Three things young women in business need to know

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on December 31st, 2012 by admin

A few months ago I commented on Sheryl Sandberg TED talk in a blog post entitled: Three insights into why we lack women leaders. Which continues to make me ponder.

Is there really a glass ceiling or do women sometimes need to get out of their own way – or perhaps a bit of both?

In the early days women had to be dramatic to be noticed and taken seriously: in fact as women forged careers in the later part of the last century they would often use their masculine traits – ie to play men at their own game. Whether they were comfortable with doing this who knows… but what businesses really need are the feminine strengths; particularly listening, nurturing and creativity.

I am proud to bring my female traits to my role as entrepreneur.
Yet regularly I’m asked to comment on what are seen as ‘issues’ facing women in business. I know that I personally am focused on results as well as being empathetic and generous. As I have aged I also think I have become more self-assured and assertive. As a young woman in business I wish someone had taken me aside and shared the following:

Speak out
Now, this could be a simple nature vs nurture, but how many preconceived notions exist because we stereotype boys as boisterous and girls as quiet. (I remember one of my son’s teachers admitting – we control boys we teach girls – but that is a whole other post.) I was once called to my daughters school in her junior years and asked to ‘explain’ she had an outspoken nature – given what her mother does for a living I was hardly surprised – but of more concern was the fact that the female teacher said “You travel a lot for work – she needs you around more”. At which, I pointed out that my daughter had her dad with her at home every night of the week…. I questioned what the school was teaching their students if it was not to follow their dreams and speak up for themselves.

Lois Frankel, Ph.D., president of Corporate Coaching International and author of the best-selling Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office, stresses the importance of being assertive in a work environment. “There’s nothing wrong with saying, ‘Excuse me, let me jump in here.'” It is not ‘pushing’ to speak up for yourself.

Don’t use 20 words when ten will do

Women tend to use more words than men, which can dilute a message. Again, I believe this is a fundamental gender difference. I’m sure our foremothers shared stories and communed whilst gathering berries, whilst ‘shooting the breeze’ between our forefathers’ hunting packs was frowned upon in case it alerted the prey. In the case of business, try using 25 per cent fewer words in conversations and e-mails than you normally would, and see what happens.

Take your time when you respond to a question – and structure your argument. Pause and say “The three points I wish to cover are…” and stick to three points. Being succinct is key to being heard.

Money is not a dirty word
Women will negotiate for less money when offered the same position as a man for fear of coming off as greedy, according to research by Lisa Barron of the University of California, Irvine. In general, the study shows that women are less comfortable equating a dollar amount with their self-worth. Also, because they see themselves in relationship to others, they feel less comfortable promoting their self-interests when it may be detrimental to others. Again, I wonder if the latter is a generational barrier that will dissolve over time as more women improve their negotiation skills.

Frankel says to keep in mind that ‘”whatever money you accept will be your baseline for what you do next.'”

The statistics are staggering: Women leave somewhere around $500,000 on the table by the time they’re 60 if they don’t negotiate an equitable first salary, according to a study by Carnegie Mellon University professor of economics Linda Babcock and writer Sara Laschever.

For my part, whether you are male or female, everything is possible and achievable if understand WHY you are pursuing it and you have PASSION for achieving it.

It is outrageous that there are not more women on boards and running large companies – 
We don’t have to give up our feminine characteristics to achieve what we want – but to get there – you need to be heard now.

Source: Linkedin.com, December 2012
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Author: Naimo Simson (for more information)

Report from Thailand

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Thailand / Asia on December 31st, 2012 by admin

Bangkok Post (Thailand’s largest English-language newspaper) summarizes the fashion year 2012 with this statement (which means that you as a Swede feel a little proud):
It´s the last piece of the high street jigsaw puzzle and the most highly-anticipated arrival of the year. The Swedish retail giant´s arrival shook the structural floor plan of Siam Paragon – a few luxury automobile showrooms had to make way for H&M´s duplex store.
The opening was the talk of the town, with the most stellar social personalities, A-list showbiz stars and magazine editors lining up at the tills with baskets full of clothes.

Becoming more strategic: Three tips for any executive

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on December 30th, 2012 by admin

You don’t need a formal strategy role to help shape your organization’s strategic direction. Start by moving beyond frameworks and communicating in a more engaging way.
We are entering the age of the strategist. As our colleagues Chris Bradley, Lowell Bryan, and Sven Smit have explained in “Managing the strategy journey,” a powerful means of coping with today’s more volatile environment is increasing the time a company’s top team spends on strategy. Involving more senior leaders in strategic dialogue makes it easier to stay ahead of emerging opportunities, respond quickly to unexpected threats, and make timely decisions.

