Are you prepared?

I was asked to write a response to the question for Forbes Magazine Coaches Council which was “What advice would I give to someone who wants to leave their job to start a new business. Here is the response

I am a SCORE mentor and council people every month who want to start their own business. Most are not prepared. They have a dream based on what they may love to do, but can they make a living doing what they love? Most if not all people underestimate the time it takes even with a rock solid business plan to get up and going. I ask if you step away from your current job can you go at least 18 months with no income? Not one of my clients has started a business from idea to fully functioning in under 18 months. Where is the capital going to come from? Banks are probably not going to loan you money without a rock solid plan and assets to pledge against the loan. Getting money from friends, family or using social media networks like Kickstarter may prove more beneficial.

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Myers- Briggs and companies using it.

Today, I’m an INFP. Last year, I was an INTJ. Years before, I scored ENTJ and ENFP. For the one test I paid for, I scored an ISTP. The Myers-Briggs Personality-Type Indicator (a name that flows off the tongue) is probably the most famous personality test there is. I suppose that’s understandable. People love these […]

via The Cult of Myers-Briggs Personality — Philosophy Redux

Getting employee engagement right

From Gallup’s insights

According to our recent State of the Global Workplace report, 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. The economic consequences of this global “norm” are approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity. Eighteen percent are actively disengaged in their work and workplace, while 67% are “not engaged.” This latter group makes up the majority of the workforce — they are not your worst performers, but they are indifferent to your organization. They give you their time, but not their best effort nor their best ideas. They likely come to work wanting to make a difference — but nobody has ever asked them to use their strengths to make the organization better.

In a nutshell, this global engagement pattern provides evidence that how performance is managed, and specifically how people are being developed, is misfiring. Most of modern business relies on annual reviews to provide feedback and evaluate performance. And yet the new workforce is looking for things like purpose, opportunities to develop, ongoing conversations, a coach rather than a boss, and a manager who leverages their strengths rather than obsessing over their weaknesses. They see work and life as interconnected, and they want their job to be a part of their identity.

While this may sound like a tall order, the roadmap to better management is clear. Here are three steps organizations can take immediately to boost engagement:

  1. Audit your current performance management system. Dissect which parts support setting clear expectations, making it easy to be an ongoing coach, and holding people accountable in a fair and accurate manner. There are undoubtedly pieces of your current system that align with modern performance development and others that work against allowing productive ongoing conversations to take place.
  2. Train your managers to have effective performance development conversations. There are five conversations your managers need to become experts on, from onboarding to check-ins to semi-annual progress reviews.
  3. Build a scientific system to make the right decisions about who becomes a managerand who can naturally deal with the idiosyncrasies that come with managing people. Some individuals are more naturally gifted to manage people toward high performance than others.

Performance reviews are still important. However, they become much more useful to the employee and organization if reviews follow ongoing conversations where expectations can be reprioritized in real time so that development can happen throughout the year. The review meeting, then, is not a surprise, but rather becomes a discussion about the future.

When we get performance management right, engagement will naturally rise. And the potential impact on the bottom line is significant. When compared with business units in the bottom quartile of Gallup’s database, those in the top quartile of engagement realize 10% higher customer metrics, 17% higher productivity, 20% higher sales and 21% higher profitability. Organizations at the top achieve earnings per share growth that is more than four times that of their competitors.

Clearly, the health of the world’s organizations depends on getting employee engagement right — and that begins with fixing the problems within our performance management systems.

Jim Harter, Ph.D., is Chief Scientist, Workplace Management and Well-Being for Gallup’s workplace management practice. He is coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers 12: The Elements of GreatManaging and Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements.

Why Colleges Should Make Internships a Requirement

The top reason students, parents and the public value higher education is to get a good job.

Yet, among bachelor degree graduates from 2002-2016, only 27% had a good job waiting for them upon graduation. It took one year or more for 16% to find a good job, and seven to 12 months for another 6%. Twenty-two percent indicated they were not seeking employment upon graduation, primarily because of graduate school.

