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Tips for Leading Excellence and Innovation

Friday, 18. March 2011 14:40

Here are two excellent resources that when woven together, create a powerful primer for leading excellence and innovation.  The first is a video by Daniel Pink about motivation, (thanks to Peter D. for sharing this with me!) and the second is an article from the New York Times about the extensive and thorough internal work Google did to determine how to create better managers.  

In short, Pink believes that flourishing organizations have a purpose model:  they empower their team, and combine challenge and mastery with making a contribution.  These organizations understand that to motivate employees beyond  basic tasks, autonomy is required.  In his video, Pink sums it up with, “They treat people like people”. 


According to the New York Time’s article, Google’s research found that what employees valued most were even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers.  (Hmm, sounds to me  like reinforcement of Pink’s thesis to treat people like people.)  

Furthermore, Google  found that people typically leave a company for one of three reasons, or a combination of them. The first is that they don’t feel a connection to the mission of the company, or sense that their work matters. The second is that they don’t really like or respect their co-workers. The third is they have a terrible boss. In fact, Google found that a manager’s impact on employee performance and how they felt about their job was greater than any other factor. 

So, if you want to understand  more about  motivation and leading innovation, check out Daniel Pink’s fun and informative video.  To learn how to implement some of these concepts in your supervisory role, check out Google’s list for eight good managerial behaviors, which I copied from the NYT’s article and listed below in the order of importance.   Enjoy and happy leading!

Google’s Rules

1)      Be a good coach

  • Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing the negative and the positive.

2)      Empower your team and don’t micromanage

  • Balance giving freedom to your employees, while still being available for advice.  Make “stretch” assignments to help the team tackle big problems.

3)      Express interest in team member’s success and personal well-being.

4)      Don’t be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented

  • Focus on what employees want the team to achieve and how they can help achieve it.
  • Help the team prioritize and use seniority to remove road blocks

5)      Be a good communicator and listen to your team

  • Communication is two-way: you both listen and share information
  • Hold all hands meetings and be straightforward about the messages and goals of the team
  • Encourage open dialogue and listen to the issues and concerns of your employees.

6)      Help your employees with career development

7)      Have a clear vision and strategy for the team

  • Even in the midst of turmoil, keep the team focused on goals and strategy.
  • Involve the team in setting and evolving the team’s vision and making progress toward it.

8)      Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team

  • Roll up your sleeves and conduct work side by side with the team, when needed.
  • Understand the specific challenges of the work.

Here’s the link to the full New York Times Article:   http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/13/business/13hire.html for your reading pleasure.

Category:Career & Finance | Comment (0) | Autor:

Five Tips for a Great Relationship

Monday, 11. October 2010 14:16

Okay, whom do you spend the most time with? You might guess it’s your boss or your kids, but ultimately, it’s yourself. So how is your relationship with you? Do you enjoy your time together with yourself, or are you often unkind, inconsiderate and unforgiving? Why do you expect anyone else to treat you better than you are willing to treat yourself? Here are some thoughts and suggestions about how to nourish and nurture your most important friend: you. 

1. Appreciate and acknowledge. Find ways to acknowledge yourself for all the good things you do. If you only acknowledge the things you don’t do, then you are only feeding half of the equation – the negative half. A daily practice of expressing gratitude to yourself (just one to three items!) can go a long way in putting things in perspective and making for a happier, more relaxed you. Once you take stock, you may be amazed by all of what you do accomplish!

2. Rest and enjoy some quiet, quality time. Take a few minutes to stop and breathe. Look around you. What do you see? Close your eyes, feel what is going on, and listen. Check in. What message lies within the silence? Even a few minutes of rest can make a big difference in your attitude and your connection to yourself. Don’t ignore quality time with your best friend: you.

 3. Schedule time for fun, pleasure and connection. Want to keep your life feeling joyful? Well, you deserve a break – even if it’s fifteen minutes a day of listening to music, walking, calling friends, doing Suduko – whatever it is, make a little time to feed your soul with something you love and make it smile.

4. Give your body a hug. Your soul lives in a body. Just notice it and thank it for all it does. Thank it for protecting you, for moving you and for allowing you to feel the world. Even though it may have some issues, remember all that it can do. Can you feel the wind? Enjoy a hot shower? Eat and drink tasty tidbits? What would life be like without your body? Pretty tough to enjoy the simple things. So, be nice to it. Feed it, give it rest, consideration, and maybe even a hug once in awhile.

5. Clarify your values, visions and goals. Keep your dreams alive. Where do you want to go? What do you strive for? How might you get there? What’s important to you? Can you take one small baby-step each day toward that goal? If you know what gives you meaning and purpose and what you stand for, making daily life choices become easier and often less stressful.

Would you deny your best friend any of these kindnesses and support? Enjoy and nurture your relationship with yourself. You will always be there, why not treat yourself like a best friend?

Category:Relationships, Self Actualization | Comment (0) | Autor:

For Resolutions that Stick, Envision Your Results!

Saturday, 2. January 2010 3:55

Happy New Year!  I found myself very tired on New Year’s Eve.  Upon reflection,  I realized that not only was the year over, but also a decade –  one in which I moved three thousand miles, lost loved ones, survived being the mother of a teenager, changed jobs three times and reinvented a marriage.  No wonder I’m tired. But today, I feel energized. It’s a new beginning and I have a vision.

I considered setting the usual set of New Year’s resolutions, but instead, this year, I started with a vision.  What’s the difference you ask? Well, most of us actually set goals when we set resolutions.  For example, “I will lose five pounds and fall in love by spring.”  That’s fine on January 1, when we are recovering from the holidays and are all gung-ho – but after about four weeks, these kinds of resolutions may start to look like a long to-do list; which in turn may start to resemble dull, burdensome obligations! 

A vision however, feels richer and more alive to me than a goal. It contains emotional meaning.  I really like the way yogi Bo Forbes describes “vision” in her Yoga Journal article “Stuck in a Rut?” http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/1318?page=3 

When we create a vision for our new pattern, we must give it a life force more vital than the old one. We need to convince ourselves that it is real. We use our senses and emotions to bring it to life: What does it look, smell, or feel like? The more we visualize (and experience) the new pattern, the more real and compelling it becomes.”

I find that I can get excited about my vision.  Consider:  “I am healthy, thin, strong and fit and enjoying a fabulous love life,” verses “I will lose 5 pounds and fall in love by spring.” 

Working with a vision, I can literally see myself already achieving my goals in my mind’s eye. I feel it, I see it, I believe it.  I envision it!  My dream of myself motivates me. Now that I am motivated, I also set specific, measurable goals to help my vision come to life, such as:

  • Consume 50% less sugar, salt and caffeine weekly than I have in the previous three months
  • Work out vigorously three times a week, 45 minutes each: swim, bike or run
  • Identify and attend social events once a week with fabulously interesting men and women who share common interests with me

Get the idea? 

So why not skip the vision part and go right to the goals?  Well, when February rolls around and I am losing steam on the goals, I return to my vision. When I can see who I am in that vision and how I feel, it is very compelling to stay on track with my goals. Envisioning gives my goals life and keeps me working until I get results that will make me feel oh-so good.

Category:Self Actualization | Comments (1) | Autor: