not only being mentees but also becoming a mentor for their direct reports. Mentorship within an organization should focus on giving back so each person can have a mentor and a mentee to learn from and give advice to. This will help develop camaraderie within the organization and focus on open communication that will benefit all employees. 

To help mitigate burnout and exhaustion in managers, consider the use of software like AIM Insights to create transparent and instant tools to aid in the achievement of organization-wide goals. AIM Insights works to provide long-term solutions to organization-wide problems, once beginning your use of AIM Insights, managers are trained and on-boarded with continual resources and tools on employing this interactive feedback tool. It is impossible to grow without feedback and, challenging to show growth from feedback with infrequent reviews or evaluations. Focus on effective feedback that helps professionals at every level grow into stronger leaders, teammates, and employees. 


Sat 9 September 2023
Within an executive role, problem-solving occurs on a regular basis. In order to efficiently manage these problems, it becomes imperative to implement frameworks for approaching the issue at hand. Within management consulting, there is a frequently utilized conceptual framework for attacking problems called MECE (Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive). Through a systematic and comprehensive approach, MECE equips executives with tools to successfully navigate business challenges on small and large scales. 

MECE can be broken down into two different functions: mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. The mutually exclusive principle refers to the idea that all options should be distinct. This ensures that there are no duplicates and avoids the confusion that arises when ideas are similar and/ or overlapping. When solving problems, identifying unique solutions will ensure that the approach encompasses the greatest variety of solutions. The collectively exhaustive principle indicates that all possible solutions/ideas have been considered. This comprehensive approach works to minimize the chances that critical aspects are overlooked. Collectively exhaustive encourages the user of the framework to stretch their thinking to identify all alternatives. 

Within the MECE framework, the use of synthesis is incorporated to take detailed information and summarize it in a higher-level manner. This synthesis approach emphasizes the utility of avoiding duplication by designating overarching categories that are distinct in purpose. A benefit of condensing the information into higher-level categories is that it makes it more digestible and memorable to the recipient. Rather than providing a complex list of 30 steps that are individually easily forgettable, MECE urges the use of more encompassing categories of thought that can allow others to recall the purpose of each plan. Identifying 4 broad categories that all 30 steps can fit into will make it much easier to understand and recall for future uses. 

MECE provides a myriad of benefits when applied properly, one major benefit being objectivity. Cognitive biases throughout the decision-making process sometimes lead executives to focus on specific options and immediately disregard others. Since MECE encourages embracing all possible solutions, executives are less likely to throw out viable options that their biases prevent them from pursuing. Ultimately, MECE allows executives to consider the benefits of all solutions so they don’t settle for suboptimal solutions. Objective analysis that MECE fosters actively reduces cognitive biases through the challenging of assumptions. 

Along with objectivity, MECE can enhance communication to reduce inefficiencies that naturally arise during team discussions. Enhanced communication is achieved through the precision that MECE provides. Specific idea categories create a structure for complex ideas. This organization of ideas allows for increased concise through the distinct categories which allows team members and stakeholders to develop a strong understanding of the ideas being conveyed. 
Not only does MECE provide noticeable benefits, but it can also be applied in a multitude of contexts. 

Problem-solving: 
When considering complex problems, MECE helps with separating components to make the issue at hand more manageable. This works to eliminate the overwhelming nature of dealing with dilemmas. 

Resource allocation: 
Applying the MECE framework for resource allocation can assist executives with prioritization and budgeting. Having a complete understanding of the impacts of all resources can ensure the optimal allocation of resources. 

Strategic planning: 
When focusing on developing a strategic future plan, MECE guides executives in organizing and structuring their visions. Incorporating MECE framework can ensure that the future plan aligns with the company's mission and values. 

Risk management:  
Managing risks is an inevitable responsibility for executives. Categorizing risk and associated consequences can help to develop risk mitigation strategies that encompass all contingencies. Ultimately, the MECE framework can reduce the likelihood of unforeseen difficulties. 

The MECE framework is particularly beneficial for executives and should be incorporated within lower-level management to provide optimal efficiency. Time is a finite resource and standardizing presentations and discussions with the MECE framework will ensure that ideas are fully developed and carefully structured prior to group convening. 

To monitor how the addition of the MECE framework impacts direct reports and increases efficiencies, a great resource is data analytics software. Tools such as AIM Insights allow managers to gauge metrics including team productivity and manager performance. MECE contributes to a more effective leadership style and tools designed for analyzing management functions can work to confirm the progression of leadership effectiveness. Comparing data prior to incorporating MECE and following the adoption of the framework can provide valuable insights into how it has impacted the organization. 

MECE is a powerful framework that allows adopters to make informed decisions and simplify complexities. In a dynamic environment, it is crucial to incorporate strong and efficient processes to problem-solve, plan, and make decisions. Although there are several instances where MECE is applicable in guiding these processes, it is important to recognize that MECE isn’t suitable for all contexts nor is it the only method that can be used. MECE is a framework geared towards guiding thinking and encouraging the user to consider all possible options in an efficient manner. 


Fri 29 September 2023
Private Equity is a high-stakes arena known for its rapid decision-making processes and unforgiving nature, where fortunes can be won or lost in the blink of an eye. In such an environment, resilient leadership is not just a valuable trait; it's a critical factor in navigating crises, market downturns, and unexpected economic shocks that can disrupt the markets. This article delves into strategies for effective leadership in the fast-paced and high-stakes realm of Private Equity, addressing various facets, including emotional resilience, strategic thinking, adaptability, and risk management skills.


  1. Keep the Bigger Picture in Mind: 
In a private equity environment characterized by rapid decisions, the urge to make impulsive choices can be overwhelming. However, taking a step back to gain perspective is important. Consider your long-term career goals and the organization's objectives. Resilient leaders in Private Equity understand the importance of putting their organization's mission at the forefront of decision-making. In times of crisis, the mission provides a North Star, guiding actions and strategies. 

2. Stay Educated on the Private Equity Industry:
Private Equity is influenced by many factors, including economic conditions, regulatory changes, and market trends. Stay informed about these external factors and adapt your strategies accordingly. Being proactive and agile in response to changing circumstances can set you apart as a leader.

3. Utilize Tools and Resources: 
Private Equity thrives on data-driven decision-making. One key aspect of utilizing data is understanding how to benchmark performance effectively. Benchmarking highlights areas for improvement and showcases successes, enabling leaders to compare their achievements against industry standards and organizational expectations.

4. Find the Cause of Your Setback: 
Private equity professionals often have high expectations for themselves and are driven by a desire to succeed. When setbacks occur, it's essential to explore what went wrong. Seek feedback from colleagues and peers. Encourage honest feedback, as it can reveal areas for improvement and personal development. Use this feedback to create a concrete action plan for enhancing your skills and competencies. Consider participating in a horizontal mentorship program, where all participants communicate and learn from each other, regardless of age or experience. A horizontal mentorship program encourages asking questions and sharing past mistakes, creating a two-way communication process that stimulates mutual growth within your team.

5. Use Disappointment as Motivation:
Use setbacks as fuel for personal and professional growth. Set new goals for skill development, leadership qualities, and innovation. Focus on continuous self-improvement and show a long-term commitment to learning and growth. In the private equity world, adaptability and resilience are highly valued traits.

