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  • Rodrigo Escobedo 9:00 am on June 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    4 principles to achieve motivated teams 

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    4 principles to achieve motivated teams When you start working in a coaching process, you use different tools that help boost the team’s alignment with the new work philosophy and the culture that the employer or manager wants for their company. Specifying a vision, mission, cultural values or points, job descriptions and their respective KPI’s, procedure manuals and other tools are really helpful in meeting this challenge.

    However, the current team commonly finds the process exhausting. Taking the team out of its comfort zone is too much for some members who, given the changes, decide to jump ship. In the case of employees who decide to stay, it is important that employers or managers recognise that members are going the extra mile and seek out additional reinforcements to keep their team motivated and achieve greater commitment to the company.

    When thinking about incentives for our employees, the first thing that comes to mind is… money! Although money is attractive for some people, there are 4 principles which we should focus on to achieve greater engagement, generate more trust and increase motivation in the current team:

    Power

    Power means that your employees have the authority to take decisions that are important to their performance and to the quality of their working lives. In companies people are usually given responsibility without authority. This limits the individual’s decision making and ultimately generates frustration. Empowering your employees means that they can decide and then receive feedback. Let them take responsibility and have complete authority over their decisions and their outcomes.

    Information

    This means data, statistics, KPIs, revenues, profitability, customer reactions, etc. Just as many Mexicans are demanding access to information from our government, your team must also have access to your business information. This information must be accurate, current and understandable for employees.

    The more transparent the leader of the company is about its information, the greater the possibility that employees will effectively contribute to achieving strategic business goals. Thus the employee will be able to link the company’s progress towards its various goals to his or her personal contribution to each of these goals.

    (More …)

     
  • Sara Jurado 9:00 am on January 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: reflections, ,   

    If You Spend Much More Time at Work Than With Your Partner, Why Not Measure Your Job Compatibility? 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    These holidays have given me two good discoveries that have something in common. While the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty winks at the search for love through an online dating website, in the journal Vueling one can find an employment portal that provides information about compatibility with companies and coworkers.

    The tendency to study happiness

    What seemed to me to be the most curious is not the simple self-knowledge test that is based on this website, rather the premise about what turns around its functionalities: an employee will be more happy when they fit in more with the culture at work, something that they already spoke of, among others, Dawis&Lofquist in 1984 with their theory of labor force adjustment.

    HR specialists and vocational counseling take into account not only the requirements of a job when it comes to finding the perfect job or employee, but also the values and work preferences. Here is the bottom line of the question from Good.co: analyze those more relational aspects and those questions that are not asked more deeply in a job interview. It’s something strange when work ends up being an important pillar in our lives, don’t you think? Well, either by narcissism, or getting distracted for a while or real interest for your professional career, from April 2013- 60,000 people have registered on this platform. (More …)

     
  • Oscar Berg 11:34 am on January 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    The State and Future of Enterprise Collaboration 

    Editor’s note: Oscar Berg (@oscarberg) has let us republish this article from his blog where he talks about how can we use new tools to change the way we work?

    The “flying machine” consisting of 45 helium-filled weather balloons that was used by Lawrence Richard Walters, an American truck driver, when he took flight on July 2 1982, reaching an altitude of over 15,000 feet.

    More than a year ago, in an article for CMS Wire, I wrote that corporations are starting to ask themselves the following questions:

     ”Now that we all have the tools, what shall we do with them? How can we use them to change the way we work? And even if we see the use cases and want to change our ways of working, how do our work environments encourage and enable us to do this?“

    I think this pretty much sums up where a lot of corporations are today; they have implemented new communication and collaboration tools, but they still have a lot of work to do ahead to figure out how to use them to develop better ways of working, as well as how to create good conditions for information workers that supports the change process.

    Without a doubt, the importance and availability of social, mobile and cloud technologies will continue to increase. What will change is the focus; corporations will be shifting their focus from implementing tools to how they can make productive use of the tools and make change happen inside their organizations.

