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What Some Leaders Get Wrong: An Experienced Consultant’s Inside View

When you shake a snow globe, snow falls onto an idyllic scene. No matter how hard you shake the globe, the scene remains unchanged. To change the scene, you’d have to dismantle the snow globe, change it, then reassemble the snow globe. Or you would start from scratch, creating a new snow globe. Sometimes leaders don’t have the courage to dismantle the snow globe or create a new one…

Clients hire me to address their people issues, either proactively or reactively. The proactive situations, for instance, to further engage employees, train managers, or improve communication, are generally straight-forward, and take fewer resources to implement than reactive situations.

When the situation is reactive, which is more often the case, then I start by assessing a painful situation, recommend solutions, and generally assist in implementing the recommendations. There are several scenarios that I often find:

  • After assessing a situation, I find that there is a toxic leader or manager who should be terminated.
  • Teams who have lost trust with each other need careful training, coaching, time and continual attention, if they are to rebuild trust and become a high performing team.
  • When brought into coach an executive on a specific development area, leaders need to be ready for several possible outcomes, but all of them should improve the situation.

In each of the scenario’s, there are points where leaders can get it wrong and end up not resolving the issue, which leads to more employee frustration and expense over a longer period of time. Or they can make courageous decisions and take committed action to address the issues head on with the resources required to solve it. These decisions and actions are definitely not without controversy and/or questions.

Terminating an executive

I find that many leaders are not willing to terminate someone in a key position, even when faced with the data that supports it. This can be for many reasons, some of which are:

Reason 1: The leader likes the executive and gets respect and attention from the executive. Perhaps that executive is a “yes” person.

  • Problem with keeping the executive for this reason: If the leader surrounds themselves with yes people, they are unlikely to be open to different perspectives and send a message that people should not challenge them.

Reason 2: The leader knows that the decision will be unpopular with other executives and some employees. Many times, these others are whispering in their ear.

  • Problem with keeping the executive for this reason: The decision to terminate the executive would likely garner a positive reaction from many other executives and employees. When you let go of a toxic or non-performing employee, the highly engaged and high performing employees will likely be more engaged and loyal.

In the HRExaminer v10.13, When is Termination a Good Thing?, Employment Lawyer, Heather Bussing writes, “By allowing that employee to stay, you make your company a difficult place to work for everybody who has to deal with that person, fix his screw-ups, and pick up the slack.  By getting rid of him, you will be decreasing everybody else’s workload and increasing morale.”

When I am working with a client and the leader does not act on my recommendation to terminate someone, often they continue paying me to improve the situation. Unfortunately, some of that investment is wasted because a toxic employee continues to affect the other employees and situation. The snow globe analogy works here – continuing to shake the snow globe, doesn’t change it.

This happened when I was brought into a financial company a few years ago to train their managers and assess their current communication practices. When we started, the HR Director was not on the project team. I insisted that he be involved, so he joined. Later, I realized why they had not invited him. He was defensive from the start and didn’t like that I was trying to change the way things had always been done. He was stuck in the old ways and didn’t appreciate being challenged. Not only that, but as I talked with managers and held focus groups with employees, I heard many complaints about the lack of support from HR and the way he controlled what should have been manager decisions. I recommended that he be let go. While leadership made a few adjustments, the HR Director had been there for over 20 years and the Leadership team members were his buddies. He stayed where he was. Needless to say, the project continually took 3 steps forward, 2 steps back.

Rebuilding team trust

From Harvard Business Review’s, The Neuroscience of Trust, “We know that teams with high levels of trust experience a range of benefits, including 74% less stress, 50% higher productivity, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, and 40% less burnout.

Leaders generally recognize when trust has been lost in a team. They will invest short term in solutions to rebuild trust in a team that has lost it. These solutions may take many forms. However, after a team building session, many times they want to check the box and declare victory.

Some old-school leaders also have the attitude that the team leader just needs to get the team to do what is expected. The more successful attitude is to do the hard work. For teams with behavioral and trust issues, share the vision, listen to and address employees’ concerns, communicate more, train more, be transparent, and empower the team to find solutions. Lasting change will take more attention and expense than many leaders are willing to invest.

Coaching

When I talk about coaching here, it is for coaching someone who has a specific performance or behavioral issue that must be addressed. Many times, coaching is proactive and for those being promoted or improving performance of an already high performing executive. This is not about that proactive situation.

Investing in coaching an executive will generally lead to better performance and behavior. On rare occasions, it may need to lead to demotion, lateral movement, or termination. If someone does not own that they have an issue, even when being provided 360º data regarding it, and after effective coaching to take responsibility, then they are probably not coachable.
In a Forbes article “How to Coach an ‘Uncoachable’ Employee”, Jenn Lofgren writes, “To be uncoachable means that someone’s mind is set and they are unwilling to change. I can’t coach someone to run a marathon if they don’t want to run. I first have to coach them to find their motivation on why they want to run. If we can’t find that, we’re done.”

When someone does not own their issue, it can be disappointing to leaders who have engaged a coach. But important, key information was discovered. When embarking on coaching for a specific issue, there are several possible outcomes. Leaders need to be prepared for improvement (the best result!), the executive quitting, or not owning the issue. If the coachee does not own their issue, the leader needs to take action such as demotion, lateral movement, or termination, depending on the issue’s impact.

This happened with a recent coaching engagement of mine. The employee was high performing, but his interpersonal skills were lacking. He rubbed people the wrong way. We worked for three months, administered a 360º feedback tool, and he would never accept that he had an issue. He pointed fingers at everyone else. He then quit. The president was upset with that outcome. However, the reason they brought me in to coach him was that the current situation was untenable. This was a solution; just not the desired solution.

Let’s help leaders make courageous decisions and take committed action to address issues head on with the resources required to solve it. Sometimes toxic executives need to be terminated to move the company forward. Time and resources over a significant period of time need to be invested to rebuild trust in a team. And coaching can have several outcomes, all of which can be better than the status quo.

Caryn Lee
March 2024
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If you want to know more about PeopleSmart and the services we offer reach out to us for a conversation:
contact@peoplesmart.fr

The Current State of Executive Career Progression

In the ever-evolving landscape of today’s corporate world, the path to executive career progression is fraught with challenges that demand attention. The dynamics of job satisfaction, networking, career confidence, growth opportunities and employee retention have a significant impact on the way executives navigate their careers. Recent statistics shed light on the prevailing hurdles and also point towards potential solutions that can pave the way for a brighter future in the realm of executive career progression.

