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Increase Employee Engagement with These 5 Conversation Skills

Increase Employee Engagement with These 5 Conversation Skills
Our 2018 predictions released earlier this week (read them here ​ !) tell us one thing for certain: as we get ready to move into the new year, leadership will need to be willing and ready to have the sometimes tough but necessary conversations with their employees and fellow leaders. A 2016 ATD study revealed that 83% of respondents consider commun...
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A Close Look at Our 2018 Business Predictions: What to Expect, and How Leaders Can Prepare

A Close Look at Our 2018 Business Predictions: What to Expect, and How Leaders Can Prepare
Whether in our private lives or business, if there's one thing we know for sure, it's that change is inevitable. Each year we explore past and present trends as well as the ever-changing needs of individuals and organizations to forecast what we can expect to see as these changes unfold. As the current year comes to a close, we're turning our gaze ...
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Build an Intentional Culture: 3 Tips to Align Behavior with Company Values

Build an Intentional Culture: 3 Tips to Align Behavior with Company Values
Intention is our aim, our objective. It is defined as a determination to act in a certain way.   Let’s take a look at the word “act” here. While many organizations have core values that create intention, oftentimes the values are not cohesive with  leader and employee actions. In other words, there is a need to define how your employees behave in everyday situations if they are to demonstrate the company’s most critical values. It sounds so simple, yet it is often overlooked. Take “respect” as a value example.  Many of our clients share this value. However, to one employee, respect might mean telling someone the absolute hard facts that come to mind for a particular strategy. For example, tell them how it is – be a straight  shooter  –  it  is to their benefit . On the other hand, to another employee, respect might mean allowing someone the space and...
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Conversation Chaos: The Hidden Villain in Your Workplace

Conversation Chaos: The Hidden Villain in Your Workplace
There's a villain in your organization. It's a Darth Vader, Wicked Witch, Sauron, or Lord Voldemort—and it's the reason why many of your most common workplace problems persist, including disengagement and poor performance. All issues in your organization have one thing in common: conversation chaos . Unproductive, unfocused, and ineffective communi...
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Leadership Tips: Say What You Really Think

Leadership Tips: Say What You Really Think
Alethophobia is an intense, abnormal or illogical fear of the truth. In Fierce Leadership , Susan Scott asks, “How many times have you told someone – your boss, a colleague, a customer, your spouse – what you thought he or she wanted to hear, rather than what you were really thinking? Painted a false, rosy version of reality, glossing over problems or pretending they simply didn’t exist?” This happens often. The thing is…we have legitimate reasons for why we don’t want to fully disclose. Perhaps it has destroyed a relationship in your past, and you don’t want to do that again. Perhaps you have seen someone lose their job over disclosing more, and you happen to like your job. Maybe you truly don’t believe it is your place to say what you notice or feel (this is a popular one). The kicker is that not sharing the whole truth is...
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Improve Your Company Culture with These 3 Ways to Give Thanks

Improve Your Company Culture with These 3 Ways to Give Thanks
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, and for many, it is full of tradition. Whether at home or in the workplace, gratitude fills the air with the holiday season. For me, every Thanksgiving dinner, my family starts a conversation with the same question. We go around the table and ask: what are you most thankful for? This conversation is su...
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Leadership Tips: Have Fun Together

Leadership Tips: Have Fun Together
  Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun. - Randy Pausch In our connected world with constant emails and social media, it is easy to never truly break away from work. Given that, you better have fun along the way. Or what’s the point of all this work? Having fun is not only good for your health, but it makes your team’s discretionary effort rise. The catch to having fun is…as a leader, you can’t force it. This week’s tip is to give your team a set budget to plan something fun together. Don’t put tons of criteria around it. It could be a happy hour, a lunch, a secret costume for team members to wear… whatever makes the team tick. It is a mistake to choose the events and outings for the team members. Let them own it. And go along for the ride.

