Combo Mumbo Jumbo

Mumbo Jumbo Pills WEBThere is a lot of rhetoric out there about finding people with the right combination of knowledge, skills, and attributes or KSAs, and then understanding how particular sets of KSAs need to work together to complete projects. Part of the confusion centers around finding these mixes of talent. Do these people come from the recruiting process, are they people within the organization whom we can train, or are there people on other teams within the organization who might have a skill mismatch and would perform brilliantly on another project?

Some management research and instructional elements don’t help as with this example of Combo Mumbo Jumbo. “In an effort to establish a career and talent combination mechanism, an empirical analysis was conducted of the performance level of the administration of the senior executive knowledge base, both accredited and non-accredited, skill expertise, both innate and acquired, and the internality of individualistic attributes.” Seriously? Is that even legal in your state?

Having teams with the right combination of talents isn’t rocket science or combo mumbo jumbo. The answer to the question in the first paragraph is yes. The right combination of talent can come from either inside or outside your organization. Let’s review.

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Motivate THIS!

Bonus WEBWhile listening to the radio one morning, two DJs, one male, one female, and the producer became embroiled in a hot debate. The source of the debate came about when the male DJ stated that he was going to “tip” his mailman for all the good work he did during the year. The DJ went on to say that the postman always delivers the mail on time, does it in an efficient manner and calls him and his wife by name. The producer went ballistic arguing the other side of the “reward” coin. The producer felt that it was great that the mailman was doing his job and that he indeed may be doing it well, but that is what he is paid to do and should not be rewarded for doing his job to the best of his ability.

The DJ then responded with, “So I guess if the company gives you a bonus for doing your job well, you will return it.” The producer replied, “Well, it’s not necessary that the company pay me a bonus. But if I were given a bonus, I would not give it back.” This added fuel to the fire and the female DJ accused the producer of “talking out of both sides of her mouth.” And so the reward for motivation debate went and probably goes pretty much the same in many organizations.

Do reward systems always work? Not according to a book by Daniel H. Pink entitled, Drive – The surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. According to Pink, people who are internally motivated as opposed to being externally motivated are far more productive and in much less need of rewards of any type. How does this idea affect the workplace?

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Being Consistent…Consistently

Tortoise--Hare-WEBBeing consistent is akin to having a good brand. Think of it as part of your personal power. Being a consistent performer at a high level, gives us personal power. This applies to performance teams as well. How can an individual or a team walk the talk if they fail to produce at a high level consistently? Therein lies the rub, what does it take to be consistent, consistently?

Define Your Brand

Most every organization has a mission statement. Teams, too, should have a mission statement as well. Certainly the mission statement should be in alignment with the organization’s, but be clear in representing what your team stands for, the work it produces and the value it brings to the table. Every team member should be on board with the team’s mission statement and live its philosophy each day.

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Multicultural Teams Communicating in Tandem: A Dream Come True or a Nightmare?

Diverse-Bus-Team-WEBAmericans often find communication difficult even with one another. Now add today’s global workforce in the mix and your dream of global expansion, enhanced diversity and collaboration may turn into a nightmare that paralyzes your team preventing collaboration and productivity. Poor communication can evolve from even the most mundane circumstances.

As one who works with multicultural clients, I often find them becoming stumped, demotivated and hesitant to interact and communicate at even the most basic levels. Some examples include a student from a Nordic country who was stuck on how to respond to, “Hello, How are you doing?” He froze at the thought of delivering a reply that might prove to be insulting to his American co-workers. Another executive thought it rude that not every one of his American co-workers looked up and acknowledged that he had entered the break room. In other words, in his country, even if you are engaged in a serious conversation, you stop, acknowledge the person entering the room, speak to them and then jump back your conversation. A Hispanic executive found it difficult to find a polite way to end a telephone conversation. A Japanese executive was horrified and embarrassed to find that she had been using the work “physical” for “fiscal’.

