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Blueprints for team building. Are you a SOUTH?

Building a team for your business or organization is a process that is very much like building a house.  Team members are business tools, that when used properly will provide foundation and structure to your business blueprint.  Choosing the right team members is as important as using the right materials in a construction project.  

In looking at a blueprint for your fishbowl, the first step is to determine the compatibility of those you’re considering for your team. With all kinds of personality and leadership style indicators out there, I decided to use a simple system introduced to me by Toastmasters International  They didn’t have a name for it, so I call it “Directional Communication” because every individual is defined as a NORTH, SOUTH, EAST or WEST.


Last week I posted some personality traits of a NORTH.  (To determine if you are a NORTH, check last weeks post).

Today, we’re going to define the SOUTH personality type!  If you like fairness and abhor injustice, then you are probably a SOUTH!

As with any of these systems, it is rare to be 100% of one type over another, but I suggest that you determine the type that you appear to be MOST apt to, MOST often.  Let’s find out about the SOUTH type of personality:

South: The Nurturer

  • Likeable
  • Supportive
  • Caring
  • Sympathetic
  • Non-competitive
  • Team player
  • Feelings-based
  • High value on fairness

The SOUTH personality has a great need to be liked by others.

Are you a SOUTH?  Do you work on a team with someone who is a SOUTH?  How do you have a successful outcome when working with a SOUTH

Following are ways to best work with the SOUTH personality…

Keep the process in mind

The process is important to the South. A South must make sure that the right people are involved in making the decisions and implementing them.  A South never wants to offend anyone, nor make waves, therefore they try hard to follow proper procedures and keep the process flowing smoothly.

Pay attention to your relationship with the South

Relationships are everything to a South. You can make mistakes in the project and they are totally forgivable as long you pay attention to the relationship.  The South personality will overlook almost any shortcoming others have as long as there is genuine respect and concern for each team member. 

Justify your decisions using values and ethics

A South will not go against his/her values and/or ethics, even if it means taking a personal hit.  Integrity is the most important aspect of the South personality, and it guides them to do what they feel is right all the time. A South will quit a job, even while facing long bouts of unemployment if the organization they work for is not being congruent with the mission/vision/values it has espoused.  

Appeal to the relationship the South has to others

South’s enjoy building personal relationships, and being part of connecting friends and team members to people they feel will get along well.  There is nothing more rewarding to a South than matching people together who could benefit from one another’s experience and knowledge.  

Listen closely

A South will often take a little more time to process information and make decisions (unless it is clearly in opposition to their values/ethics). The conversation taking place could be at step three, but the South is still thinking about step one trying to piece together a full picture. 

As a result, the first thing a South may say to answer a question may not be his/her last word on the subject.  This can be confusing for someone who hears what sounds like an answer, when it is really one statement towards a decision by a South.  

Allow feelings and intuition in logical arguments

 A South may understand logic, yet find it frustrating when a “gut feeling” is not allowed when making a decision.  They may even feel that time spent thinking through a problem logically is wasted.   When the South is free to make decisions from their heart, they will most often be right.  

A South will often struggle with science and math, preferring subjects that allow more interaction and personal reflection instead. 

Can’t say “no”—may be easily taken advantage of

A South often finds it hard to put themselves first, therefore when they are asked by someone they care about to perform a favor, they may not be able to see the added stress or detriment they are placing on themselves.  The concept of saying no is absolutely foreign to a South. 

If you care for a South, and you know that taking on another task may overburden them, be a good friend and don’t ask—that way they won’t have to say yes, because they won’t say no.

Provide positive reassurance—show appreciation

Gratitude is the language a South speaks.  They may not be able to understand you if you don’t speak the same language.  A South needs reassurance to feel appreciated and happy.  They will demand that you show it to others as well!   

There you have it.  If you’re a SOUTH, then show me some love and speak up by posting a comment.  C’mon, be a friend and help me out here.  I sure would appreciate it!

Putting out fires can be a drag!

Hello blog followers,

I saw the funniest clip on the news last night, and I had to share it with you because it made me think about some principles of leadership.

It seems that some firefighters were on their way to a charity event dressed in ball gowns.  On the way they encountered a fire.  Watch the video to see the event as it happened:

Firefighters in drag

In my leadership role of Lt. Governor Education and Training for Toastmasters District 2, I feel that I am called upon to to put out fires occasionally.  Not real fires as you see in the video, but urgent situations that come up that require immediate action on my part.  I have sacrificed other events with family and friends because of situations that are urgent in my role as business consultant or Lt Governor.  Leadership is not easy.  Leadership is not always timely or convenient.