    As we are soon moving into 2014, it can be a good idea to take a look at some recent research related to Enterprise Collaboration. Below, I have put together links to some of the research studies I have come across recently, highlighting some findings from each piece of research that I found interesting. I hope you will as well. (More …)

     
  • Sandra Bravo Ivorra 9:00 am on December 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Are Companies Afraid of Discovering Their Internal Talent? 

    Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

    2013 is coming to a close. Christmas lights are here, garlands, catalogs of toys overflowing mailboxes, the drive to consume compulsively…and, New Year resolutions! This is the best part. When something ends, something new begins, and beginnings always build up hope and facilitate changes.

    New year, new life! January is the month where everyone intends to sign up for the gym to eliminate all the Christmas excess and lead a more healthy life; it is when smokers think about quitting; when we stop to think perhaps we should take better care of our partner or remember to tell our mother how much we lover her… But ideally it is not necessary during this time to ask these things.

    The same thing happens in the work environment. I have heard a few times the argument that all innovation implies a great economic cost and in an environment of a crisis, like the current economic crisis in Spain, no company wants to risk more than what is necessary.

    But propeling new projects does not necessarily mean investing an enormous amount of money in it, rather it may consist of slight changes in entrepreneurial attitudes, in implementing new easy application ideas, in betting on a personal link between our workers, in adequately awarding and valuing the most creative and efficient employees.

    How many companies encourage idea contests? Good ideas are the genuine raw material of the most successful businesses. But it is still surprising how many ideas we throw away everyday and label them useless after the first consideration. Have you ever experimented changing the role of your workers for a short period of time? We were amazed to see what happens when we offer our employees new challenges and responsibilities. Which companies have the courage to frankly and openly show their employees and communicate the good and the bad? Thus, the achievements are shared and failures can be overcome more quickly with support from everyone.

    (More …)

     
  • Sandra Bravo Ivorra 9:00 am on October 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    The Value of a Company is not Measured by Money 

    Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

    We can have talent in front of our noses and sometimes do not realize it. We all have capabilities to exploit, a series of characteristics that makes us unique and special. However, many people never get to develop them. Why? Because fear blocks them. It costs us to try new things, to investigate, be creative, or take risks. We are afraid of losing it all, even though in reality we don’t have anything to lose.

    This does not happen only between individuals, rather in companies that tend to see changes more reluctantly.  In most cases, decisions are made solely on the basis of “the numbers”, that are important, but they are not everything and, moreover, often do not improve just because of not innovating nor thinking strategically.

    At the end of each year, companies often present their accounts: their fiscal balance, sales levels, national and international expansion…But, do they perhaps speak of the level of achievement of workers, the degree of fellowship, or their training needs? How much time does a company dedicate to consider whether their workers feel proud and happy to be part of the project?  Is a good working environment promoted with leisure times to strengthen personal ties?  Many people may think that’s not the job of a company, and they have the right to think so, but I think that has a high impact on the results and the survival of a business, whatever it is. (More …)

     
  • Oscar Berg 9:00 am on October 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    The 6 Pillars of The Digital Workplace 

    Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

    Editor’s note: Oscar Berg (@oscarberg) has let us republish this article from his blog where he talks about the 6 main pillars of The Digital Workplace. We’re sure you’ll enjoy it :-) If you want to read more about the future of knowledge work, we encourage you to read his blog ‘The content Economy‘.

    The business environment that knowledge-intense businesses operate in is anything but static – it’s changing faster and faster, and in new ways. It’s becoming more and more unpredictable. This means that businesses can’t do long-term planning the way they used to. Instead they have to be prepared for change, becoming agile enough to quickly adapt to new conditions and situations.

