Thursday, May 2, 2013

Streamline Your Team’s Communications

Today, with a few key strokes and hitting the send key it's easy to communicate with one person or thousands. Too frequently, however, the message gets lost in the medium and fails to resonate with the intended audience.

The lessons I've learned in launching OfficeMax and my newest venture Max-Wellness have convinced me that a leader's management style should mirror that of a benevolent dictator. The "dictator" side makes the difficult decisions when the time for talking is done, but the "benevolent" side does so by putting the interests of the organization ahead of the leader's personal interests. And part of being a benevolent dictator is requiring clear, concise communication.

Here are some tips to encourage concise and effective communication in your organization:

  • Be clear about what you need. Don't expect your team to guess. Remember, that one size doesn't fit all, so you may have to infuse your cut-to-the-chase request with humor or compliments to soften the message.
  • Overhaul voice mail and e-mail. Survey your team members' current responses for their business e-mail and telephone messages, and prepare to be shocked by the content and length! This calls for creating a template or script. Each script should be tailored to the person's job function.
  • Teach your team how to communicate. While you can't control every word that comes out of your team members' mouths, you can establish standards of what is appropriate.
  • Have frequent in-person updates. Somewhere along the line, "micromanage" has become a bad word. It conjures up images of bosses who can't delegate, who don't trust their team members and who don't give employees room to do their best work. No, you shouldn't do your team's work for them, you should get regular (and of course, succinct!) updates.
  • Use your negatives sparingly. If you're telling your team everything they need to know, but you still aren't getting the results you want, try using more cut-to-the-chase sound bites. Be sure your announcements don't always start with a negative, followed by a litany of unpleasant consequences. If you frequently start each communication with negatives, your team will come to see you as a knucklehead, and they'll start to ignore your message altogether.
  • Look in the mirror. The golden rule definitely applies to leadership and business. It's always a good idea to treat your team as grown-ups and make them partners in whatever you're doing.

If you're not getting the results you want, you might be the problem. When you're open about what's at stake and use a logical, positive tone, you'll find that your communications will gain traction.

The vehicle or venue you select to deliver your directive is just as important as the point itself. Good news should be presented in an upbeat setting, and more serious subjects should be broached in a setting that's "strictly business."

If you're open and succinct, you find that your team will mimic your style. Communications will become understandable and actionable.

Michael Feuer  is CEO of Max-Ventures, a venture capital and retail consulting firm, and founder and CEO of Max-Wellness, a comprehensive health and wellness retail chain. A co-founder of OfficeMax, he is author of "The Benevolent Dictator: Empower Your Employees, Build Your Business, and Outwit the Competition." 

Thanks to Michael Feuer / SmartBlog On Leadership / SmartBrief, SmartBlogs


Managers: Don’t Make This Mistake With Your Best People

We all know the saying "If you want something done, give it to a busy person." It's sound advice—but it's also a dangerous habit unless you step back occasionally to see what impact it might be having on the busy person's experience at work. For most managers, having a "go to" person is a great asset. Just make sure you don't overdo it by going to the same person again and again.

This is a dilemma for most managers according to Scott Blanchard in a recent blog post for Fast Company magazine.  Blanchard explains that it is only natural to assign tasks to the most accomplished people on your team. The challenge is to balance a short-term need for immediate results with a long-term view for the growth and development of your people.

Finding the perfect balance

Drawing on some of the core concepts from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Blanchard explains that managers need to balance routine work that is easily accomplished with challenging new tasks that provide variety.

How can managers find the right balance?  Here are three strategies that Blanchard recommends:

  • Become more aware of your goal-setting habits.  Have you optimized the challenge inherent in each person's goals or tasks, or have you fallen into the habit of overusing and under-challenging your best people? Have you focused more on your own needs instead of theirs by giving them routine work you know they can accomplish successfully with little intervention on your part?
  • Focus on both the long and short term.  Manage the urge to assign a task to a proven winner to ensure quick completion versus assigning the same task to someone who is brand new and may require some direction and support. But don't go overboard. You don't want to focus solely on employee development and compromise organizational effectiveness. Balance is the key.
  • Create variety for yourself and others. According to Warren Bennis, the most effective managers are the ones who actively engage in clear periods of reflection as well as action. Balancing task variety is one of those projects that requires some discipline and awareness to think through.

