Transform Your Team


Presentation for Bust the 4 D's & Transform Your Team PDF
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Does this sound familiar:

  1. Are employee issues and team drama wreaking havoc in your business?
  2. Do you avoid correction conversations because you fear a negative reaction?
  3. What behaviors and attitudes are you tolerating that you should not?
  4. How often are you fixing customer complaints that result from negative employee attitudes? 

If, instead, you would love to initiate correction conversations feeling bold and confident then this webinar is for you!

  • You will learn to remove the fear and guilt that stops you from addressing your employee issues
  • We’ll uncover the simple mindset tweaks and key phrases that will give you the power to engage again
  • You will gain access to specific strategies to maintain control of the meeting, stay focused and get your message across
  • Do what you must to generate a team that is aligned with your business mission and fueled towards achieving excellence.  Why limp along when you can soar?

Please download this HANDOUT to guide you along the presentation.

Presented by:
Kirsten Ross, MHRLR, SPHR
CEO, Focus Forward Coaching, LLC

Kirsten E. Ross is CEO of Focus Forward Coaching, LLC, a leading coaching and culture correction firm.”  Her education and experience includes a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management, Senior Human Resource Certification, the Coach Training Alliance curriculum and more than 20 years of hands-on Human Resource.   

She has provided coaching and consultation for private and family businesses and non-profits of all sizes and across a variety of industries.  Her coaching style is effective for all levels of an organization, from executives and managers to front line employees.

She brings a unique blend of energy, insight and compassion to her work with clients.   She will help you generate focus, align a dynamic team, enhance customer loyalty and achieve your goals.  

Kirsten is also the author of the books “Defeat the Drama!” and “From People Problems to Productivity” and has been featured as an expert for media such as: NBC Nightly News, Fox 2 News, National Public Radio and for publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine, Working Mother Magazine and Fitness Magazine.



Webinar Transcript: Transform Your Team

Good afternoon, I'm Jim Thompson, senior writer with Monster. I would like to thank you for joining us today for this exclusive webinar hosted by Monster Intelligence. Today's webinar is entitled "Transform Your Team." Kirsten Ross will be presenting this afternoon.

In this webinar Kirsten will discuss ways to burst the four D's of discipline avoidance to regain your power and transform your team. Before we get started, I would like to mention a few housekeeping items. Today's presentation and a copy of the recording will be posted on within the next two to three business days. Please click on the Resources tab and navigate to "HR Events" to get obtain your copy. All registered participants will also receive an email with a direct link to today's materials.

Monster intelligence helps HR professionals, improve worker performance, retain top talent, and enhance recruiting strategies. We analyze and collect data from millions of unique job searches performed by Monster each day. We invite you to visit and read our in-depth reports and analysis. For our latest materials, click on the Resources Center tab when you visit the website.

After the presentation there will be time for questions. Our meeting manager will help facilitate the Q&A. Please feel free to type your questions into the available space during the event. And we will make every effort to include them in today's Q&A. And if you're listening to today's presentation via telephone, you'll be placed on mute until the Q&A session begins.

I would like to provide some background on our speaker. Kirsten E. Ross is the CEO of Focus Forward Coaching, LLC, a leading coaching and culture correction firm. She has a master's degree in Human Resource Management, a Senior Human Resource Certificate on Education, and is an authority on coach training alliance curriculum, that has over 20 years of hands-on human resources experience. Kirsten has provided coaching and consultation for private and family businesses, as well as, non-profits of all sizes across a variety of industries. Her coaching style is effective at all organizational levels, from the executives in management, to front-line employees. Kirsten is also the author of books: "Defeat the Drama" and From People Problems to Productivity." And she has been featured as an expert in a wide range of media outlets. Kirsten, I would now like to turn the webinar over to you.

Thank you so much. I am so excited to be here today, and I want to thank everyone who's taking time out of their busy day to join us. So, I have a lot of information to cover. This is one I always say it's my favorite topic but one of my favorite topics. I am all about defeating the drama and creating dynamic teams that are on fire for great service and bursting the four D's of discipline avoidance is one of the really key ways to help you create that great team.

This is just one of the struggles that many of my clients have. So I'm going to be showing what I have helped my clients do many of my clients. So if you've let avoidance tactics win, I'm telling you that you are giving away some of your leadership power to your team. So I'm hoping by the end of this session that you are going to be fired off and ready to go have those conversations that you've been putting off. I'm going to start by creating the way. I'm going to build some pain change requires pain so that you are motivated to do what you need to do and then I'm going to give you the specific steps.

