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Once & For All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work

Posts Tagged ‘Teamwork’

Using Social Intelligence for Team Success: Personal Checklist

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Do you use your social and emotional intelligence to the benefit of your work team every day? Do you give your best effort regardless of the role you play? Are you willing work professionally with every team member, and use your interpersonal skills to help the group succeed?

Check the list below to see how you are doing at using your social intelligence to become an effective team member at work. (more…)

Leading Virtually – And Leading Virtual Teams

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Challenges abound for teams who are scattered across the globe – think how difficult it is to get together with teammates on a large corporate campus, for example, and then multiply that exponentially. Virtual teams include cultural, technological and interpersonal challenges that are unique, but not impossible to work around. From the leadingvirtually.com blog, this article focuses on the challenge of a virtual team with several sub-teams.

Teams in Crisis: 5 Things Great Teams Do to Succeed in Challenging Times

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

No organization is immune to the “unexpected.”  Sometimes it’s as simple as the entrance of a new competitor into your marketplace…other times it’s as horrific as a natural disaster or as threatening as a severe economic downturn.  When the unexpected happens, executive teams and workgroups alike, need to keep their focus and minimize the event’s negative impact.

Here are five things GREAT teams do to remain cool, calm and collected. (more…)

How to Kill a Great Idea

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Assumptions: A major roadblock to innovation
By Mitchell Ditkoff

Thomas Edison had a very simple way of conducting job interviews. He’d invite prospective employees to join him for soup in the company cafeteria. If they salted their soup before tasting it, the interview was over. Plain and simple. Given the nature of his work – where even a single stone unturned could mean the difference between the failure or success of a costly product – Edison could not afford to surround himself with people ruled by faulty assumptions.

Of all the roadblocks to innovation, assumptions are the worst. Invisible, insidious and habitual, they stop us before we even start – the default position for those of us too consumed by our past to consider the future the way it really is: pure potentiality.

Definition of an assumption
What is an assumption? Simply put, it’s “taking something for granted”. A “supposition.” We do it all the time – although not always to our detriment. For example, if you leave your toothbrush in the bathroom at night, it’s safe to assume that it will be there in the morning. Your assumption saves you lots of time searching for it in the kitchen or garage. Other assumptions, however, don’t work out quite as well – despite the seeming evidence for their veracity. Many of our ancestors, for example, assumed the earth was flat. They had “proof.” They saw it with their own eyes. But their so-called proof – their inaccurate interpretation of existing phenomena – was a far cry from reality. And it was precisely because of their faulty assumptions, that many of our ancestors missed out on the New World and all the fabulous beachfront property that came with it.

Think about it. If every ten years half of what scientists believe to be true is proven to be false, how much of what your decisions are based on is anything more than just a temporary – and not very elegant – arrangement of half-baked perceptions, flaky factoids, and loosely interpreted statistics?
Take a minute now to consider what you may be assuming falsely. What conclusions have you drawn that prevent you from sailing new oceans? What beliefs are you bound by that are likely to be laughable three years from now? Are you absolutely sure you know what your customers want? Are you positive your manager won’t free up the money to fund your latest idea? Can you say, without a shadow of a doubt, that your current strategy to accomplish your “stretch goal” is based on anything more than hearsay and hot talk?

Famous assumptions
But hey, you’re not alone in your tendency to jump to conclusions. Join the club as you consider some of these (now famous) limiting assumptions throughout history:

“I think there is a world market for about five computers.” (Thomas Watson, founder of IBM)

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” (Charles Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899)

“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” (Albert Einstein)

“The phonograph is not of any commercial value.” ( Thomas Edison)

“I don’t need body guards.” (Jimmy Hoffa)

“Man will not fly for 50 years.” (Wilbur Wright, 1903)

“640K ought to be enough for anybody.” (Bill Gates)

“With over 50 foreign cars on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market for itself.” (Business Week, 1968)

What is your biggest assumption about your hottest new idea? What is your company’s most pervasive, collective assumption? What can you do today to identify the one assumption most likely to sabotage your future success? What can you do to go beyond it?

Mitchell Ditkoff is president of Idea Champions, www.ideachampions.com
Reprinted from innovationtools.com

Training Solution: Pigeonholed in The Land of Penguins This video shows your employees how to see their co-workers in a new and different way; and helps them tap into the creativity of every team member.

8 Ways to Generate More Ideas in a Group

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

The scene is repeated in meeting rooms around the world every day. A problem has been identified and a group has gathered to solve the problem. When ideas are needed, the group decides to brainstorm. And all too often this exercise leads to a short list of not-that-creative ideas.

We know that if we generate more ideas we have a better chance of finding better ideas. This leads us to the logical conclusion that if we can find techniques to create more ideas, we will find better ones. No one technique however will guarantee the perfect solution. Instead your goals should be to have a variety of approaches to help stimulate idea creation in your repertoire. By doing this you will improve the overall quality of ideas by virtue of having more to choose from.