Blanchard also reminds readers that most people become bored because they're doing boring tasks—not because of a character flaw. Instead of moving away from a person you might see as a complainer, see that person instead as someone who is not really "in flow" and work with him or her to find out what the right mix could be. It's a management basic that creates the long and short term impact that works best.

Thanks to David Witt / LeaderChat / Blanchard LeaderChat

To Get Uninterrupted Daily Article(s) / Review(s) Updates; Kindly Subscribe To This BlogSpot:- Via "RSS Feed" Or " Email Subscription" Or
"Knowledge Center Yahoo Group
Amazon Magazine Subscriptions Amazon Books Amazon Kindle Store
Amazon Everyday Low Prices, Sales, Deals, Bargains, Discounts, Best-Sellers, Gifts, Household Consumer Products

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles To Improve User Experience By Jeff Gothelf

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles To Improve User Experience By Jeff Gothelf

List Price: $24.99
Price: $13.94 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details

Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Ships from and sold by

58 new or used available from $13.53

Average customer review:
(22 customer reviews)

Product Description

The Lean UX approach to interaction design is tailor-made for today's web-driven reality. In this insightful book, leading advocate Jeff Gothelf teaches you valuable Lean UX principles, tactics, and techniques from the ground up—how to rapidly experiment with design ideas, validate them with real users, and continually adjust your design based on what you learn.

Inspired by Lean and Agile development theories, Lean UX lets you focus on the actual experience being designed, rather than deliverables. This book shows you how to collaborate closely with other members of the product team, and gather feedback early and often. You'll learn how to drive the design in short, iterative cycles to assess what works best for the business and the user. Lean UX shows you how to make this change—for the better.

  • Frame a vision of the problem you're solving and focus your team on the right outcomes
  • Bring the designers' toolkit to the rest of your product team
  • Share your insights with your team much earlier in the process
  • Create Minimum Viable Products to determine which ideas are valid
  • Incorporate the voice of the customer throughout the project cycle
  • Make your team more productive: combine Lean UX with Agile's Scrum framework
  • Understand the organizational shifts necessary to integrate Lean UX
Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #2455 in Books
  • Published on: 2013-03-08
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.02" h x .59" w x 5.98" l, .78 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 152 pages
Editorial Reviews Review

Jeff Gothelf on How to Do Lean UX in 5 Easy Steps

  1. Solve problems together: Ensure that every member of your team is present during brainstorming for new projects. Give your teams problems to solve, not solutions to implement. The outcome will be a far more efficient and productive team creating higher quality products and experiences.
  2. Sketch: Introduce the team to sketching in order to help them visualize their ideas and come to a consensus.
  3. Prototype: Get to a product experience as quickly as possible. Use prototypes of varying fidelities to get a sense of what your product's experience will be and validate that with customers to ensure you're headed down the right path.
  4. Pair your developers and designers: Have developers and designers pair up to create the user interfaces. Each will learn from the other and build the trust necessary for greater team collaboration and productivity.
  5. Create a style guide: Codify your design elements in pattern libraries and code repositories so creating new pages and workflows in your product is as easy as picking the pieces from the style guide. It also allows the team to quickly piece together experiences for prototypes and empowers your developers to build interfaces without constant review with the UX designer.

About the Author

Jeff Gothelf is a designer & Agile practitioner. He is a leading voice on the topics of Agile UX & Lean UX and a highly sought-after international speaker. He is currently a Managing Director in Neo's New York City office. Previously, Jeff has led teams at TheLadders, Publicis Modem, WebTrends, Fidelity, & AOL.


Lean Analytics: Use Data To Build A Better Startup Faster (Lean Series) By Alistair Croll, Benjamin Yoskovitz

Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster (Lean Series)

Lean Analytics: Use Data To Build A Better Startup Faster (Lean Series) By Alistair Croll, Benjamin Yoskovitz

List Price: $29.99
Price: $17.10 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details

Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Ships from and sold by

42 new or used available from $16.35

Average customer review:
(30 customer reviews)

Product Description

Marc Andreesen once said that "markets that don't exist don't care how smart you are." Whether you're a startup founder trying to disrupt an industry, or an intrapreneur trying to provoke change from within, your biggest risk is building something nobody wants.

