Personal Mastery

Core Values – The Key to Attracting and Retaining A-Players

A Virtuous Talent Cycle

‚Äú I‚Äôd love being a business owner, if only I didn‚Äôt have to deal with so many¬†people issues!‚ÄĚ

We often hear this from our clients when they are frustrated by not having the right people in the right seats, doing things right.

If they seem to have an adequate talent development process, but they still struggle to get, keep and grow A-Players, two questions pop up for us:

What are your organization’s Core Values?

How well would your employees say that you, as an owner, live and breathe these values?

When we talk about values, we’re not talking about slogans, tag-lines or other customer-facing messages. We’re not talking about feel-good, self-focused, morale-building platitudes or inspirational posters. We are talking about the decisions and actions that define character.

As an owner, YOUR values drive the organization‚Äôs values, which are the engine for just about everything to do with your people, culture and long-term success. Who you hire, how you treat people, the kind of workplace you create and your reputation or ‚Äėgravity‚Äô as the place for A-Players, all flow from your values.

Hire GREAT People

In the absence of clear values, organizations hire on the technical ability to do the work.  While that’s a good place to start, the heart of a great hire is an alignment of values with the organization. If you aren’t clear about your values, how will you decide who is right for your company? How will a candidate decide if you are right for them?

For example, ¬†Nike knows exactly the kind of people it will (and won‚Äôt) hire. They want people who¬†create, take risks and¬†pursue greatness¬†within their company – people who can ‚Äėshatter limits daily‚Äô. While a message such as this will¬†attract A-Players, only companies who can deliver on the promise will¬†keep A-Players – and Nike does.

Learn more about hiring great people

Create a Great Place to Work

Creating a great place to work is the first step in keeping the great people. Your values drive HOW you treat your people, the kind of work you take on, the environment people work in and how you celebrate success and failure.

Your values show up in the daily actions of your organization.

  • If you value people seeing the impact of their work, create a metric that helps people see their impact on success.
  • If you value autonomy, create the boundary conditions and measurable outcomes so your team can make independent decisions, and know when they are successful.
  • If you value learning, recognize people who are learning. Make it safe for people to fail and make mistakes on the path to greater success.
  • If you value a variety of interesting work for your people, be selective about the kind of work you take on.

Consistently recognizing and celebrating values in the day-to-day actions of your leaders and team reinforces their importance in your company.

KEEP Your Great People – Help Them Grow

Equally important is helping your people grow.¬† The trend in organizations is to do many small coaching moments throughout the year, focusing on the work ahead of you, versus the backward-looking ‚Äėperformance reviews.‚Äô As described in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, The Performance Management Revolution, traditional performance reviews ¬†‚Äúhold people accountable for past behavior at the expense of improving current performance and grooming talent for the future.‚ÄĚ

Great leaders are coaching people on the skills, talents and values they need to advance, through immediate, constructive coaching in the day-to-day work of the company.  An excellent book for helping you improve your skills in coaching your team is: The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever, by Michael Bungay Stanier. There are now interesting web-based applications, such as Threads (threadsculture.com) that help you and your employee document and improve alignment between the values of the organization and delivery of results.

Create a Virtual Bench of Future Talent

Create and groom a list of people who you would like to have work for you. The list might include a former intern who will graduate in a year or two, someone your clients mentioned as a superstar in another organization, or a referral from one of your employees. One way of mining the network of connections already within your organization is to sit down with your best team members and work through their personal contact list in a process called ‘guided recall’.

The strategy here is to stay connected.  Get creative. Share information about your company’s culture and values. Host continuing education events. Invite your employees to bring prospective candidates to a social event, like a craft beer tasting, or through social media like Facebook or LinkedIn. Find ways to add value to those on your bench. When it’s time to look for great people to add to your team, the candidates will be looking for you.

Learn more about creating a virtual bench

Keep Your Values Real

Keeping it real means observing and naming the values you and your organization already live and breathe, today.

How do you test that one of your values is ‚Äėthe real deal‚Äô?

  • Can you point to a person in your organization who¬†embodies¬†the value?
  • Will you take a financial hit / turn down a deal as you stand for the value?
  • Is repeatedly violating the value a firing offense?

Keep your company‚Äôs Core Values front and center ‚Äď keep them¬†real¬†and¬†alive. They are a powerful magnet to get, keep and align a great team, and ultimately, to amplify your organization’s¬†success!

Learn more about Core Values

РAnn Ralston, © 2017 Ralston Consulting Inc.


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Monday, April 3rd, 2017 Book and Media Reviews, Business Insights, Leadership, Main Page, Personal Mastery, Scaling Up, Values Comments Off on Core Values – The Key to Attracting and Retaining A-Players

Three Brilliant Podcast Series to Make You Think!

