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Emotional Intelligence 2.0 as an assessment tool for growth and team building


EQ1As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve been on an assessment binge as of late that is leading up to some work around visioning, goal setting, and strategy and tactics development. The assessment work has been both personal and business related. You can read more about my motivations and thoughts in a post I published last week titled “New year starts with a little assessment work“.

A few days ago I confessed to struggling with the personal assessment side of this exercise until I purchased two books:

My last post — “StandOut 2.0 as an assessment tool for growth, team building and direction setting” — I talked all about:

  • the nine strength roles identified by Marcus Buckingham
  • the assessment tool that helped me identify my top two strengths
  • the importance of focusing on and leveraging your top two strengths
  • how to use this tool to assist with questions related to organizational development and team building

In this post, I’m focusing on my second book purchase — “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” — and what I’m learning and why I think it is relevant to your work.

EQ2Some of you might be wondering, “What is the world is emotional intelligence?” and the answer is somewhat complex because it involves brain science.

Here is how Google explains it:

the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”

Here is what the authors of the book say:

The communication between your emotional and rational ‘brains’ is the physical source of emotional intelligence.

If you are a science-geek, then I encourage you to read the book where you can learn more about your spinal cord, limbic system and frontal lobe. In all honesty, it really is fascinating stuff.

I chose to incorporate the idea of emotional intelligence (EQ) into my New Years personal and professional assessment exercise in addition to the strength roles evaluation work found in the StandOut 2.o book because experts are learning it plays a large role in our professional life and our successes. Don’t believe me? Here are a few factoid that I’m quoting from the book:

  • EQ is so critical to success that it accounts for 58 percent of performance in all types of jobs.
  • The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ adds $1,300 to an annual salary.

What I’m banking on is that I can grow my non-profit practice, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC, by improving my EQ and aligning my work better with my strengths.  I suspect you can do the same thing when it comes to your non-profit organization.

Back to the book . . .

There are four emotional intelligence skills, and they pair up as follows:

eq5

The book does far more explaining of these skills that I simply can’t and won’t get into today. I encourage you to purchase and read the book if this subject interests you.

What I will say for the purposes of this blog post is there is an online EQ assessment that people who purchase the book can access. It scores you in each of these four EQ skills areas and produces exercises designed to help you improve your EQ scores.

Unlike your IQ, which is not something you can change, your EQ can be developed and improved.

I was debating whether or not to share my scores with the blogosphere, and I decided not to. Needless to say, assessment is a humbling experience and my scores are a little lower that I would like. However, I will share that my assessment results convinced me to start working on my “listening skills” (which is social awareness strategy #11 spelled out on pages 160-161).

After I get this habit established, I will probably add an “empathy” exercise into the mix where I’ll try to pay attention to other people’s feelings more.

So, you are probably wondering how this assessment tool might benefit you and your organization. Here are a few thoughts:

  • If you are sometimes concerned that you don’t have a good handle on where you team is at or what it is feeling, then you might want to assess and work on your EQ
  • If a member of your team likes to push other teammates’ buttons, then incorporating a few self-management exercises into that person’s individual development plan (IDP) might make sense
  • If a member of your team is someone who constantly “speaks their mind” and everyone else reacts poorly, then you may need to help them develop their social awareness skills (additionally, you may need to teach the team to speak directly to this teammate’s feelings and not just what they are saying)

In short, improving your EQ could:

  • make you a more effective and productive person in the workplace
  • help you become a better coach to your team

Have you used this tool or others like it? If so, please scroll down to the comment box and share your thoughts and experiences. We can all learn from each other.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

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StandOut 2.0 as an assessment tool for growth, team building and direction setting


standout bookAs I said in my last post titled “New year starts with a little assessment work,” I’m beginning the new year by gifting myself 12 weeks of assessment. By assessment, I am looking closely at both personal issues (e.g. strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, etc.) and business issues (e.g. productivity, profitability, travel habits, types of contracts that bring me joy/fulfillment, etc). All of this will lead to planning exercises including direction setting/visioning, goal setting, strategies and tactics.

In my last post, I confessed to experiencing difficulty with the personal assessment side of my journey until I ran across two books — StandOut 2.0 and Emotional Intelligence 2.0 — at an O’Hare airport bookstore. Today’s post will focus on the first book, StandOut 2.0 written by Marcus Buckingham, and what I’ve learned as well as how I think non-profit leaders might be able to apply this tool.

This tool is rooted in the the principles of positive psychology and appreciative inquiry, which are fields that have been growing like a weed over the last few decades. You may recognize this author and this approach because Marcus Buckingham introduced the StrengthsFinder assessment in his book titled Now, Discover Your Strengths.

The entire book is based on one simple premise. If you want to excel and get the most out of your team, then you have to focus on maximizing your strengths. Working on shoring up your weaknesses is nice, but it won’t put you in a sweet spot when it comes to productivity, quality, and fulfillment.

