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5 Ways to Make the Most of Cross-Cultural Teams

By on Jan 29, 2015 in Management | 0 comments

When participating in a global economy (and who isn’t these days?), cross-cultural team building is a must. As stated well in this article from The Academic Executive Brief, “Newly emerging cultural contexts in an increasingly globalized world require deeper consideration of the interaction of cross-cultural competency models.” To put it bluntly, if you’re managing a team with multiple cultures present and you’re not actively considering the impact on your team members’ work satisfaction and productivity, you’re missing a key part of people management. This post covers some simple preemptive measures to prepare your team for positive cross-cultural interaction and cooperation. First, let’s make sure we’re all clear on what culture really means in this context. What Is Culture? We’re all familiar with the term, but what is it really? We’ll use an adapted version of the model in the...

5 Ways to Engage Your Team

By on Jan 18, 2015 in Management | 0 comments

It’s the middle of a workday—do you know if your team members are engaged? According to the Gallup organization’s State of the American Workplace: 2010-2012 report, “70% of U.S. workers are not engaged at work.” Engagement is not the same as being happy or satisfied at work, although it is related. Engagement really gets into whether employees have well-defined roles, make strong contributions to the team, and feel connected to the larger organization (1). In other words, it’s directly related to the value you get from your team members and immeasurably important to your bottom line. The Gallup report also mentions specific measurements that are positively affected by team engagement such as higher productivity, lower absenteeism, happier customers, higher quality, lower turnover … the list goes on … and every item contributes to a more successful company—and a more enjoyable...

5 Ways to Create an Employee-Empowered Culture

By on Jan 5, 2015 in Management | 2 comments

We’ve been working under the traditional business hierarchy for so long that it can feel fixed, especially in large companies. Most of us know there’s a better way. Company leaders want autonomous employees and employees want autonomy, but this type of culture seems to elude many while only a few have mastered the art. The truth is that a culture of empowerment is not a pipe dream: with the right focus and attitude, you can capture it too. Let’s try to make it simple. Empowerment boils down to either enriching or enlarging someone’s role, or both. It means transferring leadership from manager to team member. So it’s not only a change in responsibility for team members, it also changes what a day looks like for managers. You can make large or small changes over time depending on your circumstances, but as long as you continuously transfer leadership down the line, you’re working towards...

How to Encourage Entrepreneurs at all Businesses, not just Start-Ups

By on Dec 19, 2014 in Management | 0 comments

What comes to mind when you think of the word “entrepreneur”? The definition from is “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” Some other definitions specifically refer to starting a business. But as with most English words, the best way to get to the true meaning is to look at the origins. In this case, “entrepreneur” comes from the French entreprendre: “to undertake”. A little research on the definition of “undertake” leads you to concepts like committing to a goal, starting something new, tackling objectives. Commit. Start. Tackle. Sounds like a good overview of what’s needed to really get something off the ground, right? Commit: throw yourself into it, Start: find somewhere to begin, Tackle: go after it with force. But are these qualities only valuable when starting a business? Of course...

4 Steps to Better Meetings

By on Dec 14, 2014 in Management | 0 comments

For most of us in business, meetings take up a good part of our weeks. We’ve all been in really productive meetings where everyone leaves feeling energized and accomplished. Unfortunately, we’ve also all been in the meeting where no one is quite sure of the objective and the room is filled with open laptops or fingers flying over cell phones. Way too often the meetings of today are highly inefficient and unproductive. It’s time we took a look at how we’re doing things and figure out what’s not working. First, let’s dispel a common myth. “Multitasking” became a buzzword years ago, but the truth is our brains can only focus on one thing at a time. A recent study at the University of Sussex has shown that brain damage can occur over time from too much multitasking. If we’re in a meeting and working on our presentation for the next meeting or responding to emails, we cannot truly...

Quote from Sun Tzu

By on Dec 10, 2014 in Management | 0 comments

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

5 Practical Steps to Better Hiring

By on Dec 7, 2014 in Management | 0 comments

Have you ever been on a team where one person seemed to throw everything off balance? It usually goes like this: Ideas start to flow and then this person speaks up and progress screeches to a grinding halt. The air is sucked out of the room followed by an awkward silence. This is why hiring is so critical. It only takes one bad fit to thwart the progress of an entire team. You’ve heard people tell you to “hire well,” but what does that really mean? And what does it take to implement a modern hiring system that takes advantage of the latest best practices? Let’s talk through some of the most important tenants of good hiring. #1. Don’t hire your brother, best friend, neighbor, bible study leader, or your crazy cousin, Larry. It’s tempting, I know. Your sister is your best friend and you just know she’d be a great Sales Manager. Your neighbor has been out of work for three months and you...

3 Specific Ways to Improve your Company Culture

By on Dec 1, 2014 in Management | 0 comments

Company culture has become a hot topic in recent years. We know that the most successful companies of today respect their employees and take care to provide a positive work environment: not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because satisfied and valued employees contribute more to company goals. In fact, I recently posted about company cultures and three keys to creating an inspired workplace. Now I want to get more specific: what actionable steps can you take to put your company on the path to a purposeful and improved company culture?   1. Start valuing good work over hard work. You’ve probably heard people say, “work smarter, not harder.” Back in the days of non-automated assembly lines and literal throughput, working harder was a big asset. More effort created more items in less time. Today most of us lead creative, knowledge-based firms. If...