1. Engagement woes: Unveiling the dissatisfaction

A startling revelation from Gallup’s global poll is the disheartening fact that only 15% of the world’s full-time workers are genuinely engaged in their work. This leaves a staggering 85% feeling unsatisfied in their jobs. This lack of engagement not only hampers individual growth but also stifles organisational progress. Executives, often at the forefront of companies, must find ways to rekindle this engagement to drive success on both personal and organisational fronts.

2. The power of networking: Navigating the executive landscape

Recent research underscores the pivotal role that networking plays in executive career progression. A striking 60-70% of executive roles are filled through networking. This statistic underscores the significance of building and maintaining professional relationships. Networking not only opens doors to new opportunities but also provides insights, mentorship, and exposure to diverse perspectives, all of which are vital for climbing the executive ladder.

3. Fragile career confidence: Fostering self-assurance

Gartner HR research reveals a surprising lack of confidence among employees when it comes to their careers within their current organisations. Only 25% of employees are confident about their career trajectory within the company. This lack of confidence can impede growth and innovation, as employees might be hesitant to take risks or suggest novel ideas. Addressing this issue requires a concerted effort to bolster the confidence of employees through meaningful recognition, skill development and opportunities for showcasing their abilities.

4. Thirst for growth: Nurturing career opportunities

It’s no surprise that a significant 76% of employees desire more opportunities for career growth. Executives, being no exception, thrive on continuous advancement and challenges. Providing avenues for growth not only satisfies this hunger but also retains valuable talent within the organisation. Clear pathways to higher roles, skill development programs, and lateral moves that encourage holistic development can satiate this thirst for advancement.

5. The spectre of departure: Battling employee attrition

A staggering 73% of employees are contemplating leaving their current jobs. This alarming statistic signifies a potential mass exodus that could impact companies at all levels. Executives play a crucial role in reducing employee attrition by fostering a culture of transparency, empathy, and growth. Investing in the well-being of employees, providing regular feedback, and aligning their aspirations with organisational goals can go a long way in mitigating this challenge.

Mitigating challenges through strategic professional development, coaching, mentoring and advising

The roadblocks highlighted above can seem daunting, but they’re not insurmountable. Here are ways to address these challenges using continuing professional development (CPD), executive coaching, mentoring, and advising:

1. CPD: Nurturing engagement and confidence

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programs offer executives the chance to enhance their skills, stay updated with industry trends, and foster engagement. These initiatives boost employee confidence and can rekindle a sense of purpose in their roles.

2. Executive coaching: Guiding the way

Executive coaching provides personalised guidance, helping executives navigate challenges, refine their leadership skills, and work through career-related dilemmas. Coaches offer a neutral perspective and actionable insights, aiding in decision-making and self-assessment.

3. Mentoring: Sharing experiences

Mentoring programs connect experienced executives with aspiring ones. These relationships facilitate knowledge sharing, offer guidance, and provide a safe space for discussing career concerns. Mentors can help mentees identify growth opportunities and navigate organisational politics.

4. Advising: Strategic career navigation

Advisors, often seasoned professionals or experts in the field, can provide strategic advice for career progression. Their external perspective can be invaluable in identifying blind spots, assessing potential career moves, and aligning individual goals with organisational needs.

In conclusion, the statistics regarding executive career progression challenges underscore the need for proactive strategies. Engaging employees, fostering confidence, offering growth opportunities, and reducing attrition all require a holistic approach that integrates CPD, executive coaching, mentoring and advising. By addressing these challenges head-on, organisations can create an environment where executives not only thrive but also become the driving force behind sustainable success.

Simon Bergenroth

November 2023

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If you want to know more about PeopleSmart and the services we offer reach out to us for a conversation: contact@peoplesmart.fr 

Kindness

Few would disagree that we live in a world that needs kindness more than ever. However, I believe there are many in the corporate world who still haven’t truly acknowledged the importance of kindness to performance in business. 

In this article we explore why kindness is so important to business success.

What is kindness? 

  • “The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate” (Oxford English Dictionary), 
  • “Friendly, deliberately doing good to others” (Middle English kinde, Online Etymology Dictionary) 

You know when someone is being kind to you because you feel it.

What has the Dalai Lama said about kindness? 

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Exactly. Being kind to others is a choice: you don’t have to be a grump; you may be feeling grumpy, but you can decide to replace this state by choosing to park your mood and smile instead while saying “good morning” like you really mean it!

The Dalai Lama’s dedication to the virtue of kindness is obvious in his way of life: “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” 

Being kind is not just personal development, it is a collective growth of humanistic values such as love, compassion, and friendliness. 

A few more thoughts from the Dalai Lama:

  • “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” 
  • “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”

Job seekers are more likely to apply for a job posting that lists kindness as an important value of the company. (July 7, 2023, Forbes, Bryan Robinson PhD.) More than ever, people are looking for the comfort and security of being treated kindly. Many companies are looking to create a psychologically safe environment and kindness is a key ingredient in the recipe.

Finally, this from Nikhil Meshram in MEDIUM: 

  • “Being a kind person makes you more empathetic towards others. 
  • Others see you as a better human with mutual understanding. 
  • You become more appealing to other people. 
  • It’s being selfless, caring, compassionate, and unconditionally kind. 
  • Like love, it takes practice to understand and feel it. 
  • We share love with others through kind acts such as a smile, a nice word, an unexpected deed, or a planned surprise.”

Adrian Bettridge is Managing Partner of Baringa, a global business consulting firm with two thousand staff around the world. His company believes in putting people first and for years has been acknowledged as a ‘Great Place to Work’. Most unusually though is Baringa’s brave adherence to kindness as a core value of the company. They do ongoing research into the topic and the company literature on kindness begins with the heading ‘Does Kindness Pay?’ According to Adrian and his colleagues the answer is Yes! 

I know of no other business which embraces this value so fully and overtly (yet!). Do you?! Maybe Baringa’s espousal of kindness signifies the beginnings of a new movement in business? Let’s hope so.

I’m going to share this rather long quote from Adrian because it contains so much of the rationale for being authentically kind and is based upon his living experience running a global organization. 

