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  • Larry Alton 9:00 am on July 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Cliques in the Workplace 

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    Cliques in the WorkplaceUnfortunately, you didn’t leave behind the cool kid’s lunch table when you left high school. In the adult workplace, there are still cliques, there are still mean girls, and gossip can be just as devastating. It might come with new buzzwords, like “water cooler conversation,” but the reality is that humans (regardless of age) are social creatures and naturally want to form groups. However, we’re also competitive and that can come out fiercer than ever in the real world.

    As a manager, it’s your job to make sure each of your employees can enjoy a positive environment that allows them to flourish, do their job, and enjoy coming to work.

    Like it or not, part of your job is playing social director as well as interior designer. Part of your role is making sure every worker feels welcomed and valued, both from yourself and from everyone else in the office. It’s a tough job being Mama or Papa Bear, but you’re in this position because you have what it takes.

    Playing social director

    There are many ways to encourage holistic socializing both at work and beyond the office hours. For some offices, this means a standing Friday night happy hour at the bar across the street, but you’ve probably noticed that the same people keep showing up (or not showing up), so you’re really just providing an extra avenue for certain cliques to get together. That can be a good thing, but you’re not making serious strides in encouraging the outsiders to join.

    Instead, consider a social function that’s not geared towards the most social butterflies and which doesn’t encourage drinking alcohol. Maybe a lunchtime park cleanup crew, philanthropy group or “club” that welcomes all and tries out a new activity each week or month. You can welcome suggestions by asking everyone to anonymously make recommendations based on something they like, then draw from a hat. Not only will this provide an eclectic range of options, but everyone will also be exposed to a brand new hobby or passion.

    Designing spaces

    The popularity of the open office plan was created to encourage random conversations, creative thinking and a more social area to get work done. However, for some workers a non-stop open space can be distracting and even induce anxiety. Plus, there are some jobs (such as engineers and writers) that really require more private and quiet time for optimal concentration. Instead of a totally open office plan, aim for an open social area.

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  • Larry Alton 9:00 am on June 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    How to manage virtual employees 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    How to manage virtual employeesThere’s no one best approach to managing virtual employees, but there are sets of best practices you can adopt in a trial and error system. It depends on numerous things like (of course) individual employees, your industry, the tech savviness of workers, how you train and prepare them and what goals you have in mind. As more companies are seeing the appeal of virtual offices, from much lower overhead to happier employees, this is one trend that isn’t going anywhere.

    The simple truth is that, just like a “regular” office, there are workers who will thrive in a virtual setting and those who won’t. The perfect situation is to have some workers performing virtually and others in traditional settings, matching each worker with the best environment for them. If you can swing this, that’s great but that also requires knowing which workers are best matched for which environment.

    If you’re just delving into the world of the virtual office, keep these tips in mind. They won’t work every time and for every employee, but they can help you figure out the right next move.

    1. Provide structure

    This can be in the form of daily or weekly check-ins via chat, video conferencing or phone calls. Nearly every worker still needs their company to provide structure in some regards, but don’t do so just for the sake of it. If some workers do best at midnight and others at 10am and the needs of the company allow for that kind of flexibility, let your employees take advantage of virtual settings.

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  • Pedro Amador 9:00 am on June 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    10 tips for treating an employee well 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    10 tips for treating an employee wellManaging employees is by no means easy and people often have to do it without any previous formal training. So I wanted to share ten essential tips that will enhance how you treat your employees, ranked from the least to the most important:

    1. Employees are persons
    2. Given the above, it’s worth pointing out that employees are persons
    3. Just as a suggestion, bear in mind that employees are persons
    4. After doing the above, I might mention the idea that employees are persons
    5. Have we grasped that employees are persons yet?
    6. This tip I learned on my last Masters: employees are persons
    7. I’d also point out that employees are persons
    8. For those of you who may be a bit absent-minded, try to remember that employees are also persons
    9. The most important thing is that employees are persons
    10. The last point is crucial; we are all persons

    It might seem a bit daft, but you should never forget these tips. Employees are persons with values, beliefs, dreams, relatives and so on, and every day you need to align the tasks you ask them to do with company strategy.

