Saturday, February 7, 2015

Daily Post: Changing importance of Communications Skills in the 21st Century

Communications skills are more important than ever before due to the stress in the market place.
Let's look at at real world example of how not knowing Behavioral Styles can significantly impact an expensive mistake for a company and employee.
Obviously the identities have been changed to protect the professional who invested to grow their executive leadership skills.
The CFO of a company prepared reports each week for the CEO. These reports took at least 32 Full Time Equivalence hours, often more. The CFO explained that the detail that her team put into these reports was important because the CEO made decisions from them. Admirable right?
The CEO would get these reports every Friday, and as always, would take three specific numbers from the report and put the report away. The CEO would dismiss the CFO with a thanks and continue working.
The CFO came to me after abruptly quitting and asked for help to find another CFO position. We gave her our assessments and I interviewed her. I asked her what had happened in her last position that caused her to resign? She shared the above and told me that NOT once had the CEO said "great job" and why should she work that hard to create the report,spent all those late nights working if he was going to just look at three numbers and nothing else. How could a competent CEO make decisions from just looking at those three numbers? I can just hear some of you saying "Right!". I asked her how the CEO reacted to her abruptly resigning and she said he was shocked but accepted my resignation.
I explained to the CFO that from her assessments and our discussions she fell between an analytical (C) and teambuilder (S) on the Behavioral styles. We talked about the importance to her of making sure that all aspects of the report were researched and validated to be right to her standard. She lit right up. "Of course!"
I asked how important it was to get feedback from the CEO on how she was doing, especially if she was doing a good job. The CFO agreed it was very important to her. She took great pride in doing her job well.
I asked her if I might consider the point of view from the CEO. I asked her several questions about the CEO so I could get an idea about his social style. (Because it's important to understand how to observe Behaviors, especially under mild to moderate stress, to understand how to communicate with them in a manner they appreciate. This takes practice and coaching.)
I explained "The CEO might be a high D". He feels that you and he should do a great job. Why would you praise anyone for doing a great job, as they should. From his perspective no one is hired to do an average job. If you do, that's when he would have had a stern talk with you! The CEO also feels that because you do a great job and he can trust you to give the most accurate numbers possible, he can confidently look at those three numbers and manage the company.
The CFO was in shock, she had not considered his perspective. She just assumed that the CEO was cold and insensitive, kind of a jerk. The CEO likely feels he is disciplined and respectful of company time. He is a professional!
The CFO had just left a great job because she didn't understand how to read people's behavioral styles and her own. The CEO just lost a very talented CFO because he didn't understand how to communicate with her in a manner she appreciated. Replacement was going to be expensive, not to mention the new hire on boarding and learning curve.
Had the CFO not gotten the coaching to learn about the Behavioral styles, she may have gotten a new job, but repeated the pattern of thinking the CEO was a jerk. Tough lesson, but I can tell you she is now very good at reading people's Behavioral styles, motivators, driving forces and Emotional Intelligence. and she now teaches those skills to her team and has a wonderful culture at her new job.

~adapted by John R Daley, MIB OD

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