CHERYL CZACH COACHING AND CONSULTING
I had a great conversation with Kristi Stepp, partner of Sigred Solutions about how onboarding coaching can accelerate leadership transitions and directly impact the company bottom line.
"According to Egon Zehnder’s online survey of over 600 executives at the VP level and above, almost 60% reported it took them six months or longer to have a full impact in their roles and 20% said it took nearly nine months or longer. That slow to transition timeline directly impacts the bottom line."
It seems as if nearly everyone I know is in some sort of forced transition at the moment. Whether it be job loss, furlough, indefinite work from home, or a business closing, we are all facing unchartered and often unchosen territory. It can feel overwhelming, uncertain and for some people, freeing.
As businesses start to reopen and we return to some semblance of normalcy I’ve been hearing a recurring message. My friend described it best when she said, “I don’t think I want to go back to the way things were! Having this time off to reflect, I’ve realized how unhappy I was. I knew I didn’t love what I was doing but I just kept going, consumed by the job. Now that I’ve been forced to take a step back, I can see how miserab
By now we have all heard about the importance of authenticity in leadership but did you know research ties an authentic leadership style to both good organizational citizenship AND organizational resiliency?
In my latest Forbes article, The Authentic Leader's Role In Organizational Resilience And Citizenship, I describe that research and detail how leaders can adopt a more authentic approach.
Did you know that according to research by Egon Zehnder 60% of executives surveyed reported that it took them six months or longer to have a full impact in their new roles, and close to 20% said it took more than nine months?That is because traditional onboarding programs, while effective for most of the employee population, fall short at the executive level.In the Training Industry article, "Executive Onboarding: It’s Time for a Different Approach" I provide four easy to implement strategies to better meet your new lea
What a pleasure it was speaking with Lauren Ammon of Unlimited Leader, LLC on her HR Chat Series #otherfrontline.
Lauren developed this series as a way to provide an opportunity to give back to those business leaders and HR professionals who find themselves on the #otherfrontline of employee care and business upheaval.
In this episode, we talk about how HR can move from a "seat at the table" to the head of the table.
If you are an HR professional thinking about your career, this is well worth the watch!&
My mother had been sick for many years before she passed away. I knew the day was coming but as anyone who has experienced that type of loss knows, you can never really prepare yourself. I was in my 30s at the time. I had a young son, worked full-time, and was in a master’s degree program. I was juggling all of that along with caring for my mother and my college-aged sister. There was already a lot on my plate and I knew there would be more to come. The funeral plans, clearing out of her home, and settling her estate – all while grieving my loss and comforting my family – I thought it was too much to handle. My exact words when I got the call that she had passed were, “I can’t handle this”. A friend not only assured me that I could, but he also asked
I had the opportunity to share a virtual coffee with Andrew Moss on Coaches on Zoom Drinking Coffee.
Andrew is a holistic high-performance coach who has guided athletes to become Olympians, helped disgruntled employees to pivot and become elite performers in a personal passion, and taught ambitious entrepreneurs to thrive personally while building a successful business.
He started Coaches on Zoom Drinking Coffee as a way to have fun conversations with a diverse group of coaches fr
The Brave by Design podcast, hosted by Laura Khalil, combines mindset and actionable strategy to address what's blocking your personal and professional growth so you can rise and thrive.
I was honored to be a guest on Brave by Design to discuss what great leadership looks like in this new work from home era (which I believe is here to stay).
Listen to my four easy to implement strategies here. Enjoy!
When it comes to workplace rules my philosophy is less is more. Of course policies and procedures have their place, particularly those centered around work standards and safety. But, an overabundance of rules stifles creativity, depletes employee morale and slows down the pace of work. Frankly, a policy manual chock full of rules sends a clear message to existing and potential employees - you embrace a culture of bureaucracy and micro-management.
In fact, I believe that relying on too many rules to organize and manage work demonstrates a lack of leadership ability. All too often young organizations or new leaders lean on creating a rule for every possible employment scenario, preferring to let the employee handbook speak for them.
