Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Temper your Trust - Notes from Stanford Business School Professor Roderick M. Kramer

Stanford Business School Professor Roderick M. Kramer identifies seven steps people can take to trust more prudently. 1. Know yourself ; 2. Start small ; 3. Write an escape clause ; 4. Send strong signals ; 5. Recognize the other person's dilemma ; 6. Look at roles as well as people ; 7. Remain vigilant and always question. -

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Embrace Change to be a winner

I am reading Jack Welch’s book “Winning” and among many things, Jack talks about “embracing change” as it is the key to being a winner.

Winning companies embrace risk taking and learning. It’s the same when it comes to us. If we need to win, we got to embrace change and be filled with optimism and humility. You may believe in change but when change hits you, you may freak out. Don’t. That’s the key. Believe in yourself and believe that the change is for good.

Jack says “Change for change’s sake is stupid and enervating.” You got to learn to love change because it will inevitably happen whether you want it or not. So learn to embrace it and make the best out of it.

Wow, what a great advice.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Negotiating in an uncertain environment

Negotiation techniques teach us to be prepared and work on a collaborative style to reach the best outcome. So we spend time to understand our strengths & opportunities while getting into a negotiation. Yet, we find yourself struggling when the rules suddenly change. Michael Wheeler, a Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School takes a look at military strategies to understand negotiation techniques in an uncertain environment.
HBS Working Knowledge article "Negotiating When the Rules Suddenly Change" gives me some insight on planning for negotiation in an uncertain environment.
Published: September 11, 2006

Author: Michael Wheeler

Organizations go through technology upgrade - so what about the staff who use it?

Yesterday, I spent some time to understand supply chain process and then ended up how Technology can help to improve the supply chain process. Although I went in circles trying to keep focused on the topic, I couldn’t get something off my head. You must have seen organizations spend millions of dollars to upgrade their technology to the latest and greatest. They have it all wired up and ready to use. Yet you find that the software developers are not using 20% of the upgraded technology. Still worst is when you find that your entire business operation is still in Stone Age when they could be on the new infrastructure.

So keeping technology current is not the only thing that an organization must do. It is equally important that they spend time to create awareness of the usage of these new features with the upgraded technology.

Let’s assume you need to send order request to your supplier. He takes only fax or phone calls as inputs for orders. Why would you spend additional time to print out an order request, sign it and fax it while all of these could be done from your multi processing photocopier that can convert your printouts into fax automatically? Aren’t you wasting paper, ink, time and human resources to do all this when your printer could handle all that by the click of a mouse? By using old methods, you are not using your latest and greatest. That’s wasted money on technology. If it was physical inventory such as a Ford Mustang sitting in the warehouse, you may be concerned that the inventory isn’t moving. Why can’t a business leader think of unused features in the upgraded technology as wasted inventory?

I hope you are able to relate to my thought process. In this era when the world is looking for greener and smarter solutions, we still have organizations that are not taking enough efforts to train their staff to support the cause. Business leaders think by approving to upgrade technology to the latest and greatest, the whole organization will become smart. Don’t think buying a Ferrari and taking your kid to school @ 25mph is doing justice to the machine. It does make you proud, but that’s not what the engine was built for. Get it?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The need for genuineness in human relationship to be a change agent

I was listening to a Dale Carnegie Leadership Program CD and here's what I learned yesterday.

In a world that’s quickly becoming Virtual, the skill of human relationships is quickly being lost. The need for human relationship is becoming extremely important and valuable for Leadership. The program emphasises that you need to be a new leader. One who can inspire and motivate people while never losing sight of the timeless leadership principles that has never changed.

You need to be a leader, one who is flexible, adaptable, a servant not a slave, a distributor of power, trustworthy, tough, and decisive. This can be achieved only if people like you.

In the words of Dale Carnegie, “starting tomorrow morning, you need to smile to at least 5 people you see at work, every day for a week. Your smile has to be broad genuine smile and not just a good morning. Secondly, you need to genuinely get interested in at least one person and complement their good work. Two words of warning: ‘Be Sincere.’ Utterly and honestly be sincere. Otherwise, you will be simply wasting your time if you pretend to be interested in other people in order to get something out of them. That’s foolish and wrong, because you will be found out sooner or later. Remember, if you want to be liked instantly, do as a puppy does. Become genuinely interested in other people and show it.

