Posts Tagged Corporate Culture
Stress Management is key to your Occupational Wellbeing
Welcome to the June edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month we are going to take a look at occupational wellbeing with a focus on reducing stress in the workplace and things you can do to help yourself and your fellow employees maximize workplace satisfaction. If you missed us last month you can catch up on our newsletters page. As we make it through the year we will continue to emphasize the concept of community and look at how our actions affect our community, country, and in some cases the rest of the world.
To your total wellbeing,
The MINES Team
How Your Employer can support your Occupational Wellbeing
Occupational wellbeing is maximized by finding ways to increase your personal satisfaction and enrichment from your work. Your co-workers, supervisor, and employer are all key players that can help you increase your occupational wellbeing. The next time you talk to your supervisor whether it is during your 1:1 or during a review period, take a moment to discuss your stressors, your thoughts for improving your workplace, and what support you would like when it comes to your wellbeing. It may be as simple as finding a training for you to attend or redesigning your cubicle or it could be a more complex solution around how to reduce your scheduled meetings or giving you support from someone else to finish a task. No matter what would help improve your work-life and reduce stress, it is important to let those you work with know about how they can support you, and in turn, how you can support them. You never know when your idea might be the same thing that others have been thinking of will help improve the whole department’s wellbeing.
If you would like to talk to a counselor about these topics, please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away. Also, PersonalAdvantage has some great tools and webinars this month to improve your knowledge around dealing with stress and maximizing your life by reducing worry. For more be sure to check out our “Stress/Health Connection” infographic.
Question of the Month
What is one thing you might be able to change that would help you do your job better and be happier doing it?
Quote of the Month
“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”
– Hans Seyle
MINES Updates/Community World View
If you don’t have a wellness committee, now is a great time to start. A wellness committee is a perfect place for these ideas to come to fruition and help give you the satisfaction and enriching your work life needs. There are a lot of ways a wellness committee can work, and if you ever need some ideas, MINES would be happy to help. Additionally we invite you to outreach Health Links to have them assist you with developing your program or give you advice on how to help improve your occupational wellbeing. Also consider gathering ideas about how your own employees reduce stress and share those ideas amongst everyone. Or check out any one of the great webinars, blogs, or infographics on our site to share with your co-workers and friends. Stress is universal and it is always good to discover new ways to deal with it.
|If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.|
This Month’s Focus
This Month on MINESblog:
|MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication. MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!|
Transgender discrimination in the workplace is a significant problem. In fact, approximately 90 percent of transgender employees report experiencing some type of harassment in the workplace. Almost 20 percent of gay and transgender employees report that they were passed over on a promotion or were fired because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.[i] Over 60 percent of transgender employees make less than $25,000 annually.[ii] Shockingly, it is still legal in 32 states to terminate or deny employment to an employee based on their gender identity.[iii] About 40 percent of transgender employees are underemployed.[iv]
According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are still a number of employer-sponsored health plans which do not cover gender reassignment surgery. The average cost of a gender reassignment procedure is $16,000. Additionally, if the employer does not allow the employee to utilize leave for treatments leading up to and including gender reassignment surgery, there is an even more significant cost to the transgender employee.
What can you, as the employer do to support a work environment that is open and inclusive to all persons, including transgender candidates and employees?
- Champion support for an inclusive and diverse work environment at all levels of the organization with the loudest voices at the top!
- Offer non-discriminatory health plans! Work with your plans to ensure that you have removed exclusions for gender reassignment transition and hormone therapy.
- Be sure to include gender identity in your anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. Consider zero-tolerance policies.
- Treat transgender employee(s) as an individual, offer them the opportunity to lead their transitional process with the organization including; communicating their name, pronouns, how they want to inform their colleagues, their timelines, and how they best want to be supported.
- Include gender identity awareness in your trainings whenever possible; consider your diversity, respectful workplace, and civility trainings as starting places.
