Our political leaders present models of behavior that are likely to be imitated. Their example may be interpreted as defining the characteristics of success itself. For this reason, it is imperative that those of us who write about leadership give voice to the necessary virtues of success that will sustain our culture, companies and country, particularly when they are different from those on display today. Many Americans are losing faith in our nation’s leadership while those outside our country are losing […]
Google’s Research on Their Own Teams Google is one of the smartest companies on earth today. They pursue excellence in both their products and their people with more determination than almost any other organization. Some while ago they recognized that teams were the foundation of their organization and culture. Sound familiar? They have just completed a thorough research effort to determine what makes teams high performing, or not. It is published in today’s New York Times Magazine and I strongly […]
How many times have we heard that “money is power?” It is one of those cliches that has been spoken so many times that one assumes it must be true. Perhaps it was. In both the political and the business world there is a tectonic shift that is proving that what may have been true at some time in the past, is no longer true today. Understanding the on-going shift to other forms of power is essential to successful business and political strategy, now and into the future.
Research by the Conference Board and by researchers reporting in the Harvard Business Review (March 2015) report that the execution of strategy is their greatest concern. The Conference Board’s recent Survey of CEOs revealed that chief executives are so concerned about strategy execution that they rated it as both their number one and number two most challenging issue. Agile Strategy Execution is a solution to the problem.
I suggest that both Bezos and those interviewed for the Times article are honestly and accurately portraying the culture as seen through their eyes and their experience. Amazon is straddling the Barbarian and Builder/Explorer stage of my life cycle model. This is a good place to be in an external environment that is filled with rapidly emerging competitors and changing technologies. If you aren’t conquering you are probably about to be conquered!
Imagine your CEO, each time he or she was challenged, turning on the person asking the question and proclaiming “you’re loser” or, “that’s because you’re stupid!” My mother, and probably your own, taught me not to call others names. Someone said “turn the other cheek.” Why in politics is this kind of response apparently acceptable to so many people when it should immediately be recognized as uncivil behavior and a disqualification for any public office?
If you go through my Team Leadership (Team Kata) course you will quickly be confronted with the strong suggestion that every manager and every team have a coach to lead them through the steps of lean implementation and to provide feedback to the leader and team. But, you ask, where are we going to get all these coaches? Here is a clear answer.
The world of corporate training and development has yet to fully embrace the new reality of technology, online resources, and the need to integrate learning into the daily habits of all managers and team members. This requires a deliberate map of the learning process, eliminating waste, and breaking down silos.
Implementing lean management, or any other change in the culture of organizations, requires a zoom lens to see the different levels of complexity required. Toyota Kata, lean tools, and other methods operate at some focal lengths and not at others. The well informed manager will have the ability to understand complexity and to use simple methods when appropriate. If you are photographer with only a 300mm lens you will miss a lot of great photos.
Neuroscience now confirms why both learning and motivation on the part of employees is optimized when the ratio of positive to negative interactions with managers lean toward four positives to one negative. Higher rates of negative interactions reduce learning, increase fear, increase avoidance behavior, rather than problem-solving and experimentation.
I developed my Team Kata Udemy.com training course to provide a solution to training a large number of people, self-paced and over an extended period of time. But, coaching is essential to the learning process. Here are examples of the coaching kata that follow well proven methods of behavior based training.
One aspect of lean that has not been given enough attention, in my opinion, is how lean is an organization wide system of motivation that creates a high performance culture. Too many lean implementations suffer from a focus on problem solving skills, but a failure to attend to the system or culture of motivation. Too many rely on the “they oughtta wanna” assumption which usually results in disappointment.
A highly motivated work force is not an accident. It is not the result of being in one part of the country or another, have having a union or non-union. It is the result of systematic efforts on the part of management to design and improve a system of motivation. The most effective systems optimize both an ennobling purpose, the social bonds of strong teamwork, and the availability of individual incentives. They all contribute unique elements to a holistic system of motivation.
In this post I would like to discuss the cultural root of obedience in the great church of our organizations and how we need to rethink the assumptions of loyal followership. Or to put it another way, a bit more disloyalty may be advantageous to the leader’s reputation and bank account.
Every CEO or leader owns the behavior of his senior team. The challenge for every leader is to gain understanding of how one’s own behavior influences subordinates, and how their behavior in turn, may result in the unforeseen knife flying through the air to land in one’s own back.
Healthy families in which there is high trust result in high academic performance. This is “family social capital.” Similarly, the team at the first level is the foundation of social capital in the organization. This social capital is a key factor in generating continuous improvement and achieving high job satisfaction and retention of employees.