Monthly Archives: February 2019


Surviving and Thriving During Organizational Change

When people think about organizational change, it seems that the same old sayings always to come to mind. The more things change the more they stay the same The only constant is change Even though I don’t personally like these sayings, having been employed by corporate America for most of my life, I have found them to generally be true. That said, I believe these sayings to be self defeating, look at organizational change as an ongoing negative, and provide no value when a changing work environment is thrust upon us. I like these expressions much better. Change brings both risk and potential reward Those that embrace change can profit by it I find these expressions to be forward thinking, energizing when faced with change, and helpful when trying to instill a positive attitude in others. Companies change for many reasons. Some organizational change is self-induced, meaning the company management has made the decision to strategically move in a specified direction. Sometimes however, change is forced upon a company in order to survive. That said, organizational change may be initiated for various reasons including the following: Company mergers and buyouts, and takeovers Market pressure caused by innovative competitors Changes in the economy, both good and bad Change in company leadership At a micro level, maybe you just got a new boss Early in my career, I worked for a large software company and truth be told, I loved working there. Then one day, our parent company bought our major competitor and merged the [...]

By | 2019-02-21T22:46:52+00:00 February 28th, 2019|

Managers Are Communication Highways

By design, a manager’s job is to manage people. This requires telling your staff what to work on and then providing them feedback on their job performance. It also requires that you provide upper management with the status of projects, accomplishments and issues. At a department level, it’s also your role to facilitate the coordination with other department such as HR, finance and your peer departments. The bottom line is that the better you communicate, the easier it will be for you to become an effective manager. Depending on your professional area and your personal strengths and weaknesses, good communication can be a difficult thing to achieve. From an educational perspective, I went to college for accounting and computer information systems. Of the fifty classes I took over four years as an undergraduate student, only one optional elective dealt with personal communication. This was a class on public speaking. For many of us, particularly those of us in technical roles, we were told that we did such a good job as an individual contributor in our profession area, that we should take a new job (as manager) where we had no formal training, no on-the-job experience, and no formal education on proper business communication. Thus, a new manager was born. As a manager, communication takes many forms, as outlined below. Justify your budget requirements Write status reports Make presentation to justifying hiring needs Giving work direction to your team Write and give performance reviews Facilitate staff meeting Participating in cross-department activities When looking [...]

By | 2019-02-22T02:53:56+00:00 February 21st, 2019|

Injecting Humanity into the Workplace

In December, 2018 the Drucker Forum centered its theme on the Human Dimension. Why? Why is the contemporary world so interested now in Humanity in the Workplace? We’re in the Digital Age, right? The world is waking up to the fact that People matter most as we are transforming from Industrial Age thinking fueled by Everything Digital. Why? Machines cannot innovate. Machines cannot create. Only People can. So how do you create a work environment that unleashes this potential? Inject Humanity into the Workplace, that’s How. Injecting Humanity into the Workplace is the secret sauce to unleash exponential levels of Human Productivity at Work. Individually. And Collectively. Easier said than done as we have to let go of management practices in the past that proved successful. We have to let go of fear-based practices that demean and threaten People at work. This is where injecting Humanity into the Workplace needs to start – creating an environment where People feel safe to offer up ideas and solutions without experiencing any form of retribution. And when you do that People feel a sense of achievement, a sense of importance that fuels their engagement and loyalty. This manifests in higher levels of People Productivity at work. Think about your work environment. Does it do that? I mean, really do that? Does your work environment have an open-door policy that no one walks through? Do you feel a sense of fear approaching others with your ideas? Creating a safe environment is the foundation. Next it’s all about [...]

By | 2019-02-21T17:30:51+00:00 February 21st, 2019|

How to Facilitate Productive Project Planning Meetings

The Chief Information Officer at a company for whom I consulted asked me to audit some of her company meetings. Her concern was that there were too many meetings facilitated by too many people and that they were largely ineffective. In this capacity I attended not only status and lessons learned sessions but also multi-day project planning meetings. But let’s first talk about what a facilitator does. Facilitation is the “ability to effectively guide a group to a successful decision, solution, or conclusion.” A facilitator ensures that: There is effective participation Participants achieve a mutual understanding All contributions are considered Conclusions or results have buy-in from attendees In our book, “How to Facilitate Project Planning Meetings,” my co-author and I address these necessary (if unloved) everyday business events. In that tome, our primary focus is on large multi-functional planning meetings. But many of the precepts are just as applicable to status or lessons learned sessions. Have an agenda and publish it in advance. People want to understand what’s going to be discussed and why it matters to them. Have an objective (or objectives) for the meeting. If you have that in mind, it will keep you from getting distracted. Know your stakeholders and make sure they are invited. As the name suggests, these are people who have a stake in the project. They need to “in the room where it happens.” Set expectations in advance. “I thought we were here to discuss the size and shape of the new product” is not what [...]

By | 2019-02-21T17:08:27+00:00 February 21st, 2019|