- Incorporate gender identity and transition into your leave policies. Transitioning can be a lengthy process. Keep the dialogues going with your transgender employees. Offer time off and discuss support needs along the way.
- Support looks different to everyone! It might be handy to put together a supportive tool-kit for employees intending to transition. This toolkit may provide explanations about benefits for transgender employees such as health insurance, leave, and employee assistance programs. The toolkit may also include information about how to talk to managers and colleagues about the transition, restroom information, and a contact person to support them as well as their team. Your employee may or may not use the tool kit but if the resources are there, then they will be able to utilize them if needed.
- Consult with your Employee Assistance Program with any questions and support around transitioning employees, policies, language and resources. Support and help is available.
- Utilize education and support to work through any personal concerns you may have regarding supporting transitioning employees. Supporting al lemployees equally is a legal responsibility.
To Your Wellbeing,
Dani Kimlinger, Ph.D., MHA, SPHR, SHRM- SCP and Patrick Hiester, LPC
The MINES Team
[i] Gay and Transgender People Face High Rates of Workplace Discrimination and Harassment. Data Demonstrate Need for Federal Law. By Crosby Burns and Jeff Krehely. June 2, 2011
[ii] 37 Shocking LGBT Discrimination Statistics. Brandon Gaille. January 14, 2015.
[iii] The Transgender Community by the Numbers. Marie Claire. Kenny Thapoung
[iv] Transgender Workers at Greater Risk For Unemployment and Poverty. Human Rights Campaign. September 6, 2013
Our businesses and as us as individuals have expectations, beliefs, and assumptions that if we don’t innovate (or as individuals, have new achievements and personal bests) we will lose business, lose ground against the competition, lose our position, and just plain lose in life. Farnam Street (email@example.com) has many resources on this topic and how these beliefs and assumptions affect performance. This week it highlighted an article by Andrew Russell & Lee Vinsel called Hail the Maintainers.
This article is a wonderful resource and stimulated my thinking for this blog post.
The assumption is that if business does not innovate, disruptive events can occur that will reduce performance, up to and including, the end of the business. Russell and Vinsel noted that innovation has become what psychologists would call an embedded, unchallenged assumption. They go on to state that innovation is a small percentage of the time and activity of most businesses. What is actually the case is that many aspects of performance are focused on maintenance. Those who do the maintenance, the day-to-day tasks, recalibration, and incremental improvements deliver consistent results for their customers and clients. They are able to continue and perform day after day. A key element is improvement versus innovation. What does improvement mean for your business performance?
On an individual performance level, it is important that we do our own personal maintenance. This involves getting adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management, and connecting moments. This also implies avoiding behavior patterns that detract from maintaining ourselves optimally such as smoking, over eating, working too much, and others.
On an individual performance level, we are faced everyday with maintenance and recalibration choices. Our self-talk related to these choices — our beliefs and judgments about these choices — influence our ability to stay within an optimal maintenance range. This is a complex range of behaviors and attitudes, not very amenable to all-or-none thinking. “Good enough,” “just show up,” “do your best, forget the rest,” and “soft face, calm interior” are a few handrails that can be used to override thoughts and judgments that may interfere with individual performance.
My dear friend, colleague, and business partner, Dr. Richard T. Lindsey, used phone cords as his metaphor for the importance of maintenance. His mission was to straighten all the phone cords that were tangled as a picture of maintaining our tools and gifts for optimal performance. He has been so successful that most of our phones no longer even bother having cords! !
There are events such as new laws, new technology, and new delivery models that are innovative and affect performance of business and individuals in dramatic ways. These are game changers, however, they are often not category killers. On the other hand, the majority of businesses and individuals that deliver consistently good service and products continue to perform in their sectorsWhat are the high performance markers for your organization? These indicators would include: profit margin, cash reserves (how long is your runway if a disruptive event occurred?), debt, cash flow, positive culture, organizational life span challenges and resolutions, clear organizational structure with bench strength and lines of authority, leadership that has clear vision and ability to execute, along with long range cognitive complexity, and finally the organizational ability to identify and make incremental changes as well as remove constraints in work processes and flow.
