Corporate Culture Survival, with Sloans Fellow Professor of Management Emeritus, Dr. Ed Schein
It happens regularly... my phone rings, I pick it up, and on the other end I'm talking with someone who's inquiring about bringing us in to deliver a keynote for a company event or training for their organization.
My first response is not whether I'm available on the dates they're looking for. My first questions are designed to help me understand the problems they're trying to solve.
Once I have a good sense of the issues they want to address, I inevitably ask a critical, open-ended question: "Tell me about the culture of your organization?"
How would you respond to that question? How would you describe your company's culture? Or the culture of your team? How about the project culture at your company--how things get done?
This is what I've found: understanding organizational culture is critical to being able to deliver projects and lead teams. If I don't have a decent idea of the culture I'm walking into for a keynote, workshop, or coaching session, I flat out won't be effective. It would be like walking in and finding that everyone speaks a foreign language.
Dr. Ed Schein is a world renowned MIT professor and expert on organizational culture, and has authored fourteen business books, including The Corporate Culture Survival Guide. When it comes to knowing how to get things done in a company, Ed is one of my heroes, so I was very excited to have the opportunity to speak with him recently. This episode contains the first part of my discussion with Dr. Schein, with the remaining to be included in the next cast.
Hey, I want to invite you to check out our new People and Projects Podcast website! Check us out at www.peopleandprojectspodcast.com. I would love your feedback on the site!
While you're at it, would you take a moment to tell a friend about this podcast? I would love to have the opportunity to help develop your friends and colleagues who have a desire to successfully deliver projects and lead teams.
Thank you for joining us for this episode of the People and Projects Podcast! Have a great week!
Is Failure an Option? An interview with Ralph Heath, author of Celebrating Failure
OK, here's the situation.... You're the security guard at a data center, giving a new security guard a tour of the facility. Near the end of the tour you point to a button on the wall. The button is labeled "Do Not Push". While looking back at the new guard you remark, "See this button? Make sure you never pu...."
Oops. You accidentally push the button.
What happens? I'll tell you what happens. Lights out. Systems go dead—immediately. No nice shutdown. You turn pale—you know this isn't good.
There's more to the story. The systems people can't get the servers restarted right away. When they do, there are problems with the network. Your company is unable to process transactions.... not for 1 hour. Not for 2 hours. It's not until 15 hours later that transactions are flowing through the system.
Sound scary? This isn't a made up story. It actually happened. Thankfully, you're not in it. But let's say you were... When you get called into the bosses' office, what do you expect them to say?
What are the odds you'd hear them say, "Kelly, get in here. I want to thank you for helping us see how incomplete our disaster recovery plans were. If it wasn't for you, we would have gone on, maybe for years, falsely thinking we had everything buttoned up. You also helped us learn that our shutdown button is too accessible. We'll put together plans to fix that. Kelly, from all of us in senior management, thank you very much!"
Not likely? You're right. In fact, in the real world version of this story, the accidental button-pushing security guard got fired. Enough money was lost that management decided "Someone must die! We need flesh!"
Was this the best way to respond? Though normal, does it fix the problem by firing the guard? My guess is the new guy never pressed the button! But did it really fix things? Or did it just assign blame.
When things go wrong--even in a big way--what's a leader to do? Can we really celebrate failure without creating a culture of complacence? Could the way we react--such as firing someone in the name of accountability--actually create additional dysfunction?
These are issues that Ralph wrestles with in his book. I look forward to your feedback on the interview with Ralph in this episode.
So, what are you thankful for?
Many countries celebrate a holiday similar to Thanksgiving, which is observed this month in the United States.
Each year there is research that reinforces that being thankful--having a spirit of gratitude--has enormous benefits, from helping you be happier to even living longer. How about going on record with what you're thankful for this year?
This year we're opening up the phone lines for you! Regardless of where you live, whether in the U.S. or abroad, just call us at (847) 579-9174. Leave your name (first name only is fine) and where you live, then tell us what you're thankful for this year. We'll include your contribution in our People and Projects Podcast episode that will come out the week of Thanksgiving.
It's not too difficult to find things to be upset or worried about these days. So let's hear from you what you're thankful for! Call us toll-free at (866) 884-5323 and tell the world what you're thankful for!
Everyone who participates by Friday, November 20, gets a free 30-day license to my e-learning module on risk management. It's my way of saying.... Thanks!
IMPORTANT: If you want the e-learning license, make sure to leave your e-mail address in the message as well. We will edit out the e-mail address so it doesn't show up in the podcast but will use it to give you the free access to the e-learning.
It only takes a minute! Give me a call toll-free at (866) 884-5323 to participate! Enjoy the podcast!
Managing Politics and Conflict in Projects, with author Brian Irwin, PMP
Hello! This is Andy Kaufman, President of the Institute for Leadership Excellence & Development Inc. Thank you for joining me on this episode of The People and Projects Podcast.
I'm over in Europe this week facilitating a project management workshop for a great international company. Though I'm thousands of miles from home in a culture and language that is notably different from my own, I find a couple things remain the same: if you want to deliver projects and lead teams anywhere in this world, you're going to have to deal with conflict and organizational politics.
It's just a reality of working with people.
When I think of politics with projects, I think of my colleague Brian Irwin, PMP. Brian is the author of Managing Politics and Conflict in Projects, published by Management Concepts and is a contributing author to the book The 77 Deadly Sins of Project Management (Management Concepts, 2009). I had the opportunity to talk with Brian recently and look forward to sharing that interview with you in this episode.
How well prepared are you to handle the conflicts that are facing you today? I find that too few leaders have sufficiently developed their ability to navigate the inevitable conflict that comes with their role.
Because of the popularity of our current promotion, I'm extending the discount on our conflict e-learning program. Just use a coupon code of OCT-ROCK-50OFF and you will get $50 off a license. Instead of $149, you can get your hands on this practical learning to help you manage conflict more effectively for only $99. This offer is valid through November 15, 2009. Have some left over training budget yet this year? Invest in your ability to navigate conflict. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
How about letting your friends and colleagues know about The People and Projects Podcast! Send them a link to our web page at www.i-leadonline.com/podcast, or have them look us up on iTunes! It would be a privilege for me to help develop their ability to lead and deliver as well.
Thank you for joining me today! Have a great week! We'll see you next time on The People and Projects Podcast!
Why Feedback Doesn't Work, with Charles Jacobs, author of Management Rewired
Chances are as a leader you'll be faced with having to give someone constructive feedback this week. Yet have you noticed how people often aren't quite as open to the feedback as you'd like them to be?
Chris Hogan, who talks about a process called Courageous Conversations, says the key when you're receiving feedback is to avoid blaming, complaining, and explaining. That's courageous advice, for sure, and easier said than done.
I was able to catch up with Charles recently while he was relaxing in the Caribbean! Enjoy the interview! To learn more about Charles, I invite you to check out his website at http://www.managementrewired.com/.
I consistently hear from my executive coaching clients that navigating conflict is a real challenge. Because of that I created an engaging e-learning offering entitled Beyond the Rock and the Hard Place: How to Deal With Conflict More Effectively. As a thank you for listening to this podcast, you can get $50 off the cost of a license. Instead of $149, you can get your hands on this practical learning to help you manage conflict more effectively for only $99. Just use the coupon code of OCT-ROCK-50OFF.
Do you have a friend or colleague who would benefit from interviews such as this one with Susan Scott? I invite you to send them a link to our podcast home page or to subscribe on iTunes.
Special thanks to Susan Scott for joining us today! You can learn more about Susan and her company at http://www.fierceinc.com/. And thank you for joining us for this edition of The People and Projects Podcast!
Managing Generation Y, an interview with author and speaker Bruce Tulgan
You've heard the terms Generation X and Generation Y. There are plenty of stereotypes associated with each term. Yet when you're responsible for leading a team that spans generations, it's easy to struggle with challenges that vary from attention spans to how to best motivate and recognize accomplishment.
Or maybe you are working for a younger boss. He or she is the age of one of your adult kids! What are some ideas to keep in mind to help you manage your younger boss?
When I'm looking for insights into leading across generations, I turn to one of the foremost experts on young people in the workplace: Bruce Tulgan. Bruce is the author of Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: How to Manage Generation Y. You'll find my interview with Bruce in this cast helpful as you seek to lead today's workforce.
In our last cast I announced a drawing for two copies of Phil Simon's book Why New Systems Fail. The two winners are Renee Klivickis and Bob Sims! Congratulations to you both!
Would you like a chance to get a copy of Bruce Tulgan's book Not Everyone Gets a Trophy? Just send an e-mail to email@example.com. Please include your name and where you live. Put "Book drawing" in the subject line. I'll draw two winners from those who respond by September 10.
Make sure you listen to the end of this cast to learn about the special discount I'm offering for my e-learning on managing conflict. You can save $50 off the price of one license and $130 off a 3-pack. Just use a coupon code of PODCAST0909 when you order. Visit http://bit.ly/ConflictElearning to learn more about the training.
How Engaged Are Your Teams? Got Conflict? A conversation with Kenneth W. Thomas, author of "Intrinsic Motivation at Work"
So take a look around you. How engaged would you say the people are in your organization?
Each workplace is unique but here's a dose of reality: Some research shows only 29% of North American employees are fully engaged. That's a lot of productivity being left on the table.
Particularly during challenging economic times, it's essential for our teams to be fully engaged and committed to project and organizational success. But how are they going to go the extra mile if they aren't engaged?
One of my heroes in business over the years is Kenneth W. Thomas. If you've sat through any of my leadership or conflict management sessions, you've likely heard me refer to Ken. His research and writing on managing conflict has significantly impacted me. Ken is a co-author of the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI).
Whether it's Ken's work on conflict or engaging the workforce, Ken is a clear and strong voice that offers not only words of wisdom but also practical tools to help us lead through conflict with engaged teams.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Ken recently to get his insights on all this, including the new Work Engagement Profile. This easy-to-use profile provides excellent insights to understand how engaged you and your team are to help put together a plan to re-engage.
Another way to take a next step from this podcast: contact me about Ken's new Work Engagement Profile. I can walk you and your team through the profile, and facilitate a plan to re-engage your workforce during these challenging times.
Finally, don't forget the special offer in the podcast. It can be tempting to think "Andy's other listeners have already picked up those free books or assessments. I won't get in touch with him."
Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free at 866-88 I-LEAD. You just might pick up a freebie!
Thanks for listening to The People and Projects Podcast! Enjoy the interview!
A common theme across my executive coaching clients is related to networking. Often it comes down to the sense there's not enough time to network.
"Nice idea but I'm too busy!"
But when I, as a coach, push back on this bias, here's what I find: It's not a time issue. Rather, it's a perception issue. We prioritize those things that we perceive will provide the best return for our attention.
Bottom-line: networking is often not perceived as sufficiently valuable to justify the investment of time.
Social networking tools provide a technology to facilitate networking. But what are some ways to use these most effectively? How can I make sure I don't waste my time with them? This podcast discusses strategies to help you more actively leverage the power of social networking to enhance your career and improve your ability to lead and deliver.
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