Tag Archives: SoundviewPro

What Really Matters in Life?

Marshall Goldsmith is today’s guest blogger. Goldsmith has twice been recognized as the top-ranked executive coach in the world and one of the top 10 most influential business thinkers by Thinkers50.

Most people don’t want to “do nothing’ all day. We have hopes and dreams, goals and ambitions. We want to contribute to the world, make it a better place, not “retire” from it to a life of “leisure”. For most of us, the prospects of sleeping in late, lounging on the beach, improving our golf scores, living on cruise ships, and lazing about all day may sound good for a short time, but they hold little allure for us in the long-term.

So, what really matters in life? I can boil the answer to this question down to six major themes:
1) Wealth
2) Health
3) Relationships
4) Contribution/Achievement
5) Meaning
6) Happiness

First a little discussion on the themes.

Wealth – some have more than others, some have less, but most of the people I run across agree that while it can be used to pay for nice homes, fast cars, and fine dining, it can’t purchase meaning. Beyond a middle-income level, the amount of money you have bears little correlation to how happy you are.

Health – is critically important to enjoying life. Good health is a combination of luck, a healthy lifestyle, and medical care.

Relationships – are very important. Everyone I meet clearly values their relationships with friends and family members and sees that these relationships are key to their emotional wellbeing.

Contribution/Achievement – for most of us reading this blog we are fortunate in life and seek to give back, make a positive contribution, even leave a legacy. Helping others as we’ve been helped is important to us.

Meaning – work that has meaning is important to our sense of well being. We want to feel that we are making a real difference in the world.

Happiness – everyone I’ve ever met wants to be happy. True happiness can’t be bought – it has to be lived!

As you contemplate these themes and set your goals for 2015, you might choose to volunteer or work on projects that make the world a better place. You might choose to change to a job or a career where you have more opportunity to serve. For me, I still teach and give classes, but I focus more on advising people how they can have a great rest of their lives rather than just work harder and “make more money.”

Reflecting on life’s purpose should start when you’re young—and never stop. I served on the board of the Peter Drucker Foundation for 10 years, so I had a chance to observe Peter personally. He worked until his death at age 95! He was never interested in retiring. He was interested in working to make the world a better place. Through his example, I learned that making a difference means more than, and is very different from, making a living.

Think about your life. Now’s a great time to start planning the rest of it. How can you make a contribution? How can you find meaning? What will make you happy? How can you make this time count—for yourself, the people around you, and the world?

To learn more from Marshall Goldsmith about improving your life, check out his SoundviewPro course Engaging Ourselves at Work and in Life.

Herbie Hancock: Get Out Of The Way When Your People Are Learning

Today’s guest blog is from John Baldoni, leadership development chair at N2Growth, first published at Forbes.

If you want your people to grow and develop sometimes the best thing to do is to back off.

Herbie Hancock, the legendary jazz keyboardist, tells two stories about trumpet virtuoso and bandleader Miles Davis that illustrate this point. Hancock was an up and coming player and got an invitation to audition with Davis and his band. Davis was already a legend but Hancock was still cutting his chops.

Told to report to Miles’ house, Hancock met the band and Miles played with the group for a few minutes then as Hancock told an audience on Sirius XM Radio, he threw down his trumpet on the couch and went upstairs. The band kept playing. Miles did the same thing a day later. And after a few days he invited Hancock to cut a record with his band. Hancock says that he learned twenty five years later that Miles’s disappearing act was purposeful. He went upstairs to listen to the group via his intercom. He knew that young musicians could be intimidated by his presence so he removed that distraction.

Another lesson Hancock shared with his audience (in conjunction with his new memoir Possibilities about Miles was his gift of teaching. Miles would seldom give musicians a complete answer when they questioned him about something musical. His strategy was to let the musicians learn by themselves or with the band. Hancock now a veteran performer and teacher himself says that when you learn something on your own you remember it better. The lesson becomes lasting.

What managers can learn from these stories is that young performers, or those new to a team, need to be given a certain amount of leeway to show what they can do. This of course is after you have recruited and trained them. Some may be more independent than others but all benefit when the boss steps away.

Furthermore if the boss is always hanging around, looking over their shoulder, he or she may undermine the employee’s confidence. Or because the boss is present may set himself up as the hands-on tutor ready, willing and able to answer all questions. Support is good; “hovering” is limiting.