This is a significant change. At a good number of companies, corporate strategy has long represented the bland aggregation of strategies that individual business unit heads put forward.1 At others, it’s been the domain of a small coterie, perhaps led by a chief strategist who is protective of his or her domain—or the exclusive territory of a CEO.

Rare is the company, though, where all members of the top team have well-developed strategic muscles. Some executives reach the C-suite because of functional expertise, while others, including business unit heads and even some CEOs, are much stronger on execution than on strategic thinking. In some companies, that very issue has given rise to the position of chief strategy officer—yet even a number of executives playing this role disclosed to us, in a series of interviews we conducted over the past year, that they didn’t feel adequately prepared for it.

This article draws on those interviews, as well as our own and our colleagues’ experience working with numerous executives developing strategies, adapting planning approaches, and running strategy capability-building programs. We offer three tips that any executive can act on to become more strategic. They may sound deceptively simple, but our interviews and experience suggest that they represent foundational skills for any strategist and that putting them into practice requires real work. We’ve also tried, through examples, to present practical ways of acting on each suggestion and to show how doing so often means augmenting experience-based instincts with fresh perspectives.

1. Understand what strategy really means in your industry
By the time executives have reached the upper echelons of a company, almost all of them have been exposed to a set of core strategy frameworks, whether in an MBA or executive education program, corporate training sessions, or on the job. Part of the power of these frameworks is that they can be applied to any industry.

But that’s also part of the problem. General ideas can be misleading, and as strategy becomes the domain of a broader group of executives, more will also need to learn to think strategically in their particular industry context. It is not enough to do so at the time of a major strategy review. Because strategy is a journey, executives need to study, understand, and internalize the economics, psychology, and laws of their industries, so that context can guide them continually.

For example, being able to think strategically in the high-tech industry involves a nuanced understanding of strategy topics such as network effects, platforms, and standards. In the utilities sector, it involves mastery of the economic implications of (and room for strategic maneuvers afforded by) the regulatory regime. In mining, leaders must understand the strategic implications of cost curves, game theory, and real-options valuation; further, they must know and be sensitive to the stakeholders in their regulatory and societal environment, many of whom can directly influence their opportunities to create value.

There is a rich and specialized literature on strategy in particular industries that many executives will find helpful.2 Tailored executive education courses can also be beneficial. We know organizations that have taken management teams off-site to focus not on setting strategy but on deepening their understanding of how to be a strategist in their industries. For example, one raw-materials player headquartered in Europe took its full leadership team to Asia for a week, in hopes of shaking up the team’s thinking. Executives explored in depth 20 trends that would shape the industry over the next decade, discussing both the trends themselves and their implications for the supply of and demand for the organization’s products.3 They also looked across their industry’s full value chain to understand who was making money and why—and how the trends would change that. A number of the executives in the discussion were surprised by how much value certain specialized intermediaries were capturing and others by how the organization was losing out to competitors that were financing retailers to hold their inventory. The executive team emerged with a clearer appreciation of where the opportunities were in its industry and with ideas to capture them.

Building this kind of industry understanding should be an ongoing process not just because we live in an era of more dynamic management4 but also because of the psychology of the individual. Experience-based instincts about “the way things work” heavily influence all of us, making it hard, without systematic effort, to take advantage of emerging strategic insights or the real lessons of an industry’s history. War games or other experiential exercises are one way executives can help themselves to look at their industry landscape from a new vantage point.5

2. Become expert at identifying potential disrupters
Expanding the group of executives engaged in strategic dialogue should boost the odds of identifying company or industry-disrupting changes that are just over the horizon—the sorts of changes that make or break companies.

But those insights don’t emerge magically. Consider, for example, technological disruption. For many executives, the rise up the corporate ladder requires a deep understanding of industry-specific technologies—those embedded in a company’s products, for example, or in manufacturing techniques—but much less knowledge of cross-cutting technology trends, such as the impact of sensors and the burgeoning “Internet of Things.”6 Moreover, many senior executives are happy to delegate thinking about such technology issues to their company’s chief information officer or chief technology officer. Yet it’s exactly such cross-cutting trends that are most likely to upend value chains, transform industries, and dramatically shift profit pools and competitive advantage.

So what to do? Some executives choose to spend a week or two visiting a technology hub, such as Silicon Valley, to meet companies, investors, and academics. Others ask a more technophile member of the team to keep abreast of the issues and brief them periodically. We know a number of executives who have developed “reverse mentoring” relationships with younger and more junior colleagues (or even their children) that focus on technology and innovation. And of course, there’s no substitute for seeing what your customers are doing with technology: during several store visits, an executive at a baby care retailer saw mothers compare the prices of products on their smartphones at the store and leave if they could get a better deal elsewhere. The store visits brought home how modern mothers research their buying decisions, the interaction between mobile technology and store visits, and the importance of advertising a price-matching scheme to keep tech-savvy customers buying in stores.

