Category Archives: Organizational Development

5 Approaches To Thrive In The Connection Economy

We live in the most connected world ever. Social media, cell phones, satellite broadcasts, internet – we have launched so many methods to reach out and touch someone across the globe.

Yet how connected are we, truly, with our own teams?

Have we connected the dots within our organizations? Are there opportunities where teams and individuals are isolated from each other? In a connected organization, people having access to everything and everyone is where it’s at.

Here are some real definitions of what connection is about:

Connect. To link people, A to Z, Amanda to Zech. Join together to provide access, communication.  It’s vital to understand this concept as your starting point.

Connector. The person doing the connecting. The leader, but building everyone into connectors themselves. As a leader, are you instigating connection? Are you developing others to be connectors as well?

Connected. All systems are set up. The process is in place, and working. All points lead to everywhere.

Connection. An established link between two or more people. An relationship in which a person, idea, or things is linked to someone or something else. Every connection is unique based on the people’s needs from each other.

Connecting. To build the personal open network. The process of bringing together. What are you doing each day to bring people together?

It may seem like a lot, but the process to start is quite easy. How does a leader connect?

Build trust & mutual respect. People only connect with those of common bond and trust. This foundation is critical to any relationship.

Open communication – both ways. A conduit provides access from A to B, but does not restrict the flow to just one way. Foster and develop people to open the lines. This can only happen when the trust and respect above is established.

Make sure all points/dots are connected. Anyone not in the loop? Everyone have access to everyone else, resources, vision? Make every effort to link everyone, through formal and informal means, systems, personnel functions, and so on. “No employee left behind.”

Check for weak connection links. Daily. Examine every interaction in your organization against the connection model. Find the weak links. Fix them, or replace them, before the chain snaps.

Foster and encourage internal & external connection. Within the organization, yes. Outside of the organization, even better. Get your people connected and involved w/ mentors outside, organizations, and associations. Don’t make your organization an island. Connect entire teams, companies, and industries with this connectivity culture and watch the magic happen.

We live in the “connection economy” today. Don’t circumvent your people. Work on connecting everyone to form a stronger web of vision and synergy.

(image: pixaby)


Know Your 4 Company Cultures

Earlier this month SmartBrief on Leadership Editor James DaSilva wrote a brilliant post titled “Here’s Why You Can’t Fix Your Culture Problems”.

In the article, DaSilva mentioned how companies, especially large companies, have many cultures within them. It described how these other cultures may work against the core company culture and cause challenges that work against the culture you are attempting to establish.

Elaborating a little further on this premise, I believe every company has 4 cultures within it, no matter how large or small they are. These cultures exist with or without steps to mitigate or leverage their impact on the organization.

  • Core Culture
  • Local Culture
  • Sub-culture
  • Counter-culture

Core Culture is the overall values of the organization. It’s the culmination of the mission and vision and the embodiment of the behaviors that drive towards that mission. Every company has a core culture, and every company should have it written and defined to govern the vision and behaviors of the individuals and collective teams within it. On paper, core culture should be the strongest guiding force of your organization.

Local Culture are those cultures that are organic due to geographic differences, such as diverse teams and remote workforces. Those “local cultures” that DaSilva points out need to be acknowledged and folded into the larger core culture picture. These are variations due to the chemistry, diversity and skills of the people in those local teams. They bring a unique flavor and perspective that rounds out our core culture and brings it to life.

Sub Culture are those cultures that become a behavioral derivative of the core culture. Sub cultures take root different reasons and manifest in differing forms. They drift from the core for rationales such as but not limited to misinterpreting the core vision, adapting to market of procedural forces, expediency in efficiencies or profitability, or disguising an agenda to veer goals off course. Sub cultures are not necessarily bad, as some may actually enhance the core of the company, such as an innovative R&D department or a remote team that resolves to leverage the brand into a larger and more impactful reach. Each leader should know what sub-cultures exist within their organization, and ensure that they have the needed guardrails to stay on course but the sandbox flexibility to adapt to meet a need on the fly.

Counter Culture is the more threatening of the four cultures. Counter cultures are the deliberate attempt to undermine mission, sabotage agendas, and take the organization in a markedly drastic direction. Counter cultures are not readily overt; many times they exist layers down and lock in over years of erosion through policies, practices, and/or personnel that reveal their motives at a strategic moment. This happens quite often through takeover bids,  coups, and adoption of policies or campaigns that create the tectonic shift away from core culture.

As DaSilva pointed out, the incremental nature of bad behavior, or non-core cultural behavior, is poor rationalization. Having a strong culture means having a commonly connected vision that is communicated continually. Having a great culture is being able to discern what balance of cultures exist in your organization, addressing their needs, and leading them to a positive impact through the lens of your established mission.

(image: pixaby)


A Checklist For Proper Training

A recent workplace training study over the last year resulted in an astonishing fact:

Between 79-80% or workplaces spent less than $1000 in training on their employees

That’s a staggering amount and even more when you break it down further:

  • Given a median hourly rate of $22, this equates to 45 hours of training
  • 45 hours is just barley the first week of work for a full-time employee
  • This is an annual figure, meaning onboarded staff from prior years barely get 1 hour of training and development a week
  • Weekly, the average employee gets less than $20 of training spent on them to develop skills or increase productivity

It’s no wonder that lack of adequate training, development of skills, and creation of new challenges are a consistent metric that appears in most every survey of why employees leave.

Leaders and organizations can do better than this. So as to get our mental acuity focused into the realm of increasing training competency, here is a checklist of items you’ll want to consider in making your training programs effective to better develop your staff and organization.

  1. Onboarding with Clear Expectations.
  2. Onboarding with a Mentor, Big Sister/Brother
  3. Mini-boot camp (or training camp) training (any title will do)
  4. Yearly skills calibration
  5. Micro-learning accessibility
  6. Tailor training methods to meet employees needs, not company’s (or the trainer’s)
  7. Thread Culture, Values, Vision through every fabric of training (yes, the finance team too!!)
  8. Subject ALL staff, from hourly to C-level – to the exact same training modules and sessions
  9. Mix up remote digital training with in-person small groups
  10. Find each person’s needs and match to a training plan
  11. Train every day (athletes and orchestras do it!)
  12. Make training a bigger budget line item – it does ensure a solid ROI if done right
  13. Leadership must by in
  14. Training must be a culture, not a counter-culture
  15. Always work to improve content, engagement, and relevancy
  16. Ask trainees for feedback personally, not through a survey
  17. If you do ask for feedback through a survey (because some of you will), leave open ended comment boxes so employees aren’t penned into a few irrelevant answers that don’t allow them honest feedback
  18. Infuse fun and creativity
  19. Encourage training credit in extra-curricular training that augments and dovetails into the work (thru, local colleges, online sessions, etc)
  20. Reinforce continually to keep skills sharp throughout their career
  21. Have a monthly training focus throughout the entire organization to rally around a core value (customer service, safety, communication, integrity, etc)
  22. Combine learning styles for maximum impact and reach
  23. Include your hourly staff in teaching to build there skills and grow future teachers, trainers, subject matter experts, leaders
  24. Don’t make it boring – mix it up with breaks, change seat locations, content structure to avoid boredom and increase retention

These are just a few of the many ways great companies get proper training done. It’s easy – if you’re willing to make it happen. And it reaps benefits – if you execute it correctly.

If you have other methods of training that you’d like to include, please list them below!!

(image: pixaby)




%d bloggers like this: