Without introduction except to say that this is funniest brief video I have seen in decades….
Here is another thought-provoking article featured by the the Drucker Exchange (the Dx), a website that “hosts an ongoing conversation about bettering society through effective management and responsible leadership. It is produced by the Drucker Institute, a think tank and action tank based at Claremont Graduate University that was established to advance and build on the ideas and ideals of Peter F. Drucker, the father of modern management. The Dx was first published as Drucker Apps in 2009 (see Dx archives). Renamed and reconfigured in October 2010, the Dx is now designed to stimulate a discussion of current events that is illuminated by Peter Drucker’s timeless teachings. It is a blog for people who want to get informed, involved and inspired to convert ideas into action.”
To check out the wealth of resources available and sign up for a weekly newsletter, please click here.
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The traditional industry model is built on institutional loyalty. The new “free agent” model is built on individualism. But neither of these, according to an article in the latest issue of Harvard Business Review, “creates the conditions for collaborative trust that business today requires.”
And so the piece — by Paul Adler, Charles Heckscher and Laurence Prusak—calls for a “new type of organization that excels at combining the knowledge of diverse specialists” to create “a collaborative community.”
Successful examples of such collaborative communities, the authors say, can be found at IBM, Citibank, NASA and Kaiser Permanente. What these places have in common are, among other things, an “ethic of contribution,” a “shared purpose,” and an “infrastructure in which collaboration is valued and rewarded.”
While Peter Drucker rarely wrote about “collaboration” per se, he certainly captured its spirit. “The modern organization,” he wrote in his own HBR essay 19 years ago, “cannot be an organization of boss and subordinate. It must be organized as a team.”
Beyond that, Drucker hit on many of the same components of collaboration that HBR highlights. For instance, the ethic of contribution, as we’ve noted before, was one that Drucker frequently stressed. “The question is not: ‘What do I want to contribute?’” Drucker declared. “It is not: ‘What am I told to contribute?’ It is: ‘What should I contribute?’”
Likewise, imbuing an organization with a sense of shared purpose was also something Drucker considered to be essential. “Every enterprise requires commitment to common goals and shared values,” Drucker asserted in The New Realities. “Without such commitment there is no enterprise; there is only a mob.”
And Drucker devoted a lot of thought to how organizations should foster what HBR calls the “infrastructure of collaboration.” “The knowledge worker. . . is usually a specialist,” Drucker wrote in his 1967 classic, The Effective Executive. “By itself, however, a specialty is a fragment and sterile. Its output has to be put together with the output of other specialists before it can produce results. The task is not to breed generalists. It is to enable the specialist to make himself and his speciality effective. This means he must think through who has to use his output and what the user needs to know and to understand to be able to make productive the fragment the specialist produces.”
Here is an article written by Robert Hosking for Talent Management magazine. To check out all the resources and sign up for a free subscription to the TM and Chief Learning Officer magazines published by MedfiaTec, please click here.
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Often talent managers look at external signs to determine staffing needs, but it’s more important to consider their company’s unique circumstances before making a call.
The economy is showing modest signs of improvement, and some businesses are preparing for growth. In fact, 92 percent of executives interviewed for the Robert Half Professional Employment Report are at least somewhat confident in their companies’ prospects for growth in the third quarter of 2011.
Still, many talent managers are contemplating whether this is the right time to hire additional staff, and most appear to be taking a cautious approach. The majority of respondents — 90 percent — in the report said they expect no change in staffing levels.
Instead of looking predominantly at external signs, it may be helpful for managers to consider their company’s unique circumstances. By looking at factors within the firm, they can more accurately assess the staffing situation and their needs.
[Here are four of the six common signs that, Hosking suggests, could point to the need to hire. To read the complete article, please click here.]
Excessive overtime. If staying late has become the norm for employees, it could be a sign they’re having trouble keeping up with the workload. Similarly, if they regularly take work home or come in on weekends, it’s probably a sign they are stretched beyond their limits.
Buying time. Here are a few glaring signs that additional headcount may be required: employees submitting more requests for deadline extensions than usual; even the best, most punctual performers become chronically late in turning in assignments; staff can’t start on new projects because they’re scrambling to finish outstanding work.
Expanding job duties. Managers should consider if jobs within the department, including their own, have expanded to include low-level duties. For example, are workers stepping in to help answer phones, process invoices, finish reports or help others meet deadlines? There’s a good chance the team is understaffed if individuals routinely perform such tasks in addition to their core duties.
Postponed growth. One major red flag to watch out for is if the company has been required to put off or pass completely on new initiatives because there are not enough people to pursue them.
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Robert Hosking is executive director of OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Adam Bryant conducts interviews of senior-level executives that appear in his “Corner Office” column each week in the SundayBusiness section of The New York Times. Here are a few insights provided during an interview of Stacey Allaster, the chairwoman and C.E.O. of the Women’s Tennis Association, who says, “When You Persevere, ‘No’ Turns to ‘Yes.’”
To read the complete interview as well as Bryant’s interviews of other executives, please click here.
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Bryant: Do you remember the first time you were somebody’s boss?
Allaster: I was 18, and I was the head tennis professional of the local tennis club. So I had young pros working for me — either high school students or university students. I was the head pro every summer, and then I wanted to get some other experience. So I ran a College Pro Painters franchise in my final year of university. I went from wearing white to a different white. I had eight guys working for me.