Educational or intelligence levels do not automatically guarantee that there will be no confusion. For example, I once worked with a Chinese financial analyst whose father was a doctor. She was educated in Great Britain and was highly intelligent. Yet still she struggled with our idioms, slang and wit. Most all of my clients wrestle, at some level, with the idea of climbing the corporate ladder, getting recognized for their efforts, office politics and even speaking up in meetings. Of course, these same concerns spill over into team work. What can been done to reduce these communication nightmares?

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Ancient Chariot Teams and Yours - Are They All That Different?

Chariot-Racer-WEBIn ancient Rome, chariot races were one of the main forms of entertainment. In fact, they were, at times, more dangerous than the gladiator fights. These races were run by teams of fearless charioteers who were often as famous as our sport team figures of today. So I began to wonder how charioteer teams of old are like our modern day business teams. OK, maybe I had a little too much time on my hands last week. But stay with me here.

Beware: Sharp Turns

Turns are one of the things that made the chariot races so dangerous. The end of the race track had conical tuning-posts or metae indicating a sharp turn that had to be navigated by several chariots at once. Failing to navigate this turn correctly could result in losing control of the chariot, being maimed or even death. Members of teams would attempt to head off other chariots going into these turns.

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Does Your Team Have the "It Factor"?

Team-for-It-WEBThink about your favorite movie star. He or she probably has “it.” In the case of movie stars “it” is described as having a certain sexual appeal. OK, we’re not going there with teams. The “it” referred to here is communication. While communication may not sound too appealing in a sexy sort of way, it, or rather communication, does serve as a measurement and conduit in team building. You may think that factors such as communication and team productivity do not present hard and fast facts and they are not measureable. Well, now we have scientific evidence and the measurements to back these up.

Alex “Sandy” Pentland recently conducted research on teams with varying performance. His research was conducted in a variety of industries and teams from innovative to backroom operations and call centers to name a few. The measurement instrument was in the form of an electronic badge that the teams wore around their necks. The badges collected data on tone of voice, body language, whom they talked to and more. Yes, the data was based on the questions who, what, why and where. One of the interesting findings is that the “what” didn’t matter. In other words, what these individuals (the who) were discussing didn’t matter, just that they were communicating. The “where” is the conversations that were held outside of the regular work meetings or in the less formal environments like on break or at lunch. Here’s what the study revealed.

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Is Teambuilding Collapsing?

Yes, if you do teambuilding like the typical Team-Bldg-Silly-WEBrah, rah, let’s come together and sing Khumbaya team building sessions. Or how about a retreat with those spray paint ball gun games? One time, our company went on one of those. It was out in the boonies, it was cold as the dickens and we had to use outdoor toilets. Yeah, that really made me want to be productive and hug management. Growing up, we had an outhouse and I’ve worked hard not to have to “go there” again. And finally, there’s the very popular afternoon at Dave and Buster’s. OK, yes it’s indoors, no one is shooting at you and there is usually indoor plumbing. On the other hand, it’s noisy and no opportunity for any in depth conversations. So forget about building a relationship. Everyone goes in eight different directions to find their own favorite brand of, well we’re here and we’ve gotta’ do something. Usually, there is not even a meal together as everyone eats at different times whenever the mood hits them or they get hungry and just leave. I don’t know about you, but I’m not really feelin” it here. So let’s look at what teambuilding is for and when it’s appropriate.

Teambuilding is not meant for creating false “bonding” events, but rather for the following business strategies:

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Well did you know....?

Owl--WEBAccording to an article in HR Magazine, collaborative teams are an essential element today for success in business. Everybody knows that.

Well did you know…?

That a collaborative culture must be established by leadership in order for collaborative teams to develop. Collaboration must be encouraged both on the home doorstep and the doorstep of virtual teams. Teamwork must be valued and good performance rewarded for both teams and individuals. Everybody knows that.

Well did you know…?

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