Case in point: A real-life example from my
Imagine leaving a meeting feeling completely deflated. Your boss was impatient and rude, cutting people off mid-sentence and barely letting anyone speak. Clearly, he is frustrated with your team. Except, when you mention this to your co-worker, she has a completely different read on the situation. Your boss was not frustrated, he was enthusiastic. Sure, he interrupted a few times but from her perspective, it was because he was excited to share his ideas.
What you just experienced is the Rashomon effect, a term used to describe the phenomenon where people have varying, and often conflicting, interpretations of the same event. Because these interpretations include similar facts every explanation seems completely plausible, making it difficult to understand the reality of what happe
Early in my career, I worked for a company that felt so much a part of me that I referred to it as my baby. I was not the owner or even the CEO, but I was there from the beginning and helped build it. I can honestly say I loved that company and its people. I was so engaged that I worked myself to the point of burnout. A colleague once said to me, noticing my stress, “Cheryl, it’s just a job”. I looked at him as if he were absolutely mad and replied, “it’s not a job, it’s my life”.
Although I do not recommend this level of engagement (and thankfully I’ve gotten my priorities straight), reflecting on it now, my drive to do whatever it took to help the company succeed came from a feeling of belonging. I belonged there.
We’ve long understood that corporate values have a direct impact on creating company culture, which is why organizations put extensive effort into defining and deploying value statements. However, leaders often overlook the impact that individual employee values have on culture. Look no further than the millennial generation to see how individuals can shift culture. Generally speaking, millennials bring a focus on social responsibility, diversity and inclusion and work-life balance with them into the workplace and smart companies are changing to meet these expectations.
Taking it a step further, we’ve all known department heads who run their areas like tiny kingdoms, sometimes against corporate values. To quote a friend who works in this situati
Amy decided she had enough - enough of her over-demanding boss, enough of employees who had entitlement attitudes and enough of a company culture that valued shareholder profits over employee well-being. She was tired of trying to make the best of a bad situation and she was ready to move on. Amy knew she had more to offer and she set about finding a company that would appreciate her value. After spending weeks researching, she settled on a handful of companies that looked promising. She did all the right things to get in the door. She found out who the hiring managers were. She searched her network to see who could facilitate introductions. She even contacted some former employees to ask for tips and advice. Finally, she landed an interview with one of her top choices. And, it went rea
Gay Hendricks coined the phrase zone of genius in his 2009 book The Big Leap. Hendricks explains it this way, “Your genius is that activity or way of being that you are uniquely suited to do. It combines your innate gifts and practiced strengths. It feels effortless and creative and just plain good”. Others describe this as being in the flow. When you are there you know it. Time seems to stand still (or pass unnoticed). It comes to you naturally, without strain or effort, and leaves you feeling energized.
Your zone of genius is your unique footprint on the world and while we all have one, many of us are not tapped into it. Instead of working to improve your weaknesses (a typical performance improvement strategy), identifying your zone of genius allows
When my son was four we went to Disneyland. One morning while having breakfast I noticed that several of the families around us were arguing. Well more accurately, the parents were (somewhat loudly) scolding their children. In fact, when I looked around the restaurant everyone seemed fairly unhappy. Believe me, I know how stressful family trips can be, but I couldn’t help but feel sad. No doubt the parents saved and planned for this “magical” trip only to be stressed, angry and well, unhappy.
A few years later I was listening to a podcast and the speaker, whose name I cannot recall, was discussing his thoughts around “the good stuff”. He explained how we are all chasing a future vision of happiness and thinking “once X happens, I will be
“But he'd learned long ago that a life lived without risks pretty much wasn't worth living. Life rewarded courage, even when that first step was taken neck-deep in fear.” - Tamera Alexander, Within My Heart
It’s that time of year again where we take stock of our accomplishments and plan for the upcoming year. What is it you hope to accomplish? Are you longing for a promotion, wanting to ask for a raise or even start your own business? Whatever the target, there is often a common underlying theme – make it achievable. Of course, we want to stretch ourselves, but we also want to make sure we can accomplish the goal. So, we aim a bit small. Frankly, we give in to fear. Fear of failure, fear
The term Impostor Syndrome (IS) was first introduced in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes referring to a psychological pattern in which a person doubts their accomplishments and abilities and has constant worries that others will discover they are not “good enough”. Even when faced with evidence of their competence, they are convinced that they are frauds, often dismissing their success as luck, charm or simply good timing.