There is something else unsaid in the stories about Miles Davis. He had his pick of the best musicians. Managers do not always have that luxury; they often must work with the talent and skills HR provides them. Some of those folks, unlike a Herbie Hancock type, do need more hands-on development. But there comes a time when that initial development period ends. The employee must think and do for him or herself based upon what he or she has learned. If they are unable to do so then they are not a good fit for the team.

“Every artist was first an amateur,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. It is up to the manager to provide that amateur with what he or she will need to become a true professional. Hard work and diligence – coupled with talent – will power the transformation.

Learn more about leadership at John Baldoni’s SoundviewPro course Do-It-Yourself Leadership.

The Olympic Sized Power Of Routines

Jones Loflin, an internationally recognized speaker, author and trainer, is our guest blogger today.

At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, USA rifle shooter Matt Emmons was poised to win his second gold medal. He had one shot left, and only needed a score of 7.3. The lowest score on his last nine shots was 9.3, so the gold was certainly to be in his hands soon. Sure enough, Emmons took the shot, and hit a bullseye… on the wrong target. He was awarded 0 points and finished fourth in this particular competition.

When discussing what happened, Emmons explained that he normally looks at the number of the target through his viewfinder on his rifle, and then lowers his gun. Notice what he said next: “On that shot, I was just worrying about calming myself down and just breaking a good shot, so I didn’t even look at the number. I probably should have.”

First, let me say I can not imagine the pressure faced by any Olympic athlete. As a novice rifle shooter, I struggle to hit the center of the target in my own backyard. And to Emmons’ credit, he did recover from the mistake and win a gold medal in a different competition the next day.

What this story affirms for me each time I see it is the incredible power of routines to help me “hit the right target” in respect to my daily goals. I know that if I get the right amount of sleep, exercise first thing in the morning, and eat a healthy breakfast, I can have a productive day. I’ve followed the routine countless times, but when I stray from it, I am setting myself up for failure. And it is sometimes just the day it was imperative for me to be at my best.

Notice that Emmons said his emotions were what got him out of his routine. Ironically, it’s a routine that helps us perform well under heavy stress. It’s why athletes, military personnel, and anyone else who has to perform well is engaged in continuous training. Deviate from the proven routine… and who knows how things might turn out. It could be the difference from being on the top of an Olympic platform, or watching from the crowd.

As you work through your day, reflect on the routines that you know help you to be productive and hit your mark. Look at developing new ones that could take your work to the next level. Most importantly, recognize that straying from a routine that works can have disastrous consequences… in the Olympics and in the game of life.

Learn more about personal productivity from Jones Loflin in his SoundviewPro course The Five Keys to Experiencing Extreme Personal Productivity.

Costs, Managing Expectations, and Value Delivered

A guest blog with N. Dean Meyer, author of Internal Market Economics, as well as six other books on organizational design. He’s a consultant, speaker, and executive coach on how to implement the business-within-a-business paradigm

Tackling budget problems with internal market economics

You don’t need to promise the impossible, like “do more with less.”

You don’t need to accept customer expectations far beyond what your resources can deliver.

You don’t need to live with a lack of executive perception of the value you deliver.

You don’t need to tolerate vague accusations that you cost too much, or unfair comparisons to outsourcing or benchmarks.

You don’t need to engender mistrust for lack of cost transparency.

You don’t need to get dragged into political debates over cost allocations.

You don’t need to hold your breath and pray for year-end money to fund critical infrastructure and innovation investments.

And you don’t need to design bureaucratic chargebacks or complex governance processes to solve these problems.

All these challenges are created by traditional financial processes. As the old paradigm goes, you get a budget to cover your costs. You’re expected to manage your own resources, perhaps with input from your internal business clients on priorities. Meanwhile, to your clients, everything appears free. And when price is zero, what happens to demand? Basic economics tells you this cannot work.

The solution is found in thinking of your job, and your budget, in a different way….

Consider your organization as a business within a business. Its purpose is to serve customers – be they within your immediate organization, elsewhere in the enterprise, or external customers – with your products and services.

From this perspective, there’s a science that explains how to solve your resource-governance challenges: economics. With or without money actually changing hands (chargebacks), the application of market economics inside organizations has profound impacts on the way you handle your budget.

