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Dealing with an Unsupportive Coworker – Deb Spicer Featured in TheGlassHammer.com

TheGlassHammer.com just featured several of my tips for dealing with an unsupportive coworker.  I hope you find them helpful. 

Strategies for Dealing with an Unsupportive Coworker

“I once worked with a boss who yelled at everyone in her office – she used words that were demeaning and dismissive,” recalls Kathi Elster, co-author of Working with You Is Killing Me and Working for You Isn’t Working for Me and the soon to be released Who Does She Think She Is? Elster continues: “She might yell at you for talking too much then the next day she might yell at you for not talking enough. There was no way to please her, she was an angry person who took her frustrations out on her staff. She did not seem to know that she was yelling or being a bully. When I confronted her she would say that she wasn’t that bad. Needless to say she had a 100% turnover every year.”

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Deb Spicer featured in Bloomberg’s BNA about Hiring for the Holidays

I was recently interviewed by Bloomberg’s BNA (Bureau of National Affairs) for an article about holiday hiring.  Here is the article that was written.   How about you?  Do you do any holiday hiring?  What are tips you can share?



Well-Designed Seasonal Hiring Strategy
Can Lead to Happier Holidays for Employers

By Cathleen O’Connor Schoultz

With over one-quarter of companies hiring extra help this holiday season, HR and hiring managers need to make sure that temporary and permanent workers are fully prepared for their collaboration, management consultant Deb Spicer told BNA.

A CareerBuilder survey released last month found that 29 percent of businesses are adding seasonal employees this year.

Companies should treat hiring and training seasonal workers as seriously as they do getting permanent employees onboard, said Spicer, president and CEO of Quantum Level Success in Eustis, Fla., and author of Power Teams: The New SQUARE ROOT MODEL That Changes Everything!

This holds true for all sectors, Spicer said, and it applies to small businesses, global giants, and everyone in-between. For holiday hiring, the HR department that starts early will have “the cream of the crop” to pick from and the time to check references and fully train the new workers, she said.

Hiring managers that treat temporary employees as a part of the team, rather than a warm body to fill a slot, will spare themselves a lot of trouble and money, Spicer said.

One way companies can integrate the new workers is to assign a permanent employee to serve as mentor to one or more newcomers, Spicer advised.

And just as with permanent workers, she said, employers should choose seasonal employees whose skills and values match the company culture.

Coalitions, Piranhas, and More

Doing seasonal hiring right can help employers avoid potential trouble spots, Spicer said, such as the growth of power coalitions, the “piranha factor,” and the complacency of returning seasonal employees.

Power coalitions—which often form along temporary-versus-permanent lines—are small groups that defer mostly to each other, Spicer said. They are a distraction for employees and thus a productivity zapper, she said.

New employees—even if they will only be working with the company for a month or two—need to be integrated into the team, Spicer said. In addition, she said, if there is a distraction, managers must address it “immediately.”

Spicer said that so-called piranhas take a bite out of productivity by sabotaging group efforts. They are adept at manipulating things for their own advantage but perhaps not much else, she said.

With seasonal help, Spicer said, a piranha would be someone who comes in and tries to take over, without regard to how other people feel.

The best way to keep piranhas from lowering productivity, Spicer said, is to avoid hiring them.

Complacency can also be a problem, especially with repeat seasonal workers, Spicer said. The complacent employee thinks he or she already knows it all, she said, when in fact, every year presents a new environment and new challenges.

“Obviously [the temporary employee] has some star qualities or she wouldn’t be hired back for [another] year,” Spicer said.

Managers can help these employees to get past their focus on last year’s process by challenging them, Spicer said. Take them out of their comfort zone, she recommended.

Implementing a bonus structure for meeting objectives can also help eliminate the “been-there-done-that” attitude of many returning seasonal workers, Spicer said.

The End of the Holiday Season

At the end of the holiday season, when the temporary employees have gone, Spicer said, companies might ask their full-timers, “If we keep any of our temporary staff, who would you recommend and why?”

“A great way to continue that team environment is to use your full-time employees to get feedback” about their temporary co-workers, she said.


(Direct link to article not provided due to subscription issues.)

How to Ensure Team Success during a Major Corporate Change

When a major change takes place in a company (such as the appointment of a new CEO, a strategic restructure of an organization, a turnaround or a major acquisition), it is important to understand and build a network of relationships that support the leaders’ success.

As team members grapple with a major change, they typically fall into three groups: Supporters, Resisters, and the “Mushy-Middle”. Supporters tend to go along with the change because they realize it’s needed to improve business, or they respect the new leader. Resisters, on the other hand, may oppose the change because they feel it threatens their position, makes their skills obsolete, or they fear their opinions are out of sync with the new vision.

To get the company on board with the change then, it’s important to focus your attention on the Mushy-Middle, who can be persuaded or influenced to embrace the new change. The other reason why you should focus on this group is because 80 percent of the team typically falls under this category, with the remaining 20 percent divided among supporters and resisters.

