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Clearview® Performance Systems brings you ... ® ... a Culture of Results & Engagement®

Here's the next in our series of weekly managerial TIPS (Techniques, Insights, and Practical Solutions)
to help you better engage your team in the activities that lead to higher performance.

CORE Bites Issue #46

"HELP" is not a 4-Letter Word!

With all the work we do in Succession Management to help accelerate the growth of high-potentials, I've come to discover that many people believe "help" is a 4-letter word. Putting aside the fact that—technically—it is, what I'm referring to is many aspiring high-potentials in the contemporary workplace have this notion that asking for help is tantamount to admitting a limitation; a weakness; even failure.

The irony here is most (all) wise managers don't expect their employees to know everything. But, and here's the irony, somehow these same employees have come to the conclusion that they always need to project—with confidence and certainty—that they are fully competent and, by consequence, that they shouldn't ask questions for fear that someone might interpret that as a sign of weakness.

I'm going to start this issue of CORE Bites with a guiding principle I believe we could all value from and it's a quote attributed to Confucius, but re-quoted by dozens of others:

"If you're the smartest person in the room ...

you're in the wrong room."

If you take this literally (and you should!), you should always be on the lookout for those "rooms" where you'll find wiser and more experienced people in some area where you need Breadth or Depth Learning (BDL). I know many organizations have formal mentoring programs, but what that typically conjures up is some formal, long-term arrangement with a solitary individual. Instead, I'd like to introduce you to Competency-Explicit Mentoring. This form of mentoring is surgically-precise because it focuses on a single competency that you need to learn and is designed to be a short-term, Grow-and-Go, learning model.

High Value Activity (HVA) Action Steps

The HVAs listed below focus on your career-enhancing Breadth Learning and on your productivity-enhancing Depth Learning. Each email template is crafted for a specific type of competency-explicit learning. The scripts give you access to a greater number of SMEs because not everyone has the bandwidth (or appetite) for a long-term commitment while (almost) everyone will help you if they know it's short-term and specific.

  • Competency-Explicit Mentoring Template: Hello [Name] ... I'm reaching out to you today with a specific request. I've known you for many years and I've had the opportunity to observe you in action many, many times. One of the impressive attributes you consistently exhibit is in the area of [add Competency here: e.g., Communications]. The purpose of my email is to let you know that this is an area where I struggle at times and I'm wondering if I could ask you to spend a little bit of time with me to help me grow in this area. I'm not looking for a major/long-term commitment here; I'm really just looking for something very precise to help me grow my skill to be better at [add Competency here]. Would you be open to a telephone call to speak about where I'm struggling and what I think I can learn from you? I will appreciate any time you can provide me. Thank you for considering this request.
  • Competency-Explicit Job Shadowing: Hello [Name] ... having known you for a while, I think we'd both agree that breadth-learning is an important part of someone's growth. Learning about different parts of the organization and how those parts connect to create the whole can provide powerful insights. The purpose of my email is to find out if I could 'shadow' you for a day to learn about your area and the nature of your work. I'm especially interested in how you and your team [add desired BDL Competency here: e.g., Dealing with Upset Customers]. This is an area where I struggle at times so I'd love to see how the pros do it. Assuming you'd be willing to do this, would you be open to a telephone call to speak about what I'd like to learn and how we might put this together?

There's no shame in admitting "Hey! I need help." In fact, there's real VALUE derived from saying these words to some of the Sages around you!

I'd love to hear how these HVAs work for you!

Neil Dempster, PhD, MBA
RESULTant™ and Behavioral Engineer

Quote of the Week

"We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark."

— Whoopi Goldberg —