Individually, we also have high performance markers. What is your overall health level? Have you been healthier this year than last year? How is your daily energy? Is it improving or declining? What are your markers on endurance, strength, flexibility, and your immune system? Are your finances better or worse this year? How are your interpersonal relationships?
Whether organizationally or individually, noting the tension between innovation and maintenance can be an important awareness that allows for mindful and intentional management.
Have a day filled with loving kindness and compassion!
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist
Psychology of Performance #54: Peyton Manning, John Elway, Gary Kubiak, Denver Broncos, “The Big Game” and Organizational Psychology Aspects
The “Big Game” is a great observational laboratory for studying two highly-successful organizations, the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. Professional sports teams are transparent about a number of organizational issues such as succession planning, management strategies and tactics, leadership issues, toxic or impaired employees, employee turnover, team cohesiveness, customer loyalty and influence, leadership, social influence and modeling, focus and preparation, culture and identity, reliance, and expertise. This blog/article will focus on the Denver Broncos.
Culture and Culture Change
Two years ago the Denver Broncos were defeated soundly by the Seattle Seahawks. Executive Vice President and General Manager, John Elway, made significant numbers of personnel changes from the coaching staff to the majority of players. This was done to change the attitude of the team. Elway said “The team is tougher. “kicking and screaming” through mental toughness (http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_29414693/john-elway-sees-tougher-broncos-this-year-through). The Broncos’ have the number one defense in the NFL going into the “Big Game”. They are clearly tougher than last year and performed at a higher level. In addition, the NFL does a better job than many businesses and organizations regarding performance. If you don’t perform, you are benched and will likely lose your job. Culture is defined as a shared set of assumptions as to how we do business (Schein). The Broncos have noticeably changed how they do business.
The executive team of the Broncos started out the year with an announcement that the owner, Mr. Pat Bowlen, had Alzheimer’s disease and would be stepping down from his executive role. This was a significant loss for the organization as he was well-known as a successful change management leader. The executive team re-organized roles and functions to continue the strategy and direction the organization was heading. The coaching staff was brand new with Gary Kubiak taking over as Head Coach and Wade Phillips coming in as the Defensive Coordinator. Together Kubiak and Phillips implemented a new offense and defense. This created a learning curve and inherent stress for those adapting to the new system. At the team captain level, Peyton Manning, DeMarcus Ware, and David Bruton, Jr. were voted in by their peers. The team captains provide important peer leadership and are role models for the other players. They are also significantly involved in the team chemistry and cohesiveness. Then there are the informal leaders such as Von Miller, all-pro-defense, outside linebacker. He displays an enthusiasm and maturity that may have been underdeveloped earlier in his career when he received a four game suspension. This year he has consistently performed at an all-pro level, provided leadership, and found inspiration from DeMarcus Ware (http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_29454733/evolution-von-miller).
Peyton Manning had significant professional challenges this year. He is known for his preparation, performance (holds countless records), and winning record. This year he had a sub-par season due to factors such as injury to his foot. He was relieved and benched, watched from the sidelines while he healed, was made the back-up, yet came into win a game from behind and lead the team to the AFC championship and onward to the “Big Game” once again. He also had other adversity this season with allegations about HGH (human growth hormone). Through it all he displayed a professional demeanor in the media, contributed to the team during the down period, and came back to help the team win the championship. This type of leadership, role modeling, and performance contributed to the culture and attitude of the team. From an individual psychology of performance perspective, Manning exhibited an impressive degree of resilience as did a number of other injured players such as DeMarcus Ware, Chris Harris, Jr., and every other injured player this season who came back and performed admirably. What does it take to be resilient in your organization?
