Welcome to this edition of our monthly newsletter. If you are a new subscriber, then we extend to you an especially warm welcome. Just when many commentators thought we were over the worst of the Global Financial Crisis, markets worldwide are being shaken again. This time, the downturn is the result of the financial turmoil in Europe. It's time to take stock to see how your competitors and other organizations are faring in this turbulent environment. Our report this month reviews the latest IBM global study on new work practices. The report contains many crucial lessons for succeeding in this new economy.
Success in this new business environment depends not simply on having the right technology and systems. The right style of leadership is a critical driver for getting employees, customers and suppliers to leverage the new technologies and processes. Our feature article this month draws some very important lessons for how the new style of leadership will look and how to apply it.
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The New Working Paradigm:
Collaboration, Technology and Information
by Leslie Allan
IBM recently released its report into how organizations are using technology and people in 2010. The report, titled A New Way of Working ? Insights from Global Leaders, highlights the fact that today's business environment is becoming increasingly complex and volatile. Coupled with the new reality that customers, suppliers and workers are becoming more and more geographically dispersed, organizations today need to work smarter, not harder. This study examines what practices leading organizations are using and refining to keep ahead of the game.
The study surveyed over 275 senior executives worldwide, comprising senior leaders of business units and IT functions. The report authors also interviewed leaders that were already using smarter working practices. Just what are these smarter ways of working that the study authors investigated? The report categorizes these working practices using a three-way grid. In its simplest form, their model can be summarized as such:
- People can be identified and placed easily to work on current issues
- Processes and rules are owned and automatically changed
- Information is automatically sourced and delivered to those who need it
- People from within and without the business are involved in business improvement
- Processes are easily understood and involve all in decision making
- Information is discussed and evaluated
Note how each element has three dimensions: People, Process and Information. It is the three dimensions together that make for effective work practices. Here, Business Performance Pty Ltd is in unison with the study authors. For example, organizations that simply install new technology without attending to getting their people on board with using it are wasting their time and resources. The same can be said of businesses that institute programs to engage people without fixing the underlying systems and processes. These kinds of effort are simply papering over the cracks in the business.
- People work across time, geographical and technological boundaries
- Processes cross organizational boundaries efficiently and effectively
- Information from multiple sources is captured in real time
What are high performing organizations doing differently compared with their underperforming counterparts? The IBM study draws some very interesting results. For example, high performance companies are more than twice as likely able to:
That's a very significant shortfall in capability in recognizing skill gaps and filling them quickly. In this modern environment, Human Resource functions need to be at the forefront in managing and deploying talent across the organization.
- easily identify individuals with needed skills
- quickly build skills to address changing conditions
- display and deliver information to meet the needs of various audiences
Read the full commentary
Focusing on all three critical dimensions, People, Process and Information, is not easy when bringing about change in your organization. Our unique CHANGE Approach guides you in attending to each factor in a way that helps ensure the success of your change initiative.
Start using our CHANGE Approach today by downloading our popular Managing Change in the Workplace guide and workbook.
Closing the Gap Between Success and Significance
by Tom Northup
Think of the person you most admire. This might be a teacher, a business associate, an inspirational leader, a mentor or friend who made a significant impact on your life. You remember them for what they did for you at a time when you needed their direction. Contrast this person with the college professor who said, "You can interpret this story two ways, my way and the wrong way."
In the past, accepted business leadership styles resembled the college professor's attitude. Using a command style, executives demanded better, faster, cheaper, more efficient strategies, pushing employees to higher standards and criticizing rather than praising.
As a result, the driver leader struggled, employees refused to make an emotional commitment, the management team did not work in a unified fashion and the organization suffered.
The Changing World
Today's business leaders face a world undergoing change such as we have never seen before. New technology, international competition, lightning information availability, and new legal accountability challenge leaders to make not just directional but transformational changes to remain competitive.
In this environment, it is difficult for a CEO, President, or leader to drive an organization to realize its vision and to deliver sustainable results.
The Changing Leadership Model
Many leaders forget a basic adage of leadership. Their success depends on the success of their employees and co-workers. High level leaders understand that they contribute to this success by making it easier for their employees to do their jobs, by making them feel that their jobs have significant value and by treating them as individuals with valid opinions and suggestions.
Research shows that the organizational climate, the way people think about working for an organization, has a significant impact on human performance. The way employees perceive the leader and his management team drives the organizational climate and employee performance.
In today's world-class organization, people at every level must have a personal stake in the vision of the business. The world-class leader understands that the most important part of his job is to develop an organization where people want to work and want to do their best.
Like the person you admire the most, today's effective business leaders develop significance with their associates. They enjoy continued long-term professional and personal success. They leave an indelible impact on their employees, customers and suppliers because of what they do and continue to do for them.
Becoming a Significant Leader
Turn this around and ask yourself who sees you as their mentor, as their inspiration, as memorable in their life. This may be difficult at first since we seldom see ourselves as making a significant impact on others.
Ask yourself how many people in your life want to help you? How many people have you dedicated your time and energy to help this year? If the answer to both questions is "a handful", you may lead a comfortable life, but you will not develop significance in your relationships. To create significance, you must develop the attitude of the "Servant's Heart". You must ask how you can help people.
This requires you to shift your focus. You develop a Servant's Heart by dedicating yourself to the success of those who help you achieve your success. A self-centered driver has fleeting success because he builds on too small a foundation.
People walk around with the letters MMFA ? Make Me Feel Appreciated ? as a figurative imprint on their foreheads. You, as a leader with a Servant's Heart, must ask how you can help these people become more effective and feel more important. You must make your customers, employees and suppliers understand that you have their best interests at heart and that your commitment is unconditional.
All of us aspire to reach our dreams and goals. The leader with a "Servant's Heart" inspires others who realize that he cares about them and wants them to succeed at a personal level. When people realize that they can reach their personal goals through helping the organization reach its goals, they make impressive results possible.
Read the full article
Free Product Upgrades
If you purchased an earlier version of our Training Tracker or Succession Planner software, you are eligible to receive the latest version at no cost to you. We released Succession Planner Version 2.0 earlier this year with expanded capabilities and a bug fix. The new Version 2.0 of Training Tracker was released a little over one month ago. With this release we executed a major redesign, giving you many new functions and capabilities. Read the list of enhancements on the Succession Planner and Training Tracker product pages.
To receive your free copy of the new version, simply send proof of purchase to firstname.lastname@example.org Once we have verified your purchase, we will promptly send you the latest version to your email address. Please note that support for earlier versions of Training Tracker will cease on 31 July 2010. Write to us today to obtain your free Version 2.0 without delay.
Did you know that you can download the free trial version and User Guide for each product from our web site? It only makes sense to try before you buy. Visit the Succession Planner and Training Tracker product pages to download now.
In fact, many of our products feature a demo of some sort. Download the free introductory chapters to our e-books and toolkits. Simply visit the product's web page and look for the Free Downloads! Section. If you have a question, we encourage you to drop us a line at email@example.com We answer most queries within 24 hours.
Visit our web site at www.businessperform.com for lots of expert guidance and practical tools designed to help you get ahead of your competition. Also, be sure to pass this newsletter on to friends and colleagues who want to stay up with what's on. From all of us here on the Business Performance team, we wish you a productive month and look forward to communicating with you again soon.
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