Originally published September 2012.
Welcome to the September edition of the Management Journey Carnival. It’s back to school and this holds true for this month’s Carnival as well. This month thought leaders share their wisdom on customer service, innovation, team building, sales, email management, self awareness, social business, communication, knowledge management, entrepreneurship, and other topics. Let’s begin with an older post that is helpful in understanding what it takes to foster corporate innovation.
An Oldie But Goodie
What separates the great innovation organizations from the good ones? This is the question Gordon Hui of Co.Design raises in his article, 4 Ways To Keep Great Ideas From Getting Stuck In The Pipeline. As he explains, simply put, it’s the ability to account for the pipeline paradox. Innovative leaders begin with the end in mind, know how to set up a pilot activity, obtain short term profits, and are great at designing ideas. — Innovation
So, you’ve taken seriously the fact that continuous improvement definitely applies to one’s management and leadership skills! You’re also emotionally-intelligent enough to admit that you could have done some things better as a manager. In fact, you can honestly say that you are improving your management skills. As you watch how others continue to interact with you, however, you wonder, Do They Even Notice You’ve Changed. This podcast comes from the Center for Creative Leadership and it provides four strategies for changing this dynamic. — Development
Words can inspire employees to embrace a shared vision. They can also frustrate employees and undermine organizational productivity. In her article, Conscious Leaders Use Wisdom Words, Wendy Appel explains on her blog why business leaders should not use creative euphemisms and clever words of spin to communicate with their employees. — Communication
You know you have to be at your best to lead your team. You do not have the option of not performing up to par. How can you maintain your own productivity? As Geil Browning of Inc explains, in her article, 10 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Brain While You Work, you should go to Africa—literally or figuratively. — Productivity
Creating an environment that fosters employee motivation takes work. As Michael Cardus of Create Learning | Team Building Blog explains in his article, If You Value Something You Are Motivated To Pursue It. As he explains, step one to creating a high performing team is to determine why they are here. — Team Building
You cannot have leadership without a vision. Leaders must be able to paint a picture of a desirable future so organizational stakeholders can see where they are to go. Visit some organizations and it becomes clear that the vision has become dim. In his article, 5 Rules For Making Your Vision Stick, Craig Chappelow of Fast Company, explains how leaders can effectively communicate their vision. — Leadership
Different sales leaders have different strategies for achieving results through their teams. Despite these differences, there are some characteristics that successful sales leaders have in common. Steve Eungblut of Sterling Chase | Solutions for Business Growth discusses 10 traits of great sales leaders in his article, What Makes a Great Sales Leader? — Sales
There’s a revolution going on in business that is radically changing the power relationship between companies and customers. It’s called social business and it is dictating how businesses deliver their services to their customers. In her article, Social Business – 3 Questions to Ask NOW, Anna Farmery of the Engaging Brand discusses the importance of developing a partnership with customers. — Social Business
Problem solving! It might as well be another term for management. Managers continually face obstacles in the workplace that they see as problems. But are all obstacles problems? As Denise Green of Brilliance Inc explains in her article, Overcoming Obstacles, it is all about one’s perspective. One person will see an obstacle as a problem, others may see it as an opportunity. — Problem Solving
Employees like to follow confident leaders. The determination and certainty these leaders bring give employees a security that the goals and objectives of the business are worthy to achieve. Leaders need more than confidence however. They also need humility as Karin Hurt of Let’s Grow Leaders explains in her article, Humility Matters: 9 Ways Confident Leaders Remain Humble. — Leadership
Is being “too smart” a problem? It is when the manager does not have the self awareness to understand his limitations and his impact on others! In her article, Why Being Smart is Over-Rated, Joan Kofodimos of Teleos Consulting explains why and how some super smart managers fail their organizations. As she demonstrates, there are pitfalls in managerial intelligence – and in the over-valuing of managerial intelligence.— Self Awareness
In this age where some companies frequently put their products out to market before they have finished fixing all of the bugs in them, is the principle of taking quality in your work an old fashioned idea? In his article, Steve Jobs: His Rule for Spotting True Craftsmanship, Kenneth Lange explains on his blog why an uncompromising attitude toward quality still matters. — Management
Do you know a manager who always has to be right? Is he unable to just let some things go when he is in conflict with others? If so, you should tell him that he can take some advice from Kenny Rogers as I explain in my Management is a Journey article, Conflict Resolution: You Got to Know When to Hold Them, Know When to Fold Them. — Conflict Resolution
Email in the workplace continues to be both a blessing (it has made communication easier) and a curse (it has made communication easier). In their article, the Offline Executive, Henry Mintzberg and Peter Todd of Strategy + Business explain that email is like any other work activity—it must be managed. To use their words: Will you control technology so that it works for you, or will you let it undermine your practice of management? — Email Management
Most start-ups and small business owners would love to have the success of the tech wonder businesses. These businesses that start with an idea that when taken to market becomes more successful than anyone could have imagined. What does it take to become a business superstar? In her article, Angel Investor Esther Dyson on the Traits of Rock Star Tech Leaders, Riva Richmond of Entrepreneur shares insights from an investor whose picks include Flickr, del.icio.us, and Meetup. — Entrepreneurship
Customer loyalty comes with trust. Trust is built through good business management and leadership practices in a firm. In times of business hardships, however, it can be hard to keep all of these forces balanced. With his real world business story, How to Win Your Customers’ Trust, Nicholas Sarillo of Open Forum explains how he used honest communication to survive the economic downturn. — Customer Service
Knowledge is vital to an organization’s survival. Yet, as Jim Taggart of Changing Winds explains, many managers have lost their enthusiasm for knowledge management. In his article, How to Unlock the Hidden Knowledge in Your Organization, Jim provides five strategies to prevent valuable corporate knowledge from walking out the door. — Knowledge Management
The Featured Video for this Carnival comes from Harvard Business Review. It is actually just a short clip but I selected it because David Rochem President of Hotels.com, makes a very important point about management. Specifically, in this video, Tolerate Weakness in Your Employees, David reminds us that managers must accept some weaknesses in their employees if they want them to have certain strengths. No employee can be everything! Some tolerance is needed. — Management
My Editor’s Pick for this month comes from Austin Carr of Fast Company. In his article, Can A Corporate Culture Be Built With Digital Tools?, Austin identifies the gap that exists between the operational side of digital tools and the people side. These tools are increasing productivity, decreasing costs, and allowing more work/life flexibility. What impact are these tools having on organizational culture and workplace relations, however? As Austin explains:
A whopping 20% of the world’s workforce telecommutes: virtually traveling to work via robot or iPad; conversing on Yammer, HipChat, or 37Signals’ Campfire; sharing over Box or Dropbox. But while the tangible benefits of conducting business digitally are manyfold, companies that are moving their employees online have largely ignored one of the most important factors of success: corporate culture.
The lack of attention to the human consequences of digital tools raises some important challenges for all managers. Hiring, talent retention, and performance are all affected by organizational culture. These activities can be lost in an environment that puts too much emphasis on “emails, chats, and private messages.” Aaron’s article is a cautionary note for managers not to forget the human side of the business as they rush to adopt digital technologies. There are limits to digital tools as Aaron notes in his following discussion with Jason Fried, founder of 37Signals:
“I think there are very few things that substitute for going out to dinner or hanging out with coworkers,” Fried says. “That’s what you should do rather than try to find some digital alternative.”
Addressing the human side of digital technology is an important priority for management and human resources. — Organizational Culture
This concludes the September 2012 edition of the Management Journey Carnival.