6. Acknowledge Your Emotions: 
Just as in any career, it's essential to acknowledge and process emotions. The private equity world can be incredibly unforgiving, and setbacks are not uncommon. Emotions such as disappointment and self-doubt are natural reactions. Embrace these feelings without judgment. Creating a safe space for emotional processing through confiding in colleagues and mentors, or even seeking professional guidance can help maintain emotional well-being. 

7. Grow your Network:
Building a network within and outside your organization is important in the private equity sector. Engage in conversations with colleagues who can provide guidance and insights. Networking can open doors to new opportunities and diverse perspectives, facilitating professional development. 

8. Set Goals for the future:
Refine your career goals based on your experiences and insights gained from setbacks. Create a plan for your short-term and long-term aspirations. Platforms like AIM Insights can help align your goals with your organization's objectives, fostering a mutually beneficial partnership. Consider getting personalized Executive Coaching from experienced coaches. An executive coach provides an environment for leaders to test their ideas, evaluate their concerns, and receive feedback before going live.

9. Develop Risk Management Skills:
Risk is inherent in the private equity world. Being able to assess and manage risks effectively is a valuable skill. Consider seeking additional training or certifications in risk management.

10. Focus on Long-Term Goals:
In today's fast-paced and high-risk culture, instant gratification is the norm. Adopting a long-term perspective can be a powerful competitive advantage. Resilient leaders in Private Equity have a distinctive ability to embrace the long view. While crises often demand immediate action, resilient leaders understand that focusing on long-term goals rather than short-term setbacks is essential for sustained success. 

In addition to the strategies highlighted in this article, leaders in the Private Equity sector must remain vigilant in adapting to the industry's evolving landscape. The global economic conditions, regulatory changes, and market trends are dynamic forces that continuously shape the environment in which Private Equity operates. Staying informed about these external factors and proactively adjusting strategies in response to changing circumstances is extremely important. Adaptability, combined with the leadership qualities discussed earlier, will position individuals to excel in the competitive and fast-paced realm of Private Equity.

Thriving in the cutthroat world of private Equity is no easy task, but success is possible with the right mindset and a commitment to continuous growth and adaptation. This demanding sector requires leaders to possess emotional resilience, strategic acumen, adaptability, and risk management skills. By applying the strategies outlined in this article, you can survive and thrive in the fast-paced and high-stakes world of Private Equity. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and development, and you will undoubtedly lead successfully in this dynamic industry.


Mon 9 October 2023
An increasingly prevalent menace in the workplace, switchtasking ignites a variety of problems for productivity across all levels. Rather than devoting full attention to one task at a time, many jump from one tab to another, attempting to tackle their overload of responsibilities. 

Switchtasking is the rapid change of tasks; toggling from email, to instant messaging, to a presentation and back to the task at hand, which undermines productivity and creates inefficiencies in the workplace. In a managerial or leadership role, it is challenging to reduce switchtasking while still expecting timely responses and completion of tasks. Switchtasking has also been associated with increased mental fatigue, lack of creativity, poor quality work and employees feeling overworked.

In the modern world with technology and the seemingly instant demand of information and collaboration, how do managers regulate switchtasking to optimize their teams productivity and efficiency? 

Tackling each of these negative outcomes begins by understanding the root of the cause. The association between mental fatigue and switchtasking likely stems from individuals feeling as though they have attempted to solve a variety of problems and have worked on a number of tasks throughout the day. Yet, in reality they have worked on the same task in 20 minute increments then, have lost focus and had to re-evaluate the situation once returning to the original task. Which directly explains a lack of creativity in problem solving. Having a stop-go motion does not allow for continuous, devoted and fully developed thoughts on how to address specific situations. Being a large contributor to company success, innovation and productivity, behaviors that halt creative thinking are counter productive to the workplace. 

Switchtasking has also been associated with lower quality work and increased errors. When switchtasking, attention to detail seems to be spread among a number of different tasks `whereas in a traditional focus of one task at a time, all of the attention is devoted to one objective at a time, improving quality and clarity in outputs. Finally, the obstacle of switchtasking seems to heavily impact reports perceptions of their work-life balance. Individuals frequently feel overworked because with switchtasking, the tasks do not end once individuals leave the office. Switchtasking can frequently grow from the feeling that direct reports need to immediately respond to emails, messages and drop whatever they may be doing to address these things which will continue at home. 

Here are some tips to help managers reduce the level of switchtasking within their teams:


1. Create a clear prioritization system for direct reports
Creating a clear prioritization system for direct reports will significantly reduce switchtasking in teams. If direct-reports are able to analyze and determine the importance of tasks, they will be more apt to individually focus on one task at a time and they will be less likely to use time on less-important tasks. A prioritization system will also communicate to direct reports that each task is not urgent and can wait until they have completed their current task. This will also exhibit significant improvements in the quality of work and creativity in the workplace that impact direct reports attitudes, job satisfaction and job performance. 

2. Encourage Time Management Planning
Another contributor of switchtasking is direct-reports feeling as though they will not have enough time to address all of their responsibilities. By encouraging segmented days and improved time management with plans of certain assignments, managers can expect improved quality of work and continuous creativity as team members are devoted to specific tasks for specific amounts of time to focus. Direct-reports will be confident that they will eventually address each task they are responsible for. Additionally, direct-reports may heavily benefit from breaks in between these tasks to ensure they do not feel overworked, overwhelmed or that they are experiencing unequal work-life balance. Encouraging transitioning times throughout the day and predetermined plans will significantly decrease switchtasking in the workplace. 

3. Set communication expectations
By setting clear communication expectations, managers can indirectly discourage switchtasking. Creating clarity in expectations will allow teammates to address emails or messages once they get a chance, in a break period or, within the time they are working on that specific task. Do not expect immediate responses from every employee the instant they are contacted, appreciate that they are devoting their time and full attention to produce the best quality work possible. 

4. Lead by example
If managers expect direct-reports to avoid switchtasking and devote full attention to tasks, they should be exhibiting the same standard. When in meetings, managers should focus fully on the topic of discussion, avoid taking phone calls when in meetings with teams and, confidently demonstrate the expectation of complete attention, effort and persistence when working on tasks that will overall create better results team-wide. 

5- Be flexible!
A great deal of managers struggle to embrace mistakes. In implementing these new ideas to improve productivity, managers should focus on building a culture that embraces mistakes and allows collective learning and improvement for an entire team. Being a flexible and innovative role model will heavily improve the effectiveness of these steps. Effective leaders focus on understanding others and the best practices for specific teams. Know that sometimes switchtasking is necessary but, that does not undermine the effectiveness of these tips in a team setting that will overall contribute to the betterment of the team both in the output of work and, the well-being of the team's members. 

Reducing switchastking requires time, effort and clear explanation of the new programs for effective implementation. Managers who promote the above efforts and prioritize their employees will see results in attitude and work product. 

Although difficult, managers should remember that it may take time to see results and feedback is crucial for growth. To view metrics on the implementation of new programs, consider utilizing AIM insights to view data at any given point throughout the year. Additionally, take time to focus on relationships within teams that lead to productive and cooperative dynamics that will improve the overall efficiency in the workplace. 


Fri 27 October 2023
The rapid evolution of digital technology is making digital literacy a necessity for managers. To effectively direct their organizations through these digital transformations, managers must be well-versed in a multitude of technologies and encourage their teams to adapt as well. Digital literacy is effective in remaining competitive, making informed decisions, and innovating. 