Podcasts rock!¬† I’ve stopped listening to NPR and even music when I drive. Instead, I‚Äôm enjoying and learning from podcasts.

If you haven’t explored the world of podcasts, you are missing out. You can find just about anything!

The bad news for beginners: you can find just about anything. :-(( ¬†There are so VERY¬†many podcasts, with lots of clutter and noise, so let’s start you off right!.

Three podcasts in particular continue to change how I think about and perceive my world:

timferrissshowart-500x500The Tim Ferriss Show

On his podcast, author and entrepreneur, Tim Ferriss, “deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use.¬† This includes favorite books, morning routines, exercise habits, time-management tricks, and much more..” ¬†His guests are amazing and DIVERSE. Actors, Athletes, Artists, Doctors, HIGHLY successful entrepreneurs, soldiers, writers and researchers. I’ve gone back to listen to MOST of over 100 shows.

Josh Waitzkin – A Chess Prodigy on Mastering Martial Arts, Chess and Life

Josh was the basis for the book and movie,¬†Searching for Bobby Fischer. In the process of life as a chess prodigy, world champion in Tai Chi Push Hands, he has perfected learning strategies that can be applied to anything. Author of the incredible book,¬†The Art of Learning, Josh now spends his time coaching the world’s top performers, whether Mark Messier, Cal Ripken Jr., or elite hedge fund managers. Josh also appeared on Episode #2, but this is the place to start…

tony-robbinsTony Robbins – Several Episodes!

I’ve not been a huge fan of Tony Robbins in the past, yet I really enjoyed all of these episodes:

cal-fussmanCal Fussman – Master Interviewer, Writer and Storyteller.

Oh, the stories! Cal is a New York Times bestselling author and a writer-at-large for Esquire magazine, where he is best known for being a primary writer of the ‚ÄúWhat I Learned‚ÄĚ feature.¬†The Austin Chronicle has described Cal‚Äôs interviewing skills as ‚Äúpeerless.‚Ä̬†He has transformed oral history into an art form, conducting probing interviews with the icons who‚Äôve shaped the last 50 years of world history: Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Jack Welch, Robert DeNiro, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, Dr. Dre, Quincy Jones, Woody Allen, Barbara Walters, Pel√©, Yao Ming, Serena Williams, John Wooden, Muhammad Ali, and countless others.

revisionist-history-gladwellRevisionist History with Malcom Gladwell

Malcom Gladwell, a brilliant storyteller “reinterprets something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood.¬†Again, my favorite three, each a¬†must-hear:

  • The Lady Vanishes
  • Generous Orthodoxy
  • The Blame Game – I hope it helps us¬†reflect on how much the news media distorts information, and sadly, how quickly we believe them. We simply take what they say as truth, when it can be far, far from it.

abundancebookcoverExponential Wisdom with Peter Diamandis and Dan Sullivan

I found this podcast after our work with (and subsequent certification in) the¬†Exponential Organizations¬†Masterclass.¬†The podcast holds “Insights from Dan Sullivan and Peter Diamandis¬†on the Human-Technology Relationship”.¬† This is a fascinating conceptual playground, as the speed of change is outpacing our ability to govern, learn and understand the impact on our future world. Diamandis’ fundamental premise is that we are entering a time of abundance, globally, thanks to technological advances, with evidence that counters the media’s negative, sensationalist biases.

Diamandis and Sullivan offer a¬†deeper understanding of topics such as Brexit, Artificial Intelligence, longevity, healthcare, education… each one fascinating! Go back to the earlier podcasts – even episode one – for the best flow.

I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the podcasts in these series. ¬† Hope you enjoy!

РAnn Ralston,
  © 2016 Ralston Consulting Inc.

Join us for our next Scaling Up Business Growth Workshop in Columbus, OH.

To learn more and register your team, go to http://scalingup.cvent.com/columbusoh or contact Ann Ralston, events@ralstonconsulting.com or 614-561-5273.

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Friday, September 23rd, 2016 Article Archive, Book and Media Reviews, Executive Productivity, Main Page, Personal Mastery Comments Off on Three Brilliant Podcast Series to Make You Think!

Learn Even Faster From Podcasts – Overcast.fm app

overcast-itunes-logoxparentOvercast.fm is a podcast app for iPhone and iPad that saves me more time than any other player I have used, without sacrificing comprehension, and perhaps improving it!

By now, most everyone knows you can save time by speeding up playback of audiobooks and podcasts, and even web videos (see below). But after a point, increasing playback speed reduces comprehension. I can easily listen to 1.25x playback speed, and even up to 1.5x, but I start to fatigue beyond that as the words and phrases get too compressed.