Nascent competitors are another easy-to-overlook source of disruption. Senior strategic thinkers are of course well aware of the need to keep an eye on the competition, and many companies have roles or teams focused on competitor intelligence. However, in our experience, often too many resources—including mental energy—are devoted to following the activities of long-standing competitors rather than less conventional ones that may pose an equivalent (or greater) strategic threat.

For example, suppose you are an executive at an oil company with assets in the UK Continental Shelf. It is natural for the competitors that you meet regularly at board meetings of Oil & Gas UK, the regional industry association, to be more top of mind than Asian players that have only just acquired their first positions in the region. And that’s exactly why many long-standing industry leaders were surprised when Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC), South Korea’s national oil company, clinched a hostile takeover of Dana Petroleum in late 2010, in what was to be the largest oil and gas transaction in the United Kingdom in several years. The transaction was a harbinger of future investments by less traditional players in the North Sea oil and gas industry. Similar dynamics prevail in mining: developed-world majors (such as Anglo American, BHP Billiton, and Rio Tinto), which have long competed with one another globally, now must also take into account players from Brazil, China, India, and elsewhere.

Picking up weak competitive signals is more often than not a result of careful practice: a systematic updating of competitive insights as an ongoing part of existing strategic processes.7 Executives with diverse backgrounds can boost the quality of dialogue by contributing to—and insisting on—issue-based competitive analyses. Who is well-positioned to play in emerging business areas? If new technologies are involved, what are they, and who else might master them? Who seems poorly positioned, and what does that mean for competitive balance in the industry or for acquisition opportunities? Focusing competitive reviews on questions like these often yields insights of significantly greater value than would be possible through the more common practice of periodically examining competitors’ financial and operating results. It also helps push the senior team away from linear, deterministic thinking and toward a more contingent, scenario-based mind-set that’s better suited to today’s fast-moving strategy environment.

3. Develop communications that can break through

A more adaptive strategy-development process places a premium on effective communications from all the executives participating. The strategy journey model described by our colleagues, for example, involves meeting for two to four hours every week or two to discuss strategy topics and requires each executive taking part to flag issues and lead the discussion about them.

In such an environment, time spent looking for better, more innovative ways to communicate strategy—to make strategic insights cut through the day-to-day morass of information that any executive receives—is rarely wasted. This requires discipline, as it is always tempting to invest in further analysis so that the executive has a deeper grasp of the issues rather than in communications design to ensure that everybody has a good grasp of them. It also may require building new skills; indeed, developing messages that can break through the clutter is becoming a required skill for the modern strategist.8

Experiential exercises are one way of boosting the effectiveness of strategic communications within a top team. A strategist we know at a shoe manufacturer wanted to illustrate the point that many of his company’s products were both unattractive and expensive. He started with a two-by-two matrix. So far, so predictable. But his matrix was built using masking tape on the floor of the executive suite, and the shoes were real ones from the company and its competitors. His colleagues had to classify the shoes right there and then—and he made his point. Similarly, we know another strategist who spent an afternoon cutting the labels off samples of men’s boxer shorts. She wanted the board members to put them in order of price so they could see how their perceptions of quality were driven by brands and not manufacturing standards.

We would add that as strategy becomes more of a real-time journey, it’s important to figure out ways to support discussions with data that’s engaging and easy to manipulate. To the extent possible, executives need to be able to push on data and its implications “in the moment,” instead of raising questions and then waiting two weeks for a team of analysts to come back with answers. Ideally, in fact, anyone in a room could drill into thoughtfully visualized data with the flick of a finger on a tablet computer. The proliferation of tactile mobile devices and new software tools that help make spreadsheets more visual and interactive should facilitate more dynamic, data-driven dialogue.

Executives hoping to become more strategic should look for opportunities to innovate in their communication of data, while prodding their organizations to institutionalize such capabilities. Breakthroughs abound—look no further than the interactive visualizations in the New York Times in the United States or the Guardian in the United Kingdom; the 2006 TED.com video “Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen”; Generation Grownup’s interactive tool Name Voyager, which examines the popularity of baby names over time (see babynamewizard.com/voyager); or Kiva.org’s Intercontinental Ballistic Microfinance visualization of loan-funding and repayment flows. But few companies have kept up.

Source: McKinsey Quaterly, December 2012
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Authors: Michael Birshan and Jayanti Kar.
About the Authors: Michael Birshan is a principal in McKinsey’s London office, where Jayanti Kar is a consultant.

Richard Branson: Five top tips to starting a successful business

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on December 27th, 2012 by admin

As LinkedIn is a business that started in a living room, much like Virgin began in a basement, I thought my first blog on the site should be about how to simply start a successful business. Here are five top tips I’ve picked up over the years.

