by Gordon Tredgold
According to a 2014 Gallup poll, companies, 82 percent of the time, appoint the wrong person to a management or leadership position. That's a staggering number.
And yet it's not inconsistent with either my own experience or other statistics that we see -- such as one, this time from a 2015 Gallup poll, showing that as many as 70 percent of workers are either disengaged or actively disengaged.
More evidence? It comes from what seems to be the No. 1 reason why people leave companies: 50 percent of the time, they cite their relationship with their direct manager.
We can only conclude that those managers shouldn't have been there in the first place, and that poor management appointments are to blame. We might also suspect that those appointments not only damaged the mood and morale of these organizations but affected their bottom line. For example, the weak employee-engagement figures cost American businesses around $450 billion every year.
The challenge is that these situations are not going to be completely resolved until they address the real root cause: hiring and promoting the wrong people in the first place. Here are seven characteristics that companies should look for in future managers. If those people don't have them, then don't promote them. ..Click 'Read More'
In 2017, approximately 132 billion business emails will be sent and received per day, according to The Radicati Group.
But Australian media agency Atomic 212 won't be contributing to that statistic.
"We've totally cut out all internal emails," the company's CEO Jason Dooris told Business Insider.
Dooris says he was tired of people relying on email as the primary means of communication with their coworkers. "In the office I don't see it as a necessity, when the people you're emailing are only a few [steps] away and you can chat with them," he says.
The type of email that especially aggravated him were the "delegation" emails because they created tension between coworkers that could have easily been avoided if they had spoken in person. He says if you need to ask a coworker in the office for a favor, then you should ask them to their face out of professional consideration.
Ever after-work emails, which Dooris calls "the bane of modern employees," were nixed to give employees time to disconnect from their work obligations. "When you're not at work you shouldn't be worried about checking your emails," he argues, "and it's only become a problem since emails came into use."
To fill in the hole left by emails, Atomic 212 now relies on Wunderlist to track tasks, Dropbox to share files, and face-to-face contact for anything else — except for calendar invites, which they're allowed to send by email.
So what about external emails? Those are allowed and mainly just sent to clients, but they're next on the cutting board, Dooris says. He believes employees would have better relationships with clients if they bonded in person, rather than through a screen or over the phone.
So far, he says some of their clients were taken aback at this "crazy" practice that seems anti-2016. But overall, he says they've had a response of excitement and positivity. "Many of our clients and other companies love the idea of turning back the clock to the days before email."
Because email was the primary means of work communication, Dooris admits that there was some hesitance from employees to comply in the first few days of the transition period. However, while "there is still a long way to go," he says everyone has already noticed "a positive change in the attitude and culture of the office."
But just to make sure no secret email chains are flying under the radar, he says the IT department is tracking all internal emails. They haven't had any incidents yet, he says, especially now that the initial shock has worn off and everyone "has sunk into the new system quite nicely."
And the best part of this new norm is the change in the atmosphere, Dooris concludes. "Before, there were just too many occasions of listening to the sounds of the office and only hearing the clicking of keyboard. Now you can hear the excitement and people talking."
Posted on Linkedin by Bernard Marr
"Effective leaders ask questions instead of giving orders."
Dale Carnegie wrote that in his classic, How to Win Friends and Influence Peoplenearly 80 years ago, but the advice is as good today as it was then.
The higher people rise to power, the less likely it is that others around them challenge them or tell them bad news. Bad news often get filtered and edited as messages cascade upwards and sometimes is it hard for top leaders to get a real feel for what is actually happening.
One of the most powerful tools leaders can have is to ask questions and then listen to the answers. This goes especially for questions that can’t be answered with a simple one-word-answer.
Questions help us to look at things in a new light, challenge the status quo, search for innovative ideas and figure out how to do things differently. The art of asking the right questions with the willingness to listen to the answers is one of the most important tool in the toolbox of top executives.
