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MANAGEMENT BY WALKING AROUND
A few years ago, I was a victim of the 'management by walking around' practice. Having been a staff myself, it confused me tremendously why management and executives have to do the rounds by walking around, pretending to be really curious and interested of personnel's work. What exactly can be derived by walking around the hall other than disturbing staff' precious time focused on real work and getting into chitchat with those that have nothing to do at the moment.
Visibility is good when there is a strategic purpose to visibility. Visibility alone is nothing.
Creating real genuine interpersonal relations is good but when it gets down to work, your boss is not your friend and vice-versa.
Also, this family vibe in many companies and organizations is also fake. This is not a family relation, this is business and you have a job to do and will get appraise at the next six-month mark.
There is a tremendous waste of monies and time on team building exercises meant to look like everyone is having a happy time, fetching water, building sand castles, catching people up when they fall, rappelling down ravines -all in the name of team work. There is no team work in that superficial encounters.
Real team work is about solving real problems and challenges as a team and experiencing satisfction from joint accomplishments.
He found me cutting some papers for my program activity for children. "This is work," I told him and he said, "good job," and turned around.
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WHEN GIANTS LORD OVER
Facebook has recently announced its new cryptocurrency which is called, Libra. Libra will be independent of Facebook and will evolve not only as a currency but a financial institution eventually. Facebook being one of the three tech giants, entered the cryptocurrency race and this is not surprising.
Governments and regulators are uniquely aware of the benefits as well as the concerns about the dominance of the big 3: wiping small competitors, disregarding regulations and rules, and imposing their heftiness on every one else.
When giants ruled the earth, a billion years ago, the rest of the species grew too. And yet in the era of uber-competition and massive technological race, it is really a zero-sum game- the swiftest with the mostest?
If the government can't battle with the billion-dollar corporations in terms of implementing regulations to support consumers' interests, where will the consumers go for protection, support, and welfare?
In geo-politics, the rise of the two superpowers 60 years ago culminated in the dominance of only one big superpower- the United States of America which became the 'accidental cop' of the world. Yet, regional powers have emerged with renewed vigor, upsetting the hegemony of a superpower using trade, economics, and partnerships to leverage their reach amongst other nations and impose their interests.
This echoes what has been the current narrative about it: it is good when it is benevolent and moral, and it's really bad when it acts like an evil empire- which can be embodied in one organization at any given time.
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AFRAID TO LOSE?
Scarcity mentality in people is very dangerous. And if applied in organizations, it is doubly lethal.
It can cause organizations to be reactive, defensive, and insecure, hoarding the little asset they have thinking that it would protect them from the ravages of change.
With little that they have, they are afraid to invest in strengthening their core and increasing their value, thereby getting stuck in diminishing returns.
They are not ready to innovate, experiment, take prudent risks, change anything substantial because they are afraid to lose.
Being afraid to lose instead of going for the win is what separates the winning organizations from those that have decided to stay behind and wait.
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FLY ME TO THE MOON
Who says that space travel is still a dream? Not anymore.
NASA just announced that they will be commercializing some of their work which means going towards space tourism since the US government will be withdrawing support for their operations in the next few years.
Commercializing space travel is the next frontier for those in the affluent sector where millions of monies are taken for granted.
What kind of services, products, and experiences would space travel need for various customers and clients?
What innovation would it usher next?
Why it is important to get there first?
I can't wait to see and find out. This is not for the future.
This is definitely for now.
"Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On-a Jupiter or Mars"
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WAKE-UP CALL FOR LEADERS
Don't let a dramatic event stop your tracks before you get the lessons learned or get the message.
Improve your value and organizational value rapidly by cutting off the status quo that no longer serves your mission, purpose, and strategies.
It is easy to be riding on the waves when the economy is on an upswing, everyone likes the ride up there, the air is thin but fresh.
When the economy tanks out, everyone thinks about cutting their losses and downsizing to manageable levels.
It is time to stop reacting to world events, economic catastrophes, outside offers, and deals. It is time to start innovating and building a better base for tomorrow by thinking for the future, not for the past and the present. It will be stale by the time you launch it.
Remember- stop waiting for a dramatic event. By that, it means one thing- you are being let go and the organization has suffered more to deserve a radical shakedown.
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START BEFORE YOU CAN THINK
We know that analysis paralysis sucks.
Thinking about it drives you to inaction.
There are million ways why you should not do it.
But there is only 1 reason why it hurts when you don't.
This one important reason should give you the impetus to do it.
Starting gives you the confidence to proceed without always asking yourself if this is right thing to do.
When you started, you have at least give it a chance to flourish rather to let a million excuses drive your thinking.
Start and learn and stop and continue on.
There is no need to rush.
It is your timing that is the most important timing of all
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DIVERSITY IS NOT A NOUN, IT'S A VERB
As an awarded diversity champion, there is one thing I can say about companies and organizations that wanted to become inclusive, diverse, and highly effective.