3 Ways to Take the Scare Out of Your Conversations

3 Ways to Take the Scare Out of Your Conversations
Think of a conversation that you need to have that scares you. Perhaps it is a conversation with your boss about something she is doing that is not helpful. Or a conversation with a peer about what you are noticing that is not working for him. Or taking it home, perhaps it is a conversation with your spouse or family member to discuss something that you do not feel the other is willing to talk about. Ok, do you have a conversation in mind? Does the thought of this conversation make you want to evaporate? Or run out the door? Or go on vacation? If so, that's a good sign. These are the conversations I am talking about. I do understand the fear. There are legitimate reasons to be scared about having these conversations. Some people do not react well when confronted, regardless of how eloquent and thoughtful you are....
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Leadership Tips: Embrace Change

Leadership Tips: Embrace Change
Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything . — George Bernard Shaw Change is hard. We all know. And we all have different tolerances for it, based on our experiences. I am the daughter of a Naval Officer, and growing up I lived in 12 houses before I was 18 years old. My friends joke and say that I was a “change manager” before I ever went into the human capital space. The thing is – change was always hard – even when I had a lot of it. We are deeply wired to stay in our comfort zone. However, I know I grew a lot, because I was continually uncomfortable. I had to be okay with being vulnerable and open to learning new things and making new friends. I remind myself of that. Where can you embrace variation in your life?...
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Leadership Tips: Go Deeper

Leadership Tips: Go Deeper
How many times a week do you have a conversation that just stays at the surface? With your colleagues? With your family? With your friends? It happens often. Even when we are in conversation, we can breeze past each other altogether. The thing is: We are craving depth each day. We are craving real. We want people to care.  Joseph Pine said, "The experience of being understood, versus interpreted, is so compelling you can charge admission.” This week's tip is to seek to understand and go deeper in your conversations.  Where do you tend to have the most superficial conversations? Focus there. Ask more questions. Really listen. That's where the understanding happens.

New Research: The State of Miscommunication - 6 Insights on Effective Workplace Communication

New Research: The State of Miscommunication - 6 Insights on Effective Workplace Communication
We’re excited to announce Quantum Workplace's launch of the Fierce + Quantum eBook on the state of miscommunication in the workplace. The free eBook dives deep into the issues of miscommunication and offers solutions for creating more engagement and clarity in one-on-ones, team meetings, and organization-wide. We wanted to conduct this research on miscommunication to fully understand the impact it’s having on organizations, including the costs (time, money, engagement, relationships, productivity, and more), and explore how effective conversations can help. Fierce + Quantum Quantum helps organizations retain top talent, motivate performance, understand turnover, and build magnetic cultures. Their studies reveal that communication is indeed at the heart of employee engagement. Fierce and Quantum have both researched employee engagement in the past, and have weighed in on the conversations needed to improve engagement and workplace culture. In preparation for this eBook, Quantum Workplace and Fierce Conversations designed a survey to capture...
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Fierce Summit 2017: Day 2 Highlights

Fierce Summit 2017: Day 2 Highlights
Day two of the fabulous Fierce Summit has come to an end, and today’s sessions came with powerful takeaways. Starting from earliest to latest… Regent Cornell: How to Build a Culture Ultimate Software’s tagline “People First” wasn’t drummed up by the marketing team to win awards or sell more widgets. It’s the way things are done at this fast-growing cloud computing company that landed it a top spot on Fortune’s 2016 List of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.” With a personal story that was both humorous and insightful, Regent Cornell revealed the five distinguishing characteristics of ‘Best Companies’ and demonstrated the bottom-line impact of putting People First: 1. Gratitude, 2. Respect, 3. Engagement, 4. Authenticity, and 5. Trust. Learn more about how Ultimate Software made the list here . Susan Scott: Become a Great Conversationalist In this intimate session, Fierce founder and CEO Susan Scott made the connection...
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Fierce Summit 2017: Day 1 Highlights

Fierce Summit 2017: Day 1 Highlights
The Fierce Summit has finally arrived! This one-of-a-kind leadership and learning event has been anticipated throughout the year by both the Fierce community and those who are new to Fierce. The event is taking place in the wake of much time, commitment, and TLC on behalf of the Fierce team, our clients, attendees, and speakers. After our special facilitator day on Tuesday the 12th, this was our first day of the official two-day event hosted at the W Hotel in downtown Seattle. Our speakers were carefully chosen for their messages--messages that are both inspiring and on the cutting edge of leadership. These powerful messages resonated with their audience today in a way that I believe will leave a lasting impact. Here are some notable speaker highlights from day one: Juliet Funt: Activity is Not Productivity: Raising Execution Through Reclaiming WhiteSpace After Susan Scott’s warm and insightful introduction, Juliet Funt, founder...
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Leadership Tips: Stop Your Excuses. You are the Culture.