Whether you are unhappy with the current creativity of your group or are having good success with brainstorming sessions, but would like them to be even better, any of the eight suggestions below can help.

Look at problems in different ways. Get the group to change their perspective on the problem. Once people “lock into” one way of looking at things the idea flow will slow to a trickle. Have people take a new persona. Ask them to look at the issue from the perspective of another group – accounting, HR, or sales for example. Ask them to think about how their grandmother or an 8 year old would solve the problem. These are simple ways to force people into a new perspective and the new perspectives will generate more ideas.

Make novel combinations. The ideas that land on the flip chart or whiteboard in a brainstorming session are typically considered individually. Have the group look at the initial list and look for ways to combine the ideas into new ones.

Force relationships. Once a group is finished with their initial list, provide them with words, pictures or objects. The objects can be random items, the words can come from a randomly generated list or from pictures in magazines or newspapers. When people have their random word, picture or item, have them create connections between the problem and their item. Use questions like, “How could this item solve our problem?” What attributes of this item could help us solve our problem?”

Make their thoughts visible. Have people draw! Too often the brainstorming session has everyone sitting except the person capturing the ideas. Let people doodle and draw and you never know what ideas may be spurred.

Think in opposites. Rather than asking your direct problem question, ask the opposite. “How could we ensure no one bought this new product?” could be one example. Capturing the ideas on “the opposite,” will illuminate ideas for solving the actual problem.

Think metaphorically. This approach is similar to forcing relationships (and is another way to use your words, pictures or items). Pick a random idea/item and ask the group, “How is this item like our problem?” Metaphors can be a very powerful way to create new ideas where none existed before.

Prepare. Too often people are asked to brainstorm a problem with no previous thinking time. If people have time to think about a topic, and let their brains work on it for awhile, they will create more and better ideas. Allow people to be better prepared mentally by sharing the challenges you will be brainstorming some time before the meeting whenever possible.

Set a Goal. Research shows and my experience definitely confirms that the simple act of giving people a quantity goal before starting the brainstorming session will lead to a longer list of ideas to consider. Set your goal at least a little higher than you think you can get – and higher than this group typically achieves. Set the goal and watch the group reach it!

While these suggestions have all been written from the perspective of a group generating ideas, they all work very well for individuals too. The next time you need to solve a problem by yourself, use these techniques and you will be astounded by the quantity of ideas you will generate!

By Kevin Eikenberry

Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. www.kevineikenberry.com Reprinted from innovationtools.com

Training Solution: Free Radicals of Innovation: Everyone wants to be creative, but most people fear change. This program shows the nine principles of innovation and how to make them work for your team.

Training Success Story: Teamwork in Crisis!

Monday, July 21st, 2008

The Problem: A manufacturing and sales company with five U.S. plants and 1,000 employees had one big problem – a major communication barrier between plant management and production-line teams. Productivity was low, defects were high, and both sides were in denial.

The Solution: This company needed a riveting, mindset-changing, do-or-die example of great teamwork in action. No tepid teamwork training video would do. CRM Learning’s dramatic, true story, Teamwork in Crisis: The Miracle of Flight 232 was right on the money.

The Success Story: Plant managers and front-line teams together attended training events at each location, which began with the Teamwork in Crisis video and progressed to open, honest and sometimes difficult dialog about the obstacles that stood in the way of success.

But the preparation for these events actually took place several weeks before, when management met with production line supervisors for frank dialog on what was needed to improve efficiency and quality. Both sides felt this advance work was absolutely critical to build the trust necessary to make the company-wide training events meaningful.

On the day of training, after participants watched the Teamwork in Crisis video, the discussion turned to the unique situations at each plant. Facilitators wrote their own training plan around real-world facts. Plant management and production leaders recognized and admitted that a problem existed, showing that management had bought in to breaking down walls.

And most important: In order to facilitate open discussion, managers were asked to leave the room so front-line employees could be honest about their assessments of product quality and productivity, including their own.

Facilitators took notes, brought the problems, ideas and solutions back to plant managers, who in turn went to the shop floor to begin implementing ideas they were able to. The physical results from training were fast and obvious. Improvements, cooperation and communication flourished, and team members felt that their ideas were heard and acted upon.

Most important, team morale improved immeasurably and pride of workmanship became standard operating procedure. From a defective material rate averaging around 6 percent a day, defects shrank to under 2 percent – a number that has been sustained for the past six years!

The company reports that Teamwork in Crisis was partly responsible for the company’s own miracle turnaround. A company spokesman says: “Training videos provide a dimension to our learning events that we would otherwise have not had. The many films we have purchased over the years have provided inspiration, laughter (and some tears), and improvement to our everyday work lives.”

Watch a free full length preview of Teamwork in Crisis:


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