Lean Analytics can help. By measuring and analyzing as you grow, you can validate whether a problem is real, find the right customers, and decide what to build, how to monetize it, and how to spread the word. Focusing on the One Metric That Matters to your business right now gives you the focus you need to move ahead--and the discipline to know when to change course.

Written by Alistair Croll (Coradiant, CloudOps, Startupfest) and Ben Yoskovitz (Year One Labs, GoInstant), the book lays out practical, proven steps to take your startup from initial idea to product/market fit and beyond. Packed with over 30 case studies, and based on a year of interviews with over a hundred founders and investors, the book is an invaluable, practical guide for Lean Startup practitioners everywhere.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #2747 in Books
  • Published on: 2013-03-18
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.02" h x 1.18" w x 5.98" l, 1.58 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 440 pages
Editorial Reviews Review

Q&A with Alistair Croll, coauthor of "Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster"

Q. Why is your book timely-- what makes it important right now?

A. There's been a flurry of startup activity made possible by the lowered barriers to entry of cloud computing, social media, and app platforms. But there's less accountability. If you look at the numbers, it's a bloodbath: you're almost certain to fail. One reason for this is that founders are delusional. But data doesn't lie, and the right data in the right place at the right time can change your business (to steal from Steward Brand.) That's what this book is about-- using data to build a better business faster.

Q. What information do you hope that readers of your book will walk away with?

A. We have a ton of concrete data-- ideas of what's normal; what metric to watch at what time; and so on. But more than any of this, we hope they'll come away with an experimental eye, realizing that they're not building a product. Instead, they're building a tool to figure out what product to build.

Q. What's the most exciting and/ or important thing happening in your space?

A. That nearly every mature industry is ripe for disruption. An entrepreneur, working within a host organization, can absolutely revitalize the business (as Procter & Gamble did when it introduced Swiffer, for example.) And a small business can tackle giants or entrenched competitors by being more agile (as Uber did to taxis, or Airbnb did to hotels.) Mops, taxis, and rentals aren't new. But they're hugely susceptible to change if it's applied in a measured, careful way.


"A vital part of the founder's toolkit. If you're starting a company you need to read this." - Mark Peter Davis, Venture Capitalist & Incubator
"Stop thinking and just buy this book. It's the secret sauce. If you're an entrepreneur, it's required reading." - Greg Isenberg, CEO, and venture partner, Good People Ventures
"Lean Analytics is the missing piece of Lean Startup, with practical and detailed research, advice and guidance that can help you succeed faster in a startup or large organization." -- Dan Martell, CEO & Founder of Clarity

"Lean Analytics is packed with practical, actionable advice, and engaging case studies. You need to read this book to understand how to use data to build a better business." - Paul Joyce, Co-founder & CEO Geckoboard
"Lean Analytics shows you how to move insanely fast by getting your metrics to tell you when you're failing and how to do something about it. Tons of honest, meaningful advice -- a must read for founders that want to win." - Sean Kane, Co-Founder F6S and Springboard Accelerator

"Your competition will use this book to outgrow you." -- Mike Volpe, Hubspot.

"Alistair and Ben have written a much-needed dose of reality." -- Brad Feld, Foundry Group & Techstars

"This is applicable to organizations of all shapes and sizes, from small business to big government." -- Jennifer Pahlka, Code For America

"No innovator should be without this book." -- Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

"This book is a huge gift to our industry." -- Zach Nies, Rally Software

"As useful for today's multi-billion dollar companies as it is for entrepreneurs." -- John Stormer,

From the Inside Flap
Whether you're a startup founder trying to disrupt an industry or an intrapreneur trying to provoke change from within, your biggest challenge is creating a product people actually want. Lean Analytics steers you in the right direction.

This book shows you how to validate your initial idea, find the right customers, decide what to build, monetize your business, and spread the word. Packed with more than 30 case studies and insights from over a hundred business experts, Lean Analytics provides you with hard-won, real- world information no entrepreneur can afford to go without.