Leadership Tips: Stop Your Excuses. You are the Culture.
Having a positive culture has real impact on business and your happiness at work. In fact, a  Columbia University study  shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with rich company culture is a mere 13.9 percent, whereas the probability of job turnover in poor company cultures is 48.4 percent. That makes a huge difference…not just for the employer, but also for the fellow employees. Although people cerebrally understand culture's importance, people tend to talk about culture as something external.  For instance, a statement I often encounter when we are discussing fierce is: “My culture doesn't encourage transparent, direct communication, so I can't have those kinds of conversations with my executive team right now.” Sometimes that also sounds like, “If my company's culture was different, I would be different.” Or “If other people modeled those behaviors, I could do them too.” What I hear is   “Look at...
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Leadership Tips: Hold Yourself Able

Leadership Tips: Hold Yourself Able
At Fierce, we believe that accountability is a bias towards action: an attitude, a personal, private, non-negotiable choice about how to live your life. The reality is, as much as you may want to, you can’t hold someone accountable. In Fierce Accountability , we talk about the difference between holding someone accountable and holding someone able. When you hold someone able, you choose to recognize the capacity of each person you are connecting with to achieve the goals you agreed upon. Where can you take a more accountable position in your life? At work? On certain projects? With your partner? With your kids? This week’s tip is to hold yourself able with your commitments. Trust and make the choices you need to make for the important relationships and objectives in your life right now. You are the only one who can.

How to Address Employee Toxicity: 3 Fierce Tips

How to Address Employee Toxicity: 3 Fierce Tips
You know the one. The one who frequently complains. Gossips. Blames others. Leaves people hanging. Today we released our recent survey results from a thousand full-time employees across the U.S. who weighed in on toxic employees. Cited by the majority of respondents, a negative attitude is the most toxic and most detrimental trait an employee can have. And more than three-quarters (76%) say a special talent or skill never or infrequently outweighs the impact of a co-worker’s negativity. I completely agree with our respondents. I have personally witnessed how a toxic employee can bring a whole team down. Toxic employees wreak havoc on an organization. First and foremost, they increase stress, according to those surveyed, followed by decreasing overall job satisfaction. For the organization as a whole, respondents believe a toxic employee decreases morale, followed by decreasing productivity, and decreasing the quality of work product. For women, toxic employees have...
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Leadership Tips: Know They Can Handle It  

Leadership Tips: Know They Can Handle It  
Excuses, excuses, excuses. People make excuses all the time when it comes to not having the conversations they need to have. We hear this everywhere regardless of one’s title, location, or status. One of the most common justifications to not have the conversation is the other person can’t handle it . Responses look like: They’ll get hurt. They’ll get defensive. They won’t talk about it. The irony of this excuse is that the person saying it is the one who is scared, uncertain, or assumptive about the outcome. Don’t get me wrong, there are absolutely valid reasons for feeling tentative. You may have been burned in the past. Maybe Johnny in the Finance Department spoke up, and he is no longer with your company. Maybe someone in your family continues to show up the same way every time things get tough. So given those realities, there is absolutely skill in...
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Cut Your Victim Bonding

Cut Your Victim Bonding
  We all love to victim bond at times. Victim bonding occurs when people get together and talk about how horrible a situation is. At its core, it is consistent with talking about the situation rather than doing anything to change it.   Common foreplay for victim bonding looks like this:   Person A: Oh, you are having trouble with Bill?   Person B: Yes, absolutely. Are you having trouble with Bill? He’s horrible. He never gives me enough resources.   Person A: Me either! Oh, let me tell you this story…   And so the bond begins. It feels so good. It feels so right. Someone actually “gets it” or “gets you”.   Let’s pause on that.   The quote “misery likes company” applies to this situation. Essentially, you are not only choosing misery, you are choosing to have someone else’s misery in your life as well. Is that...
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Leadership Tips: Invite Negative Emotions

Leadership Tips: Invite Negative Emotions
It is common to feel discomfort when dealing with other people’s emotions in the workplace. The old saying - leave your emotions at the door – can be a real invitation. I’m sure you know someone that you wish would take this advice more often. The problem with that statement is that many leaders want some emotions…and don’t want others. Most leaders welcome a lot of laughing, smiling, cheering, and all the happy emotions. And yet, they would want to modify that statement to: Leave your negative emotions at the door . It is not always fun to deal with disappointment, anger, frustration, what would be considered negative emotions. However, recent research has shown that negative thoughts and emotions play a critical role in helping us to understand our experiences. And hence, they fuel decision-making. In today’s workplace, leaders who are not comfortable with negative emotions are typically less able...
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Improve Two Relationships through Conversation

