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  • Sandra Bravo Ivorra 9:00 am on June 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Active listening as a tool for continuous learning 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    The art of conversation is being replaced by personal broadcasting. I first heard that expression in a TED Talk by Julian Treasure on the importance of active listening, and I couldn’t agree more.

    We communicate constantly but we rarely listen. Listening goes beyond just lending an ear. Listening is investing time in others, changing the focus of attention to those that surround us.

    They are both the messages and interferences that we receive that are difficult to distinguish. It is demonstrated that we filter contents according to our culture and all this marks a difference between what we hear and what we pay attention to.

    Attitude and beliefs are key factors in communication. Our predisposition towards our interlocutors is an essential condition. Flexibility too, the ability to leave aside our ‘repertoire’ of beliefs to give way to new hypotheses.

    Active listening is the best tool for constant learning. If we don’t train that skill, we will end up shut away in our limiting tenets.

    Four basic aspects of active listening:

    1. Receiving, taking in what they tell us, paying attention
    2. Valuation, appreciating the words of our interloctors as something with an intrinsic value
    3. Recapitulating, we will only be capable of synthetizing something that we are willing to ‘receive’
    4. Asking, after assimilating information, this will generate doubts that will enable us to continue enrich ourselves

    Listening facilitates our daily lives. It’s economical, it saves us having to listen twice to the same message that we didn’t pay attention to in the first place. It’s practical, it will help us to discern what is really important. And it’s efficient, listening not only will be learn, but we will make others want to listen to us and learn about our points of view.

    Sandra Bravo (@Sandra_BI) is founding partner of BraveSpinDoctors, a strategic communication and political marketing consultancy.

    At Zyncro, we believe listening is fundamental for companies. We explain it in this whitepaper about the value of employees’ contributions for the company. In your organization, how do you listen to employees? At Zyncro we help you do it with an Enterprise Social Network. Try it.

     

     
  • Raúl González García 9:00 am on May 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Leadership of the Future 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Leadership of the Future

    Five ideas to envisage leadership of the future from new leadership trends:

    1. From an individual-centered focus, we have gone towards the team, and from the team, to the network. The leadership of the future will be shared: in organizations of the future, everyone will be leaders.

    2. Leadership cannot be boiled down to a set of prefabricated formulas that are used for all organizations, it requires continuous training and the ability to adapt and improvise. Leadership will be more like dancing as a group instead of mathematics.

    3. Leading will be synonym of empowering, the best leaders will be ones who transform their followers into leaders.

    4. The traditional workplace will be transformed into a collaboration 2.0 environment and the leadership of the future will be somewhat similar to the influence that some users have in internet forums. The main leadership 2.0 competences will be the ability to generate participation and trust, micro-blogging, tolerate ambiguity, share openly, and to help achieve a ‘netarchical’ organization.

    5. If work is permeated with Social Networking values and attitudes, people will lose the fear of making mistakes, exploring, participating, sharing, making decisions, taking risks, being creative or contributing new ideas. People won’t have the usual fears found in traditional companies and won’t need to be directed, they will be used to generating collective intelligence and leadership through digital participation infrastructures.

    To sum up, leadership of the future will be necessarily collective: people won’t know how to interact otherwise.

    “The best way to predict the future is to create it” – Peter Drucker

    Raúl González (@coachingcritico) is a certified coach (ICF) and holds a Master in Work and Organizational Psychology from Mälardalen University (Sweden), specialized in participation, organizational sociology, and coaching-based leadership. He has collaborated as a coach and trainer in organizations around the world, and is author of the blog coachingcritico.com, a space continuously investigating the way in which coaching and other trends are transforming learning and collaboration in all types of organizations.

     

     
  • Eduardo Sanz 9:00 am on April 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Leadership in difficult times (II): Accidental leader or “what have I done to deserve this?” 

    Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

    I want to start by thanking you for the great welcome my first article on this blog got and all the comments many of you made both privately and publically. This just reinforces that the ideas I mentioned are not just my own vision of things and helps to confirm that we all have a mission to change the Spanish panorama of SMEs with quality executives and leadership.

    Another reason that reinforces that we have “hit the nail on the head” is that all of you who gave your feedback are people that have experienced pseudoleaders. So they are not an urban legend that no one has seen after all and they do really exist. It’s no use thinking that they are just from the older generations, and those that have replaced them are “cut from the same cloth.”