  • Understand Lean Startup, analytics fundamentals, and the data-driven mindset
  • Look at six sample business models and how they map to new ventures of all sizes
  • Find the One Metric That Matters to you
  • Learn how to draw a line in the sand, so you'll know it's time to move forward
  • Apply Lean Analytics principles to large enterprises and established products

Leadership And The Art Of Struggle: How Great Leaders Grow Through Challenge And Adversity By Steven Snyder

Leadership and the Art of Struggle: How Great Leaders Grow Through Challenge and Adversity

Leadership And The Art Of Struggle: How Great Leaders Grow Through Challenge And Adversity By Steven Snyder

List Price: $19.95
Price: $13.54 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details

Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Ships from and sold by

59 new or used available from $9.50

Average customer review:
(32 customer reviews)

Product Description

All Leaders Face Adversity. Exceptional Leaders Thrive in It.

Leadership is often a struggle, and yet strong taboos keep us from talking openly and honestly about our difficulties for fear of looking weak and seeming to lack confidence. But Steven Snyder shows that this discussion is vital—adversity is precisely what unlocks our greatest potential.

Using real-life stories drawn from his extensive research studying 151 diverse episodes of leadership struggle—as well as from his experiences working with Bill Gates in the early years of Microsoft and as a CEO and executive coach—Snyder shows how to navigate intense challenges to achieve personal growth and organizational success. He details strategies for embracing struggle and offers a host of unique tools and hands-on practices to help you implement them. By mastering the art of struggle, you'll be better equipped to meet life's challenges and focus on what matters most.
Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #11180 in Books
  • Published on: 2013-03-11
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.09" h x .59" w x 5.98" l, .70 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 216 pages
Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Leadership is never as easy as it looks and that's exactly as it should be, says executive, entrepreneur, and leadership coach Snyder, currently executive-in-residence at Minnesota's University of St. Thomas. Leadership requires extreme courage and strength, but as Snyder argues, the best leaders have to get past the expectation of perfection while still striving for greatness. The author asked corporate, nonprofit, and government leaders to speak to the times of struggle in their careers and shares 151 of these stories to illustrate how the acceptance of the hard work of leadership can create true greatness. Snyder walks readers through the all-important steps of what he terms "The Pathway to Adaptive Energy": becoming grounded, exploring new pathways, and deepening adaptive energy. In addition, he addresses the everyday difficulties of beating self-doubt, facing change, establishing balance, and getting the necessary support. This is a practical, thoughtful guide to creating sanity, as well as "purpose and meaning" within leadership.


"Leadership and the Art of Struggle provides you with the opportunity to learn from Snyder's remarkable wisdom. It is a living guide that you can return to time and time again as new situations arise."
—From the foreword by Bill George, former CEO, Medtronic; Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School; and author of the bestselling True North

"Steven Snyder's Leadership and the Art of Struggle is the must-read leadership book of the year. It is one of the most intelligent, revealing, and practical books on the subject I have ever read. It confronts a vital truth about leadership: that challenge is the crucible for greatness and that these adversities introduce us to ourselves. Buy this book immediately, read it with a sense of urgency, and apply it with the commitment of a disciple. You and those you work with will benefit greatly when you do."
—Jim Kouzes, coauthor of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge

"Steven Snyder covers all the bases from channeling your energy to managing conflict, including a great segment about overcoming your leadership blind spots. Leadership and the Art of Struggle is full of real-life examples of leaders who emerged from tough times better and stronger than before. This encouraging book is a must-read!"
—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager and Great Leaders Grow

"The leadership journey is rewarding but definitely not easy. Leadership and the Art of the Struggle gives you clear and compelling advice on transforming pitfalls into possibilities."
—Jodee Kozlak, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Target

"A very fresh and inspiring perspective that constructively embraces the natural tensions that all leaders encounter every day. I heartily recommend it to any leader who aspires to lead and contribute more fully."
—Douglas R. Conant, former President, CEO, and Director, Campbell Soup Company, and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller TouchPoints

"Steven courageously confronts the element of struggle, which is frequently overlooked in all the leadership hoopla. It's time we had an open and honest conversation about this integral and vital aspect of leadership."
—Ken Melrose, former CEO, Toro

