Date: February 4, 2014
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Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 – Talent Talk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives. Talent Talk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues and employment challenges.
Today’s guests are Brenda Williams, Founder of Your Coaching Solution; and Ujj Nath, Chairman and CEO of mykaarma.com.
Williams and Nath underscore the importance of what energy you bring to your work day in and day out, and have the results to show for it.
Williams is a board-certified professional coach who found a pervasive need in corporate America after working with companies of all sizes for more than 25 years.
The common need she identified is to “find and retain good talent…and to be able to create more enthusiastic and engaged teams…that are excited to show up to work.” Williams believes the answer centers around finding a way to make your people feel valued and appreciated.
How You Show Up
Herself a professional who was searching for more meaning in her work, today Williams helps people become better leaders of both themselves and others. The first critical step in this process is becoming self-aware. “You don’t leave who you are at home; it carries with you all day long,” Williams reminds us. “People start realizing how they show up.” She refers to this process “stepping outside of your box and taking off the filtered glasses that you use to view the world with.”
Challenges of Companies
Lack of resources inside companies, where one person is doing the job of two, is one of the leading reasons companies struggle with employment challenges and find it hard to engage their teams fully. Williams works with people to set boundaries that create balance and eliminate stress as well as to prioritize and delegate.
Another key challenge is that while many people were put into leadership roles based on expertise, “most of them were not taught how to be good leaders, how to inspire and motivate, and make others feel valued and appreciated,” observes Williams. She works with her clients to help them become aware of how they are “showing up” and to enable them to view situations from all perspectives. This level of self-awareness trickles down through the entire organization, and importantly through your first level of leadership. “Your first level of leadership is what really sets the culture of the organization,” cautions Williams; they can create a culture that is collaborative and happy to be there or that is spreading the stress.
She cites communication and relationships as the two keys to developing truly engaged employees, and not just people sitting in seats. She recalls an attendee of a recent webinar she held on how to have a difficult conversation. Her client went from being an angry, overwhelmed person who would go to work with anxiety that was affecting his health to someone who was able to release the negative energy, using the seven “levels of energy” Williams outlined for him.
What are You Reading?
She is reading “Energy Leadership” for the second time about “how you can turn the attitudes and the behaviors around inside an organization.”
How Can I Connect with You? Visiting www.yourcoachingsolution.com or find her on LinkedIn.
Mykaarma.com is a cloud-based software company that improves the interaction between consumers and auto dealerships. It allows for text updates on your car’s status as well as enables consumers to pay via their smartphones.
For Nath, the start-up has been a stark contrast from the last company he founded, a professional services firm where he employed 300 people. Instead, he now employs a nimble team of 30 focused on customer acquisition.
The previous experience taught him leadership lessons he carries with him. “You have to know how to motivate your people, keep your turnover low, hire the most compatible people, and then build a culture of winning,” comments Nath. He believes that these things will help overcome any employment challenges.
Not Just Another Day
Nath is a staunch believer in the need to love what you do, asserting that passion makes the roadblocks easier to handle and the highs of the business even sweeter. Without it, he believes the business “can take a toll on you and make it hard to exude the leadership you need to.” Coming into work each day as “just another day” sends the wrong message to your people.
When it comes to getting the most out of your talent, Nath shares some of his ground rules, such as:
- “I test everyone” by asking candidates abstract questions and assessing how they react;
- Hiring by consensus and allowing everyone in the company to interview prospects;
- Setting expectations early on in the process with potential hires;
- Using how the candidate treats the most junior person they interview with as a cultural gatekeeper; and
- Taking the responsibility to mentor new hires, find gaps and coach them through those gaps, as well as putting people in roles where they have to stretch.
Walking in the Customer’s Shoes
When his team worked on Toyota’s new vehicle distribution program, Nath learned that first-hand experience is crucial to building a piece of software people would use, and this is now a fundamental tenet of his. In building mykaarma.com, his team spent 1,500 hours at dealerships observing what their needs were so they can build software with the best tools possible.
Not All Things to All People
As an engineer by training, Nath confesses of his industry, “Every time you give them a problem, they want to solve it,” skipping the step of evaluating if the problem is worth solving in the first place. The ability to say “no” and stay laser-focused is absolutely critical to success. “Those small mistakes of spreading yourself out can really undermine your success long term. The ability to focus is very critical for start-ups at least so you don’t become all things to all people and nothing to anybody.”
His leadership influences come from his father, who managed thousands of employees and was instrumental in shaping Nath’s management skills. He is also influenced by Colin Powell’s “rules of leadership,” which he refers to as brilliant in their simplicity an consults often.
What are You Reading? Nath is reading “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, as recommended by his daughter.
How Can I Connect with You? Via Twitter @ujjnath or find him on LinkedIn.
Tune into the show next week, and remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.