“We see kindness as a practice, not a personality trait – which means it can be practiced. Kindness in business pays because it builds trust, productivity, employee retention, resilience, profitability, and brand loyalty.

The pressure for growth ‘at all costs’ over the last thirty years has distracted leaders away from kindness by creating unrealistic demands and unrelenting pressure.  This has led to short-term leadership behaviours that, when we step back and reflect on them, haven’t worked – and, at a human level, haven’t felt good.

Of course, leading with fear or with an ‘iron fist’ can deliver bursts of productivity and short-term results.  But ultimately, those results aren’t sustainable. In such company cultures, we see that people don’t perform at their best, don’t feel safe enough to take risks, and ultimately resort to ‘colouring in between the lines’. Creativity, problem solving, and innovation slowly evaporate. 

What’s left is a transactional and bureaucratic culture that lacks the depth of personal and institutional trust required to act with agility and deliver outstanding results.  Leaders struggle and get replaced more often, increasing attrition of up-and-coming talent, and short-termism prevails.  That’s a fire drill-to-fire drill existence with no room for kindness and leads to poor company performance. 

Kindness is a critical skill for all leaders and is the entry point into EQ. Being smart is important. Being smart and kind is how leaders make the biggest impact on the world. I’ve worked with some very smart consultants and clients, but truly differentiated leaders are clever and kind too. That combination of IQ and EQ makes them stand out.

Seneca, the revered Stoic philosopher of Ancient Rome said, ““Wherever there is a human being there is an opportunity for kindness.” This is so true, especially for leaders. Leadership is about making others perform and feel better because of your influence, even when you aren’t present.

Kindness provides an immediate ‘feel good’ factor and has this lingering influence on the engagement and motivation of a team. Leaders who act with kindness at their core create a psychologically safe culture, maximizing the learning and personal growth of their team.”

So as Baringa clearly emphasizes, kindness requires practice to make it an integrated element of any corporate culture.

How do you practice kindness? 

Here are a few ideas to consider:

As Adrian Bettridge mentions above, kindness “is the entry point into EQ”. Like most other practices it begins with self-awareness. You can choose to edit your communication depending upon the result you desire. However, you need to become adept at managing your emotions so that the style and impact of your communication is appropriate to your desired result.

The trouble is we often decide not to be kind based on our assumptions about the other person. We make judgments such as “he’s boring”, “she’s stupid”, and “I don’t like the way he looks” These types of judgements can cause us to avoid, disconnect and behave coldly towards others. The trick is to recognize the judgment you’re making in your head, suspend that judgment, and sincerely try to go beyond the judgment and, with curiosity and genuine interest, create open and positive relationships. 

Being kind in business does not mean being a ‘softie’, a ‘walkover’. You must still be able to be assertive (also requires practice) and sometimes ‘be cruel to be kind’ as they say. 

Again, you must cultivate a sufficient degree of self-awareness to know when you’re transferring your annoyance onto another person or whether you are being tough and kind because you want to support another’s growth. 

Kind people give others the benefit of the doubt and instead of making quick judgments can delay judgment until they find out about the other person’s story and particular circumstances. 

Being kind can dissolve fear and destroy limiting pre-conceptions. 

A good example of this happened to me a while back.

I was invited to give a talk at a local mosque in California by my cricketing friend Mubarack. I did not know what to expect and must admit I was a bit nervous as I drove down a backstreet in the dark to what I thought would be a grand temple. It was the opposite of that! But what greeted me as I entered the prefabricated building blew my mind.

The elders lined up to shake my hand and welcome me, the women in the kitchen were all smiles as they prepared the meal, and my talk was listened to intently by the Muslim youth. First, I was invited to dinner, and after my talk I was invited to stay for prayers without any expectation to directly participate.

Whatever fear I had was gone and my eyes were opened to the reality of Muslim life and culture. Such kindness and generosity will stay in my heart forever.

Let’s end with some personal reflection.

Remember a time when you were shown great kindness. How did it make you feel? Now, remember a time when someone was especially kind to you at work. How did that make you feel and, most important, what were the ramifications? What shifts or changes occurred because of that kindness?

 

Michael Banks

October 2023

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If you want to know more about PeopleSmart and the services we offer reach out to us for a conversation: contact@peoplesmart.fr

AI vs Humanity

What follows is what they call an ‘Opinion Piece’ in that it represents a personal and grave concern I have about the effects of Artificial Intelligence on human beings. I am not referring to robots taking over the planet, which is of course a real possibility, but rather the effect AI has on the quality of our lives and the creeping dehumanization of society. If we care about this issue then we must be awake to this.

I know I know … ‘Make AI your friend’ and ‘Don’t be afraid of AI’. Maybe we should be more afraid, not of technology, which has massive potential to make our world a better place, but of humans’ ill considered rush to technological supremacy and gazillions of dollars profit.

I actually love the technology that makes my life easier but I know how easy it is to depend upon it. Like most humans, I am lazy. TV gave birth to the expression ‘couch potato’. As a society, we have become more the passive consumer with less and less interaction with the real world. A few decades on fast forward and we have the ever-increasing use of virtual reality in which we are not engaging with reality unless you call interacting with a fake reality real.

Back to the workplace. We were lucky that technology enabled us to carry on during the lockdowns. Nevertheless, most people were delighted to be able to meet in person once again. There is no going back though. “You can’t stop AI”. Ironically the very positives that we so value in the digitization of business mean that it has and will become too easy to communicate in isolation.

The impact of AI is insidious. Isolation, (this includes mental health and well-being), distance, alienation, and disconnection are some of the symptoms of a world dominated by AI. I’ll never forget a few months into the pandemic a senior executive of a global technology firm was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, imprisoned in his house with his wife, children, and mother in law. He told me how he was getting zero support from top management and how emotionally distressed he was.

Again, humans tend to go for the easy option and if we’re not careful we will become subsumed into a world in which it is almost impossible to distinguish between what is and what is not real.

I recently watched a documentary about a town in West Virginia, USA, the poorest part of America. A shocking 50% of young adults never left their houses, used drugs, did not want to work, and spent all their time on social media. A perfect example of passivity and disengagement.

Teenagers can get lost in their own world of social media for hours on end. How many of them are good live, face to face communicators? We are seeing the numbing and dumbing of the younger generations fed on ‘other worldly’ realities. I am generalizing of course but I am concerned about the new generations entering the workforce and their inability to communicate well. We need the younger generations to be in a fit state to train the machines in ethical behavior.