"Steven guides you on a journey that can be deeply fulfilling as well as enlightening. I recommend this book for any leader who wants to engage more authentically and constructively in a complex and ever-changing world."
—Mary Brainerd, CEO, HealthPartners

"Leadership and the Art of Struggle contains compelling stories of great leaders who have struggled with various facets of their leadership responsibility. It offers practical advice and tools to help you deal more effectively with the inevitable struggles of leadership."
—Trudy Rautio, President and CEO, Carlson

"If you are leading an organization of any kind today or desire to lead one in the future, you need to read this book."
—Frank Russomanno, former CEO, Imation

"Snyder has opened an intriguing and insightful portal into the challenge of leadership. You'll be inspired and invigorated with ideas that you can immediately put into action."
—Kevin Wilde, Chief Learning Officer, General Mills, and author of Dancing with the Talent Stars

"Life in a start-up is chaotic, intense, and unpredictable. Snyder knows this world well and gives you sage advice on how to remain grounded, focused, and energized. This is a book that every entrepreneur or would-be entrepreneur should read."
—Michael Gorman, Managing Director, Split Rock Partners

"Snyder boldly tackles a subject that every leader needs to master. Sometimes leadership is a struggle, and these are the times that really put us to the test. This insightful book will teach you how to thrive during life's most challenging moments."
—Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times bestselling author of Mojo and What Got You Here Won't Get You There

"This book resonates to the core. It gives us grounding and offers precise practices for locating our work deep in the soul. Steven makes the dive into the waters of purposeful living and leading deep and attractive. What a delightful dive!"
—Richard Leider, bestselling author of The Power of Purpose and coauthor of Repacking Your Bags

"The French writer Albert Camus tells us, 'In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer.' Snyder wisely observes that we can best strike a blow against tragedy and disappointment by using them as inspiration to make a positive difference in the lives of others through our personal leadership."
—-Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chairman, Carlson

"This is the right book for these times. Leadership has become more difficult in the chaotic world we live in; Steven acknowledges that and draws on his own deep experience and the lessons learned of others to help any new, aspiring, or well-worn leader!"
—Beverly Kaye, founder of Career Systems International and coauthor of Love 'Em or Lose 'Em and Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go

"Leadership and the Art of Struggle deserves to be a leadership classic! Snyder brilliantly charts a course to strengthen ourselves through the important crucibles of challenge and adversity. If you want to build more authentic leadership in yourself and others, get this life-changing book!"
—Kevin Cashman, Senior Partner, Korn/Ferry International, and bestselling author of The Pause Principle and Leadership from the Inside Out

About the Author

Steven Snyder is the founder of Snyder Leadership Group, an organizational consulting firm dedicated to cultivating inspired leadership. He is also an executive fellow in leadership at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Snyder was an early executive at Microsoft, where he managed the company's relationship with IBM and was the general manager of a business unit. Later, Snyder became CEO of the Internet startup Net Perceptions, where he won the World Technology Award for Commerce.

Organization Development Basics (ASTD Training Basics) By Lisa Haneberg

Organization Development Basics (ASTD Training Basics)

Organization Development Basics (ASTD Training Basics) By Lisa Haneberg

List Price: $29.95
Price: $16.64 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details

Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Ships from and sold by

35 new or used available from $16.64

Average customer review:
(1 customer reviews)

Product Description

Organization Development Basics is a primer on the broad field of organization development and offers just the right amount of information to create an understanding of the tools, practices, and core skills of the OD practitioner. It is a useful tool for trainers and training managers wishing to add new knowledge and capabilities to their resume and is a solid resource for beginning OD professionals and human resources professionals. Like all of the books in the Training Basics series, you will find learning guideposts along the way including 'Basic Rules', 'Noted', and 'Think about This' sidebars that enable readers to scan the book and pick out and apply concepts immediately. In addition, each chapter ends with an interactive section called 'Getting It Done' that guides readers in direct application of new skills.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #210506 in Books
  • Published on: 2005-09-21
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 7.52" h x .43" w x 9.49" l, .80 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 156 pages
Editorial Reviews

A straightforward and thorough overview of the OD process! Haneberg details the 'basics' in an easy-to-read and understand format. This is a must read for the new OD professional as well as a terrific reference guide for the experienced practitioner. --Dave Borden, Principal, LMA Consulting Group

