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December 2014
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Team Collaboration Survey


Came across this survey from the team at Weekdone, and think it’s a very worthwhile excercise.

How leaders in different regions collaborate with their teams?

The more time spent in the corporate world, the more it is realized how true collaboration is an art – an art form that is worth to excel in. We’ve put together this short survey to come to an understanding how leaders in various regions collaborate with their teams.

This survey is aimed at any person who is, or has, held a team leader position within an organisation. The purpose is to examine which kind of collaborative behaviors are practiced by team leaders around the globe.

The survey contains 7 short questions, taking no more than 5 minutes to answer. Results will be compiled into a report and published by the end of December. This gives a great opportunity to see how colleagues in different regions prefer to manage their teams.

This survey is conducted in cooperation with Geoffrey James, author of the book “Business without the Bullsh*t” and

Take the survey here

Putting ourselves back in charge – Vlatka Hlupic

I had the pleasure to hear Vlatka speak in Parliament a couple of weeks back, and then we had further conversations about her work. I asked her to write a post describing the research and the needed “Management Shift”. Here it is.

Prof Vlatka HlupicProfessor Vlatka Hlupic

“Recent publicity around Stephen Hawking’s fear that Artificial Intelligence could take over human society plays into a deep-rooted human fear of impotence before the inventions we create.

It sounds like a warning for the future, but arguably, this fear – that machines can or should or will control us humans – has been around for many decades, and has caused misapplications of technology. As this blog noted earlier this year, business planners at Ford caused plummeting quality standards and a strike in 1972 by increasing the pace of a production line beyond the ability of people to keep up. Since then, the corporate world has witnessed many similar failed initiatives at automation by governments and corporations who over-estimate the capability of machines, and neglect to manage their people well.

There is an alternative. This is to put ourselves back in charge, and to improve our ability to lead and to manage – both people and machines. This is something I have called the Management Shift, based on many years of research & development, and successful piloting in 20 businesses around the world.

My conclusions point to the need for a historic shift in perception and practice: to bring the management of people into the 21st Century, breaking with the Mediaeval concept of ‘command and control’. This old approach, trying to turn robots into people while treating people like robots, is not fit for purpose. We already have abundant intelligence in the sentient beings called human who are on the payroll, the problem is that only a few enterprises – the likes of Whole Foods or WL Gore – manage them really well. Getting the people management right is the key to using technology well – in addition to everything else.

I have formed the conclusion that many efforts at improving people management have been stymied by being partial or limited. For example, some employers decentralize away from command and control structures, but still keep command and control mindsets. Or there are efforts to boost employee engagement through one-off initiatives, but no lasting improvement to the day-to-day management in the line.

The shift that I’m talking about concerns hearts and minds as well as policies. I have devised a 6 Box Model, designed to ensure attention to all core elements of managerial responsibilities. Three dimensions refer to people: Individuals, Relationships and Culture. Three relate to the organizational set-up: Strategy, Systems and Resources. I have found that the employers that diligently attend to all six areas do best, and experience hugely improved financial returns, as well as more fulfilled employees.

Management ShiftPerhaps the biggest shame is that breakthroughs in people management do not garner anything like the same media coverage as developments in Artificial Intelligence. Let’s try to change that.

The Management Shift: How to Harness the Power of People and Transform your Organization for Sustainable Success, by Vlatka Hlupic, was published by Palgrave Macmillan  , November 2014.

Learning about innovation from Mr. Edison and his phonograph – Wally Bock


Great post from Wally Bock

Most people think of Thomas Edison as a lone inventor and marketing genius. But history teaches different lessons. Here are some from Edison’s invention of the phonograph.

Not so “lone” after all

Edison was no “lone” inventor. He set up the prototype of the modern industrial laboratory. He filled the place with people of diverse talents, divided them into small teams, and set them to work on projects. Edison called them “Muckers.” He called himself “The Chief Mucker.”

A systematic approach to innovation

Edison wasn’t interested in just inventing things. He wanted to invent things that would make money in the marketplace. Jon Gertner describes Edison’s process like this in his book,

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation.

“Edison used a dogged and systematic exploratory process. He tried to isolate useful materials— his stockroom was replete with everything from copper wire to horses’ hoofs and rams’ horns— until he happened upon a patentable, and marketable, combination.”

Accidents played a role

The process didn’t always proceed in a straight line. In fact, Edison didn’t set out to invent a phonograph. He was looking for a way to record telephone conversations. And he handed that project over to the Muckers for almost a decade before returning to it himself.

Assembling the pieces in new ways

Edison wasn’t above using other people’s good ideas, either. The wax cylinder in the phonograph was originally the idea of Charles Tainter. Much later, Tainter made significant improvements to Edison’s phonograph. He named his device the Graphophone and marketed it as a way to play recorded music.

Users and others complete the innovation

Edison thought that his phonograph had a market, but it wasn’t playing recorded music. He thought people would use it to record the last words of the dying or creating audio books for the blind. When other people used the phonograph to record music, Edison was upset. He worried that such frivolous use would harm the market for business applications.

Eventually, he came around and started a company to sell recorded music. But that company went out of business in 1929. Tainter’s Graphophone Company would go on to become Columbia Records.

Boss’s Bottom Line

Don’t be led astray by the myths surrounding either Edison or innovation. Throughout history innovation has been mostly a team-based process of recombining what already exists in new ways. Users usually come up with uses that the original inventor never thought of. And every new innovation creates opportunity for others.

Wally’s original post

Communicate with confidence – tips for public speaking for entrepreneurs

Jason Communicate 1

Let’s face it – speaking in public can be terrifying; and it’s amazing how many entrepreneurs have stage fright. What if your audience doesn’t look engaged? What if you stutter? What if you don’t know how to answer a question? What if your audience notices you’re really nervous? Although it’s natural to have these concerns, there’s really no point in assuming that things will go wrong. Look on the bright side and stay positive.

With the right amount of preparation, speaking in front of an audience doesn’t have to be such a frightening experience. Think about your business and about your chance to raise awareness for your company and brand. That should be exciting enough to make you speak from the bottom of your heart and deliver a killer presentation. Here are some tips for entrepreneurs on how to communication with confidence and come up with the best public speech.

Know your audience

Who are the people you’re addressing to? You should know that before crafting your speech. It’s not a really good idea to think too much about the things you’re going to share. Act natural and be yourself. Start with a story and make sure it’s something genuine and intriguing. Then, start shifting the focus onto your business. Talk about you as an entrepreneur, bring up your business, your motto and mention your hopes and wishes. People want to relate to the person in front of them during a speech, and they can only do that if the speaker can prove he’s charismatic, original and insightful.

Find balance

Don’t be too salesy. If you’re attending a conference where you must talk about your brand, try not to appear assertive. Nobody likes to hear a public speaker blab about his product’s benefits for one whole hour. Find balance by sharing information. Talk about yourself as a business person, share some personal ideas about successful entrepreneurship and then bring up your business.

Your audience will want to know more about the person behind the brand. How did you come up with the idea? What did you do before? What’s your life story? It’s always a good idea to share this kind of information too. When an audience likes the speaker on stage, they will also be interested in what you’re offering.

Jason Communicate 2

Control your body language

Body language says a lot about a person. When speaking in public, body language can be extremely helpful. Maintain eye contact, control the tone of your voice, and use hand gestures to find your place. Don’t forget to breathe and try not to speak fast. It’s amazing how much one can achieve through body language. In a leadership or speaking role, excellent body language techniques are vital. This means you have to use your body to move around, your eyes to engage and your posture to gain respect.

On the downside, it can be rather challenging for entrepreneurs to improve their vocal expressions and incorporate body language in a speech or business presentation. To succeed, all you have to do is practice.

Jason Communicate 3

Welcome questions from the audience

Entrepreneurs should be more than willing to answer questions during their speech. By allowing people to get involved you create a bond. The monologue you’re currently engaged in turns into a dialogue, and dialogues builds connections. Answer all questions with confidence and don’t make silly assumptions. So what if you get a question wrong? Making mistakes is natural, and in some ways it shows your listeners that you’re human.

Stay connected to your audience at all times. If you don’t know the answer to a question, ask the audience to help you out. Since you’re the entrepreneur, the guru, the teacher they want to learn from, you should expect a lot of people eager to make themselves noticed.

Mastering the art of speaking in public is easier said than done. Most novice entrepreneurs are afraid of such encounters because theyfear that their inexperience will destroy the little confidence they have. In the business environment, your mistakes are your greatest teacher. Step out of your comfort zone and you’ll eventually attain success. Communicate with confidence; trust your instincts and you have high chances of becoming a savvy leader.

By Jason Phillips and