What Are Your Top Performers Doing Differently?

Can you identify individuals within your organization that you would consider a “Top Performer”? Can you identify individuals within your organization that are not on the same level as your “Top Performer? If you answered yes to these questions, you could benefit from our Top Performer process in the Forté suite. To learn more, read Hoop’s current Insights article with the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

What If I Am An Ambivert?

Do you ever have those moments when you feel super energized in the people environment? Or maybe there are some days where you just want to close your door and get your work done? Sometimes people can associate these behaviors as being ‘moody’ but at Forté, we associate it with ambiversion! How do you know if you are an ambivert? Take a look at Hoop‘s most recent Insights Article to learn more.

What’s Your Forté?

For the next year, our Founder/Chairman, Hoop Morgan, will be contributing two articles a month to the Greater Wilmington Business Journal’s Insights Section. We will provide a link below for you to read his articles that will highlight the Forté Suite and how Forté can be beneficial to your organization.

Click here to read Hoop’s first Insights article!

Keeping Your Cool

“Everyone says self-awareness is essential to effective leadership. It is, but there is another aspect to awareness that may be equally compelling and sadly overlooked. It’s self-management.”

 – John Baldoni, author and internationally recognized executive coach

Everyone looses his or her cool from time to time – after all, we’re only human, right? But what happens when we do it repeatedly?

Our reputation, our influence, our ability to both lead and succeed is diminished.

You can manage a budget, manage a supply chain, manage innovation, even manage aScreen Shot 2015-10-12 at 1.22.11 PM team well but if you cannot manage your own reactions to people, obstacles or temper-triggers, it can derail your company or your career.

Failure to manage oneself well is essentially a failure to maintain self-control and a focus on the ultimate end-goal of healthy, ethical success as a team.

What does failure to manage oneself look like? You’ve seen it. It can manifest as temper outbursts, impatience, ingratitude, detachment, sarcasm or hubris. You’ve seen it displayed in some form, and you’ve displayed it yourself in one of these forms – we all have at some point.

None of this is fatal if it happens infrequently – acknowledgement and apologies smooth over the occasional slip up. What can be fatal is a failure to commit to managing yourself and your reactions.

We each need to be self-aware of what our typical “triggers” are. For instance:

  • If you are high on the impatience spectrum – either naturally or adapting – your trigger might be when you perceive that others are “dragging their feet” or when deadlines are missed.
  • If you are high on the dominance spectrum – either naturally or adapting – your trigger could be when you perceive others aren’t making or sticking to clear decisions.
  • If you are high on the conformity spectrum – either naturally or adapting – you might start to loose it when the numbers don’t add up, or you perceive a lack of clear instructions or respect of protocol.

Self-awareness of your triggers is key – but it must be followed by a controlled response. It is not enough to know what sets you off, if you don’t find strategies for avoiding exploding.

Sometimes that can be a simple as taking a ten-minute break from the situation in order to calm down and switch trains of thought.

Pages 8 and 9 of your Forte Communication Profile can help you see your current potential triggers and help you respond to them in a healthy, effective manner.

Do you know which interactions, behaviors, or situations tend to set you off? Think back over the last year. Chances are, you can identify patterns. If not, ask a trusted close co-worker – chances are they can identify your patterns.

We each need to release the expectation that the rest of the world needs to change and stop setting us off. Instead, we must own our own triggers and manage how we react to them.

It’s not uncommon for “strong personalities” to rise to leadership positions. However, your very strengths can become liabilities when not managed well.

The good news is, you are totally in control of you.

The Forté Institute’s Rachel Olsen is on faculty at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Rachel is a communication specialist, and a trained and certified coach. Call at The Forté Institute at 910-452-5152.

Handling Q&A Sessions

Leadership always comes with a microphone. Whether casting vision, explaining strategy, or motivating your team, you’ll find yourself speaking before a group.

And if you speak before groups, you’ll likely also find yourself fielding questions either informally or in an official question and answer session.

Here are some tips for managing a Q&A session successfully.


Don’t fear silence.

Sometimes when the floor is first opened for questions the room becomes awkwardly silent.  It takes people some time to form their questions in their mind before standing up or taking a mic to ask them.

It may take others – introverts perhaps – additional time to get up the courage to ask their question publicly. Remain clam and welcoming – smiling at the group a bit during the silence.

You can solicit comments as well as questions, and then respond to the comments offered.

If a while passes at the start with no questions asked, I will essentially ask myself a question and then answer it.  I’ll say something like, “A question I frequently get asked on this subject is _____ and I always tell them ….” This serves to break the ice.  Alternatively, you can pre-arrange for someone present to ask a specific question at the start of the Q&A session to get the ball rolling.

After a flurry of questions, the room may fall silent again. If time allows, don’t automatically close out the session at this point. Tell the group you have time to take a couple more questions or respond to a couple more thoughts. Introverts can take a while to formulate and voice their thoughts, but they often have insightful ones. So get comfortable handling a little silence while a group is looking at you.

Repeat the question before answering.

This is especially key when the size of the audience or the room itself is large.  Repeating the question ensures that everyone hears and knows the context for the answer you are giving.

It also provides a chance to ensure that you did in fact understand the question being asked, before launching into a lengthy potentially off-topic response. Look at the questioner as you repeat the question.

Plus, it gives your mind a moment to begin formulating the answer you want to give. But never fear taking a quiet moment to collect your thoughts before answering a question if you need to.

Answer to the entire group.

Don’t focus solely on the person who asked the question with your answer. Direct your answer to the entire group, spreading out your eye contact and projecting your voice across the crowd just as you would while giving a presentation.

This keeps the whole audience engaged. Plus, it is likely that someone else in the room was wondering the same thing as the person who asked the question.

When you are done answering a question, you can bring your gaze back to rest on the person who asked the question, perhaps with a nod of your head or a “Thanks for asking that.”

Don’t pretend to know it all.

If you are asked a question you do not know the answer to, simply state that rather than feigning your way through an answer. Most audiences can detect “BS.” And someone in the audience may know the correct answer.

I like to praise the questioner in these cases. For example: “That is such a good question. I can’t say that I know the answer to it. I would need to do some more thinking/research before I could fully answer that one. It’s a great question though, and one I will look into.”  This helps the asker feel some satisfaction despite not receiving an answer to their question.

Research shows that the Q&A session following a speech can have as much or more impact on the audience’s impressions of you and your message as your speech itself. So train yourself to relax and allow time for questions to arise, repeat the question before answering, and deliver honest answers the same way you would your speech -engaging the entire audience.

The Forté Institute’s Rachel Olsen is on faculty at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Rachel is a communication specialist, and a trained and certified coach. Call at The Forté Institute at 910-452-5152.