Think of this: As a business, nobody gives you money to pay your costs. People give you money to buy your products and services.

So think of your budget as an escrow – money put on deposit with you at the beginning of the year to pay for your products and services throughout the year.

A common real-life example is your mortgage escrow. You pay money into escrow each month. Then, when you get an invoice for property tax or homeowners insurance, you pay using the money in your escrow.

When you think of your budget this way, resource-governance processes fall into place….

Your budget (the escrow account) creates a “checkbook” that belongs to the enterprise. So your customers must decide what “checks to write.” You don’t need a steering committee to micromanage you. The purser’s only purpose is managing that checkbook.

Of course, all your products and services have a true, full cost to the enterprise. Sure, you may get more efficient over time; but at any point in time, things cost what they cost. There is no “do more with less.” The checkbook only pays for so much.

Your customers manage demand within the finite limits of their checkbook (your budget, which equates to your resources). If they want more than they can afford, customers must find more money to buy more – whether that takes the form of a budget increase or the transfer of money (chargebacks). As a result, customers’ expectations match your resources.

Furthermore, everybody understands the value you deliver for a given level of budget. That perception of value counters many of the complaints that you cost too much.

Of course, this demand-management process is predicated on knowing the costs of your products and services. Your rates becomes a basis for like-to-like comparisons with outsourcing and benchmarks.

With a transparent cost model, you build trust. You can base any allocations on utilization. And you can build into your rates any necessary sustenance activities like training, process improvements, and innovation.

Learn more about how to apply market economics inside your organization with the SoundviewPro course here.

Copyright 2014 N. Dean Meyer and Associates Inc.

Networking tips for Young Professionals

A guest blog with Cyndee Woolley, APR, a consultant in public relations and the author of Building Brand [You]. For more information, visit www.BuildingBrandYou.com.

In speaking with seasoned executives, one of the biggest lessons they learned through the course of their career is the value of building a network. Often young professionals are thrown into the waters and take years to hone their networking skills – losing valuable relationships along the way. Hopefully, these tips will help you stand out from the crowd and build your network.

Take time to think through your brand
With limited professional experience, many young professionals haven’t taken the time to develop a brand for themselves. Instead, they have a haphazard, thrown-together image that may appear polished externally but slows them down professionally. Your brand is more than a sharp suit and fancy business card. It is about developing a clear vision of your ideal future and weaving in important elements like your values and priorities to reflect a solid brand that people can understand.

Target your networking
It is important to be open and receptive to new ideas and possible work relationships. After all, many opportunities come from unexpected sources. However, with a realistic understanding of your time limitations – both professionally and personally – it is perfectly reasonable to approach your networking efforts in the same way that you do a sales project. Focus your efforts on the people who can help advance your career skills and lead you to your ideal life. Beyond sales prospects, consider networking with these three types of individuals:
• Mentors – Keep your eye out for mentors. These individuals are living the life that you would like to enjoy, or perhaps have a skill that you would like to develop. Don’t ask them to be your mentor, but ask them for coffee or lunch to learn about what they do.
• Peers – It is important to have a network of peers that are in the same industry as you. They will be your resource for referrals to potential vendors and possibly clients that they can’t handle. By working together, you can both develop your professional skills and advance your career.
• Inspirational Relationships – In a competitive atmosphere, there can be great pressure to perform that can lead to burnout and frustration. Inspirational relationships can be as simple as belonging to church, Rotary, or Kiwanis. But, don’t overlook that best friend who always leaves you charged up and ready to take on the world or the child in your life who helps you see things from another perspective. Keep these relationships strong during the good times so that you can pick each other up during the really hard times.

Learn about professional etiquette
I had dinner with a young professional that worked in a very casual industry. It wasn’t surprising to see him in khakis shorts and a t-shirt instead of a suit and tie. But, when we ate dinner, he slurped his coffee and spoke with his mouth full – complete with little hunks of food flying out at me. This doesn’t just happen with young professionals, I’ve known a few adults that I refuse to have a meal without protective eyewear!
Take the time to learn about the nuances of professional networking. Small details like carrying your cold, wet drink in your left hand to keep your right (handshaking) hand clean and dry can make a big difference in how you are remembered.