1. Listen more than you talk
We have two ears and one mouth, using them in proportion is not a bad idea! To be a good leader you have to be a great listener. Brilliant ideas can spring from the most unlikely places, so you should always keep your ears open for some shrewd advice. This can mean following online comments as closely as board meeting notes, or asking the frontline staff for their opinions as often as the CEOs. Get out there, listen to people, draw people out and learn from them.

2. Keep it simple
You have to do something radically different to stand out in business. But nobody ever said different has to be complex. There are thousands of simple business solutions to problems out there, just waiting to be solved by the next big thing in business. Maintain a focus upon innovation, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel. A simple change for the better is far more effective than five complicated changes for the worse.

3. Take pride in your work
Last week I enjoyed my favourite night of the year, the Virgin Stars of the Year Awards, where we celebrated some of those people who have gone the extra mile for us around the Virgin world. With so many different companies, nationalities and personalities represented under one roof, it was interesting to see what qualities they all have in common. One was pride in their work, and in the company they represent. Remember your staff are your biggest brand advocates, and focusing on helping them take pride will shine through in how they treat your customers.

4. Have fun, success will follow
If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you feel like getting up in the morning to work on your business is a chore, then it’s time to try something else. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will fluorish. A smile and a joke can go a long way, so be quick to see the lighter side of life.

5. Rip it up and start again
If you are an entrepreneur and your first venture isn’t a success, welcome to the club! Every successful businessperson has experienced a few failures along the way – the important thing is how you learn from them. Don’t allow yourself to get disheartened by a setback or two, instead dust yourself off and work out what went wrong. Then you can find the positives, analyse where you can improve, rip it up and start again.

Source: Linkedin.com, December, 2012
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The #1 reason leadership development fails

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on December 27th, 2012 by admin

Over the years, I’ve observed just about every type of leadership development program on the planet. And the sad thing is, most of them don’t even come close to accomplishing what they were designed to do – build better leaders. In today’s column I’ll share the #1 reason leadership development programs fail, and give you 20 things to focus on to ensure yours doesn’t become another casualty.

According to the American Society of Training and Development, U.S. businesses spend more than $170 Billion dollars on leadership-based curriculum, with the majority of those dollars being spent on “Leadership Training.” Here’s the thing – when it comes to leadership, the training industry has been broken for years. You don’t train leaders you develop them – a subtle yet important distinction lost on many. Leadership training is alive and well, but it should have died long, long ago.

This may be heresy to some – but training is indeed the #1 reason leadership development fails. While training is often accepted as productive, it rarely is. The terms training and development have somehow become synonymous when they are clearly not. This is more than an argument based on semantics – it’s painfully real. I’ll likely take some heat over my allegations against the training industry’s negative impact on the development of leaders, and while this column works off some broad generalizations, in my experience having worked with literally thousands of leaders, they are largely true.

An Overview of The Problem
My problem with training is it presumes the need for indoctrination on systems, processes and techniques. Moreover, training assumes that said systems, processes and techniques are the right way to do things. When a trainer refers to something as “best practices” you can with great certitude rest assured that’s not the case. Training focuses on best practices, while development focuses on next practices. Training is often a rote, one directional, one dimensional, one size fits all, authoritarian process that imposes static, outdated information on people. The majority of training takes place within a monologue (lecture/presentation) rather than a dialog. Perhaps worst of all, training usually occurs within a vacuum driven by past experience, not by future needs.

The Solution
The solution to the leadership training problem is to scrap it in favor of development. Don’t train leaders, coach them, mentor them, disciple them, and develop them, but please don’t attempt to train them. Where training attempts to standardize by blending to a norm and acclimating to the status quo, development strives to call out the unique and differentiate by shattering the status quo. Training is something leaders dread and will try and avoid, whereas they will embrace and look forward to development. Development is nuanced, contextual, collaborative, fluid, and above all else, actionable.

The following 20 items point out some of the main differences between training and development:
1. Training blends to a norm – Development occurs beyond the norm.
2. Training focuses on technique/content/curriculum – Development focuses on people.
3. Training tests patience – Development tests courage.
4. Training focuses on the present – Development focuses on the future.
5. Training adheres to standards – Development focuses on maximizing potential.
6. Training is transactional – Development is transformational.
7. Training focuses on maintenance – Development focuses on growth.
8. Training focuses on the role – Development focuses on the person.
9. Training indoctrinates – Development educates.
10. Training maintains status quo – Development catalyzes innovation.
11. Training stifles culture – Development enriches culture.
12. Training encourages compliance – Development emphasizes performance.
13. Training focuses on efficiency – Development focuses on effectiveness.
14. Training focuses on problems – Development focuses on solutions.
15. Training focuses on reporting lines – Development expands influence.
16. Training places people in a box – Development frees them from the box.
17. Training is mechanical – Development is intellectual.
18. Training focuses on the knowns – Development explores the unknowns.
19. Training places people in a comfort zone – Development moves people beyond their comfort zones.
20. Training is finite – Development is infinite.