Digital literacy is the ability to understand several digital mediums and effectively communicate ideas through them. To benefit from digital literacy, it is important for managers to not only be able to understand, navigate, and communicate information digitally, but they must also be familiar with advanced technologies and recognize important digital trends that are applicable to their organization. 

Here are some key components of digital literacy that are applicable to managers:

  1. Technology Proficiency
Managers need to be comfortable navigating basic computer applications as well as more advanced software. Utilizing software such as Microsoft Office, data analytics software, and communication software is beneficial for all executives to use their time effectively. Familiarity with more industry-specific software is crucial for managers as well because they can have a better understanding of the resources their reports are using. 

2. Information Management 
When considering digital literacy, information management is a priority because it focuses on the ability to manage, organize, and access digital information. Executives handle copious amounts of information so the ability to manage the information can help reduce inefficiencies. A strong understanding of cloud storage and file management systems can assist in best-managing information.

3. Cybersecurity Awareness 
It is specifically important for executives to prioritize digital literacy for its cybersecurity implications. Being conscious of potential security threats and ways to reduce them can protect sensitive company and customer data. Cybersecurity isn’t solely comprised of security software, it can also be practiced through developing habits such as updating passwords and avoiding suspicious online activity. 

4. Digital Adaptability 
The digital landscape is constantly evolving, so managers need to be adaptable and willing to learn. New technologies and innovations emerge rapidly and can serve as beneficial tools to improve company practices. Executives should be aware of developments and consider the technological applications to the company. 

5. Data Analysis 
Managers must possess abilities to interpret data effectively. When approached with information, executives must have strong analytical skills to examine information and make informed decisions. To develop a complete understanding of data and develop meaningful insights, executives must be familiar with data analytics tools and statistical analysis. 

6. Social Media Understanding
Social media has become a significant part of the digital space and can serve a variety of purposes for businesses. Marketing and networking are great uses of social media in the business world and it is important for executives to understand how to leverage these different platforms. The use of social media can enhance an organization's brand and customer reach. It is also important for executives to be aware of issues that arise within social media when considering interactions with customers and the public as a whole. 

Developing these components of digital literacy can enhance productivity, create more effective communication, improve decision-making, and create a competitive advantage. Through more efficient uses of time, companies may experience cost reductions as well. 

Strong digital literacy skills are increasingly important when preparing for future technological advancements. When large changes occur in the technology space, it can be difficult to catch up for users who haven’t remained up to date with other innovations. 

To ensure a wide breadth of knowledge on digital technology, these are some software tools managers can familiarize themselves with: 

  • Microsoft office suite 
Within Microsoft Office Suite, there is a collection of software including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Word and PowerPoint are tools for document creation and presentation. A strong familiarity with these softwares is beneficial for effectively communicating information across a variety of formats. Excel is a spreadsheet editor that calculates and computes data. Complex functions such as graphing, pivot tables, and macro programming can help to transform, analyze, and articulate data ultimately to aid in the decision-making process. Outlook is an essential tool for communication and management of personal information. 

  • Project management tools 
Project management tools are helpful for overseeing and coordinating team efforts. These platforms can help managers plan, allocate resources, coordinate efforts, track progress, and prioritize tasks. Project management software is particularly useful for teams collaborating remotely. Some of these tools include Asana, Trello, or Microsoft Project. 

  • Performance Management Software 
Tools to monitor direct reports are incredibly valuable tools to track performance and navigate challenges. Software such as AIM Insights can allow managers to set goals with their direct reports and track progress to ensure continued success. Performance management software can also allow managers to gain insights into the sentiments of their direct reports to help improve team functionality. 

  • Business Intelligence Tools 
Tools like Tableau, Power BI, and QlikView can be used to analyze data and convert it into actionable information. Executives can utilize these tools to compile data and create dashboards, reports, and visualizations. Business intelligence tools are beneficial for creating predictions and analyzing potential outcomes. 

  • Communication Software 
Executives can use platforms such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom to facilitate meetings, schedule meetings, share documents, and manage files. These platforms have tools that can automate routine tasks to allow managers to use their time more efficiently. For example, Zoom provides a transcription feature to allow meetings to be documented. 

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) 
AI is rapidly transforming the business landscape and executives should familiarize themselves with it due to its multitude of applications. Natural Language Processing Tools can automate content creation, answer customer inquiries, and assist with analysis through the generation of written content. AI chatbots are another development that can improve the customer service experience for companies by allowing consistent interaction with customers. There are various other applications of AI through predictive analytics, applications to recruitment processes, and even personal schedule management. 

  • Customer Management Software 
Maintaining healthy customer relationships is important for companies and customer management software can help streamline these interactions. Software such as Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho helps executives to manage these relationships and gain insights into customer preferences. The utilization of customer relationship management software can allow executives to make informed decisions on their marketing strategies and be effective with their resources.

Depending on their responsibilities, not all executives may need to have in-depth knowledge of these softwares. However, it is important to have a basic understanding of the softwares features and how they can be used to increase productivity and minimize the time required to complete different functions. 

Digital literacy provides a lot of benefits to executives, however, there is some barriers executives experience. Resistance to change is a main contributing factor to executives failing to improve their digital literacy. Resistance to change primarily arises when executives are comfortable with their current practices and see no benefit from spending time learning new software. It is important for these managers to consider the added benefit of the new innovations and potential future time savings from using updated technology.

The digital landscape is constantly evolving and leading to new innovations that can assist executives. Executives should continue to follow new innovations within the digital space and consider the positive implications of implementing new technologies within their companies. 


Fri 3 November 2023
Let's talk about bosses. You know, the ones who command, "Do this now!" without even asking how you're doing. Or the ones who pretend to care but secretly just want you to work harder without considering your feelings. Yeah, those bosses. They might get stuff done, but they're not making the office a fun place to be.

Then there's the idea of Radical Candor. It's about being honest with your team while still being kind. It's like telling your coworker, "Hey, your idea is great, but it might need a little more work." It's not sugar-coating things, but it's also not being mean about it. This approach makes the office a much nicer place to be.

What is Radical Candor?
 
Kim Scott, a former executive for Google and Apple, developed a strategic plan for presenting the radical candor framework with leaders, executives and CEOs in mind. Scott describes the meaning of radical candor as having the ability to care personally while challenging directly at the same time.

The Radical Candor Matrix

  • The matrix categorizes different managerial approaches based on their level of care and directness.
  • Radical candor operates on two axes. One axis stretches from caring personally to not caring at all, while the other axis extends from challenging directly to silence. They each work on a sliding scale.
  • It consists of four quadrants: 
    • Radical Candor: the ideal balance between care and directness (caring personally).
    • Ruinous Empathy: excessive focus on empathy at the expense of honest feedback.
    • Manipulative Insincerity:manipulative approach lacking in both care and directness.
    • Obnoxious Aggression: direct but uncaring and often abrasive communication style. 

Scott’s radical candor model is designed to guide your professional interactions and conversations. The goal is becoming a better communicator while also transforming yourself into a powerful instrument for growth in the teams you lead and the organizations you manage. When explaining the idea behind radical candor, Scott asks you to consider the adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Consider that radical candor goes against this long-standing social teaching and emphasizes open and honest feedback for the benefit of everyone involved. Ultimately, radical candor is best defined as the ability to challenge directly while showing that you care personally at the same time.

In general, radical candor impacts your daily conversations and interactions by changing the way you think about the people around you. The result is a shift in your mindset and behaviors.

