Archive for the ‘getting it done’ Category

ASTD Survey: 40% of Global Team Underperform

May 25, 2010 1 comment

NEW YORK, NY – May 24, 2010 – According to a study released today, 80% of corporate managers work  virtually at least part of the time and 63% are members of global virtual teams. The key factors that impair productivity are: cultural differences, communication styles, time-zone differences, language and a lack of face-to-face contact, according to the Virtual Teams Survey Report 2010 – The Challenges of Working in Virtual Teams, conducted by RW3 CultureWizard, an intercultural training consultancy specializing in online intercultural training for global business managers.

Get the report from ASTD.

Posted by Kristin


The Lies We Tell Ourselves

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Lead Star | News and Insights | On Our Minds | The Lies We Tell Ourselves.

You Don’t Know How to E-Mail

October 27, 2009 2 comments

I’d say my biggest gripe at the office is our persistent and abundant inability to effectively communicate via e-mail.  I say “our” because I’m guilty of this, too. Two things got me thinking about this today:

  1. I received an email with a blank subject line
  2. Then I received an email sharing Erik Goodlad’s “5 min/20 Slides” presentation at Ignite Boise about managing emails

Hear me for a minute: if you’re swamped with emails, so are your co-workers, manager, and most importantly… your clients and subject matter experts.  By following some of the tips from Mike Song’s book, The Hamster Revolution, you’ll communicate better and do a better job managing your emails.

Check out Erik’s presentation, too:

HOW do I improve my team’s productivity & engagement?

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve ranted before about “employee engagement” and how the buzz word drives me bonkers (see previous posts!). But even though I disagree with all the hype surrounding the “importance” of employee engagement, I do agree that it’s a vital ingredient for high-performing teams.

CEOs and company leaders are giving orders to “build employee engagement” in an effort to increase sales and profitability.

The question managers (ie: the people responsible for making that a reality) have is: HOW do we get more productive, engaged employees?

You increase productivity and employee engagement when you have good supervisors.  Productivity and engagement go hand-in-hand, and neither happen with a crappy supervisor. So what we need to do is put people in supervisory roles that have the aptitude to actually get the job done.  Here’s some criteria that define the characteristics of a supervisor that can manage high-performing teams.

Credit to Wally Bock — This is an excerpt from his article, “Not Enough Employee Engagement? Blame Your Boss“.

Does he or she like helping other people succeed? A supervisor’s job is to help the team and its members succeed.

Has he or she demonstrated a willingness to talk to others about employee engagement and performance? This is a key part of any supervisor’s job. We can give someone the tools to do it better, but we can’t make them willing to do it.

Has he or she demonstrated the willingness to make decisions and take responsibility for results? How many supervisors have you seen who simply don’t decide? They buck the issue up the chain. Or they decide not to decide. Or they dump the problem back in a team member’s lap, then walk away with their hands in the air.

We need to give them training in supervisory skills. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, less than 10 percent of training budgets are spent on first line supervisors. Most of that is spend on how to fill out forms and classes on prophylactic HR. That’s not good enough.

New supervisors need some training in basic role identification. They need skills training in communication and confrontation skills. And they need help understanding their transition.

We need to support them in their work. Support means more training. The transition period, which takes 12 to 18 months, is the time when lots of small training sessions are needed. New supervisors also need to identify role models and mentors and learn self-critique skills.

After that, some form of peer support is vital. That can be a formal program in a large company or a joint program among smaller companies. In many cases, mentors and coaches are part of the mix.

We need to help them develop. One of the great things about supervision is that there’s always something more to learn. We need to help bosses create development plans and then follow them. We need to provide resources and point them to more resources.

The best way to leverage employee engagement is to have an engaged boss. There are “great places to work” with “pockets of awfulness.” There are horrid slave ships with beacons of excellence.



Does Always Being “In Motion” = Productivity?

Steve Roesler posted an interesting question on the All Things Workplace blog yesterday:

Do we have to be seen as “in motion” at every moment in order to be considered alive, well and productive?



As a typical over-achiever, this is something I’ve always struggled with. I feel the pressure to always be doing something, always look busy, always have an impossible To-Do List, and always get it done looking fresh and unruffled… when really I’m a hot mess underneath the veneer.

Do you feel the pressure to live this way? Why do you think that is? Do we do it to ourselves? Is it your boss, company, significant other, or society in general that forces you to be constantly in motion in order to feel (look!) successful?

Those of you that ooze the “go-with-the-flow” mentality, whom I greatly admire with a twinge of envy, what are your views about the pressure to always look busy or in motion in order to appear successful? Do you feel productive? Do you buy into the “busy employees are hard-working employees” view from many in management? Do you disregard it? How do you avoid it, while still pleasing the boss/sig other?

Share your thoughts!!



How to improve help desk morale and service levels at the same time

by Beth Blakely,, May 27, 2003
TechRepublic member Kevin Orr now works for Northrop Grumman, but before retiring from the U.S. Army in December 2002, he served as the CIO for its Aeromedical Center at Fort Rucker, AL, from 1999 to 2001. He said he looks back on that position as one of the most rewarding in his 20-year career. Perhaps some of the satisfaction he feels from the position is due to the remarkable changes he brought to the help desk.

Orr shared the story of how he managed to morph the help desk from “a place where happy people came if they wanted to get angry” into “a place where angry people came to get happy.” He instituted physical as well as cultural changes and created a familylike atmosphere for the help desk pros he supervised.  Read the article.

Something to Chew On

Lesson: Make sure to look down for trap doors when running.
Photo Credit: Stock.Xchang Photos

In a “do more with less” environment, it’s easy to overlook “less important” details and race forward to get tasks checked off your list. Sometimes those “less important” things we tend to overlook are… our people.

Rather than a machine, we’ve got real people working hard to get our tasks accomplished and one of the most powerful mindsets a manager can have is that we work for the employees. A manager’s role is to break down barriers and creatively provide resources the employees need in order to truly “do more with less”.

Managers that forget this part of their role wonder why their employees aren’t excited about the latest project, aren’t producing as efficiently, and why they’re beginning to disengage from the company.

Don’t fall into the trap of “doing more with less” and forget that your real responsibility is making it possible for your folks to actually do more with less, and still feel pride in the work they’re accomplishing.