    Once you’ve taken this decision, you can then follow the steps set out in any good leadership manual:

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  • Juan Ignacio Barenys 9:00 am on May 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Enterprise Social Network: combined showcase and monitoring centre 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    Enterprise Social Network: combined showcase and monitoring centre

    A few weeks ago I attended a forum organised by the Spanish People Management and Development Association (AEDIPE) at which a senior Telefónica executive brought up something which has not yet been given the attention it deserves: “We no longer find the most copious, reliable and up-to-date information about our employees in conventional sources and files, but rather on social networks.”

    It would be an exaggeration to say that the information we find on social networks is the most substantial, but it is true that what you can get there is much better than has been available up to now.

    Proper design and appropriate use of the social networks environment brings us two very important advantages:

    1. Information  you do not usually get through traditional channels. For example, our competitors’ customer satisfaction, demand for and inclusion of specific professional profiles in certain projects, a customer’s executive staff mobility, etc.
    2. The prospect of directly influencing areas of interest to our company, spreading the right news stories with clear-cut messages, building corporate image or contributing knowledge to prominent open forums.

    Every day there are nearly four hundred million tweets and Microsoft says that over 80% of Internet users regularly participate in social networks.

    This two-fold opportunity – monitoring centre and showcase at the same time – cannot be handled superficially, especially when you consider that reports say that 35% of users use social networks to find a product, thus ousting traditional search engines.

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  • Carlos Gonzalez Jardon 9:00 am on January 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    The Skill Set of a Project Manager (Part 2) 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    In the first part of this article, we talked about the three skill areas a good project manager has to develop. Ultimately, managing a project is an art based in the application of a series of scientific knowledge. The art consists in applying our knowledge, experience and skills in an adequate manner at the right moment, and even though there is no guarantee to the success of the project, it allows us to reduce the risk of failure.

    Thus we must maximize/develop some key skills: 

    • Communication. Clear and effective communication is fundamental for all project managers. Not only is it important to communicate what (the level of detail used and the perspective), but also how (which mediums we are going to use) and when (choose the time when such communication will be made). Additionally, make sure the person on the receiving end has received and understood what you wanted to communicate, whereby the feedback becomes a base element as a means to avoid misunderstanding and incomprehension.
    • Negotiation. With any project there may be mixed and even conflicting expectations, which becomes relevant in negotiation skills as a way of aligning the expectations of the participants with the objectives of the project.
    • Solutions to problems. A project manager must be proactive, anticipating possible problems that may affect the success of the project (risks) and develop plans to minimize or avoid their impact. However, ultimately, if the problem has not been avoided, it must have the capacity to manage such situations efficiently. A project manager should be decisive, able to take responsibility and engage others in the project. (More …)
     
  • Carlos Gonzalez Jardon 9:00 am on January 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    The Skill Set of a Project Manager (Part 1) 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    In the previous article, we focused on emphasizing the importance of the role of Project Managers, and what their main functions are, but what makes a good project manager? Directing/leading a project is something more than just running a set of activities. Instead, it requires having different specific skills such as technician or project specialist that may be needed.

    When it is time to manage/direct a project, the manager should:

    • Plan the work/activities that must be done in order to reach the objectives of the project and accomplish the expectations of the client.
    • Organize all of the elements (resources) that interact throughout the life of a project. This activity will require the project manager to provide a certain level of authority within the organization.
    • Manage the people, whether they are clients, users, project team members, etc… and definitely stakeholders. Projects are done by people and the objectives are not always shared or understood in a correct way.
    • Direct and Lead. Leading is something more than just commanding or giving orders. A good leader forms a part of the team that he/she is leading, and he/she is not an “external agent” who merely establishes goals to achieve and a task to execute. The leader is involved with the team itself.
    • Control/Monitor the project that is developing under the established plan and, if not, define the necessary corrective measures.

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  • Denisse Caballero 9:00 am on January 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Team Management vs. Leadership 

    Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

    liderazgo vs team managementFirst things first: What does it really mean to direct a work team and how does it differentiate with leadership? John P Kotter explains that leaders are people who do the right things, while the directors/managers are people who do things correctly. This does not mean that one is better than the other; in fact, these two roles are complementary to each other and to operate a team at work to be successful, you need to meet both requirements.

    We understand that  the basis of leadership is founded on the vision of the future, how to communicate that vision and helping people to understand and achieve. On the other hand, directors are those responsible for making this vision to be implemented effectively and successfully, in other words “create plans” to achieve that. That said we clarify that a leader is not necessarily a manager and not the opposite, but it is possible that they can be.

