Slam Dunk Tips for a Productive Team



As we enter the final rounds of this year’s college basketball season, there’s much business leaders can learn from coaches about building collaborative and motivated teams .

”Upsets” happen every day in the sports world; however, it is rare for a team to accomplish something truly unprecedented. Yet, never before had a 16-seed beaten a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament – at least, not until 2018, when the unknown, unheralded UMBC Retrievers took down top-ranked Virginia in one of the most historic upsets in sports history.

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Can you spot the Business Chemistry type in Halloween costumes? (It’s just for fun!)

My boss, who is a Pioneer and a big Halloween fan, challenged our team to submit our Halloween costume photos for our next team meeting.  A few of the team members instantly began to get excited and collaborate on costume ideas, while others were less enthusiastic.  As I was observing the ideas by my colleagues, I quietly pondered the question: Do Business Chemistry types align with particular costume preferences?

Shelley is Practical Magic
Surprise Kim & Suzanne! I’m “Practical Magic” Shelley for my 2018 Halloween costume.

So, in the spirit of Halloween fun, we thought we’d hunch about what one’s costume selection might say about their working style (now you know how we have fun when we’re not working at the Deloitte Greenhouse):

  • Beneath a warrior, superhero, or king costume you could find a Driver. These characters are focused and competitive, and let nothing stand in the way of making progress on achieving their goals. They save the world from impending doom and make it home for supper—on time. They’re not particularly worried that they tore up an entire city to save you from an alien invasion because it had to get done. And, when facing their nemesis, they are logical in finding a solution to thwart the evil-doer’s plans.
  • The good witch, friendly ghost, or furry animal costume just might have an Integrator inside. These characters are diplomatic and non-confrontational. They are found in fairy-tales in which everyone gets along, finds the other slipper, and lives happily-ever-after. They say hello to everyone in the village and do no harm.  Integrators’ costumes aren’t scary and encourage the spirit of sharing candy.
  • A Pioneer may choose a costume no one saw coming. They are the “hanging chad,” the Southern belle turned into “Taco Belle,” or the couple that shows up as peanut butter and jelly. They didn’t buy their costume ahead of time when there were plenty of choices. Instead, they must go through everyone’s closet a couple of hours before the party to pull together something you’ll never forget.
  • A Guardian might be a bit reluctant to embrace this whole dressing up thing. They may feel they’ll look silly, or be concerned they won’t have time to find the right costume, or want more specific parameters for dressing like something they are not.  Or, they just might surprise everyone by using a costume as an opportunity to leave their reserve behind and become their alter ego for a day. A Guardian, who doesn’t want to dress up, may want to join the fun by serving as a judge for the costume contest. They will judge everyone fairly, ignore crowd influence, and follow to the letter the rules and guidelines set for the contest.

You are just my type
You are just my type… to buy your team a copy of Practical Magic!

Of course, while the Business Chemistry types are based on a mathematical algorithm, our costume theory is just a fun hunch. What’s your take? Does your Halloween costume fit with your type? Send your photos and let us know!

For more treats (not tricks) that can turn challenging work situations into something more heavenly using the science of Business Chemistry, pick up a copy of Practical Magic for Crafting Powerful Work Relationships today.

Happy Halloween Business Chemistry fans!

The life raft test: The importance of diverse working styles

ad5ewh_lo.pngWhen you have the opportunity to add a new member to your team, there are lots of ways to go about making your selection. Beyond screening for the proper experience and skills, many selection methods involve some element of testing for fit. Is their working style the right one for the role? Is their personality a fit for the culture? Or, employing the infamous airport test, would you enjoy yourself if you were stuck in an airport together?

Next time you’re selecting a new team member, imagine you’re not stuck in the airport. But the plane makes a crash landing at sea and you’re now floating in a life raft with no hope of immediate rescue. Would you want everyone on that raft to have the same strengths and weaknesses?

Read the entire perspective from Suzanne Vickberg, Business Chemistry’s Chief Researcher, in HR People + Strategy’s Blog.

Vote for Business Chemistry in the SXSW Panel Picker

19_PanelPickerVoting_Conference-IG.pngThe 2019 SXSW Panel Picker Community is now open and we hope you’ll help Business Chemistry be part of this year’s programming.  Voting is open until August 30. It’s as easy as review, comment, and vote for Business Chemistry to make it a part of this season’s SXSW programming.

