Category Archives: Book Review
Today’s post is courtesy of Alex Vorobieff, the founder and CEO of The Vorobieff Company, a premier business-consulting organization. A highly sought-after speaker and business alignment coach, Alex Vorobieff has helped scores of successful companies eliminate the real source of their frustration using business alignment tools (a term he coined after years of working with and investigating different business systems).
Can you remember starting a new job and crossing invisible lines without knowing it? And how you felt when you crossed those invisible lines and realized you didn’t understand what was important.
I can; it was 25 years ago while preparing my first professional spreadsheet as an intern at a small CPA firm. Getting paid $10 an hour, it wasn’t six figures, but it was double digits per hour and it was a “real work.”
I prepared the spreadsheet and gave it to my boss.
He reviewed it.
It shocked him
He could not follow my work. It went down, to the left, and then to the right.
Apparently, you didn’t want to zigzag as you did calculations. It was important to follow a logical direction so someone else could understand your work.
He questioned whether hiring me was a good idea. I didn’t seem to “get it.”
I had crossed some invisible lines.
He wasn’t happy we had to rework the spreadsheet. I felt horrible, I learned a lesson but it was costly for both of us.
When I graduated and joined a larger firm, the firm trained me on the basics how to prepare spreadsheets. No wonder my first boss wasn’t pleased. Then I understood where those lines were and how to use them to do a better job. “I got it!”
Every job and every company has invisible lines. Does your company help people to see them before they cross them? Or do you wait until they cross the lines and you have to make a costly correction?
If you want people on your team to “get it” letting them know what “it” is beforehand saves time and money.
Yea, its not rocket science but people cross invisible lines every day.
Invisible lines often define key things that are essential to provide value to customers and profit for the company. They are so important how could you not let people know where they are and how to use them to help guide their decisions and actions?
When people know where the invisible lines are and the importance of not crossing them they “get it” and people stop mumbling after being chastised for crossing invisible lines and people in the company start using the powerful refrain of “we get it.”
About Alex Vorobieff
Founder and CEO of The Vorobieff Company, Alex Vorobieff is a business turnaround specialist, working to implement Business Alignment Tools for their specific needs. Alex has served as clean-up CFO and president of companies in telecommunications, aviation, aerospace, and real estate development, leading successful turnarounds in as little as three months. He shares his how-tos and techniques through Confident ROi magazine and his latest book, Transform Your Company: Escape Frustration, Align Your Business, and Get Your Life Back.
Ed & Peter Schein make a great thought leadership team, This father-son duo draw from their experience and study of business and organizations to bring a much needed perspective to both disicplines.
In celebration of their new book “Humble Leadership“, Ed & Peter Schein have been generous to share this post. This is an excerpt from their book -enjoy!
It was tempting to write this whole book around the amazing stories that are surfacing about Humble Leadership and the creation of Level 2 relationships in very hierarchical organizations. Retired general McChrystal in his Team of Teams (2015) and Chris Fussel in One Mission (2017) make it very clear that organizations now have to replace the efficiency of the linear industrial factory model with agility and adaptability as the problems they face become what we have repeatedly called complex, systemic, interconnected, and multicultural, that is, messy. Dealing with customers in an interconnected multicultural world will become as complex as dealing with fluid, invisible, polymorphic enemies. O’Reilly and Tushman (2016) make a similar point in their argument for organizational ambidexterity in that the economic and market forces are similarly fluid and unpredictable, requiring organizations to develop distinct subgroups that can respond differently as market and competitive conditions change.
McChrystal points out correctly that what makes the difference is not technological superiority but “the culture,” by which he means the degree to which the troops are trained not only to be precise about those things that really need to be standardized, but to be able to think for themselves and self-organize in those areas that require a new bespoke response. The stories reviewed here are all built on that assumption, but we have added that “the culture” has to be a
Level 2 culture and that transformation is only achieved by a certain kind of relationship building.
To create the agility needed to respond to a volatile and chaotic environment, McChrystal emphasizes empowering local units to be coordinated by a team of representatives from those units. The solution of having each team have a representative at a coordinating meeting to create “the team of teams” only works, however, if each representative has spent time in each team and established Level 2 relationships within each team. Otherwise it is inevitable that each representative would feel the need to argue for the values and methods of the team from which he or she came (in other words, digging in on one side of a technical, transactional negotiation).
Edgar H. Schein is Professor Emeritus from the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management. He’s a pioneer in organizational studies, organizational culture and leadership, process consulting, career development. Ed’s contributions to the practice of O.D. date back to the early 1960s and continue with the recent publication of Organizational Culture and Leadership 5th edition and now Humble Leadership, co-authored with Peter A. Schein, co-founder of OCLI.org who brings 30 years of hands-on experience in large and small companies leading growth initiatives in Silicon Valley.
Dr. Dawn Graham, PhD is one of the nation’s leading career coaches. Her latest book, Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers – and Seize Success is written specifically for people thinking about changing career paths. Packed with psychological insights, practical exercises, and inspiring success stories, Switchers helps these individuals leap over obstacles and into a whole new field.
What do the words “smooth”, “linear”, “rational” and “straightforward” have in common? NONE describes a job search.
Whether voluntary or not, the process of seeking a new position is often a sandwich of frustration and ambiguity bookended by excitement and anticipation. Similar to moving to a new home, you know the process will be worth it in the end, and can only hope the inherent broken dishes, crushed boxes and lost mail along the way will be minimal.
While this description may seem to lean toward the negative, research shows that happiness and satisfaction are more dependent on outcome in relation to expectations, rather than outcome alone*. What this means is that a little pessimism about the smoothness of the job search may actually keep your spirits up as things go wrong since you expect the hiccups.
In addition to setting realistic expectations, here’s what else you can do when your job search feels overwhelming:
- Control what you can AND accept what you can’t control. Typo-s, arriving late, an unkempt LinkedIn profile or being unprepared are all things that can be eradicated from the hiring process for organized job seekers. Nailing these basics shows you’re a serious candidate. On the other hand, hiring bias, competition from internal candidates, and being ghosted are beyond your control in many cases, so don’t allow these to shake your confidence or dampen your attitude for your next interview.
- Change strategies. If you’ve been in a search for several months and aren’t getting bites or making it past the first interview, evaluate your strategy. Is there a red flag that continues to get in your way (e.g., career switcher, long-time unemployed, lack of degree)? Do you need to change your interview style, or perhaps your frustration or desperation are coming through and you don’t realize it? This may be a good time to invest in a career coach who can help you identify and get past an obstacle that you may not be aware of.
- Take (unrelated) action. When Steven Spielberg couldn’t get his mechanical shark to work in the movie “Jaws,” he almost gave up. Fortunately, he took action, which led to a creative alternative (see here), leading to the movie winning three Oscars! While the last thing you might feel like doing when in a job search funk is going to the zoo or finally trying Vinyasa yoga, now is the perfect time to do it. Novel experiences inspire new neural connections in the brain, which lead to original ideas. Bonus: research shows that creativity is unleashed when physical activity is added to the new action**.
Bumpy, circular, irrational, and complex tend to be words that are tied to the job search. However, expecting a roller-coaster will help you maintain your sanity and make the entire process less frustrating.
Dr. Graham is the Career Director for the MBA Program for Executives at The Wharton School, where she counsels business leaders on making strategic career choices. A licensed psychologist and former corporate recruiter, she hosts SiriusXM Radio’s popular weekly call-in show Career Talk and is a regular contributor to Forbes.
This guest post originally appeared on Dr. Dawn on Careers