-Chris Kelley, CFA
On Thursday, October 22nd Liz Uram presented on building an extraordinary team. Focusing on a topic different than the usual brought an eclectic group of leaders to the presentation, all of whom were interested in the soft skills of people management and leadership. Liz’s expertise in the industry as both a practitioner running teams at Wells Fargo and other financial institutions as well as her strong academic background resulted in a vibrant presentation that was very interactive with all the participants. Liz’s expertise in the industry as both a practitioner running teams at Wells Fargo and other financial institutions as well as her strong academic background resulted in a vibrant presentation that was very interactive with all the participants. She touched on a variety different topics and industry research that showed a consistent level of employment dissatisfaction, even though billions of dollars has been spent trying to engage employees.
Liz touched on three basic take-aways that can eliminate the majority of the indecision and friction in most offices: 1) a 3 step process in setting goals that eliminates the noise of corporate bureaucracy. 2) Components for keeping performance feedback stress free and rewarding. 3) Surefire way to gain employee buy-in on strategic goals and direction of any firm large or small. Though not explicit in her presentation, my key take away is a classic 80/20 example. Taking a little more time and thought (20% more) can alleviate and eliminate 80% of your office and team issues and produce a more streamlined and well-run team. The presentation was informative and educational to all participants and I gained a great amount of value from it.
– Ildiko Hildreth, CFA
Liz shared the results of a 2014 Gallop Poll which found that 51% of workers are disengaged, 18% are actively disengaged, and only 18% are engaged. And, that this statistic has not changed much in recent decades. Wow! If that is not a reason to think that there is room for improvement in our work environments, I don’t know what is. After all, the more effectively we communicate, the better our teams function, and the better our performance.
So how does one foster more employee engagement? Liz discussed the importance of communicating goals and strategies to the team. Also, how listening is a key to employee buy-in. She laid out how a simple goal setting process based on a few key performance measures and behavioral standards can be tailored for each individual. And that when you let people know what is expected on the front-end, giving and receiving performance feedback can be less stressful.
I found the meeting to be thought provoking. In our profession, we all work and communicate with clients, portfolio managers, analysts, “the street”, and support staff. And, most, if not all, of these are teams in some shape or form. The trick is how to improve investment outcomes by building an extraordinary team.
If you are interested in a handbook that describes what Liz discussed and more, she invites you to request a copy by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘CFA handbook’. Additionally, Liz expects to release a book soon called Connected: Bridging the Gap Between Strategy and Execution.