Monthly Archives: June 2014

Business Effectiveness: Time is On My Side

Time

How have often you tried to accomplish many things (often at once) and, in fact, accomplished very little? There seemed to be nothing but obstructions in your path. The tic-toc of the clock was like a constant companion.

Just another day, right?

You could claim that this stems from having a lot on your plate. In fact, you could claim a lot of things. Busyness, in itself, is absolutely great. That is, busyness is great as long as you achieve your aims by the end of the week.

“I’ll have time.” We say to ourselves. We all do. But, it is how we manage that time that makes the difference.

So, is it a matter of setting time, organization or proper planning? Or could it be focus, prioritizing or follow through?

It is, simply, all of the above. It is important to realize that they all affect each other. Sometimes, admittedly, you have to hit the reset button. Reboot.

So, first thing is to accept that you are more than likely the source of your problem. Yes. You.

You then have to decide what is most important to you. Which file? Which project? Which manager? What time do I set my alarm? If you’re not sure, you need to find out because at the end of the day, you are the only one responsible for your outcomes, how people perceive you and your career.

The question then becomes – “How?”

Firstly, you’ll need to do a forensic analysis of your time. Estimate how much time you usually spend doing your usual tasks? What is the current effective outcome of that time spent? The more detailed, the better.

Secondly, you have to assess the tasks before you. You need to ask yourself a series of questions”

  1. Of these tasks, which are of great importance and need to be done quickly?
  2. Of these tasks, which are of great importance, but I have some time to accomplish them?
  3. Of these tasks, which are not of significant importance, but need to be accomplished quickly?
  4. Of these tasks, which are not so important and have vague timelines?

Keep in mind, the 80/20 Rule which states that 20 percent of your effective effort tends to speak for 80 percent of your effective output.

There are times when we all get caught like a deer in the headlights. We’ll continue to have drag time. We’ll continue to need the occasional “Reboot.” So what? Just keep reexamining your priorities and reasserting your ownership of your time.

 

Post by Rick Zimmerman – C2C Senior Facilitator

Leadership Development: The Rise Of The Leadership Incubators

Most organizations have accepted that when it comes to developing a leadership pipeline conventional classroom trainings might not be enough. As a result, they are now looking at creating leadership incubators to impart the required leadership and management skills to their HiPos and to help them assess their ability in applying learning and leading others. Leadership incubators, also popularly known as greenhouse programs, are based on action learning. They are organized with the idea of identifying HiPos, training them for future leadership roles, assessing the time frame in which different HiPos will be ready to take leadership responsibilities.

Different organizations have different ways of conducting these programs but there are some commonalities: Incubators are usually conducted over a few months and are a structured mix of learning modules, on-the-job coaching and action learning through group working on real life business problem statements. Usually,these modules are prepared in respect with the 70-20-10 guideline.

Incubators are designed on the basis of a company’s requirements. For example, a Fortune 100 IT company identifies project management, creative problem solving, decision-making and effective communication as critical behaviors for their future technical leads. The incubator starts off with a kick-off program led by senior technical leaders to set the context for participants. Different activities are designed to understand the expectations of all 160 participants in the incubator and integrate these into the design of the intervention.

Participants are then divided in eight batches, with each batch divided in four Action Learning Groups (ALGs). Each ALG is assigned a real life problem statement to work on during the incubator. Based on inputs from the business, HR and the participants, three learning modules are designed. Each batch goes through these modules with a month between each learning event. After four months, ALGs pitch their solutions to their senior technical leaders.

The objective of the final pitch is to assess the participant’s ability to apply essentials of project management, creative problem solving and decision-making and their ability to “sell” their solutions to others. The company then decides whether the solutions presented are implementable or not.

The advantage for organizations is clear: The selections to these programs help them identify highest potential candidates in their organization, get senior leaders to act as mentors to these high-potentials and get a clear idea about where the leadership strength of the organization lies and who is ready to take on leadership responsibility. Another not-so-direct benefit is getting cross-functional group of managers to work towards different business problems and providing solutions to them.

I believe that the introduction of action learning is probably the most important change to have happened in the leadership development training space in the last few years.

One important trend that is being seen in this regard is that some organizations are engaging their senior leaders to impart these trainings. In such cases, service providers design the learning content and process for them and engage senior leaders in the role of coach or mentors. Many organizations have also started investing in training senior management in coaching skills so that they can effectively support participants of leadership incubator programs.

Leadership incubators have a clear advantage over classic classroom trainings, which do not allow organizations to assess leadership preparedness of their HiPos. These are an effective way to assess how participants apply organizational learning to provide solutions to real business problems and to lead others. For participants, it is a more engaging way to develop critical skills that they will need as they grow in the organization but also a sign that their leadership trusts them to solve mission-critical problems.

 

Post by Guillaume Gevrey – C2C Director & Principal Consultant

Would The Real OD Please Stand Up?

Conferences and seminars are both great networking events as you get to meet a lot of people. They are also opportunities to hear some great and thought-provoking conversations. I had one such exchange last year while talking to a professional colleague 0f mine. Somebody new came in and introduced himself to us only to find out that he and my colleague were both part of the same extremely large organization and part of two different entities.

Question to my colleague after the customary business card exchange: “What is your role in our company?”

Answer: “I am an Organizational Development (OD) manager.”

Response: “Ah, so you are in the training department.”

Reaction: “NO, I AM NOT. I am in OD. As you know, training is a different department.”

