Richard S. Hawkes’s picture

By: Richard S. Hawkes

In my work helping to build high-performing teams at a diverse range of organizations, I have found that there is nothing that bonds a team quite like being on an authentic transformational journey. It’s invigorating to experience a continuous improvement journey with others on the same team, and to feel the joy of camaraderie and shared aspiration.

Leading organizational growth as a transformational journey

There is a delicate dance of leadership that is required to steer a team’s transformational journey. At this juncture, a leader needs to plant a stake in the potential future—what I call the “ideal future state”—a shared vision for the upper reaches of the team’s potential. This is not a static point in time; the future is open, flexible, and fluid. This may sound paradoxical. But the open-ended, unformed nature of that ideal future state doesn’t in any way prevent you from bearing witness to its potential and actively calling it into being through everything you’re doing in the present.

The leader’s job, therefore, is not to “know” that future in a literal sense. Rather, it is to help it evolve and emerge, and to help others on the team to see its potential even as they work to bring it into being.

The Un-Comfort Zone With Robert Wilson’s picture

By: The Un-Comfort Zone With Robert Wilson

In a recent column, I wrote about the power of suggestion. I stated, “When our subconscious mind is exposed to a constantly repeated message, it’s going to penetrate unless we are cognizant of it.” Becoming conscious of indoctrinating media messages is important, but recognizing your own internal propaganda is even more so.

Whether positive or negative, your self-talk is continually feeding your subconscious mind with the power of suggestion. Our thoughts control our feelings. For many of us, those thoughts are negative, and changing them takes some effort. But first you must become aware of them.

Most likely you didn’t create the core beliefs that cause your self-talk. Those beliefs were developed during your early youth. Back then, your parents were your primary authority figures, and because your very life depended on them, you hung on their every word. To this day, they still retain that authority over you via your inner dialogue.

On the whole, your parents were passing on wisdom to help you survive in the world. But they may have passed on to you their own insecurities and fears.

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

Covid-19 has disrupted many areas of our lives, including our careers. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to strengthen and secure your career during these uncertain times.

Due to the devastating effect of the pandemic on the restaurant industry, one of my coaching clients, Alex, who served as the chief operating officer (COO) in a regional chain of 24 diners in the Northeast U.S., wanted to explore switching her career to a different industry.

Alex turned to me as her executive coach and asked for my guidance. I recommended a five-step decision-making process that helps address some the biases that might affect her decision, and coached her through the process to help her make the wisest and most profitable decision.

Step 1

Identify the need to launch a decision-making process and gather relevant information from a wide variety of informed perspectives on the issue at hand.

James J. Kline’s picture

By: James J. Kline

Big data is a relatively new phenomenon. Its use is increasing in many organizations. But, as with many new processes, its use cuts both ways. It has positive benefits to both the organization and customers. It also has its potential downside. This piece looks at both with respect to the quality profession.

Big data benefits

Big data is the accumulation and analysis of huge amounts of information (data). This information is generally divided into two categories, structured and unstructured. Structured data includes information electronically stored, notebooks, spreadsheets, and similar information. Unstructured data includes videos, pictures, tweets, and word processing documents.1

The digitization of data and the internet combined with algorithms has created the opportunity for companies and government to be more efficient by identifying and assessing relevant information in a timely manner. Such information allows the organizations to better serve their customers and identify areas that can be improved.

Ben P. Stein’s picture

By: Ben P. Stein

When we talk about measurement units here at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), you’ll typically hear us rattling off the official ones—such as the meter, the second, and the kilogram. These official measurements, which are part of the International System of Units (SI), have evolved from quantities that people mostly defined with their bodies and everyday items to more universal measures that even an extraterrestrial could readily understand—and may even be using (assuming they exist and have an institution like NIST).

But as much as we love the SI, today we’ve decided to share with you some of the many quirky (and decidedly nonstandard) measurement units that humans have invented throughout the ages.

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

Google recently announced its new post-pandemic hybrid work policy, requiring employees to work in the office for at least three days a week. That policy goes against the desires of many rank-and-file Google employees. A survey of more than 1,000 Google employees showed that two-thirds feel unhappy with being forced to be in the office three days a week, with many threatening to leave in internal meetings and public letters, and some already quitting to go to other companies with more flexible options.

Anas Hassan’s picture

By: Anas Hassan

Very few businesses today rely on push marketing alone as their strategy to ultimately produce sales. Although the larger picture of inbound marketing is proving itself effective, marketers continue to debate the relative value of content marketing vs. social media marketing. But here’s the spoiler: You need them both.

A decade ago, content marketing may have been perceived as a passing fad. But those days are long gone. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 92 percent of content marketers say their organization views content as an asset.

In this article, the term content doesn’t refer to ad copy that overtly encourages audiences to buy their products and services. Although that content is perfectly relevant in the latter stages of the buyer’s journey, we’re focusing on content that engages, educates, and even entertains prospective customers.

Marketers often say that content is king. Indeed, the prominence of content as an essential element of your marketing strategy can’t be overemphasized.

Lisa Apolinski’s picture

By: Lisa Apolinski

The pandemic arrived and brought with it many new and surprising changes in how companies do business. One of the most interesting, and most impactful, changes for organizations has been how consumers engage with brands. A recent survey indicated that consumers are rethinking how they interact with others and have reevaluated priorities in life. This includes the types of brands that will get their business in the future.

These consumers were much more willing to change brands if they didn’t feel the brand promise was in alignment with their core values. They also indicated they would spend more money with brands that they felt supported and understood their needs during challenging times.

This can translate to a simple construct: The more human the brand, the more business that brand may get. These consumers looked at factors other than just price and quality; trust and brand reputation factored into their decisions. This trust encompassed brands taking responsibility to live by their values and be more relevant in today’s world.

Paul Smith’s picture

By: Paul Smith

Good leaders ask, “How do I tell better stories?” Great leaders ask, “Which stories do I need to tell?”

Does that mean how you tell a leadership story doesn’t matter? Of course not. But if you tell an irrelevant, unimportant, or self-serving story, it doesn’t matter how well you tell it. The story is more important than the delivery.

And although great leaders need hundreds of stories, not all stories are equally important. I’ve interviewed more than 300 CEOs, leaders, and executives in 25 countries around the world about their use of storytelling in business. Here’s my conclusion about the most important 10 stories any leader needs to be able to tell at a moment’s notice.

1. Where we came from (our founding story)—Nobody ever quit their job and started a company for a boring reason. Find that reason for your company’s founder and tell that story. It will infect everyone with the same sense of purpose and passion.

Harish Jose’s picture

By: Harish Jose

he dictum, “purpose of a system is what it does” (POSWID) is famous in cybernetics, attributed to the management cybernetician Stafford Beer.

Beer notes: “A good observer will impute the purpose of the system from its actions and thus from the resultant state.”

Hence the key aphorism and acronym. There is, after all, no point in claiming that the purpose of a system is to do what it consistently fails to do. I’ve written about this before here and here. In cybernetics, the emphasis is on what a “system” does, and not especially on what it is or what the designer or management of the “system” claims it’s doing. Thus, we can see that POSIWID has a special place in every cybernetician’s mind.

A “system” is a collection of variables that observers purposefully select to make sense of the world around them. The boundaries and parts of the system vary according to who is doing the observing. The purpose also is assigned by the observer.

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