Improve Two Relationships through Conversation
The conversation is the relationship. It is such a simple five word sentence. Yet, the depth and applicability of this concept is powerful. The quality of your conversations dictate the quality of your relationships. Think of all the relationships in your life. With those, imagine that you must put the quality of your conversations on a scale of 1 being most satisfying to 10 being least satisfying. Where would those conversations land? Given all the relationships you may have on that scale, ask yourself:  As a leader, what kind of conversations are you having? Are they developmental and supportive? Or skeptical and controlling?   As a team member, what kind of conversations are you having? Are they collaborative and robust? Or superficial and frustrated?   As a friend, what kind of conversations are you having? Are they thoughtful and compassionate? Or assumptive and insincere   As an individual, what kind...
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Leadership Tips: Pay Attention to Your Influence

Leadership Tips: Pay Attention to Your Influence
What effect do you want to have on others when you leave a room or call? This week, you have the opportunity to infinitely inspire others…or do the opposite. At Fierce, one of the concepts is to take responsibility for your emotional wake. An emotional wake is what is remembered after you have left a conversation. It can be an afterglow, aftertaste, or aftermath. Which one do you choose? This week’s tip is to pay attention to your emotional wake, so that you are able to tune in and take responsibility for it.  All in all, what effects do you want to have on others this week?

How to be Fierce in 3 Challenging Work Conversations

How to be Fierce in 3 Challenging Work Conversations
We all need to have them at some point. Those pesky, dreaded conversations. You know, the ones that can be awkward or uncomfortable or come with a crazy mix of emotions. When these unwelcome, challenging situations enter your life, your first instinct may be to run away, either physically or mentally. Once you think about the impracticality of escaping, you may minimize the issue – oh it isn’t that bad. Or I’ll just see if it happens again. Or I just will deal with this on my own. While this is a reality for many of us, I contend that those conversations you want to run from are the very ones you need to have. Why? Well firstly, you spend the majority of your time with the people at work, so from a practical perspective, you can only avoid these conversations so much. Secondly, HR Magazine reported that in a...
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Leadership Tips: Ask What Else

Leadership Tips: Ask What Else
  In our coaching model, we instruct you to ask “ what else? ” at least 3 times in different parts of the conversation. Each time you ask, you are going deeper into the question. You are exploring – unlocking new territory.   The need to ask “ what else?” is everywhere.   For example, think about when someone asks you: How’s it going?   How do you usually respond?   When I ask people this, the initial answer is usually very surface. Examples: Work is busy but good. Family is good. Vacation was good.   This conversation is always different when I ask “what else?” after they give me the first, ceremonial answer. Only after the “ what else” does something juicier come out. It is almost like “ what else” translates to “ no, really, I want to know.”   This week’s tip is to concentrate on where...
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3 Critical Questions to Ask Your Team About Vacation

3 Critical Questions to Ask Your Team About Vacation
Yesterday was the first official day of summer, and many employees are looking forward to planned vacations. Whether it’s hiking through Yellowstone, lounging around on a tropical island, or embracing a good old-fashioned staycation, talks of summer plans are taking over offices everywhere. Yet, the land of vacation relaxation is easier said than done based on the results of our new Fierce survey that launched earlier today. We surveyed over a thousand full-time employees across the U.S. and found some surprising variances in employee experiences around paid time off (PTO). From managerial support to stress reduction, we investigated various dynamics with paid time off and what gets in the way of employees truly enjoying vacation. Bottom line: people are not getting enough value from their vacations. And because of that, leaders, it is time for you to step up and have the necessary conversations. Research shows that vacation can improve...
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Leadership Tips: Develop Your Team While Away on Vacation

Leadership Tips: Develop Your Team While Away on Vacation
You can develop your team when you are away on vacation.   That sounds like a dream, right?  A magic pill that you would most definitely purchase if it existed, yeah? Well luckily, you don’t need a pill. It boils down to the conversations. As a leader, you need to take time off and recharge. This is necessary for your wellbeing as well as your team’s. A past Fierce Study revealed that more than 58 percent of respondents indicated that they received no stress relief from vacations. The goal of vacation is to enjoy and feel refreshed when you return. And your ability to relax and decompress is dependent on you, not the vacation itself. Surprising or not – there are currently responsibilities on your plate that your team members want to own. This should make you jump for joy When your team members develop, your team develops, and you...
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Leadership Tips: Take It Personally

