Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why it's so hard to do new things

Continuing my review of the 2007 MIT Management Conference, I listened to educator, Rebecca Henderson talk about why it's so difficult to make changes in a company.

Her words rang all too clear relative to a recent project I'm working on. If your company is bleeding, there are two things you can do:

  1. blame the lazy people who work for you - after all, the last time you pushed them, they came through for you. (so the problem must be with them)
  2. work really really hard so there isn't time to make decisions

There are really two theories Rebecca talks about and she's spot on:

The first one is: "There's a problem let's fix it"

The second says, "We have a problem, someone is screwing up, let's go beat them up"

The funny thing about the second theory is that (if it were even appropriate to use this option!) the wrong person is beat up.

If the problem is to be truly solved, we have to start looking at the first theory and make long lasting change.

I have two steps for you:

Spend a very worthwhile hour listening:

Call me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

ground breaking

Catching up on interesting speakers from the 2007 MIT Innovations in Management Conference, I found two things: 1)I love the short TED talks! 2)a few people extolling the virtues of self reflection and a need for self understanding to become better leaders.

Check out Otto Scharmer's talk here.

Otto speaks in open terms but lays the foundation for companies teaching the benefits of defining your strengths. For a good decade we've all been aware of how focusing on your strengths is far superior to focusing on what you're not good at.

What do you do next when you know your strengths?

Part of this question is answered once you know more about where your strengths pop - or reveal themselves. I'm talking about private thinking, social interactions, action, etc.

Improvement through coaching to performance goals using your hard wired strengths to identify the way forward is groundbreaking. Check out this website for more information - or email me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Applying your strengths

There are a lot of business books on discovering your strengths and learning your all encompassing traits.

I took the Strength's Finder's test five years ago. It told me this:

  • I was: Strategic
  • Input
  • Intellection
  • Ideation
  • Maximer
  • Responsibility

Hmmm. Luckily for each identifier, it provided a paragraph of explanation. Pulling a collection of characteristics from the various pages, it told me this:

  • I see patterns for solution or development
  • I am intrigued when seeing disparate phenomena can be linked by an obsure or hidden connection
  • I like learning new things and collecting information
  • I like to stretch and challenge myself intellectually
  • I seek people who draw on their strengths and am not satisfied with average
  • I am dependable always striving to do what I say i will

Not bad.

It only seemed to scratch the surface however and didn't really offer more information how to put these strengths to use or market my ability. Many books and organizations can get close to the above information - and surprisingly so with their quick multiple choice questions - but they don't tell you what's next.

I have a feeling that's because for every person, the "what's next" is very different, right?

This is what got me more interested in partnering with Emotional Intelligence. Frank, creator of Pi3, places your strengths within the context of where they exisit. Your strengths manifest in a few places: within the processing power of your brain (thinking), with (feeling), and in executing tasks (doing). These moments tie directly to when you're by yourself, with others, in large groups, and within the community and world at large.

Your strengths are anchored within a matrix that is very much your own where they are exhibted uniquely.

What should we do about it?

Here comes the fun part and how Frank and I work together. Remember from above where "I see patterns and am intrigued by disparate phenomena"?

Yeah, I solve problems.

I connect the dots and see gaps not apparent to others.

Through understanding of your goals and how you work now, I can outline a plan and identify the next steps needed for you to go forward successfully. Frank tunes my suggestions for your unique character to make how you'll work be better for you - easier, enjoyable, excelling.

You won't do something if it seems like a chore. You for sure won't do it right away. You want to work within your realm, withing your hardwired strengths. It's natural. Human. It's right.

Contact me to learn more.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I'll get to that next week..

It’s easy to become protective of the work you do.

It’s yours.

You made it.

The automotive industry created or adopted many checks and balances to ensure that work was not only done in the right way, but produced good results. These checks and balances are often called by names like: FMEAs, 8Ds, Design Reviews, Spider charts, and Control Plans. There are other names too.

Bringing these tools into your company can work like a charm in producing amazing high quality high output equipment and product. The charms work when the whole team is engaged in the process of using the tools and enforcing their use.

Let’s take one tool as an example.


Typically many people are involved with this: the developing engineer, a quality representative, a machine operator, the production engineer, and perhaps two other colleagues contributing to the diligence of the design. Three managers are also involved: the developing engineer’s manager, the program manager of the project, and the production manager.

Why so many people?

When you’re a part of creating something, it becomes yours. You get protective of change and defensive on function. Perhaps you’ll even let a few things slide. It’s human nature. As part of a team, you might let someone off the hook if they missed a few things or give them the ‘few extra days’ they’ve requested to make something right.

The check is the document as proof of the work.

(the machine if not designed in a thoughtful, risk-assessed, BEA way will break down though not always immediately!)
The balance is the pool of managers who make sure the work is done.

If the checks and balances are thrown off, it’s possible that all the work might not get completed. It’s possible that a machine run-off won’t occur, that needed fixes get put off indefinitely, that a machine could break down often, and people won’t get trained.

Sometimes the root cause of a problem goes deeper than its immediate ‘obvious’ fix.
How is the process of checks and balances working in your company?