So that took it to a different level and outside of my comfort zone, outside of the world that I knew. I felt that this experience for a year would be a good sales and entrepreneurial leadership experience for me.
Bryant: Did you have any experience painting?
Allaster: No. But I had a very hard-working mom and a hard-working grandmother. We were in a challenging economic environment, so we were very used to fixing up and doing things on our own, so I was good with a paintbrush. But my job running the painting business was really about knocking on doors, getting the jobs and then working with the team.
Bryant: What were your career goals at the time?
Allaster: Early on, I knew I wanted to be in sports marketing. That pathway was either through law school or an M.B.A. Generally everyone who was in the industry had that background.
But after undergrad, I was working in Toronto. I was the head pro of the Richmond Hill Country Club, with a thousand members, and two or three pros working for me. I started to train some athletes and got exposure to the Ontario Tennis Association. They quickly grabbed me for a role that was development but also sales. I had to get out on the road, sell the sport, give free clinics and inspire people to enjoy the sport.
I spent two years traveling around the province in my Volkswagen convertible, either getting people to play the sport and love the sport, or getting people to help fund the Ontario Tennis Association. I then began to run events, and get sponsors.
I knew then I wanted to get to Tennis Canada, the national organization. They turned me down three times, but I’m persistent and no means yes. I got my foot in the door as a special-projects coordinator. Fifteen years later, I was head of the Canadian Open, men’s and women’s.
Bryant: What then?
Allaster: Because I had just done tennis and I’d done primarily sales, I wanted to get an M.B.A. It opened my eyes up to a whole new world of management. In the sessions about management, the light bulbs began to go off about what I had been doing well, and where I hadn’t been performing very well as a manager. They helped guide me about the type of manager and leader I wanted to be.
Bryant: Talk about those light-bulb moments.
Allaster: Because I’m competitive, I was all about results and all about winning. I probably spent too much time in the beginning being focused on the endgame but not recognizing that, to win the match, you really need to take the time to nurture your team, energize your team and understand what motivates your team. Not everyone is motivated the way I am.
It doesn’t mean that I’m right and they’re wrong. You can all have the best ideas in the world, but if you don’t have the people who really are energized and motivated to deliver, you won’t achieve success.
I have a diversified team now, with a variety of different skills. We all don’t need to be the same, nor should we be the same. It’s about understanding what everybody needs to be motivated and successful.
Bryant: So how do you do that?
Allaster: I think it’s about time and communication and style. And during those moments when you’re under intense pressure, you dial it back.
Bryant: What do you mean?
Allaster: You have to dial back the energy of the discussion and just be more reflective and patient. I think I’m more self-aware. So if we’ve gone off track for some reason, the first place I’ll start is: Did I not set a clear direction? Did someone not clearly understand what we were trying to achieve? Was I asking too much of the team or the individual? Do we have the right skill set to achieve that goal? So I’m much more aware now of looking there first, versus immediately going to, “they didn’t deliver.” I just think that, now that I’ve matured, I’m a much better communicator and far more aware of everyone around me and their needs, versus just being focused on getting the result.
Bryant: What were some other important leadership lessons you’ve learned?
Allaster: Well, there’s probably a culmination of overcoming adversity and challenge through my whole life. To give you an example, I wasn’t the kid who had one paper route. I had three paper routes. We needed money and I wanted to play sports and my mom provided everything for me, but there was a limit, so she said I had to earn some money to be able to play sports. So there I was in the middle of a Canadian winter, schlepping around to 1,500 houses every week. In the winter months I used the sled, and in the summer months I used the wagon.
I can remember achieving a lot in sports just with the sheer tenacity that I will win and I’ll overcome it. I’m on the smaller side, so people said to me, “You can’t play tennis.” So anybody can say that to me, but I’ll just prove them wrong. I’ve always found a way, whatever the challenge is.
Bryant: Tell me more about your mother and grandmother.
Allaster: They dealt with a lot of adversity in their lives and so I had two role models, day in, day out, to show me that despite all odds, you can get anything done — and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.
My grandmother raised five kids. She had her own business. It was a shoe store — Kiddie Cobbler — in the house. She was managing her business and the five kids. My grandfather was sick.
My mom was a nurse. She injured her back, so she couldn’t work. We had to look for other ways to make money. My grandmother helped her buy a duplex, and we made it a boarding home for college students. We had eight people living with us. So that’s how she made money. And I always had a job. I didn’t lack for anything, even though it was a tough time.
We were entrepreneurial. You had to do what you had to do. And I was kind of a shy, quiet, private person. So it probably was good for me growing up to always be around people and learn how to talk with them, especially at a young age. In those teenager years, you’re usually not so comfortable.
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Adam Bryant, deputy national editor of The New York Times, oversees coverage of education issues, military affairs, law, and works with reporters in many of the Times‘ domestic bureaus. He also conducts interviews with CEOs and other leaders for Corner Office, a weekly feature in the SundayBusiness section and on nytimes.com that he started in March 2009. In his new book, The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed, (Times Books), he analyzes the broader lessons that emerge from his interviews with more than 70 leaders. To read an excerpt, please click here. To contact him, please click here.