Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The New Social Learning

Things are not always as they seem.  They’re not as simple as they seem.  And social learning is no different.  Social learning is of course nothing new.  But how it’s accomplished is always changing.
 We’re not just talking Facebook and Youtube.  The New Social Learning: Connect. Collaborate. Work, by Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner, shows us how to capitalize on the people, tools, technology, and practices in order to increase engagement and collaboration.  In this book you will read about organizations that have transformed meaningful social learning into advantages over other organizations.

Don’t do what most people do and just focus on the tools.  How can they be used to your advantage?  People have a great desire to make a difference.  Learn here to facilitate the growth in the way people learn.  See how you can learn to “work outloud” to build learning relationships.

Share this book with your training, marketing, and HR departments.  Heck, all departments.  And don’t forget the leadership team.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Collaboration Begins with You

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about reviewing books, it’s don’t miss a Ken Blanchard book.
 Collaboration Begins with You: Be a Silo Buster, is no different.  This new book by Ken, Jane Ripley, and Eunice Parisi-Carew is a book for every employee.  We shouldn’t wait for a culture of collaboration to begin from the top.  It begins with you.

The authors share a parable - which makes it an easy read for everyone - on the three-part approach to busting silos around you; the heart, the head, and the hands.  Put it all together and it provides a way for us to change our beliefs of collaboration so that we can truly work together instead of just going through the motions.  In order for collaboration to really work properly, it needs to become company-wide . . . and accepted.

So you think you, or your organization, are already collaborative.  Try the self-assessment towards the end of the book.  You may soon feel a bit different about those thoughts.  It’s easy for organizations to fall into the beliefs of how good they think they are.  But once you actually, honestly look at the Heart, Head, and Hands domains of collaboration, you might very well see that, Hmm, we have some work to do.

This book will show you how to break down the barriers and get started, instead of waiting for it to filter down.  The outcome?  A collaborative mindset leading to increased trust and productivity.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Flip Flops in the Office

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about things his manager does that drives
him nuts (many).  The one issue that really struck a cord was flip flopping.

I've had a couple of managers throughout my working years that were pros at flip flopping. Whether it was making changes to a new SOP and eventually flipping right back to the way it was originally written, or telling me to do one thing and then completely going off when it's being done.  

Now don't get me wrong.  There's nothing wrong with changing your mind.  Things change. Circumstances change.  I totally expect it.  But to be a good and trusted leader, you must take the time to think things through.  Knee jerk reactions have a bad habit of coming back on you.  People start to wonder what the interpretation of the day is.  You may think it doesn't affect you, but it affects your team and the way they do their jobs and the way they think about you, whether positively or negatively.  Flip-flopping will eventually lead to people throwing up their arms and giving up and negatively impacting the culture.  Then everyone's productivity goes down.

I think a lot of it comes down to time management.  Throughout the last 20 years or so I can't even count the number of times I've heard how "busy" people are, and that's their excuse for not reacting or thinking through.  Everyone is busy, but time is an important factor in good leadership.  You have to make the time.  Leaders are role models, whether that means good ones or bad ones.  The easier you make your teams job, the easier you're going to make your job.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Time for Co-Active Leadership

Easy to read.  Quick to read.  Powerful learning.  Unlike so many leadership books, Co-Active Leadership: Five Ways to Lead, by Karen and Henry Kimsey-House breaks down
leadership into an easy to understand and implement model.  The Co-Active Leadership Model is broken down into the Co-Active Leader Within, in Front, Behind, Beside, and in the Field.  Before you even start reading, you have a good idea where it’s going which helps you understand even better.  A big focus on who we are, what matters, and making connections.

Leadership is not just about standing within your own bubble and outwardly directing.  This book shows us how to get over that, and to become a complete responsible leader that others want. It's just the size and type of book that's perfect to use for a leadership development program full of people who "don't have time". Once they read Co-Active Leadership they'll be asking for more. . . . . Maybe Co-Active Coaching?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Genius of Opposites

Opposites attract, right?  Sometimes in better ways than others.  Understand how introverts and extroverts can
work together and you’ve got a winning team.  We know that opposites have differences . . . duh.  The key is to understand what those differences are and enrich those different skills to understand and appreciate the other.

Jennifer Kahnweiler’s new book, The Genius of Opposites: How Introverts and Extroverts Achieve Extraordinary Results Together, shows us how to work, together, with someone who is our opposite.  This is a five-step plan to grow a cohesive partnership.  Conflict can be a good thing and Jennifer uses some excellent examples of famous opposites to explain.

Being an introvert myself, I found this book compelling and strengthening.  With the information, examples, tools, and techniques included in this book, it would make a great series of lunch and learns for your leaders and team members.

I'm pleased to have Jennifer Kahnweiler as my guest blogger today.

Email: a Multiplier of Misunderstandings?

When was the last time you came back to your office and listened to 100 voicemails?  More likely you responded to the many emails in your inbox.

I reached my saturation point a few weeks ago after I realized that I had not one live conversation all day.  That is an energy drain for an extrovert.  The real tipping point came during a back and forth email dialogue with an introverted work colleague.

