How to Be a “Glass-Shattering” Organization

by Colleen Ammerman and Boris Groysberg

Summary.   

Advancing gender equality is certainly desirable, but may not seem vital during this turbulent time — yet that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, losing sight of gender equity right now is likely to put you at a real disadvantage when the pandemic begins to recede. The benefits of gender equity are numerous, but there are 10 that tend to hold true across the board — and are particularly critical in these uncertain times.

Advancing gender equality is certainly desirable, but may not seem vital during this turbulent time — yet that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, losing sight of gender equity right now is likely to put you at a real disadvantage when the pandemic begins to recede.

The barriers women face in the workplace are already well-documented, and there’s mounting evidence that the situation is getting worse amid the pandemic. In the U.S., women made up 80% of workers who left the labor force in September 2020. Women of color are shouldering a greater share of these job losses. Many women who have held onto their jobs have found their work and parenting responsibilities all but impossible to manage, or have been penalized for caregiving. And women who are not caring for children or other dependents are by no means exempt from tougher career challenges in our newly-virtual workplaces, as we have noted previously.

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How to keep your cool in high-stress situations

by Robert E. Quinn, David P. Fessell, and Stephen W. Porges

A CEO called one of us (Robert) for help. The company she was leading was on the cusp of a huge opportunity related to a new technology. But she was stymied and stuck.

One of the representatives for an investor in the project was extremely assertive and self-interested. They had intimidated several of her company’s strong board members, who were now withdrawing the financial support they had already committed. The entire endeavor was at risk.

It took 20 minutes for the CEO to describe all the complexities. As she did, Robert felt a knot in his stomach. She expected him to add value and yet he was struggling to even comprehend the issues. He worried that he wouldn’t be able to help and a part of him just wanted to end the call and distance himself from this mess. Rather than doing that, he understood that his anxiety was a signal to slow down. He began to self-regulate.

Recent research in the field of neuroscience, specifically polyvagal theory, offers insights into this process of self-regulation and how you can move from a “fight or flight” response to a higher state of openness that invites collaboration, creativity, and thriving. Studies have shown that specific tactics, which we’ll explain more below, can help us navigate our natural tendency to be defensive when confronted.

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Still Adjusting to Remote Working? I’ve Been Doing It for 20 Years.

by Eric Hanson

For the past ten years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work remotely and managed teams who do the same for over two decades. As a result I was prepared for 2020’s exodus from the office. I made the important decision to live in Northern California, away from the major tech hubs of and not once did I feel like my career path was stifled. In fact, I was promoted to my current role as CMO while working from home. Based on my experience, I’ve outlined three key things for other to consider as we approach this post-pandemic economy.

Successfully running hybrid teams 

While we’re all remote now, the New Year is expected to usher in a more hybrid work setting. Many employees will remain at home, some in the office, and others will choose to do a bit of both. Either way, the office won’t look like it did in February. My team has discovered new ways of working this year, especially as parents are dealing with challenges we never thought possible. Solutions involve offering flexible hours or a part-time schedule for parents, while they assist their children who are distance learning. No matter the situation, being flexible and empathetic is critical.

Supporting the personal growth of your employees is also one way to ensure the longevity of your team. There’s no reason that career-path exercises of the past can’t remain intact while everyone is remote. Make sure you’re still facilitating career development discussions on a regular basis. Share clear feedback, kudos and areas for growth the way you would in person. In the end, everyone involved will feel more excited, rewarded and challenged in their roles.

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How Companies Will Stand Out Post-Pandemic

by Ulrik Juul Christensen

(Hint: It’s Not AI.)

In a post-pandemic world, companies undoubtedly will turn increasingly to advanced technologies — artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and automation — to accelerate growth and improve profit margins. Such an arms race, however, will not be sustainable as even the latest technology will eventually become commoditized. Instead, the true point of differentiation will be well-educated human capital deployed dynamically to tackle challenges so complex that AI and automation will come up short.

To be clear, technology will be the foundation of digital transformation. As two experts from the World Bank wrote in Harvard Business Review, “Increases in efficiency brought about by digital technology can help businesses expand. Digital platforms can create entirely new occupations and jobs.”  Yet that opportunity will not be realized unless people are well-educated, not only when it comes to job-specific technical competencies, but also in 21st century skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity, as well as character traits of leadership, ethics, citizenship, and grit.