Focus and Preparation
Over and over in the media this season, various players were noted by their peers and coaches for their preparation and focus. The players were noted for staying late after practice to get more repetitions in, watching additional film, and rehabilitating their injuries so they could get back and contribute. If a starter became injured, the back-up player being ready to replace them and perform at a high level is imperative. Brock Osweiler was a good example of this on offense, coming in to replace Manning and lead the team to 5 wins and just 2 losses. He handled moving back into a second string role with professionalism and publically stated he wanted what the coach thought was best for the team.
Role of the Under Dog
The Broncos have reported feeling like they are not recognized as being as good as they are all season and have used that as motivation to prove everyone wrong. In the “Big Game” the odds-makers predict they will lose. What is interesting organizationally, and from a performance psychology perspective, is that the Broncos have set an NFL record for the most wins by 7 points or less (11 wins) (http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_29451542/broncos-underdogs-super-bowl-50). This relates to Elway’s comments earlier in this blog about being tougher. They have a depth of experience overcoming adversity that no other team in the NFL has this year. The Broncos have the experience and resilience that will allow them not to fold or give up if it is a close game.
The “Big Game” is replete with examples of personnel management, personnel changes, succession planning, and development of personnel. In any organization, bench strength is important and when it is not there or developed, organizations falter. In professional sports it becomes glaringly obvious when a team has not drafted well or developed their younger players when a star is injured and the team starts losing. In business, it is just as important, yet sometimes not as obvious. Brock Osweiler stepped in and did a great job for the Broncos until Manning was ready to come back. Coach Kubiak did a masterful job of handling the public relations and internal team dynamics during this time. He managed expectations clearly when he announced Manning would be the starter for the playoffs, so that everyone could focus and prepare for their role. Finally, pro sports also allow a window into the impact of toxic co-workers or impaired co-workers on the culture, focus, and preparation of the organization (think distractions like your number one draft choice at quarterback spending a significant time last summer in “rehab” and then having social media pictures posted of him “partying” and then being benched by the coach. That team by the way, not in the “Big Game”).
Lessons Learned for Your Organization
- Culture is important. What are your rules of engagement? How do you do business?
- Expertise of personnel. What is the level of your personnel’s expertise in your organization? Do you need to train or upgrade? Are you assessing regularly? Keeping your “Superstars” fresh?
- Leadership, vision, and implementation. From your executive team down, is there alignment on the vision? Does your leadership inspire, model the behavior you want, and do they execute the plan?
- Informal leaders. Who are your informal leaders? Do they exhibit the behavior and messages you want your staff to follow?
- Role models. Do you have staff that are role models for the younger workers? Do they model what you want?
- Focus and preparation. Is your staff focused and prepared to execute your business plan every day?
- Group identity vs perception of the public. Does your organization have its own identity? Are your customers in alignment with the identity and support it?
- Resilience of team members. Are your leaders and staff members resilient? Do they bounce back from adversity in their professional or personal life? If not, do you have resources to help them bounce back such as employee assistance programs? If you have helped them and they are still under-performing can you help them “find their bliss elsewhere.”
To your Wellbeing,
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist
Daniel C. Kimilinger, Ph.D., MHA, SPHR, Human Resources and Organizational Psychology Leader
Schien, E. H. (1992). Organizational Culture and Leadership (2nd Edition).
Gen X’ers, Millennials, and Baby-Boomers. There are many names for the 3 largest generational groups in the workforce today, but no matter what name you call them it doesn’t stop the differences between these age defined demographics from being a top concern among Human Resources professionals and managers across the nation. Age diversity in the workforce is increasing, and while the reasons for this are vast and important, the real question we want to ask today is what is the best way for an organization to ensure their employees form a cohesive, cooperative team despite these generational rifts?
The Colorado chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) is asking that very question and MINES & Associates’ Human Resource and Organizational Psychology Leader, Dr. Dani Kimlinger, has an answer for them. She challenges those dealing with generational diversity in their workforce to embrace it. The different experiences, the varied problem solving techniques, and the unique traits that each generation brings to the table provides valuable opportunities for team building and learning. To find out more, you can check out Dr. Kimlinger’s full article.