    At the same time knowledge work and the contributions of knowledge workers are becoming increasingly important for businesses. There is also a big potential in improving the productivity of knowledge work that they have to address. Yet there is a tension, and often conflict, between agility and productivity. How do we as knowledge workers remain productive, or even increase productivity, when we need to adapt to new conditions all the time? We often find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. Workload and complexity at work is increasing, while we at the same time are expected to be more productive. Add to this that we need to adapt to new conditions. Not only that, we are expected to be creative and innovative as well.

    The greatest enemy here spells c-o-m-p-l-e-x-i-t-y. Not only does it hamper knowledge worker productivity, but it is also causing exceptions to happen more frequently; exceptions that are both costly and hard to deal with. No manual or procedure can help us deal with these as each exception is different from the other and needs to be treated in its own special way. To deal with it we have to improvise.  Collaborate. Think outside of the box. The problem is that our organizations haven’t been designed for this reality. Most organizations have been designed for efficiency and economies of scale, not for enabling collaboration, creativity and personal responsibility. Too often, we are just cogs in a big machinery.  Even if we know what is wrong, and what can be done about it, there simply isn’t any support from the organization to help us act.

    (More …)

     
  • Juan Ignacio Barenys 9:00 am on August 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    The Manager and oral communication: 10 tips 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    In my previous post, I spoke about five premises for good public speaking. On the task, managers must follow certain patterns of behavior that enables them to do it properly.

    1. Listening: People who are successful in public speaking are those who know how to listen, watch and understand.

    2. Generosity: Your priority should not be focused on flaunting your discourse skills. You don’t need to show off, but help the audience with your speech.

    3. Prepare your speech: Many managers are not willing to spend the time needed on properly preparing their interventions. Do it by preparing a clear, short script.

    4. Control your fear of the stage: Despite being in a position of authority and possessing the right knowledge, many people become very nervous, unable to overcoming the stress of having to face an audience. The problem is not the competition, rather confidence in yourself.

    5. Oral language: Use a rich but simple vocabulary , employ clear, precise and to-the-point sentences and paragraphs; add irony and humor in their right measure.

    6. Your voice: Warm up before starting. It is a good idea to breathe slowly and deeply before starting your speech.

    7. Body language: Our oral communication can be enhanced or impoverished depending on how we accompany it with our body language. Carefully control your movements, avoid abrupt gestures, and make visual contact with the audience.

    8. Support media: For many years, PowerPoint presentations have been an unarguable part of presentation. They have advantages but can also kill spontaneity and freshness . Avoid presentations packed with text that encourage the listener to read during the talk.

    9. Manage your time: This goes for both extremes: if you are too short on time, you will stumble; if you have too much, you collapse, and although it seems strange, you end up with even more time.

    10. Assessment a posteriori: any talk or speech has a purpose. When you finish, strictly measure the result . The time and effort used in preparing and giving the speech will be worth it (or not), depending on the result, and should result in corrective measures.

    Juan Ignacio Barenys de Lacha is Director at Odati and Eskpe Consulting. Member of AEDIPE, creator of the Odati Method for training executives and managers, ex-CEO of Olivetti Information Systems Spain and of Sligos Systems and chairman of the World Forum Congress in Washington in 1990.


     
  • Raúl González García 9:00 am on July 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Three occupational competences that mark the difference between the 20th and 21st centuries 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Three occupational competences that mark the difference between the 20th and 21st centuriesThree e-competences that still haven’t been learnt at many universities but that are still in great demand in many organizations:

    1. From the individual we have gone towards the team, and from the team we are going towards the network.

    If the capacity to work in a team was one of the most sought-after competences in the last decades of the 20th century, today it has been joined by the ability to work in networks.

    An omnipresent job, without the usual physical barriers and more flexible relationships, requires the ability to adapt and collaborate openly with all types of environment and people. From the traditional workplace, we are in the transition towards the virtual work environment, in which individuals work connected with different projects, new people and different work structures.

