The power of power consciousness

by Josh Levs

You have a quick, cordial interaction with a colleague who works in a different part of your organization. Both of you are helping lead a cross-departmental project, and both have ideas for what the next step should be. After a brief discussion, your colleague agrees that your idea makes more sense. Both of you walk away knowing exactly what to do next. But, unknown to you, your colleague has a starkly different understanding of what just happened. Back at his desk, he feels that most of his week’s work has just gone to waste.

How can that be? In this case, it wasn’t a matter of miscommunication. You both spoke clearly and concisely, listening, smiling, and making eye contact. And the discussion was no big deal — to you. To your colleague, however, it was. He had spent hours exploring different possibilities for how to advance the project, and had a dozen reasons his idea made sense. He didn’t tell you this, though. If he had, you would have evaluated it fairly and quite possibly concluded that his idea was better. Why didn’t he?

The answer lies in his perceptions of you. He has seen your positive interactions with C-suite executives, and senses that you have greater pull in the organization. He assumes that means you also know more about what the organization is aiming to achieve. In his eyes, you have greater power.

Research has found that perceptions of power in the workplace can become a critical factor in determining how people respond to situations. And the power at issue does not necessarily correspond to official hierarchies.

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From Fear to Enlightenment: Building Resilience During Covid Year One

by Lionel Frankfort

The four tools and strategies top leaders used most to convert stress and anxiety into positive energy.

When I first saw the now-viral chart “Who do I want to be during COVID-19?” (an updated version is below), it resonated with my own journey. During the first two weeks of March 2020, I entered the fear zone: I was worried that my consulting and coaching business would crash.  I felt helpless about postponed or cancelled projects, and I kept compulsively busy, trying to keep the “old normal” alive.

By the end of the second week, although some fear remained, I entered the learning zone, where I regained some serenity, started to make sense of the situation, talked with clients and colleagues, and checked my financial reserves. After a month, I felt more confident and entered the growth zone, e.g. investing in some research on organisational resilience and engaging in a major real estate project.

Yet, there was a final stage missing from the image: the enlightenment zone[1] where I could appreciate quality time with my family. This journey happened in an extremely privileged context with all my basic needs covered.

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9 Keys to Delegating Successfully

By Sam Warner

For any entrepreneur, particularly when you are starting a new business, there is a danger of trying to do everything yourself. If you like to keep the world under control you may need to improve your delegation skills.

Delegation provides opportunities for people to feel empowered, supported and encouraged. It gives entrepreneurs a chance to reduce stress by spreading the work and sharing responsibilities amongst the team.

Here are my tips for improving delegation and gaining the benefits as your business grows:

1. Get to know your team.
If you have a new team – don’t go in like a bull in a china shop. Get to know your team, understand their ways of working, rules of engagement, foibles, and preferred styles of communication and you’ll be able to appreciate their world as it stands – before you add to it. Really get to grips with their deliverables and their concerns and challenges. These small steps can pay off over time.

2. Share the vision.
Be really clear about your vision and mission and share it with your team. If they understand the direction the team is going in, and the objectives that need to be achieved they will start to think about how they can contribute.

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The Boring Benefits Your Employees Really Want

by Sophie Downs

The pandemic, the grim economy, and the stress of remote work have made employees’ physical, mental, and finan­cial well-being more important than ever. At the same time, bosses are trying to meet their employees’ needs on a tighter budget. One solution? Voluntary benefits.

They’re not as sexy as onsite gyms and free lunches, and the term is a bit of a misnomer. It typically refers to insurance products (separate from health coverage) that workers can buy at lower group rates via payroll deduc­tions. But it can also apply to benefits that are funded all or in part by employers.

Voluntary benefits cover familiar things, like long-term disability care, and novel ones, like legal services, identity theft protection, financial counseling, and veterinary bills. Keep in mind that voluntary benefits are just one piece of a company’s benefits puzzle, and are no substitute for solid health coverage. And offering a new benefit without footing the bill might not come across as particularly generous. But employees appreciate getting insurance cheaper and more conveniently than they could on their own, and these benefits can provide peace of mind by filling coverage gaps and reducing out-of-pocket costs. (One increasingly popular benefit is hospital indemnity insurance, which pays the employee a certain amount for each day of a hospital stay.) Read on for a guide to getting started

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Putting People at the Center of Operations

by Guillaume Roels

The field of operations management has deep roots in developing effective processes for people. How can we encourage further growth in this area?

Operations management (OM), which is often associated with processing widgets and information, has permeated the workplace to such a degree that the HR function at companies like Google is now known as “People Operations”.

As the nature of work has changed over the past generation, becoming more service-oriented, knowledge-intensive, and rapidly changing, a growing stream of OM research has shifted away from manufacturing to managing people – individuals, teams and organisations.

People affect processes and processes affect people. These linkages between people and processes impact performance. People-centric operations (PCO) is how people affect the performance of operational processes; it has always been part of OM but not previously explicitly defined. In a recent paper, Bradley R. Staats and I clarify how this part of OM encompasses several research strands that have been, until recently, marginalised. To shed light on the multiple facets of people-centric operations, we have co-edited an upcoming special issue on the topic in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management (M&SOM).

What is PCO?

Unlike the field of organisational behaviour, PCO doesn’t study behaviour solely for its own sake, but rather it studies how behaviour changes the performance of operational processes.

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