Leadership Tips: Take It Personally
In Fierce Conversations, we believe the phrases “Don’t take this personally” and “Don’t take yourself so seriously” are misguided suggestions. Do take it personally; do take yourself seriously. Work is deeply personal. And so is leading others. Leading anything in your life, for that matter. Instead of turning the other direction when your idea is rejected or something doesn’t go your way, stick with it. It is important to lean into those situations. Don’t shut yourself down or brush it off. For example, when one of my team’s marketing concepts is scrutinized, it is impossible to not feel some emotion or level of disappointment. Instead of becoming apathetic, acknowledge that the work is personal. And that we want to get it right, because we all care. (If we didn’t care, there wouldn’t be emotions.) And then the next step is to get curious and ask questions. This week’s tip is...
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Leadership Tips: Develop People Around You

Leadership Tips: Develop People Around You
"The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership." - Harvey S. Firestone, Founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company Here at Fierce, we’re in the business of helping others grow. And our clients are on all different paths in supporting their people’s development, from offering very sophisticated development programs to just starting on the path of giving options. Regardless, the leaders we work with realize that developing their people is a critical piece for success. This isn’t just a “check the box” – employees crave it. According to EdenRed, 68% of workers say training and development is the most important workplace policy, followed by working hours flexibility (74%), then promotion of health at work (72%). I’d argue it goes beyond the policy, because people truly want growth opportunities. So you must ask yourself: If this perk is highly desired, how do I help aid others’ development?...
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An Event for All Fierce Fans: 3 Reasons to Attend

An Event for All Fierce Fans: 3 Reasons to Attend
The Fierce community has spoken, and the resounding advice to us was: bring us together! Tell us what you are thinking. Take a stand on how our organizations and world can become more fierce together. Given that, we are very excited to announce the launch of the Fierce Summit, a learning event for the fierce community and fans. It will be in Seattle, WA on September 13th and 14th. Here is the official site with more details. If you are a Fierce facilitator, please join us September 12th for a special day to take your facilitation to the next level. It is an investment of time and money, and it will be worth it. Here are three reasons to attend: 1. Network with a worldwide Fierce Community. The Fierce Summit is a rare opportunity to network with new and long-time Fierce community members from around the globe. You will make...
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Leadership Tips: Don’t Procrastinate with Your Conversations

Leadership Tips: Don’t Procrastinate with Your Conversations
What conversations are you currently stalling? At work? At home?   No one likes to admit it, yet we do often put off tasks and responsibilities. Many studies report that extreme procrastination affects over 20% of the population. Even if you aren’t in this group, the lure of waiting until tomorrow affects us all at times. An online survey by The Procrastination Research Group posed the question, “To what extent is procrastination having a negative impact on your happiness?” Of the 2,700 responses, 46% said “quite a bit” or “very much,” and 18% claimed “extreme negative effect.” And yet, there are real reasons we put off doing things that are important. When it comes to conversations, we often put off the vital ones we need to have for reasons like: It will take too long.   The other person can’t handle it.   It’s not the right time. Those are...
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Leadership Tips: Decide What is Important

Leadership Tips: Decide What is Important
Arianna Huffington’s book  Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder , makes a compelling case to redefine what success means in today’s world. The book gave me some tips and tricks to personally redefine success for myself. Success means different things for different people. And at the end of the day, we only have so many hours to focus on what we think is important. One of my favorite quotes that Huffington included in Thrive is: "And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, 'This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!' "And each day, it's up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, "No. This is what's important.'" -  Iain Thomas So I ask you: What...
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Leadership Tips: Build Your Leaders Up

Leadership Tips: Build Your Leaders Up
In our often time-constrained, all-consuming routines as leaders, it can be hard to focus and help others around you. And when I say others, I mean other leaders – the people you aren’t normally focused on helping and supporting. It’s often assumed that this orphaned population of fellow leaders are “skilled to fend for themselves.” Hey, they are super talented and should have it figured out…that’s their job, right?! Well, we know that is not reality. Leaders are pressured in all directions – from the top, the side, and the bottom. And when you think about it, often it is hard for them to even know what they need in the middle of it all. I was recently talking with a leader in one of our client companies, and she is tasked with building a new middle manager training program. When I asked about the vision, she shared that more...
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Leadership Tips: Check-In Now

Leadership Tips: Check-In Now
Step back and reflect on all of the people you will interact with this week - inside and outside of work. Do you have a gut feeling about something that needs to be talked about? Now is the time to do something about it. I'm not saying that your instinct about a situation is necessarily correct.   Many times our instincts are fueled by our own fears or thoughts around a certain situation. What you may perceive as an issue, may be something entirely unrelated. However...what if it isn't? Is it worth glazing over? This week's tip is to connect with the person you most need to check-in with.   Be specific and share what you sense. The worst that can happen is you are wrong. Just be prepared to be.