Organization Development Basics is an excellent guide for the OD specialist or HR generalist. I only wish I had access to this book 30 years ago. It would have significantly shortened by learning curve toward acquiring the skills, tools, and concepts required to be an effective OD practitioner. --Jim Booth, HR Executive, Board of Directors, Inspara Networking Technologies

I REALLY liked this book. What a great resource for both novice and experienced OD and HR professionals. The book is a handy roadmap to jumpstart the planning process for many key OD processes and activities. Even better, the 'Getting It Done' exercises put the information in a framework that will enable anyone to practice the techniques! --Johna Campbell, President, Leverage LLC, Strategic Human Resources and Training Solutions

About the Author
Lisa Haneberg has been an OD practitioner for 20 years. Her experience includes work for Intel Corporation, Black & Decker, Mead Paper, Amazon, and other Fortune 100 companies. She is the author of High Impact Middle Management: Solutions for Today's Busy Manager and numerous articles. She writes a management blog called Management Craft and regularly writes about OD topics. Haneberg lives in Seattle, Washington and operates a consulting firm, Haneberg Management.


Real Time Strategic Change (BK Business) By Robert H. Jacobs

Real Time Strategic Change (BK Business)

Real Time Strategic Change (BK Business) By Robert H. Jacobs

Digital media products such as Amazon MP3s, Amazon Instant Videos, and Kindle content can only be purchased on
Buy at Amazon

Average customer review:
(4 customer reviews)

Product Description

Real time strategic change is a way of redesigning how organizations change-a mindset and accompanying methodology-that ensures that

• Change occurs at a fast pace and in real time throughout an organization.
• Change occurs simultaneously within the whole organization.
• Buy-in, commitment to, and ownership of a change effort is a natural by-product of involving people in the process of change.
• People feel responsible for the ultimate success of the organization's change effort.
• Broad, whole-picture views of the organization's reality form the basis of information used to support people in making changes.
• Change is viewed as an integral component of people's "real business."
• Substantial changes are made across an entire organization.

The most successful organizations of the future will be those that are capable of rapidly and effectively bringing about fundamental, lasting, system-wide changes.

In response to this challenge, Real Time Strategic Change advocates a fundamental redesign of the way organizations change. The result is an approach that involves an entire organization in fast and far-reaching change. Interactive large group meetings form the foundation for this approach, enabling hundreds and even thousands of people to collaborate in crafting their collective future. Change happens faster because the total organization is the "in group" that decides which changes are needed; and the actions people throughout the organization take on a daily basis are aligned behind an overall strategic direction that they helped create.

Complete with conceptual frameworks, tools and techniques, agendas, and roles key actors need to play, this is the first book published on this powerful approach to organizational change.

The process Robert Jacobs details has proven effective in diverse settings, ranging from business and industry to health care, education, government, non-profit agencies, and communities.

Real Time Strategic Change demonstrates the flexibility and power of this approach in stories from such diverse organizations as Marriott Hotels, Ford Motor Company, Kaiser Permanente, First Nationwide Bank, United Airlines, and a group of 18 school districts.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #691695 in eBooks
  • Published on: 1997-08-11
  • Released on: 1997-08-11
  • Format: Kindle eBook
  • Number of items: 1
Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Business consultant Jacobs promotes here a strategy that involves both managers and employees in planning and incorporating change throughout companies on a regular basis. He stresses that "real time strategic change," which "involves an entire organization in fundamental, far-reaching and fast-paced change," unleashes "extraordinary energy and optimism" among employees by focusing their attention on mastering change and achieving business goals, a process Jacobs contends rarely happens in American companies. He argues that democratic procedures allow employees to develop loyalty to organizations "they want to call their own." Jacobs's organizational theories make good sense. Illustrated. Executive Program Book Club selection.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
In business, dynamic change is the name of the game. Jacobs, a "change" consultant, has written a primer for positively effecting organizational change, a process that, without the real-time process, more often than not results in failure. Jacobs posits that success is achieved by involving everyone at once in the process. The immersion process he champions, while used successfully in noncommercial applications, is an innovative practice in the business world. A number of organizations (Ford, Corning, Boeing, etc.) that have employed the techniques are used as examples. While generally well written, this book has a few flaws. Chapters 4, 5, and 6, which align process, people, and principles, could benefit from the graphic presentations found in the other chapters. Jacobs's distinction between "real time" and "strategic change" is beyond all but scholastic philosophers. For academic collections.
Steven Silkunas, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority, Philadelphia
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
Jacobs has drawn from his extensive consulting experiences to produce this practical book about how to move quickly through an entire organizational change. It advocates a fundamental redesign of organizational change, well beyond the standard "participative management," which was popularized a couple of decades ago. Combining conceptual frameworks, agendas, techniques, tools, and roles that key individuals need to play, this text provides a clear, direct, step-by-step road map through the entire major change process. The 14 chapters, grouped into four parts, use illustrative examples to explain how to achieve broad involvement with interactive large groups in a timely manner. This hands-on guidebook is recommended to a wide audience, including not only organizational leaders, members, and consultants but also experts and facilitators concerned with organizational strategy, culture, redesign, total quality management, reengineering, or continuous improvement. Joseph Leonard


