HBDI® in Action: Why Discomfort Leads to Better Thinking

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Al Landers, Vice President at SBTI, is a Lean Sigma Black Belt, an HBDI® Certified Practitioner and a senior executive with over 35 years of experience. In this guest post, Al shares a story from a particularly memorable and thought-provoking training session.

I had just given the class a 15-minute break from the simulation and was walking to get a cup of coffee when I passed John, one of the Master Black Belt students who was talking the change management module. I casually asked him how he was doing. He startled me with his response.

“I need to get up and walk around. The words on my notebook page are swimming around and I can’t read. I’m actually starting to feel nauseous.

“Whoa, John,” I said. “We can stop here. We’ve had 3 rounds already, and I think we’ve gotten as much out of it as we can. Take your time!”

He got up and walked out of the room to take a much-needed break. I stood there for a few minutes thinking about what just happened.

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More is Not Always Better: How to Improve Communication at Work

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No one listens! It’s one of the most common complaints across workplaces, industries, jobs, even in our personal lives. It doesn’t matter how much detail we give or how many times we say things, it seems like people keep coming back with questions about things we’ve already addressed.

So, how can you improve communications and resolve this annoying problem? One piece of advice you’ve likely heard is to over-communicate if you really want people to listen to you. Explain it again and again. Keep hammering away at it until you break through.

Have you tried that? Had any luck with it?

My guess is they’re still not listening to you.

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Improve Email Communication by Asking Yourself 4 Simple Questions

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How many times have you written up what seems like a perfectly clear email message only to find that the person on the receiving end just doesn’t “get it”? Not only is it annoying, it can end up wasting a lot of time for both parties.

Beyond the obvious need for a sarcasm font, here’s what could be going on: You likely communicate in a style that’s rooted in the way you prefer to think. The problem is, that can be at odds with the preferences of the person you’re communicating with. You may prefer formal, sequential, highly organized thinking, and so your email messages will follow suit. Your recipient, on the other hand, may prefer a more casual, free-flowing style. They’re looking for the big picture, and when they see all that detail, they tune out.

Or maybe you gravitate toward a more expressive style. You would never just jump right into the cold, dry facts without a few pleasantries up front. Meanwhile, your recipient might be rolling their eyes, wondering why you can’t just get to the point.

Considering how much we rely on email today, it makes sense to find some common ground and learn how to adapt your thinking and your messages—both so you can be heard and so you can avoid confusion or miscommunication.

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What To Do When Turnover Hits Your Dream Team

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There’s nothing better than a team that’s found its rhythm. Healthy debate, deep trust, respect for each others’ ideas, mutual accountability and support...it’s truly the dream team.

And then someone leaves.

Dealing with employee turnover is always a challenge, and it can be particularly disruptive when it happens to a tight-knit, high-performing team. No matter how great things are today, when a key person leaves, it can throw off your productivity, morale and even your results.

People leave. That’s the reality. But the best defense against turnover is having a plan in place before the inevitable happens. Let’s look at a Whole Brain ® approach you can follow to plan for turnover and keep your team on track when a member departs and a new member comes on board.

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Comparing Employee Assessments: The HBDI® and StrengthsFinder®

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In this ongoing comparing employee assessments blog series, Anne Griswold, our Whole Brain ® Thinking Catalyst, is taking a look at the similarities and differences of different assessment instruments and how you might use them—individually and together—to achieve your business and talent development needs. For this post, Anne discusses StrengthsFinder and how it compares with Whole Brain ® Thinking and the HBDI.

One of the best starting points when looking at any employee assessment is its premise. As the name implies, the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment is a talent assessment with a premise rooted in identifying strengths. It’s based on Gallup research that shows that people succeed when they focus on what they do best.

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Get More Out of Team Collaboration with These Brainstorming Tips

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Your team has been tasked to solve a tough problem or to come up with a breakthrough idea or new opportunity. How will you attack the challenge? What’s your go-to creative tool?

In many team collaboration scenarios, the instinct is to get everyone together for a big, freewheeling brainstorming session and see what comes out of it. That is one way to go. But it’s not necessarily the best way. And on its own, it’s not likely to get you to the boundary-pushing ideas and solutions you need.

Why Doesn’t Brainstorming Work?

When leaders look at team collaboration as a way to spark creativity, brainstorming is often one of the first things they’ll think of. The members of the project team will gather around a conference table, set a timer and spout their first thoughts about a topic while some poor soul diligently takes notes. The whole point of the exercise, they’re led to believe, is quantity of ideas, not quality.

Eventually the timer goes off. People stand up, pat themselves on the back, congratulate each other on their creative thinking, and then file out of the room.

And then what happens?

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The Power of the Pause: Managing Employees Who Are Too Busy to Think

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They’re some of your most dedicated, hardest working employees. No one gets down to business and gets every box checked, every time, on time, quite like they do. Frankly, it’s a relief, knowing that you can count on them to keep plowing ahead no matter what you throw their way.

But did you ever stop to think that maybe they don’t have time to stop to think?

Deep thinking is in short supply in today’s work environment, where the distractions are many, the work is intense and task-oriented productivity rules the day. As a result, though, we’re sacrificing impact for activity. If people don’t have time to think more critically and intentionally, to make conscious choices instead of habitually reacting and responding, the business is going to suffer—maybe not today, but soon enough.

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Diversity of Thought: It's Not What You Think

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Over the past few years, more and more corporate leaders and consultants have been talking about a “new” kind of workplace diversity: diversity of thought.

All the attention it’s getting is something of a double-edged sword, though. On the one hand, it’s great that so many people are beginning to see that diversity of thought plays an important role in a business’s success. But on the other, the term itself is getting thrown around so much—often in very general or superficial ways—that it risks becoming just another piece of meaningless jargon.

Diversity of thought isn’t just new packaging on an old idea about the dangers of surrounding yourself with “yes men.” It’s also not just another way of saying that if you let conflicting ideas and perspectives rub up against each other for a long enough time, eventually something positive will come from it.

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5 Signs You Could Use an Employee Assessment

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Many companies think of employee assessments as performance management or recruiting and hiring tools. But this represents only a limited slice of the spectrum. Used properly and in the right circumstances, employee assessments can part of a powerful work toolkit, not just for evaluating job fit or lagging performance, but for helping people and teams work more effectively and accomplish their key business objectives.

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Why Effective Leaders Make Time for Deep Thinking

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If you’re a leader, you set the direction and vision for your organization or department, but there’s still a lot that’s not completely under your control: the behavior of other people, the state of the economy, the unfolding of world events, the overall pace of change. Sure, you can anticipate and react to these things, but you can’t totally control them.

What’s surprising, though, is how few leaders take the time to notice the one thing they can always control, even when the world is out of control: their thinking.

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