    On one hand, a real manager will provide order, therefore organize and promote compliance with the company’s plans, this will do it by making decisions and delegating functions using a formal structure to generate stability and avoid poor performance. A leader will establish a communication process and will push his/her team together utilizing informal relationships to establish bonds, of which will motivate the workers to transmit said energy to the rest of the team.

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  • Sergio Ríos 9:00 am on January 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    How to Start Knowledge Management in an SME, Taking Advantage of Internal Knowledge and Knowledge that is Possible to Find on the Internet 

    Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

    Note from the Editor: Today we welcome to our blog a new author. Sergio Ríos is a Consultant, Trainer and Director at Biable, a consulting firm specialized in innovation in management. He begins a series of articles talking about how to construct effective knowledge management processes in businesses. Welcome Sergio!

    Knowledge management as an element within organizations diluted between a multitude of ideas, processes and concepts. Normally, it gets confused with innovation, creativity, document management, and even it can be inferred as merely a software tool.

    Managing the knowledge of an organization is a complex and delicate task, full of interactions and interpretations between internal processes. However it can be summarized into three phases: 

    1. Manage human capital talent: which is contained in the people who make the organization. It is necessary to know them, organize them, extract their talent and communicate with them.
    2. Manage the capital of the organization: this is the organization’s own knowledge, how they can be processed, work guidelines, documentation, libraries, good practices, etc.
    3. Manage relational capital: shared knowledge with other organizations, such as clients, suppliers and other interest groups. For example: conferences, current events or benchmarking activities.

    In this post, we will focus on what concepts are there to take account for and know, and how do you take advantage of technological means to give a push to knowledge management. In the next post, I will explain how the initial use of knowledge is coordinated, for a services start-up business, and how to supervise human capital from the beginning.

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  • Juan Ignacio Barenys 9:00 am on January 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Managers… Born or Made? 

    Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

    The time of the industrial era has definitely passed in which the business organization gave rise to plots almost completely sealed from those who thought, those who worked and those who controlled. In this setting, the manager was essentially the controller, taking on a role in which his/her competence was measured above all by the attainment of objectives through hierarchical organizations.

    Today, the new management philosophy flags the information and service as necessary elements for the effective functioning of organizations that, in a progressive way, abandon the hierarchy and substitute it with the collective. This change is not trivial, it is the opposite: it very directly introduces the need for leadership in a manager 2.0, and this takes us to confront the question- Is leadership is an aptitude with which one is born with? Or an ability that is made? 

    I am going to venture: the two of them. But not in the way– yes or no– as if to evaluate the kindness of a piece of code. It is not easy to address this question, but its difficulty does not excuse us from doing so.

    If hierarchies weaken, on one hand, while reinforcing coordination requirements; on the other hand, there is no choice but to invigorate the interstitial loops holding the organization together and keep people closely connected with the organization. Here, a manager 2.0’s role is located- leader by demand. 

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  • Virginio Gallardo 9:00 am on December 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    12 Behaviors of a Transformational Leader 

    Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

    Note from the Editor: Today we bring you this article that Virginio Gallardo published in his blog which we found interesting to open a new discussion thread at Zyncro. What types of leaders are there in businesses? What type of leader transforms an enterprise into a social enterprise? What characteristics should this leader have? Tell us in the comment section 😉

    We are in a new age where talent management requires new leadership. I suggest that we analyze the characteristics of the new transformational leader from six leadership styles that include different levels of performance from emotional self-management to the management of internal and external communities.

    Style 1 : Emotional Manager (central axis): Leadership is managing emotions designated as emotional intelligence that is at the center of leadership development; starting to lead ourselves can lead others towards self-knowledge, self-regulation being one of the most important bases for managing teams.

    • Behavior 1: Recognize the motives and intention strengthening the trust between individuals with objectives on the team
    • Behavior 2: Create a trusting emotional environment that appropriately fosters apprenticeship and innovation 

    Style 2: Motivator for achievement (present/results): Objectives are clearly established, giving demanding monitoring while in accordance with each employee’s potential. This is the base of attainment for some excellent results. Results are the best expression of leadership and innovation, but they are also one of the elements that reinforce excellent performance.

    • Behavior 3: Promotes the generation of ideas leading actions that improve results  
    • Behavior 4.: Appropriate demands for results from the potential and abilities of each employee 

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