The Difference Between Candor and Honesty
How do you show candor within your team? The definition of candor is “the quality of being open in expression, or frankness.” Most executive leaders understand the value of candor in communicating and interacting with their team.

The difference between candor and honesty becomes easily clouded at times. While honesty refers to truthfulness, candor is a quality in people that refers specifically to how openly they express themselves. While candor is often a good thing, it isn’t inherently truthful.

Caring Personally
Using radical candor helps you embrace your leadership traits and empowers you to use them to their highest potential. Often, leaders aren’t afforded the luxury of separating their professional and personal lives.

Having empathy is a valuable trait for any leader, and your ability to identify with your team members is vital to your organization’s success. The success of both the company and the individual is something you care about deeply as a leader, and radical candor offers you a way to showcase that.

Caring personally means you’d feel like you failed someone around you by silencing your true thoughts or withholding your criticisms. Because you care deeply enough about them, you’re doing them a disservice by staying quiet and reserved.

Challenging Directly & Holding Accountability

Offering your most constructive feedback as a way to help others grow is a challenging aspect of great leadership. After all, your ability to teach others, guide their decisions and communicate your expectations of them all go into making you a successful leader. These are the ideas behind challenging directly.

How is radical candor a type of informal accountability? 

Though challenging directly sounds like a negative behavior, it only creates positive outcomes. Challenging directly is taking an active role in the growth and development of your team members and offering your guidance for ways they can improve.

By encouraging open discussions and welcoming diverse viewpoints, leaders create an environment where innovation thrives and new ideas flourish. Team members feel valued and respected, leading to increased morale, heightened engagement, and a stronger sense of belonging within the organization.

However, implementing radical candor necessitates a deep understanding of the nuances of effective communication. Leaders must strike a delicate balance between being honest and providing feedback in a manner that is respectful and considerate. They must be mindful of the emotional impact of their words and actions, ensuring that feedback is delivered in a way that encourages growth and development rather than discouragement or resentment.

Ultimately, the successful integration of radical candor into a leadership style requires commitment and dedication. It calls for a genuine investment in understanding the needs and aspirations of each team member, as well as a willingness to foster a culture of open communication and mutual respect.

And you know those bosses who just yell all the time? Yeah, not great. That's the opposite of Radical Candor. It's like they think they know everything and everyone else is just there to do what they say. No fun, right?

Being honest and kind at work, giving people some say in what they do, and creating a positive vibe in the office can make a huge difference. It's not about being the boss everyone's scared of; it's about being the boss everyone wants to work with. Radical Candor is like the secret sauce that makes it all happen.


Fri 3 November 2023
Jonathan recently got promoted at a Fortune 500 company and will be supervising the team he was previously a member of. The promotion was achieved through Jonathan’s consistent hard work and his dedication to improving his skills. However, many other members of the firm, including some of Jonathan’s team members who were also qualified for the position also applied. Mary, one of Jonathan's teammates, also applied for the role. She and Jonathan have had a poor work relationship for a while - even before Jonathan was promoted - essentially, both Jonathan and Mary are in sales and Jonathan was working on an account that he was assigned to and had been working on for months. Mary connected with an employee of that company at a networking event, didn’t notify the team, and ended up closing the deal. She essentially stole the business that Jonathan had already laid the groundwork for.

Although Jonathan is excited to take on this new role, he has some reservations about how Mary will treat him now that he oversees her. Mary has already made several comments indicating she doesn’t believe Jonathan is deserving of the promotion and that she would be better suited. 

When managers are placed in a situation similar to Jonathan’s several actions can be taken to set them up for success: 

  • Mitigate Problematic Behavior 
Articulate expectations for team conduct specifically as it pertains to supporting one another and working together. Emphasizing to team members that they should direct any concerns they have to their manager can help to prevent gossip from being spread and allow actionable steps to satisfy tangible concerns. Failure to mitigate problematic behavior early on may only lead to continued disrespect and issues in the future. 

  • Consider a One-on-One Conversation 
If any team member is similar to Mary, arranging an individual meeting with said team member can directly address the issue. During this conversation, it is important to ensure it is an honest discussion about the situation and emphasizes the importance of working towards a common goal. Although an open discussion is best, being straightforward when explaining that unprofessional behavior is not welcome will best communicate the severity of their actions. Be transparent about expectations and don’t hesitate to directly address the underlying issues from the past. When doing so, be sure to base this portion of the discussion on direct observations of their actions and remain as objective as possible. 

This change in dynamic can serve as a fresh start for any previously poor relationships with peers who are now direct reports. Articulating hope for a more positive relationship going forward can encourage a better attitude as well as remind them that a manager's goal is to support the development of their direct reports. 

  • Create a Growth Plan 
When dealing with a direct report whose problematic behavior is relatively mild, offering to develop a growth plan can shift the relationship in a more positive direction. Developing a plan to continue to build skills and allow the direct report to be a stronger candidate for promotion in the future will demonstrate faith in the direct report's abilities. Dedicating time to help a direct report fulfill their professional goals also serves as an opportunity to build a foundation of trust. 

  • Recognize that it Takes Time 
It can be very difficult to change someone’s perception, so remember that it may take time for a direct report to build trust and respect. Forcing a relationship with a colleague that there were previous issues, may only harm the relationship more. Allowing time for everyone on the team to be accustomed to their new manager is valuable, however, time is not an excuse for someone to blatantly disrespect their manager. 

Navigating relationships with difficult colleagues and treating them objectively can take time and consistent personal evaluation. Adjusting to different relationship dynamics with friends and work and previous team members can also be difficult because the lines between peer and manager may appear to be blurred. 

Here are five strategies to ease the transition from peer to manager while establishing an authoritative presence: 

  1. Develop a Servant Mentality
Promotion to leadership status is largely based on credibility and demonstrated performance and continuing to build upon this established credibility is extremely valuable when overseeing peers. Adopting a servant mentality recognizes that employees don’t work for their manager, managers work for their employees. Managers shouldn’t operate solely as someone giving orders, they should ensure the success of every member of the team for them to produce the best results. Continuous efforts to support all team members over time will build respect and expand existing credibility. 

2. Hold Individual Meetings 
Dedicate time after being appointed to the new role speaking individually with each member of the team. These conversations can be used to discuss any questions or concerns direct reports may have about the change in leadership. This can be used as a time for team members to communicate any frustrations they have and even specific improvements they wish to see in the team environment. Additionally, these conversations will be beneficial to discuss goals and build trust with members of the team. 

3. Set Boundaries 
After working together as peers, it can be incredibly difficult to encourage direct reports to see their leader as an authority figure. It is necessary to communicate boundaries with team members to ensure that they demonstrate respect going forward. While gossiping or attending happy hours together may have been frequent occurrences, it is important to recognize that a new role requires a new set of behaviors. Leaders should strive to remain approachable without having the notion that direct reports should treat them like a friend. 

Failure to set clear boundaries early on can lead direct reports to act disrespectfully and may encourage them to disregard directions received from their team leader. Implementing these boundaries later on may be difficult to enforce now that team members have gotten acquainted with treating their manager as a peer despite the differing titles. 

4. Establish Open Communication 
There may be a lot of uncertainty for direct reports on how to navigate this new dynamic reporting to a previous peer. To prevent any discomfort or stress for direct reports, new managers must develop systems of open communication. Ensuring that direct reports feel comfortable reaching out to their manager will help build relationships and encourage feedback loops. 