    Curiously, none of these pseudoleaders have written to me publically or privately to say “Hello, my name is X. I’m a pseudoleader and I want to change. How do I do that?” So I ask myself, where is that self-criticism?

    An accidental leader could be any of you; a committed person with a restlessness, who collaborates and has always worked hard thinking that some day their chance to lead a project due to their own merits would come.

    Normally, accidental leaders find themselves with their boss’s job overnight because the company had thought that it could save expenses that way and that they would accept the position without questioning why or how and would limit themselves to doing what they are told.

    It is communicated to them with no mincing of words. “Hello, we have decided to make a change in Sales Management and after assessing several options, we think you are the person for the job. We have good reports from your boss, you’ve been with us for a while and you know the company. So do the visits you have planned and in 15 days’ time we’ll meet here to talk about how we are going to work.”

    You get excited and you follow your work plan and visits. At night in the hotel, you work on a detailed business plan in line with what the company needs and the market demands.

    When the day arrives, the message you receive is “We hope this changes quickly and you limit yourself to doing what we tell you, don’t forget that you’re here because of us” or “What you need to do is sell, stop giving excuses and sell. Your previous boss spent all day getting data on the competition and saying that we had to change things and analyze prices, but what you need to do is sell. We’re here to think, so less PowerPoint and more selling.”

    You’ll leave the meeting completely demotivated but you tell yourself that gradually changes and improvements will be made. The months go by and things stay the same, they didn’t want a leader and you realize that you haven’t worked or endeavoured so long to do that.

    You try to give your team training and the response is “Training is an expense, less training and more selling”. You start to notice that they don’t include you in the decisions and when the time comes, you ask yourself the question do you really want to continue or not?

    You know your potential, you know your areas for improvement and you want to work on them. What’s more, you have ideas to drive and help the company.

    I’ve discovered I’m an accidental leader. What do I do?

    If after reading this you can identify with this, don’t lose hope. Don’t worry, there is a path to solve it. You have several options and, although there is no good or bad one, I’ll give you a few. But remember, the right one will be the one you decide to take.

    Option 1: Accept it and resign yourself to the fact. If that role is enough for you and you are only looking for a title on your business card, it’s as respectable a decision as any other. Many people spend their lives doing something they don’t like and passing the hours, waiting for their day to end. If you are one of them, you still have time to change it some day. If you don’t want to, good luck in your job. I don’t envy you.

    Option 2: You’re restless and you can see that this is not the future you envisaged.

    • To start, don’t lose hope.
    • Be positive, maybe you will manage to make them change the way of doing things.
    • Seek allies that can help to change things for better step by step.
    • Relish those small successes, from a new customer to a sales rep that you have trained. Give yourself those moments of self-motivation.
    • Don’t stop learningand build up your network of contacts in case an opportunity arises.
    • While you are with the project, always give your 110% so they can never say you “didn’t do it” and if the results don’t come, you can be sure that you gave your all.
    • Trust yourself and your values.
    • You have talent, success requires training .
    • Never rush into making a decision that affects your future. As the song goes “you’ll never walk alone”. “When you walk through a storm. Hold your head up high. And don’t be afraid of the dark. At the end of the storm is a golden sky”

    In the next article with which I will close this trilogy, I’ll talk about new leaders: Leader-Coaches, the seed of the Sustainable Leader.

    Like always, I’ve written about my own opinion of things, but I’d love to know what you think. Feel free to comment!

    Eduardo Sanz (@esanzm) is entrepreneur, coach and founder of Directivos en Acción.

     

     
  • Chris Preston 9:00 am on April 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Losing Meaning Amongst Complexity 

    Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

    I’ve recently been reading Dan Ariely’s latest book – The Upside of Irrationality. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s a frequent writer and speaker on the subject of human behavior, with a particular emphasis on why we do things that make no practical sense. In this book, he shares research into how we find meaning in what we do, and the consequences of not having it in our working lives. It’s fascinating stuff, and I could read his work all day.

    He makes a key point about the need for us to see the outcomes of our work successfully launched into the world, and that it’s the role of leaders to make sure people can join the dots between what they are doing, with the ultimate outcome of the organisation. In the book, he uses SAP as an example of where complexity is clouding this process – I don’t believe he’s saying SAP is a bad system; it’s just one of many, many tools that we now use for our daily lives… probably one too many.