Based on conversations I’m having with business leaders across multiple industries, and even what I see in our own company, I believe the key to future success — through this decade and beyond — lies in learning engineering. Essentially, that means offering the right learning opportunities to build relevant skills and ensuring that people take advantage of learning and development (L&D). As a chief learning officer (CLO) told me recently, “The pandemic has exposed the fact that L&D is not a ‘nice to have’; it is a ‘need to have.’”

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Seven Building Blocks for a High-Performance Sales Culture

By Neil Zaman

While there are certainly many opinions on how to build successful teams, here’s one roadmap for constant improvement based on the Triangle Model. When followed, this model can lead to increased innovation, improved individual satisfaction, more effective communication, better decision making, and higher quality execution. And what sales team can’t use all those?

Below are seven key principles for building out a team – with explanations of how these principles can help an organization up the ante.

 

1. Trust
Trust is the foundation on which all successful teams are built, and that requires an unwavering belief that everyone is driving toward the same strategic goals. This is the most critical component when building a high-performing team.

When laying out that foundation, begin by ensuring everyone is in a position that matches their skillset. If people are in positions where the opposite is true, the overall team trust will be on shaky ground.

Communicate with and learn from your employees and explain why you’ve strategically placed them where you have – reinforcing that you believe they can succeed in this role. Show employees you trust them by allowing them to make decisions, and back them up if questions arise. Employees will feel the trust and empowerment when they know you have their backs.

2. Vision
Once you are on your way to building out your team of strong contributors, you’ll need to share a clear, simple vision that is aligned all the way to the top-line corporate strategy. The vision should be lofty, but the most important part is that it’s actionable for everyone.

As an example, strive to delight customers – and talk about this all day, every day. This means the actions and decisions we make must be aimed at ensuring our customers are successful. Within the overarching vision, there can be several goals to support it, such as, “Improve customer support by X%,” or, “We plan to introduce a new product this year at a specific number of customer sites.”

3. Teamwork
Be mindful that some may feel isolated at work rather than feeling like part of a cohesive team. Highly distributed teams and improper positioning can cause challenges – as can a management team that doesn’t reinforce a team-centric mentality.

Drive inclusion by encouraging each and every team member to bring creative ideas to the table to solve problems or provide input for important decisions. Everyone has individual roles and responsibilities, but there’s usually some kind of crossover with other peers and cross-functional groups within the company. Facilitating crossover leads to a “we are in this together” sentiment.

Foster a team mindset within the organization by instilling incremental checkpoints to ensure you’re on the right track.

4. Empowerment
When you’ve completed the above steps, it’s time to let the team perform. Find ways to empower them so they can earn wins that pay off for the broader organization.

Team members are often more productive and perform at their peak when you get out of their way. It’s critical that team members have opportunities to grow and execute on their own. Be ready to guide, but first set the stage, agree on the goals, and let the teams and contributors establish their own success strategies.

5. Accountability
Bringing accountability to the table helps build trust and understanding within your team. Similar to building a trust foundation, accountability helps reinforce the trust that is already present.

To build accountability, establish clear goals from the top down that can be measured with each individual – and have regular check-ins to track key milestones. By staying on top of progress, you are avoiding surprise and establishing predictability. Demonstrating accountability when it comes to objectives – and being transparent about successes and misses – elevates the organization.

6. Execution
Building a high-performing team that drives innovation and growth is incredibly challenging, and I’ve found that pushing execution and follow-through is sometimes overlooked.

Instead of being paralyzed by planning and analysis, remind the team of your shared vision and push them to execute on it. Instead of complacency, develop an agile and customer-focused approach.

7. Reward
After you’ve built your high-performing team and are in a success pattern, don’t forget to acknowledge and reward your team members.

Money isn’t always the answer. Sometimes just giving someone the credit in front of a group can go a long way. With repeat successes, you can look at opportunities to expand your team members’ responsibilities and consider promotions. The recognition can be very motivating and fuels the continued success of the individual, the team, and the broader company.

Building a team and leading it to success requires a lot of steps. If any step within this model breaks down, the entire foundation can become weak – leaving you with lost opportunities.

Using this triangle model, you too can enable your team to succeed. You may want to put your own twist on the model so it’s true to your own leadership style. But always put your customers first.

Source: Selling Power