These human relationship principles will never change and can help you build to be a great leader.

The most important point that touched me was to show genuine interest in people while building relationship. To be a great leader, human relationship and networking becomes critical. It is a core competency that you want to build. If you cannot network and are not liked by people, you cannot drive change.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In pursuit of the Trim-tab factor

Change is great and is inevitable. You can’t run from it and ignore it. The more you fight it, the worse you will feel. So how do you make yourself feel happy about being part of a change? Yesterday I talked about my focus on spending more time on Quadrant 2. If I need to do that I need to change and I need to fight some habits that continue to eat into my quality time.

Richard Buckminster Fuller, a famous American architect, author and designer is credited for the “trim-tab factor” concept that’s often used in leadership, change and management training programs. Imagine a large ocean liner. If you need to turn this big vessel in a new direction, it would need a lot of effort. Fuller says, “You see the whole ship go by and then you see the rudder. And there's a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab. It's a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. It takes almost no effort at all.” The trim tab is tiny compared to the size and weight of the ship, yet it is the trim tab that determines the ship’s course. Your efforts to slightly change the trim tab can eventually changes the whole direction of the ocean liner.

Change requires us to get out of our comfort zone, build new habits and leave behind the old. Knowing that I want to make a change in my life is the first right step towards self improvement. Awareness creates opportunities. I need to spend more time to find that trim-tab so I can get excited about Change. That can help me to create effective Quadrant 2 time management. I need to move my behavior in a new direction so I can increase Quadrant 2 and plan better. So the discovery goes on…

As always, below are a few links to help you learn more about trim-tab.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The serendipity of change in time management

Yesterday I looked at time management and why I am unable to manage it effectively. In trying to fix the problem, I am always looking at external entities that can help me to change my habit. Then it stuck me that I am actually dealing with “Change” and not the problem of time management. I am in a certain level of status quo and I need to change to manage time effectively. When you think about it, it looks so simple. Yet “Change” is a very complex process.

Last week I was introduced to a new concept of change. It’s the Virginia Satir Change Model that focuses not only on systems change (the organizational change we all know about) but also tries to explore the changes in individual people. The model talks about five stages – Status quo, Chaos, Integration, Practice and New Status Quo. The point of change occurs with the introduction of a foreign element that threatens to shake up the status quo. At this point two things can happen; you either accept change since you think its good or you fight and resist it till it goes away or you accept to integrate it into your system.

In an organizational context, change is generally driven by an external entity and it affects both the organization and individuals. Sometimes change is driven by an internal entity (such as HR, Quality, Compliance teams) and again it affects both organization and individuals. From an individual’s perspective, most (90%) of the changes happen because an external entity is the driver of the change.

The biggest discovery for me from the Virginia Satir Change Model is that change is not always driven by an external entity. As an individual, you can have internal changes and sometimes you as an individual is in a state of Chaos. You are fighting either to accept or reject that change so you can get back to some form of normalcy. Examples: you fall in love with someone; you discover you can read / talk / sing / run / jump / cook / write; etc.

In my case, I want to manage time efficiently so I can focus more on Quadrant 2. There is an internal desire (foreign element) to change and it will affect my status quo (habit). I will be in a state of chaos until I can figure out a way to integrate the new concept of time management. That’s going to be the transforming idea that would help me to integrate the change to my habit. Once I am there, I will need to practice and that would change to a new status quo (new and improved habit).

Having learnt that I can’t control change and that I certainly can’t fight it, I should surely learn how to cope with it. As the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus said “There is nothing permanent except change.” Sometimes we are our own enemies when it comes to change and without our own knowledge, we can derail our own plans. So I better get ready to get into a state of Chaos :)  Good luck Joe !!!

Now I wonder, how do I add a sense of urgency into this change? Change is no good if it takes a million years. Effective change management occurs when you can move from one state to the other in the shortest possible time.

For those who are looking for some information on Virginia Satir Change Model, here are some links.