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How Corporate Executive Education Programs Could Collaborate with Universities

How Corporate Executive Education Programs Could Collaborate with Universities

Executive education programs are comprehensive and wide-ranging. Everything from off-the-shelf programs focused on significant business challenges to made-to-order programs. Great faculty-people who can stimulate and invigorate executives-teach these programs. Executives go back to their firms with great recollections and ideas. They feel cherished by their company because the company has invested in them. Hurrah!

How can lessons from these involvements be applied to enhance business results? The answer lies in cultivating the relationship between the corporation and the university.

Curriculum design in Corporate Executive Education Programs The first step is to tailor the executive education program with the university. To do this, the firm must have specific goals that the core curriculum can address. These goals could aim at specific business problems or performance. Class makeup is important in any made-to-order course designed for impact. Attendees must be responsible for that impact.

The firm will need an executive sponsor who can enunciate the goals and contribute to the curriculum architecture. Inherent in this design is the post-program application. Useful goals are measurable. Measure their state of achievement before and after the course to understand impact. When the core curriculum is designed around these goals, attendees then can be expected to conclude the program with a plan to apply the lessons. If at all possible, the executive sponsor should hear those plans and follow their progress.

Curriculum design must integrate scalable learning. If the lessons learned during the course are to generate operational results, those who attended the course must teach them to those who did not attend. This can be a challenge given time and location constraints. Scalability often necessitates innovative solutions such as interactive e-learning sessions where employees anywhere, anytime can partake in online sessions that deliver the key message to implement. Future programs for smaller teams targeting a specific problem can be launched through virtual white-board sessions with faculty. CDs also provide a useful medium to capture and share key sessions. Workbooks can be used to scale the plans.

Corporate Executive Education Programs partnership between a corporation and a university Our universities include impressive thought leaders who spend their careers studying business challenges, pursuing solutions across industries. This talent can do far more than share their insights. If properly reinforced, they can channel their classroom work towards corporation-specific goals. This support includes pre-program preparation. Meeting with the faculty and educating them on the firm’s business and the goals is vital. Investor relations’ performances and annual reports are useful tools for this meeting. They cannot customize their teaching if they do not understand the business and the issues. Depending on the content necessitated, a non-disclosure agreement may be needed.

Faculty must also understand the attendees and their roles in the goal achievement. Once the faculty understands who does-what-where, they can effectively tailor discussions for individual and group needs. Knowledgeable faculty can also participate in study group discussions beyond the classroom and help create solutions. Also, sharing the attendees’ biographies or leadership profiles can give the faculty an understanding of their partners in this impact-focused learning journey.

The elements of a working partnership between a corporation and a university are the same ones we use for any partnership. Both parties must have an open working relationship with identified, measurable goals. Clear communication is imperative. Both parties must be focused on results and know the talent they have to achieve those results. Scalable solutions are indispensable. We approach business this way every day. Developing our key talent deserves nothing less in commitment or rigor.

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Posted in Business and Strategy

Forward-Thinking HR Management

Forward-Thinking HR Management

Times are tough. Companies are cutting jobs. But leaders must climb out of the pity party and look up take a turn for the better. The sun is gleaming! There are brighter days ahead. Leaders must look toward the future. Those who get caught up in short-term thinking make short-sighted decisions that only impede revival.

Who will attract the best talent? Companies led by forward-thinking leaders who understand trends, plan ahead, and inspire others. So, it’s high time leaders start discerning, acting, and talking like progressive futurists with an exciting future. Few companies have the quality or depth of leadership they need to win the competition for top talent.

As the economy heats up, many people will change jobs. Recruiters will target your most competent and productive people. When those people leave, it will be hard to replace them with people of the same capacity. When your cream people leave, so will customers. If your customers leave, your cash flow will tumble.

This situation is in your control as a leader. If you exercise strong leadership now, you can avert the Death Spiral from killing your company.

