Thursday, June 8, 2017

Establishing who we will be

We have a little mantra here that says 'Do power differently' and that means eliminate hierarchy, love your customers more, admit when you're wrong, this idea of eliminating the distance between me and you, creating a sense of we all rise and fall together, it's more like eliminating separation because… I don't care [about] the colour of my skin, my gender, we're all walking the same human path.”
“So, for me, just to embed that language and cooperation anywhere, especially [at] a utility company, has been my greatest honour.” 

“I always say, if you have a lot of power you have to be 10 times more humble because people don't like it already that you have power over them, so we have to just remind our team that people already feel powerless, so we have to be a lot more respectful, even when people are aggravated with us.”

Kelly Tomblin
Jamaica Observer
June 8, 2017

Will the New JPS culture survive

“We put together a transformation team from throughout the organization that went to every location and asked people 'what is your greatest vision for this company, what do you want with your hearts, what is your heart telling you?'” “It came from here, it wasn't like I brought it, and I think what leaders do, if they do it right, they find what already exists in you that may be covered up, because we got hurt, we've been abandoned, we've been talked down to, whatever reasons. And so I think a lot of what leadership is all about is being able to uncover and take away that baggage from you and say, 'Oh, that's who you really are, let me see that'.
“I think that's what we've been able to do, to say take off your mask, quit trying to be like that person, be your grandest self of what your creator made you to be, and I do think that requires a different language that we've had.”

Kelly Tomblin
Jamaica Observer
June 8, 2017

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Sir Richard Branson’s thoughts on why businesses fail

The reason businesses fail is “that management pays no attention to little details.  A lot of big companies don’t listen to their staff or customers to get the little details right.  To run a hotel or if you have a smaller company, listen to your people who buy your products. Listen to your staff who are on the frontline. Write the things down that they tell you and then make sure you sort those things out. Suddenly you will have a fantastic company that everybody likes, because there won’t be anything left to write down. You would have sorted everything out and everybody is loving it, so you can go forward to the next step.”

Sir Richard Bronson
Jamaica Observer, June 7, 2017

Sir Richard Branson’s explanation for how entrepreneurs build businesses

“An entrepreneur is like an artist. You have an idea, so you have a blank sheet and then you start filling in on that sheet of paper as you create a business. To create a business is like getting the perfect picture on that sheet of paper and getting every little detail right, and then you launch your business.  You have your perfect piece of art created.”

Sir Richard Bronson
Jamaica Observer, June 7, 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

How Leaders Save Followers From Being Professional Victims

Many executives are relatively strong at taking responsibility, especially in areas where others don’t. They stand up to be counted, assuming risks that others won’t.  However, they are often baffled when their followers show an excessive and inexplicable fear of victimization. What should leaders do to eradicate this bad habit that makes good people slip into dependency and turns potential future leaders into weaklings?

Case: A corporate leader who I work with scratches his head in dismay. His followers, who he hopes to grow into a new cadre of leaders have devolved into victims-in-waiting. That is, they have learned an infantile, super-sensitivity to perceived slights and imagined disrespect. He has discovered that even his best attempts to make a difference are taken as personal attacks. They have become professional victims.

According to the Urban Dictionary “professional victims” claim victimization when things don’t go their way. They continually believe someone is taking advantage of them. In his case, workers have taken to attend meetings in a silent boycott, refusing to contribute anything more than a minimum.

Truth be told, there is a certain kind of power to be gained from convincing your (perceived) oppressors that you are their victim. At best, it invites them to take responsibility in a new way as a result of seeing the truth for the first time. When this happens, transformation can result as it did in countries like the USA, India and South Africa.

However, at worst, being a victim can be just a form of hostage-taking. Then, it becomes a nasty blame-game where the self-described weak gain a scrap of leverage, usually by bullying those in power into feeling guilty.

Unfortunately, in some companies there are a frighteningly large number of staff members who act as professional victims. In your company, you may know exactly who I am talking about. If you do, then go a step further and ask yourself: “Is the diseased thinking spreading or shrinking?”