So what is the solution? Let’s first look at some recent developments.

The man often called the godfather of AI, Dr Geoffrey Hinton, recently quit Google citing concerns over the flood of misinformation, (we will not know what is fake and what is real in the future), the likelihood of massive job losses, and the “existential risk” posed by the creation of a true AGI – artificial general intelligence.

Speaking recently via video link to a summit in London, Elon Musk said he expects governments around the world to use AI to develop weapons before anything else. Elon hit out at artificial intelligence (AI), saying it is not “necessary for anything we’re doing”. May 2023

And Mo Gowdat, until recently the former chief business officer for Google X – “My biggest fear is that humans will use that abundant intelligence (AGI) in ways that are not pro-humanity”. He reckons that the drive to develop AI is mostly about shifting power and wealth in a competitive market.

So now we come to the crux of the matter. The experts say there is no stopping AI controlling the world and ultimately rendering human beings superfluous. So how do we humans save ourselves from extinction?

Dr Nathanael Fast, behavioral scientist at the USC Marshall School of Business, has written a very thoughtful piece that gives us a foundation for an approach that includes pros and cons and asks us to consider the long term consequences of developing AI as opposed to being caught up in the instant gratification that investing in and developing AI can often pander to and seduce humans seeking wealth power and control.

Dr. Fast is worth quoting here:
As AI becomes more powerful, we must invest not only in designing the technology, but also in boosting our own “Technological Intelligence”—our ability to understand and make wise decisions about technology. We need to get better at objectively evaluating the benefits and harms of technology in our lives.”

Going forward, tech leaders need to focus just as much on how human psychology responds to AI as they do on the design of the technology itself. Likewise, managers and companies that employ AI should consider the reactions of their employees and keep them in the loop, instead of implementing new technology abruptly. Building and maintaining trust is essential.

As the development of AI speeds up, the future of humanity lies in the balance. The consequences of our choices and actions are immense. Let us take this responsibility seriously and treat AI as the singular, albeit complicated, puzzle that it is, rather than only looking at “good” or “bad” pieces of the puzzle in isolation. We must increase our technological intelligence to ensure that we build a more positive relationship with AI and, ultimately, a better future.

And finally I recently watched a two hour interview of the brilliant Mo Gowdat by Brian Rose of London Real. This was a mind blowing exposition of how we can get to a state of Utopia by teaching machines to be ethical.

We can debate forever the macro picture, and the future of humankind but let’s focus back on the practicalities of managing machines before it’s too late. Given the inevitability of machines ultimately controlling humans, Mo Gawdat is convinced we have a short time to train robots to behave ethically and not destroy human society. And here the application of Emotional Intelligence will be crucial to the success of this endeavor.

Who would have thought that the espousal of EI in the corporate world would eventually be employed in service of saving humankind from extinction?! Gowdat makes the very insightful point that robots will take their cues from both poor and positive human behavior. In a very real sense how we ‘parent’ our bots will determine their degree of ethical behavior.

Here are three ‘on point’ quotes from Mo Gawdat:

The moments that define life are moments of human connection”,

“Never make the machine your enemy”

“We can still influence them (the robots) by showing them a side of us we want them to be like”

Ultimately it will be the choices that humans, not machines, make that will create our future. It will be like this until AGI prevails and we have lost complete control. So it is imperative that we start developing our EI skills now!

Michael Banks

August 2023

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If you want to know more about PeopleSmart and the services we offer reach out to us for a conversation: contact@peoplesmart.fr

A Sense of Belonging

Belonging is a fundamental part of being human: We need people and this need is hardwired into our brains. It is also irrefutable that employees are more committed, loyal, and productive the more they feel they belong. 

Corporate leaders are always trying to optimize their workforce and if they are successful in generating a culture that values diversity and inclusion their people will feel that sense of belonging. Workers need to feel like they belong to something they value — and that they have the power to bring about change when it’s needed.

So what can you do to facilitate a sense of belonging, especially among new staff? Here are two areas you can focus on:

Be curious. Ask questions to find out about the person, their interests, and what really matters to them. People tend to warm to those who take an interest in them. There is nothing worse than being ignored. A recipe for alienation and isolation. The opposite of belonging.

This is just one aspect of really caring about people and conveying that to others. Bring in to play the whole array of Emotional Intelligence skills to ensure you’re paying attention to whether employees are being and feeling included. This requires a continuous prioritization of the well-being of others, looking and reaching out to them versus leading a self-absorbed work-life existence. 

Create the conditions in which each employee feels valued, trusted, free to express, proud of association, part of an identity.

Create a compelling purpose and vision. To belong to an organization that is trying to make the world a better place is important to many more people than in the past. Research shows that this is especially true of the younger generations. And let’s remember that a department or business unit can have its own purpose and vision within the overall organization.

Other examples of entities that people want to attach themselves to include product pioneers and innovators (think Elon Musk) and radical approaches to organizational structures that challenge orthodox ‘business as usual’ (the ‘no rules’ approach I mentioned in my last article).

At this point, if you haven’t already done so, I’d like you to consider examples, in your own life, of the motivational power of belonging and the converse. What made you feel a powerful sense of belonging, what did you strongly identify with, and what caused you to feel alienated and ‘homeless’? Please recall and reflect on the actual behaviors and circumstances that were key to your experience of belonging or absence thereof.

For example, in my case, I was delighted to belong to a ‘special’ group of companies whose purpose and vision was to transform society through business. This suited my young idealistic ambition 100%!!  In another company, I felt a part of a warm and caring community based on inclusive values and respect for diversity that the owners embodied. Each year we would strengthen the community by gathering for two days in person (some who lived overseas were flown in) to celebrate ourselves in different ways (through poetry, music, stories, games, etc.). It was about more than just about the business and I felt great about that! 

Conversely, I once reported to a Managing Director in London who ignored me in the most icy cold manner for two years! No sense of belonging there!

And how about you? Do you really belong where you are? Are you motivated to give 110% of yourself, heart and soul to the enterprise you’re part of? And, if so, why is that? I’d bet money that at least a piece of your equation is about loving the people you work with and being appreciated and respected by others around you.

Now, finally, we must note that everything potentially has a downside or, as they say, these days, a dark side. Creating a culture and purpose that people can easily belong to is a vital aspect of attracting and retaining talent in these challenging times. But part of your responsibility is to catch yourself and the organization if belonging begins to manifest in ways that ultimately are self-destructive. 

People can be seduced by the comfort and protection afforded by a strong sense of belonging and these dangers can manifest:

  • In the charismatic leader who can do no wrong 
  • The tendency toward ‘groupthink
  • Resistance to change and
  • Fear of exclusion

In summary, it is important for your business to cultivate a strong sense of belonging in the employee population and that will increase as relations between people get stronger and deeper.

Michael Banks 

May 2023

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If you want to know more about PeopleSmart and the services we offer reach out to us for a conversation: contact@peoplesmart.fr 

The Trust Imperative

The business case for building trust

The case for prioritizing trust building in any scenario is compelling. When compared with people at ‘low-trust’ companies, those at ‘high-trust’ organisations reported 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives and 40% less burnout. Trust is a powerful thing! Leaders who want their employees to have a great ‘employee experience’ and be fully engaged know how trust plays a vital role in achieving this goal.

What makes trust building in a virtual environment more challenging? When someone is physically absent the amount of data you have on them is significantly reduced. This is especially true of someone who is introverted and tends to isolate themselves. Often false assumptions and negative judgments based on distance and lack of communication lead to conflict and unnecessary stress.

The Trust Equation

On the topic of distance and what a negative impact it can have, it is worth mentioning Professor David Maister’s simple yet brilliant model he calls ‘The Trust Equation’. Trustworthiness comprises four elements – Credibility, Reliability, Intimacy and Self-Orientation. The striking insight to be gained here is that someone can be good at the first three but if they are very self-centered and focused on themselves more than the person they are managing they can negate any trust built by the other three elements.

As you read the Best Practices (below) and (further on) the Characteristics of a Leader you can Trust, you can see that each item, in varying degrees, is about the leader having an outward focus, about serving ‘the other’ versus ‘the self’.

Best practices

Have a private one hour lunch conversation. I say one hour because such a potentially important conversation warrants this time! When I used to coach senior executives invariably this was the most effective tool for building trust. Even if the relationship is virtual you should prioritize an in person conversation whenever possible.

Schedule regular one to one Zoom calls. Again, allocate sufficient time for a deeper dialog if appropriate.

Recognize achievements.

Support employee’s well being. This means respecting and supporting the individual in all aspects of their lives and not just work.

Be authentic. Be willing to be transparent, ‘self disclose’, and self-deprecating. These subsets of authenticity make the leader more approachable and accessible, and enable the employee to feel happy to pick up the phone versus avoid or procrastinate.

Reflection

Let’s pause for a moment and think of a leader, past or present, who has proven to be trustworthy. What behaviors demonstrate(d) this? As an example I have been working with a CEO for the past few years who recognizes my strengths and trusts me to work virtually while putting my energy wholeheartedly into work. Her trust in me gives me the freedom to flourish and is a great motivator. 

Next, think of an individual or group scenario, past or present, in which trust has broken down. What restored trust in that scenario? (If anything!). Have you ever been instrumental in restoring trust and, if so, how did you do it?

Real trust versus regulatory trust

The following is a powerful and critical distinction which you may have not considered. I certainly hadn’t until I read this article by Professor Sir Chris Ham of the King’s Fund. Among other themes it highlights the role of a positive culture in creating a trusting environment.

In 2006 Ed Smith, at the time Chair of NHS Improvement in the UK, wrote an article with Richard Reeves, in which he reminded his audience of the pernicious impact of excessive regulation. In their paper, Smith and Reeves contrast ‘regulated trust’ with ‘real trust’ which is based on a belief that people have a strong intrinsic motivation to perform to the best of their abilities. They argue that real trust is not fostered through reliance on rules but rather through the development of positive organizational cultures that encourage risk taking and avoid blame.

These cultures support people to act in a way that is trustworthy and to do the right thing. They encourage ‘behaviors and instincts’ that enable people to behave with integrity at all times. Positive cultures take time to develop and require sustained effort by leaders and followers at all levels. Rules and regulations designed to increase trust all too often have the opposite effect, resulting in over reliance on compliance rather than the nurturing of commitment. Real trust cannot be mandated and emerges through the actions of leaders who create the conditions in which people are supported to be effective.

Now let’s turn to an example of real trust in action and the results that created. Brazilian business visionary, Ricardo Semler is the former CEO and president of Semco, which under his leadership grew from $4 million in revenue to over $160 million in about 20 years. All of this without a mission statement, an org chart, or any written policies at all. And definitely without a rulebook!

So, what was the key to Semco’s success? One could point to various features of the radical industrial democracy that Semler ushered in during his tenure. But Semler himself epitomized it in his 2014 presentation at TED Global:

“We looked at it and we said, let’s devolve to these people, let’s give these people a company where we take away all the boarding school aspects of, this is when you arrive, this is how you dress, this is how you go to meetings, this is what you say, this is what you don’t say, and let’s see what’s left. And so, the question we were asking was, how can we be taking care of people? People are the only thing we have.”

I strongly recommend you dig deeper into the ways Semler built a culture based on trust and the performance miracles that resulted from this radical and bold approach.

Characteristics of a leader you can trust

You can be critical of her/him and not be punished

The leaders welcomes differences of opinion

You are fully listened to

They treat you as a whole human being – you can be honest safely about your private life as well as your professional life

You are not micromanaged

The inner work that must be done

Finally, there are the external behaviors that build trust and then there is the internal state that allows trust to grow and flourish. It is a leader’s duty to focus on their personal development as they take on more responsibility. If you are a micromanager then you should look into why that is. Varying degrees of insecurity, even fear, can make it hard for the leader to let go of wanting to control all the time. So the leader must cultivate a trust in themselves which in turn allows for trust to build with those they lead. This takes self-awareness and the courage to move away from their comfort zones in service of a culture of trust. Being open and vulnerable as a leader gives permission to others to be the same. Authenticity leads to trust.

Michael Banks 

April 2023

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If you want to know more about PeopleSmart and the services we offer reach out to us for a conversation: contact@peoplesmart.fr 

What is your Employee Experience?

Definitions of EXP (Employee Experience) vary widely. Here are two recent examples.
“Employee experience encapsulates what people encounter and observe over the course of their tenure at an organization.”

Employee experience (or talent experience to be specific), creates the conditions that unlock high
employee engagement. It sculpts an employee’s perception of their day-to-day work environment, culture and sense of purpose, which in turn influences their level of engagement
.”

Nowadays most companies are espousing the idea that a positive EXP leads to enhanced business
performance and for good reason. It does!


When organizations get employee experience right, they can achieve twice the customer satisfaction and innovation, and generate 25% higher profits than those that don’t. – Culture Amp

An analysis of over 250 global organizations found companies that scored highest on employee experience benchmarks have four times higher average profits, two times higher average revenues, and 40 percent lower turnover compared to those that didn’t. – Culture Amp


In this article, I am not going to talk about certain key elements of EXP like the importance of onboarding,
providing development opportunities and tech systems that facilitate the easy transfer of information.
Rather I will focus on my personal experience of what constitutes a great EXP. My belief is that you know
when it’s great or not primarily by how you feel.


There are simple ways to determine the level of positivity in an organization. What’s the ‘atmosphere’ like
when you walk into the main lobby? Is it flat and dull or is there an aliveness and buoyancy in the air? When you walk through the offices are people smiling? Are conversations animated? Are they having fun? Is work enjoyable?


XP is about how employees FEEL. How do you feel when you visit the office? Are you welcomed warmly?
Are you happy to be there? What are some of the key elements?


So how do you create the right conditions for a fantastic EXP? I remember the Chairman of a global finance company smiling and saying ‘hello’ in the elevator to anyone, regardless of rank. He would also descend from the top floor and drop in at random to chat with an employee halfway down the 50-storey building. He took a genuine interest in his people, included them, and made them feel good. Staff at this company felt connected and part of the enterprise.


I’m sure we’ve all had both good and bad employee experiences. Rather than continue to talk about third-party facts, stats, and perspectives I’d like to share a couple of personal stories that illustrate both exemplary and negative employee experiences. And I’d like you to consider your own EXP experiences.

What can you personally do to contribute to improving EXP in your organization?


Years ago in London, I was fortunate enough to join a pioneering group of idealists and grow a group of
companies that, for many, opened up new possibilities for creating the ideal work environment. In my book, the following elements are key to generating an engaging employee experience. An inspiring leader with an inspiring vision, a psychologically safe workplace, with its cousin a ‘feedback culture’, trust, and fun! It felt great to be part of a community. And what excited me was the fact that we were always expanding and not contracting.


Our vision was no less than the transformation of society through business. The fun element was in
particular an example of a joyous EXP. We staged costume parties and banged a large Tibetan gong to
herald the start of the day’s work and then straight after lunch. Perhaps the most outrageous fun adventure was, for three consecutive years, chartering jets, closing the companies and flying off to Morocco, Turkey, and Egypt with staff, friends, and family.

But while this may sound rather idyllic, two aspects of EXP I listed above prevented this experience from
being stellar. In fact, they put a dampener on what could have been exceptional. Unfortunately large, over-controlling egos created an environment where many were afraid to speak out and express themselves freely.

In 1999, the highly esteemed Professor Amy Edmondson coined the term “psychological safety” to describe the lack of interpersonal fear. It’s about creating a space where people feel comfortable being
themselves—where they can express themselves honestly, and make mistakes without fear of being
shamed or blamed. Ironically that charismatic leader with an inspiring vision set the tone and did nothing to dispel the internal politics and tensions that arose. When it came to psychological safety and trust there was much to be desired. Most people were scared or in awe of the Chairman and his close lieutenants.

In a company where psychological safety is a reality, it is possible to create a culture of feedback. Trust and comfort are there to facilitate timely and constructive interpersonal feedback. If only everyone in that
company in London had a ‘voice’, as Amy Donaldson puts it, it might have been possible to largely eradicate the fear of taking interpersonal risks. Things can change if, as they say, you speak ‘truth to power.’


Finally, perhaps the number one determinant of EXP is the relationship between the employee and his/her immediate manager. In my case, I reported to a Managing Director who kept me at a distance and was very cold towards me. Needless to say, I always felt uncomfortable, tense, and inauthentic around her.

This went on for two years. If FEELING is an excellent indicator of EXP then I felt bad in her presence throughout this period. Interesting that a few years later she apologized for her behavior.


Needless to say, during this period, my performance suffered as my energy was suppressed and my
contribution to the team effort diminished dramatically. A leader’s job is to minimize fear and instill
confidence in her team. Interestingly my manager had a great relationship with a colleague of mine and he flourished under her leadership producing great results. This case is an example of how, early on, an open and honest exchange of feedback would likely have completely changed the dynamic of our relationship and enabled me to bring my whole self to the workplace.

Every organization should create its own culture and EXP according to its nature and circumstances. Not
many companies are willing or able to fly their staff to some exotic holiday location! But how we behave
towards others will largely determine the quality of the employee experience. And that’s a universal truth.


Michael Banks
February 2023
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If you want to know more about PeopleSmart and the services we offer reach out to us for a conversation:
contact@peoplesmart.fr

Some Thoughts About Bold Leadership

Why is Bold Leadership more important now? In these difficult times people and organizations have a tendency to withdraw, become defensive and risk averse. It is essential that leaders, and indeed you and I, are willing to make bold decisions that allow everyone to move forward despite this inertia and fear ridden environment.

But let’s not confuse bold with reckless. In the face of a crisis, some people have a panicky knee jerk reaction. A good example was the recent budget presented by Prime Minister Truss of the UK. In attempting to be the heroic and courageous savior of the nation she was effectively committing hari kari. Her budget was ill considered and impulsive and consequently, she lost her job. 

For the sake of this article, we can assume that a bold leader is someone who is looking to make a positive impact in the world. A bold leader can emerge in any walk of life. Bold leadership is a type of skill and can be developed. It needs a blend of careful preparation and planning mixed with audacity, imagination, and risk taking. It is not about Impetuous decisions that are selfish and inconsiderate of their impact on others.

You do not have to be loud or Superwoman to be a bold leader. People love authenticity and a bold approach can be inspiring and motivating especially during these challenging times. A bold leader is typically someone who is exciting to be around and has a vision that captures the imagination and gives meaning to the work of the team or organization.