As our email tennis match proceeded, I could see the misunderstandings multiply.  I wrote him an email to ask for a five minute phone call to clear up the issue.  He wrote back, asking me if we could “settle it on email”.  “No way,” I thought.  “It would take more time to write each other again that it will to talk.”

So, a bit nervously, I picked up the phone and dialed his number anyway.  We had a brief conversation in which he explained his position and we discussed several viable options.  The matter was resolved in four minutes.
I know that, as an introvert, he prefers to communicate via email.  As an extrovert, I agree — most of our communication can be handled that way.  I also believe that a personality preference is not a prescription for every situation.  There are times when we need to be able to ask each other questions, dig a little deeper, and listen to a person’s voice tone to better understand their point of view.  We also need to clearly express what we mean.

To what degree should the situation drive the communication mode?  How much do you moderate your preferred style to accommodate others?

Originally published 2/6//2009 on JenniferKahnweiler.com.
Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D., Certified Speaking Professional, is a bestselling author and global keynote speaker known as the “champion for introverts.” In addition to her latest book, The Genius of Opposites, she has written two bestselling books about introverts (Quiet Influence and The Introverted Leader), which have been translated into 14 languages.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Soft As A Brick and The Anatomy of Peace

The Anatomy of Peace, by The Arbinger Institute . . . what a great new (revised) book, for business
AND personal life.  I hear a lot about trying to separate work and home and the more I hear and read the more I’ve come to realize that it’s impossible.  This book will help with that balance.  After reading, you’ll look at everyday things and people so differently.  We cause conflict.  We hold on to conflict.  But we also have the ability to solve conflict.  It all comes from within and how WE relate to OTHERS.  We can’t sit back and wait for someone else to take the first step.  Be proactive and read this book and learn from deep within about the person that you can, and should be.

Today I have the honor of hosting Sam Whitney, Client Solutions Manager at The Arbinger Institute, with a great lesson for us all.

Soft As A Brick
Some time ago I worked as a trainer for a fairly large organization. As a trainer I had to coordinate with employee supervisors in order to obtain training topics and schedule training. One of my supervisors was not helping me; in fact he was sabotaging my trainings. And, it seemed clear, he was doing it on purpose. He would “forget” to schedule the sessions, not give me proper topics, and then undermine what I was saying during the training sessions. I was very close to making a formal complaint and I was hopeful I could get him fired.  I had been working with my training supervisor for months looking for a solution to all the problems he was causing me. I wasn’t treating him poorly, and I felt I was doing a great job as a trainer; I had no clue as to why he was being such a problem.

Soon the book The Anatomy of Peace fell into my lap with a recommendation that it might help solve my problem. My first reaction was “I don’t need this, I just need to get this supervisor out of my way.” But I was wrong. As I read the book I was impressed how the ideas challenged me to get outside of my own way of seeing. This was really hard for me to do because it forced me to see this supervisor as a person. There was one line in the book that changed the whole game for me, “We invite in others the very behaviors we say we hate.” When I read that I realized I needed to be responsible for my contribution to the problem I was having. I was finally able to see how I was actually provoking negative behavior from this supervisor. It turns out the way I was going about scheduling was not working for the supervisor; it was hindering his own scheduling. I was also training in a way that was not taking into account what the employees needed and what the supervisor needed. I found out that he thought I was the problem.

I decided to have a meeting. In this meeting I told the supervisor all the things I was doing that I thought were getting in his way or making his life harder. He was impressed and after discussing both of our needs and objectives we saw that neither of us was worthy of firing. We both were trying our best but had been blind to how we were affecting each other.

From that moment on our work changed dramatically. Training's improved. We held them more often and with better topics. The employees benefited, sales increased overall, and the company was able to see improved engagement from its employees.

Here at Arbinger we have a saying about The Anatomy of Peace—it’s about as soft as a brick. It hit me hard when I needed it most.

Sam Whitney is Client Solutions Manager at the Arbinger Institute, the organization-author of the bestsellers Leadership and Self-Deception and The Anatomy of Peace, which teach concepts and models designed around the idea that seeing people as people can dramatically impact the results we achieve in organizations, in relationships, and in the world. Click here to learn more.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Treasure in Books

"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates loot on Treasure Island
and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life."

This is one of my favorite Walt Disney quotes.  A lot of quotes we see, no matter who they come from, tend to be just soundbites.  But they're just comments with little actual meaning and left up to the reader to interpret.

But this quote leaves little to figure out.  Reading is important.  It's important all the way through school . . . and beyond.  Anything you want to learn more about is probably in a book.  The Internet can be a great resource, but it doesn't take the place of a great book.

Whether we're trying or not, learning never ends and we all need to feed that learning.  I'm always talking about this with leaders.  Things change, people change, cultures change, and there are a number of author's out there that keep up on these changes for us.  All we need to do is pick up a book here and there.

Take a look at some of these author's writings and build your loot:  Mark Miller, Bill Treasurer, Julie Winkle Giulioni, Lee Cockerell, Cheryl Bachelder, Ken Blanchard, Chris Edmonds, Kevin Eikenberry.  Now get out there and pick up a book.