For those struggling with IS there is a wealth of articles containing advice on how to overcome your fraudulent feelings. However, IS affects more than just the individual, it has very real, bottom-line impacts on companies as well, making IS not just an individu
It’s 3 AM and I’ve woken up, yet again, to worry about some imagined future that may or may not happen. This is starting to become a nightly ritual. The best part is, I know that when the light of day arrives it will bring with it the clarity to see that this imagined “issue” is actually pretty manageable. Well, until 3 AM tomorrow morning when I will be consumed with worry about it again.
In her article What’s the Difference between Anxiety and Worry, Debbie Hampton describes what happens in the brain when we worry, “Worrying is thought-based, occurs in the mind, and involves your thinking brain, the prefrontal cortex, interacting with the limbic system, particularly the anterior cingulate, which controls basic emotio
Any leader who’s tried to implement even the smallest organizational change knows that no matter how needed the change is or how carefully it's planned, a successful change implementation comes down to one factor – buy-in.
According to a 2014 McKinsey & Company study of more than 2000 executives in 900 companies across various industries, there is one clear standout success factor in implementing change. When asked about the factors most responsible for successful change outcomes over the past five years 67% of respondents cited “clear, organization-wide ownership of and commitment to change across all levels of the organization” as having the greatest impact on a major change effort’s outcome.
How can you create this com
According to the Urban Dictionary, button-pushing means to deliberately irritate, to intentionally provoke another without reason, and to wear away at the patience of someone until that person wants to slap you. While that last part is pretty funny, button-pushing doesn’t feel like a laughing matter. It’s frustrating and annoying. What’s worse, it feels like people do it on purpose to anger or upset us.
Here’s the thing, your buttons are yours. They have everything to do with you and nothing whatsoever with the button pusher. These instant triggers are based on emotional wounds, past experiences, and even self-doubt. They are emotionally charged, sensitive places within us causing a reaction that is often out of proportion to the offense.
“I’ve been in this role for a year now and I really like the company and my co-workers, but the job just isn't challenging. Frankly, I’m bored. But I can’t apply for a new position within the organization for another year. Also, because I’ve only been here a year, I don’t really want to look for another job. I mean, I really do have it good here. But I feel stuck and doing this for another year seems like torture!” Sound familiar? I’ve heard some version of this many times from clients and friends. The company is great, the co-workers are great but, the job – not so much.
According to the 2016 Udemy Workplace Boredom Study, 43% of US office workers are bored and 80% feel learning
If you’re taking the time to read this article my guess is you are longing for some sort of change in your life but are either unclear of exactly what you want or you have doubts you can achieve it. If you are like I was, you might even have daydreams about walking away from it all and completely starting over (tropical island here I come!). But for most of us, quitting and seeing what fate has in store is not an option. We have responsibilities. Responsibilities that need a steady income. Getting from where you are today to where you want to be might seem impossible.