When you recognize those people who are flexible, creative and can grasp the new “big picture” with a “can do” attitude, the organization positions itself on the fast-track to success. Positive feedback builds morale and motivation, and is an essential element in creating effective teams. Regular communications between team members also helps everyone in the organization understand that the transformation initiatives are needed to improve business, and create a more focused profitable company.

In my new book, POWER TEAMS: The New SQUARE ROOT MODELTM That Changes Everything!, I provide a series of SQUARE ROOT TOOLSTM and group collaboration strategies that help organizations involved in serious change. For a sneak peek at POWER TEAMS, go to powerteamsnow.com. You can download Chapter 9 for free, and learn how to use these tools to drive organizational understanding, tighten accountability, improve company productivity, and focus the enterprise on long-term and sustainable achievements.

Piranha Behavior On A Team

One of the most difficult and destructive team personalities to deal with in an organization is one that I call the “Piranha.” Like the South American fish that eats other fish it perceives as a threat, this personality type sabotages team success by manipulating and coercing others for personal gain.

For example, a “piranha” type might send a subordinate to participate in a team meeting, but not allow their delegate to make any decisions. The result – no decisions get made. When this person finally does show up in a meeting, they contribute very little, even when specifically addressed, or are dismissive and caustic in responding to other members’ ideas and inputs.

When a person creates this type of internal conflict during a team meeting and it’s not addressed immediately, the project and sometimes the team can be left in shreds. A fast and easy solution to achieve team success would be to remove the person from the project. But what if that’s not possible? What if you, as team leader, have been instructed to “work with” this person because some believe they can add significant value to the team?

No matter how strong your team leadership skills, how charismatic your personality or how fluidly you negotiate, a “piranha” will require a lot of time and attention to manage. The key to managing this personality type successfully lies in finding a way to address them professionally and respectfully, while continuing to inspire the team, enabling them to succeed.

In my new book, POWER TEAMS: The New SQUARE ROOT MODELTM That Changes Everything!, I provide a series of SQUARE ROOT TOOLSTM and collaboration strategies that help you support and promote team development, while improving company productivity. For a sneak peek at POWER TEAMS, visit my Facebook page at www.fb.com/PowerTeamsDeb. You can download Chapter 8 for free, and learn how to bolster your team leadership skills so you can deal with the “piranha” type personality and achieve team success.

How the Square Root Model Changes Everything!

Power Teams: The Square Root Model that Changes Everything!Technological advances and the tightening global economy have prompted companies to relocate their employees around the world – creating virtual global teams. But how do you implement consistency and quality in business in this emerging world of telecommuting, flexible schedules, and global satellite offices?

As business leaders, we know first-hand that achieving goals takes drive, determination and focused persistence. And those same ingredients are required to create, lead and build high performance teams.

Let’s face it, team challenges arise, unforeseen events transpire and Murphy’s Law can rule despite the most thoughtful plans and objectives. Team distractions are powerful destroyers of team success. Therefore, it is important to handle them calmly and with authority.

Through years of participating on and leading teams, I have learned first-hand how to neutralize and remove negative behaviors and capitalize on positive conduct within a team. My experiences led to the development of a new model for team success, detailed in my new book, POWER TEAMS: The New SQUARE ROOT MODELTM That Changes Everything! In this book, you’ll learn how to use the model and tools I developed to help you leverage your own teams for success.

The SQUARE ROOT MODELTM of team development is made up of four key components: strategy, structure, systems and skills. Rooted within these key components are the SQUARE ROOT TOOLSTM. By clearly defining the key team “issues” in order of importance, leaders are able to analyze and determine which of the SQUARE ROOT TOOLSTM will effectively manage and provide the greatest potential for your company’s team success.


Designed to help you support and encourage team collaboration as you work together on improving performance, and coping with the natural set backs that come along, POWER TEAMS changes everything!  You’ll find that the SQUARE ROOT TOOLSTM will prove influential in leveraging excellence from your teams, enabling you to make the greatest impact, accelerate progress, and drive your POWER TEAMS to success!

Surveying Surveys

When determining your target audience or gauging their perception of your product or service, a well designed, carefully thought out survey can be the key to success. But (there is always a but), the survey has to be executed and analyzed correctly in order to be of measurable value to you or to your clients. Without measurement – you’ve no doubt wasted your carefully measured time.

If you’re new to this, you may want to consider using a short online survey, as they are typically less expensive to administer. Plus, they yield quick responses and analyzing the results is usually quite simple.

Whether you’ve chosen to reach your audience online, snail-mail, or by telephone you should consider which methodology will get your desired tidbits of information.  Lynnette Leathers, President of Mindspot Research, and one of evok’s strategic partners, recommends using online surveys.  “The online population is now reflecting the general market population for most segments.  Mindspot specializes in online research because today’s marketplace and the future are online and surveys can be completed via computer, mobile phone, or text.  Today, we almost never mail a survey or dial a home phone number.

“In fact, with online surveys, consumers can choose the time most convenient for them and with a click of a button submit their completed survey.  Even Focus Groups are now conducted online.  Our clients want results quickly so they can make immediate improvements or go forward with confidence by utilizing their customer’s feedback right away.  Consumers have more power in the market now than they have ever before.”