The ‘Smart Speed’¬†effect analyzes the podcast and intelligently removes silence between spoken words and phrases.With the playback set to 1.5x, effective playback¬†speed increased to 1.8x, 2.1x or faster depending on the material, and I experience much less fatigue. The result is more intelligible speech in less playback time. A win-WIN!

The Overcast app is also a great podcast manager. Subscribing to podcasts has been seamless. Automatic downloading just works. If you sign up for an optional online account, Overcast.fm synchronizes your record of what you have listened to across your iOS devices and even offers a simple web-based podcast player.

BONUS TIP: If you have a spoken-word mp3 file you want to listen to faster, you can upload up to 2 GB of files it at https://overcast.fm/uploads .

Overcast.fm. Get it. Learn faster. Have more time to put it all into practice.

videospeedcontrollerscreenTip: Accelerate HTML5 Video Playback

Video Speed Controller is our new preference for watching HTML5 video on Chrome on our desktop computer. It is particularly useful in speeding up videos from our executive education partner, the Gazelles Growth Institute.

– Gary Ralston
© 2016 Ralston Consulting Inc.

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Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 Article Archive, Executive Productivity, Main Page, Personal Mastery, Technology Comments Off on Learn Even Faster From Podcasts – Overcast.fm app

to the new year…

Starlight-under-rooftop-561x748


photo: Ann Ralston.
(click image for larger version)

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Shake Up Your Biases and Preconceptions with a MOOC!

MOOCs are opening more than higher education to the world – they can open the world to you

This fall I participated in my first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course – see sidebar). The course, Behavioural Economics in Action 101x, is offered by the prestigious Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, for free. I’m accessing this course through EdX, a¬†non-profit online initiative of 30 of the world’s top universities,¬†created by founding partners Harvard and MIT.¬†Their mission is expand access to the best of higher education for students around the world – and this in part means reducing or eliminating the barrier of cost.

If my class is any indication, EdX has proven its global reach. I was blown away – each pin on the world map below represents one of my over 2100 fellow learners!

BE_101X_-_over_2000_people-5

Now it’s great that EdX is bringing this course to the world. Absolutely. But early into the course it dawned on me that through this MOOC, EdX had brought the world to me! While I found the course content interesting, I was much more intrigued by the varied points of view from different cultures.

A bit about the course content

What was your BIGGEST class at university?MOOCs are bigger…

A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course Рa relatively new development in the world of online learning that is generating significant buzz, and no small amount of angst about their possible impact on the business model for higher education.

Top universities are offering top-notch interactive courses to large numbers of students at once, taught by excellent faculty, many for free, and some for-credit, at a fraction of the cost of a conventional university course.

In case you are wondering how many students per class is¬†large…¬†according to Wikipedia,¬†‘Udacity’s CS101, with an enrollment of over¬†300,000 students, was¬†the largest MOOC to date.’

Behavioral economics explores, from a psychological point of view, why people sometimes make irrational decisions, and why and how their behavior does not follow the predictions of economic models. Further, these behavioral insights can be used to influence decisions in many ways, from the obvious – drive up consumer spending by offering “bargains” – to the more subtle – lose weight by doing nothing more than taking a picture of everything you consume. Such techniques or strategies, designed to subtly influence decisions toward a given outcome, are commonly referred to as¬†“Nudges”, and there has been much interest in applying such behavioral insights to larger policy and societal issues.

Many of our class discussions (held in web-based discussion forums) focused on social issues, with the intention to explore how to influence or “nudge” behaviors that increase health and overall well-being of people and societies.

Some of our early topics…

  • disrupting the transmission of AIDS in Uganda,
  • quelling noise pollution from overuse of car horns in large cities in India, and
  • shifting a nation’s personal debt and spending / saving patterns.

And the conversations were fascinating! The richness and diversity of views and the insights from different countries, socio-economic backgrounds and fields of study opened a much wider world to me, creating a deeper and more engaging learning experience. There is nothing like discussing a subject with someone from a foreign culture and way of thinking to show up your own assumptions and biases!

If you’ve been missing out on the amazing variety of free, quality education available through MOOCs, and a world of fellow learners, here are a few tips (okay, nudges!) to get you started:

See you in the MOOC-iverse!

– Ann Ralston

© 2013 Ralston Consulting Inc.

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Thursday, December 19th, 2013 Article Archive, Business Insights, Business Models, Corporate Social Responsibility, Main Page, Personal Mastery, Sustainability Comments Off on Shake Up Your Biases and Preconceptions with a MOOC!

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ANN RALSTON

T 614-761-1841 ext 2
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Call me! - Ann Ralston


GARY RALSTON

T 614-761-1841 ext 3
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