Revised and Updated Fierce Conversations Launches Today

Revised and Updated Fierce Conversations Launches Today
At the core of Fierce, and really at the core of relationship, are Fierce conversations. This idea originated years ago with our founder and CEO, Susan Scott, whose now famous statement launched an entire organization: While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation absolutely can. In addition to launching Fierce, a company helping thousands of business leaders directly, Susan also published Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time which has sold a half a million copies to date. Today, we are excited to announce an extensively revised and updated version is now available . The updated version offers guidance for navigating changes that are happening in the workplace, including the shifting expectations of employees. Some key additions to the book include: • Insight into how and when to...
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Leadership Tips: Ask for Feedback as a Leader

Leadership Tips: Ask for Feedback as a Leader
“Asking others for input increases their expectation that you will change in a positive way.” – Joseph Folkman, The Power of Feedback The world is constantly changing around you. An important employee leaves your team. A key client shifted the whole program for their upcoming session. A new company launches to compete with your core product. Your computer crashes. All before noon. Big or small fluctuations happen every minute of the day. Leaders must be able to track the trends with their teams and organizations. Feedback is important data in our daily lives, so we need to solicit input. So I ask: How much feedback are you receiving from your employees? My guess would be not enough. And if that is true, you need to ask. The higher up you are in the organization, the more removed you may be from how you are really doing from others’ perspectives. This...
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Leadership Tips: Use the Power of Change

Leadership Tips: Use the Power of Change
Last year, I was in New York at the Conference Board’s Annual Change and Transformation Conference. Although it was almost a year ago, the core themes discussed have proved to be true in the workplace: Constant change is the new normal. We have many beliefs about change, and at the end of the day, we as humans don’t particularly like change. It’s uncomfortable. The issue is that we don’t truly understand change and how we react. Warren Parry, Managing Director at Accenture Strategy, shared research that was completed over the last 15 years about 250 change initiatives in more than 150 organizations. What struck me was two particular myths that he debunked about change. The first myth is that too much change, too fast, is destructive . According to their research, the highest-performing organizations really excel in change. Typically, high-performing companies have more frequent change taking place. The second myth is...
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Leadership Tips: Bust Generation Stereotypes

Leadership Tips: Bust Generation Stereotypes
The media is buzzing every day with news of the latest epidemic of generational conflict. Millennials are flipping things completely upside down while the boomers stand sternly, clenching status quo. Well, how much is this really happening? I've traveled to several conferences and corporate events, and during that time, I had several conversations about generations in the workforce. Most people say the generational gap is a real one but admitted to knowing people who don't fall into their generations' stereotypes. So I ask you: When have you defied your generation's stereotypes? When have others around you?  I am an “older” millennial, yet I hold some very “boomer” values and tendencies. In our Fierce Generations workshop, we do a values exercise in which participants choose values most important to them. The beauty is that most people walk away from the training acknowledging that they have values from all the different generations. There...
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5 Biggest Takeaways from LAMP

5 Biggest Takeaways from LAMP
The relationship between Fierce and GAMA International has been built on a common vision: to support and develop field leaders in the insurance and financial services industry. In this industry, recruiting, maintaining, and sustaining relationships between employees is one of the biggest challenges—keeping the lines of communication open between the field offices and the corporate office can be difficult. This challenge is where Fierce conversations can play a transformative role. The financial industry is also shifting, and organizations are coming together as a community to tackle the tough challenges that accompany change. Fierce attended GAMA’s 2017 LAMP , themed “Ignite Change.” During the four-day event that included general session speakers and conversations with field leaders, we learned a great deal about how the financial industry is changing. Here are our five biggest takeaways that financial and insurance organizations should keep in mind, with highlights from event speakers. 1. Culture is...
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New Fierce Survey Reveals Millennials Embrace the Benefits of Diversity

New Fierce Survey Reveals Millennials Embrace the Benefits of Diversity
The current political and global climate has led to an increase in conversations about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends , the number of executives who cited inclusion as a top priority has risen 32% in the last three years, and over two-thirds of executives rate diversity and inclusion as an important issue. We surveyed over a thousand individuals nationwide to gain a better understanding of how people perceive the benefits of workplace diversity. We also explored issues relating to discrimination and safety in the workplace. We thought it was interesting that over 40% of survey respondents believe their organization would benefit from greater diversity. This number increased to 55% amongst those 18-29, however, decreased to just 30% of those 60+. A clear disconnect exists here between generations, as younger individuals seemingly place a greater value on diversity than those older. This...
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Leadership Tips: Reflect on Your Generation