5. Manage Perceptions 
When managing a team of previous peers, managing perceptions can help prevent issues of favoritism from presenting in the future. While it may seem harmless to continue grabbing lunch every day with close friends at work, when a manager consistently gets lunch with certain direct reports it can demonstrate unequal treatment. These special privileges may not be brought to attention by other direct reports, but the unspoken perception of favoritism can be detrimental to team performance. Consider developing habits that are more inclusive to all team members, such as a rotating lunch schedule.  

While it may not seem valuable to adjust habits to change perceptions of direct reports, managers' actions can directly influence if direct reports buy into their manager's vision. Making changes to daily actions to reinforce this promotion to the leadership level can help promote respect and increase team members' trust. 

Adjusting to a new position takes time, but spending time to develop an approach to handling previous colleague relationships can help to ease that transition. When assuming a management role, keep in mind that it is a manager's job to support their team and continue to strive for the development of each individual, regardless of any prior issues. 



Thu 16 November 2023
Since 2021, our team at Ambition In Motion has been implementing our AIM Insights program within many companies to help their managers better understand the perception between themselves and their direct reports and provide coaching to help those managers have more effective 1:1 meetings between themselves and their teams.
One area of measurement we focus on is Work Orientation. Simply put, Work Orientation is how a person views work as part of their life. This quick 15-question assessment helps people understand their why for work. Some people view their work as a Job (motivated by work/life balance), while others as a Career (motivated by professional growth), and others as a Calling (motivated by professional and personal mission alignment). We repeatedly measure the work orientation of our participants, and this has revealed a few fascinating insights. 
One finding is that Work Orientation is fluid, meaning it can change overtime. When originally completing the Work Orientation Assessment, 64% of direct reports’ results showed that they were mostly Career Oriented, 20% of direct reports’ results showed that they were Calling Oriented, and 22% of direct reports’ results showed that they were Job Oriented. 
After assessing a sample set of 164 direct reports that completed monthly surveys for at least a year, we have discovered some interesting results. After one year working under a manager using AIM Insights, the results showed that Calling Orientation increased by about +5%, Career Orientation increased by +6%, and results that showed Job Orientation decreased by -12.5%. As people work with AIM Insights managers, we see that their motivation for work changes. 
We have also analyzed over 4,000 individuals’ Work Orientations - observing changes to peoples Work Orientation over the span of year that are not in our AIM Insights program. The results are that Work Orientation is changing for those individuals, but not nearly all in the same direction as direct reports in our AIM Insights program (i.e., increased focus on Career and Calling Orientations).
What does this mean?
The employees who are using AIM Insights and receiving feedback from their managers using AIM Insights are more likely to find their motivation as work to be from a career or calling orientation. This means that employees are more interested in promotions, more interested in the mission/vision/core values of the company, and are more likely to recommend the company to their friends and family for employment or for referring business. This helps them view their work as a career or calling instead of a job. They want to step up and do more than the bare minimum to get by. They are more eager to take on responsibilities and roles for the opportunity to learn. And they are more likely to put more into their work because they see the work contributing to something greater than themselves. 
What could be the cause of these results?
We believe these changes are caused by the training and support that managers receive when using AIM Insights. We know it takes more than luck to build a great team, and these managers are clearly building great teams. Here’s how it works:
AIM Insights has a few important components:
• Direct reports of a manager complete brief monthly surveys assessing how they feel about their performance and their manager’s performance, and then they set monthly SMART goals.
• Managers use the AIM Insights dashboard to review their monthly report and analyze their own perspective on the team’s performance and the individual performance. 
• An executive coach, assigned to each manager for monthly 1-hour 1:1 coaching sessions, helps each manager:
• Understand the perception gaps between themselves and their teams.
• Create an action plan with the manager on how they can approach each direct report to better understand their perspective and communicate their own.
• Oftentimes role play or practice how that 1:1 could go from a best, moderate, and worst-case scenario with the manager.
• Discuss other challenges that manager may be facing from an executive coaching perspective.
Across all the teams we assessed, the only meaningful change to the way the direct reports of a manager experienced their work was how their manager treated them after starting AIM Insights. Here are a few findings that we’ve identified by working with our executive coaches. 
• As opposed to avoiding conflict because managers are uncomfortable with difficult conversations, managers are now embracing those conversations leading to better resolutions.
• As opposed to fumbling through an attempt at having a hard conversation because the manager didn’t practice nor received feedback from anyone, managers are now coming prepared for their 1:1 meetings with their direct reports.
• As opposed to waiting to see if a subtle behavior that irritated the manager turns into a larger problem because the manager doesn’t know how to approach a direct report with constructive criticism, managers are now targeting these conversations head-on and coming into those meetings prepared.
• As opposed to having performance reviews rife with subjectivity and recency bias (e.g. the “what have you done for me lately” effect) managers are now coming into performance reviews prepared with full understanding as to what each employee has been working on over entire period being reviewed.
• As opposed to the dreaded “surprise performance review” where direct reports feel blindsided by their manager, managers are now being proactive and helping each direct report emphasize their strengths and work on their weaknesses. Immediately discussing feedback ensures that managers and direct reports are completely on the same page and nobody is surprised by any feedback given in the performance review because that feedback has been given consistently throughout the year.
• As opposed to managers setting goals for their employees and being a “tactical firefighter” (e.g., “I don’t need to explain why this is important, just do it!”), managers now have their direct reports set goals and give their direct reports feedback on why those goals are impactful or not impactful and why. This empowers employees to have a clearer vision as to how their work contributes to the greater picture of the company.
• As opposed to managers attempting to “read the tea leaves” and going to their local soothsayer to attempt to understand how their employees are feeling about them as a leader, they can directly look at the data and observe how their team feels about them and where there might be perception gaps.
Essentially, managers who use AIM Insights with their teams drive greater feelings of Career and Calling Orientation over the span of year compared to managers who don’t use AIM Insights. 

Fri 17 November 2023
As leaders, every individual has had to work with a difficult colleague. Someone who is counter productive to the team or challenging to get along with. Specifically, many struggle with identifying these difficult personality types in their groups and finding creative ways to pivot these traits to an asset. Within teams, specific behaviors can contribute to counterproductive work behavior, and disturb the natural growth and formation of teams. Across social and professional environments, distinct traits negatively affect development, leaders identifying these traits and shifting them to productive work environment behaviors heavily impacts the efficacy of leaders. 

Tools towards identifying these behaviors begin with intentional observation of your team, feedback from employees and analysis of the psychological safety of your employees. Constantly in work settings, feedback from direct reports and colleagues allow for growth and learning across all positions. 

Also important to keep in mind is that all of the following traits may be represented in team members. Each of these qualities falls on a spectrum, low demonstration may not endanger team success while frequent demonstration of these traits will heavily impact job satisfaction and success of teams. Each of the following traits may even be beneficial in specific workplace circumstances. 

To identify counterproductive work traits, start by identifying these personality types by the following behaviors:

  1. Narcissism
Most detectable through inflated self-esteem, narcissism can be spotted in individuals of all levels. An enhanced ego may lead to lack of empathy for others and a demand for recognition, threatening psychological safety in team environments. Individuals exhibiting these traits may have trouble accepting criticism or feedback. Being a necessity in workplace development, utilizing feedback is crucial for teams and especially, leaders. Managers who identify these traits in their team members should focus on turning these traits into a tool for their team. Consider using this individual as a point person for delegation, or as an “editor” to focus on attention to detail. 

