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News and Insights

News about Tandem Solutions and Insights that our partners have developed through their work with our clients.

It’s Not Just What You Know as a Leader….

One of my father’s favorite expressions was that it’s not what you know, but who you know that matters. He typically pulled it out to refer to some type of perceived injustice involving nepotism or some other type of favor where the most qualified person wasn’t chosen for a position. While I don’t fully agree with him based on this interpretation, it is definitely true that who you know is pretty important for success as a leader.

Leaders Look Up!

When coaching new leaders, I frequently hear them tell me how overwhelmed they are with work and how difficult it is to get it all done. We sometimes talk about managing time, and delegating effectively as a means to “free up” time. At some point in the conversation, I usually ask where they want to be or what their team will be focused on in 2 or 3 years. Common responses include blank stares, or fumbling around to answer, or even admission that they just don’t know. The challenge here is that if the leader of a team doesn’t have clear direction for where it needs to go, it’s pretty much impossible to tell if you’re on the right track.

Time Management: Maybe It’s the Archer, not the Arrows

We often hear from new leaders that things like Email, instant messaging, and even cell phones, are the bane of their existence. It’s hard to list all the benefits these electronic tools have provided, and yet many curse them for making life so busy and these tools are frequently on the short list of reasons why leaders have no control over their time. One of the biggest benefits of these tools is also the biggest issue: they have enabled instant response. This is a tremendous benefit, but it also leads to the problematic expectation that we will always get this type of response.

Shifting your Mindset from Peer to Leader

Being promoted into a role that requires supervising a group of former peers is a common challenge. At the core of this challenge is the shift from a focus on the work to a focus on the team. Folks tend to think about the value they add to getting the work done, as in: “My job is to delegate effectively so that all the work stays on schedule;” or “I’m responsible for making sure the team is producing quality outputs.” These ideas aren’t necessarily wrong. However, while technical capabilities may have gotten someone to where they are, it’s likely that they are not enough to continue to propel someone’s career as a leader.

Coach Your Employees Beyond the Annual Review

According to the International Coach Federation, most managers coach only at the time of the annual review. And if the employee is lucky, the manager may have some discussions with the employee to check in as the year progresses. This is a lost opportunity to adopt an effective leadership coaching partnership with employees. As a coach, your goal is to help your employees achieve results or overcome obstacles to get from where they are now to where they want to be in the future.

Self Discovery Leads to Change

When I was a child, my father would often give me advice and coaching.  Sometimes I would take his advice and it would yield great results.  More often I didn’t take his advice because as much as he was well intended, I didn’t think he really knew the answer for my specific situation.  I also didn’t want to be told what to do and how to do it.  Rather I wanted to figure it out for myself.  This would frustrate my dad.  He would often tell me he wanted me to learn from his mistakes so that I didn’t make the same ones.  He would argue, ‘Isn’t that just easier for you?”

Communicating During Change Initiatives

We often observe leaders struggling with how to be transparent with their team during times of change. They often feel anxious about how answering questions about change management initiatives. While it might not always be possible to explain “what” is going on, we believe that explaining “why” is usually far more important; and often easier.

Managing Change isn’t Enough, You Also Have to Lead Transitions

In his landmark books about managing change, William Bridges made a distinction between “changes” and “transitions”. According to his definition, a “change” is something that happens. On the other hand, “transition,” refers to the process we go through to learn how to deal with change. Changes can be planned, executed and managed, but transitions require leaders to address the human element of their organizations. We frequently find our clients overly focused on change management and often not paying enough attention to transition leadership.

Why You Should Teach People in the Way They Learn

Recently I read this CLO article that discusses corporate training and suggests that we need to think about how we train people in the workplace. I agree.When Tandem Solutions launched our LongitudinaLearningTM practice a dozen or so years ago, we borrowed heavily from adult learning theory, which has been documenting and researching the way adults learn for at least 50 years

Three Critical Components of a Successful Performance Review

We have written about splitting the performance evalation from a discussion about pay raises. We've also floated the idea of turing the annual performance review into ongoing discussions about an employee's performance. All of these ideas are meant to help tie an individual's performance to the company's performance.

Maybe Performance Reviews Should Remain a Little Anti-Social

Twitter just turned 8. Facebook, 10. LinkedIn is 11, believe it or not. And if Pinterest were a person, it wouldn’t be old enough to go to kindergarten. Current performance management theory, on the other hand, is well into middle age. Social media is the cool kid on the block. And a lot of companies have jumped on the social media bandwagon for a number of its processes: customer service, marketing, hiring, even coding. Now, social media is creeping its way into performance management. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing