MBTI: Daydreaming about the beach…

beach pictureI’m a beach person. To me a vacation isn’t a vacation without the beach. Sadly it’s been some time since I’ve been able to take a beach trip.  As we are currently in the throes of beach vacation season, I’ll invite you to pause and beach daydream with me for a bit…

Take a few moments and look at the picture above.  What springs to mind?  What does this picture make you think of? How you answer is somewhat defined by your MBTI Type preferences. Continue reading

Employee Engagement: 12 Conversation Starters

Employee engagement is the degree to which an employee is invested in and enthusiastic about their work and thus furthers the interests of the organization and team. Strong leaders are invested in understanding and influencing those factors that cultivate engagement. This means establishing and nurturing an ongoing dialogue with employees about their job role, work environment, level of satisfaction, and professional aspirations. Here are 12 open-ended conversation starters you can use to explore employee engagement: Continue reading

How to Hold Successful Review Meetings

review meeting(This article is the fourth in a series on annual performance reviews.)

In most organizations the completion of an annual performance review includes meeting with the employee to go over the final review document. The annual review is one small part of the year-round performance management cycle of goal setting, planning, coaching, feedback, recognition, teambuilding, professional development, and evaluation. If you’ve done your job as a manager it will be fairly understood by both parties what will be discussed at the meeting because it will be a review of prior conversations, not a first-time conversation. Unfortunately many managers neglect this kind of ongoing dialogue throughout the year. When managers fail to establish and develop lines of communication, trust cannot develop. As a result any attempt to provide feedback, explore performance, or engage in honest dialogue feels awkward for both parties. Is it any wonder so many managers and employees dread, avoid, or fear these sit down conversations? Continue reading


Did You KnowDYK is a collection of fun and functional facts for leaders. Here we go:

Did you know…?

  • 46% of senior managers find women in flip flops distracting.
  • There is a term for the employee that spends all day browsing the internet instead of working: mouse potato.
  • Studies show it takes 25 to 40 percent longer to get a job done when you’re simultaneously trying to work on other projects. Don’t multi-task.
  • The average person’s energy level rises and dips roughly every 90 minutes. Take breaks.
  • July is national Ice Cream month. U.S. sales of frozen desserts hit $25.1 million in 2011. Americans’ favorite flavor is vanilla, followed by chocolate and cookies and cream.
  • 84% of Americans drive to work alone. Only 5% take public transportation, which is down from 11% in 1960 (suburban sprawl is the cause, experts believe). 2.7% walk to work and only 4.2% report that they work primarily from home. 3.7% selected “Other” as their method of transportation (Bike, Taxi, etc.)
  • MBTI fact: On average, INTJs have the highest college GPAs. Also NT is the most common temperament for those within the genius IQ range. Signed, your INTJ blogger.
  • The highest spot on earth is not Mt. Everest. If we define the “highest spot” as  that which is closest to the moon, stars, etc., then Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador  is an incredible 1.5 miles higher due to the oblate spheroid shape of the earth.
  • The average worker spends 28 percent of the workweek reading and answering email according to a study by McKinsey Global Institute. Limiting emails to 5 sentences or less can increase productivity and your chances of getting a reply.
  • Need to give a presentation? You will have attendees full attention for just the first 5-6 minutes. After that you better get them engaged.
  • Book recommendation: The No Asshole Rule.

21 Ways to Make Your Presentation Interactive

presentation tipsWhile every adult’s attention span is different experts believe that most people listening to a speaker have a “settling in” period of about 5 to 6 minutes. After that? Well if you’re just talking, if you’re asking your audience to simply sit and listen -the absolute lowest form of engagement- their minds will start to wander. It takes very little time for an audience to check out. If you don’t want your participants making their mental grocery list on your watch you have to force them to engage. How? By building in opportunities to participate. Here’s my list of 21 ways to create interaction and participation in a presentation, workshop, or meeting: Continue reading

5 Key Strategies for Writing Your Self-Review

(This is the third article in a series about annual performance reviews.)

Annual performance reviews are an important part of the performance management cycle. They summarize performance over the past year and provide direction for the year ahead. A self-review is an important contribution to the creation of that document and the formulation of action plans for the future. If you are given the opportunity to author a self-review don’t pass it up.

It is impossible for any direct supervisor to see, recall, or document much of what their employees contribute. Not because they don’t care or aren’t invested. It’s because they’re human. Like you they are busy and deal daily with many things that require their attention. Thus the self-review can fill in the space between what the supervisor (the author of the review) can account for and what you (the reviewee) see as significant.  Self-reviews are a chance for you to provide input on your own performance. Use them to highlight what you’ve accomplished and what you’re proud of. It’s also a chance to self-identify areas for improvement and explore steps toward career advancement. With that in mind, here are 5 key strategies for authoring a well-written self-review: Continue reading

Rating Employee Performance: Watch Out For Inflation

performance-reviewThe second article in a series about annual performance reviews.

Most organizations create a process and framework for rating employee performance. Some draw on a competency structure. Others evaluate duties and responsibilities from job descriptions. Many organizations do both. In most cases supervisors are asked to rate performance in these areas on an established scale. Whether it’s a numeric scale (say, 1 to 5) or a descriptive ratings set (Poor Performer, Marginal Performer, etc.) many employees and their leaders aren’t taught how to rate performance correctly. The result is often miscommunication, inflated ratings, and an inaccurate cataloging of performance. Continue reading