To participate in the voting process, login or create an account. If you created a SXSW account in 2013 or later, you will be able to use the same login and password.

Once you are logged in to PanelPicker®, you can begin the voting process. Simply select Click when you clash:  Maximizing employee potential.

Each voter can vote once per proposal.. You can also leave a constructive comment about your Business Chemistry experience.  Have a question? This is also a great place to post all of your questions.  See you in Austin!

Inspired leadership: Four elements effective leaders should master

Confessions_Ep#9_InspiredLeadershipAre leaders born or made?  In this week’s new episode of our Confessions podcast, “Inspired Leadership,” our guest, Steve Schloss, Chief People Officer at the United States Golf Association (USGA), says the answer is… both.

Tune in to hear Steve’s perspective on the qualities that make an effective leader, and the four core leadership disciplines— conscious leadership, connected leadership, informed leadership, and influential leadership—that he believes executives need to master in order to be truly successful.

Business Chemistry’s lead researcher, Suzanne Vicksburg and the Deloitte Greenhouse™ Experience national leader, Kim Christfort will join the conversation to provide their own insights and opinions.

Be sure to keep your ears open for more stories and thoughts from today’s leaders in our next episode, and check out Deloitte’s award-winning Resilience podcast and M&A’s Trends podcast series. Find both on Deloitte.com, Stitcher, or Apple’s podcast app

Want to learn more about which Business Chemistry type might best describe you? Learn more about the 4 Types and share your thoughts with Dr. Suz on Twitter @drsuzbizchem.

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Confession: Talk all you want, but listening is a key leadership skill

teaser_EP#8Download Confessions Episode No. 8: “Flexing for Success” with USGA’s Chief People Officer Steve Schloss

Effective leaders are big, bold, outspoken individuals who inspire confidence and loyalty through the sheer force of their dynamic personalities. Or, are they?

In this week’s episode of Confessions, we talk with Steven Schloss, Chief People Officer of the United States Golf Association, who says that while extroverts may come across as the more obvious leaders, their more reserved colleagues shouldn’t be overlooked.

“I’ve often said to people that if you want applause, you can talk all you want, but if you want results, you have to listen,” said Schloss.

Listen to this week’s episode, “Flexing for Success,” to hear his view on the value of introspection.

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Building Strong Teams–Confessions Episode 7

teaser_EP#7_2In our previous podcast episode of Confessions, we discussed the importance of smart risk taking with Mark Buthman, CFO Emeritus at Kimberly-Clark Corporation. In that discussion, Mark revealed an interesting fact about himself—he doesn’t possess the normally dominant Business Chemistry® traits of a CFO.

Whereas most CFOs identify as Drivers or Guardians—driven and/or analytical personality types—Mark is an Integrator and team builder. It’s a trait that would help him recognize the value of cognitive diversity within teams.

“One of the risks in finance, and [on] any leadership team—there’s a lot of analytical, decisive leaders around, but that doesn’t make for such diversity,” Buthman said.

Want to learn more about which Business Chemistry type might best describe you? Learn more about the 4 Types or share your thoughts with Dr. Suz on Twitter @DrSuzBizChem.

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CFO encourages risk-averse team to take a chance on success

teaser_EP#6Confessions Podcast Episode 6:  There are times when a business team and their leader don’t see eye-to-eye. In this episode of Business Chemistry’s® Confessions podcast, we hear how one very successful CFO encouraged his team to step out of their comfort zones and take more calculated risks to find success.

Smart Risk Taking” features Mark Buthman, CFO Emeritus at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, who was a square peg in a round hole; someone, who believed in the importance of risk taking while leading a risk-averse group of finance professionals. Buthman tells us why he believes taking risks is important to achieving both personal and professional growth, and how he instilled this belief in his team.

Want to learn more about which Business Chemistry type might best describe you? Learn more about the 4 Types or share your thoughts with Dr. Suz on Twitter @DrSuzBizChem.

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The Chemistry of Trust: 8 Ways to Build More of It

What if you could be the kind of leader whose team had increased energy, was more productive, collaborated better with their colleagues, and stayed with your organization longer? What if your people suffered less chronic stress and were happier with their lives?