How to ask better questions
Often questions can feel like accusations to the person on the receiving end, making them instantly defensive. But empowering questions allows the person a safe way to share without feeling at fault. So instead of asking, “Why is this project behind schedule?” you could ask, “How do you feel about the way the project is proceeding?” and you’ll get a much different sort of answer.
Some ways to make sure you’re asking empowering questions:
But perhaps the most important lesson a leader can take from this idea of questioning is to cultivate a culture that embraces questions.
Perhaps you had a parent or teacher tell you at some point, “There are no stupid questions.” This is the sort of environment you want to encourage in the workplace as well.
Many workplaces operate in an atmosphere of fear that those who ask questions, who probe into issues, or question authority will see negative consequences.
Instead, as the leader, demonstrate that questions are welcome by asking many yourself. Encourage employees to come to you or their direct superior with any questions they may have, and train managers to approach questions with an open mind rather than defensiveness or condescension.
This atmosphere encourages a culture of creativity and innovation that every business I know would like to foster at every level. As always, let me know your thoughts on the topic in the comments below.
By J.T. O'Donnell
“He’s wrong for the role. I know he can technically do the job. But, while I can’t put my finger on it – I just know he isn’t the right person.”
Assessing talent is a complex challenge. If you’ve ever hired or managed people, I’m sure you’ve thought:
Why is defining the right person for the job so tough?
The answer is…
Because Skills & Experience Aren’t Enough
In theory, we should be able to list the skills and experience needed for a job and find the right person. But, that’s not how we actually hire. After years in HR and recruiting, I’ve learned candidates get hired on three factors – AND in this order:
Ever heard someone referred to as, “not a good cultural fit” for the organization? That’s code for a personality and aptitude mismatch.
Solution: Use Personas To Define The Candidate You Need
After studying this for years, I realized the problem lies in the need for a common language when it comes to talent. If we could pinpoint the unique combination of personality and aptitude needed for a particular job, we could help managers, employees, and recruiters get on the same page. As a result, my company created, The Career Decoder – a tool that defines the eight most common workplace personas as follows:
Then, once we know our own personas, we can use this to better understand what personas we need for our teams to succeed.
Example: He Was A Visionary In A Optimizer’s Role
Years ago, a worked with a manager who hired a young man he referred to as a, “whiz kid.” He met him at a networking event and was immediately impressed by his grasp of our industry and customer base. His top persona was, “visionary.” The manager was certain this guy was going to join the team and turn things around. The department was having trouble delivering to customers. The boss assumed this young man’s vision and enthusiasm would fix things. He was wrong. Within two months, it was clear the whiz kid was full of ideas – and could articulate them, but he couldn’t put them into practice. In fact, he was terrible with organization, details, and project management. The job really called for an, “optimizer.” Sadly, he couldn’t have been further from one. He was gone a month later, but not without wreaking havoc on the team and us losing two key employees. If the manager had understood and used the personas above to map out the strengths needed in this job, he could have saved the department a lot of frustration.
HINT: The Best Companies Use All 8 Personas Wisely
In future articles, I will share examples of how leveraging the power of all eight personas help companies perform better. Companies that don’t proactively incorporate these personas across their business model are at risk. The result can be employee disengagement, group-think, bro cultures, and other negative results of unbalanced combination of personas on your team.
by Rodica Rosu and Sunita Sehmi
One of the primary talents international leaders need today is the ability to manage and leverage cultural differences. Today’s manager has to work in both international and cross-cultural environments.
Consequently, managers are required to deal with challenges, friction, and misunderstandings stemming from intercultural communication differences. Therefore, successful management in a modern environment demands cross-cultural competency. In order to get the best out of any multicultural team, leading such a team necessitates a very distinct skill set. Being mindful and modifying your leadership style accordingly is the key to success. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Try and communicate with your team face-to-face as much as you can. Nothing replaces face-to-face communication, as it allows you to read body language, assess levels of understanding, and build relationships.