    How bad is the problem he’s describing? Well, for example, in 2008 I was working with a police force that had just audited its systems – they had upwards of 350 different ones. That was four years ago – I dread to think how many they have now. Officers at the time were frustrated and disheartened with the situation, feeling that it took them away from the core of the job: to police.

    This situation is echoed in the pharmaceutical industry, one of the most heavily regulated groups you will ever find. With multi-billion dollar fines levied for illegal activity, the companies involved have layer upon layer of systems to prevent any, tiny, slippage of the ‘code’. This compliance is aimed to benefit the patient, but it has the hugely negative effect of creating a group of dispirited people who genuinely want to make people’s lives better, but feel the myriad of steps in the process simply don’t allow it. I’ve been part of trying to make the many systems more understandable, which is a Sisyphean task I would not wish on anyone.

    Thinking this over, one phrase came to mind, written by the equally fascinating author John Maeda, who, when talking about simplicity, uses this powerful equation “How simple can you make it / How complex does it have to be?” I love this statement, and I turned to it recently when working on an online profiling tool, which I was happily heaping with features that I thought would be wonderful. The final product would have needed days of patient explanation before anyone understood it, and a manual the size of a phone book. Applying John’s rule, I chopped out most of the things I’d added, and it worked just fine.

    But with my system, I had total control. With the police and pharmaceutical industry control is far from perfect, and the ‘clear lake’ slowly silts up as many contributors independently bring in their own needs. Organizations over a certain size lose clarity around complexity – no one has the reach or remit to ask the question ‘are we too complex?’ when it comes to systems and process. Many companies simplify their products, operations and footprint, but few ever truly simplify how they do business. As one police officer put it to me, “we are good at adding, but not taking away process.” Systems seem to disappear only when technology takes a step forward.

    There’s no doubt that the proliferation of systems is damaging our ability to find meaning in what we do, research, common sense and performance figures all bear witness to this fact. I’m not suggesting that we stack them up and burn them – we’re past that point. What I do feel is needed is local ownership of this challenge. It’s the job of the manager to ensure that people working in complex environments can see how their contribution adds to the organization’s ability to deliver services, goods or outcomes. No one wants a meaningless task, but the danger today is that the processes we’ve built up around the daily job make it difficult to see past the task of administration.

    Leaders and managers need to become practiced at holding conversations about the organization’s aims, what’s coming off the assembly line, and who they are helping. They need to recognize that people are blinkered by the systems they have to use, and need encouragement, support and time to step out of this and look at the wider picture.

    None of this is difficult, it’s about time and effort on the part of the people that really need their teams to perform well.

    And, if you have the capability, maybe also extinguish the odd system here and there – start a quiet revolution around simplifying working life. One of John’s governing laws is “Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.” So, if it’s a law, you’ve got to do it.

    Chris Preston (@Trimprop) is a Psychology graduate and specializes in internal communication and team development. He currently is Director at The Culture Builders.

     

     
    • David Zinger 10:58 pm on April 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Well said Chris. I like the way you put Johm Maeda and Dan Ariely together. I have been thinking about this a lot in relationship to employee engagement and this was a very nice personal booster.

    • Chris Preston 10:13 am on April 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks David – they are two lovely authors, and I really wish that business could do more with John Maeda’s work – I think the challenge is it’s not as easy to link his thinking with business process as it is with product design. Glad it helped boost you!

  • Raúl González García 9:00 am on April 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    How to give feedback to motivate 

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    Coaching feedbackFeedback is the information you give your employees on their performance in order to get better results. One of its main characteristics is that it must be useful as information, i.e. it needs to generate learning in the person receiving it. If a manager gives information to a subordinate on their performance that does not help them in practice so they can improve their work, it is not really feedback.

    What’s more, if the feedback is communicated in a way that makes the employee feel guilty, frustrated, irritated, or in short, demotivated, rather than being feedback, it is quite the opposite. Feedback when used well can improve your employees’ motivation and performance greatly, however, when used poorly, it can be one of the main factors of demotivation and even worsen their performance.