This emphatic exchange prompted me to explore where we are in the field of OD. It also made me realize that we really do need to get back to basics.

OD is a much used and often abused term which creates a variety of reactions among organization members. The most tactical and basic reaction is that it is often associated with Training. At other times, it can create confusion with another OD, which is Organization Design.

Yes, a degree in Human Resources and associated fields educate practitioners in the theory and field of OD. However, the reality is that the maturity of organizations, and the impact we create with our roles in organizations, determines the application of it.

Let’s go back to basics on OD.

One classic definition of organization development comes from Richard Beckhard’s 1969 Organization Development: Strategies and Models:

“Organization Development is an effort (1) planned, (2) organization-wide, and (3) managed from the top, to (4) increase organization effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organizations “processes,” using behavioral-science knowledge.”

There are a few things we need to remember in order to make OD truly real and impactful:

A) Dynamic process: OD is an evolving process and it is critical for us to remember that it is not a static checklist of things that need to be done. The effort to increase organizational effectiveness and health is a continuous exercise. The frameworks and processes of OD theory are often only methods to provide structure and rigor to ongoing initiatives. The process below is a good example of the dynamic process of events that may happen in a program roll out.

Image                                                                    source: Western Washington University

B) OD and Change: OD interventions are usually put front and center when there is a major Change Management initiative being proposed. While OD and Change Management do go hand in hand, change is constant in today’s environment. Therefore, the role of OD is not a transactional solution, but a continuous value proposition for organizations.

C) Value Based Practice: The core tenant of Organizational Development practice is that it is a value-based practice. It is essential for OD practitioners to ensure that values such as Inclusion, Authenticity, Empowerment, Sponsorship, etc. are all explicitly practiced in all stages of work.

D) Facilitate Contracting and Marketing: Two of the core competencies of a practitioner are the ability to contract with stakeholders and also market OD efforts. Firstly the OD practitioner has to be able to actively contract with various leaders and stakeholders across the organization’s need, and ensure clarity in the rationale for ongoing initiatives. As defined by Beckhard – “Managed From the Top” clearly states the need to ensure that senior leaders support actively and visibly sponsor OD initiatives. The role of the OD professional is to facilitate the sponsorship conversations with leaders, and is a critical competency that needs to be developed. Additionally, once the support and sponsorship is secured, it is now time for the practitioner to market the initiatives (he second competency) in the organization and gain support from employees across levels. The value of group engagement is critical and, again the role of the practitioner as a facilitator cannot be emphasized enough

E) Defining Expectations: Success of any OD initiative is directly linked to the ability to identify and define clear desired outcomes and ensure that the expectations of the leadership are met. Clear desired outcomes need to be determined before the commencement of any program, especially if there are long term

F) Feedback and Measuring Success: In order to ensure impact of the initiative and any associated learning solutions, OD practitioners can deploy ROE (Return of Expectations) methodologies to ensure that results can be measured. To do this successfully, practitioners need to have strong data measurement and analysis skills – a competency often overlooked in HR and OD departments.

Organizational development is an extremely complex humanistic process. It has the potential to add business value to the organization and increase its effectiveness on an ongoing basis. This potential value is in our hands as OD practitioners, and we are only able to maximize our relevance and value proposition if we do this right. OD is NOT training. Training and development is an outcome of an OD intervention.

Let the real OD please stand up and take its place.

 

Post by Vinay Kumar – C2C Director & Principal Consultant

Is your perception your reality?

What do you see?

What do you see?

“Your perception is your reality.”

Many of us know this quote and some of us agree with it and others might argue that there is not only perception but also an absolute reality, either from a religious, spiritual or scientific standpoint. Then again I can argue that nothing is absolute, and that it is all a matter of what you choose to perceive… and believe. But let’s not get bogged down into these discussions, but focus on the main item in this statement, “perception”.

There is a lot written about perception, many have expressed and argued their view and opinion on the subject. What I would like to do is look at it from a very practical point of view, and most of all to Keep It Simple (KIS). Let me say that I am a strong believer in the power of KIS. I believe that in today’s world there is already so much complexity around us, which overwhelms us to a point where it is keeping many of us from being happy and successful. Also, in order to grow and develop (be it as an individual or an organization) we need to simplify things, unwrap ourselves from the conditioning and bureaucracy and strip down to the essence, the core of the matter.

Ask a fool a question and you will get a simplistic answer;

Ask an expert a question and you will get a complex answer;

Ask a master a question and you will get a simple answer.

This week I had a great meeting with a colleague coach who talked about perception and how it creates a person’s reality. It got me thinking about something that I contemplated in my early twenties, namely “Who am I really?” Am I who I think I am, how I perceive myself to be… or am I what others say I am, how others perceive me to be?

So the question is, is your perception your reality or is the other person’s perception of you your reality? This is an important difference and plays a significant role in the awareness you are developing about you and the reality you live in.

Let me answer this question with a little story;

There is a man driving a car on the highway and on the radio there is a news-flash: “Please be aware that a ‘ghost-driver’ (car going against traffic) has been spotted near Hamilton on highway 6 heading North.”. The man in the car thinks, “that is exactly where I am driving now, but there is not just one ‘ghost-driver’ there are hundreds!”.

Most of us live in our own world where our perception of things is our reality… so I am wondering how many of us are really like that man on the highway, driving in the wrong direction.

Post by Vincent Bouw –  Director and Principal Consultant  C2C South East Asia