Bewildered leaders, now is the time to exercise super leadership:

  • Place more emphasis on your relationship with human resources-the department and the people. The Chief Human Resource Officer should hold the same status as the Chief Financial Officer. With the CEO, the CFO and CHRO should form a dominant triangle of inspiration.
  • Get out of your office. Today people want to see their leaders in person. So, lead by wandering around. Get out with your people. Listen to their challenges and concerns. Inform and inspire them. Get them involved in your future plans. People support what they help to create. Talk genuinely with your people.
  • Engage in serious strategic staffing. What will your HR needs be over the next few years-to meet the goals set by strategic your executive plan must team? Be in Your alignment recruitment with your corporate strategic plan. What kinds of people will you need to hire, and how will you do that? What additional training and experience will be needed by the people you have now, and how will those needs be fulfilled? Will you have the talent you need a few years from now?
  • Clean house. Clean out the people who don’t fit. You’ll be doing them a favor. Look for “fit” in terms of productivity, values, inclination to the job and your mission, and how they mesh with your culture. If you don’t have congruence now, you’ll have more problems later. If you have managers whose behavior or values are not consistent with the company’s future, invite them to make a career change.
  • Become more selective. The Age of the Wann Body is over. Every person employed should meet your standards. This means developing standards of ethics, attitudes, skills, and performance that everyone must adhere to. Get your people included in the process.
  • Build emotional bonds. Take a leadership role in orienting new people. Meet them, let them meet you, share your philosophy and values. Arrange for current employees to experience your employee orientation. Many of them are not tuned in to what you’re all about today, so you don’t have the cohesiveness you need.
  • Invest in leadership development at every level. Front-line supervisors need training in how to best work with their people to produce superior results. Leadership skills have an effect.

This decade will be a challenge. It’s test time. Are you prepared? Are you equipped for the challenge?

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Posted in Management and Leadership

Stimulus Events That Can Trigger Employee Disengagement

Stimulus Events That Can Trigger Employee Disengagement

Employee disengagement has huge expenses for individuals and organizations. Employee engagement is indispensable to the health, well-being, and success of organizations and individuals as the work environment becomes leaner, more information-driven, and extremely competitive.

Employee engagement endures to capture the interest of practitioners and scholars, yet estimations are that between 50%and 70% of workers are not engaged. Disengagement has insinuations for profitability, productivity, safety, mental health, turnover, and employee theft.

'The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave' by Leigh Branham (ISBN 0814408516) Though there may be multiple symptoms behind low employee engagement levels, one common culprit is a failure of companies to diagnose that the way people work is developing. From Leigh Branham’s The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave:

  • Being passed over for promotion
  • Realizing the job is not as promised
  • Learning they may be transferred
  • Hiring boss being replaced by new boss they don’t like
  • Being assigned to new territory
  • Being asked to do something unethical
  • Learning the company is doing something unethical
  • Sudden wealth or sufficient savings to buy independence
  • Earning enough money (grubstake)
  • An incident of sexual harassment
  • An incident of racial discrimination
  • Learning the company is up for sale
  • Learning the company has been sold
  • Realizing they are underpaid compared to others doing the same job
  • Realizing they are not in line for promotion for which they thought they were in line
  • Realizing that their own behavior has become unacceptable
  • An unexpected outside job offer
  • Being pressured to make an unreasonable family or personal sacrifice
  • Being asked to perform a menial duty (e.g., run a personal errand for the boss)
  • Petty and unreasonable enforcement of authority
  • Being denied a request for family leave
  • Being denied a request for transfer
  • A close colleague quitting or being fired
  • A disagreement with the boss
  • A conflict with a coworker
  • An unexpectedly low performance rating
  • A surprisingly low pay increase or no pay increase

The costs of disengagement have not been calculated, though some statistics might begin to suggest on important economic reasons to address this silent majority. What makes it exceptional is the high level of employee engagement exhibited by its high performing workforce; the result of true enterprise-wide transparency and trustworthiness that is supported and promoted by all employees and people managers.

Disgruntled customers have a big impact on a business’s bottom line, which brings us to the most important reason employee engagement should be top of mind for executives.

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Posted in Management and Leadership

Turn Knowledge Workers into Knowledge Warriors

Leaders can gain competitive advantage by giving every knowledge worker the tools they need to become knowledge warriors. The learner is positioned-and willing-to takes charge of the learning process. Leaders can capture inherent knowledge, blend it with vetted knowledge, and make it available a bit at a time, on demand as required.

The technologies are now on hand, for the strategic deployment of knowledge assets, but a new way of thinking about learning is required-a real-time system that offers an integrated blend of human and digital content to provide knowledge workers with the required new skills and knowledge daily.

Turn Knowledge Workers into Knowledge Warriors

Knowledge Warriors

Knowledge workers are victims of greatly increased demand arising from new information sources, channels, and beneficiaries because those same technologies promise them extraordinary advantage and performance support.

The enterprise needs to capture its own collective knowledge and enhance its collective awareness. The technology that powers this new model of knowing exists, but we need to use the technology differently. Traditional courses and delivery methods are making way for more robust and performance related learning strategies: not degrees, but “dynamic competencies”; not just in case, but also just in time; not mass product, but personalized, on-the-spot knowledge. The new focus is on the learner.

'How Knowledge Workers Get Things Done' by Keith Swenson (ISBN 0984976442) The difference is profound. The required knowledge solution does not exist until the learner presents himself; and the solution is “tailored” for each individual on the spot. This is the end of eLearning, as we know it. Our brief experience with eLearning has propelled us to High Performance Learning. We are positioned to crack the code.

There are three sides to the learning proposition: learner, knowledge, and means or process of gaining knowledge. Clearly the most important element is the learner-the one for whom the process of learning exists. Until recently, however, all formal education has focused on the knowledge (the subject matter expert and content), and the means of gaining knowledge. However, all that is changing. As leaders recognize that many important knowledge assets are stored in their people’s heads, their focus is shifting from the knowledge as a commodity to the learner as a key resource.

Virtual capability is now driving the creation of networks to identify, channel, and integrate a company’s collective knowledge for those who need it.

The new focus centers on human consciousness in a powerful integrated solution that is less focused on content and technology and more on the recipient.

Three Characteristics of Knowledge Warriors and Knowledge Workers

Since knowledge, rapidly changes we need to leverage it in service of performance in real time. Imagine a knowledge system with these traits:

  1. Leverage collective intelligence identifying, capturing, transparently linking the knowledge that people carry in their heads with vetted sources of knowledge, and delivering it in the right context to the right people in the right amount at the right time.
  2. Embedding carbon in the silicon combining potential human coaches/advisors with personalized learning objects within the same platform at the time they are needed.
  3. Real-time change management aligning corporate data with information from the knowledge management system and learning resources from the learning management system; and using the combined data in a dashboard that increases agility and helps management through change in real time.

Cracking the code is not about technology; it is about agility. Upgrading technology without upgrading the strategy can be an empty investment.

Quality of Knowledge Warriors and Knowledge Workers

Five Measures of Quality of Knowledge Warriors and Knowledge Workers

Five principles guide the application of technology to learning:

  1. Learning is about the learner, not the provider. “Best” generation solutions will always be simple, natural, and life supporting for the user, addressing the demands of time and context.
  2. The solution leverages both the knowledge of the learner and the knowledge of colleagues. Is the knowledge worker driving his own solution? Is the knowledge in the enterprise acquired, encoded, and available on the same platform with other learning objects?
  3. 'Rise of the Knowledge Worker' by James Cortada (ISBN 0750670584) The solution is a business solution, not an academic one. A business solution provides people with the knowledge they need for that moment. Expertise is not something that one has; it is something that one uses-the result of a creative interface of individual knowledge and supportive knowledge.
  4. The knowledge solution is a critical component of strategy and a powerful tool for achieving the vision. If your corporate “university” is behaving like a traditional university, blow it up. You need expertise and performance.
  5. The solution addresses unpredictable circumstances. The quality of such a system is proportional to its flexibility, the degree to which changing requirements can be detected and solutions made available in real time.

In separating what is useful from what is traditional, we will crack the code to discover true quality.

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Posted in Management and Leadership

CEO Jobs are Dramatically Hard: Grow Leadership Talent from Within

CEO Jobs are Dramatically Hard: Grow Leadership Talent from Within

About 40 percent of CEOs disappoint within 18 months. These probabilities, plus demands placed on leaders, have caused a recession in senior executives who want the top position (from 50 to 35 percent in the last four years). Furthermore, CEO turnover is at a five-year high.

Who will lead companies in the future? This question has caused a leadership succession and development agitation. Boards are more apprehensive about finding executive talent wherever they can.