    Best intentions are not enough in giving feedback effectively. Below you will find four steps that will help you to prepare the information you give to your employees to improve their performance and how to communicate it to generate greater motivation and changes in their results:

    • Be clear. Vague, generalist feedback isn’t any use. Clarity involves relating specific actions with specific results. The more precise it is, the more effective the feedback will be. Precision also refers to the fact of talking about actions that can be controlled by the employee, either for them to replicate them if they give good results, or to change them to get better results.
    • Don’t improvise. In order to be clear, you need to identify what objectives you want to achieve beforehand when you give feedback. Think and prepare what specific changes you want to see as results, this way you will transmit exactly that and nothing else. Choose the right time and place. Avoid stressful situations, because you won’t be in the best mood to be constructive, and furthermore, people retain a very small percentage of the information in these situations. Avoid subjective judgements as far as possible. Refer to specific conduct and results, try to be as objective as possible, by using objective and neutral data, for example.
    • Give more positive feedback. Feedback is not just information regarding aspects that need to be improved, it is also information on what they are doing well. Some managers don’t pay much attention to what they employees do unless there is a problem. From an employee’s point of view, this makes the manager seem to be only watching for mistakes. Positive feedback(valuing and reinforcing conduct or attitudes that achieve goals) is as important as negative feedback (pointing out a conduct or attitude that hinders the achievement of goals), because reinforcing effective conduct improves the work environment and enhances motivation in those that receive it.
    • Be constructive and focus on the solutions, not the problems. The goal of feedback is not to point out negative aspects, rather to introduce changes so that they improve. Focus on those changes, ask your employees to propose solutions, put forward different alternatives and explain how and why they can contribute to improving the results. Allow them to become actively involved and decide, as far as possible, the changes they want to make and the way they will carry them out.

    If you bear in mind the previous points when giving feedback to your employees, you will be taking advantage of feedback not only as a tool for improving performance, but also as an opportunity to improve your relationship with them and motivate them.

    Raúl González is a certified coach (ICF) and holds a Master in Work and Organizational Psychology from Mälardalen University (Sweden), specialized in participation, organizational sociology, and coaching-based leadership. He has collaborated as a coach and trainer in organizations around the world, and is author of the blog coachingcritico.com, a space continuously investigating the way in which coaching and other trends are transforming learning and collaboration in all types of organizations.

     

     
  • Eduardo Sanz 9:00 am on March 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Leadership in difficult times (I): The problem of the pseudoleader 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Editor’s note: Today we would like to welcome a new contributor to our blog. Eduardo Sanz is an entrepreneur, coach and founder of Directivos en Acción. He will be sharing with us his knowledge on Enterprises 2.0, Human Resources and Leadership.

    This is my first post in a series which I hope will result in a long collaboration in this blog. I’m somewhat thought-provoking when I write. My aim is to raise awareness and make you think about the path to follow.

    In a series of 3 posts, I’m going to talk about the evolution of Leadership over the last 3 years, right up to what is the model of leadership for the future in my opinion: Sustainable Leadership.

    Last week I had the pleasure of giving a keynote on this new leadership paradigm at the presentation of a book that I co-wrote “LinkedIn 200 millones: el CEO se ha quedado obsoleto”. In a world characterized by the speed with which information, news and business opportunities flow, there continue to be pseudoleaders who think that they know the only valid model for managing “their” company. I stress “their” because in any conversation, they take advantage to introduce their “the only one who decides is me”, they are cautious of change and consider fax to be the most advanced technology.

    1. He is reminiscent of the tribal leaders of times past to whom everyone went for advice and to make decisions. With him, the sole knowledge of the organization lives and dies, and if he is not there, nothing can be done.
    2. He always decides and everything has to be run by him. He does not trust anyone (for example, let me tell you about a colleague of mine who, in a company with 450 workers and a turnover of 35 million euro, wasn’t allowed to buy toilet paper without the CEO’s authorization).
    3. He thinks that information is power and does not share it.
    4. He wants the entire organization to be dependent on him.
    5. He rewards what he calls loyalty (servilism) over talent and does not allow opinions that are different to his.
    6. He does not trust the new technologies and thinks that his team are using them for things other than work.
    7. He thinks that training and personal development is an expense and not an investment.

    Having a pseudoleader has consequences for the organization

    1. Due to his way of managing everything together, down to the minor details, he paralyzes and blocks work processes. In a world moving at the speed of a Ferrari, he still goes on horseback like the Native American chiefs and that means that decisions are taken late.
    2. If he doesn’t react quickly, both his company and he will become obsolete and will cause a crisis in management and leadership.

    Luckily, there is always time to react and, as we will see in the next post in this series, there is another model and another way of moving forward. Do you still have pseudoleaders in your company or do you have real leaders?

    Eduardo Sanz (@esanzm) is Entrepreneur, Coach and Founder of Directivos en Acción.

