Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

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Decision Fatigue & the Decision Fatigue Trap

 

By Doug Van Dyke, Leadership Simplified, www.leadershipsimplified.com

 

If you were in jail and found yourself scheduling a parole board hearing, what time of day would you choose? (If you are ever faced with this grim prospect you obviously missed reading our series of newsletters on ethics!) Back to the hearing, you probably would be so happy to have a parole hearing you would not care what time it was, right? Well, various studies have concluded that inmates who appear at hearings in the morning are paroled with a much greater frequency than those who appear in the afternoon. It turns out that the reason for this odd occurrence is a syndrome known as decision fatigue. According to Wikipedia, “Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual, after a long session of decision making.” President Obama is well-aware of decision fatigue. So much so that he limits the number of different colored suits and ties he wears so as to minimize the number and scope of decisions he makes during a day.   

 

In an article that appeared in the New York Times, the writer (John Tierney) stated that “No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price.” Mr. Tierney went on to say that decision fatigue is different from physical fatigue because you become low on mental energy as opposed to physical stamina. Further, Tierney stated that “The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain…. eventually [your brain] looks for shortcuts.” The shortcuts come in the form of either making impulsive, often poor decisions, or in simply shutting down and making no decision. Either path can potentially create a problem. The problems that may occur, however, do not enter into the equation when we are suffering from decision fatigue.

 

The Decision Fatigue Trap

Often times, leaders who are experiencing decision fatigue become short-tempered or irritable. If you find yourself falling into the decision fatigue trap, consider embracing these steps to avoid or minimize potential problems.

  1. Morning: Set a designated time (60 – 90 minutes) in the morning in order to get mission-critical work accomplished and to make your most important decisions. If you consistently execute this you will find that your decisions will be better thought out, as well as more effective. Note: The earlier in the morning that you set a designated time, the better your results.
  2. Lunch & Snack. Seek to rejuvenate during lunch by exercising for 20 minutes. A brisk walk will do the trick. This will build energy (not deplete it) and help to “reset” your decision-making clock. Also, eat a salad. This will minimize any carbohydrate induced crash that you may experience in the mid-afternoon. Note: Eat a snack (apples, hummus, etc.) around 2:30 pm in order to stay energized.
  3. Repetition: Seek to repeat this routine for the next 16 work days in order to create a habit. If you are unable to commit to 16 consecutive days, consider making this a Tuesday & Thursday ritual.

 

Bottom Line: Decision fatigue is real. All leaders experience it to a greater or lesser extent. If you find yourself a bit irritable during the day, be wary of falling into the decision fatigue trap. Catch yourself, and change a couple of your behaviors in order to minimize any ill effects.

 

Good luck, be well, and make solid decisions!

 

Have you decided to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. To learn more about leadership development programs, coaching and consulting services, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com. 

© 2013 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2013-12-31 at 05:08 PM
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Seven Ways to Build Collaboration and Workplace Diversity

 

By Doug Van Dyke, Leadership Simplified, www.leadershipsimplified.com

 

If you are interested in creating a sense of connectedness in your organization, increased collaboration and enhanced diversity are nice places to start. The inclusive workplace climate that you can create will allow team members to work authentically, respect the organization, leverage talent, and increase productivity.

 

Here are seven best practices that can instill a collaborative climate and encourage a diverse workplace culture:

  1. Lead by example. If leaders do not exhibit collaborative behavior and create natural diversity, how can they expect their direct reports to do so?
  2. Maintain a suggestion box regarding ideas on how to increase collaboration and foster diversity. Give prizes for the ideas that are implemented.
  3. Hold other leaders and team members accountable to high standards.
  4. Seek to recruit and promote from a diverse pool of candidates. In this regard, consider using an initial selection process that is “blind.” In other words, conceal the ethnicity and gender of candidates as much as possible in order to mitigate selection bias.   
  5. Provide meaningful training and development to leaders with regard to collaboration and diversity.
  6. Mentor high-potential team members.
  7. Seek to measure collaboration and diversity whenever and wherever possible!

 

 

Do you want to use this blog post in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. To learn more about leadership development programs, coaching and consulting services, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com. 

© 2013 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2013-12-10 at 08:13 AM
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Employee Retention Plan

 

Retaining employees can be a challenging task. And keeping employees is not all about monetary compensation. In fact, it is more important to determine what makes individual employees feel engaged. In other words, seek to learn what gives team members in your workplace a sense of belonging. Remember that employees may have different wants, needs, and/or expectations. For instance, younger team members may desire more training and camaraderie in order to satisfy their career aspirations and social needs. As a general rule, employees tend to be happier and stay longer when their job delivers personal gain and a sense of purpose.

 

Two Keys to Remember:

  1. Consider every employee to be unique. In order to understand the wants and needs of your employees ask them one simple question: “What moves you?” This simple question will encourage dialogue. More importantly, the answer that is provided holds the promise of unlocking what kind of workplace climate creates a sense of belonging for that employee.

 

  1. Seek to be agile/anticipatory with regard to employee retention. While being flexible to workplace situations is necessary, this reactive trait may cause a leader to act too late with regard to retaining key employees. On the other hand, anticipating workplace situations that imperil employee retention gives leaders more time to take preventative action. In addition, agile/anticipatory leaders seem to always keep employee retention in the forefront of their minds.

 

Four Actions for Leaders to Bring to the Table:

  1. Recognition and Feedback.  If available, participate in company recognition programs that reward employees. Also, frequently and generously communicate positive feedback with team members. Hold group events that encourage intra-team and inter-team communication outside of the normal work environment. Further, make a big deal out of accomplishments, meaningful effort, and hard work. Always ask your employees for direct feedback on yourself and the organization in order to better understand their perceptions and concerns.

 

  1. Lead as a Visionary.  Tell employees where the organization is going, why organization is going there, and how your employees fit into the journey. Also, seek to lead your team by living the values of the organization, and communicate those values often.

 

  1. Develop Your People.  Effective leaders offer training and development in a planned fashion. Lay out a set of expectations for the employee so that both of you understand training needs, development goals, and the timeframe associated with enhanced professional skills.

 

  1. Monetary Compensation.  Studies show that monetary compensation, while a part of employee retention, is generally thought of as the last of four key items that are critical to retaining employees. Yet, it should not be discounted as part of your employee retention plan. Continually be aware of the market value of your employees. To the best of your control, make adjustments based on performance as well as competitive baseline salaries.

 

Remember, not every element of your employee retention plan is in your control.  Some, such as salary and benefits, you can merely influence. Company policies often dictate what can be changed in these areas. As such, stay agile and focus on things you can control. In this regard, seek to be a visionary leader, deliver training and development, and lavish your employees with recognition and positive feedback.

 

 

Do you want to use this newsletter in print or online? 

Please do so, as long as you do not alter the content or embedded links. Also, please include the following information: Doug Van Dyke is a Tampa Bay based leadership and collaboration consultant, executive coach, and strategic planner. To learn more about leadership development programs, coaching and consulting services, visit www.leadershipsimplified.com. 

© 2013 Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2013-12-02 at 01:59 PM
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