While it won’t appear in HFMA’s newsletter until October, you can get a sneak peak right now by clicking here.
To your wellbeing,
– The MINES Team
I have blogged before about managerial hierarchy and accountability. It is worth another look at Elliot Jaques classic book, Requisite Organization, as new generations are coming into the workforce, technology has created the opportunity for virtual teams, and performance is still relevant for any organization to sustain itself. The following information comes directly from Dr. Jaques’ work. I encourage you to read his work in its entirety. This blog was generated out of the organizational psychology and human resources consulting MINES does with its clients. Time after time, accountability and authority are unclear in an organization’s structure. This often happens when marketing titles are given that imply authority when, in fact, there is none. Accountability for results may be unclear and personnel layoff decisions are made only to be repeated with the next employee group as the underlying system issue has not been clarified. This blog provides Jaques’ perspective and the results of over 50 years of his body of work.
Assumptions (Based on Organizational Theory of Managerial Hierarchy):
The basic business unit consists of a manager, one or more supervisors, and front-line producers. In the discussion to follow, “manager” is used to describe the role, accountability, and authority of both the manager and supervisor (a subordinate’s boss). In function, the manager is working on systems issues while the supervisor is working on quality assurance and work assignment(s). In the following discussion Manager and Supervisor are used interchangeable as the discussion is about hierarchy not role/level. Think about this discussion as related to an employee’s “direct boss.” In reality, a manager has a longer decision time span than a supervisor and has different functions.
Manager-Subordinate Accountability System
Accountability and authority establishes where people stand with each other. They determine who is able to say what to whom, and who under given circumstances must say what to whom. They establish who can tell who to do what, especially, in the managerial hierarchy, if one person is being held accountable for what another person does or for the results of what the other person does.
Accountability and authority define the behaviors that are appropriate and necessary in the vertical relationships between managers and their subordinates, and in the horizontal cross-functional relationships between people. The vertical relationships are those by means of which the work that needs to get done is assigned, resourced, and evaluated; and the cross-functional relationships are those by means of which the flow of work across functions gets processed and improved through time.
- What are the accountabilities of managers, or of individual contributors?
- What authority does a manager have in relation to subordinates?
- What authorities do employees who work together have in relation to each other?
Managerial Accountability and Behavior
It is absolutely imperative that organizational leaders be clear not only about their own decision-making accountability, but they must also make it equally clear for each and every manager below them in the organization. All of these managers must also meet regularly in two-way discussions about major issues with their immediate subordinates, in order to get their help in making decisions for which the manager alone must be accountable. In discussions between managers and subordinates, it is always the manager that is ultimately accountable for decisions. Even when the subordinate has more knowledge than his or her manager on a given matter and tells the manager what he or she thinks should be done; if the manager accepts the subordinate’s view then it becomes the manager’s decision. There will be times in an organization’s growth or life span when a manager may have multiple roles/levels that they are accountable for. The manager may be a level three, two, and one on a given day if the department or work group is small enough or does not have the resources to accommodate separate levels and roles. This is a situation referred to as “down in the weeds,” ”wearing many hats,” or “collapsed strata” (also known as time span within which one operates). This is not ideal; however, at times it may be the best we can do.
Who should be accountable for results?
Two basic principles:
First, all employees, including managers, must be held accountable for the continuous exercise of full commitment of capability (doing their very best) in carrying out the tasks assigned.
Second, managers must be held accountable for the results of the work and working behavior of immediate subordinates.
Definition of a Manager
A manager is the incumbent of a role in which s/he:
- Is assigned accountability for doing his/her best to use assigned financial, physical, and human resources (the human resources comprise subordinates under contract to do their best).
- Is accountable for deciding how best to get optimum short-, mid-, and long-term results from an assigned functional area (e.g., a production department, geographical area, or a customer category).