Diversity is not a noun, it is a 'verb.' Diversity should be celebrated not something to be used as a weapon against lawsuits and the "me-too environment."
While I say 'to be celebrated' I do not mean, the song, dance, festivals, and 'smell-my-shirt' exercises. These are superficial gestures that do not translate to meaningful and profound change in the workplace- a healthy and positive work environment for all.
Diversity should not be a politically correct thing to have, it is present in all humanity, not just for minorities, differently-abled, and those that have visible differences amongst us. Everyone is different and is to be respected and valued as contributing force to the organization and society in general.
While companies and public organizations strive to become the epitome of inclusion, the pendulum has swung far too much. From forced self-identification, joining the bandwagon, creating massive investments when it is not necessary, and using aggressive tactics to win over the majority have become the "self-destruction' tools" so to speak. When it has been distorted that way, it loses its potency for social transformation.
Since the 1960s and 1980s, the proverbial 'glass ceiling' for women leaders especially for the C-suites had been addressed. Yet until now, it is still a huge issue. I don't think there is an actual glass ceiling. I believe that right now, it is about women not trying at all and afraid to take the leadership position and turn it around for their benefit and advantage. Last time I checked, it is as wide open as anyone with the breadth of experience, high-level of education, and tenacious personality that can withstand corporate politics and organizational pressures.
We need to push back on distorted diversity and inclusion. This is not what we want either. We should turn our back against the mob-based bashing and hate-mongering that uses our differences for political ends. Sorry, I am not joining your march.
Let us understand that diversity and inclusion is a verb. It contains specific behaviors, attitudes, and mindsets that needed to be integrated in our everyday conversations and interactions with each other as we make our workplaces the best place to enhance and enrich our professional, hence our personal lives too.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS AND BE PREPARED TO LISTEN
There is no better place than asking employees what would make each one of them feel truly valued, respected, and included in both their work as employees, as part of the team, and as a contributor of the organizational culture.
I worked with a municipal organization as a newcomer immigrant. This was totally an alien culture to me, not just the North American workplace culture, but working in a government organization interfacing with Canadians. It was coming all at once at the same time. It was difficult for the first few years adjusting to myriad of issues, interests, and differences!
If you were the HR personnel in change of inclusion practices, how would you get a newcomer employer to talk openly about themselves and learn more about their co-workers in an atmosphere of respect and trust and vice-versa? How would you create the conditions and situations where it is safe and friendly but genuine?
COMMIT TO MAKING INCLUSION AN EVERYDAY PRACTICE
In the news, we hear about lawsuits and counter-lawsuits of many types and of various situations involving diversity and inclusion. It is time to turn the issue around- from reactive work to proactive, preventative, relationship-building work which for most part, is what really about. There is no short cut.
From accommodation, we should move towards real integration towards healthy, inclusive, and innovative communities of work. The accommodation era is over. Special treatments and accommodation arrangements do not actually reflect the kinds of changes that needed to happen in the organization to embed inclusion. These artificial stop-gap measures increase the antagonism and defensiveness instead build cooperation from those employees that became disadvantaged because of it. There is not a lot of resources to go around in the first place.
Instead of pitting groups over the other, companies should invest in everyday culture work that involves not only building camaraderie and collegial atmosphere but by picking up on ways to incorporate diverse voices in issues that affect employees at all levels of organization.
IT SHOULD RESULT TO OUTSTANDING BOTTOM-LINE RESULTS
Diverse and inclusive organizations are leaders and trailblazers in their own right. They have turned the potent bomb of diversity to work for themselves. They celebrated it and rejoice in its fullest expression which leads to more innovation and cutting-edge work. The best minds are harnessed and harvest as a policy, not an exception.
True diversity and inclusion work starts in knowing the long-term business value of these efforts and why it should be a recipe for success for all organizations, for now and for the near future.
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I had a former boss who always had to had a post-mortem examination of events, situations, and scenarios that transpired. With the 20/20 hindsight, you can diagnose so many things that have gone wrong with the purpose to improve it or avoid the more-than-once mistakes, errors, and miscalculations.
This is a great exercise and a good habit to have by executives and managers. No stones unturned. But the best managers and leaders start from a point of preventative rather than having to deal with a fall-out of a bad and terrible event. This is by asking the primarily question: what could have gone wrong in this situation and how can we mitigate the risks? bad weather, last minute cancellations, no-show speakers, bad sound system, missing presentations, etc., etc. The list can go on and on.
Preventative mindset is a proactive approach to ensuring that you have the opportunity to take control of the situation on your own terms, can redirect resources to mitigate them, and then of course, have contingency plans in case the preventative action fails.
In life and business, you can only assume that everything will be alright but that is not the case for reality. You always have to have a back-up plan. There is a great reason for that!