Have you noticed how some people focus on what’s broke, and often miss the solutions?
In 30 years of international renewal work here at Mita, we’ve learned to ask four questions that lead to solutions clients crave. Worth asking at your workplace?
1. How do you affirm and support quality leading and learning approaches? While we hear a great deal from leaders such as Diane Ravitch and Dana Goldstein about what’s not working well, it’s harder to locate advocates who support genuine approaches for higher achievement and motivation.
2. What do you do differently when your leadership encounters problems, and how so? To vent merely creates and stores more vent-like responses in your amygdala, ready for the next challenge you face. On the flip side of venting lie solutions, which could lead to changes you espouse. It’s also why Mita leadership approaches seek to collaborate workplace resolutions. You?
3. What resources do you toss at programs that need financial support to continue their work? Sadly, some appear to pay closer attention to colossal failures such as government-propped-up-greedy banks, than to supporting noble initiatives with finer ROI. What ...
And the survey says, “We’re stressed!” Study after study concludes that workplace stress is a common problem that has serious consequences. Whether you are an administrative assistant or a senior level executive with global corporate responsibilities, chances are your job is stressful; this may be affecting you – and not in a good way!
According to a recent Gallup poll, job satisfaction is actually higher than it was a decade ago; however, fears related to job security have risen and on-the-job stress remains virtually unchanged. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) explains that job stress results when the requirements of the job do not match capabilities, resources, or needs of workers. May I see a show of hands?
The poor statistics that many surveys report don’t even take into consideration the stress of the commute, which for some can be a brutal daily event all by itself. What is disturbing is the impact that stress can have on personal health, corporate stability, and individual career advancement.
While it is true that one’s person’s stress is another person’s exciting challenge, there are many aspects of unhealthy work situations that are considered universally ...
In a recent post, I was trying to communicate the benefits of social learning: the additional processing that occurs while negotiating a shared understanding. Interestingly, the diagram I designed to accompany the post and communicate the concept was not well received. C’est la vie. As this was to be the representation on a slide talking about social learning, I was forced to come up with another way to communicate the concept. Instead of focusing on exactly the same concept, I decided to take another tack. The idea I’m communicating is how our model of learning has changed.
The first organized learning was really accomplished through apprenticeship: an individual would come to a task developing some artifact or performing some task, and would perform some minimal component in the context of the overall work. As we developed more abstract concepts, we moved to a dialog, where individuals would express their understanding, and others would engage in a conversation until agreement (even to disagree) was reached. Then, for efficiency reasons, we moved to a classroom model, where one individual would propose knowledge and the others would recite it.
Are you too cheerful for your own good?
I doubt it, but Evil HR Lady did get me thinking about the subject with “Key to Success? Stop Being So Cheerful.”
I’d was already ruminating on happiness, reading Martin Seligman’s book Authentic Happiness and The Art of Happiness by the Dalia Lama and Dr. Howard Cutler when I ran across Suzanne Lucas’s blog.
It was based on new research that examined a group of people who were 10 years old in 1921. The researchers looked at them in their youth and then started tracking them again in the 1990s. One of the authors of the study wrote:
One of the findings that really astounds people, including us, is that the Longevity Project participants who were the most cheerful and had the best sense of humor as kids lived shorter lives, on average, than those who were less cheerful and joking. It was the most prudent and persistent individuals who stayed healthiest and lived the longest.
This finding conflicts with a lot of other research. Take this quote from a recent article by the National Science Foundation:
A review of more than 160 studies of human and animal subjects has found “clear and compelling evidence” that—all else being . ...
I may be wrong, I often am.
My heart sank with yesterday’s news that the UK Government has launched a taskforce to boost employee engagement. Read that sentence again and tell me it doesn’t reek of despair. However well meaning this taskforce is I shudder when government, any government, starts fiddling with the concept of making work better. There’s a huge industry chuntering out surveys and magic numbers and other guff purporting to be about discretionary effort (that means working harder for no more money). Kevin Ball has written a storming post on engagement surveys which is well worth a read.
This taskforce is to be headed by David MacLeod, an eminent speaker and writer on this subject. I know he’s an eminent writer because I have a stack of ten copies of Engaging for Success (co authored by MacLeod and Nita Clarke and contributed to by me and doubtless hundreds of others) doubling up as a footstool in my office. Engagingly supportive. And I know that MacLeod is a highly polished speaker on the subject of employee engagement. I’ve seen him speak several times over the years (including once at a conference I disorganised in April 2010) and he’s good at it. Good at ...
