June 28, 2012
This is a very interesting read by the Harvard Business Review, found on leadingcompany.
If you’re like me, you dream about moments of total focus. Time slows. The mind stops churning. Complex tasks are performed with effortless grace. Psychologists call it “flow”. Athletes call it “the zone”. For a baseball player, it’s the sort of surreal state in which a 99mph fastball seems to take on the size and speed of a beach ball.
Unfortunately, at work, I’m not in the zone very often. Many times I find my attention straying from the task at hand to yet another YouTube video of a kitten riding a tortoise. I give up. Maybe I don’t have access to the deep and secret part of the brain that allows the athlete or the CEO to turn high performance into a daily routine.
Not so, according to a ton of recent research and literature on the subject. From Malcolm Gladwell’s take on talent versus practice to Daniel Kahneman’s research on the thinking brain to Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit released earlier this year, the secrets to becoming more productive seem to be at our fingertips. By the time you read this article, several more books on this topic will probably be out. But can all this analysis and advice really make us more productive at work? Taken together, a few recent titles seem to offer a good plan of attack.
Let’s start with Duhigg, who tells us that superstars actually form their good habits by using the same part of the brain – the basal ganglia – the rest of us use to drive to work every day without a lot of mental effort. The difference is that our brains have formed our basic rituals on the sly, while the standout athletes and executives have mentally trained themselves to trade their old, unproductive habits for new, better ones. According to Duhigg, every habit is formed by a loop that begins with a cue, followed by a routine and a reward.
June 27, 2012
The news in recent days has been full of news about job losses at Fairfax and News Limited as the Australian print media tries to sort out how to make itself profitable. Fairfax will sack 1900 employees in coming weeks. News won’t say how many will go, but the numbers are expected to be high.
Journalists aren’t the only ones in the unemployment line. Financial services company Perpetual is expected to shed 580 positions. The manufacturing sector is shrinking and Qantas has shed scores of workers in recent months.
As workers watch their colleagues and friends walk out the door to an uncertain future, they can suffer difficult emotions.
Dr Hilary Armstrong is the director of education at the Institute of Executive Coaching. She says that workers who make it through a company-wide purge with their jobs intact can suffer from a form of survivor’s guilt.
Survivor’s guilt is commonly associated with people who have gone through a traumatic event, such as a war or a natural disaster. However the symptoms and the feelings for those involved in redundancies are very similar, Armstrong says.
“People get more internally focussed. Relationships in the workplace tend to change, there are a lot more underground conversations because people feel less able to speak out,” she says.
Find out more about this issue found on leadingcompany, written by Ben Westcott, by clicking here…
June 23, 2012
As budgets remain tight, learning organizations may need to strip down their operations. Luckily, there’s a model that says doing so is the right approach to begin with.
With the U.S. economy on the brink of pulling out of its worst recession in recent memory, learning and development functions will be sprinting hard to on-board new employees, replace retiring boomers and move knowledge faster around the globe. And simply returning to pre-recession staffing and budgets won’t be enough to meet the challenge.
What’s needed is a major retooling of the way to train and transfer knowledge — one that is efficient, effective and eliminates what some might call “training waste.”
Luckily, there’s a learning framework for learning leaders having to operate under this less is more mentality: “Lean.”
Developed by Toyota, Lean is a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating anything that doesn’t directly add value. Lean methods are used in manufacturing, software development and health care — and learning and knowledge transfer are ripe to be the next frontier.
What is training waste from a Lean perspective? Simply put, it’s any training or learning activity that doesn’t directly help a learner perform better on the job. Continue reading this article by Todd Hudson, found on Chief Learning Officer, click here…
June 20, 2012
In developing leaders, CLOs should be aware that authenticity, while invaluable, can become an excuse for verbal abuse and laziness, according to Daniel Margolis, within this article found in Chief Learning Officer.
When Steve Jobs died last fall, his status as an executive ascended to the level of myth. People from all walks of life began studying the man to determine what made him so successful and hopefully learn from it. One of the things about him praised so widely was his authenticity; whether he succeeded or failed in any given venture, he seemingly never compromised himself.
But there was a downside to that level of authenticity. Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson has said, “He could be very, very mean to people at times.” Stories are legion of Jobs berating and belittling people with whom he worked.
According to Peggy Klaus, executive coach and author of the book The Hard Truth About Soft Skills, such negative byproducts of authenticity are endemic among executives today and have “gotten completely out of hand.”
“It has become an excuse for bad behavior; for rudeness; for humiliating people,” said Klaus, who calls this the Popeye school of self-management — I am what I am. “I’m going to behave in the way that I think is authentic to me, regardless of whether that is bad behavior.”
So how should CLOs approach this? To find out read here….
June 17, 2012
Creativity has always been at the center of business, but now it’s at the top of the management agenda. Here’s how CLOs can guide its development.
Two years ago, IBM’s 2010 Global CEO Study, which surveyed more than 1,500 chief executive officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, concluded that creativity is now the most important leadership quality for success in business, outweighing competencies such as integrity and global thinking. The CEOs told IBM that today’s business environment is volatile, uncertain and increasingly complex. Because of this, the ability to create something that’s both novel and appropriate is top of mind.
“Given the pace of change, organizations rise and fall faster than ever before; witness Blockbuster, Nokia and Motorola,” said Gerard J. Puccio, department chairman and professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College and co-author of The Innovative Team: Unleashing Creative Potential for Breakthrough Results. “So how does an organization survive in such tumultuous times? The same way humans have survived throughout history.”
To continute this article found within Chief Learning Officer, and written by Ladan Nikravan, click here…