In his book Searching for a Corporate Savior, Rakesh Khurana, professor at Harvard University, proposes that looking outside for a CEO successor is part of a growing “irrational quest for charismatic chief executives” (selection of outside CEOs has gone from 6 to 50 percent in recent years). Fearing boards may be concentrating on the qualities of presence, personality, and media appeal rather than character and competence, he gives seven guidelines for finding successors:

  1. abandon hope for a corporate savior
  2. translate company strategy into operational terms
  3. identify skills required for key activities (activity/competency mapping)
  4. assess internal candidates
  5. search for external candidates
  6. test and choose from a short-list
  7. calibrate goals, milestones, and compensation to drivers of success.

'Searching for a Corporate Savior' by Rakesh Khurana (ISBN 0691120390) Khurana supports internal development of candidates, but admits that developing home-grown talent is not the only course.

After studying 276 companies that have decent track records at growing home-grown talent, The Corporate Leadership Counsel defined seven Hallmarks of Leadership Success:

  1. a culture of development
  2. enforcing development
  3. recruiting senior executives
  4. the power of meritocracy
  5. full business exposure for rising executives
  6. a focus on leadership skills in successor identification
  7. succession management.

Companies that are great at developing future leaders invest much time in fostering a candidate pool. As managers gain the essential training, coaching, on-the-job experience, they join an internal pool of high-potential candidates. But what divides the good processes from great ones is an emphasis on self-development.

'The Hero's Farewell' by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld (ISBN 0195065832) Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, former Dean of the Yale School of Management, calls this “an unrelenting drive for self-improvement.” You spot senior talent not just from their activities, but how they attain them. When great companies search for talent, they look for certain qualities.

In his book The Hero’s Farewell, Sonnenfeld classifies executives as Monarchs, Generals, Ambassadors, and Governors. Each has distinctive exit behavior related to the manner in which they identify with the title and role of CEO. Of these, three of the four classifications cause problems for incoming CEOs.

  1. Monarchs stay on the job until they die or are overthrown
  2. Generals leave reluctantly and look for ways to return to active service
  3. Ambassadors leave gracefully but maintain active, low-key relationships in the company
  4. Governors leave and go on to serve in other areas.

Monarchs suppress internal talent development because they can’t endure contest for their roles. Generals and ambassadors often restrict with or undermine incoming CEOs. Unluckily, boards tolerate monarch, general, and ambassador behavior.

All this leads me to conclude: Work harder on growing internal talent. You can improve your odds beyond 50:50 by doing the hard, but rewarding, work of developing more leaders internally.

While companies must often look outside for talent, having an effective process for developing leaders guarantees that you will have great candidates when the time comes to add or replace executive talent.

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Posted in Management and Leadership

Most Workers are Starved for Recognition

'Employee Recognition That Works' by Cindy Ventrice (ISBN 1576756017) Most workers are starved for recognition. In fact, some of your employees may be experiencing a recognition deficit.

While most managers believe that pay is the most important factor in whether employees stay or go, employees consistently rank recognition for their good work as number one. The mother lode of employee motivation and job satisfaction lies in the cycle of challenge, achievement, and recognition—the CAR motivational cycle, as first presented by Frederick Herzberg, the father of modern motivation theory. His study showed that the factors that produce job satisfaction are, in order: achievement, recognition, the work, responsibility, advancement, and growth. These factors are related to job content. Factors that may take away job satisfaction but not produce it—demotivators—are related to job culture: policy, administration, supervision, relationship with boss, work conditions, salary, relationship with peers, personal life, relationship with subordinates, status, and security, in that order.

You may be measuring what counts, and what you are measuring may be getting done, but unless you recognize and reward what is done, the productivity of your people will decline, along with your retention rates.

Most Workers are Starved for Recognition

Why Managers Don’t Recognize People

Many managers get low motivational millage out of the CAR cycle because:

  1. They subscribe to the philosophy, “If you don’t hear from me that means you’re doing a good job.” This low-energy, low maintenance management practice is popular among autocratic managers who have worked for managers who treated them this way. Many managers who use this style think: “My people are expected to do their job, and they get paid to do it.” They resist employee recognition practices, and resent employees who are governed by their feelings and who need more praise and recognition.
  2. They believe that “rewards and recognition” is the responsibility of the human resources department. Some programs have the unintended effect of letting managers off the hook in providing recognition. If managers do not “own” the practice, they may never do it.
  3. They do not spend enough time observing or measuring employee performance to know if they are achieving results in the first place. Obviously, if they do not know who the top performers are, they will be reluctant to recognize and praise anyone.
  4. They do not know how to recognize and are afraid they will do it the wrong way. If you haven’t been taught how to recognize results, and if you aren’t being recognized yourself in creative and appropriate ways, how would you know how to do it?