Are you a bold leader? Do you aspire to be one? Here are some suggestions for you to consider:

  • In the best sense, you mustn’t care about what others think. When you stick your neck out you should expect some ‘flak’. At the same time, one needs to remain calm, balanced, and respectful in responding to the naysayers. Don’t seek others’ approval or pursue strategies just to please people. Be strong in your beliefs about what is the right thing to do.
  • Self-awareness is crucial. Be aware of how limited you are by history, both personal and otherwise. Then you can choose an alternative future. Timid leaders tend to say “That’s not possible because … (what has occurred to date) while bold leaders typically are not prevented by existing beliefs or history from imagining and creating new solutions.
  • Mindset: Comfortable with discomfort. It ‘comes with the territory’ A bold leader is inevitably constantly testing the limits and moving beyond his or her comfort zone. 

Apart from these aspects of self-management, the following are some characteristics that typically indicate a bold leader:

  • Keep the faith over time and provide hope to others 
  • Creates something that didn’t exist before
  • Willing to challenge the status quo
  • Risk taking and open to failure
  • Courageous
  • Imaginative
  • Acts on behalf of the ‘whole’ versus ‘self’

Reflection Exercise: what one or two items from above would you like to improve and why?

And then there’s the mystical/spiritual aspect of bold action. 

Have you ever been faced with a ‘blank’ future – maybe a divorce or a loss of a job? And then your only choice is to take a risk and jump into the unknown. This takes courage and a trust that you will land somewhere! Even better if you have identified your purpose and are willing to commit to a path that represents fully who you really are.

There is a clear connection between being committed and being bold. When you commit you put a stake in the ground which takes courage because you are publicly stating your intention and cannot hide.

This is one of my all time favorite quotes and I think it’s a good way to finish this short collection of ideas. You may have seen it before but please take a moment to reflect and relate to your own life.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” – W.H. Murray

Reflection Exercise: think of two real-life bold leaders you admire. What makes them bold?

My examples are:

  1. Anwar Sadat who risked his life to travel to Israel in 1973 to catalyze the Camp David peace accords
  1. Sir Richard Branson who pivoted from selling discounted rock records to founding a major airline. This required vision and imagination.

What are yours?

 

Michael Banks 

February 2023

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If you want to know more about PeopleSmart and the services we offer reach out to us for a conversation: contact@peoplesmart.fr 

The New Age of Learning

The world has changed dramatically over the past three years– and with it, the world of learning and development. Just as trainers and L&D professionals settled into online delivery, we have now shifted back to hybrid workplaces. Some organizations have reintroduced in-person training, while others are mixed or have declared themselves fully virtual. 

The new age of learning is no longer the future – it’s the present. Companies that resist can find themselves struggling to fill open positions as employees take more control of their own careers. Front and center of employee-driven learning is the ability to learn on demand, in an engaging, interactive, personalized way that is as flexible as online learning and yet has the magic and charm of in-person interactions. In other words, the future of learning has to be phygital: combining the best of both physical and digital worlds. How are trainers to pivot to this new training normal?

This new age of learning, training, and development doesn’t have to be one we resist. Forward-thinking companies can embrace the changes and adapt to a world where a commute of several hours is replaced by productivity and where in-person doesn’t have to mean everyone must be in the same room. 

Let’s take a look at how training is evolving and how companies can look to entice, train, and retain employees. But first, how did we get to this point? 

The Year Everything Changed

As 2019 began, there was already a growing disconnect between employees, who for years had wanted more freedom in the way they worked, and their employers. Many employers believed the requested freedoms would create lackluster results. 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone indoors. Traditional companies wishing to stay in business were catapulted into a future they hoped was many years ahead. For them, work meant everyone coming together under one roof to move toward the same goal. 

The idea of using a remote workforce for traditional companies meant losing control. How would employers know if each employee was putting in the adequate amount of time each day? COVID left them no other choice. Employees gathered only the equipment needed from offices and created home workspaces in a matter of days to keep things running the best they could under the new circumstances. 

Technology Does Not Stop

It’s easy to blame the pandemic for the changes but remote training is here not because of COVID, but because of technological advancements. Virtual reality simulations have existed for many years. Long before 2019, pilots logged hours in flight simulators before flying real planes with passengers or cargo. The same can be said for military and law enforcement training. 

Technology is also what may have saved the world economy during the pandemic. Without the advancements of the last decades, how would we have kept moving in the midst of this outbreak? 

While VR’s benefits were initially embraced by the gaming community, many knew its real benefits revolved around the technology’s ability to create a real sense of place and community. The VR market is expected to bring in over $12 billion in revenue by 2024. 

Opposing Sides

As COVID becomes a more manageable disease, employers and employees are seemingly pulling in opposite directions. Businesses want everyone to return to the workplace of old while employees now realize much of their work can be completed from home and would like to hold on to the new ways. 

This opposition is what has led to today’s Great Resignation. Employees exercised their value and resigned from companies they feel are refusing to change in search of companies more in tune with where work is heading. In 2021, over 47 million workers quit their jobs. 

Training Must Evolve

Training professionals must always be aware of the changes coming to the workforce. As generations bring a new outlook to work, trainers must be ready to meet their expectations to create an engaged workforce that believes in a company’s values and takes that company to a bright future. 

Think of anybody coming into an onboarding training session today. This person has spent most of their life to this point learning with the use of a computer, tablet, or phone. A trainer asking them to put away all electronics and take out paper and a pencil to take notes would be a bright red flag about this company as a whole. 

Training in Web 3.0

The internet as we know it today is a tool designed to help our machines connect all around the world. Yes, you are highly communicative online, but you are fully aware that it is happening by communicating from one device to another. 

In training, web 2.0 enabled people to train from anywhere with a solid internet connection. They do so with courses presented to them on the screen that ask them to read training material or view scenarios covering the material. A test is usually given to employees after completing the lessons. 

The shortfall of this training is that while it uses the web, it still relies on old methods of teaching developed decades ago. The idea is to memorize what is being taught. The concepts are then repeated as proof of understanding. 

Let’s go back to the pilots in flight simulators example. How comfortable would you feel getting on a plane if your pilot’s only experience came from reading a digital session and taking a written test? 

Enter training in Web 3.0, a new development that promises us a decentralized, user driven, fairer internet. A clear picture of Web 3.0 or Web3 as it is known is still evolving. What we do know is that Web3 will change the face of L&D as learners expect more authentic experiences that they can control and customize to their learning pace and environments (work from home and otherwise). 