All right, so let's get started. This is my tumultuous employee. I'm going to start with what, believe it or not, is the true story. This particular employee was actually the inspiration for the article that became this presentation. So quite a few years ago, I had been working with the client and this poor manager had an employee who she wished did not work there anymore but he still did. She started telling me her tale of woe. She was really at a point where she was just afraid to talk to him anymore. So she sent me his whole employee file and she said, "Can you take a look and see if we can terminate this guy?"

As I read through his file, my blood began to boil. I just thought, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe he's still working there." Unfortunately, with a manager who was afraid to talk to him anymore, he really hadn't been given the opportunity to be successful yet. We only had one kind of quickstep to give him that one last opportunity, but I wanted to make sure they had the documentation. And we're going to have to pay him unemployment. So while my blood boiled, I just thought, "Oh! We can't terminate him yet." But it ended up being a great growth opportunity for that manager.

So let me tell you a little bit and maybe you'll think, "Oh, this sounds familiar." This guy used all of the avoidance tactics that I'm going to be talking about today. He was a customer service guy. His whole job was to sit on the phone, talking to customers, providing great service. He most of the time showed up to work late. Kind of whenever he felt like it and spent a majority of his day on Facebook. He also liked to text sport stuff and all kinds of stuff like that. They were able to prove that. They had an IT department that was able to have all of the evidence but he's a lot in denial.

He would start yelling at her and swearing, and pounding his fists. Understandably, she got really nervous about talking to him, then he would burst out of her office, and all of the cubicles of his co-workers were lined up on each side in a hallway outside of her office, and he would go out of there and shove stuff off of everyone's desk on his way out. He would throw a huge adult temper tantrum. His plan was working because he was creating such a fuss that his manager was reluctant to hold him accountable.

I am happy to say that I worked with her and I'm going to tell the rest of the story later, but it has a happy ending, I'll tell you that much. So how many of you see any similarities in that story? Oh I forgot to tell one of the best parts. He had sent an email and it actually said "It's come to my attention that you can't hold me accountable because you don't have an attendance policy." Now I had told them to get an attendance policy, but they didn't have one. But the truth is, you do have to be sitting at your desk and ready to do your work, so we we're still able to write him up for that.

So, I like to call these talks "correction conversation." Part of getting ready to do them is getting in the right mindset, and so calling them a correction conversation rather than discipline kind of helps you see it like, "Oh, I'm just helping someone make a change or tweak their performance." They can certainly be a part of discipline, of course. You might have a correction conversation, while you're writing someone up. But it doesn't have to be part of discipline. It might come out of a performance-management forum. They might have part of their performance where they're just not hitting the right standard, and so you're going to tell them what you need them to change to do things better, or it can be ad hoc.

You see someone who keeps having their cell phone out, you just, on the fly say, "Hey, we need you to change that." So there are lots of different times where you'll have a correction conversation. The ultimate goal is you're seeking to tweak. You just need them to change something that they're doing. That might be an attitude, a work-style, the outcomes they're creating, their performance overall, some certain skills, but that's all. You're just seeking to tweak their performance, and it should be a catalyst to change. It's their opportunity to get real facts from you about where they're falling short. They're not hitting the definition of success and what they need to do to get there.

I'm going to take a quick minute now because such an important part of being a leader is being able to have really good correction conversations. So I want you to just take a quick minute and picture for me your lowest performing employee, and I know you know who they are. It's not even going to take you a minute. Now I need you to picture what your business would be like if everyone performed at that same level.

Now when I do this live, this is where I hear groans, uncomfortable giggles, so I'm going to assume that that's happening on the phone here, and what I want to tell you is, there's your proof that you have some correction conversations that you need to have because the truth is, you cannot hold anyone accountable for a standard higher than you do your lowest performer. Because what you're doing is you're creating a scenario where there is drama. Other people are picking up the slack for those employees that you aren't talking to. I'm hoping that this is starting to give you some motivation to have these conversations because your business is suffering, the other employee's are suffering, I'm sure you are suffering, and your customers are suffering.

Now we're just going to take a really quick poll. Vote right on your screen. I just want to see where we're at. Do you currently have employees who require a correction conversation right now? Just hit yes or no or I'm not sure. The reason I ask this is most of my clients have employees who do require a correction conversation. So I'm going to assume that you guys are here because you have issues in this area. We are just going to wait. It's just going to take a little minute here to bring up your results and it's going to give us a percentage. And I'm assuming that percentage is going to be really high. And the good news is you're going to leave this call with the tools that you need.

Good, the poll has ended. A number of you definitely have correction conversations that you need to have. So let me ask you this, and if you did download the handout, on page two follow along and mark the excuses that you're using. What are you telling yourself to make it okay to not have the correction conversation?