Leadership Tips: Reflect on Your Generation
I am proud to be a millennial. And this is despite the many demoralizing stereotypes. It may be weird, but yes, I do prefer face-to-face conversations when I have a difficult topic to talk about with someone. I also am not a serial job hopper; I can actually be loyal to a fault. I also don’t expect to get something unless I work very hard, and then if I achieve it, I work more to share gratitude for all the people who inevitably helped along the way. Yes, I am not the stereotypical millennial. However, I do not believe the publicized generalizations apply to most of my millennial peers. That’s the thing - it is an amazing time to be in business. Sometimes it seems easiest to just keep bucketing people in a way that “makes sense” and allows us to feel more comfortable. The landscape is constantly changing, and...
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Leadership Tips: Ask Your Team

Leadership Tips: Ask Your Team
"Unity is strength . . . when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved." -Mattie Stepanek Think about a time that a leader in your organization has made a decision without consulting the people it affected. How was the decision received? Was there resistance? Most of the time, when there is an issue with a decision, it is because people’s opinions and concerns were not addressed in the first place. People ultimately want to know that their perspectives matter. The engagement piece is more important than the final outcome. At Fierce, we have a culture committee – composed of cross department members – that is focused on bringing our core values to life. They explore and recommend opportunities from recognition programs to mentorship to coordinating our company-wide fantasy draft team. Why do we have this group? Because it is critical for our team members to help steer how...
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Women Leadership: A Reason, a Caution, and a Bottom Line

Women Leadership: A Reason, a Caution, and a Bottom Line
On this International Women's Day, I want to celebrate women all around the world. This day makes me reflect on the strong women leaders in my life who have propelled my career and have forever changed me—for the better. I am so grateful to you. You know who you are. Based on recent articles that struck me, I want to offer some considerations for propelling women into leadership roles. Let’s start with the current February 2017 stats. According to Catalyst, of the S&P 500 companies, 5.4% of CEOs are women, 9.5% of top earners are women, 19.9% of board seats are women, 25.1% of executive officers are women, and 36.4% of middle management are women. Given that the total employee base is 44.3% women, there is continual opportunity for women to rise to the higher managerial and leadership levels. These numbers have increased significantly in the last few years. This...
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Leadership Tips: Celebrate a Woman in Your Life

Leadership Tips: Celebrate a Woman in Your Life
International Women’s Day is March 8th. As a women-owned business, Fierce wants to thank all of the women-owned businesses that make an impact in our community – from Seattle to around the globe. I want to shout out to Women in Real Life and PACE Staffing as some of our women-owned business partners who grow their businesses with brilliance and strength. In the United States, there continues to be a surge of women-owned businesses. According to the 2016 State of Women-Owned Business Report, there are nearly 11.3 million women-owned enterprises (up from 9.1 million in 2014), employing nearly 9 million workers and generating over $1.6 trillion in revenues. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms grew 45%. So I ask you: Do you have women entrepreneurs in your life? What have you learned from them? This week’s tip is to celebrate a woman in your life. Find a...
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Leadership Tips: Create Diversity of Thought

Leadership Tips: Create Diversity of Thought
All you have to do is turn on the news to see that there is a lack of diversity of thought around us, from our grid-locked Congress to our arguments about anything under the sun.  There is never one simple solution to the challenges we face, and we need, more than ever, diversity of thought. In order to get there, we need to focus on two things: getting curious and expanding our thinking. To dig a little deeper, I want to share a relevant excerpt from our white paper:  A Perspective on Diversity, Building a Culture of Curiosity : The metaphorical phrase “you can’t judge a book by its cover” has endured as long as it has for a reason.  In a similar vein, an employee should not be judged by the generation they represent, the religion they practice, or the socioeconomic status they were raised in. Because the combination of experiences and...
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The Power of Friendship in the Workplace

The Power of Friendship in the Workplace
Are you having a so-called “hangover” from chocolate, hearts and all the love from Valentine’s Day? If the focus yesterday was on romantic love, let’s focus today on your coworkers, who may also be friends. Current research reveals that all types of relationships with coworkers play an increasingly significant role in job satisfaction. We released a new study at Fierce, Inc. with over a thousand individuals surveyed to gain insight into the impact of relationships between coworkers. While the line between friend and coworker can be thin, most employees have embraced the dual title for those they work with. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed consider two or more coworkers friends, with no significant differences between male and female respondents. Fierce has found both in working with clients, along with a renowned Gallup poll, that the most productive employees and workgroups take this a step further and have a best friend...
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Leadership Tips: It’s the Week of Love - Share Appreciation at Home