If what you desire is a robotic, static thinker – train them. If you’re seeking innovative, critical thinkers – develop them. I have always said it is impossible to have an enterprise which is growing and evolving if leadership is not.

Source: Forbes.com, December, 2012
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Authoer: Mike Myat (for more information about the author)

Ten simple secrets of great communicators

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on December 25th, 2012 by admin

Would you like to become a great communicator? Powerful reasons exist for why you will want to enhance your ability to communicate effectively interpersonally. You will create more opportunities to accomplish your work mission. You will build better and more rewarding relationships with your coworkers and manager. You will accomplish more goals with less energy and reduce the opportunity for misunderstandings and cross purposes.

Great communicators are viewed as successful individuals by coworkers. They become go-to people in an organization because people equate efficacy with effective communication. Great communicators contribute more in their organizations and receive more opportunities for promotion and recognition in their careers. Are you motivated to learn the secrets of great communicators? Here are ten of them.

Build the relationship first – always. When a great communicator approaches a coworker, he takes the time to say, “good morning” and “how’s your day going?” “Did you have a great weekend?” The effect of the relationship-building forays is incalculable. He sends the message, each time he communicates, that he cares about the receiver of the message. He demonstrates that, no matter how busy or overextended he is, he has time to care about you.

When I worked at General Motors, I was reminded of this secret – loudly. One morning, I answered an internal phone call, “Susan Heathfield, how can I help you?” My caller’s response was a silent pause and then he said, “Hi Susan, how’s your day going? Has it been a good week since we met on Monday?” Something about the way he deliberately slowed our entry into the business discussion got my attention.

Practicing this behavior was difficult for me at first because my tendency was to jump right into the business discussion, but I’ve never regretted that I took the time to remind myself. My internal call greeting became, “Hi, this is Susan.” Build the relationship first for successful communication. For even more successful communication, continue to build the relationship in all interactions in any setting over time. Good will has an accumulative effect.

Know what you are talking about.
Obtain the knowledge, insight, and forward thinking ability necessary to earn the respect of your colleagues for your industry or subject area expertise. Your coworkers won’t listen if they don’t believe that you bring expertise to the table. Your successful coworkers spend time with you because they respect your knowledge and the value that you bring to the conversation. They don’t respect or listen to, let alone be influenced by, individuals who do not know what they are talking about. So, when you think about secrets of great communicators, subject matter expertise may head the list.

Listen more than you speak.
I received feedback recently that a manager held a performance development planning meeting with an employee and talked 55 minutes of the hour. This is an egregious example of a manager dominating a discussion, but it serves as a reminder. Great communicators listen more than they speak. When they speak, they are frequently asking questions to draw out the knowledge and opinions of their coworkers.

When you allow yourself to listen, you often hear what is not being said. You can read between the spoken lines to understand the whole context of the other person’s thinking and needs.

This does not mean that they never speak, but it places the emphasis on using the knowledge of the team. It affirms for the team members that their opinions matter and they are valued. It marks you as a great communicator who cares about what others think.

Focus on understanding what the other person is saying.
When a colleague is speaking, don’t spend the time preparing your response in your mind. Instead, ask questions for clarification and to make certain that you thoroughly understand what the other person is communicating. Focus your mind on listening and understanding.

If you find yourself (and that little voice in your head) arguing, prepping your response, or refuting what your colleague is saying, you are not focused on thoroughly understanding her communication. You have stopped listening and have refocused the discussion on your needs.

Feed back what you understood the other person to say.
Say, here is what I heard you say and repeat the gist of the content of the message that you received from the other person’s communication. Don’t ascribe meaning to your coworker’s communication. You are using a feedback loop to check your understanding and to make sure you shared meaning. When you check your understanding, you avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding. You circumvent hard feelings and protracted explanations about what your coworker meant.

Listen to the nonverbal communication the other person exhibits.
Nonverbal communication is a powerful voice in any interaction. The voice tonality, body language, and facial expressions speak more loudly than the verbal communication (sending) or the actual words in many communication exchanges. Your coworker’s posture, how he holds the white board marker, and his distance from you as he speaks are all powerful messengers.

This is why you find that great communicators seek in-person interaction. They know the amount of information that they lose when they communicate via email, phone, IM, or texting. The youngest generation at work may not recognize the importance of talking with coworkers in person. They are enculturated to use electronic methods and this must change. For facts, these methods work. If you want information that is richer and deeper, and for discussion and exchange, you seek out your coworkers. Great communicators listen with their eyes.