Be clear about your own cultural profile. Only when you are clear about your cultural profile and how it influences your work, your communication style, feelings and actions, can you direct your team. This authentic approach to your own cultural identity can help improve performance for you and your team.
Less Is More
Cultural differences can create obstacles to effective teamwork, especially with multicultural teams. The challenge in dealing with these teams successfully is to identify the original cultural causes of conflict. Intervene only when necessary, get the team back on track, enable and empower them to deal with future challenges on their own.
A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
Achieving team cohesion and shared vision means encouraging dialogue and communication. This requires time, and it is highly recommended that you invest this time into finding out more about your team members and how their national culture influences their behavior and values.
Trust builds over time and with every action. Make sure you are accountable for your actions and upfront in your dealings with others. Do you do what you say you will do? Non-delivery will destroy trust and credibility every time.
Walk a Mile in Their Shoes
As an effective leader you need to be able to truly understand your team’s perspective. So regularly ‘check in’ with your team members, listen to see what’s happening with them, their assignment and their development.
State the Rules of the Game
Rules and roles have to be set and understood by everyone. The rules of the game have to be negotiated and people need to be comfortable with their own roles. The team leader must act as a secure base so when a member is struggling they know who to turn to.
Developing a team identity is central. To ensure effective team management, the manager must make certain that there is clarity and shared expectations. Make sure that they understand what's going on, so that the team's objectives aren't forgotten or shelved.
From Global to Local
Amass, absorb, and use local knowledge to your team’s advantage. One size does not fit all, so get to know the people you operate with. Ask yourself: “What drives these people and what are their individual objectives?”
Be the Cultural Shock Absorber
It is advisable to invest in a tailor-made coaching program with an experienced cross-cultural coach. Get deeper insight into the respective cultures at hand to ensure that there is clear understanding of the individual and collective values, as this is central when working with a multicultural team.
by Richard Branson on Linkedin
One of the most important skills any leader can learn is when to be decisive, and when to take a step back and look at the wider picture before making the big calls.
In times of turmoil, excitement, rapid growth, or crisis, there will be more decisions to make than usual and less time to make them. There will also be an almost irresistible temptation to make these decisions as quickly as possible. A leader must be calm, confident in his choices, visible to his team and their customers, and in control of the situation.
However, this doesn’t mean rushing in and jumping to rash conclusions before knowing all the facts. I recently read a story about the businessman Stephen Covey’s lasting lesson: seek first to understand, then to be understood. He tells the sweet tale of a little girl holding two apples. Her mother comes in and asks her for one of the apples. The girl looks up at her mum and takes a bite of one apple, then the other. The mum looks disappointed at her daughter’s selfishness. Then the little girl gives one of her bitten apples to her mum, and says: “Mummy, here you are. This is the sweeter one.”
Even when we think we know all of the facts and figures, and have viewed every angle of a given scenario, the truth about a situation can be a big surprise. This is one of the things that makes life so exciting — just when we think we understand something, we learn something new.
This is why delaying judgement can be so useful in business. There have been many occasions when I have been tempted to make a snap decision and decided to wait until I can see the whole picture more clearly. These delays can mean missing the odd opportunity. One example that springs to mind is taking too long to decide to buy the rights to a new game called Trivial Pursuit. But for every missed opening, there have been several averted disasters.
There is a growing overreliance on using statistics as an alternative to using judgement. While facts and figures are extremely useful, data analysis shouldn’t solely drive every decision. The advertising guru David Ogilvy summed executives’ reliance on statistics over judgement: “They are coming to rely too much on research, and they use it as a drunkard uses a lamp post for support, rather than for illumination.”
One vital component of decision-making that is often overlooked is quiet contemplation. After looking at all the stats, speaking to all the experts and analysing all of the angles, then take some time to yourself to think things through clearly. Take a walk, find a shady spot, or simply sit and think for a while. Don’t delay unnecessarily — but don’t rush either. Get that balance right, and you are far more likely to make the right call.