2. Machiavellianism
The second leg of counterproductive work behavior is Machiavellianism. Noticeable through strategic manipulation, machiavellianists  may become identifiable through lack of empathy and focusing on personal gain, beyond a normal level. However, these individuals are often flexible and willing to adapt to achieve their desired outcomes. As a leader, this opens an opportunity for value alignment to impact goal commitment that would strengthen efforts towards a final project. However, without correct value alignment, this individual may endanger psychological safety of others through lack of understanding and care for others. If a manager suspects a member of their team may be a machiavellianist, they should focus on the analysis of psychological safety within the team environment. Individuals who exhibit traits of machiavellianism will negatively impact the efficacy of their teams. 

3. Psychopathy 
The final piece of counterproductive work behavior is Psychopathy. Individuals who are seen as anti-social and demonstrate a lack of remorse can be identified as psychopathic, creating an unstable work environment. In team environments, these individuals will frequently demonstrate a lack of empathy and low control over impulses. Leaders may also notice manipulative habits by these individuals and a disregard for team norms or practiced behaviors or, leaders may not notice these habits at all because these individuals are frequently well-versed in impression management and acting how they think a superior would want them to. Leaders should be cognizant to mitigate any discomfort caused by these individuals as it could further affect team behavior. To spot these behaviors, leaders must depend on feedback from team members to further understand In team settings, these characteristics may be helpful in being unaffected by stressful situations and maintaining a steady level of stress tolerance. 

Recall that the above traits are counter productive in extreme cases but natural in small doses. Managers should also consider the causes of these counterproductive work behaviors which could stem from different points of uncertainty within the workplace such as unclear roles and organizational change. 

As always in professional settings, it is crucial for leaders to evaluate teams on objective measures on a frequent basis to better understand team dynamics. In addition to measuring the success of teams, it is important to receive honest employee feedback on team members to ensure that the psychological safety of a team is not threatened by one individual. 

Finally, managers should be cognizant of these personality behaviors within themselves. Frequently as individuals climb the organizational hierarchy, their objectivity diminishes. Once an individual is near the top of an organization, it is common for narcissistic behavior to foster from lack of constructive criticism. Executives may feel “untouchable” yet, this feeling is counter productive to the work environment. To be a self aware manager in terms of these counterproductive behaviors, ensure that your employees feel safe and comfortable in sharing helpful feedback with you and, consider use of analytic softwares such as AIM Insights that allows for continuous feedback from both superiors and subordinates. 

Overall, managers must utilize their relationship management skills to thoroughly analyze and monitor teams in all work environments. Being a strong leader also means advocating for individuals within a team and fostering a safe environment that allows professionals to prioritize work-life balance. Managers set the tone for the team as a whole through all levels of development. Setting an example of self-awareness, an environment of embracing mistakes and learning from feedback will ultimately lead to the greatest success within a team. In addition to utilizing past leadership experiences, managers should create an environment that promotes adaptability. Every situation may not fall within ideal circumstances and great leaders are able to learn and grow in dynamic environments that fosters creative problem solving and creates strong work relationships and teamwork which in turn, will lead to the greatest successes. 


Mon 4 December 2023
Good managers are good listeners. As a manager, it is crucial to practice active listening to make the best decisions for an organization or team. Rather than simply hearing the words an individual says, managers should practice active listening through demonstrating genuine interest and undivided attention with their members. In active listening, managers should focus on hearing the communication beyond the explicitly stated words but understanding feelings, intentions and underlying messages. In any industry, encouraging managers to practice active listening deciphers opportunities for growth and learning that may result in increased customer and employee satisfaction. 

Leaders must practice thoughtful, active listening to foster a collaborative and thriving work environment where employees feel valued. When employees feel that they are valued by the organization, they demonstrate stronger organizational commitment and job performance which leads to increased job satisfaction. With the necessity of technology in the workplace, work from home, and hybrid cultures of companies, active listening skills in the workplace have depleted. 

When communication habits shift from in-person to online chat, communications become far less effective. Without face-to-face contact, 93% of communication is lost from nonverbal and vocal communication, leaving a mere 7% left to recognize opportunities for growth and learning. Albert Mehrabian, a body language researcher, led a research campaign to discover what portion of communication is based solely on diction. Mehrabian found that 55% of communication is non-verbal cues, 38% of communication is vocal, and only 7% is from specific words.Through using video calls, individuals may be able to recover effectiveness in conversation through vocal and non-verbal cues but, most will continue to struggle with active listening. 

Although convenient, using online chats and emails as the primary conversation medium significantly diminishes the efficacy of communication attempts. Leaders must find creative ways to combat these changes to uncover hidden growth opportunities and team discrepancies. The subtle art of reading undertones and ensuring psychological safety to team members reflects within team culture. Managers can enhance their active listening in the following seven ways:

  1. Listen for the Undertones
As is human nature, it is expected that we hear an individual’s words but only sometimes comprehend the underlying objective or purpose of the communication. Managers should be deliberate in decoding communications to find the concealed message within an interaction or suggestion from employees. Additionally, managers should be aware of differences and communication barriers between cultures. When working in international settings, leaders must consider the cultural norms and barriers that could affect communication effectiveness. 

2. Be Present
Actively listening to direct reports requires undivided attention and devotion to hearing what employees are saying. This means minimizing distractions, eliminating interruptions, and thoroughly thinking and understanding not only statements made but also body language and verbal cues that showcase the intent behind the communication. Being a present and engaged listener will aid the leader's contact with the team by valuing thoughts, opinions, and experiences. 

3. Prioritize Psychological Safety
For a strong team, diversity of thought and diverging opinions are invaluable. To encourage these crucial conversations, managers must create an environment of psychological safety that will enable direct reports to come to leaders with ideas, suggestions, and experiences that managers may use to better an organization. Those who are unaccepting of others deteriorate psychological safety within a team. In creating psychological safety, managers need to focus on empathy, support and understanding amongst all team mates. 

4. Withhold Judgment
To be better active listeners, leaders should avoid instances of judgment by entering each conversation with an open mind. In these conversations, managers should avoid responding to suggestions with defensiveness or hostility. Instead, take each conversation as a learning opportunity rather than a personal attack. Open mindedness and improved relationships with team members will enhance problem solving and creative thinking team-wide. 

5. Cultivate Empathy
An essential part of active listening is cultivating empathy and understanding for those around you. Managers must prioritize a culture of empathy by being understanding and adaptable to their employees. Adding to a culture of compassion, leaders must focus on making every team member feel valued and welcomed. Once a team has established a culture of empathy, all members will grow as active listeners, streamlining communication for all parties. 

6. Ask Questions
In practicing active listening, asking questions is imperative to thoroughly understand the topic. Asking questions demonstrates genuine care and interest in the case, leading employees to feel heard and understood, even if their suggestion is not implemented. In asking questions, prioritize creating a conversation of open dialogue, with explanations and reasoning on either side, to encourage a culture that welcomes diverse opinions and embraces mistakes, allowing for further growth and success. 

7. Ask for Feedback
Managers seeking feedback on their active listening skills are crucial for team growth. Regardless of the industry or specific role, all leaders must be good communicators, meaning strong listening and speaking skills. One without the other will not foster the productive work environment that makes groups successful. Managers should consider their self-awareness and seek opportunities to grow in the communication field. To collect this feedback, consider using AIM Insights, which will provide continuous feedback for all organizational levels, enabling constant improvement.