These are some of my favorites:

  • They might get angry. Yeah, they might, and you know what, that's one of their stay stuck tactics, and if it's stopping you from having the conversation, it's working, and they're gaining power.
  • They have personal issues. I see this so often. Employees who are making poor choices in their personal lives want accommodations and kind of empowering themselves in your business. And I actually have in my book, "Defeat the Drama," well both of my books, I talk about the "life-is-hard sympathy-card employee." And the reality is, they do want a lot of accommodation, but if they need the job then they need to do what they need to do to keep the job.
  • This is one of my favorites, "They should just know." I hear this over and over, "They should just know, why do I have to tell them?" Well, here's the thing: most people do want to do a good job. Yes, there are a few entitled employees who are trying to do as little work as possible, but most people want to do a good job. And so, I'm going to hazard to guess, that if they're not doing what you need them to do, they really don't know. And if they knew, they would do something different. So, you know what, take the couple of minutes that it would take to have a conversation and give it a try.
  • "I don't know how to start." By the end of the call today you're going to know how to start.
  • "Nothing changes anyway." I hate to tell you, but if nothing changes anyways, is you're talking to your team, you're probably not being consistent with your consequences, so they don't believe that you're going to follow through, so there's no reason for them to change what's working for them.
  • "They might quit." Hallelujah! That would be awesome! But I can't tell you, how many of my clients say," I don't want them to quit." It's almost like that bad relationship where you want to break up but you don't want them to break up with you. It's beautiful if someone who's not performing quits, actually. You can find someone better. I know you can. I've proven it over and over to my clients. And the truth is sometimes when you start holding people accountable, who don't want to do a good job, they do end up quitting, and it's a great thing.
  • This is another favorite, "I don't have time." I need you to stop and think quickly if you're using this one. And again, I've heard this one over and over and over. Let's do a reality check here: how much time are you spending listening to the complaints of their co-workers? How much time are you spending dealing with customer service issues that shouldn't be happening? How much time are you doing mediating conversations between struggling employees? I mean, you are spending so much extra time picking up the slack for the person who's not performing well. If you could just nip that in the bud and use that extra time to be productive it would be great.
  • "They're my aunt's neighbor's cousin's best friend's sister." A lot of businesses end up hiring people that they know or people who know people that they know, and then they say, "I just feel bad because I don't want this person to be frustrated with me," and my hope is that you don't have this situation. If you're in this situation you need to put the business first over that relationship, and the person still needs to do what's right. They can't take advantage of that relationship.

The truth is all of these things boil down to fear and guilt and the truth about fear especially is that it only gets bigger. If you don't bust through it, it will dictate everything. So there's no way to make it go away, so continuing to make excuses and give yourself grief for reasons that aren't really real will just keep you stuck, and that fear and guilty will immobilize you. I worked with this client years ago. She was the office manager of a small healthcare clinic that had been purchased by a large health organization, and they had had an X-ray tech that did not maintain her certification.

This large health organization said "We're not going to take on the liability of an X-ray tech not having the right credentials, so she needs to get re-certified." They gave her two years and yes you heard me right, two years to get that certification back up where it needed to be, and they were going to pay for everything she needed to do, and that employee for the two years instead of doing what she needed to do, taking the classes or whatever was required, walked around saying, "This large health organization is trying to put me out of my job. They don't want me." She was the poor little victim that had nothing that was in her control, in her mind.

Well, the poor office manager, when I started working with her, we were at the two-year mark already, and she was racked with guilt. And she just said, "I just feel so bad. She needs this job so bad." And I said, "But unfortunately, she didn't need it bad enough to do what she needed to do, and the truth is she had free will. She had the opportunity to do what was right, so there shouldn't be guilt here, and there shouldn't be fear. You just need to have the conversation." Because the truth is there are so many consequences, and I'm going to ask you to turn to page three in your handout and write these down, and think about your own situation.

So if you are not having the correction conversations that you need, you have lost productivity. It's not just that an employee who is a poor performer, either. It's all the drama and the other stuff that's building amongst the team, or again dealing with customer service issues that shouldn't be there. You're spending time on things that aren't productive. You'll have resentments building up.

I worked with a client one time where the office manager was spending an hour and a half a day at least with an admin in her office. And the admin would come out and then gossip about the stuff that they were talking about. While everyone on the team was resentful of that admin, they knew she wasn't spending time working the whole time she was in the office manager's office. And who are they going to go to? So they had resentment, she was wasting all this time. Well then the admin had all this resentment because her team wouldn't help her with her with her work, well they wouldn't help her with her work because they thought, "Well get your job done and stop spending so much time talking."