Watch for patterns, inconsistencies, and consistencies.
In any communication, the opportunity for misunderstanding is ever present. A key indicator that your coworker is not stating her true feelings or that she is going along with the group, rather than agreeing with the decision, is a combination of factors that you can observe. You want to watch for patterns (is this how your coworker typically reacts) and inconsistencies (is this consistent with what you expect from this person).

You also want to watch for matching words, message, tone of voice, and body language. If any of these verbal and nonverbal communication factors are inconsistent or sending different messages, communication failure is imminent. Coworkers tend to listen to the nonverbal communication over the verbal. If you are coaching an employee who sends inconsistent messages, this is a powerful factor in the misunderstanding that can happen with coworkers. It’s simple, preventable, and often overlooked as a key factor.

If something that another employee is doing or saying bothers you, remember that it is your issue to own and not his.
You are the person who is bothered by the action or communication of your coworker. His actions or communication may have triggered your reaction, but the response belongs to you – not him. You will never effectively communicate if you are pointing your finger and trying to make it your coworker’s issue. He was just trying to communicate.

You need to take responsibility for owning your own emotional reactions. Use I messages to demonstrate that you know that you are responsible for the reaction. For example: “You really messed up that customer interaction” is much less effective and honest than, “I was upset watching you interact with that customer for these reasons…” You-ing a coworker is rarely effective communication. You will most likely receive a defensive response which makes the communication fail. Delivering an honest I message instead is powerful.

If you are going to say anything critical or controversial, or if you’re angry or emotional, wait 24 hours before you say it, send it, or post it to see if you still feel that way.
Pausing before communicating is an underappreciated skill of great communicators. You don’t need to communicate what you think or feel immediately. In fact, your communication will be more powerful and thoughtful if you allow the circumstances to marinate for a period of time.

In this era of immediate and constant communication, thoughtful communication goes by the wayside. Instantaneous reaction is promoted and reinforced. It is often ineffective and demeaning. Great communicators collect their thoughts and develop significant “I messages.”

Open your mind to new ideas.
New ideas live or die in their first communication to a person who has power in an organization. Using the other communication skills presented here, you can make a new idea flourish or fail – in an instant. Rather than immediately rejecting a new idea, approach, or way of thinking, pause and consider the possibilities. Consider what might work in your organization rather than what will fail. Think about the possibility rather than the impossibilities.

Don’t be guilty of the lethal sins of rejecting, putting down, or diminishing an idea before it has been articulated and explored. Great communicators listen for opportunities and pursue them.

All communication will go better if your coworker trusts you.

It is not enough to be a good listener and to draw out the other person’s opinions. They will not level with you or share their real thoughts if they don’t trust you. You gain trust in your everyday interactions with people when you tell the truth – even when it’s difficult. When you consistently exhibit integrity and trustworthiness in your daily interpersonal conversations and actions, you build your ability to be a great communicator.

The coworkers with whom you interact will open up to you. They will be more likely to problem solve with you without concern for losing, and they won’t fear looking bad, stupid, or uninformed if they trust you. Do you see the power for communicating when you have the other party’s trust? It’s amazing.

If you work to enhance your own communication by practicing these skills and taking these actions, you can become a great communicator. Becoming a great communicator will enhance your career, make your days at work rewarding and fulfilling, and reinforce positive relationships with coworkers who love to work with you. Can it get any better than that?

Source: About.com, December 2012
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Seven reasons to build a Fitness-oriented company culture

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on December 20th, 2012 by admin

The benefits start with you and extend to everyone on your team.
My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked, down I will get back up, every time. — Navy SEAL Creed

As a Navy SEAL, I learned that physical and mental strength were essential for survival. During training, our instructors knocked us down every day, all day. To survive, we learned not only how to get back up, but how to get back up and fight harder. The only way we could do this was to be in top physical condition. If our bodies broke down, our minds and our determination to succeed were not far behind. Many good Navy men did not make it through SEAL training because they weren’t quite physically hard or mentally strong enough.

In a fast-paced entrepreneurial organization, leaders need to be healthy, confident, and driven in order to move the company forward. Better fitness leads to better leadership. Similarly, a healthy workforce will be more likely to help fulfill the organization’s mission, vision, and goals.

Here are seven reasons a focus on fitness leads to success:
1.More Energy:
Being in better physical condition will give you and your team more energy. Encourage your staff to work out during their lunch break or go for a walk during the day. You might lose a few minutes of their time, but the result will be more energetic harder-working employees.

2.Less Stress:
Good fitness reduces stress by increasing the production of endorphins and improving your mood. Less stress will lead to happiness, focus, and productivity. Educate your team on the positive benefits that physical activity has on mental wellness and stress management.