Plan out some common conversation points
Networking can be intimidating, especially in that awkward silence when you don’t know what to say next. Remember, that other person is probably feeling the same way. Take the time to plan out a few questions or conversation points that will help you connect personally and kill the silence. These conversation points could be simple questions like:
• Tell me about the most exciting thing that happened to you this week. Be prepared to share one of your accomplishments too.
• What projects are you working on right now? This will give you more insight into their professional experience than just their job title.
• If you weren’t here right now, what would you be doing? Hopefully this opens up some personal hobbies to share interest in.
• Did you hear about….? Watch the news and keep abreast of what is going on in your industry for these types of questions.

Listen and observe before you speak
This tip has been shared frequently as it relates to social media, but it still applies in your professional networking. As a young professional, you might be eager to share your advice, projects, or experiences with perfect strangers in a networking setting. While you think you are being fun and friendly, other people might consider you abrasive and rude. Take the time to listen and observe the culture of the group that you are in before you rattle on and on. It will help you gauge what is socially acceptable in the group and gain the respect of the other members.

Learn more about building your brand at Cyndee Woolley’s course Building Brand [You].

It’s Showtime! One Key to Continual Motivation

Marshall Goldsmith is today’s guest blogger. Marshall is the three-time top-ranked executive coach in the world and one of the top 10 most influential business thinkers by Thinkers50.

Let me start with two well-known phrases:

  1. All the world’s a stage” is the phrase that begins a monologue from William Shakespeare’s As You like It.
  2. The show must go on” is a phrase in show business, meaning that regardless of what happens, whatever show has been planned still has to be staged for the waiting patrons.

Until recently, I always had a dilemma regarding the “stage” of business. As an executive educator, who helps successful leaders achieve a positive change in behavior, I, in a way, teach people how to act.

So here’s the dilemma: When is acting being professional? When is acting being phony? I want to help leaders learn how to be great performers, but I never believe that they should be phonies. How can I, as a coach, understand the difference?

And what makes you “buy” your boss’s, colleague’s, subordinate’s, or even a salesperson’s “act?” The answer is we buy someone’s act when they truly love their profession. We are with them when their “act” is part of the fabric of who, and what they are – and we can feel it in our interactions with them.

Let me give you two divergent examples.

First, one of the greatest leaders I know is Frances Hesselbein, the former executive director of the Girl Scouts of America and now chairman of the Leader to Leader Institute. I am not alone in my assessment of her talents. Peter Drucker once noted that she was perhaps the most effective executive he had ever met. As a tribute to her leadership skills, President Clinton awarded Frances with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award that can be given to a U.S. civilian.

I am deeply honored that Frances is also one of my best friends. Like all humans, Frances faces the same problems we all face. She has lived through health problems, tragedies with friends, and family issues. And, like all great professionals, when it is time for Frances to work, she is always there. I have seen her turn down an invitation from the U.S. president because she had already committed to a talk (at no fee) for a non-profit organization in a small town. When she makes a commitment, if it is humanly possible to be there, she delivers. It doesn’t matter that a “better deal” came along later. She not only makes an appearance, she is upbeat and positive, she is inspirational, and she gets the job done.

For Frances, the show must go on, and she takes the stage with love, heart, and passion.  She believes in the core of her soul in what she is doing and anyone around her feels it and knows it. Simply put, everyone buys her act – because her act is truly Frances.

My second example is my client Ted, who helped me answer my dilemma question. I worked with him for a year, trying to help him fit in a corporate culture where he really didn’t belong. At the end of the year, I finally said, “Why don’t you leave? You are so miserable that you are starting to depress me!”

He saw the light, left the company, and is now doing something he loves. There was nothing wrong with the company. There was nothing wrong with Ted. He just didn’t belong there. It wasn’t him.

In the case of Ted, when his show had to go on, he was simply going through the motions. When he took the stage, people around him did not truly buy his act – and Ted did not really buy his own act.

I learned through Ted that despite his greatest efforts, he was being phony when he did not love his work.  And loving your work is what makes great performers rise to the occasion.

On Broadway – Their Act Is No Act

This is why great Broadway performers are able to pour their hearts into each production. At times they overcome headaches, family problems, and more. Because, the show must go on.

Like great actors, inspirational leaders sometimes need to be consummate performers. When they need to motivate and inspire people, they do it. And we are inspired (or buy their act) because they are 100 percent invested in their work and the cause.

Believe in Your Act

If you are in the right job in the right company, and you are learning how to perform to the best of your ability, you are being a true professional. If you are in the wrong job in the wrong company and you learn to act so that you can better fit in, you are just being a better phony. It still isn’t you out there.

Today, Ted is a lot happier. He spends his time thinking up creative ideas in his new company, and he’s having a ball. He is not only adding value for the company, he is also adding value for the world.

Think about your job. As a professional, is your job consistent with the person you want to be?

If the answer is “yes”, be like Frances Hesselbein. Put on a great show. Be the consummate professional. Learn to keep developing your ability to perform, so you can get even better than you are today. If you love what you do, a great coach might even help you get better.

Every day we all take the stage. And, when you take the stage and the show must go on – are people buying your act? And, most of all are you buying your own act?

If the answer is “no”, change jobs as soon as you can. Why bother to become a better phony? Even if you do get a coach and learn to modify your behavior, it won’t count for much. Why? It won’t really be you.

Learn more about how to stay motivated at work with Marshall’s SoundviewPro course Engaging Ourselves at Work and in Life.

Is your brand engaging online?

This guest blog features Cyndee Woolley, APR, an author and public relations consultant. You can email questions to cydnee@c2-com.com or visit www.BuildingBrandYou.com.

There are three certainties in life… death, taxes, and your Facebook newsfeed will continue to change!

I’ve spoken to many small business owners who obsess with jumping onto the next social media trend to stay visible and gain awareness. But, when you look at their existing social media accounts, there are less than 500 fans or followers who are not engaging with any of their posts.

Lack of engagement often comes back to three core questions:
• Do you have a brand that your fans understand?
• Do you have specific key messages that your customers or donors need to know?
• And, do you know how to share those key messages in an emotionally charged way to build relationships?

You do have a brand – in person and online
We all have a brand. Unfortunately, many businesses create confusing brand identities by trying to be everything to everyone. If your customers don’t understand you and what benefit you bring them, they will never engage with you.

Your brand is a reflection of every experience a person expects of you, and his or her emotional reaction to that experience. This experience transcends your logo and includes first impressions – even when they find you online.

Over 80% of US consumers have made a purchase online and according to Hubspot, 71% are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. With a mini-computer in their back pocket, you customers can engage immediately or write you off in a split second.

Your brand is expressed through many elements that demonstrate exactly who you are and how people can relate to you. Are you formal or casual? Do you serve young individuals or retired couples? Are you cutting -edge and creative, or solid and steady?

Take time to assess the brand you hope to project, then take a look at your digital assets to see if they really project that image.

• First and most important in this evaluation is simply opening your website up on a smart phone or tablet. The most impressive site could be losing customers if it takes more than a few seconds to load on your customer’s smart phone.
• Do you have links to your social media accounts, customer reviews and any tutorial reviews? Studies are confirming that the millennial generation is more engaged with “how-to” videos and dynamic content. They also want to see that their friends like your brand, so the social integration is a key element for success.
• Do the visual elements of your social media accounts compliment your brand or cut your head off? As technology improves and digital load times reduce, the visual element of the story has become more and more important.

Learn more about building your brand at Cyndee Woolley’s SoundviewPro course: Building Brand [You] .

9 Essential Principles to Create, Lead, and Sustain

Today’s guest blog is from Faisal Hoque, founder of Shadoka. Originally Published at  Fast Company.

With the cascade of new technologies and social changes, we are constantly challenged to spark creativity, drive innovation, and ensure sustainability.

What are the remedies? How do we work with ourselves and others?

The newest problems of the world find solutions in the oldest timeless practices like mindfulness, authenticity, and devotion—because everything connects.

Connectivity is a sense of journey, to the sense of purpose—it is an individual, lonely pursuit and a collective, companionable one at the same time.

Our individual, interpersonal, and organizational working lives all interconnect. By examining these connections, we learn new ways to create, innovate, adapt, and lead.

From our new book Everything Connects: How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation and Sustainability, let me dig a little deeper on how we can work with ourselves and others by connecting seemingly disparate dots.

How do we connect daily life with who we are?