However, if you are committed to leading, providing for, and serving others, then keep your red hat and fire hose ready, because you will be required to put out fires occasionally.  These are opportunities to grow and develop new skills!

Please chime in, I’d love to hear from you!

Human Resources tHRursday: Employment Agreements


Do you have signed, legally valid “Employment Agreements” for each of your employees?

Watch this video:  Employment Agreements

The use of an Employment Agreement or Employment Contract is of key importance.   Its use in a new hire situation or with an existing employee can:

  • Set the terms of employment
  • Enforce rights and obligations
  • Communicate and clarify expectations
  • Provide dialog about the employment relationship
  • Support recruitment, employee morale, and employee retention
  • Protect important business assets and intellectual property
  • Protect the company’s reputation, trade secrets and confidential information

For a free example of an Employment Agreement (form #200), comment on this blog or send me an email!

Blueprints for team building. Are you a NORTH?

If you were to look at blueprints for a house, would you know the tools that would be needed for each part of the building process?  If you’re unfamiliar with construction, how would you even begin to start building?

Building a team for your business or organization is a process that we often know as little about.  Team members are business tools that when used properly will provide structure and stamina to your business.  On the other hand, if you choose the wrong team member for a task that requires a different type of skill set than they have, your finished product may look very different than what’s on the blueprint!

In looking at a blueprint for your fishbowl, the first step is to determine the compatibility of those you’re considering for your team.  One way to do this is through the use of one of the many different personality profile systems.  The most common ones are:


These tests can often be useful, but I personally find them to be a little too complex.  They have helped me discover my own personality traits, but when I’m working with a team, I want to know more about my potential team members, and how to work best with them.   These systems don’t always help me discover that.

The best system I’ve had opportunity to use was introduced to me by Toastmasters International at a leadership training meeting.  I don’t even know if it has a name, but I call it Directional Communication.

Through simple directional indicators of North, South, East or West this system allowed me to discover not only my own communication and leadership tendencies, but it provided tools to help me understand better my team members that have like or different tendencies.

As with any of these systems, it is rare to be 100% of one type over another, but I suggest that you determine the type that you appear to be MOST prone to, MOST often.  I will start with the NORTH type of personality.  (To offer full disclosure, My name is Jackie Bailey, and I am a NORTH)

North: The Go-getter

  • Assertive
  • Courageous
  • Confident
  • Goal-Centered
  • Hard-working
  • Quick to speak up–“I’ll do it!”
  • Likes control
  • Enjoys challenges
  • Expects others to “Do it now!”

The NORTH personality is very dependable and does not like to be micromanaged!

Are you a NORTH?  Do you have a team member that is a NORTH?

If you’re on a team with this type of personality, and you’re trying to have a successful outcome in your business or organization—here’s how to work best with a NORTH:

Assign tasks that require motivation & persuasion

If there is a task that needs doing that no one else wants to do, the NORTH personality may be your best solution, and will probably offer to do it before you ask twice!  A NORTH will get it done better than you expected, but with added touches you weren’t expecting (for good or bad)

Present your case quickly and clearly w/confidence

A NORTH is always thinking about getting a task done, so they won’t tolerate a long explanation—tell them what you need or want in very concise ways or you’ll lose their attention.

Tell what the incentive will be

A NORTH likes to work for a reward, therefore if you focus on what they will gain by performing the task, you’ll probably be successful at winning their commitment.

Focus on the challenge of the task

Don’t sugar coat anything for a NORTH.  Be clear on the challenges they may come up against, but ensure them that they can do it.

Allow plenty of autonomy

A NORTH does not need to be micro-managed.  You can provide points of accountability such as, “Call me in two weeks with an update”, but don’t hover over a NORTH—they will get the job done.

Establish timelines and stick to them

If you tell a NORTH that you need something by 5:00, they will probably have it ready by 4:00, but they will have worked very hard to make that happen.  Thank the North for working so hard.  On the other hand, if you commit to having a task completed at a specified time, a NORTH will be very frustrated if you don’t follow through.

Give positive, public recognition

NORTH’s like to be appreciated for finishing their assignments, and they will be upset if someone who didn’t complete their assignment gets recognized in the same way.  UGH!

There you have it.  Are you a NORTH?  Come on–step up and admit it!  I want to hear from my northern friends, and I want to hear RIGHT NOW!

HR tHRursday: “At-Will” Employment and your Policy Manual

Are you an “at-will” employer, and does your “at-will” policy information appear in all prescribed places in your policy manual?

