The following is a guest piece by Kotter International President, Russell Raath on behalf of The Economist Executive Education Navigator.
How often have you heard the phrase “that’s not how we do it here” uttered in your workplace? When employees suggest new ways to tackle challenges, are their contributions welcomed—no matter how outside-the-box they may be? Are staff members empowered to test new ideas and report back to management on their successes, as part of helping the organization constantly adapt and improve?
Maybe you have some version of the “suggestion scheme” where ideas are sent into some inbox in the cloud – where someone (hopefully) reviews them and determines whether an idea is viable and has merit.
In most organizations, the answers to these questions are often “no” or“never”. Yet the most innovative companies—those that can face challenging times and emerge stronger than ever—often recognize a key truth that is missing in many traditional, hierarchical organizations. That truth is that great ideas don’t only come from senior management.
The idea that saves the business $10 million may come from a production line supervisor; the concept that opens up an entirely new market for your products might come from a junior sales rep.
The point, one that smart organizations have realized, is that great ideas can come from any level of the organization. This is a concept explored in great depth in Dr. John Kotter’s latest business fable, “That’s Not How We Do It Here!”, which chronicles a clan of meerkats struggling with a drought that reduces their resources and leads to the rise of dangerous new predators.
Written as a business book, there are a number of key lessons on how leaders, at any organizational level, can bring great ideas to the surface: Click here to continue reading »”3 Ways Leaders Can Help Bring Great Ideas To Life”
The following is a guest piece by fellow author Sean Glaze.
One of the lessons in my upcoming book, “The 10 Commandments of Winning Teammates”, is that winning teammates respect the clock and the calendar.
In the book, which is a parable, the lesson the main character learns in this particular chapter is that respecting the clock is not only about respecting others’ time and being early to meetings.
Of course, if you have ever had to wait on someone to show up for a meeting, you know that is important.
But even more important than the very real and valuable lesson to be on time out of respect for others is the realization that you need to value your own time.
Everyone has heard reminders that time is fleeting.
We all know that time flies…
The issue isn’t knowing… it is what are you doing with that information?
Does that information impel you to invest more time at the office, on your project, focused on your sales goals?
Or does that information impel you to Click here to continue reading »”Winning Teammates Respect The Clock And The Calendar”
The following is a guest piece by Elliot Begoun.
Mark looked up from his computer and took a deep breath. The frenetic pace of the day had given way to the serene quiet of an empty building. He both treasured this time and found himself tortured by it. The stillness and the lack of interruption, allowed him to finally focus without the chaos of the day constantly ripping him away from his work.
But, this time came with a big sacrifice. Sitting in his office at 7:30 pm meant that he had once again failed to make it to his daughter’s soccer practice, and was sure to miss dinner with the family. He shook his head as if to drive the thought away and returned to the spreadsheet that was demanding his attention.
The next morning Mark had his weekly breakfast meeting with his friend and long-time mentor Sam, who greeted him by saying, “You look like crap! When was the last time you got a good night’s sleep?”
Mark smiled and said, “I think it was that vacation we took 4 months ago.” Sadly, Mark was not kidding.
He went on to tell Sam about yesterday’s craziness. It started by having to run down to the production floor because there was a problem with the filler, and before he could even make it back to his office the QA manager had flagged him down. When he finally did get there, he explained that he was bombarded by emails and phone calls, all of which were in search of some solution or another. Sam just sat and listened intently.
When Mark finally wrapped up his recantation, Sam said, “It sounds to me like you are more of a first responder than you are a leader.”
A puzzled look washed over Mark’s face, so Sam continued. “You are Click here to continue reading »”Are You A First Responder Or A Leader?”
The following is a guest piece by John Rampton on behalf of The Economist Executive Education Navigator.
When Daniel Goleman released “Emotional Intelligence” in 1995, did anyone think that this best-selling book would transform the role of leadership?
After selling more than 5,000,000 copies and being dubbed “a revolutionary, paradigm-shattering idea” by the Harvard Business Review, it’s clear that Goleman struck a chord with business leaders. But, is it possible to create emotionally intelligent teams?
In their landmark research findings published in “Building the Emotional Intelligence of Groups”, Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff assert that emotional intelligence underlies the effective processes of successful teams and that such resulting processes cannot be imitated; they must originate from genuine emotional intelligence at the team level.
Druskat and Wolff use the following analogy to back-up their point: “a piano student can be taught to play Minuet in G, but he won’t become a modern-day Bach without knowing music theory and being able to play with heart.”
While creating successful teams isn’t as simple as mimicking the processes of emotionally intelligent groups of people, what you can do is create the necessary conditions in which team members can develop their emotional intelligence. Those three conditions are: trust among members, a sense of group identity and a sense of group efficacy.
Here are the seven things you can do to foster these three conditions that constitute emotionally intelligent teams: Click here to continue reading »”7 Steps To Foster Emotional Intelligence In Your Team”
One of the common themes I’ve written about over the past few years is the importance of building and nurturing relationships with your employees in order to bring out the best in those under your care. While we can appreciate what this means in abstract terms, I’d like to share the recent experiences of two leaders that helps to illustrate the benefit in bringing this approach to your leadership.
The first story I’d like to share comes from the high school where I serve as Chairman of the Governing Board. This past academic year has been an especially difficult one for this school community. For starters, the school was dealt with major cuts to its operating budget as well as to its staff which, taken together, had a drastic and noticeable impact on the school’s daily functions.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, the school year began with the teachers stopping all extracurricular activities in order to protest the government’s unwillingness to address teachers’ needs in the classroom. So to say this year was a challenging one for the school would be an understatement.
Earlier this month, our principal made the announcement that she was going to take a sabbatical next year to give herself time to regroup so she could continue to give her best to the school and its students. When she shared the news with her teachers and staff, she expected people to be discouraged and even frustrated given all they’ve been through this past school year.
What she got instead was a unified, impromptu response from her team. A response that had her fielding questions from her staff about what they could do to keep things running in her absence and how to help her transition back when she returns.
In my conversation with her about her decision to take a leave of absence next year, she admitted that one of the reasons why she felt good about giving herself this time was because of the overwhelming support she received from her staff to mind the store until she returns.
The other story I’d like to share is that of my friend Rob* who I met through a collaboration with my leadership firm. For the past 15 years, Rob served as the Click here to continue reading »”One Question Every Leader Should Inspire In Those They Lead”