In the Neuroscience of Trust, published in a recent issue of Harvard Business Review, Paul Zak suggests that you can be that kind of leader by increasing trust on your team. He proposes eight management behaviors to help you do so. In considering his ideas, I matched his suggestions up against the Business Chemistry types, knowing that different things make the various types tick. Here are the eight proposed behaviors and the types with which they’re most likely to be effective…

Induce “challenge” stress. Zak suggests that challenge stress, brought on by assigning teams difficult but achievable tasks, releases chemicals in our brains that increase social connections. This technique may be particularly effective for Drivers, who are more likely than the other types to report that they thrive in the face of challenging tasks. 1

Give people discretion in how they do their work. In other words, enable autonomy by allowing people to complete projects in their own way—if you trust your people, they’re more likely to trust you. When asked about autonomy, Pioneers and Drivers (particularly D-Scientists) say it’s more important to them than Integrators and Guardians do.

Enable job crafting. Job crafting means, in part, empowering people to choose which projects they work on. This technique may be particularly successful with Pioneers, who are the most likely type to say they thrive when they have opportunities to learn and try new things. Who knows better which work has the right level of “new” than your people themselves?

Share information widely. Zak suggests that lack of information about an organization’s direction can cause chronic stress among employees. Cultivating trust by sharing such information may be most essential with Guardians, who our research suggests experience the highest levels of stress, and are also the type most likely to say clear expectations are important to them.

Recognize excellence. A little recognition is likely to go long a long way for all types of people, but our research shows that Guardians and Integrators are more likely than Pioneers and Drivers to say that recognition is a key ingredient for them to thrive at work. Given that the work of these types can sometimes go unseen, acknowledging their contributions could be a particularly effective trust-builder with them.

Intentionally build relationships. Zak cites his own research suggesting that creating social ties at work improves performance. This may be particularly valuable with Integrators, who are the most relationship-focused type and also the most likely to say that working with people they enjoy is a priority for them. A little bit of focused attention to relationship-building can help in creating mutual trust.

Facilitate whole person growth. By whole-person growth Zak means helping people grow both professionally and personally, and that can mean different things for different people. While all the types put a high priority on a feeling of accomplishment, Drivers, particularly D-Commanders, are more likely than the other types to say advancement is important to them, while Guardians and Integrators prioritize work-life balance more than others, and Pioneers are the most likely type to say it’s important to know they’re making a difference in the world. When your people know you understand them and see them as people, not just employees, they’re more likely to put their trust in you.

Show vulnerability: As a leader, being vulnerable enough to ask for help when you need it is perhaps one of the scariest but most effective means of role-modeling trust. Doing so demonstrates to all types of people that asking for help is okay, that they can trust you enough to ask when they need it. By asking your people to have your back, you’ll show them that you’re going to have theirs. And isn’t that really what trust is all about?

Dr. Suz

Suzanne Vickberg, PhD (aka Dr. Suz)

Dr. Suz is the Greenhouse Team’s very own social-personality psychologist, which means she studies how people’s thoughts, behaviors and preferences are influenced by both who they are and the situations they’re in. She uses Business Chemistry to help teams explore how the mix of perspectives brought by their individual members influences their work together. Follow her on Twitter @DrSuzBizChem

1Research findings in this post are based on a study with 13,885 professionals of varying levels working outside Deloitte, in the US and elsewhere. Participants represent more than 1,200 organizations across various industries, and 115 countries overall. During the period of February, 2016 to November, 2016 participants completed the Business Chemistry assessment online and also answered questions about their career aspirations, career priorities, and the working conditions under which they thrive. For each question, respondents were asked to select their top three options out of a list of 10. The margin error for this sample is less than two percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level, for all Business Chemistry types.

Harvard Business Review Podcast: How Personalities Affect Team Chemistry

rec_glb_ho_1850_loHarvard Business Review has released a new podcast with Deloitte Greenhouse Experience National Managing Director Kim Christfort, who talks about the different personality styles in an organization and the challenges of bringing them together. Deloitte’s Business Chemistry system helps companies better understand personality styles and capitalize on their cognitive diversity. She and Suzanne M. Johnson Vickberg coauthored the article, “Pioneers, Drivers, Integrators, and Guardians” in the March-April 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review.