So resentments will build, overwhelm, and burn out. The people who are picking up the slack for the low performers, overtime they'll get frustrated and they're working harder than they need to, and they're not liking it. And I call those employees your rock stars, and what you don't want to have happen is have those rock stars quit. They are the ones who have more opportunities, and they are the ones you'll lose. The people who have the stay-stuck strategies don't have as many options. They'll stay there. Their life is working well for them. You do not want to build up overwhelmed and burned out in the rest of your team. You as a leader too, you're probably feeling it.

I've seen over and over with my clients. How many of them say things like, "I'm just taking on more and more, because I just need to do it if it's going to be done right." Increased liability. Look at that healthcare organization. The office manager wasn't holding that X-ray tech accountable for getting her stuff done, and that healthcare organization was increasing their liability. If something happened and they had to fight a case with an X-ray tech who wasn't certified, good luck sabotage. When things get really bad and relationships get really negative, you can have sabotage. And then there's the decreased customer service.

I have a story that I don't have time to tell today, but of my boys when they were little and bad customer service that we received, just because employees had negative relationships and they were acting out, and the negativity came at us instead of towards the team. And then, drama. Drama, to me I use the term loosely is when you take the focus away from where it needs to be and focus it any place else. And if you are accommodating low performers, there is drama.

The five goals of any correction conversation are simple.

Now, if the willing part is a no, that's an attitude issue. That's just the click of a finger. They can either do it or not. You're going to have the conversation and tell them that they need to improve their attitude and bring in energy and positivity instead of negativity. But be clear ahead of time by creating a plan, so are they willing to do the job, are they able to do the job, and what's the plan? What do they need to do to get to where they need to get? If it's a skill set, again, do they need to shadow someone, spend some time with you, their leader, do they need to take a webinar? What do they need to do? So in that pre-planning, you're going to document how you're going to ignite introspection. What did they do? And what did it cause? You're going to plan to relay the requirement. What does their job performance need to look like? Where do they need to speed up? Where do they need to show up on time? Or do they need to communicate better?

And you're going to prescribe that plan: who do they need to shadow, what do they need to do, what webinar, what class are you going to send them to? Write it or type it out. I highly recommend, even if it's not part of a discipline process, to document it for yourself at a minimum. You still should probably put it in their file, too.

Find your spot. Don't have the conversation at the front counter or in the middle of a lot of cubicles or in the middle of a meeting. I've seen all of these. Find a good private spot. I will say though that if they are someone who has a tendency to get very defensive, that you're going to want to have some reinforcements either outside the door or maybe even inside with you. Then you're going to adjust your mindset. Get ready ahead of time.

Having the right mindset. This is going to seem really simple but this simple tweak will really empower you. I've shared this with was many, many of my clients, and it's made a tremendous difference. Because the thoughts that you have in your head while you're having a correction conversation will change your non-verbals. And we all know that our non-verbal communication is about 93 or 95 percent of what we're communicating. This is the mindset that you want when you're going to meet with someone. And I recommend even typing it or writing it out and just having it there.

You're not going to say these things, but this is going to be in your mind. You want to keep it top of mind:

You're coming from a place that's "I want you to be successful." "I will define what success is." So they don't get to say it's okay that I'm late all the time. You get to define what time they need to be there. What quality of work, what quantity of work. I will define what success is.

I will communicate that definition to you. You will have a choice. Everyone has free will. It would be great if we could click our fingers and control the outcome of these conversations. It would be wonderful if everyone would make the right choices afterwards, but the truth is they might not. And that has to be okay, you don't control the choices that they make afterwards. So please release guilt. Please release; it is not within your control, so there is no guilt. You are doing everything in your power to help them be successful by having the conversation with them. As long as you're making sure they have the training, the resources, the processes, the time to do their job well you're giving them the opportunity to be successful. But they are the ones who have the choice of doing what's right and what works for them.

The final one of adjusting your mindset, "I hope you choose well." Again, you want them to be successful, but you don't get to choose their choice; they're in control of that. So that is a simple mindset tweak that will really make a great difference.

The next thing is, create the climate. So as you are starting the meeting wherever you've decided to have it, you're going to keep it calm like I said. You're going to tell them that it's going to be professional. You have your stuff written out. You're prepared so stay calm. Your voice might shake a little. It's okay. Just keep going. You're going to state the purpose of the meeting. You can tell them, "We're going to cover some of your performance issues. That's what we're here for. This is going to be a quick meeting."