     

     
  • Raúl González García 2:44 pm on March 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    How do five different leadership styles face a same situation? 

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    Leadership

    Familiar with the 5 leadership styles and their characteristics? Want to know how to identify them and what are the pros and cons of each one?

    The Management of a company has sent a policy to its different local branches for middle managers and executives to communicate to their subordinates. They know that the new policy will be very unpopular, but there is no alternative, and it is expected that employees will show resistance from the outset.

    The managers not only have to communicate it to their subordinates, but they also have to ensure that it is met. To top it off, many of them don’t agree with the directive either. How do managers with different leadership styles face this situation? What are the pros and cons of each one?

    1) Autocratic leader. This type of leader gives orders or ensures compliance using incentives or sanctions. They threaten with their power if anyone questions what they say, and hence communicates the policy absolutely, leaving no room for argument. For that reason, employees associate the policy with them, despite it having being imposed from above.

    Pros: It works. The directive is met fast and effectively.

    Cons: It damages the relationship between the leader and their subordinates. It destroys trust and worsens motivation, communication and collaboration. It even affects the team’s performance. The policy is met, but paying a high price for it.

    2) Bureaucratic leader. This leader is completely focused on the rules. Like the autocratic leader, they will use sanctions to ensure compliance, but in a more indifferent and functional manner than the autocratic leader. They believe that it is obvious that rules are to be met, and for that reason, they expect everyone to comply with them. They limit themselves to applying the regulation.

    Pros: It also works and the policy is met. Furthermore, it is a leadership type that generates responsibility in some employees.

    Cons: They are leaders that tend to create rules for everything, employees can become saturated by rules they don’t understand and feel that in their workplace protocols are more important than people. It generates demotivation in the long term.

    3) Charismatic leader. They exercise a leadership style based on charisma in which they project their personality, generating such a level of following and influence among their subordinates that in their strongest version they can simply communicate the policy for it to be met automatically, without resistance.

    Pros: It is probably the leadership style that generates the least amount of conflict regarding the new policy in the short term.

    Cons: The charisma of the leader can be so strong that it rules out the other people in the team and their contributions. It creates dependence on the leader and makes them difficult to replace, generating many problems in accepting a new leader in the group if a necessary change is made. The leader has too much influence.

    4) Laissez-faire leader. In their positive version, they lead a mature, independent and committed team that works well individually, without requiring much interference from them. The members of the team understand that the policy escapes the leader’s scope of decision and assume it in a more or less tolerant way. On the negative side, the leader doesn’t interfere in the team due to a lack of leadership, and assumes that the collaboration will work by magic. They do not act as a leader although the team needs it and, in the case of the policy, they will feel uncomfortable having to ensure its compliance. It is probable that they will shut themselves away in their office and the relationship with their subordinates will be scarce and progressively deteriorate when the employees realize that their leader doesn’t interfere in the daily conflicts and problems, but does ensure the compliance of the new policy, as they have no other choice.

    Pros: In the positive case, it can be the most effective leadership. The leader knows how to delegate and the team manages themselves flexibly and autonomously.

    Cons: In the negative case, it is the most perjudicial as it means that unsolved conflicts and problems grow over time. It frustrates more involved employees, demotivates them and creates a poor working environment in which it is a case of “save yourselves”.

    5) Participative leader. They know how to ensure the policy is met without exercising their power or resorting to sanctions. Firstly, they use information empathically, trying to give employees as much information as possible. They explain the background behind the policy, where it comes from, and the reasons why it has been take. They also explain what their role is in ensuring it is met. They listen carefully to the opinions of their subordinates, and when they see that there is resistance, they ask for the reasons, leaving it clear that it is not in the team’s or the leader’s hands to change the policy, but listening with interest and curiosity, and not just asking for the sake of it. They show they understand the opinions of their subordinates, offering to communicate those opinions to the superiors, and above all, trying to reach agreement regarding the policy. They know how to keep a balance and show loyalty to their employer as well as respect to their subordinates. Their way of relating and communicating with the team generates trust in spite of the policy.

    Pros: They take advantage of a conflict to reinforce the relationship between the leader and the team, empowering employees and making them feel valued, and do not weaken motivation. It is one of the styles that generates the best collaboration environment for high performance.

    Cons: The participative style requires a lot of time for it to be effective, and due to the lack of a participative culture, it doesn’t generate participation spontaneously nor do many leaders know how to generate it in order to lead using agreement.