Two Ways to Recognize Results

Employee recognition has become a large industry, providing prizes, travel, cash, and praise. Many managers believe that only cash rewards/bonuses, raises, and promotions are effective for motivating and keeping their best performers. While money is important to all employees, it is more important to some than others are. Money can help to motivate and retain when given promptly in recognition of a specific achievement. However, the top motivator is the chance to be challenged, achieve results, and be recognized.

Informal Recognition and Rewards

Informal rewards that managers initiate to recognize and motivate certain individuals in a timely way. Here are six ways to get the most out of informal rewards:

  1. Match the reward to the person’s personal preferences—some people are more motivated by a letter of appreciation.
  2. Match the reward to the significance of the achievement—don’t overdo when recognizing people for small achievements;
  3. Give the reward as soon as possible after the achievement;
  4. Explain why the reward is given;
  5. Recognize groups and individuals within groups—recognize everyone on the team, but single out those who made the greatest contributions;
  6. Find out what your workers value as rewards—if the yearly bonus, for example, is now considered an entitlement, it no longer has the power to motivate.

To encourage specific achievements or contributions by key performers on highly valued assignments, consider the following seven rewards:

  1. Outstanding Employee Award, based on completing urgent projects, collaborating cross-functionally, generating money-saving ideas, and fostering teamwork;
  2. Productivity and Quality Awards that provide meaningful incentives or rewards;
  3. Employee Suggestion Awards that encourage employees to submit more ideas;
  4. Customer Service Awards that encourage the highest standards of service;
  5. Sales Goal Awards that reward high performance;
  6. Team Awards that reward all the members; and
  7. Attendance Awards that encourage employees to be prompt and not miss workdays and Safety Awards that recognize employees for following safety procedures and minimizing accidents.

Formal Employee Recognition and Rewards

Formal Recognition and Rewards

Formal recognition and rewards that the organization initiates to motivate all employees. A well-designed formal rewards program will help keep your most valued employees. Here are some ideas:

  1. Multilevel reward programs and point systems that are tailored to the needs of different employees and recognize a few employees in a dramatic way.
  2. Contests that run a short time, have simple rules, offer desirable prizes, and reward performance directly and promptly.
  3. Field trips, special events, and travel that provide “bragging value.”
  4. Education, personal growth, self-development, training and services that build needed skills.
  5. Advancements or promotions that add responsibility, give special assignments, or allow people to mentor younger employees or lead a cross-functional team can yield payoffs in visibility and job enrichment.
  6. Stock or ownership incentives, such as employee stock options, that motivates performance and retention.
  7. Celebrating employee anniversary dates helps to keep long-term employees.
  8. Custom benefits, health, and fitness programs that allow employees to select benefits that best fit their needs.
  9. Charities, volunteer activities, and service projects that encourage employee participation.

Relate formal rewards to organization and employee needs, ensure the reward’s fairness, and present the rewards in a timely manner. Talk up the value of the rewards, but do not oversell the program. If you are not sure what recognition to give, just ask! If you do not tailor the reward to the employee, the reward will not have the motivating effect you desire. Give them several ideas to choose from and a chance to write in their own ideas and submit their preferences.

Ask Two More Questions for Employee Preferences for Recognition

To get the desired effect from your recognition and reward efforts, ask your people two questions:

  1. For what do you want to be recognized?
  2. How would you like to receive your recognition?

'1501 Ways to Reward Employees' by Bob Nelson (ISBN 0761168788) Start recognizing your workers, not as you would like to be recognized, but as they would like to be recognized. Instead of focusing on big events, work to create a culture of appreciation.

Make acknowledgment a part of the daily routine. Become an obsessive observer. Notice what other people are doing and acknowledge their efforts.

A simple “thank you” or “awesome job”—sincerely conveyed can transform a relationship.

Grade your organization on recognizing results what can you do to improve in this area.

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Posted in Management and Leadership

Marissa Mayer’s Office Hours at Google

'Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo' by Nicholas Carlson (ISBN 1455556610) For about 90 minutes a day, beginning at 4:00 pm, Mayer used to hold office hours at Google. She was a professor before she came to Google, and she kept office hours going. The much-vaunted “open office” for engineers, where bringing brownies increases a project’s chance of approval by 50%. Google’s Marissa Mayer cleared an hour and a half of her diary at the end of each day and staff could book an amount of that time by putting their name on a board in front of her office. This permitted her to supposedly fit a large number of very short meetings into a block of time where employees could come and talk to her about anything. Get-togethers which evidently emerged interesting product ideas counting Google News. A decent option perhaps than filling too much time up with the half hour/one hour blocks that managers tend to segment their calendars into, or to keeping an completely open door guidelines which might lead to excessively common interlude. Per this noteworthy anecdote from Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo by Nicholas Carlson:

Another Mayer habit that annoyed colleagues was one she picked up straight from academia. For many years at Google, Mayer insisted that if her colleagues wanted to meet with her, they had to do so during her “office hours.” Mayer would post a spreadsheet online and ask peopl~ to sign up for a five-minute window. When Mayer’s “office hours” rolled around in the afternoon, a line would start to form outside her office and spill over onto the nearby couches.

Office hours are socially-acceptable in an academic environment because the power dynamic is clear. The students are subordinate to the professor, who is usually their elder and mentor. But Mayer’s office hours were not just for her subordinates; they were also for her peers. So there, amid the associate product managers waiting to visit with Mayer to discuss their latest assignment or a class trip to Zurich, sat Google vice presidents—people who had been at the company as long as Mayer and in some cases held jobs as important as hers.

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Posted in Management and Leadership

Leadership Learning

Leadership Learning

The two most precious assets in the professional service firm are the capabilities of our people and the use of their time to produce results for the client. A delicate balance arises. Leaders require continual skill building, but time to learn is limited.

We discovered opportunities to leverage time in leadership development in a blended-learning solution.

Leaders learn the most on the job. So, target and pursue learning that extends the applications of key leadership capabilities on teams, in projects, and with clients. By employing multiple methods of learning, you can craft a leadership learning strategy that is delivered in a blended solution.

There are five steps to develop a blended model of learning:

  1. 'Hacking Leadership' by Joe Sanfelippo (ISBN 0986104949) Link learning to the core values. The clients’ experience of the firm’s core values is their relationship with each professional who represents the brand.
  2. Ensure that the business strategy is driving the learning agenda. The knowledge of critical client-service leadership capabilities and respect for time informs decisions on content and design.
  3. Conduct needs analysis and determine current capability levels. We conduct analysis on our shared competencies globally in 34 countries to determine where the real-time learning opportunities produce the maximum results.
  4. Select content and design a learning continuum. Our leadership roles model encompasses the capabilities required for success. This provides a framework for the leadership learning content. We designed a fully blended model to support the learning. The core of the model is Vision and the foundation Eminence and Expertise. Business and client Results are the target outcomes. Key roles of leaders and a selection of the primary skills required include:
    • Relationship builder: emotional intelligence, negotiation, trust and authenticity, consensus building
    • Communicator: influence, persuasion, listening, presence, storytelling
    • Innovator: change leader, creativity, custom solutions, risk taker
    • Global citizen: integrity, responsibility, diversity, global relationship network
    • Mentor/coach: developing next generation talent, coaching performance
    • Decision-maker: strategic analysis of options and courage to act, even when information is incomplete
  5. 'Learning Leadership' by James Kouzes (ISBN 1119144280) Extend the learning beyond the classroom to the job. Provide quality learning through on-line learning resources and coaching that is available just-in-time through a technology learning platform that gives access 24/7 to prime quality learning, when leaders need it and how it best works for them. This platform supports the blended leadership learning that is delivered over time in four main steps.
    • Launch leadership learning with a virtual class. A virtual class establishes the community of learning and values everyone’s time.
    • Push out self-paced online learning. A rich combination of online leadership assessment and individual leadership style report, e-learning, with readings and resources, are provided with opportunities to interact with coaches.
    • Conduct the classroom program. This highly valuable time is focused on knowledge exchange, problem-solving, action planning, practice application of new skills, performance coaching, building the culture, and networking.
    • Support on-the-job learning with targeted online learning. A combination of performance goal setting, dialogue with performance coaches, and availability of targeted online, self-paced learning incorporates learning on-the-job.

