Tag Archives: collaborative intelligence

the secret to reducing employee productivity

Have you ever seen a child put their hands over both ears and say “blah blah blah” while someone else is speaking so as not to hear them? Have you ever seen a CEO doing the exact same thing, minus the hands on the ears and the “blah blah blah”?

You know what I’m talking about – right? The team member is allowed, perhaps even encouraged, to speak. No one interrupts them. Perhaps there is a small delay to ensure they are finished making their point. And then the CEO / Manager / Team Leader politely thanks them for their contribution, but disagrees, goes back to what they were originally saying, or possibly even takes the conversation in a different direction completely.

When this type of behaviour becomes part of the culture, employees simply stop disagreeing or speaking up, because they have come to feel it is pointless.

The following article brilliantly taps into a couple of the fastest and most effective routes to ensuring employee unproductivity:

1. Having employees that nod and agree with everything you say may feel like “alignment” but, in reality, mandating an “all on the same page” culture, at best stifles autonomous thinking, creativity, innovation and, at worst, sets you up for avoidable mistakes to be made, because employees know that pointing out drawbacks and risks will fall on deaf ears.

2. You may feel, as a leader, that having rigid, well-defined policies will result in a “tidy, well-functioning, and highly productive organization”, however, when the policies you impose on employees are too strict and inflexible, human nature is to retaliate by holding you accountable to the same strict “rule” adherence. For example, don’t expect your unwillingness to allow employees the discretion to leave before 5 “as required”, to be rewarded by having employees who are willing to work past 5 on other days “as required”. At best, this kind of rigidity results in employees who are unwilling to go over and above for you and, at worst, it sets you up for a culture where skirting the rules and lying becomes a common practice to bypass the stifling inflexibility of regulations.
This is not to say that organizations can or should be run without rules, or that every employee idea can or should be incorporated. But, by finding a way to truly value individuals and their contribution to the organization, as well as acknowledging their needs for autonomy and flexibility, according to this author at least, you will have the opportunity to tap into the “90% of each person that is what can make him or her a great employee, partner, team member: the initiative, the questions, the passion, the concerns, the hope, all the quirkiness and joy and excellence that people will bring to their work if you invite them to do so”.
read here

Activity and productivity are not the same!

Telephone off the hook

It seems so intuitive. Everyone knows this right? Business 101? Just because an employee is doing something, doesn’t mean they are accomplishing something of value for the organization. Or even accomplishing anything at all. And yet it still seems relatively unacknowledged, or at least often unaddressed by employers, that just the act of being in a meeting, sitting at a desk, or dialing into a conference call does not equate with employees being productive for the organization.

If you aren’t one of the 10 million individuals who have already viewed this humorous YouTube take on a “Conference Call in Real Life”, you may want to take an unproductive but enjoyable moment to check it out now.
view here

While the ability to multi-task has generally been considered a positive skill, the following HBR article shines a light on the reality that the type of multi-tasking taking place while individuals are engaged in conference calls (ie. sending each other e-mails or checking social media sites), is not generally conducive to proper engagement in the call.

Which brings into question the true value of this mode of teamwork/meeting. Can conference calls be productive?

Absolutely, but ensuring that the call has a proper purpose, and that everyone on the call needs to be on the call is a must. No one likes to be cc’d on a dozen e-mails that don’t relate to them. The same holds true when individuals are asked to sit in on conference calls for which they have little to offer or gain. In addition, just like in-person meetings, calls should be scheduled only when relevant information needs to be shared or discussed, not just for the sake of it. As well, conference calls should be kept as brief and focused as possible to maximize engagement. Not to worry telecommuters and vacationers, the location of the caller is not nearly as important as what else they are doing while on the call. Someone sitting on a beach may be fully engaged in the conversation and providing much greater value to the call than an individual who is sitting at a desk perusing craigslist for a second-hand bookshelf, or e-mailing another colleague. The simplest fix suggested in this article is to lose the mute button option, thus ensuring that people know they are actually part of the call and not free to carry on with other business and distractions while they listen.

read the entire article here

Knowledge Transfer Gone Wrong

Ask any CEO to describe, in detail, the knowledge transfer process within their organization. Ask them to explain the metrics they have in place to ensure that the process is effective and how those metrics have trended in recent years. Ask that same CEO who is responsible and accountable for the knowledge transfer process. Ask them what rate of return they are achieving on their human capital. Finally, ask them how much they invest every year in the knowledge transfer and development process, and how they determine whether or not they are receiving good value in return

Russian Roulette in Business

Despite all the frameworks, theories and elaborate models available to help guide and educate leaders about high-performance team effectiveness, leaders still seem to fall into one of two basic camps – those who believe they already have a highly effective senior team but who, in reality, do not, and those who know they have an ineffective senior team, but are afraid to do the hard work necessary to fix it. The former just don’t seem to be aware enough, or perhaps just don’t care to see the facts staring them in the face. They just carry on, not fully appreciating the cost of their own ignorance. Strangely, the latter group somehow find it easier to replace individual members of the team, in a wild game of Russian roulette, rather than fix the cracks in the fundamental foundation.

The Folly of Conflict Avoidance

Conflict avoidance and superficial congeniality (to quote Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric) is an odd and twisted form of logic. It might have worked well enough when our competitors were half asleep, the economy was booming and higher rates of inflation conveniently covered the cost of some of our business sins, but it is not good practice when the stakes are as high as there are now. This is when it really matters, when the going gets tough and the game gets ugly.

Self Confidence, Determination and Grit

When an organization and its people become dependent upon instructions, policies, procedures and processes passed down from above to help guide their activities, they can only respond in the way they have been trained, by adhering to choices made by someone else. Transformational leadership, requires not only self confidence, determination and grit, but also that choices be made by people other than the leader. It is the granting of choice that allows people to assume personal accountability, carve a unique path, fulfill their true potential and pursue opportunities.

Dealing with the Unpredictable

In the frothy, uncharted waters of the unpredictable open sea which leaders face today, a good compass replaces the map as the primary means of navigation. Leaders are being asked to lead under conditions that look much more like those of the stormy, unpredictable North Atlantic than the well-paved routes of the Trans-Canada Highway. As a result, we need leaders who are comfortable, confident and capable of navigating by celestial compass, not locked into the rigid, dependable, well-travelled roads shown on a map.

Underleveraged, Underperforming, Underwater

Canada has a great deal to offer the world when it comes to business leadership and ideas, but we have not worked hard enough at defining, packaging and exporting our unique point of view. We appear to have been more than willing to outsource our leadership thinking, operating models and business principles to the Americans, and that is simply not in our future best interest. As a result, the brand called Canada is seriously underleveraged.

Excerpt from ‘Straight Talk on Leadership’ in the Globe and Mail

Check out an excerpt from my book, Straight Talk on Leadership: Solving Canada’s Business Crisis, published in the Globe and Mail. It details the difference between leading by compass or by map, a foundational lesson to transformational leadership – the type of leadership desperately needed in Canada.

The Invaluable Role of Deviants

The true viability of any organization is ultimately gauged by how well it anticipates and addresses market needs, fills critical value gaps and provides customers with a great product, outstanding service and a memorable experience. This is more the case today than ever before, with an even bigger premium being placed on the anticipation and experience factors. The unprecedented breadth and magnitude of the choices consumers have before them has changed the way in which organizations need to differentiate themselves. The sharply honed edge of competition in every sector and the advent of technological solutions in almost every aspect of our lives make market driven, customer focused creativity, originality and novelty the currency by which we will ever increasingly gauge the health and success of an organization and its people.

Book Doug as a speaker!