    In reality, these styles do not exist in a pure state, they are only models in which one aspect of leadership is emphasized over others. Each leader combines characteristics of the different styles to a greater or lesser degree, making up the unique and irrepetible leadership style of each person, which evolves over time with training, experience and practice.

     

     
  • Chris Preston 9:00 am on March 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Trust. Don’t ask for it, work for it. 

    Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
    Trust is an unequal commodity in life.  With some people, we give it unequivocally – to the surgeon that is about to operate on our heart, or to the bank that holds our money (actually, perhaps this one isn’t so strong). With others, it’s hard won, and we hold back giving trust until certain fundamentals are demonstrated.

    “Trust me…” goes the saying, and in business, it’s something we regularly ask of our colleagues, our partners, our customers and our loved ones. We all say it and doubtless mean it, but how many people actually know how to practically go about building a foundation for trust? Until recently, I had no idea and, like most of us, assumed it was something intangible that grew as time passed. However, more and more I’ve been working with leaders that demonstrate it, and have highly developed approaches that boil down into four solid components that are applicable in any situation where trust between two individuals, teams or a person and an organisation is required.

    The Complete Trust Model: relationship, honesty, humility and consistency

    Where I use these four components of what I’ve termed the Complete Trust model the conversations always start with ‘which one’s the most important?’ This is a difficult one, as you’ll see; they are interdependent and taking one out breaks the cycle. However, I do think there’s one that we all regularly neglect – I’ll save that for last.

    1. Investment in Relationships

    The first element is Investment in Relationships  – taking the time and making the effort to both be known by the other person and knowing about them in return. If you are asking someone for their trust then it’s only fair that they have a reasonable level of insight into the person doing the asking. Without this, it’s similar to a stranger wanting to borrow money from you.

    Knowing about someone isn’t enough – you have to demonstrate this knowledge to them – even if it’s as simple as using their name. One CEO we work with gave himself the challenge of learning six people’s names a week to increase his levels of trust. When he used them, the results were amazing – people lit up and engaged with him more openly.

    2. Honesty

    Secondly, there’s the need for a high level of Honesty – not pulling away from the tough conversations that people won’t want to hear. For some managers, the desire to be popular makes them avoid sharing negatives, which simply builds up mistrust, as people find out the information for themselves and question why it wasn’t shared. Honesty is also about saying when you got it wrong, not deflecting blame or spinning a story. This is really about making the truth a virtue for yourself.

    3. Humility

    Humility follows this, being able to put aside authority, position and status to both accept tough feedback and to be able to talk about personal failure without being defensive or evasive. The word actually means ‘from the earth’ – being humble is about re-grounding yourself on a firm standing, and stepping down from a position of power to ensure people see the human side of yourself. In one technology company we work with, the CEO has a communication route that’s labelled ‘Tell the CEO’ – it was changed from ‘Ask the CEO’, and has a huge influx of considered responses.

    4. Consistency

    Finally, and what I think is the most neglected aspect, is Consistency. This mandates that what you do in the other three, you do repeatedly and in the same manner. So many people talk, particularly with regards to the Investment in Relationships element, of doing it ‘when they have the time’. As soon as you are inconsistent, people lose faith in you and trust is broken.

    Consistency is about having the desire, focus and tools to implement long-term strategies with regards to people, information and yourself. It also dictates that you actively monitor your own behavior – identifying where you act inconsistently, let pride cloud the issue or fail to share the tough message, and challenge yourself to work on lessening or removing these instances.

    These four apply to every interaction we have – customers that receive inconsistent service that treats them as a number quickly disappear. People working for a leader who never tells the truth about bad things will find other, more trusted leaders to work with. Trust even extends to the organization – companies that espouse new values every 12 – 18 months will struggle to build trust from their workforce.

    My final, cautionary, note on trust is that it won’t necessarily make you liked – it’s what you put into those four elements that will do that, being consistently unpleasant does, in a perverse way, build trust – people will know that you’re always going to be like that.  Getting the balance right involves working methodically within the four areas I’ve detailed and focusing on your personal style to ensure they are inclusive, equitable and mature.

    Chris Preston (@Trimprop) is a Psychology graduate and specializes in internal communication and team development. He currently is Director at The Culture Builders.

     

     
  • Joan Alvares 9:00 am on February 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Looking to buy time… 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Editor’s note: At Zyncro, we care about time management processes and work. We want Enterprise Social Networks to make these processes easier and let us save time for other things. If someone was selling time, you’d buy it, right?