 Leaders may encourage the process of prioritizing psychological safety for active listening by establishing group norms or policies within their team. For example, a manager may have an “open door policy” to welcome any concerns, questions, and suggestions from employees. Other managers may cultivate this through weekly team-wide discussion meetings that allow individuals to share their concerns. In determining which approach is best, leaders need to evaluate their teams  to determine which route is most impactful for their team.

Throughout the process of improving active listening skills, managers should remember that changes may take time to happen. It takes time for trust to be fostered within a team and psychological safety to develop. Growth paths may not always be linear, but should have ups and downs and obstacles along the way. By actively listening to feedback, managers can find the next step forward for bettering their team. 


Mon 4 December 2023
Emotional intelligence is a unique strength that doesn't just benefit those who possess it; it enriches the entire organizational ecosystem and is something you want to incorporate into your business in order to have an edge.

Effective leadership goes beyond strategic decision-making and task management. Leaders who possess high emotional intelligence (EQ) can create an organizational culture that fosters trust, collaboration, and overall team satisfaction. This article delves into the profound impact of emotional intelligence on leadership, emphasizing the importance of understanding team members' emotions and needs. 

Understanding Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence comprises four core elements: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. It involves recognizing and understanding emotions in oneself and others and using this awareness to manage one's behavior and relationships.

Emotional Intelligence and Trust Building

Leaders with high emotional intelligence showcase a keen awareness and understanding of their own emotions, as well as those of their team members. This heightened emotional awareness enables leaders to navigate interpersonal relationships with empathy and authenticity, laying the foundation for trust and rapport.

When a leader demonstrates empathy by acknowledging and validating the emotions of their team members, it creates a positive work environment. AIM Insights, as a performance management tool, aligns with this principle by encouraging individuals to express their feelings and challenges in a safe and confidential space. By articulating their concerns in writing, employees may find it easier to open up about their emotions, fostering vulnerability and trust.

Positive Work Environment and Employee Satisfaction

Leadership styles heavily influence the work environment. Leaders with high emotional intelligence tend to create a positive and supportive atmosphere where team members feel valued and appreciated. This, in turn, boosts employee morale and satisfaction.

AIM Insights takes this a step further by prompting individuals to articulate their ambitions and the "why" behind their work. Through this reflective process, employees gain a deeper understanding of their personal and professional motivations. Managers armed with this knowledge can tailor their leadership approach, aligning organizational goals with the individual aspirations of team members.

Guide: Enhancing Leadership through Emotional Intelligence with AIM Insights

  • Understand Work Challenges:
    • Encourage team members to express their biggest work challenges using AIM Insights.
    • Leverage insights to address specific obstacles hindering productivity.
  • Explore Professional Ambitions:
    • Prompt individuals to articulate their aspirations and career goals through AIM Insights.
    • Align organizational objectives with personal ambitions to foster growth.
  • Uncover the "Why" Behind the Work:
    • Use AIM Insights to delve into the deeper motivations driving professional pursuits.
    • Align job responsibilities with personal passions to enhance job satisfaction.
  • Empathy in Leadership:
    • Develop and demonstrate empathy by understanding challenges expressed through AIM Insights. 
    • Proactively address concerns, fostering a supportive work environment.
  • Tailor Leadership to Individual Needs:
    • Leverage AIM Insights to reveal individual ambitions and work preferences.
    • Customize leadership strategies to support individual growth and enhance team dynamics.

Work Challenges: The Power of Vulnerability

When employees have the opportunity to articulate their biggest work challenges, they often reveal more profound insights than in face-to-face interactions. The act of typing out concerns allows individuals the time and space to express themselves with greater vulnerability. Leaders who leverage AIM Insights gain access to a more authentic understanding of the obstacles hindering their teams' productivity.

Example: A team member might express concerns about feeling overwhelmed with tasks. This insight provides leaders with the opportunity to address workload distribution, implement strategies to alleviate stress, and demonstrate a commitment to employee well-being.

Ambitions: Fostering Growth and Development

Understanding individual ambitions is crucial for leadership that promotes growth and development. AIM Insights prompts individuals to articulate their professional aspirations, creating a roadmap for leaders to align organizational objectives with personal goals.

Example: A team member might express a desire to lead a project or develop a particular skill. Armed with this knowledge, a leader can offer targeted mentorship, assign relevant tasks, or provide opportunities for skill enhancement, ultimately contributing to the employee's growth and job satisfaction.

The "Why" Behind the Work: Aligning Purpose and Productivity

AIM Insights delves into the fundamental question of "why" individuals engage in their work. This introspective query uncovers the deeper motivations that drive professional pursuits.

Example: Consider a scenario where a team member expresses a strong passion for environmental sustainability. Armed with this knowledge, a leader can explore ways to align the employee's role with projects related to sustainability, fostering a sense of purpose and contributing to heightened job satisfaction.

Empathy in Leadership

Empathy is a cornerstone of emotional intelligence. Leaders who empathize with their team members build stronger connections and trust. AIM Insights, by encouraging individuals to share their experiences in a written format, provides leaders with a unique opportunity to develop and demonstrate empathy.

Example: By understanding the challenges expressed through AIM Insights, leaders can proactively address concerns, demonstrating a commitment to the well-being of their teams. This empathetic approach fosters a supportive work environment, enhancing employee satisfaction and loyalty.

Tailoring Leadership to Individual Needs

One-size-fits-all leadership approaches often fall short of addressing the diverse needs of a team. AIM Insights helps leaders tailor their strategies by revealing individual ambitions and the "why" behind each team member's work.

Example: A leader who learns about a team member's aspiration to take on more responsibility may provide opportunities for leadership development. This customized approach not only supports individual growth but also enhances overall team dynamics.

Leaders who prioritize understanding and responding to the emotions and needs of their team members foster trust, collaboration, and job satisfaction. Embracing emotional intelligence and leverage tools like AIM Insights are poised to not only navigate challenges effectively but also inspire and lead their teams to new heights of success and fulfillment.


Fri 15 December 2023
“Give a man to fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Learning has always been the foundation for success. In creating a successful culture of autonomy, managers must prioritize learning, development, and experiences to build a team of self-sufficient, well-prepared employees. 

Autonomy in the workplace may lead to improved engagement, job satisfaction, and productivity. Allowing professionals to be entirely responsible for their work will create a team of individuals committed to their work. Autonomy and task follow-through improve job satisfaction. Seeing a project from start to finish makes a role more meaningful, leading to increased job satisfaction and in turn, job performance. Finally, a culture prioritizing autonomy produces a highly productive team of well-versed individuals. By creating faster decision-making processes and well-prepared individuals, productivity will skyrocket in autonomous teams. 

As managers, many struggle to build a culture of independence for their direct reports. When managers do not promote an autonomous environment, their team members lose learning opportunities, and managers become overworked. A crucial part of learning is having the ability to make decisions that lead to mistakes. A crucial part of leading is learning how to be flexible in correcting these mistakes and learning from past experiences. 

A culture prioritizing autonomy teaches direct reports to be resourceful and thorough in their work. Rather than an individual asking their boss or team leader, they should first use every resource available as a tool in completing their task. Promoting a culture of autonomy continues beyond task performance and enables managers to build strong employees. As individuals gain decision-making experience, they grow into thoughtful, experienced, self-sufficient leaders. 