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Walking The Teamwork Tightrope

Today's work world demands that you polish your team-playing skills while making your own contributions shine, says Judith Sills, Ph.D.

It was Mr. Castaldi, football coach and 11th-grade history teacher, who first introduced me to the teeth-gnashing angst of teamwork. "I've divided you into groups of five," he announced. "Research Romania and make a presentation. Everyone on your team will get the same grade."

Everyone gets the same grade? Even Mickey Lombard, football star and noted slacker, who nonetheless imagined himself captain of my team? Yes. Even Renee Green, whose reading level had not progressed beyond Cherry Ames: Student Nurse? Yes. Even me, overachieving me, who would now be faced with the choice between carrying these wide loads or sinking to their level? Apparently, yes.

And I'll bet you've had to make the same choice yourself.

Welcome to the one-for-all, shared credit, good of the group, split the bonuses, and pool the tips world of the work team. It's been a favored management model since the end of World War II—whether as overt policy or unstated nudging. For sure, it's a value system that affects you at your workplace if you have a Mickey Lombard or a Renee Green on your team. And the thing is, we all do.

First, a necessary nod in the direction of all the brilliant contributions to American business that have been made by the culture of the team. After all, what is the assembly line but the team, formalized and writ large? Every management consulting system since is basically a refinement of the connective tissue of the team—getting different parts of the company to communicate, coordinate, and cross-pollinate.

A review of nearly 20 million papers published in the last 50 years and more than 2 million patents show that from the hard sciences to the humanities, teams increasingly dominate high-quality "knowledge creation." Yay, team.

Whether the scale is grand (think moon landing) or minute (the potluck bridal shower for the boss' assistant), success stems from the group pulling together as one. Who cares if you do all the organizing and some people just show up to eat the cake? It's all about the quality of the result in the end, right?

Well, from the point of view of your company, what matters is that end result. But from your individual perspective, you may have the very same dilemma that I had in the 11th grade. Yes, you want your team to win, but you want your individual efforts to be recognized, too. If it's good for the group—but not particularly to your credit or precisely your responsibility—how much extra time and effort should you expend?

After all, though we talk teamwork, we live in a highly individualistic society. Promotions are doled out to individuals, and we are hired at new companies based on what we have to show for ourselves, not our team. At the same time, we're part of a group, and we often have to decide where to draw the line between self and all else.

Of course, there is no one answer, and you have been deciding this on a case-by-case basis since the 11th grade yourself. Part of your answer will be determined by your personality. Some of us are just too compulsive or controlling to resist improving on the efforts of others; other people are too indifferent to excellence and don't exert themselves beyond the barest minimum. Neither of these is you, of course. You are in the muddled middle.

In this middle, some guidelines would be useful. Naturally, sometimes you will exert yourself for the good of the group, and sometimes you will pretend not to see someone else's weakness so you don't have to be the one to step in and make repairs. But when to do which?

Consider four factors when you decide whether to pitch in or take a pass on a partner's less than stellar work product.