Comment from Heinz A. Müller: Great Leaders know instinctively that leadership is not a solitary task and they prefer to work in and for a community. History proves that they are right.
By John Coleman, Harvard Business Review
We often think of leadership as a solitary task. Buying into Thomas Carlyle’s “great man“ theory of history, we speak of leadership in solitary and personal terms. And certainly, history is filled with examples of men and women like Trocmé, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Theresa who took bold individual action. But most real change – even the change driven by those aforementioned leaders – is community-driven and community-focused. Some of the greatest accomplishments in business, politics, and culture have come not from individual initiative alone but from those working in, with and for community.
First, great leadership often starts in community. When facing great odds or forced to deal with unusual or trying circumstances, few of us are fortified enough to act alone, without counsel or support. This is a point often hammered home by Harvard Business School professor and former Medtronic CEO Bill George, who is a vocal advocate for what he calls “True North Groups” (wwwbillgeorge.org/page/true-north-groups). These are gatherings of peers and mentors with whom we can share. They can counsel us as we face difficult problems and hold us accountable for acting in accordance with our values. Others have advocated similar constructs, such as a personal board of directors. And I’ve noted before the measurable benefits of mentorship. In short, no man is an island, and we are better leaders when we are rooted in a community empowered to counsel us, challenge us, and hold us accountable.
Similarly, great leaders often realize they must act not in isolation but with community. André Trocmé could never have shielded Jewish people in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon on his own; it took the collective efforts of the entire town. Few great changes happen until and unless a critical mass of community members collectively decides to own and execute the solution. William Wilberforce is often credited with leading the antislavery movement in the United Kingdom, for example, but would have accomplished far less without the broad-based support of Britain’s Clapham Sect and a number of antislavery organizations. Steve Jobs was a visionary when he started Apple, but his effectiveness suffered early in his career when he failed to mobilize his Board of Directors behind his vision. And any former management consultant can tell you that the easiest way to fail in a project is to come up with the “right“ solution in isolation, without first worrying about getting the input of and ownership by the broader client organization. Ships have captains, but they are only turned when the entire crew works as a community to shift the ship’s direction. One of the easiest ways for a leader to fail is to forget that her power is limited in isolation and nearly endless if amplified throughout the collective intelligence and resources of the community.
Finally, the most inspiring leadership is that done for community. There are certainly moments when we do things purely for ourselves, and that’s not all bad. A distance runner racing to win a marathon is no less admirable if she is racing only to test her own boundaries and achieve an individual victory. But few will follow a leader who is focused solely on his own goals, and many of the most inspiring leadership victories are those done in service of a community.
This is obviously true in the world of non-profits and human rights. Our greatest heroes are those who sacrificed themselves for the good of their communities – people like Clara Barton, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Harriet Tubman. But it’s also true in business. Marketer Simon Sinek has noted that, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” Many of the most motivated employee and customer bases are so motivated because they see an element of community service in the work their companies do. Whole Foods, for example, professes a motto of “Whole Foods, Whole Planet, Whole People,” framing their mission in terms of environmental purity and human wellness. They have engaged the employee base with a dedication to Whole Foods customers, to team members, and to outside charities. TOMS is famously founded on the premise of sharing its success (and the prosperity of its customers) with those in need. Zappos has built its reputation on providing excellent service for their customer community. People don’t like to follow leaders who are dedicated only to their own personal glory, but they will sacrifice everything for leaders and communities who give them a higher calling, a greater purpose. And whether in politics or business, leadership for community is almost always the most powerful.
These are old principles, but they are worth remembering. Lofty achievements like those of the little village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon are only achieved in community, with community, and for community. And the more we keep those principles front of mind, the greater chance we have to lead lives that do our communities a service.