- Is accountable for maintaining a team of subordinates capable of doing the necessary work.
- Effectively applies all managerial leadership practices in relation to subordinates.
- Adds value to the subordinates’ work.
- Is accountable for providing necessary trainings, materials, and support to both supervisors and all subordinates.
- Says what they are going to do. They do what they say they would do and when they can’t (as infrequently as possible) they explain promptly. They expect others to behave the same way.
- Creates clearly defined goals because without clarity it is difficult to be held accountable
- Keeps consistent priorities.
- Documents agreements.
- Creates performance measures and evaluates progress or lack thereof.
In addition to managerial hierarchy, cross-functional relationships also need to be clearly defined.
My hope is that this information will allow you to evaluate your role and function in your organization and if there is room for improvement, to have a blueprint to help you and your colleagues proceed.
Have a day filled with compassion!
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist
Time flies when you’re having fun, or when you’re busy, or when you hit the snooze button for the 3rd time in the morning; in fact let’s just agree that time flies most of the time. We’re already in the last quarter of the year and I’ve barely gotten used to writing 2014. We’ve seen a lot of ideas, resources, and inspiration come from MINES in the last quarter and to get us all on the same page I bring you 2014’s last edition of “Bridging the Gap.”
Now remember, Bridging the Gap aims to take all the stuff we’ve been talking about this last quarter and bring it full circle and connect it back to your own personal wellbeing, as we continue to paint a broader picture of health. So without further ado, lets to do a recap of what we saw in Quarter 3 of 2014 which included both our next round of wellbeing topics, as well as a slew of ideas coming from our experts here at MINES. As always let’s talk about those wellbeing topics first.
Quarter 3 introduced environmental wellbeing as our new topic and then explored some new connections between some wellbeing topics we have seen in the past. July looked at the connection between physical wellbeing and the newly introduced environmental wellbeing dimensions. It was the middle of summer and we wanted to shed light on how the environmental conditions in both our natural and urban areas impact our physical health and are related in more ways that you may have thought. Next, August is the time of year that most kids start returning to school and will continue to grow both in body and mind, so what better time to explore a new connection between the familiar topics of physical and intellectual wellbeing. We looked at mindfulness techniques and ways the mind can bring balance to the body and how the body can bring peace to the mind through exercise and stress management techniques in order to support this connection. And finally, September focused on environmental and intellectual wellbeing as we brought the quarter to a close. This connection focused on the concept that although we as humans have the ability to shape our environment to an extent, we cannot escape the fact that the environment we live in will inevitably shape at least some features about who we are and how we behave.
Now let’s talk about those blog posts. By now it’s no secret we like to share inspiring and helpful stories as well as helpful resources on our blog, and these last 3 months have been no exception. We saw Dr. Robert Mines talk about “Developmental Stages versus Skills in Leaders by Managerial Hierarchy,” which took a look at a complex issue facing a lot of businesses as newer generations clash with older ones. To follow that up our expert case manager Whitney Stone gave us plenty to think about in her examination of “The Second Question” which put how we align our identities with our profession under the microscope. Next Ryan Lucas, manager of engagement and development, looked at an important healthcare issue in his post “Healthcare is not just about the people who work in Health IT it’s about everyone”. And then finally BizPsych consultant Marcia Kent gave us our regular dose of inspiration with her latest “reframe” which focused on challenging your perceptions and looking at things from a whole new perspective.
To finish off this season of TotalWellbeing we will be looking at the connection between emotional, spiritual, social wellbeing as our final pieces of the wellbeing puzzle for the year. We don’t want to give too much away right now, however, so you’ll just have to stay tuned.
For now just remember to take a moment to breathe, relax, and get ready to finish the year strong. And to make sure you do just that, MINES will continue to support you with helpful resources, inspiring stories, and useful tools to make sure you have what you need to get a running start at 2015. You can also email us at: Communications@minesandassociates.com, and let us know what you like, questions you may have, and what you’d like to see us discuss in the future. See you next time!