Is it reciprocal? Say you are asked to make phone calls that will help a sales colleague close some deals. Would he do the same for you another day? Might someone else on the sales force help you out? A supportive spirit that improves everyone's numbers in the long run is something you want to be part of. Support that is always a one-way street is something to be more cautious about.

Is it occasional? We all need to watch each other's backs. If your fellow teacher can't transfer the new standardized test data to the computer, and you're good at it, of course you'll help her out. You might help her again in the spring, too. After that, you'll want to prod her toward mastery. Occasional support is reasonable. Regular assistance resembles doing her job for her.

Is it significant? Quality is desirable, but not central to every single aspect of your job. There are some instances, though, where someone else's excellence is essential to your success. If the new product launch is your baby, and the marketing manager is too overwhelmed to focus on crucial details, jump out of your box and into his. When we are all getting the same grade, recognize that, like it or not, we are in this together. Special credit for success can be sorted out later.

Is it advantageous? When you consider picking up someone else's slack, it's reasonable to ask what's in it for you. Self-interest is, after all, why we're at work in the first place. Just don't ask the person who needs your help. (It's gauche and ugly and you knew that, right?) And don't ask your boss (clumsier, uglier, and totally blows your image as a team player).

But do look for a way to make your extra contribution work for you—perhaps by identifying your strength at your next review ("The group asks me to edit everyone's written work, and I've always been happy to do that") or by requesting more visibility ("Since I worked up those numbers, I think I could do a good job of presenting them").

Unless you are simply the patsy who can never say no or the control freak who needs to correct the seasoning in everyone else's stew, these four guidelines should help you walk that tricky tightrope of team spirit.

Remember—sometimes the best way to look out for yourself is to take one for the team.

Building Esprit de Corps

You need to be a team player, if only because the person in it solely for herself is scorned in all but the most viciously competitive work environments. Here's how to walk the line:

  • Do not complain. If you caught Joe's math mistakes, don't be the one who rats to the boss about Joe's poor quantitative skills. Nobody likes a tattletale.
  • Make constructive suggestions. You might mention that Joe's strength is graphics and the team would benefit if he handled that part of the presentation next time.
  • See that you shine. Don't forgo an opportunity to be recognized. "I have so much time in on this project. I'd love to be there when you present it to your manager. I think I could help."
  • Don't keep score. A generous spirit and a deep commitment to quality are signatures of a leader. Isn't that who you want to be?
Thanks to Judith Sills, Ph.D. / Psychology Today / Sussex Publishers, LLC

Use Personal Recruiting To Build Your Sales Team

With the advent of the Internet and numerous sites like CareerBuilder and LinkedIn, job searching has become largely electronic.  Yet finding top sales people, especially those who will become long-term loyal assets to your firm, remains a difficult task.

However, with all of our advanced technology, word-of-mouth is still a powerful and effective tool, not only in selling, but in recruiting sales people as well.   When sales people are doing well, making good money and happy in their position, it seems natural that they would tell their friends.   Nevertheless, it does not happen automatically.

Below are a few thoughts to help you focus more on personal recruiting to build your sales team.

Winners Associate with Other Winners
Top sales producers usually have friends who possess like qualities.  As the old adage says, "Birds of a feather flock together." Chances are your best sales person knows people who are as enthusiastic, hard working and determined as he or she is, and in this economy, the odds that one of those people is looking for a new opportunity are good. 

Offer Personal Recruiting Incentives
Offer some incentives for those who refer other sales people for a position with your firm.  Perhaps you give some small inducement for those who submit a qualified resume.  Then, more for those who interview, and even more for those who sign on.  Then you can offer an additional reward for those who refer sales people that you hire and that attain some basic level of performance.

Monthly or Quarterly Recruitment Lunch
Have a regularly scheduled recruitment luncheon or outing, in where members of the sales team invite friends and relatives they feel may have the qualifications and interest to join your firm.  

Sales Help Wanted Advertising
In constructing your next ad to hire sales people, get some input from your sales team.  Ask your sales people what type of ad would attract them and people like them.  This will also help sales people to begin thinking about people they know who may be likely candidates for the job.

Help your sales people spread the word to grow their team.  You will build a stronger, more loyal sales force and save some advertising money as well.  

Thanks to Sean McPheat / MTD Sales Training