Watch this video  “At-Will” Employment  for important information.

As an at-will employer, you can terminate an employee at any time, and for any reason, except for a few legal limitations which supersede “at-will”. 

For instance, you cannot terminate an employee because of age, race, religion, or gender.  Nor can you terminate an employee because they have complained about illegal activity, discrimination, harrassment or about health and safety violations in the workplace.

Furthermore, even an “at-will” employer can’t terminate an employee for exercising a variety of legal rights such as:

  • Family and Medical leave
  • Military leave
  • Time off to vote
  • Time off to serve on a jury

How do you avoid wrongful discharge lawsuits?

  1. Emphasize in your personnel policy manual, and your job application that you are an “at-will” employer.
  2. Don’t use terms such as “long-term”, “permanent”, or “probationary” in your job advertisements or anywhere else either verbally or in writing
  3. Write a clear and detailed job description for each employee.
  4. Keep detailed and accurate records

Litigation is always costly, whether or not you’re found at fault.  The first question your attorney will ask you when a lawsuit is brought against you is, “have you kept accurate records?” 

If you have kept accurate and concise records, and you can show proof, often times the suit will be dropped. However, if you haven’t done so, then the opposing side will come after you for sure because the suit will be based on “he said/she said”, and most often the employee wins.

Good luck out there!  If you want to better navigate your fishbowl AND the landscape of human resources/employment compliance, then contact my friends at Bent Ericksen & Associates  They’ve been the specialists in healthcare HR for 40 years.

Questions?  Let me know, or comment on today’s blog.

Happy HR Thursday!  See you next week!

Regret can be a powerful motivator for change

“It’s unfortunate that we only see each other at funerals”. 

I’m sure I’m not the only one to have ever said this.  And although it was many years ago that I uttered these words to my employer at the time, the memory of that occasion has been brought back to mind because of the loss on Saturday of a family/friend.  How else do you define the mother-in-law of your daughter?  She was a family member created by love and friendship. Jan was my family/friend, and I will miss her.

It was at the funeral of Marilyn, a co-worker and friend, wherein I said those words.  Marilyn had died of cancer, just like Jan; and many of her co-workers, friends, family and family of co-workers were in attendance.  That last group is actually who I was referring to when I made the statement.  The family members of Marilyn’s co-workers.

I met Marilyn because I got a job for the same oral surgeon that she was working for.  When I came on board, I was amazed at the environment that this doctor/employer had created.  HE GOT IT!  I mean, he understood the value of his team, and he made sure that WE felt valued.  It was the most amazing work experience I’ve ever had!  He actually called Marilyn, Lenka, Sheila, Cherri and I his “dream team”!

Dr. T took his team on trips, just for fun.  Not because we had a conference or seminar to attend, but because he appreciated us.  Dr. T was good to us, and his staff was loyal to him.  I worked for him for 10 years…..and then things changed.

Dr. T brought a partner into the mix, and Dr. A was young, fresh out of school and had not experienced the down side of employees.  He didn’t know how good he had it with the team Dr. T had assembled.  For reasons I still don’t understand today, Dr. T allowed Dr. A to change things.  Promises were broken, benefits were rescinded, and morale plummeted.
We didn’t have fun as a team anymore outside of work. 

Then, Marilyn was diagnosed with cancer.  Shortly thereafter Lenka’s daughter was killed in a tragic automobile accident.  We grieved as a team.  We rallied to help each other, but the doctors seemed distant.  Work and making money seemed to be the focus.  The team was there to perform the neccessary work, and that’s about all we did.

When Marilyn died about 13 months later, I was no longer working for Dr. T and Dr. A.  I had left for reasons stated above, and for others.  But there we were at Marilyn’s memorial service.  Her friends, family, co-workers and families of co-workers were all there, and it was the first time we’d been together outside of work since the service for Lenka’s daughter.  Upon making that observation, I made the comment, “It’s unfortunate that we only see each other at funerals”.

Dr. T was touched when he heard that.  He later told me that he understood immediately what I meant, and he recognized the distractions that he’d allowed himself to be ruled by instead of building relationships with his team.  He regretted his choices and behavior.  His realization came too late for his “dream team”.  A few of us had left; a few had returned; and still others had labored through.  But it has never been the same.

What is distracting you from building relationships with your team?  Do you know their family members?  Do you know who your team members really are?  There’s great value in being able to answer these questions in the affirmative.

Regret can be a powerful motivator for change.  Will you let it motivate you?