Use your answer to gauge how effectively your people are being led. Ineffective leaders merely join the pity party, engaging in their own version of professional victimhood. They may, for example, compare their current job against prior roles they held in better companies, with better colleagues who served better customers. This just makes the situation worse.

Effective leaders respond quite differently by taking the following three steps.

1. Demonstrate By Example
Real leaders take responsibility at extraordinary levels, far beyond the boundaries of space and time. For example, they may even take ownership for what people do to each other. Or, they may assume responsibility for what has happened in the past, under prior leadership, as if they were in charge when it happened.

While others may think this is crazy behavior, it is actually self-empowerment at its finest.

Leaders who are powerfully self-aware are not blind to what they are doing and they don’t do it in secret. They actively create a context in which they locate themselves as the cause of important results, positive or negative. As they do so, one public step at a time, it’s noticeable that something is different. This magic ingredient may be hard for others to articulate, but leaders seize vacuums of responsibility to inspire others to act.

2. Educate Followers
A few top leaders don’t just act differently, they teach this exceptional behaviour to others at every opportunity. Sometimes, they have developed their own language for what they do, using homegrown phrases such as “taking one for the team.” Developing responsibility in others is a critical part of their job and the key to a cultural transformation.

3. Share the struggle
A tiny handful go even further than teaching others. They take the risk of sharing their personal struggle with new areas of responsibility. By doing so, they show that it’s OK to be imperfect, giving staff real-time insight behind the scenes of a leader’s transformation.

Unfortunately, most top executives are clueless about these three steps. With low awareness, they are stunned when people avoid interacting with them for fear of being victimized. They witness employees acting as responsible adults in other areas of their lives (family, church and community) and can’t understand why the workplace is so different. Professional victims are perfectly capable of this dualism.

They can also be quite effective at converting others to their cause: misery loves company. This means that leaders cannot just sit back and wait for people’s mindsets to change – they won’t.

The solution is to be aware and active. If you are a leader, work on the three skills listed above and make them part of your everyday way of being. Leaders are only called forth when the stakes are high and success will be impossible if you avoid this particular duty. It is hard, but necessary.


Published : Jamaican Gleaner 12/2015

Francis Wade is the author of Perfect Time-Based Productivity, a keynote speaker and a management consultant. Missed a column? To receive a free download with articles from 2010-2016, send email to columns@fwconsulting.com

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Avoiding POOR Meeting Attendance

“If you build it, they will come…” This is not exactly all true when planning a meeting. A lot of work goes into producing a successful meeting and the majority of work is definitely in the primary stages of research, design, and planning. When this is done properly, the remaining stages of co-ordinating and evaluating the meeting will bring forth the desired outcome.

Attendance IS the lifeblood of a meeting! Whether the reason for meeting is a training session, sales presentation, corporate retreat, customer/employee incentive programme, or themed event, faulty meeting planning will cause unwanted results, including poor attendance.

People come together in a meeting to share ideas and visions, to make decisions, to be entertained, or to solve problems. As a planned communication encounter between two or more persons for a common purpose, the meeting must appeal to the intended attendees. Attendance is a meeting planning issue and not just an issue for sales and marketing or public relations, which are parts of the meeting planning process.  Attendees want results. They want information. They want the tools and techniques they can use immediately. Attendees will attend meetings that satisfy their needs. All of these concerns play an essential role in the meeting planning process.

The consequences of poor meeting planning can result in premature cancellation, complete cancellation, wasted time, termination of employees, as well as ineffective use of resources. Poor or faulty meeting planning can also have a negative impact on a company’s budget thus affecting other cost factors, not to mention, management embarrassment or discolouring a company’s image. In a poorly attended meeting, money goes down the drain without ever achieving the desired results.

Poor meeting attendance can come from several overlooked attributes of faulty meeting planning. Companies with tighter budgets can get hurt by inadequate meeting planning preparation and poor communication. If a previous meeting was successful, there is no justification or guarantee that when repeated, will produce the same results. Change happens! People’s needs change! Environments change! Meetings need to adequately address current critical issues that apply to those attending. Therefore, the information to be shared with the attendees must have the potential and capability of being applied immediately or be within their areas of work and interests. Producing frequent lower-quality meetings is also a sure-shot indicator for attendees to lose interest and not show up.