A leadership learning map offers just-in-time learning. Our experience has proven to us the power of extending leadership learning beyond the classroom.

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Best Practices for Managing Remote Employees

Virtual Team Management

Virtual Team Management As managers seek ways to cut costs, increase revenue and spark innovation, and employees strive for a better work-life balance, a mutually beneficial solution—telecommuting—is on the rise. In the U.S. alone, there are 28 million telecommuters, expected to double to 50 million by 2005.

To benefit, remote workers need the right tools to connect with colleagues, applications, and information. When telecommuters feel isolated, they become disconnected from current priorities and miss opportunities to contribute to their highest potential.

Afore undergoing its last earthly transformation, the external covering of the virtual team management, from the moment of its conception as an virtual team, passes in turn, once more, through the phases of the several companies.

The solution that addresses the challenge is a virtual e-workplace that provides employees with access to information and a broad set of Internet-based collaborative technologies, such as e-meetings, e-learning, and instant messaging designed to make them more nimble.

Ways to Successfully Manage Virtual Teams

Ways to Successfully Manage Virtual Teams An e-workplace provides users with a single point of access for the right technology tools to immediately access information, collaborate with colleagues, and participate in online training courses to improve skills. Virtual employees can streamline work by accessing information customized for their roles. For example, a salesperson might need access to information on products, customers, and competitors and connect with people who can address customer issues, provide expertise, or share best practices.

Another example is eHR. Integrating eHR capabilities into your e-workplace enables remote workers to attend to personal needs, such as understanding their health care benefit options, without having to speak with an HR professional. An e-workplace bolsters efficiencies and provides more flexibility. When they have left the countries to which their doctrines were unacceptable, and established themselves in a remote corner of the earth, this is neither possible nor desirable.

Building and Managing Virtual Teams that Work

Building and Managing Virtual Teams that Work Many organizations have an intranet in place. Large businesses can have as many as 300 to 10,000 intranet pages, each with their own look and feel and navigational construct. In this case, employees lose productivity searching for information. By consolidating these pages into one e-workplace and integrating team-based technology solutions, productivity and the quality of communication can skyrocket.

With team-based technologies, users, and remote workers can instantly form virtual teams and collaborate on the fly right from the intranet to respond to market changes. For example, if your intranet includes a corporate directory with connections into team-based technologies, users can rapidly find colleagues with a certain expertise and see where they fit. Aware of this context, the user can initiate contact through appropriate channels. These are not questions of liberty, and are connected with that subject only by remote tendencies; but they are questions of development.

For example, the user can see if the expert is online, click on the expert’s name, and instantly contact him or her via an instant message or in an e-meeting. The user could also create a virtual team room and invite the expert to comment on documents created and posted within the team room. Without an integrated e-workplace program, employees must navigate on their own to find expertise.

By giving people access to the information and experts they need at their fingertips, an e-workplace enables remote workers to be more productive, maintain their competitive edge, and respond quickly and accurately to demands from customers and partners.

IBM, for example, has achieved big benefits from its e-workplace program. The intranet has helped us to cut costs, saving an average of $10,000 per employee who goes “mobile,” meaning they give up their dedicated office space. In addition, employees conduct more than 8,000 e-meetings per month, saving us about $50 million per year in reclaimed travel and productivity costs.

Must-Know Strategies for Managing Virtual Teams

Must-Know Strategies for Managing Virtual Teams e-Workplaces increase collaboration among virtual teams. IBM’s e-workplace allows me to bring in the right expertise, regardless of their location.

As a manager of a remote team, you need to measure people based on their accomplishments and deliverables. Support their activities by ensuring that they have what they need to succeed.

Here are four guidelines:

  • Establish a purpose. Ensure that each virtual team member has a defined purpose and objectives against which they will be measured. When remote workers have goals and incentives for reaching those goals, they are more motivated and productive. Create a training schedule for your e-learning program, so that people are learning new skills.
  • Measure the output, not the process. Virtual teams are more structured than teams located in the same office. Since face-to-face meetings are not practical, you must adopt other ways to communicate and seek approvals. Managers of virtual teams should create a culture of trust, be available through instant messaging for quick questions, hold conference calls to identify when a project is off track, and make use of instant messaging, e-meetings, and team workspaces. Focus on output, not hours.
  • Balance between virtual and face-to-face meetings. While e-meetings are great for keeping up with progress, they are not so great for team building. Face-to-face meetings, for example, are important for brainstorming sessions, building trust, and getting to know each other. Schedule face-to-face gatherings quarterly to foster team building, rapport, and communication among team members.
  • Use presence awareness to show your virtual office door is open. Presence awareness technology embedded in an e-workplace will let your reports know when you are available to discuss progress, answer a quick question, or to chat about their concerns. It can also alert your staff if you are online via a mobile phone, so they know to keep messages short or call on the phone.