There are nine “strength roles” identified in this assessment approach:

  • Advisor
  • Connector
  • Creator
  • Equalizer
  • Influencer
  • Pioneer
  • Provider
  • Stimulator
  • Teacher

In the last week, I have read the book, taken an assessment, and set-up my online work space where I receive weekly tips and set personal goals. It hasn’t felt like a “heavy lift” or hard work.

After taking the assessment, you receive a personalized report ranking your strength roles. Your top two strengths become the focus of your work. The following are my top two strength roles and their descriptions:

  • Advisor: “You are a practical, concrete thinker who is at your most powerful when reacting to and solving other people’s problems.
  • Connector: “You are a catalyst. Your power lies in your craving to bring two people or ideas together to make something bigger and better than it is now.

It is this combination of strengths that makes me unique, and according to Buckingham I will benefit from:

  • honing these strengths
  • aligning my work and career path with these strengths
  • building my team around these strengths
  • learning how to leverage these strengths in the areas of client services and sales

Buckingham walks readers through “Three lessons for building your strengths” in chapter three of the book. I finished that chapter thinking his advice was wise and something worth investing my time.

I really like the online work space that comes with this toolbox, including the ability to link other members of your team into the site.

StandOut 2.0 was an exciting discovery for me. I didn’t waste time figuring out ways to incorporate it into my life. Within a few days, I asked one of my executive coaching clients to purchase the book and take the online assessment. We integrated the results into our next session and plan on using it to frame their job search process.

On a personal note, the assessment provided me tons of “food for thought” for my consulting practice. It validated my intuition that I need to work harder at cultivating the executive coaching side of my practice, and it will provide context and a frame for the visioning exercise I plan on undertaking in the next few weeks.

So, you are probably wondering how this assessment tool might benefit you. Here are a few thoughts:

  • If you find yourself wondering from time-to-time if you are in the right position at your non-profit organization (and who doesn’t periodically do this), then this tool might help you find clarity
  • If you find yourself spinning your wheels at work, then this tool might help you find traction
  • If you find yourself struggling with building a powerful, efficient team, then this tool might help you with hiring, project assignment, and how to best manage/coach your direct reports.

Have you used this tool or others like it? If so, please scroll down to the comment box and share your thoughts and experiences. We can all learn from each other.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

New year starts with a little assessment work


assessmentWelcome to a new year everyone, which for many people typically means making resolutions and goals. For me, I’ve been telling friends and family for the last few months that I plan on taking the first quarter of 2016 do a little soul searching. I anticipate a few personal and business decisions stemming from my assessment efforts.

When I started looking at how I wanted to go about doing some “assessment work,” I found that the business assessment ideas were the easiest.

  • Review revenue trends and sources of income
  • Look at types of contracts
  • Explore different business models
  • Talk with friends and colleagues about what seems to provide a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment

Easy-peasy! One week into 2016, and I feel really comfortable with the business assessment aspects of my soul searching journey.

But what I’ve found more challenging is the the personal assessment component of this exercise (e.g. what are my strengths, what jobs align with my personality type, etc).

In the final weeks of 2015, I struggled with (and procrastinated on) figuring out what I was going to do with regard to a personal assessment. I simply wanted this process to point me in the direction of greater work-life balance, mindfulness and health.

As most things in life, the answers came when I least expected.

While I was standing around at O’Hare airport waiting for my plane to arrive, I decided to browse around a book store near my gate. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. I wasn’t even planning to make a purchase, but I ended up walking out with the following two purchases:

My first book purchase is aimed at helping me determine where I lack in emotional intelligence and what I can do to strengthen those areas of deficiency. My suspicion is that strengthening my emotional intelligence will help me become an even better non-profit consultant by becoming more empathetic and building stronger, more meaningful relationships.

As for the second book, I thought getting a better handle on my strengths might help me focus my consulting practice.

I’ve taken the online assessments associated with these books and started reading.

I will use my next two blog posts to share with you some of the results from these online assessments, what I’m learning, and what sense I’m making of it all.

This personal journey has me thinking about YOU and your non-profit organization.

  • What assessment tools have you used to assess your organization?
  • What tools have you used to assess YOU? Your personality? Your leadership style? Your strengths and skills?
  • Have you used these tools with your workplace team? If so, has it help you develop a better team?

When I was an executive director of a small non-profit organization many years ago, I engaged a consultant to help us bring Myers-Briggs (MBTI) personality testing into our workplace. After some employee turnover, this initiative lost steam and ultimately faded. However, I’ve subsequently read the book Type Talk at Work and now realize how valuable those efforts could’ve been for our little team if we had stayed the course.

Please scroll down to the comment box and share your thoughts and experiences with either organizational or personal assessment processes, workplace initiatives or tools. We can all learn from each other.