1. Understanding is the foundation. The better we understand the nature of the world, the better we can move in the world. The better we understand the nature of ourselves, the better we can move within ourselves. This is why generations of thinkers and doers have told us in a multitude of ways to know ourselves—an intrapersonal intimacy that is the fruit of a long process.

2. Understanding leads to authenticity. When you know yourself, you can act with a confidence that is your own. This implies a rawness and vulnerability to the people around you, which is a very good thing, as that vulnerability is the foundation of the relationships that define us.

3. Devotion is mindfulness, mindfulness is devotion. You do not become strong by lifting one gigantic weight. You do not understand yourself by reading one book or attending one workshop. It is a daily practice of devotion. Devotion is our sustainable resource. With it we can day by day improve ourselves, our teams, and our world.

How do we inspire and lead inside and outside of our organizations?

We need to explore understanding that leads to long-term sustainability, the way to act in a manner that promotes mutual flourishing, and how, crucially, a leader can urge us along this process.

1. Give people freedom. People need freedom to do their best work, people need to feel they’re able to bring all of their effort into the task, which requires an open, autonomy-oriented culture.

2. Give people structure. But this is not anarchy; with freedom comes responsibility. Responsibility can be ensured with both quantitative and qualitative methods and springs from a thriving culture.

3. Curate talent. When we assemble lasting organizations, we’re gathering people around a common cause. When the right people are gathered in the right way, the whole becomes greater—perhaps much greater—than the sum of its parts. Gathering the right people at the right time in their lives, in the right combination of talents, is curation.

How do we to generate ideas, grounded decisions, and long-lasting value?

We need to arrange our lives and our organizations in a way that leads to long-term value creation: surveying the subtle and not so subtle arts of idea generation, decision-making, and creating continuous value.

1. Ideas arise from curiosity. Experiences are the fuel of creativity. Curiosity is the thirst for new experiences. That passion can be systematized.

2. We make better decisions after mapping them. When we make a decision, we tend to leave our understanding unexamined, whether as individuals or as organizations. Mapping them out lets us have a more granular understanding of how we work.

3. To create value over the long term, build platforms.The most sustainable way to create value is to continually invest in our capabilities both as individuals and as organizations. The most core of these capabilities is the understanding we have of ourselves and others.

This isn’t just a quick fix for our next financial quarter; this is how we will succeed in the long run. It is a systemization of our art, science, business, and spirituality.

To learn more about entrepreneurship from Faisal Hoque, sign up for his course How to Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset at SoundviewPro.

What Can Cricket Teach Us About Culture?

Today’s guest blog features Brian Bedford, co-founder of MillerBedford Executive Solutions.

I know cricket isn’t high on most US sports lovers’ lists, but the England national team management recently faced a dilemma we often see in our consulting practice. It concerned a star batsman, Kevin Pietersen. Pietersen is one of world cricket’s most charismatic players, with great statistics, and capable of outstanding brilliance when in the right frame of mind; he can be a game-changer, but he can also be petulant, difficult, self-absorbed, and on occasion, the opposite of a team player, with all the disruption that creates.

So the dilemma was, should the national team management keep selecting Pietersen, and keep his potential to produce a match-winning performance, or put the team culture first, and get rid of the disruption he caused?

The English sports media gave lots of advice, and it was all over the map; on the one hand, the advice was “You have to find a way to keep him in the fold; he’s a superstar, he can win a match for you single-handed, and has done many times, so you have to find a way to keep him.” On the other hand, the advice was “You have to put the team first, and you can’t allow one person to behave in a way that damages the team, and get away with it, no matter how good he is.”

We see the same dilemma all the time in our consulting practice with businesses, so often that we have a name for it; we call it the “Good ‘Ol Joe” syndrome. We describe this in our book, “Culture Without Accountability-WTF? What’s The Fix?” Many organizations have a “Good ‘Ol Joe” – Joe is the guy the CEO can always rely on to come up with the extra sales the company needs at the end of the quarter, and keep Wall Street happy. Trouble is, Joe is a huge disruption; he treats people like dirt, screams and yells, ruins meetings, and employees go out of their way to avoid him, to the point of leaving to get away from him. But he gets a pass on his behavior, because the CEO feels he’s indispensable. Who knows what damage he creates outside the company with customers or others?