Managers commonly struggle with transferring decision-making responsibilities to other leaders in a firm. However, without autonomous professionals, managers become overworked and burnt out over time. To build a culture of autonomous employees, managers must consider the following factors' impact on the workplace. 

  1. Embrace Mistakes
It is impossible to grow without feedback. Creating a culture that embraces mistakes as learning opportunities will contribute to role autonomy. As managers, many will eventually forget the hard work, mistakes, and learning opportunities it takes to reach an executive position. Creating a culture that views errors as areas for growth is crucial for team success. To build an autonomous team, it is vital to cultivate a culture that approaches mistakes as opportunities for learning. In a culture that does not encourage risk-taking, emerging leaders struggle to get the experience necessary to succeed after making a poor decision. Most importantly, leaders need practice to efficiently and effectively identify solutions after making inevitable mistakes. 

2. Encourage Team Development
Encouraging team development produces autonomy within teams. Allowing independent development through the four normative stages of team development (forming, storming, norming, and performing) enables a team to succeed. Team development puts priority on direct reports working amongst each other, without consistent involvement from executive management. Teams foster a habit of learning from others, and communicating amongst peers, rather than relying on managers. Thus, enhancing the autonomy and capabilities of direct reports and, enabling individuals to learn from their colleagues. Although challenging, managers practicing limited involvement in team development enables professionals to make mistakes and rehearse the required skills to become outstanding leaders. 

3. Prioritize Psychological Safety
Prioritizing psychological safety in the workplace is crucial to building a team of autonomous and responsible individuals. Allowing employees to make mistakes and learn from them is what builds a resilient, sustainable team. Allowing for problem-solving skills to be practiced and rehearsed equips direct reports with the skills to succeed. These crucial skills develop with experience and time, allowing direct reports to practice in a safe environment and enabling great workplace success. Focusing on psychological safety creates an environment where it is okay to fail. While failing seems counterproductive to success, managers have to weigh the cost of a few failures with the benefit of building strong and experienced professionals in a team. 

4. Encourage Horizontal Mentorship 
Mentorship is a building block to a culture of autonomous employees. Building mentorship programs in a firm enables those with more experience to learn from others, rather than creating a dependence on executive management. Horizontal mentorship enables employees to learn from their peers at all levels, from entry-level to executive management. Building a mentorship program brings value to autonomous culture by teaching professionals the steps through a decision-making process and factors to be accounted for rather than relying on a manager to make the decision. Managers may also benefit from horizontal leadership by learning how others relinquish control and put trust in their team. 

In the aforementioned steps, managers need to be cognizant that building a culture takes time. Resistance to change is common, especially in transforming from a culture dependent on executives to a culture that operates independently from executives. Creating autonomy in a team is challenging when managers have been heavily involved in the day-to-day tasks of employees so, learning to delegate and trust team members is a challenging process for most managers. Prioritizing learning and development within a team will enable leaders to promote autonomy. Adaptability will lead to a thriving, autonomous culture in adjusting to change and promoting flexibility in the process. 

Throughout an autonomous culture, it is necessary to promote communication among team members. Without feedback and open dialogue, it is challenging to grow. As always in the workplace, it is imperative to establish systems for feedback. Rather than an annual performance review, consider using a platform such as AIM Insights that will provide continuous feedback at all levels to aid in the development of a strong team, prioritizing goal setting and achievement. 


Fri 15 December 2023
We all have life events that distract us from work from time to time: an ailing family member, a divorce, the death of a friend. You can’t expect someone to be at their best at such times. But as a manager what can you expect? How can you support the person to take care of themselves emotionally while also making sure they are doing their work (or as much of it as they are able to)?

Emily, a dedicated team leader, found herself facing a challenging situation. One of her team members, Charlie, was grappling with personal turmoil, juggling the complexities of an external affair leading to a divorce that was tearing apart his family. Balancing the demands of the workplace while carrying such a heavy emotional burden, Charlie was struggling to meet performance expectations, leaving Emily in a delicate position as a leader torn between empathy and professionalism.

Understanding the delicate nature of Charlie's situation, Emily knew that leading with empathy was crucial. However, maintaining a professional work environment was equally important. Striking the right balance required a thoughtful and nuanced approach.

First, Emily decided to initiate a private conversation with Charlie. She wanted to create a safe space for him to share his struggles without judgment. Instead of immediately addressing performance concerns, she began by expressing concern for his well-being and acknowledging the challenges he might be facing outside of work.

During their conversation, Emily demonstrated active listening skills, allowing Charlie to open up about his personal life at his own pace. This approach helped build trust and allowed Emily to gain a deeper understanding of the emotional toll Charlie was experiencing. In doing so, she learned about his fears, uncertainties, and the difficulty he faced in separating personal issues from his professional responsibilities.

Understanding that Charlie might find it challenging to communicate openly in a face-to-face setting, Emily subtly introduced the idea of using AIM Insights, a platform designed for non-face-to-face communication among team members. This platform served as an online forum where employees could share their personal struggles, ambitions, and non-work-related goals in a comfortable and confidential manner.

Emily emphasized the benefits of AIM Insights, explaining how it could provide a supportive space for team members to express themselves freely. The platform allowed individuals like Charlie to share their experiences, offering insights into their lives outside of the office, making it easier for leaders like Emily to comprehend the challenges faced by their team members.

Without explicitly revealing Charlie's personal situation, Emily encouraged the team to use AIM Insights as a channel for open communication about their non-work-related struggles and aspirations.

These 3 tips are also used to ensure that the workplace is a confidential, empathetic and supportive environment. 

  1. Listen First, Suggest Second

When you speak to an employee about their current struggles, listen first instead of immediately advocating for some particular course of action. They may just want a sounding board about the difficulties of caring for a sick relative or an opportunity to explain why a divorce has affected their attention span. If you immediately suggest they take a leave of absence or adjust their schedule, they may be put off if that’s not what they were thinking. Instead, ask what both of you can do together to address the issue of performance during the difficult period. 

2. Know What You Can Offer

You may be more than willing to give a grieving employee several weeks of leave, or to offer a woman with a high-risk pregnancy the ability to work from home. But the decision isn’t always yours to make. If you have the leeway to get creative with a flexible schedule, an adjusted workload, or a temporary work-from-home arrangement, do what you think is best. But also be sure you understand your company’s restrictions on short- and long-term leave, and what, if any, bureaucratic hurdles exist before promising anything to your employee. Explain that you need to check what’s possible before you both commit to an arrangement.

If the employee needs counseling or drug or alcohol services, there may be resources provided by your company’s medical insurance that you can recommend. But investigate the quality of those resources first. The last thing you want to do is send a suffering employee to avail themselves of a program or supposedly helpful people who then fall short.

3. Consider Workload

You also have to consider whether prolonged absences will adversely affect clients or team members. If so, mitigate those risks by easing the person’s workload. If there are people who are willing and able to take on some of the individual’s projects, you can do that temporarily. Just be sure to reward the people who are stepping in. And then set timelines for any adjustments you make. If the person knows that their situation will last for 6-8 weeks, set a deadline for you to meet and discuss what will happen next. Of course, many situations will be open-ended and in those cases, you can set interim deadlines when you get together to check in on how things are going and make adjustments as necessary. Whatever arrangements you make, be crystal clear about your expectations during this time period. Be realistic about what they can accomplish and set goals they can meet.


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 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.  


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 dynamic