Learning in the Metaverse

The metaverse, a key concept of Web 3, is the evolution of the internet. Rather than connecting machines to machines, you will now travel to a central place of communication. The channels for this new level of communication and collaboration are virtual and augmented reality. Together, they form Extended Reality, also known as XR. 

Benefits of XR Training

XR training is the new age of learning. Thanks to XR, your physical location is no longer a limitation. Trainers can live in one country and onboard a group of new employees scattered throughout the globe. The team can work together as if they were in one room because while connected, they are. 

Training in a virtual space is the opportunity we have all dreamed of for a long time. You can now ditch the old ways of teaching in favor of an experiential approach. You’ll cut down training time, engage your personnel, and teach the way human beings learn best.

Who Is Using XR Training? 

Here are some examples of companies already taking advantage of XR training: 

  • Ford Motor Company: Worked with Bosh to develop a VR training tool for their service technicians
  • Dermalogica: Uses a VR training program complete with an AI trainer for its 100,000 skin therapists
  • Bank of America: VR program consists of 20 simulations for its workforce of 50,000

The New Age of Learning: Wrap-Up

The key to successfully training a new generation of people is to look forward and not back. Robert Lambrechts of Pereira O’Dell said it best, “I don‘t think there‘s ‘going back‘ to anything. That world, whatever we did in January 2020, doesn‘t exist anymore.”

The skills gap continues to grow. Traditional schools are not keeping up with the demands of today and online training is not enough. Employees are looking to their employers to coach and develop them using methods not stuck in the past. 

As trainers, it is our responsibility to work to close the skills gap and XR training is one of the best tools available to do it. Edstutia’s trainer certification program is designed to prepare trainers to fully understand instructional design, development, and delivery in XR and to put their best Web3 foot forward in engaging and developing top-notch talent.

Dr Yogini Joglekar is COO of Edstutia and Senior Consultant at PeopleSmart, specializing in change leadership, communication, and learning technologies.

Business Mindset 2030: Humans & the Technology

Do you control your phone or does it control you? 

According to a recent study in the US, 66% of people surveyed show signs of ‘nomophobia’ – the fear of being without their phones. Also, the same study revealed that users unlocked their phones on average 150 times per day. This constant distraction can have profoundly negative effects on our relationships. In early 2010 I purchased a shiny new smartphone (for my job of course) and immediately fell in love with having a mini computer in my pocket. I could manage my emails, diary, messaging, banking…everything on the go. We’ve all been there right, but this was different to most of the technology that had come before – it was highly addictive but not like gaming or TV. Even for those of us who felt that we were not easily distracted, the allure of maximising our ‘efficiency’ and being ‘always contactable’ has remained with many of us to this day. The question for a lot of people now is, “Has the technology improved our lives or made it worse i.e; more stressful with increased anxiety?” As I was in and out of meetings a lot during this period, I left my phone in ‘silent’ mode and it has pretty much stayed that way to this day as my wife can confirm! Of course, this isn’t always possible but it highlights a common power struggle that we have vis-a-vis our tech. 

 

Humans still have centre stage – people matter 

Business is about people – our collaborators who we entrust to deliver our promise day in and day out and our customers who believe what we believe and vote with their wallets. Technology is great and laptops and smartphones have revolutionised our professional mobility plus, coupled with a vast array of apps and software, we now can work from anywhere 24 hours a day if we wanted to. It is essential however, to strike a healthy balance. Many of us have a myriad of apps open at any one time and this can limit our ability to deeply focus on tasks without being constantly distracted. Multitasking is an enemy of productivity and the struggle now is how to design into our

daily flow, periods of uninterrupted work. This is a real challenge for many people and it is those who manage to do this well who will ultimately succeed. Without a high level of wellbeing, all of us, both personally and professionally will suffer so we have to act now. 

Rise of AI and the move towards decentralisation 

Two key areas of technological development are shaping our world more than ever – these are; artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain. 

Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, namely computer systems. Specific applications of AI include natural language processing, speech recognition and machine vision. In general, AI systems work by ingesting large amounts of labelled training data, analysing the data for correlations and patterns, and using these patterns to make predictions about future states. For example, a chatbot that is fed examples of text exchanges can learn to produce lifelike exchanges with people, or an image recognition tool can learn to identify and describe objects in images by reviewing millions of examples. AI programming focuses on three cognitive skills: learning, reasoning and self-correction

The aforementioned highlights the machine learning element or ‘soft’ AI and most of us are familiar with these types of algorithms working away in the background when we use Google, Facebook, Amazon etc. Who has been on a Youtube video spiral based on the recommendations..? The ‘hard’ AI is the next level and the one of concern as this is when the machines start to think for themselves rather than basing their ‘behaviour’ on being fed information. Great minds of our time such as Elon Musk and Richard Branson have all voiced deep concerns about ‘hard’ AI. 

Blockchain is fast becoming well regarded in many industries and the use cases are plentiful; finance, supply-chain, cyber security, voting, anti-counterfeiting etc. Essentially, blockchain is a decentralised, immutable and secure ledger of transactions that by its very nature, is significantly more secure than a database and has ‘trust’ built in from inception. A blockchain therefore removes the third party from transactions (think: banks, custodians, estate-agents etc.) so it’s turning the centralised world as we know it on its head. 

Mindset for success 

As these two exciting technological advancements accelerate us into our increasingly digital futures, it begs the question, “Where do we as humans fit into the mix?” Here are a few pointers to consider:

  • We must remember that our technology works for us, not the inverse, therefore setting rigorous boundaries for its use is key. Create a company ‘Tech charter’, communicate it well and stick to it. 
  • When possible, maximise human face-to-face contact as this is where true connection happens. 
  • Over communication can easily overwhelm collaborators so agree on ‘how’ different types of collaboration should be conducted and on what channels and platforms. Using three types of file sharing platforms for projects is a recipe for disaster. Focused communication wins. 
  • At a Comex company level, don’t be afraid of the technology, leverage it! Set up a sandbox to experiment with AI and blockchain and share your findings with the team. 
  • Challenge the 60 minute meeting default. How about 15, 30 or 45 minutes instead with 2, 3 or 4 attendees..? 
  • Actively encourage and support your collaborators to disengage to re-engage by building a meaningful life outside of work. Work hard, play hard and foster well-being. 

Jeremy Peter Williams 08.03.2022