Leadership Tips: It’s the Week of Love - Share Appreciation at Home
This is the week of love in the United States. Valentine’s Day turns to the personal sides of our lives more than the professional, and to some, that may seem inappropriate for the workplace. However, I argue, with greater significance than ever, we must care about our employees’ relationships outside of the workplace. Gone are the days that our personal lives don’t intertwine with our workplace conversations. In fact, it is directly related to personal satisfaction at work. Last year, we surveyed 1,000 working women about work/life balance, and 82.6% shared that having a fulfilling relationship with their partner was the primary attribute of having it all. In Fierce Conversations , Susan Scott shares that we must discard the idea that our home and office conversations are quite different. She says, "When you squeeze an orange, what comes out of it? Orange juice. Why? Because that's what's inside it…When we...
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Leadership Tips: Address Your Mokitas

Leadership Tips: Address Your Mokitas
Mokita is a Papua New Guinean term for something that  everyone knows but no one talks about .  Papua New Guineans measure the health of their tribes by how many mokitas they have. The fewer mokitas, the healthier the tribe. In other words, the tribes that can talk about the difficult topics are the most healthy. We have this concept in America. It’s called the elephant in the room. That thing that we know and feel compelled to not talk about, because the consequences may not be “pleasant.” The family gathering may have its own special elephant while your team meetings may have another. Mokitas can show up everywhere. One could be that your one team member is always late, and although it has negative impact on everyone, no one ever says anything. It could be that your mother always pressures you on a particular topic, and no one ever...
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What it Takes to be a Top Training Company

What it Takes to be a Top Training Company
At Fierce, we know the various issues that can arise when building training programs. It can be difficult for organizations to build a program that is both meaningful and impactful. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Fierce was at the Training Conference & Expo in San Diego, where the Top 125 Training Companies received awards for their exceptional training program designs and results. We are honored to work with Van Meter, Inc., who won a position on the prestigious list. I interviewed Jenn Bleil, Learning & Development Manager at Van Meter, Inc. She shared insights about what makes their training effective and how Fierce helps Van Meter achieve its goals. What do you attribute as the reason for Van Meter's success in training? As a 100% employee-owned company, we believe our greatest asset is our people. Our success in training is due to our commitment to helping our people...
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Leadership Tips: Create Self-Directed Learning Opportunities

Leadership Tips: Create Self-Directed Learning Opportunities
Learning has always been a lifeline for me. Like many others in our digital age, I’m constantly looking for ways to learn throughout my day. When I ask my friend for a new workout at the gym, I’m learning something that will help me with my fitness goals. On my commute in, I watch videos and read articles on how to “up” my game in the latest digital marketing innovation. While thinking about what to cook for dinner, I search the web for a new recipe and watch short tutorials on how to prep. Throughout my day, the opportunity for micro-learning—small, bite-sized learning—shows up. This micro-learning trend is showing up in the workplace too. We see a continued emphasis in the workplace for employees to drive their own learning, and more than ever in 2017. Some of this is due to technology and ease of access, while some is a...
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Leadership Tips: Get Organized

Leadership Tips: Get Organized
According to a Wall Street Journal Report, office workers waste an average of 40% of their workday.  Not because they aren’t intelligent, but because they were never taught organizing skills to cope with the increasing workloads and demands. How much time do you waste during your day? Stephanie Winston, author of The Organized Executive, estimates a manager loses 1 hour/day to disorder, costing the business up to $4,000/year if earning $35,000/year – or $8,125/year at $65,000. Those are very tangible costs to businesses. And those costs don’t take into account the emotional toll. I know many leaders and executives who feel emotionally exhausted from the overload. On top of that, over time, this causes extreme burnout. This week’s tip is to focus on your organization in one specific area. Where do you feel that you waste the most time? For me at one point in my career, I felt my...
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Leadership Tips: Be Inclusive

Leadership Tips: Be Inclusive
One of our Fierce predictions this year is that diversity and inclusion initiatives and programs will continue to grow. With the current global and political climate, it is becoming known that the convergence of competing views can be volatile when the skills are absent and the expectations are not set. The goal is to foster inclusion in the workplace, and furthermore, to ensure individual workers do not feel marginalized, unsupported, or unwanted. In addition to the cultural and emotional benefits of inclusion, there are bottom line implications. McKinsey research Diversity Matters examined proprietary data sets for 366 public companies in various countries. They found: Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.   Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective...
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