Review the agenda with them. Tell them, "I'm going to read some information. If you want to read it, I need you to listen. Once we're done, you'll have a quick opportunity to tell me your thoughts, and then will be done." I would set boundaries like I don't want you to interrupt me, I want you to let me finish, and then if you have a few quick questions you can tell them that they need to be professional during the meeting and also after. So set up those expectations, set boundaries for sure. No acting out after. No talking about it with your team. No throwing things off desks. You don't have to get real specific but just tell them that the expectation is that they stay professional after.

Let them know when they will speak and then read it if you need it. I'm happy to report that that manager that I worked with who had that tumultuous employee I helped her have the next conversation with him. We followed that mindset tweak and also these steps for creating the climate and he stayed focused and calm. He did try to jump in a few times. She handled it for the most part. I was there modeling it for her that one time. I jumped in a couple of times to redirect him, and I'm going to be giving you some key phrases to use for the different tactics in just a minute, but I am very happy to report that he stayed calm for the whole meeting. He did hear. He didn't acknowledge. I don't think he signed to the form, but that was okay, and I think it was within two weeks that he quit, so yay, that was awesome. There was a happy ending to that one, and the best news was that manager from then on, once she was able to have that one calm conversation with him, she felt very empowered and has continued to do a great job holding her team accountable. She just really needed that one success under her belt to see like, "Wow, it really is possible."

Okay, so bust the four of these in discipline avoidance. These are the stay-stuck tactics that so many of my clients' team members use. So we're going to talk about deflection, defensiveness, denial, and de-friender.

Deflection: So the employee who's using the deflection tactic, their whole goal is to kind of hijack the meeting and you know all the other stuff that's going on in your business that isn't relevant to them or their current situation. I'm sure some of you are laughing right now. But they get so creative with what they can bring up. They're going to talk about, "Well, if you think I did that, what about Suzy? Suzy does this all the time. And I've never seen you talk to Suzy."

They might talk about if their life is hard sympathy card employee. This is a great time to bring up all the stuff that's going on right in your life. You can have empathy, but it's not the time to fully discuss all of that. I'm really visual, so I always picture that when you're in a conversation with someone who's deflecting, you're trying to take them down the expressway and they're doing everything in their power to try to take off all the way. Your whole goal is to shoot them back down to that expressway. You've got to keep hauling them, hauling them back because the goal is to keep calm and maintain control of that meeting, so don't let them get you sidetracked. Stick to your agenda. If they do talk about something that might be relevant, maybe you do want to check in to see if Suzy has been showing up later a lot or doing whatever it is they said that Suzy was doing. But you want to just quickly jot it down and let them know, "Thanks for letting me know but I'll address that later, but for the time being let's stay here."

Here are some key phrases and I want you to write this down on your handout or in your notepad if that's all you have. You are going to want to use these when someone is using their distraction technique. So that's their stay stuck-strategy. So if they are saying, "Well you should see what Suzy is doing," you might say, "You know what, we are not here to discuss that right now. We are here to talk about you." Or, "That is not your concern. I need you to focus on your own issues and the changes that you must make to be successful." Remember your mindset tweak that we just went through? You are on their side. You want them to be successful. So from that mindset, that's going to kind of drive these kinds of things.

Just think in terms of, I want you to do the right thing. So if they are talking about their lives, the "life is hard sympathy card employee," say "I understand that that must be difficult for you. I encourage you to speak to a professional about that. In the meantime, let's focus on your work here." Again, you can quickly acknowledge it and if the circumstances they talk about are even more difficult, you can share a little empathy. The goal is to not turn the whole time that you've allotted to this meeting into that. Remember, they need to hear you to be successful, so your whole goal is to ignite that introspection and get those next steps outlined for them so that they have the opportunity to be successful. If they hijack the whole meeting, you're never going to have the opportunity to get there.

The next one is defensiveness. This does tend to be the scariest one. These are the employees that tumultuous employee of the story that I talked about at the beginning definitely used this technique well. They can get loud, they can start swearing, pounding fists, knocking things off desks. Sometimes the more stuck they want to be, the more defensive they're going to get. With this person, you must maintain control of the meeting it's even more important. It's very difficult but sometimes they will speak very quickly. You need to really speak slowly, really focus on maintaining the speed of what you're saying. Do not match their volume; they might get loud. The louder they get, the quieter you get. It is hard, but if you match the volume, their goal is to get above you, so if you get louder they're going to get louder and now you've got a huge escalation and you do not want that.

Don't allow foul language, and do everything in your power to avoid that escalation. You might need to say, "You know what, if you're not able to maintain control, let's postpone this meeting for 10 or 15 minutes, why don't you go walk around, catch your breath, get a drink of water, compose yourself, and then come back because I really need your focus here. Of course, make sure to let them know, "I really ask you not to speak to anyone else but just walk around and compose yourself, and then I'll meet you back here in 10 minutes."