The truth is, it doesn’t take some sort of grand gesture to change your life. You can make steady progress toward your ideal future one step at a time. Here are three things you can start doing t
It was Friday afternoon and I was rushing to get out of the office. I was looking forward to heading out of town for the weekend but had one last report I needed to send out before I could leave. The company was beginning our annual performance review process and many of the directors wanted to begin preparing them over the weekend. The report included, among other things, employee demographic data such as names, hire dates, titles, date of last promotion, etc. I hurriedly opened an email, attached the file and hit send to our leadership team before running out the door. Cut to Monday morning and our company president walks into my office and says, “Did you mean to send that report out to the entire company?”. My response? I pushed him and said, “Get o
Ever listen to yourself think? Really tune in and pay attention to what’s going on in your head? Many of us don’t. Our thoughts are just background noise. Yet we are constantly thinking. Thoughts about the future, thoughts about the past, thoughts about our current situation. There is a non-stop dialog running through our minds. If you are like most people, these thoughts are often negative. Our mind is constantly interpreting and filtering our lives. And many times, the messages are not positive. According to the Cleveland Clinic article How to Turn Around Your Negative Thinking, “Psychologists link negative thinking to depression, anxiety, chronic worry and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). But almost all human beings contend with it — even th
Hiring managers and candidates alike will tell you that the interview process is broken. Candidates can offer up horrific stories of bad interview experiences (like the candidate who drove four hours to an interview only to find out that the hiring manager wasn’t there and was asked if he could return the next day). Hiring managers can do the same, from ghosting to poorly prepared candidates, interviews can feel like a waste of time. Even when the interview goes well, it can be hard for either party to know if there is a good fit. After all, how much can you really learn about someone in an hour or two?
While the use of behavioral-based interview questions has improved the process, this methodology is steeped in the idea that the past is the best predictor
No doubt you are familiar with the stereotypical mid-life crisis that usually strikes people in their mid-40s and seems to cause otherwise prudent people to buy sports cars or cheat on their spouses. But did you also know there is a very real thing called a Mid-Career Crisis?
According to the Harvard Business Review article, Why So Many of Us Experience a Midlife Crisis, “On average, life satisfaction is high when people are young, then starts to decline in the early 30s, bottoming out between the mid-40s and mid-50s before increasing again to levels as high as during young adulthood. And this U-curve occurs across the entire socio-economic spectrum, hitting senior-level executives as well as blue-collar workers and stay-at-home parents. In
“I just can’t seem to get through to her. She used to love her job, now she seems so unhappy. Even worse, I know she’s totally disengaged and it’s showing in her work. I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried everything. I think I will have to fire her.” It was a familiar conversation I’ve had with managers, an employee, once motivated and engaged, starts to fall short. Unfortunately, these situations don’t usually end well. After multiple attempts to reform the employee, which often include performance improvement plans and conversations with human resources, the employee is ultimately let go.
To compound the issue, many managers feel ill-equipped to handle these conversations. It can seem like the tools used to motive and change
“We are looking for someone who can hit the ground running.” It’s a request I heard countless times as the head of an agency recruiting firm. Of course, I knew that while I could find a stellar candidate, one who checks all the boxes, it was really the company’s leadership integration program that would make the difference is this new leader’s short-term success.
From Onboarding to Integration
Nowadays, most companies understand that a robust new hire onboarding program is a key factor in early employee satisfaction and productivity. Modern onboarding programs, oftentimes spearheaded by the human resource department, include not only administrative components such as benefits enrollment and policy education,
The smartest thing my former employer ever did was invest in a coach for our newly formed leadership team. While cultural harmony was the goal (the team was comprised of German and American employees) we gained so much more than that.
Through the ongoing work with our coach, we were able to understand each other’s strengths, learn how to support one another in areas of improvement, plan for the future and push each other to achieve fairly aggressive goals in a rapid timeframe. In short, we went form good to great far faster than if we had muddled through on our own.
While there were numerous benefits from working with a coach, these four stand out as the most impactful:
Getting to know each other and building trust
I was in my late twenties when I landed my first real leadership role. As a department director, I had a (small) team with big responsibilities. While I was very proud of this accomplishment and extremely excited about the role, I was also feeling self-doubt and uncertainty. Was I really “manager material”? I felt certain that any day the higher-ups (or even my direct reports) were going to figure out I was not qualified, and the jig would be up! We now call this imposter syndrome, but at the time I didn’t have that tidy label to give what I was feeling a name.
My impostor syndrome was also showing up in how I managed my team. After all, who was I to think I could lead this group of people, some of which had far more knowledge and experien