Customer Satisfaction and Attitude and Usage (A & U) Surveys

Typical Customer Satisfaction surveys are designed to measure just that – customer satisfaction. And, a well-designed survey will also measure how loyal your customers are to your company, product or service.  You can even add specific questions that will give you a Net Promoter Score (NPS) that reveals the percentage of your customers which are promoters or detractors.  This type of survey can identify what you do well and uncover opportunities to improve your business.

An A & U survey will measure aided and unaided awareness, the perceived benefits of your product or service, and the buying and usage habits for your product.

Now, to get to the guts, the meat on the bone and the core of a survey, here are evok’s Lucky 13 best practices for designing and administering an effective survey:

  1. Know what questions you need answered.  In order to get the information you are looking for, you must figure out exactly what questions you need answered.
  2. Keep the survey relevant to your customers.
  3. For the best results the survey should be simple, easy to understand, and brief (10 minutes or less).
  4. Be considerate of the respondent’s time.  Let your audience know up front how long the survey should take to complete.
  5. Tell your respondent WIIFM:  Offer incentives to get your desired sample size. This could be as simple as a discount, drawing or gift card.
  6. Don’t keep secrets.  Start with a quick introduction of what the survey is about–this will give your respondents an idea of what to expect and a little bit of context often helps when answering your questions.
  7. Be Polite.  Thank your audience up front and at the conclusion of the survey.
  8. Make sure you are talking to the right people.  Use screening questions to qualify the person. For example: Do you currently use XYZ brand?
  9. Use a logical flow.  Start with broad questions and then get more specific.
  10. Incorporate questions with a rating scale, to provide you with easy to interpret and actionable data.
  11. Leave enough space for people to tell you all about it.  They will – your customers want to help you.  If you ask open-ended questions, leave enough space for people to answer.
  12. If you use a rating scale keep the order consistent throughout the survey so that there are no mix-ups.
  13. Ask demographic questions at the end of a survey unless you are using them as screening criteria (am I talking to the right person?) If you ask too many personal questions upfront, people may not complete your survey.

Examples of demographic questions include:

What is your gender?

  • Male
  • Female

What is your race/ethnicity?

  • Caucasian
  • African-American
  • Hispanic
  • Asian
  • Other

What is the last year of schooling you have completed?

  • Some high school
  • High school degree
  • Some college
  • College degree
  • Postgraduate degree

Always pre-test the survey with co-workers before deploying to make sure the flow is logical, key questions weren’t missed, and there are no programming errors and consider a “soft-launch” your survey.  Only send the survey to a small percentage 5%-20% of your potential respondents in case there is an error that you need to correct.

After you’ve designed the perfect survey, administered it, received responses, don’t overlook the most important thing – tabulating and analyzing the results. Use these results to make recommendations on what your company could be doing better and create a plan with your what you have learned.

When Social Media Tools Are Used To Attack Your Company

“The most dangerous risk to a company’s reputation is to be deserving of a bad one.” —Anonymous

We all know social media is a critical tool used by a breadth of public, private, and personal entities — not just corporations or companies that want to create a great impression about their products or services.

But what happens when those same reputation building tools get used against an organization, threatening its integrity, corporate responsibility, share of market, financial strength and its own right and ability to do business unfettered?

One company I know was the victim of exactly that. How do I know? A year later, the leader of the social media negative campaign apologized with an expressed “ends justify the means” rationale.

So, how did it happen?

As an organized negative campaign, the organizer stated he had a group of “college geeks” willing to put out blogs whenever he contacted them. This “team” had no budget, no business plan, no burn rate, no Board of Directors and no bubble to protect. In fact, they put out innuendo, falsehoods, and blatantly false information without needing to prove any of it correct. Media and key stakeholders picked up the blogs, calling for immediate responses. For months, the organization was mired in the urgent responsibility of attempting to prove each of the allegations not true, while at the same time the negative drum-beat continued. Ultimately, the company’s budget, business plans, burn rate, and confidence of the Board were negatively impacted, and major changes followed.

What can you do today to strengthen your defenses against such an attack?

  1. Be first to define yourself. Establish your presence and messages through these reputation building internet-based media tools. This company had not done so, therefore it had not built trust and had not engaged with key audiences leaving it vulnerable to whatever anyone else stated as true without question.
  2. Utilize your own scale to provide multiple consistent voices that represent who you are. You can establish this through your advertisers, board of directors, key leadership, customers, and sales force to position yourself across all media including general audiences and blog niches.
  3. Set up Google Alerts for your own organization. Today, Google is helping erase the need for additional blog search engines…but there are many free ones you may also want to sign up for to track your company like Technorati, PubSub and Social Mention.
  4. Tweet and Retweet. Become a trusted advisor and thought leader and establish your own reputation which will helps create a barrier to negative claims, and counteract the effects of rumor and inaccurate information.

By establishing engagement with your followers early, monitoring “activity” in the blog world about your company, remaining vigilant and prompt in responding to inaccurate or blatantly false information and by utilizing your networks to “speak on your behalf” begins your crisis management program now, by building your reputation assets through social media.

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