Phil is the president of a mid-size company that has a huge safety problem. If you were to tell him this, Phil would scoff and proudly show you his company’s OSHA records. It’s true that Phil’s company does a great job protecting the physical safety of his workers. However, it’s an entirely different type of “safety” that’s lacking, and it’s being driven by Phil’s own actions, even though he doesn’t realize it.
Like many leaders, Phil is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve his company— possible new products, ideas for process improvement and innovative ways to engage his workforce. In fact, Phil likes new ideas a little too much. New ideas represent possibility to Phil and he eagerly listens to anything that may have the promise of bringing in business for the company. When he hears an idea he likes, he immediately dispatches a team to start looking into how to implement it.
There’s a problem with these ideas— most of them aren’t aligned to the company’s core abilities. People end up chasing “opportunities” that stall because the company can’t physically produce the product at a profitable price. Or, there are unforeseen regulations that prohibit manufacture. ...
Recognize This: Stamping out fear of failure will help your company flourish.
Richard Branson, serial entrepreneur, and head of Virgin Brands, attributes his success to the people on his team. There’s a reason he’s one of the world’s wealthiest people – entirely self-made. Perhaps we should listen to his advice
“A successful business isn't the product or service it sells, its supply chain or its corporate culture: It is a group of people bound together by a common purpose and vision.”
What binds the “group of people” in your organization together? A mutual desire to continue getting a pay cheque and (for my American colleagues) health care? Or a mutual belief in the goals of the company and the value of that vision in the marketplace?
Casting the vision all can believe in and work hard to achieve is just the first step. How do you keep people bought in over the long-term? How do ensure people don’t lose sight of that vision? Again, from the master:
“Rather than focusing on mistakes, a leader needs to catch someone doing something right every day
. If this culture of fostering employee development through praise and recognition
starts at the top, . ...
While there is no social media and Internet use formula that will fit every organization, these seven factors should be included in every employee handbook.
Accountability. Employees must aware that they are responsible for what they put online. Although they may be protected under the first amendment, Federal Stored Communications Act, and fair labor practices, that only goes so far. If an employee posts something slanderous, defamatory or violates confidentiality or privacy, both the company and the employee may be liable for legal ramifications...and the charges can be civil as well as criminal.
Transparency. If an employee posts something that is related to your organization or competitors, then it is important to disclose that he or she is part of the organization including his or her job title.
Degree of Separation. What degree of separation means is that employees must include something along the lines that "The opinions expressed are solely my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of (Insert Organization name here)." By doing so, the employee is protecting the organization based upon what he ...
Most companies are still mediocre or worse when it comes to succession planning. I think this weakness is going to harry and haunt them in the course of the next 5 to 10 years.
Let’s look at two recent studies. First, there’s a new study conducted by the American Management Association/Corporate Learning Solutions that shows only a third of companies are committed to succession planning. Perhaps even worse, there’s not even agreement on what succession planning is. As reported in Chief Learning Officer, Sandi Edwards, Senior Vice President for AMA/Corporate Learning Solutions, stated, “There is little consensus among the more than 1,000 organizations we surveyed on what succession planning actually consists of, or even what it ideally ought to be.”
The ugly state of affairs is confirmed by another report, this one published in 2010 by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). That study, in which I was a coauthor, found that a mere 14% of respondents described their organizations’ succession planning efforts as effective to a high or very high extent. Like the AMA study, it also found a lack of consensus on many issues, from the degree to which succession ...
Two policy-related issues over the last decade have gotten a lot of press: climate-change, and more recently, economic inequality. Taking these issues seriously requires governmental policy and tax changes. Publicly, congress' head is in the sand, but privately, many Republicans and Democrats take the problems seriously.
What's intriguing to me his how vociferous the anti-climate change and anti-inequality forces have become. If you read closely, you'll note that the issues are tied closely to the anti-tax movement. Still, to paraphrase Artemus Ward, the 19th century humorist: It ain't so much the things (we) don't know that get (us) into trouble. It's the things (we) know that just ain't so.
For example, we now know that more than 95% of scientists agree that humanity has impacted climate to the point where unless we make changes in industry and life-style, long term this planet is in trouble--that includes our children and grandchildren. The scientific issue is actually settled. The question is whether congress and the public will want to do anything constructive ...