But you really want to do anything in your power to avoid that escalation. So to avoid escalation, use these kinds of phrases, "I need you to use a softer tone. Please watch your language. You must decrease the volume of your voice. I need you to calm down and listen." And again you might say, "Take a deep breath. It's okay, we're going to get through this. I want you to be successful. This is not appropriate behavior." And again, have someone available if necessary in there watching if in case of someone who might be saying that you did something that you didn't do and to maintain your safety. I've actually been in one where a person was found to have a gun after. I did not hesitate in having our security team when I worked for a large healthcare organization, outside the door very close. So safety first, always. But it's not going to get to that and I never did have anyone escalate on me.

So here is some defensive busting phrases; "I want you to be successful. I'm really hoping that you hear me today and will make the right choices." Remember they own the choices that they make so phrases like that are really important. You want them to own it. "I really need you to stop and listen. You will have a chance to speak shortly. Acknowledging is the first step. I'm really concerned that you're not acknowledging."

Denial. So that denial employee, you could have videotape, you could have fingerprints, hand-prints they could be holding the thing that you're telling them that they stole, and they're still going to tell you that they didn't do it. This is another very creative stay-stuck strategy person. So no matter what, they're not going to admit it, so let's just move on past that. Focus instead on helping them understand that hearing and acknowledging is the first step to success. You're trying to get them to ignite that introspection. Don't engage in a debate about whether or not it happened. That's what they're going to try to do. They're going to try to say, "Well, why do you think I even did that?" and "I didn't do that." You don't need to debate them.

Instead, here are some of the phrases you're going to use with the denial person. "I'm concerned that you're not able to take responsibility; that is the first step towards success. I am not here to debate whether it happened. I am here to talk about next steps to help you be successful. I really need you to hear me right now." Again, remember, your mindset tweak got you on their side. You're on their side, you want them to be successful but they don't get to hijack the meeting or decide what success looks like, but they need to hear you to be successful.

And our last one, the de-friender. These poor employees are stuck in middle school or high school and it's so sad. They're going to decide that you're mean and they don't like you and they want you to go away. The truth is, you can't control what they're going to think. You don't get to control that, just like you don't get to control their choices. The goal of the de-friender is "Don't take it personally."

The truth is some employees are going to employ their stay-stuck strategies no matter what. Sometimes they're going to need a scapegoat for their stay-stuck strategy. Sometimes the person they're going to blame is you, and it just has to be okay. There's not a lot you can do about it. Now, they can't act unprofessional, they can't treat you poorly, but they can think what they want. So here are some de-friend busting phrases. "I'm really sorry to hear that. I will continue to respect you and really hope that you do what is necessary to be successful. This is not personal; it's about the job. I really hope that you hear what I say today and make the right choices. You are welcome to think whatever you like about me. Regardless, my hope is that you are successful here." So just release them to, again, have their own thoughts about you.

And then the last step of the correction conversation is to fully release yourself. The rest is up to them. You have given them the definition of success. You've tried to inspire them to be introspective, and think about what they're doing that's not optimal. You've given them the road map for how to be successful. Whether it's taking a webinar, going to a class, shadowing a co-worker, changing their attitude or whatever it is. You've given them the opportunity to be successful. But ultimately, the choice of whether or not they take you up on it is all theirs. Release it. Don't hold guilt, no matter how bad you know they need that job, that should inspire them to want to do what they need to do to keep the job. It shouldn't inspire you to make accommodations that hurt your business, impact your customers, and frustrate the rest of your team.

Either way, in end when you have got correction conversations, when you empower yourself as a leader in this area, you win. Because there is a possibility, a great possibility actually that that employee really just didn't know and they are going to inspire themselves, and they are going to hit that mark the standard of excellence that you've communicated to them. They are going to follow through. You win, your team is better, or they are not going to choose well and you are going to walk them through your progressive discipline process. Hopefully you have one and they are going to be out the door. It's hard to see them go but sometimes it's better to release them to have them spread their joy elsewhere, and then you are going to bring in someone who is a better fit for what you are trying to make happen in your organization. Either way you win. You've got the documentation now in their file for the conversation that you've had.

So the big question is, "What will you do differently starting now?" And I would love to hear. You know maybe you can send some emails to the moderator or shoot the information in the box but my goals always is for people to feel empowered to take immediate action. My hope is that you have a better understanding of how to not be afraid, not feel guilt, and empower yourself to have these correction conversations. They are a key part of the success for your business and one of the key strategies for creating a dynamic team that does what you need them to do.