This means that more than one in five (22%) graduates who were seeking employment took seven months or longer to find a good job. No college president or trustee could possibly take comfort in these numbers.

If higher education were a constituent-responsive industry, it would take this information very seriously and rigorously measure whether graduates land in a good job — or not. And accreditors — the organizations responsible for quality assessments in higher education — would include this kind of criteria prominently in their process.

But the truth is, higher education institutions and accreditors are out of sync with what the public and students want most from a college degree. And nothing will improve this more than this one step: Making an internship — where students can apply what they are learning in a real-world work situation — a requirement to graduate.

The Benefits of Internships

Here’s why: Recent graduates (those who graduated from 2002-2016) who had a relevant job or internship while in school were more than twice as likely to acquire a good job immediately after graduation. More than four in 10 of these graduates (42%) who strongly agree they had a relevant job or internship as an undergraduate had a good job waiting for them upon graduation, compared with just 20% of those who did not strongly agree.

On the other end of the spectrum, having a job or internship cuts graduates’ odds of taking a year or more to find a good job in half. Only 8% of those who strongly agree that they had a relevant job or internship took a year or more to find a good job, while 21% of those who did not have an internship took a year or more to land a good job.

What’s even more encouraging is that relevant internships and jobs during college lifts the tide for all boats. Sure, meaningful work experiences are most helpful to those in engineering fields — 67% who strongly agree they had a relevant job/internship had a good job after graduation. Yet students in social sciences, hard sciences and business who had a relevant job or internship are also substantially more likely to have had a good job waiting for them after graduation. Even arts and humanities majors who had these types of relevant work experiences in college are more than twice as likely to have had a good job upon graduation.

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Acquiring a good job immediately after graduation, however, is just one of several benefits associated with students having meaningful jobs and internships as part of their college experience.

Students with these meaningful work experiences are not only finding good jobs quickly, they are also finding them in fields related to their undergraduate studies. Across all majors, students who strongly agreed that they had a job or internship where they could apply what they were learning in the classroom are significantly more likely to be in jobs that are completely related to their undergraduate studies.

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Why Should Colleges and Universities Care?

Relevant internships in college can lead to relevant jobs after graduation. Why should this matter to colleges and universities? Because graduates with work-integrated learning during college are more likely to value their degree after college.

Among these recent graduates, 47% of those who are in jobs completely related to their undergraduate studies strongly agree that their education was worth the cost. Meanwhile, only about a third (36%) of graduates in jobs where their work is somewhat related to their college studies — and only 29% of those in jobs where work is not at all related to their undergraduate studies — strongly agree their education was worth the cost. And those who strongly agree their education was worth the cost are also twice as likely to have donated to their alma mater in the last 12 months.

By emphasizing — or even requiring — relevant jobs and internships as part of the undergraduate experience, colleges and universities set their graduates up to acquire good jobs after graduation in fields where their work is directly relevant to their undergraduate studies. And, as a result, these students recognize the value of their investment in their degree.

Brandon Busteed is Executive Director for Education and Workforce Development at Gallup.
Zac Auter is a Consulting Analyst at Gallup.

Misconceptions about employee engagement

Notes from a Marcus Buckingham interview

There are a couple of misconceptions about employee engagement. One, that engagement is something the employer can fix. In the end, it isn’t. It varies massively by a manager – a company can create the conditions in which the manager can engage. But it is really the manager- you get engaged with a manager, you don’t get engaged with a company.

Three questions drive 95% of the variance of every other engagement question you ask. “Do I know what is expected of me at work? Do I have the chance to do what I do best every day? Are my co-workers committed to quality work?” Three consistent drivers of engagement. What it really means that an employee is saying to one self in any company, “Focus me, know me, and surround me with like-valued people and I will be engaged.