Category Archives: Team Building

Close your mind! avoid these questions!

questions.answers

We are often automatic with how we think –not always open-minded. That is because we don’t ask ourselves or others the important questions. Opening your mind with “opened-ended questions that cannot be answered with a yes or is a necessity for growth. It starts with an exploration of what you might be taking for granted. When you do this, you begin to delayer things and get to the truth.

• Why did we see the need for this decision in the past?
• What if we do things differently?
• What if our biggest competitor were in this room; what would he or she say about us?
• What if we re-imagine things radically? What if we create a new market segment?
• What if I owned this business? What would I do differently?

Source: Think To Win: Unleashing the Power of Strategic Thinking

Wisdom — Who Do You Go With?

We can probably count the “true people” who are confident in sharing everything they know –who will help others with the assurance that he or she expects nothing in return. How fortunate are we to meet individuals who are truly giving! Is there anyone who comes to mind?
I have, and many others who have been fortunate to come across his path also have someone in mind! – his name is Peter Klein. I first met Peter in the spring of 2001 while working at Gillette. He was an officer of the company who was an important part of Gillette’s turnaround story. As a trusted advisor and confidant to many of us, he was the “go to guy” when you needed help thinking through an issue. There were no title constraints or turf issues as he was genuinely concerned about doing the right thing for the business and the people in the organization.
After I left P&G in 2006 to start my company, I again turned to Peter for help. His guidance in how to start and grow a consulting practice was invaluable. I also really learned not to take myself so seriously as his sense of humor helped ground me. I owe much of my success to his support.
I grew to know him even better between 2010-2015 when he collaborated with myself and John Manfredi on our book Think-to-Win. His library of content, insights and experience in business were invaluable. Through Peter, we could reach some of those most successful leaders in organizations and tap into their minds. It was remarkable how people were willing to share their stores with us. Most likely because Peter had been part of them.
Peter has a saying “with whom you go is more important than where you go.” I am lucky that I have been able to go with Peter for these last 15 years!
To learn more about Peter and see his wisdom and humor on display, go to www.pkassoc.com and also see the 2015 interview conducted by Gary Vaynerchuck, founder of VaynerMedia and a digital/social media icon. It was tweeted to over a million people and viewed by thousands more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjwe3K89ENs

Reach Paul Butler at Pbutler@globaledg.com

Believe this Myth and Never Unlock Your Value

One persistent myth about the strategic thinking process: it is long and cumbersome. Even if that were true in the past, it’s not so now. More importantly, it should not be! Strategic thinking is not “protracted thinking”—the kind that eventually coughs up a 500-page, door-stop-style plan that is shelved upon completion. If learned correctly, strategic thinking helps to create plans that are living documents—guiding decision-making on a daily basis. Strategic thinking becomes real, actionable, and accessible. Done collectively it is the kind of thinking that quickly galvanizes individuals, companies, and other organizations to produce positive results. Try it—answer these questions for yourself or your team—see what happens!

Source: Think to Win, McGraw-Hill, 2015

Unlock and Unleash to Add Value

Unleashing the Power

A Channel to Innovation

power-training-barbell-muscles-hands-39613A few years back I was called in to work with a new Product Development team that had been experiencing several setbacks and delays. The cause being new technology; an important part of the firm’s overall growth strategy. It was designed to fill a gap that existed in the new product pipeline. I spent a few days with the marketing executive who was leading the team. He suggested that I spend some time with individual team members before meeting with the collective team. After initial conversations, I called the leader and said, “This team has a group of experts who do all of the things a high-performing team can or should do, except knowing how to think collectively and dialogue appropriately in a way that provides true breakthrough.”

We agreed as a team that an intervention—a new approach—was needed as they couldn’t get to a new product launch—literally stuck on a situation for over 6 months, and the organization was bleeding dollars.

In one of the most inspiring leadership books, Synchronicity: The Inner Path to Leadership, renowned author, Joseph Jaworski, writes ….

If people were to think together in a coherent way, it would have tremendous power. If there was an opportunity for sustained dialogue over a period of time, we would have a coherent movement of thought, not only at the conscious level we all recognize, but even more importantly at the tacit unspoken level which cannot be described. Dialogue does not require people to agree with each other, instead it encourages people to participant in a pool of shared meaning that leads to aligned action.”

One of our (GlobalEdg’s) core principles of Strategic Thinking is creating/developing the ability to openly dialogue and challenge underlying assumptions. And, being able to do this in a way that allows people to be heard and empowered to find solutions. Learning to effectively Challenge Assumptions is defined in Think to Win: Unleashing the Power of Strategic Thinking by Butler, Manfredi, Klein. An excerpt from the book:

“Having an open mind is a necessity. It starts with an exploration of what you might be taking for granted. Peel away any built-up layers of assumptions by asking how they came to be accepted, and envisioning what would happen if they were not.

Begin by asking the “What If” and “Why” questions:

  • Why did we see the need for this decision in the past?
  • What if we do things differently?
  • What if our biggest competitor were in this room; what would he or she say about us?
  • What if we re-imagine things radically? What if we create a new market segment?
  • What if I owned this business? What would I do differently?”