To your total wellbeing
-The MINES Team
Psychology of Performance #48: Developmental Stages Versus Skills in Leaders by Managerial Hierarchy
A challenging question for every organization is: how do we develop/train our leaders at every level in the organization? There are assumptions that leadership is composed of a set of skills or processes. Zenger and Folkman present data in the table below from a wonderful blog regarding C-level officers, managers, supervisors’ perceptions of leadership skills, and qualities necessary to do their job. This blog attempts to sort out the variables into categories that can be used for assessment and intervention.
Character qualities such as integrity, honesty, drive, engaging in self-development, or taking initiative are most likely not trainable or teachable. They are qualities that develop over the person’s life time. These are qualities to be assessed when you hire the individual as you are not going to have much of an impact on developing character by the time they enter the work world.
Inspiring and motivating others, communicating, building relationships, developing others, and connecting the group to the outside world are all related to a complex set of verbal, written, group facilitation, and teaching skills in addition to the ability to assess team members strengths and weaknesses. Skills are assumed to be teachable and competency can be assessed; therefore, it is important to think through how you would teach these types of skills as part of a professional development plan.
Complex problem solving and analysis are a combination of adult cognitive developmental complexity and having the analytic, evaluative, and probabilistic reasoning methodologies. Mines, King, Hood, and Wood (1990) found that there are qualitative differences in complex reasoning as well as critical thinking skill differences. Elliot Jacques’ work also demonstrated that cognitive complexity, which he defined in terms of time span of projects, also increased throughout the managerial hierarchy. The role of strategic thinking also has cognitive complexity elements to the process. These types of processes require a base of methodology knowledge and practice scenarios with feedback from those with more complexity.
Finally, the ability to innovate and develop stretch goals may be related not only to the culture of the organization interacting with actual creative skills but also risk aversion and other cognitive bias elements. All of these factors interact in a given individual and present a complex assessment and development challenge for management who have an eye on succession planning and staff development.
Have a day filled with kindness!
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO
Mines, R.A., Hood, A., King, P., & Wood, P., (1990). Journal of College Student Development, 31 538-547.
I want to add a few dimensions to Dani’s blog about our “onslaught” of training requests regarding generational issues in the workplace. The first is an observation about the process of facilitating these events; I am a semi-typical baby boomer. Dani is a pretty typical Gen Y. As we have prepared, discussed and engaged multiple clients in this topic, we have explored our own tendencies, biases and patterns. We have been able to present much of this openly in sessions with clients. It has not only been fun, but also increased our own empathy as well as clients. As we have fun teasing one another about the generational stereotypes it seems to open up insight and discussion in the sessions. There is a sense of denial and/or political correctness that takes some pushing through to help people acknowledge some of the true obstacles they carry around this issue. This is a primary first step for us to engage in this topic in a meaningful way, both for ourselves and clients.
The second dimension for us to consider is: “why does this topic seem to have renewed fervor at this time”. I’m not sure we have gotten a good answer to this question yet; only that it does seem to be so. I recently attended the ASTD (now ATD –Association for Talent Development) conference in Washington DC. This is THE international conference in training and development. There were multiple sessions devoted to this topic, including some forefront writers. Possibly the current movement of generations is a factor; Baby Boomers starting to move out & retire- Gen X and Y much more prevalent in the workforce and in leadership positions. I think the best way to address it is to ask you: Do you see this becoming a critical issue in your organization and what are you doing to address it?
The final dimension I want to add in line with the theme of BizPsych’s blogs for this year is what have we actually done to promote meaningful change in our training sessions. Truly, process we have initiated in these trainings was borrowed from a training on this topic I attended a number of years ago. This presention was at our local EAP Association meeting. I have been extremely interested in this topic for a long time and attended many trainings on the topic. Always interesting but they left me a little flat i.e. so, we talked about the stereotype differences between generations & why they are there, but what now? In the training at our EAPA chapter they put together a panel representing each generation. Now that was inspiring! I walked away with some truly changed beliefs and experiences.