3.More Confidence:
People who make fitness a part of their lives generally have more self-confidence. A greater level of confidence will lead them to achieve great things within the organization.

4.Less Illness:
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will improve your immune system and decrease the likeliness of illness. That translates to more productivity and lower health care costs.

5.Goal Orientation:
When people make fitness a part of their routine, it usually means they have a pattern of setting and achieving goals. Encourage your team members to include physical and mental health in their goals.

6.Better Leadership:
Fit people make better leaders, for all of the reasons listed above. We need to develop leaders within our organizations. By encouraging wellness, we are more likely to develop hard chargers ready to step into demanding roles.

7.Team Atmosphere:
A culture of wellness and fitness will encourage teamwork and a solid work/life balance. At my company, we participate in club sports, we have recess every Thursday, we occasionally have “Biggest Loser” competitions, and I run a boot camp once a week.

If you want a top performing team, you need to lead by example. Get out from behind your desk and start moving.

Source: Inc.com, December 19, 2012
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About the author: Navy SEAL combat veteran Brent Gleeson is the co-founder and CMO at Internet Marketing Inc., No. 185 on the 2012 Inc. 500. His leadership approach is inspired by the unrivaled SEAL training and the Navy SEAL Creed. @brentgleeson

44% …

Posted in Aktuellt, Digitalisering / Internet on December 19th, 2012 by admin

.. av alla på arbetsplatsen bryter mot företagets IT-policy!
Bland 80-talisterna är det varannan. Allt enligt Manpowers undersökning Work Life.

Five Presentation Mistakes Everyone Makes

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on December 18th, 2012 by admin

We all know what it’s like to sit through a bad presentation. We can easily spot the flaws — too long, too boring, indecipherable, what have you — when we watch others speak. The thing is, when we take the stage ourselves, many of us fall into the same traps.

Here are five of the most common, along with some tips on how to avoid them.

1. Failing to engage emotionally.
You risk losing your audience when you just “state the facts,” even in a business setting. No presentation should be devoid of emotion, no matter how cerebral the topic or the audience. Speak to people’s hearts as well as their minds. Look for ways to add emotional texture to your exhibits, data, proofs, logical arguments, and other analytical content. Try opening with a story your audience can relate to, for example, or including analogies that make your data more meaningful.

To unearth the emotional appeal of your ideas, ask yourself a series of “why” questions. If you’re requesting funding to pay for cloud storage, for instance, start by asking, “Why do we need cloud storage?” Your answer may be something like “to facilitate data sharing with colleagues in remote locations.” Then ask why you need to accomplish that — and you’ll eventually get to the human beings who will be affected by your ideas. Suppose your answer is “to help remote colleagues coordinate disaster relief efforts and save lives.” That’s your emotional hook. Once you’ve found it, it’s easier to choose words and images that elicit empathy and support.

2. Asking too much of your slides.

PowerPoint can be a great tool. But know what you’re trying to accomplish with it. Do only that, nothing more. Problems crop up when you place too many elements in a slide deck. If you cram in all the points you’re going to cover so you won’t forget anything, you’ll end up projecting entire documents when you speak. (Garr Reynolds aptly calls these hydra-headed beasts “slideuments.”) No one wants to attend a plodding read-along. It’s boring, and people can read more efficiently on their own, anyway. So don’t try to spell everything out bullet by exhausting bullet. Keep your teleprompter text hidden from the audience’s view, in the “notes” field, and project only visuals that reinforce your ideas. And if you need to circulate documents afterward? Create handouts from all that text you’ve pulled off your slides and moved into “notes.”

3. Trotting out tired visuals.
Nothing gets eyes a-glazing like a visual cliché. Want your presentation to stand out (in a good way) from the others your audience has seen? Brainstorm lots of visual concepts — and throw away the first ones that came to mind. They’re the ones that occur to everyone else, too. That’s why you’ve seen them a million times in other people’s presentations. Generate several ideas for each concept you want to illustrate, and you’ll work your way toward originality.

4. Speaking in jargon.
Have you ever listened to a presenter who sounded super-smart without having any idea what she really said? If so, the presentation was probably full of jargon. Each field has its own lexicon that’s familiar to experts but foreign to everyone else. Unless you’re speaking to a group of people who are steeped in the material themselves, you’re better off avoiding highly technical or industry-specific language. Use words that will resonate with those whose support and influence you must earn. If they can’t follow your ideas, they won’t adopt them. Consider whether your presentation passes the “grandmother test”: If your grandmother wouldn’t understand what on earth you’re talking about, rework your message.

5. Going over your allotted time
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There’s nothing worse than a presentation that seems like it will never end. A great talk goes by quickly. People in your audience will never scold you for ending early, but they certainly will for ending late. So treat the time slot assigned to you as sacred. And keep in mind that people have a 30- to 40-minute presentation tolerance (they’re conditioned by TV shows with creatively produced commercial breaks). Go longer than that, and they’re sure to squirm.