Let us look at several ways you can avoid poor meeting attendance.
  • Know the attendees! This cannot be expressed or emphasised enough. This is key to the success of any meeting planning process. To know the group helps in the selection and negotiation of all the necessary ingredients to put the meeting plans together. Knowing the attendees requires research that will provide demographics – the important element and information that must be collected and reviewed carefully.
  • Establish objectives that are specific, measurable, and appealing to the attendees. Failure to meet the primary objective to the meeting means that the meeting has failed.
  • Design programmes that apply to the attendees’ needs and interests. Believe it or not, the decision to attend a meeting is at the sole discretion of the attendees. They are the ones who need to be motivated as they want to know what is in it for them.
  • Select a venue that will contribute to attendees’ presence and participation. The location and type of venue compliment the design of the meeting.
  • Always plan ahead. Do not wait until the last moment to begin preparations. Meeting planning is a serious business that involves strategic decision-making. Meetings should not just be planned, they should be staged as sensory, financial experiences that are designed to evoke the senses and make people attend and be able to take something away from that event.
  • Take a risk and try something different. Each person attending a meeting brings a different level of knowledge and expertise to the programme. Understand that the attendees are also customers who attend meetings with different ideas, values, and expectations.
  • Engage the services of a professional meeting planner. Good partnerships leverage both internal and external resources to achieve common objectives. The ultimate goal is to achieve more with less.

The challenges and trends of today’s economy can be very difficult on any organisation. Organisations need to be creative to stay alive. Organisations need to realise that meetings constitute a substantial portion of their budgets and should take the necessary steps to pay attention to the (real) cost of producing a meeting. So as not to lose money unwisely and to achieve return on investment, a company must take a closer look at the way it conducts meetings.

Meetings are here to stay and attendance is essential to making them successful. Attendees are customers. Pay attention to their needs by producing meetings that are worth their while to attend.


Source: Mrs. Margaret Lawrence - HRMAJ, Western Chapter                                                                   

Organization Development & Effectiveness

Organizational Effectiveness is a concept that demands continuous improvement at all levels in a system. Several methods have been devised and used in this regard all aiming at making the organization more efficient and more competitive. As the rate of activities increase, organizations are likely to become increasingly focused on day to day operational issues thereby becoming less aware of emerging difficulties that will ultimately reduce its effectiveness.  One is also likely to miss the important effects that known problems are likely to have on the rest of the rest of the organization.  Before you know it the organization is in a severe downward spiral.

The point be made is that the organization is a system.  Problems in one part of the system that goes undetected will grow and spread to impact other parts of the organization.  It is important therefore that the problems are detected, analyzed and subjected to carefully planned interventions.  Organization Development (OD) offers an opportunity to do just that.

Organization Development is a “planned organization-wide programme” (Schein) that focuses on aspects of organizational dynamics. It involves activities which the consultant facilities with individuals and groups.

These activities emerge from a diagnostic process that identifies problems, their causes and variables that must be controlled in order to achieve satisfactory solutions.

In the early days a typical definition of OD would emphasize the point that it uses “Behavioural Science” to find solutions to organizational problem. This is because the OD process involves organizational members at all stages, namely a) the “front end” (diagnostic stage), b) the design, development and implementation of strategies, c) mentoring and evaluation and feedback.  Naturally, skill is working with people is of the utmost importance.

There are several models for carrying out an OD exercise. Most are very comprehensive. Yet they can be learned fairly easily and thereby become available for use in your organization.

The Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica has launched an “OD Cell” that gives members an opportunity to participate in exploration of:
A)  What is OD                                                           
B)  Its application in Jamaican organization              
C)  Forming network for sharing information and expertise.

You are invited to become an OD enthusiast.

By:  Lloyd Stanley
HRMAJ
August 2007