So, we have incorporated this concept into all of our presentations. We put together a panel before the training of representatives from each generation. We discuss the issues related to this topic that are real and relevant to their particular work culture. We have created questions for the panelists to explore and meet ahead of the training to prepare the discussion. Fantastic insights have emerged from these discussions both in the prep meeting and training itself. A few of these were:
- From a Baby Boomer in a very traditional culture: ‘Maybe I need to reconsider my resistance to requests for remote work and focus more on results than butts in the seat…”
- From a Gen X: ‘I realized that the Gen Y’s I was supervising wanted direction from me about their career development, but always with their input…”
- From a Gen Y: instead of focusing on Baby Boomers just resisting change, perhaps we can honor the best of the past and engage in their ability to adapt…”
– Patrick Hiester
At MINES, we have recently received an influx of generational trainings from workplaces of all sizes and industries. These trainings range from, “Appreciating Generational Differences in the Workplace”, “Here Come the Millennials”, and “Best Practices in Leading and Managing Multiple Generations”. Interestingly though, even though we have had a number of requests, we have a number of participants in our trainings which are rather skeptical about the need for these trainings. No, no, it’s not just Generation X, the skepticism is articulated by individuals in many organizations. Are you skeptical? If you are, you are not alone. Some embrace this topic and find it absolutely essential in the workplace, this is demonstrated by comments such as “I can’t believe how entitled my millennial employees are, they expect to be able to work from home and move up immediately.” “I don’t understand why my Gen X colleague prefers to work alone rather than with me.” “Why do those baby boomers get along so well with the Gen Y’s?” These questions are just a taste of the questions that we hear while delving into this topic.
Typically, the initial intent behind offering these trainings is to ease the tensions between the different generations. These trainings offer the premise that although there are theoretically generational differences, there are just as many differences between generations as there are within each generation. This is important to note! Why is that? So that we don’t put others into a box! The guidelines of what incentivizes a Gen Y vs. a Gen X are very helpful! Additionally, what the core values are of each generation are is also important to note!
Even more than looking at “what does” and “what is,” “why” is an important question! Let’s look at the questions above…
“I can’t believe how entitled my millennial employees are, they expect to be able to work from home and move up immediately.”
Millennials have, as a generation, had supportive parents who have pushed them to succeed and put a lot on their plate in the process. That is, as teens, many Gen Ys were involved in college prep courses, soccer, dance lessons, and community service efforts, the more the better! Guess what? It served them well! They were able to accomplish so much in so little time and had great support behind them. Now, just what about that working remotely? Can you imagine Gen Ys being confined to a library or desk to study for their exams? That’s highly unlikely; they were more likely studying on the bus to their dance meet or in-between their many after school activities. Did “where” they were studying hinder them? Not from what we can tell!
“I don’t understand why my Gen X Colleague prefers to work alone, rather than work with me.”
Gen X has historically been known to be the “latch-key kid” generation. Many X’s had both parents working and therefore they had to learn to be self-sufficient early on. One rub that is clearly in play in this statement is the Generation Y’s desire to work with others in a team environment and Gen X’s independence. Many Gen X’s are only interested in what the end game for the initiative is; they would like to paint their own journey.
“Why do those baby boomers get along so well with the Gen Ys?”
Baby Boomers and Gen Y’s tend to be a natural fit for each other. The Gen Y’s are looking for teamwork, mentorship, and to make sure that everyone is included. The Baby Boomers want to mentor; they are hopeful and want to be part of a team that values their skills and all that they bring to the table. While the Gen X’s tend to be more independent, the Ys and Boomers enjoy the collaboration.
Exposure to expertise about generations can increase both understanding and appreciation of what all generations bring to the table! Diversity is often said to be a key ingredient to success. Generational diversity should be embraced!
-Dani Kimlinger, MHA, PHR, Human Resources