By Felipe Monteiro, INSEAD Assistant Professor of Strategy
Comment by Heinz Müller: The following article shows that in the business world, the importance of openness and fairness, i.e. the balance of give and take gets recognized -- a fact that also counts in our private life.
When it comes to collaborating on something new, secrecy and tension can ruin a beautiful partnership.
In an era of increasingly complex and expensive technological development and shortened innovation cycles, Procter and Gamble’s Connect + Develop open innovation program is an excellent example of how external knowledge can advance innovation. Since its launch in 2001 the program has formed more than 2,000 partnerships and been responsible for dozens of innovative products and new processes to increase the firm’s productivity.
Openess starts from within
Today more and more companies are looking outside the firm for new ideas and, like P&G, they are adopting principles of open innovation into their business model hoping to enrich their knowledge pool and improve the possibility of finding new and useful combinations of previously disparate ideas. Their efforts (and investments) have met with varying degrees of success.
Which begs the question why are some firms more able to transform knowledge sourced externally into innovation outputs?
Open innovation is not just a matter of getting the right contacts. To get the most out of their open innovation strategy, firms must start by creating the right conditions within their organization. As well as having sufficient resources – both financial and human capital – to implement fresh ideas, companies looking to maximize commercial benefits from collaborative associations, need to enter the partnership with the right mindset, exuding a willingness to share as well as absorb knowledge.
Reciprocity and trust
Studies show that reciprocity and trust are two factors which are consistently important in achieving efficient and equitable outcomes in inter-firm partnerships.
Reciprocity foments the mutual forbearance that lies at the heart of any inter-firm involvement. It’s an expectation that the favor one partner provides to the other will subsequently be returned – and a moral obligation on the other’s part that it will, indeed, uphold this deal. Trust is an expectation that one partner will not exploit the vulnerabilities of the other when faced with the opportunity to do so.
Being perceived as withholding information makes it very hard to create the trust necessary for any successful collaboration. When sharing information with you, your partner needs to know that you are being open with them.
While it’s important that firms protect their intellectual property (IP), if they go about it the wrong way they can create an atmosphere of secrecy and tension likely to hamper collaborative efforts.
In those external knowledge sourcing partnerships, it seems best to protect knowledge using legal mechanisms, such as patents and copyrights. This type of protection is less likely to create tension. The company is being open with its partners by saying “this is what we do and this is how we’re protecting this knowledge.”
When it comes to system and processes however, some knowledge is very difficult to patent. And in industries like the chemical sector, these processes are very important. Often the only way to protect it is through secrecy. Unlike legal protection mechanisms, which force firms to disclose and codify their technological activities making public their capabilities and knowledge, secrecy requires firms to hold tight to what they know and do and only show partners the pieces of their operation that they think they need to see. It may be very hard to fully benefit from open innovation when the mindset requires a high level of secrecy.
In our research, Ready to be Open? Explaining the Firm Level Barriers in Benefiting from Openness to External Knowledge co-authored with Michael Mol, Professor of Strategic Management at Warwick Business School and Julian Birkinshaw, Professor of Strategic and International Management at London Business School, we studied data provided by more than 12,000 companies to the UK’s Community Innovation Survey (CIS) between 2002 and 2006 and looked at how secretive behavior influenced the correlation between external knowledge sourcing and the introduction of new products.
The results showed that using secrecy as a strategic knowledge protection hinders the innovation benefits deriving from external knowledge partnerships. The study showed a distinct trade-off between strategies aimed at accessing external knowledge through collaborations with outside parties and those using a secretive behavioral orientation as a strategic knowledge protection mechanism.
Give and take
Value creation occurs by bringing together ideas and resources in novel ways. It requires participants to give and take freely, for example by sharing their semi-formed ideas in the hope that they will spark off new possibilities with others. This type of creative process is quickly undermined if one party is unwilling to make certain resources available, or if they are too guarded in the ideas they contribute.
In business, as in life, successful partnerships are two-way streets and require openness and trust.