By applying the Think to Win strategies, the team began to master the ability to dialogue more effectively, they learned to collectively think and produce results. This allowed for accountability and cross-functional collaboration in a different, more authentic way. The results—the team accelerated its work and delivered the new product to market ahead of schedule. That product is still in the market today and doing well. Just as important, the organization gained and replicated this capability with future product launch teams.

 

Paul Butler

President, GlobalEdg

Think to Win Cover web

Tread Lightly

slip-up-danger-careless-slipperyIndividual Development Plans Can Sabotage Team Effectiveness

It is hard to believe that I once bought into the theory that we hire people for what they can contribute to the organization, and then we build their initial development plans looking not only at strengths, but shortly thereafter begin to focus on weaknesses or areas of opportunity for growth. Like we can change them before the year has even passed? The danger lies in thinking that we want to.

We all have strengths. They are what we strive to bring forward in ourselves. We want to be successful and add value. As Markus Buckingham, noted author and expert on “Strengths” indicates, “—your particular combination of strengths—is deeply a part of who you are.”

We have a great model of this in our recent Olympic history. Michael Phelps, who ended his record-breaking careerwith 23 gold medals, is an example of the power of focus on strength. Easy? No. Over the years Phelps has struggled both in and out of the pool. Finding his resolve, he was always able to return to what he does best…swim. To train, to improve, to grow stronger in what he excels at. Not switch sports, no change of direction or retooling of what was already strong within him. As a team member, Phelps brings this talent and winning strategy to the medley relay events. He is a powerful part of a powerful team; each having honed strengths…for one it is the butterfly, for another it is the backstroke. None would be expected to swim the part that was not their strongest.

As a leader, how can you get started leveraging your team’s strengths? First of all, you need to change your mindset. Focus onwhat potential or existing members can bring to the game (business, operations, etc.). Then try the following:

  1. Go back to your own assessments. You have probably taken many instruments that measure preferences, style, and competence assessments. Now, focus solely on what you did well. Then ask yourself how much that helped serve you.
  2. Think about the BEST team you were ever part of:
    • How did you uniquely contribute?
    • How did others uniquely contribute, in the ways you could not?
  3. Seeing the unique capabilities in others helps identify how to leverage those talents to benefit the whole team. If you don’t do this, as a leader of a team, you will tend to dominate with your strengths. That might be helpful in many situations, but certainly not all.

How can you make a difference in where you play and how you win? “As Buckingham says, “your Strengths can be put to good use, or they can be put to bad use.”

The choice is yours.

Why

Successful people Communicationknow and communicate the “WHY” of their work…we all should

My lifelong dreamwas to run a successful business that I could be proud of. When I started GlobalEdg in 2006, I felt it was important to clearly communicate what our firm did. We were an unknown startup; it was important for potential clients to understand our capabilities. We invested time and money in our website, created a product and service brochure, drafted presentations, designed flyers and much more—whatever we felt would help. It was what was needed at the time and it served us well. I became pretty good at answering the question, “What does your firm do?” I still believe that it is important to concisely describe what you do and how you are different from your competitors.

Over the years we have continued to grow our capabilities; we have had the privilege to work with some of the best organizations in the world. Today, almost all of our new business comes from referrals. For any consulting firm that is where you want to be. Today we now feel a responsibility to articulate who we are and what we do in a more complete way.

Each year we conduct a strategic review of our business. This being our 10th year we thought it was especially important to update our messaging on “what we do.” During a planning session, we found ourselves having an important conversation about what we “really” do and “what we are known for.” Yet it was different this time, the discussions shifted in a way that we found very powerful and extremely rewarding. A significant amount of time was invested into answering the “why.” In other words, why was our work important? How were we making a difference with the work we were doing? Why was it important work?

We know that our work is meaningful—we do make a difference in how leaders run their organizations. We knew how to articulate the “what we do”—but we finished with defining why our work makes a difference. GlobalEdg is an organization that I am proud of—I am living the dream.

Dig deep…ask and answer why your work is important!

For more information, visit our website, www.globaledg.com

Stephen Curry NBA Champion: how to challenge assumptions and think like a winner!

http://

NBA’s Champion Stephen Curry busted every assumption people have been making about him. He knows his strengths and further develops them into a competitive advantage. Dan Wetzel provides us with a beautiful example of how to challenge assumptions and think like a winner.

Curry worked hard to build those strengths into a collective competitive advantage. Wetzel writes — he just kept developing what he could — an even better shooting touch, more floaters, ever-refined ball-handling skills, even smarter understanding of spacing and pacing and passing. Hard work, and focusing on what is most important can do to lead your team there. He knows what is unique about him and leverages that to win! Curry proves he is a leader and leaders win!

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/stephen-curry-leads-warriors-to-nba-title-his-way-040538108.html

The World Cup Has Me Thinking – 3 Lessons For Teams

Watching the World Cup games had me thinking about players who usually play in their “premier” leagues joining a “national team” – a few thoughts that might correlate with your business team:

1. Put them in a new uniform – but the same uniform all the others wear – What is symbolic of a uniform on your team? ONBOARD FAST!

2. Ask them to communicate in their primary language – What common business language is used in your organization? TEACH THEM QUICKLY!

3. They prepare – they identify opponent’s weaknesses? What is your competitive advantage –do you really know how to use it? MAKE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS IT!

Stay tuned for our upcoming webinar series to learn some of these techniques!