1 Simple Trick for Hiring and Onboarding Great New Team Members

A very wise college basketball coach once said, “If I recruit a great kid, and he goes to play for another team, he might beat us once or twice a year.  But if I recruit a bad kid, he might beat us every day!” As someone who leads a team of employees, the decisions you make in terms of hiring new staff can have an incredible impact on your team culture. Bad hires can be painful… and hiring mistakes can be costly… But bad hires (or bad onboarding experiences) only occur because you rush to accept someone who seems okay instead of ensuring that he or she is a great FIT for your team. It is better to slow down the process and make the right decision than to rush the process and make a wrong decision that becomes destructive to your team’s performance or profits.   So how do you get to know someone and ENSURE that they fit your culture and share the values that you want your organization to be known for? Here’s ONE simple trick to hiring (and successfully onboarding) someone with a positive attitude and an awareness of how to work effectively with others…   Use a book as part of your hiring process!   Find a book that represents one or more of the core values that you want your people to live by as part of your workplace culture. Yes, it should be relatively short and easy to read so it doesn’t take too long and isn’t too difficult to comprehend (Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment would not be a good choice) But there...

A Quick and Easy Ice Breaker Activity for Your Next Meeting

The name for this fun five-ten minute ice breaker activity is taken from a commercial that everyone on your team has probably seen at least a dozen times… It’s the “Capitol One Challenge…” But you don’t have to give me credit for the idea! (so punny!)   Okay – enough with the bad jokes. Here’s your easy ice breaker: Plan on investing just a few minutes at the beginning of your next weekly or monthly meeting to inspire a little laughter and enjoy a really quick and easy opportunity to build stronger bonds and relationships among your teammates.   Actually, the real name of this easy ice breaker activity is “What’s in your wallet?”  As you have likely read in one of my previous blogs (or heard in one of my conference teamwork keynotes), the two things that create team unity are:   Connecting to a compelling common goal, and   Connecting to the people on your team   This ice breaker activity works with new and established teams, because it allows them to share something that thy feel is important to them. That sharing – along with the conversations and future questions / interest and awareness that it will create – is a powerful catalyst for connection on your team.   Here’s how “What’s in Your Wallet?” works:   Have your people arrange themselves into groups of two or three. Partners is fun, but groups of three can sometimes make it an even more fun experience, as people learn and share more tan with just one person…   After they are in those groups, simply say the following:   “Your...

How Many Mission Statements Does Your Team Have?

The importance of mission statements struck me when I was still a coach and teacher, because I worked at five different high schools in my career.  That wasn’t because I couldn’t keep a teaching job… The moves happened because of coaching positions that came open.  Often it was just a better situation, and once it was just closer to home… honest ; ) But one of the curious things I noticed after working at that many different schools is that they were all very unique…   The principals had different personalities.  The students came from different backgrounds.  The architectural layouts were diverse… But there was ONE thing that was oddly similar at every school – and I’m guessing that it is the same wherever you currently work. Every school I worked at had a mission statement posted in the main office and also around the building on hallway walls. You know what I’m talking about… “We will inspire life-long learners who are responsible citizens in the global community.” or “Through combined effort of staff, parents, students, and community, we will provide students with a foundation in basic skills, to provide an introduction to the arts, to foster a positive work ethic, to create an environment that harbors tolerance and respect” Having a mission statement on the walls is OK   The problem was that those mission statements stayed on the walls – and never made it into the hearts and minds of teachers or students or curriculum… The problem was that – even though every school I worked at (and likely every company you have worked at) spent time and resources...

How an Escape Room Event Can Inspire Teambuilding

Escape rooms have become a popular and entertaining experience in a number of cities, and here in Atlanta there have been a few of them that opened their doors for business. My wife and I have visited a couple, and enjoyed ourselves on both occasions. But as a team leader, you are likely asking yourself if the investment of TIME and MONEY is worth it.   Let me answer your question with a confident reply. It depends!   It depends on the OUTCOME you are interested in achieving… If you are interested in outcomes-based experiences, where your people enjoy a fun interactive event that delivers actionable and memorable take-aways that are relevant and positively impact your group interactions, then a full or half-day of facilitated team building is definitely what you should seek… If you are interested in an entertainment-based experience, where your people enjoy a few laughs and work through a unique challenge that will give them something to talk about and help to strengthen a few co-worker relationships, then an escape game event might be something to consider! And if you are thinking of scheduling a day when your group could visit an escape room in Atlanta, I know a great place. Having met and spent time with the owner, Time to Escape is an impressive location – and I am excited to have partnered with them as a professional facilitator for clients who seek to give their people an Atlanta escape room experience that can also offer additional team building activities.   Time to Escape is Atlanta’s “most immersive” Escape Room location, and they offer three tiers...

Cure Frozen Dinner Syndrome by Setting Clear Expectations

We’ve all been there… And it’s usually not a proud moment. Something inside you gave in, and you brought home a frozen dinner from the grocery store.  Then, refusing to order pizza or Chinese again, you actually cooked it…  And a few minutes later, as you pulled it out of the microwave, you probably experienced FDS.   FDS has become an epidemic… Today though, Frozen Dinner Syndrome is not only affecting kitchens across America (and Canada, eh!), but the businesses and organizations where you work.   Frozen Dinner Syndrome is the result of flawed expectations.   Remember looking at the box there in the freezer aisle, and convincing yourself that it looked appetizing… even desirable? Those expectations from the picture on the box are the reason for your disappointment when you pulled the serving tray out of the microwave! The two did not look the same.  They seldom do. That is because Frozen Dinner Marketers are liars.  The make bold promises and set our expectations high, and then deliver less than we had hoped to enjoy. In your kitchen, that is one thing.  But in your business, on your team, that can be more than unappetizing – it can be dangerous and costly…  So how do you cure FDS? I’m glad you asked!   1. Realize that Everything starts with Awareness.   FDS is caused by faulty expectations.  When you expect too much from a Lean Cuisine box, you are often disappointed and frustrated. But in your business, when you expect too much from your people, the frustration and disappointment can lead to lost clients or poor performance.  And...

Make Team Feedback More Effective With COIN Conversations!

One of the most difficult parts of any team leader’s job is to have positive and effective feedback conversations.   Whether you are a coach, a sales manager, a school administrator, or a medical staff supervisor, The COIN model provides you a template for having feedback conversations that work and include 4 essential elements of effective feedback. But before you attempt to apply the model to your situation, be reminded that feedback is something that is best delivered in a timely fashion, and should be intended to help your team members grow. Feedback is not punishment, it is information and encouragement to improve… (focus on the next play!) And ANY tough conversation topic will be easier to navigate if you have invested time in building a relationship beforehand (here is a ten-cent secret to doing exactly that!)  People are much less defensive and are much more coachable when they know that you are aware of their challenges, interested in their growth, and appreciative of their efforts.      So… here is the COIN feedback conversation model:   C = CONNECTION First, connect with them personally and connect to the issue or project that you would like to discuss.  Provide context for the conversation and an emotional link to the topic.   O = OBSERVATION Second, share factual descriptions of their behavior.  It is important to be as specific as you can and to the point.  DO not waste time with dancing… just give them the numbers.   I = IMPACT ON TEAM Third, you must clarify the impact that their actions had on the team or business to inspire...