The funerals of Aretha Franklin and John McCain demonstrate a vivid contrast in cultures, and cultural ceremonies. These two celebrations of life couldn’t be more different. One had lively renditions of vocals, the other more somber musical tributes. At one, people wore highly expressive outfits. At the other, attendees displayed more toned-down and traditional attire. Both had moments of humor, applause, and solemnity. One was like Google on steroids, the other like IBM. Which of these celebrations is most like your organizational culture and why does culture matter?
Read more: Two Funerals and a Culture
No one likes working with toxic people. Further, bad behavior rubs off on others and they take up the mantle. Of course, the opposite is true as well - someone’s good behavior can be contagious too. The best idea is to avoid hiring these “poisonous pals.” Unfortunately, these bad boys and girls don’t have a toxic tattoo label across their forehead. They are experts at hiding their destructive behavioral tendencies from even the most competent interviewers or even when stressing certain cultural factors or settings and they can manage to keep their toxicity hidden even after being on board for a while. However, even nontoxic people can demonstrate poor behavioral choices when under stress.
Read more: Is Your Team Turning Toxic?
When you hear the term self-directed work teams does a chill run up your spine while visions of chaos and anarchy dance in your head? Or do visions of freedom, doing things your way, and finally being heard give you a euphoric, light headed feeling? Or do you feel a mix of these feelings? There are some who think that self-directed teams are the new kid on the block who just wants to flex his muscles and cause trouble. Self-directed teams have been playing in your neighbor’s back yard for years.
Teams,, Self-Management, Self-directed Teams
Read more: Teams, T-Rexes, and Thirty Somethings
More and more organizations are relying on teams to get work completed and completed more quickly. The reliance on teams means that organizations are becoming less hierarchical and that management is moving further and further away from the old control and command management style, even in the C-Suite. Further, managers are developing more of a matrix set of skills. All of this means that organizations are becoming more agile.
Agility brings about more change and brings it more often. A more agile operation forces teams to throw out staid project management ideas. The team concentrates on the few items or tasks that are less likely to change by the time the team can work on them. This in turn, helps team members embrace change. One source suggests, “people should be happy to learn things that alter their direction, even late in the development process.” On the other hand, creating agile teams does involve some planning.
High Performing Teams, Agile Teams, Team Development
Read more: How to Plan for Agile Teams
“There are things known and there are things unknown,
and in between are the doors of perception.”
~~ Aldous Huxley, British Author 1894-1963
Understanding others can open doors to better communication, cooperation, and empathy. Empathy comes from one of the five dimensions of Emotional Intelligence and the external component of Emotional Quotient – Social Awareness. Having empathy makes us better people. But can we truly “walk a mile in another person’s shoes?” Can we truly understand another person’s behaviors, thoughts, feelings, motivators, and mental states?
Read more: Perceiving Perception
People are an organization’s greatest asset. These same people can also be the source of some of your greatest frustrations including conflict. You can read about some of the most common types of conflicts here. In addition, conflict can be costly.
An article by Helmut Buss suggests that these costs are often unmanaged as many organizations see them as being unmeasurable, part of the cost of doing business, or fail to realize how conflict adds to costs. Here are some ways Mr. Buss suggests that conflict can eat into your profits.
Read more: Measuring and Managing Conflict
Executives and CEOs make many decisions every day. It is impossible to give each of those decisions any deep analytical attention. We make some decisions under stressful conditions. We make other decisions with no real precedent as a guideline. We make other decisions because someone “wants it done that way.” Complicating decision making even further is the fact that we all make decisions with both logic and bias – even strategic decisions. Sometimes a decision has so much input that we’re not even sure what we were trying to solve in the first place. Oftentimes, it’s at this point that inaction rings the death knell for that issue and no decision comes forth. Is there a better way to make decisions?
Decision Making,, Bias
Read more: Balancing Bias for Better Decision Making
A team is a team, right? All teams share certain traits, skill sets, working in tandem, and the fact that they have a job to do and they should do it well, and get along while they’re doing it. Are executive teams any different? Well yes and no, maybe, and it depends.
It’s obvious that the executive team has more riding on its decisions and that it serves as a role model for the rest of the teams in the organization. Or maybe it should be obvious. It’s not always clear that the executive team sees itself in this light. In fact, executive teams are often not on the same page when it comes to strategic plans or goals. In fact, according to one study, CEOs see the executive team as performing well. The team, not so much as over 50% of non-CEOs think the executive team is performing poorly. So much for performing like a team.
Read more: How a CEO Can Ensure the Executive Team is One