    Looking to buy time from anyone who will sell it to me. From anyone who doesn’t know what to do with it. From anyone who feels that they are wasting it each day working in something that doesn’t motivate them or doing stuff they aren’t interested in.

    Is this you? I’m sure we can come to an agreement, don’t worry. The price? I don’t know. I’ve never thought about selling mine. Tell me what you think a fair price would be. Quote me by hours or years, whichever you prefer. In the end, it is your time. For now. How much are you selling it for to your boss? I’ll double that.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not buying money from you, I’m buying time. I know, I know, you’ll tell me time is money. But for me, it’s much more than that: it is the most precious asset we have. Money comes and goes, but time never returns. Maybe it sounds nonsense to you, but I refuse to separate my time between “work” and “personal life”, between business and pleasure. In reality, anyone who works doing what they are passionate about can tell you that they work all the time or they never work. It depends how you look at it.

    I don’t know when you decided to sacrifice eleven months of the year doing something you don’t like in exchange for one month of vacations. I don’t understand why you think it’s a good deal. It doesn’t seem like one to me. In fact, if you do it in exchange for a really good paycheck, you’ll have realized that even money needs time to be enjoyed.

    When they see the end of life looming, most people ask for more time, not for more money. Some feel sorry for themselves when they realize they are going to die with their bank accounts fuller than their soul. They have sold their time at a loss. They realize then, when it is too late, that the richest person is not someone who has the most, rather someone who needs less.

    Joan Alvares is founding partner of Poko and lecturer at Istituto Europeo di Design

     

     
  • Jose Luis del Campo Villares 9:00 am on February 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Entrepreneurship within your own company 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    The truth is we usually associate the figure of the ‘entrepreneur’ to a freelancer who starts out their business or entrepreneurial adventure with much effort. In other words, that self-employed contractor known to us all.

    But if we go to the grain of entrepreneurship and, hence, the psychosocial characteristics of what an entrepreneur is, only one of those points indicates that they should be someone who starts up their own business. However, in recent years the idea has spread that an entrepreneur is synonym of someone who creates their own business or activity. That is merely a simplification of the profile and skills of an entrepreneur.

    The entrepreneur is also someone who cares about making their activity essential for the customer, that customers find their needs covered at all times; a person who is thorough and meticulous in what they do, even isolating themselves from their environment to achieve the goal set out, with an innovative spirit… We need to clearly distinguish between what an entrepreneur as we have identified it today is and what the entrepreneurial spirit is, as those special features in their way of working or thinking that a person of such characteristics has.

    If we think about the entrepreneurial spirit, why aren’t there entrepreneurs on payroll in companies? Can we say that the members of the R&D&i departments in companies have an entrepreneurial side to them? Why mustn’t an entrepreneur have a pay check? Let’s take the example of Albert Einstein, a man with entrepreneurial restlessness. Did you know that while he was inventing he worked as a civil servant? (when he was a young unknown physicist, employee in the Bern Patent Office, he published his theory on special relativity).

    The restlessness that an entrepreneur shows in their personality, their way of looking at things, their way of acting and thinking is not exclusive to freelancers; it can also be found in employed individuals.

    The big difference lies in the level of commitment held with the project being undertaken, as when you are freelance, it’s not just a job, it’s an entire life that revolves around the business; while when you are on payroll in a company, the commitment lies within a position, a salary and some duties and obligations, but your entire life does not revolve around what you do.

    For that reason, although for many it is not possible, we can say that there are entrepreneurs in companies, and it is this human collective that the HR department in organizations has to find, protect, pamper, as they represent the true talent within organizationsand that, unfortunately in this country, have always been underestimated. We business owners have always preferred uncreative employees that are meek and obedient over employees with initiative or entrepreneurs who, at some stage, may argue with their bosses.

    How can we cultivate an entrepreneurial culture within our companies and in our employees?

    Motivation, assertiveness, empathy, listening (not hearing) to what they have to say, making them part of the company’s success, valuing things done well… everything in short that should be the norm, but unfortunately is forgotten by many bosses in this country.

    Jose Luis del Campo Villares is a facilitator, trainer and coach. He cares about people and their lives within organizations; for that reason, he is a social media consultant and CEO of Socialmedia Network. Apart from several collaborations, he writes his own blog, which we highly recommend at Zyncro.

     

     
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