We're going to take another quick poll right now and I am hoping that I see some high numbers here. Are you ready to take action now? Please tell me that you are. I'm also going to encourage you. You know who you need to have these conversations with. They are top of mind, I know it. So I hope that on your handout or on the piece of paper that you've been taking notes on that you will create a list right now. So let me know. I'm hoping I see high numbers. Please let this time be of value by enacting change immediately. Okay, the poll has ended and I'm looking forward to seeing the results. And in the meantime, I'm going to move to the final slide.

I want to thank you so much for taking time on this webinar today. I hope that everyone who participated has gotten some "aha moments" and some tips that will help you. Yay! I see 98% of you responded that yes, I'm ready to take action now. I am so happy. I'm thrilled. But how can I help? Is there any way that I can be of service to you, with helping you with your team? Please feel free to contact me. I encourage you to. I love hearing from people. My website is I also have a newsletter. If you send an email, you'll get free leadership tips. Send it to There's my phone number, 586-558-6683. And my book "Defeat the Drama," which just came out in October, is available on Amazon. You can also go to the website And I'd also like to announce that if you go to, I'm offering a special program for anyone who wants a video course to help you defeat the drama with your team, so check that out. But at this time, I'm going to turn it over to Jim and we're going to do some Q&A.

Okay, I would like to thank Kirsten for sharing her insight and knowledge with everyone today. In case anyone missed the handout, the link for the handout is now available in your chat module. Look onscreen for that, and at this time I would like to turn the webinar over to our media manager who will help support the questions and answers session.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to register a question, please press the one followed by the four on your telephone. You will hear a three-tone prompt to acknowledge your request. Your line will then be accessed from the conference to obtain information. If your question has been answered and you would like to withdraw your registration, please press the one followed by the three. If you're using a speakerphone, please lift your handset before entering your request. One moment please for the first question.

And while we're waiting for the questions to spool up on our operator's side, I'll jump in with the first question from our team. Kirsten, if you could, are there any environments that encourage an undisciplined employee that folks can try to avoid or correct before it becomes an issue?

The question is are there any environments in a corporate setting, big or small, that encourage undisciplined employees that you may have found, and are there ways to avoid these types of environments?

I actually have a whole list of cultures that there is one kind of culture that inspires autonomy and accountability. And then there are other environments, whether it be affair-based environment or just the free for all or the confused environment. Really, any kind of environment where leaders are not being structured about creating clear expectations and holding people accountable are going to have elements of lack of discipline.

If you're interviewing for positions, I would ask about how do they hold people accountable? How do they communicate expectations? What happens when someone doesn't meet their objective? One, that's kind of good news that they're hearing that from you that you want to be held accountable and have high expectations. But also, you want to work on a team where you want to hear that they have a set of solutions for people who aren't meeting their objectives.

Great, thank you, so that we're solving the problem but kind of getting up in front of it. And I have an additional question on our side. After the release, is there any follow-up that can be done, any tactics after having your initial employee meeting or you really finalizing with that one conversation?

I probably should have said this. Part of the plan that you're rolling out to them will be creating a schedule of follow-up meetings with them. If it's an attitude thing, you're probably going to meet with them the following day and say, "Hey, how do you think things are going? Here's what I'm hearing." But no, in any kind of performance improvement initiative, you're going to have a set schedule of follow-up meetings with the employee to discuss how it's going, any challenges that they're having, and to give them feedback for how you think they're doing as well.

Okay, super. Great. Well I'd like to check in with our meeting manager to see if we've had some questions spool up on her side.

All right, and as we wait for additional questions to spool up, another one for you Kirsten, on our side. It's kind of a broader question. Have you found this issue to affect more large organizations than smaller? And are there any things you can comment on the organizations themselves versus the individuals?

I have seen this in all sizes of organizations. Although, I think in the larger organizations it's kind of in pockets. I've seen it where it's more different departments maybe that have the issue. I can't say that I've worked with a large organization that has had this I'm sure they exist but I have not personally worked with a very large organization that has no accountability throughout the entire organization. I don't know how they would manage that, but many of the small and medium-sized clients I've worked have just issues and it comes.

Organizationally if you want to have an entire culture of accountability what you want to have happen is the executive team whoever those top tier leaders are create accountabilities, and then you want those to cascade down through the entire organization. What I find often is that a lot of times this starts at the top. I mean, I'm working with a large logistics company, and the top tier leaders have a hard time holding their next level accountable, and it trickles all the way down through. So if there's wiggle room at the top, there's wiggle room at the bottom to not follow through with objectives. So it's really hard to get traction in your business when you aren't able to say like, "By noon next Thursday this needs to happen." So it does tend to be a cultural thing throughout the organization.

