Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Follow-up to Follow-Up!

The simple, yet difficult discipline of follow-up.

This post, dated March 11, 2013, has generated the most hits on my blog.

"What a great reminder of why follow-up is so important. Maybe a follow-up blog about what the consequences of not following up are...besides the change not sticking."

                        Thus posted a reader of my blog.  Thank you Traci Gingrass.

Here are some further issues that arise due to a lack of follow-up.

  1. Leaders can lose credibility.  When leaders who once stood in front of groups of people advocating for a change no longer persist in it's intended goal, people place a mental check-mark next to that person's name that says "Wasn't serious about the change."
  2. People burn precious energy that could have been used elsewhere on more promising projects.  The result?  People come to work to sense "effectance" - did I get something done today?  When people pour their blood, sweat and tears (and sacrifice of family) into a project that goes nowhere, the result ranges from frustration to depression to disparagement of management.
  3. The Team Leader loses confidence in his or her leadership. 
  4. The Organization loses precious momentum.  Successful changes add Organizational Efficacy to the company (see my published research) furthering the organization's capabilities to do even more.  The opposite is also true.  Organizational Efficacy Scale
  5. The Organization loses money.  Period.
  6. The Organization builds an external reputation for half-completed projects. 
Follow-up is, in the end, a determination to complete things, a persistence to get the job done.

After all, isn't that why we come to work? 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Take good care of your Admin People: They hold the world together

Ever wonder who really helps a company stay on track?

Chief Executives?

VPs of Finance, IT, Sourcing, Real Estate, Marketing, Sales ... ad infinitum?

Boards of Directors?


I hold a dissenting opinion on this one. 

I believe that good Administrative people are the structural steel of any organization.

While all the other roles I listed are of utmost importance, good Admin people prevent organizations from flying apart. 

Here are ten reasons why:

  1. They can contact anyone - providing speed of access to data, improving decision-making.
  2. They are persistent when a problem arises - they keep going until they find an answer to a question.
  3. They know the calendars of top executives (and just about everyone else).
  4. They can set up a recognition party in about an hour, (and that includes catering!)
  5. They connect people together because they know what's happening.
  6. They are proactive, often recommending that people get together to coordinate activities.
  7. They follow-through!
  8. They can work miracles to get people together.
  9. They know the details; conference call numbers, meeting room names, locations, access to printers, maps, local restaurants for guests, have access to hotel accommodations (often in many parts of the globe!).
  10. While they see the silos in the organization, they work across them to help the organization move ahead.
And they can often fix your computer problem!

Good Admin people are some of the hardest working people in your organization.  Take good care of them!

They are sharp, intelligent, gifted people who have mastered the art of multi-tasking.

While they may not be at the top of the organizational chart, they often write it, rewrite it and publish it.  They know what's going on ... and they are worthy of recognition and rewards.

Pro/Axios - Organizational Insight Leading to Organizational Transformation

Sunday, May 12, 2013

CORENET CHICAGO - AUDIENCE RESPONSE - Lessons in Change Management - May 9th, Chicago Illinois

Verbatim Comments:

Great speaker.

Very lively and interactive.

He kept what could have been a complex topic simple.
One of the best ever!

A new look at change management from a different point of view!
Loved it!
More speakers like this :)

Will you be able to apply strategies from this program in your work environment?
Unanimous Yes.

Evaluation QuestionsAverage
Please rate the Relevance of Topics Discussed (1=Poor, 7=Excellent) 6.83
Please rate the Quality of Content (1=Poor, 7=Excellent) 6.83
Please rate the Quality of Program Speaker (1=Poor, 7=Excellent) 6.83
Please rate the Quality of the Presentation (1=Poor, 7=Excellent) 6.50
Please rate the Facilitation and Management of the Program (1=Poor, 7=Excellent) 7.00
Please rate the Overall Value and Usefulness of the Program (1=Poor, 7=Excellent) 6.67

Overall Rating: 6.80    

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why "Best Practices" often aren't.

"Best Practices" often don't live up to expectations.  Yet we persist in the belief that they exist in some corporate domain, somewhere in the business universe.  And because big corporate names are often attached to these 'best practices', we associate their organizational persona with the success of the best practice they developed.  We want to be like them, because we secretly believe they found the silver bullet to success.

Best Practices are the outcome of the quality movement and other corporate searches for the "Holy Grail" of business.   Yet, they don't always work out as planned.  Here's why:

Why "Best Practices" often aren't.
  1. Every organization is different.  (Am I stating the obvious?  Please forgive me.)  This includes the leadership, markets, employees, customers, products, services, policies, strategic direction and organizational performance at the time of the 'best practice'. 
  2. The complexity of organizational structure makes the implementation of a 'best practice' nearly impossible to achieve.
  3. A 'best practice' generally arose from some organizational suffering requiring rethinking, retooling, and reappraisal.  That suffering induced effort, often strenuous effort, to resolve a major issue.  Without that requisite suffering, organizational bystanders may study a 'best practice' but they will not likely be as engaged in applying the practice in their circumstance.
  4. The 'best practice' we read in a polished marketing brochure may be radically different from where it started. In other words, we may not be getting the whole story.

So what are these 'best practices' good for?

  1. The value of a 'best practice' is the awareness of a different way to do things.
  2. They create an avenue for discussion that comes from outside the corporation, and are often less threatening to those who are failing to lead.
  3. In every perceived 'best practice' there is an element of truth which can be applied in one's circumstance.  There is always something to learn and apply - the will to do so, however, is still the limiting factor.
An alternative!

  1. Sometimes, your 'best practices' are within your own walls.  People within your company are doing amazing things that can change your company!  [A prophet is not without honor except in his own land ...].
  2. The exemplar teams within your company would benefit from the recognition you could provide by acknowledging their achievements.  (And just think of what that would do for Employee Engagement!).
  3. Sometimes, just good old fashioned hard work and brainstorming can produce remarkable results within your company.  Who knows?  Maybe your organization will come up with the next 'best practice'?
At Pro/Axios, we offer plainspoken language to guide those who do the work.

Pro/Axios Website

Friday, May 3, 2013

Eight Leadership Blindspots

Eight Leadership Blind Spots

Check out my presentation on this subject.

  1. Assuming others know what we know.
  2. We create the world in our image.
  3. We talk and assume we've been effective in our communications.
  4. The pressures of the job may cause us to lose patience with others.
  5. We sometimes unwittingly categorize people.
  6. We send conflicting signals.
  7. We don't stay the course long enough to induce change.
  8. We forget to check the rear view mirror.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013