It’s the same decision English cricket faced. What would you do?
For us, the decision is clear; the company, and the team, must come first. If you want to establish a winning culture, the behaviors needed to establish that culture are of critical importance. Once you start making exceptions, it’s a slippery slope, and the company or the team can fall apart.

English cricket felt the same way, and Pietersen is gone. In the short term, he’ll be missed, but in the long term, the team will be better. Same with the “Good ‘Ol Joes”; they either conform to the required behavior standards, and change their behavior, or take the consequences. If you want your culture to stick, the needs of the culture must always come first.

You can learn more about corporate culture at Brian Bedford’s course on SoundviewPro: Installing an Accountability-Based Culture for Success.

The Science of Organizational Structure

The Science of Organizational Structure:
how to design entrepreneurial, customer focused,
team-oriented organization charts

A guest blog with N. Dean Meyer
(copyright 2014 N. Dean Meyer and Associates Inc.)

Many executives don’t realize that there’s a science of organizational structure. But the truth is, once you understand some basic principles, you can read between the lines of any organization chart. You can see who’s fighting with whom, who is not achieving his/her objectives, and who has ulcers! And, of course, those principles can guide you as you design new organizational structures.

The first, and most important, principle of organizational design is so important that I call it the “Golden Rule” of organizational design: authority and accountability must match. If ever they’re separated, then the person with authority becomes an unconstrained tyrant, while the one with accountability is disempowered and can’t get the job done.

Second, consider that people can only process a finite amount of information per day. We can only know so much. We can use our precious brain-cycles to know a little bit about everything – the generalist, a jack of all trades and master of none. Alternatively, we can focus our brain-cycles on a specialty, and perform far better – higher quality, lower costs, quicker, more flexible, and more innovative.

The very reason organizations exist is to allow people to specialize. (An organization of generalists performs little better than an equal number of individuals.) Great organizational structures focus people on clearly defined specialties, and build the cross-boundary teamwork processes that make specialization possible.

Third, boundaries must be clear. If boxes on the organization chart are defined in vague terms, and, as a result, boundaries are unclear, you’re paying people to fight with one another.

Fourth, the way you define people’s specialties is critical. A high-performance organization empowers its staff as entrepreneurs, running little businesses within the business. A healthy structure embodies this philosophy by defining boxes based on lines of business (not “roles and responsibilities” or tasks and processes).

There are five types of business within organizations:
• “Service Bureaus” keep things running. This includes manufacturing, service delivery, customer support, and internal support functions.
• “Technologies” are engineers who design, build, repair, and support solutions.
• “Consultancy” is the sales and marketing function, as important to internal service providers as it is to companies.
• “Coordinators” help others come to agreement on policies, standards, plans, and responses to crises.
• “Audit” inspects and judges others. If this function is necessary, it must never be confused with any of the above customer-focused service functions.

Of course, there are many specific lines of business within each of those five categories. Those lines of business are the building blocks of an entrepreneurial organization chart.

Four questions will tell you whether an organization chart is getting in people’s way:
1. Gaps: If any necessary lines of business are missing, or are fulfilled by many groups but without anybody’s full-time attention, they probably aren’t happening reliably, or with world-class effectiveness.
2. Rainbows: Imagine color-coding an organization chart by line of business. A “rainbow” group is one fulfilling multiple lines of business. At a minimum, it will be stretched to deliver excellence in any one. Furthermore, this may expose staff to conflicts of interests. Examples include mixing up operations and innovation, or business-driven sales and product management.
3. Scattered campus: If a line of business scattered among many groups, no one leader is looking after it in its entirety. This often results in missing specialties (gaps) or overlapping domains (paying people to fight).
4. Inappropriate substructure: The way you divide jobs at each level of the chart tells people what they’re supposed to be good at. If you choose a basis for sub-structure that differs from their line of business, you’ll reduce specialization. An example is a Technologist function subdivided by customer market; each group has to replicate all needed technical specialties, moving people toward becoming generalists.

These same diagnostic questions can help you design a great organization chart that helps everybody succeed.
Learn more about the science of organizational structure with the SoundviewPro course: Structural Cybernetics.

Dean Meyer is the author of Internal Market Economics, as well as six other books on organizational design. He’s a consultant, speaker, and executive coach on how to implement the business-within-a-business paradigm. More at ndma.com.