[Note: I’ve had a few close friends ask me if my first quarter assessment efforts are a sign of imminent changes. I’ve assured them that it does not mean that I’m closing my consulting practice or running off to join the circus. I simply believe assessment — both personal and business — is a natural part of life and something everyone should do from time-to-time.]

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

Your non-profit can learn something from the Chicago Cubs


Let me set the stage for you. It is a Sunday afternoon, and I am sitting in the bleachers waiting for the start of a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs (a team that I’ve been a fan of since my birth 44 years ago) and the Atlanta Braves. It is hot . . . VERY HOT! Then a song written in 1969 titled “Hey Hey Holy Mackerel” started blaring over the speakers. This song is intended to be a fight song. Never heard of it? Here are the lyrics words by I. C. Haag and music by JOhn Frigo):

Hey hey! Holy Mackerel!
No doubt about it,
The Cubs are on their way. (Hey hey!)
The Cubs are gonna hit today,
They’re gonna pitch today,
They’re gonna field today.
Come what may the Cubs are gonna win today.Hey hey! Holy Mackerel!
No doubt about it,
The Cubs are on their way.
They got the hustle.
They got the bustle.
The Chicago Cubs have come to play.
The Chicago Cubs are on their way.

Wanna hear it? Here is the YouTube version for your enjoyment:

OK . . . the scene is set. Now image another Cubs game in the history books and the reality setting in:

  • They aren’t on their way
  • They didn’t pitch today
  • They didn’t hit today (well, maybe a little bit)
  • They didn’t field today
  • Did I mention that they really aren’t on their way?

The morale to the story?

Be careful about the promises you make because you might disappoint your fans! How is this applicable to your non-profit organization? Simple! Consider the following:

  • Your mission statement is akin to the Chicago Cubs fight song.
  • Your vision statement is also akin to Hey Hey Holy Mackerel.
  • Your marketing tag line and public service announcements are also rally cries, right?
  • And your donors are very much fans.

When you organization makes promises that aren’t delivered upon, you’re setting yourself up for trouble.

Don’t believe me?

Then go ask the Chicago Cubs who purportedly are selling one million fewer tickets this year than they did a number of years ago. Ouch! That must hurt. Hopefully, the promises they’re making as part of their rebuilding plan are things they will deliver on (and soon).

Are you assessing your agency’s effectiveness? Who are you engaging in that assessment? How are you assessing your agency? And what are you doing about it?

Don’t torture your donors and supporters for more than a century. Start your assessment and planning process today and include all of your stakeholders in that process.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
http://twitter.com/#!/eanderson847
http://www.facebook.com/eanderson847
http://www.linkedin.com/in/erikanderson847

Does your non-profit board use this time to “Take Stock”?


Dani Robbins is the Founder & Principal Strategist at Non Profit Evolution located in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve invited my good friend and fellow non-profit consultant to the first Wednesday of each month about board development related topics. Dani also recently co-authored a book titled “Innovative Leadership Workbook for Nonprofit Executives” that you can find on Amazon.com. 

board evaluationIt’s the end of the year, which always seems like a good time to take stock. Did I meet my obligations? Did I rise to the occasion? Did I do what I said I would? Have I become what I aspired to be? Am I living an authentic life?

For me, an authentic life includes service. So, while I take stock of myself, I also take stock of my Boards, the ones I serve, serve on, volunteer for or am paid by. I encourage an annual Board evaluation process.

The vast majority of Boards do not evaluate themselves. It’s not the norm. I’m not sure why, but it makes people uncomfortable. Yet…Board evaluations are not intended to be report cards; they’re intended to be opportunities for development, reflection and growth.

I’ve seen evaluations done a few different ways, and there is no right way. The following two options seem to be the most prevalent; I’ve also seen anything and everything in between. The only wrong (and career terminal) way to evaluate a Board is for the executive director to do it or to not do it at all. Two options:

  1. Turn the Board expectations into a self-evaluation form and allow members to rate themselves on a scale of 1-4. If you’d like to take it a bit further, include at the bottom a space to allow them 3 opportunities to commit to (and hold themselves to) future growth or hand it in to the Board Development committee who can hold Board members individually accountable.
  2. Have the Board Development Committee assess each member individually against the Board expectations, including committee and meeting attendance, giving, event participation, introducing and soliciting new donors, and ambassadorship in the community.

I also encourage you to survey your Board members to determine their opinion of Board process and enjoyment of strategic and generative discussions. It’s not enough for them to assess themselves individually. It’s also imperative that entire Board systems are evaluated and improved or evolved, as necessary and appropriate.

Please note it is the responsibility of the Board Development Committee to ensure evaluations are completed. The executive director can encourage the process and can write the evaluation form, but they cannot evaluate the Board members to whom they report. The Board must evaluate itself.

We can all do better. We can all be more. We serve because we believe in the potential of our organization, our communities and our own ability to affect change.

Take stock, you might like what you find; if you don’t, you can start building new systems toward a stronger future.

What’s been your experience? As always, I welcome your experience and insight.
dani sig

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