Managing the Virtual Team

Managing the Virtual Team Virtual teaming and telecommuting are necessary responses to our global economy. People are able to grasp the strength of the emotion out of which alone such work, remote as it is from the immediate realities of life, can issue. With an e-workplace, people can interact with more colleagues, break down barriers, respond more rapidly to customers, make decisions faster, and be more productive.

By placing the desired behavior along the path of least resistance, we turn it into the behavior we’re most likely to repeat. And the more we repeat it, the more likely it is to become a habit, and the less and less we need it to lie along the path of least resistance.

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Posted in Education and Career Management and Leadership

Achieve Positive Outcomes Through Engaging Decisions

Decision making is the navigation system of choice for determined people and organizations. The word ‘ambitious’ is chosen intentionally.

Leaders often must wait to see the results of their decisions. Should they judge all decisions by outcomes? No.

Leaders need not wait for the results to measure their decision-making effectiveness. Instead, they ought to examine the process that they employ to make critical choices. By appraising the decision process in real time, as they make choices, they raise the odds of making sound choices.

Achieve Positive Outcomes Through Engaging Decisions Think about a decision that you and your team are trying to make. Do you considered multiple alternatives? Do you surface and test your assumptions carefully? Do rebellious views appear during your deliberations, and do you give those ideas proper consideration? Are you fostering high commitment and shared understanding among those who will implement the decision? A quality decision-making process tends to enhance the probability of achieving positive outcomes.

Good process does not simply mean sound analytics (the best use of the latest strategy framework or quantitative financial evaluation technique). Good process entails the astute management of the social, political, and emotional aspects of decision-making as well. An effective leader does not just produce positive results by pondering in on the content of critical choices in a wise and thoughtful manner; he also shapes and influences how those decisions are made.

A decision made before a problem has been solved (an ‘early decision’) is likely to fail. Leaders can augment the quality of their decisions in two ways:

  • Constructive Conflict. Leaders must cultivate constructive conflict to enhance critical and divergent thinking, while building consensus so as to facilitate the opportune implementation of their choices. Managing the tension between conflict and consensus is a challenge. Consensus is not unanimity, like-mindedness, or pervasive agreement. Instead, it’s a high commitment and shared understanding among the people involved in the decision. Leaders can build buy-in and collective comprehension without appeasing everyone on their teams or making decisions by majority vote.
  • Decide How to Decide. Assess who should be involved in the deliberations, what interpersonal climate you want to foster, how individuals should communicate with one another, and the extent and type of control that the leader will exert. Leaders have several levers that they can employ to design more effective decision-making processes and to shape how they unfold over time. Leaders should be directive when it comes to influencing the way in which decisions are made in their groups without trying to dominate or micromanage the discussion and evaluation. Deciding how to decide enhances the probability of managing conflict and consensus effectively.

Leaders must strive for a balance of assertiveness and restraint. The question is not whether they should be vigorous and directive as they make strategic choices, but how they ought to wield their influence.

To make the most of the expertise and ideas that other members possess, leaders need to refrain from pronouncing their solution to a problem, before giving others a chance to offer their perspectives. They must acknowledge that they do not have all the answers, and that their initial insight may be incorrect. Their behavior, principally at the outset of a decision process, can encourage others to act deferentially. Even the best choices mean little if interdependent units won’t cooperate to execute the decision.

By exercising restraint, leaders recognize that their knowledge in a particular domain is often imprecise and incomplete. Undemonstrative leaders constantly search and explore for new knowledge, rather than seek the data and opinions that confirm their opinions.

Reflect on past choices and scrutinize how you make decisions. Experiment to enhance your odds of making sound choices, and solicit others who will devotedly execute your plans.

Decision planning can be significantly enhanced by using a team, and in companies and organizations there is no choice.

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Posted in Management and Leadership