Source: Harvard Business Review, December 12, 2012
Link – http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/12/avoid_these_five_mistakes_in_y.html?cm_mmc=npv-_-LINKEDIN-_-FIVE_PRESENTATION_MISTAKES-_-121212&goback=%2Egde_3044917_member_195565224
Author: Nancy Duarte . This is the seventh and final post in Nancy Duarte’s blog series on creating and delivering presentations, based on tips from her new book, the HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations.

Why executives are so bad at the behavioral side of management

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on December 17th, 2012 by admin

For too long, we’ve thought of “hard skills” and “soft skills” as mutually exclusive. Hard skills are supposed to provide the value, and soft skills supposed to be subordinate, inferior, and all about feelings. Some frameworks of leadership reinforce this myth by encouraging positioning leaders as above the group and magically removed from doubt and anxiety.

In reality, there is nothing “soft” about the skills needed to relate to people well enough to lead them. True leadership involves both hard skills and harder skills. Here’s what I mean.

Defining Hard and Soft Skills

“Hard skills” are often thought of as the occupational skills necessary to complete the tangible elements of a job. A software engineer needs to know certain languages to build applications; a finance director needs to know how to balance the books; and a waiter needs to know how to take a dinner order, place it with the kitchen, and deliver the meal to the table.

“Soft skills” can be seen as the behavioral ways in which people go about their occupational tasks. How does the software engineer collaborate with fellow engineers to unpack hidden technical challenges? How does the finance director interact with colleagues to glean the meaning behind the numbers? How does the waiter engage with guests to make their visit a memorable occasion, and not just a meal?

Hard skills can get the job done. Soft skills make the difference between a job that gets done and a job that gets done exceedingly well. Leadership requires a sophisticated approach to both. That’s even harder.

Leadership’s Hard and Soft Skills
Leadership has its own set of occupational skills, such as the ability to synthesize data; the clarity to make timely and informed decisions; the capability to define priorities and goals; and the aptitude to see situations from a wide, organizational perspective.

On the behavioral side, leadership requires an exceedingly high degree of skill in working with and for others, holding others accountable to their commitments, and marshaling others to work together while following you into the future.

Unfortunately, many leaders fail to embrace leadership responsibilities and instead busy themselves with non-leadership tasks – the work their teams should be doing. We see this in the vp of engineering who monitors engineers checking in code; in the CFO who insists on completing the routine details of closing a sale; or the sous chef who won’t let each station chef work independently enough.

The more your role involves leadership, the more your job must focus on blending the occupational and the behavioral, the technical and the interpersonal, the hard and the soft. If you cannot achieve this internal balance, your organization will suffer a similar lack of equilibrium.

This balance can be exceeding difficult, because many people define themselves by their ability to be experts in their occupational skills while viewing behavioral skills as secondary or incidental. In this way, especially for leaders, traditional “soft” skills are harder to get right.

Leadership’s Harder Skills
Many leaders end up over-compensating. We’ve all known the leader so focused on goals that she is unable to relate to her people, or the leader who can’t focus enough on goals because he wants to avoid the tension required to unite around a shared purpose.

A good approach is to recognize and accept that 1) the occupational skills of leadership are much different than those of everyone else, and 2) because leadership at any level is necessarily about other people, leaders must be aware of their behavior, and be visible to others, in ways that non-leaders don’t have to be.

This is one reason that leadership behavior is harder – as a leader, you don’t have the convenience of behaving only for yourself. You must behave for others. Many leaders fail, or fail to develop, because they are stuck in an old mindset and continue to act for themselves.

Improving Your Harder Skills
Ultimately, leadership is hard because relating to people is challenging. It’s that simple. Here are three tips for improving your harder skills.

1. Admit that inter-personal skills are important.
I have worked with leaders who resist improving their inter-personal skills because they fear it shows weakness to superiors, peers, and subordinates. This is hardly a helpful path for developing better leaders, as it denies the basic truth that if I expect to lead others, I must first be able to lead myself. Don’t be afraid of this work.

2. Rethink your definitions of “hard” and “soft” skills.
Ask yourself, “How do I define and exercise my hard and soft skills? Do I try to keep them separate? Do I focus on leadership responsibilities, or am I skill occupied with a non-leadership perspective? How can I approach my next challenge with a greater sense of the needed harder skills?”

3. Get some help.
It is difficult to identify how our default behaviors and habits affect others. Learning to make different or new choices requires the structure and support of a good coaching process.

Source: Businessinsider.com, December 2012.
Read more: http://www.inc.com/brian-evje/the-skills-most-leaders-dont-have.html#ixzz2FGYV4kWr
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