Great. Thanks very much.

If each leader will take it upon themselves to have the correction conversations it's really ultimately about setting clear expectations, holding people accountable and following through with those consequences. Because if you don't follow through with the consequences … sometimes people need that to be motivated. And if they don't believe that you're going to follow through, they're not going to do it. But you need them to.

Understood. All right, we have time for one additional question. If I can check in with our meeting manager one last time, I have the questions pulled up on your end.

Yes, we do have another question from the line of Jennifer Volger. Please go ahead.

Yes. My question kind of pertains to just what you were sort of speaking about. Everything starting with the top down. So I just wanted pretty much to know what you think the best way to handle for a conversation with somebody that's either defensive or kind of I guess, deflection like you talked about. When it's somebody that you report to, or that essentially is even the owner of the company. Because we have that a lot here.

I get that question often. And so, that's leading up. You're trying to give feedback to someone who you're reporting to. The same rules apply. Other than you don't have as much it's not kind of power. You probably can't use some of the same phrases that I outlined. But still be coming from that same mindset, but instead of "I want you to be successful," it's "I want our team to be successful" and "I really feel what I'm trying to tell you is really important to us meeting our objectives. To all of us ultimately being successful." It's sharing from same mindset, but you know a little bit of different language. You might say it feels like you're getting defensive and I'm so sorry; that's not the outcome I was looking for. I was really hoping that we could have a good conversation about this. I'm really hoping that you can hear and kind of consider what I'm telling you or what I'm trying to let you know. And kind of use the word feeling: "I feel that." Of course there's the old, "When you …, I feel … Can you please …" kind of terminology of sharing and making a request of someone.

Ultimately, it's not like you can have consequences for a boss or an owner of a company. They ultimately do get to make the decisions, but that's what I would try.

Thank you.

Well, thank you Kirsten. We're going to need some time. We'll close out of our question and answer session now. If questions were not answered, we'll forward those along to Kirsten, so you'll have an opportunity to get back to folks.

Thank you.

At this point I'd like to thank Kirsten for sharing her experience with us today. This does conclude our webinar. A recording of this event and the presentation materials, including the handout, will be available on our hiring site, Just look under the Resources Center tab. Thanks again for joining us. Please join us again on March 19 for a webinar entitled "How to promote your personal brand." Thank you and have a great day.

  • The first one is keep it calm. Yes, employees who are trying to use stay-stuck strategies will use technique to try to really ramp it up when you're having the conversation with them. So you need to really be coming from a calm place. I'm going to give you some tips in a minute to help you do that, and your ultimate goal is to maintain control of that meeting.
  • Don't let them highjack it. You want to ignite introspection. You want them to own or at least acknowledge or understand what they did wrong or the part that they played. What happened?
  • The next thing is you're going to relay requirements. What do they need to do instead? So let's say you have someone who's showing up late for work, you're are going to in a calm way tell them that they're late for work. You're going to ignite introspection, talking about what it means to the rest of the team when they're not there to do their job. You're going to relay the requirements, "From now on, I need you here and ready to work on time. It's not 10 minutes early."
  • You're going to prescribe a plan. If it's a skill that they need to build, what are the tools? Do they need to do a webinar? Do they need to shadow someone? What is the plan that you are going to prescribe for them to get where they need to get so they are a fully functioning performing number of your team?
  • And you are going to state your support. You want them to be successful. You are actually on their side. You are giving them a gift. The gift of the definition of success and the steps to get there. You want them to be successful. You are not being mean by having the conversation; you are trying to support them. So help them see that and again I'm going to give you some tips for how to do all of these.
  • But these are the five goals and I hope you are writing this on your page three in your handout if you have it. But these are the five main goals of any correction conversation. Now, how do you achieve that? Here are the five or the four steps that we are going to talk about for how to achieve those five goals.
  • You are going to pre-plan, create the climate, bust those four D's, and then release.
  • So pre-plan, you need to know exactly what you need to communicate. I think that it's really important. A lot of my clients, they'll just say "This simply drives me nuts." Well, how do they drive you nuts? Why do they drive you nuts? Specifically what are they doing? I encourage you to use a very simple form; I call it an employee action plan. It's not really a form, it's just write the person's name and then write are they willing to do the job and are they able to do the job? So, that there is a yes or no for each of those:
  • Are they willing while still having the right attitude and are they able?
  • Do they have the right skills?
  • If either one of those is a no, what needs to happen to get them where they need to get?