    (More …)

     
  • Chris Preston 9:00 am on June 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: personalization, reflections, , ,   

    Our Pride and Delight in ‘I Made This’ 

    Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

    A news item caught my eye this week. Some clever individual has noticed that someone at the picture-sharing site Flickr has hidden a small message in its website’s code. It’s a ‘We’re Hiring’ notice designed to weed out the people that are REALLY interested in how the site works.

    I think it’s a great example of what I call ‘micro-personalization’ – the small ways in which people can put their mark on what they make or do, without affecting the overall integrity of the output.

    It’s not a new idea, and has long been used as a mark of quality – buy a V12 Mercedes and you’ll see a signature of the engine’s maker proudly displayed on a prominent plaque. On a more safety-related note, when you pull the ripcord on a parachute, you do so with the certainty that a qualified individual has packed it to an exacting standard, as their signature and seal are featured in its log book. For the record, I’ve not done, nor will do, either of these things.

    Technology is offering a new way for micro-personalization to add value, create interest, and…well… have fun. For years technology enthusiasts have hunted down ‘Easter Eggs’ in software. These hidden extras can be as simple as a cheat in a game, or, as the case with Photoshop, feature a comprehensive flight simulation over a landscape that displayed the developers’ names.

    Website developers have long hidden messages and images in their code, such as the recent HMV site change, that celebrated the chain’s revival with a hidden picture of Nipper the dog in the HTML.

    A few years ago you may remember the phenomenon of Felix the Cat. It was a free piece of software that placed a small black and white cat on your desktop, which chased your cursor, put paw prints on your screen and a range of other cat antics. It was designed to mimic the unpopular Paperclip helper (and also make you buy a certain brand of cat food).  It was charming, pointless, and also the holder of a strange secret…

    One day, bored, I put the Felix programme through a Hex Decoder (I’d recently read about the phenomenon of Slag Text where computers ‘tidy up’ programs and fill left-over memory space with random content – sometimes with embarrassing consequences). The Decoder showed me all of the program’s coding… and a rather beautiful, unfathomable piece of philosophy that clearly articulated the developer’s state of mind on the day he made it.

    This discovery delighted me, but also I’m sure, delighted the developer. It’s that second part that I think is so important.

    I talked in my last blog about the need for people to see the meaning in what they were doing, and I believe micro-personalization is a crucial part of this. The ability for an individual to make something ‘theirs’ is hugely powerful, costs very little, and adds so much for the recipient.

    I recently worked with a very successful medical devices company that makes complex wound care products. The cutting floor workers will hand-cut the most difficult ones, and then sign the side of the box. Their manager told me of one new worker who questioned why they did this – he shared with them the reams of thank you letters he had from people that had written in to specifically thank the individuals for making their products. He never got the question again.

    We are so quick to label things as ‘mass produced’ and rarely think about the small ways that we can utilize to make it more personal to the maker, and more meaningful for the purchaser. Clearly signing every tin of beans that rushes past you on the production line won’t work, but that doesn’t mean everything that is made in bulk cannot be personalized. I, doubtless like many, always smile when I see a packing note saying ‘inspected by Sanjay’, rather than the impersonal ‘Inspected by 1467’. It’s good to know that a person has put their name to something, and it makes me happier to have bought it.

    For those doing the making, having a sense of care, pride, and ownership is a win-win situation.  They will be happier, more aligned with their work and the company will be guaranteed a higher quality product. Letting people personalize what they make is a powerful way of achieving this.

    So here’s my challenge – look at what you do, what you make, what you service – and ask yourself the question ‘how can I make this mine?’  Or, if you’re a manager, ask the question ‘how can I help my team make it theirs?’

    Think small, what are the additions that a person could add to something that makes it theirs? How could they bring in their own style or approach? What is the value of giving your customers something that’s more bespoke?

    We are at our happiest when we see our work as our craft, when we want to sign what we’ve done, and tell people, ‘I made this’.  (This article, in case you didn’t know, was written by a Mr Christopher Preston).

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

     
  • 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.

     

     
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