Tag Archives: HR

Community, transformation and relationships

When you found your last job, did you think you were entering into a relationship and what that meant? I am entering into the consulting community at Tekara Organizational Effectiveness. Their aspiration is to be a community. This has me reflecting on what we call ‘community’.

You may have had a discussion that looked like this, “Is it a group or a team?.” Teams have attributes we desire. Even if it is actually a ‘group’, we label it a ‘team’. This is similar to being a community member. Community is much deeper than a label and it requires us to be in relationship.

It is easy to ascribe attributes of proximity to community when we need attributes of relationships. Proximity will ensure we see each other, have common experiences and spend time together. In relationship, we invest into each other and fundamentally change as part of the process.

At Tekara, we ascribe to a transformational leadership paradigm. As Macgregor Burns states in his book Leadership, to transform something it cuts profoundly, “It is to cause a metamorphosis in form or structure.”  To be in a transformational community it requires being open to deep relationships that will fundamentally change who we are, what we do and how we do it.

Painting can be a metaphor for combining the concepts of transformation, community and relationship. Paints can be bright and distinct; they can have similar features and in combination bring the best out of each other. Paint on a canvas is in proximity. Take yellow and mix it with blue and you get green. The new mixture cannot be returned to the original colour and will continue to be changed with new additions. It has been transformed and can continue to transform.

This observation is both an opportunity and a caution. We can and do transform. Relationships leave us in a new form.

Pick those colours that build into your life carefully and then be open to the new mixture.

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Filed under Human Resources, Leadership

SAS Uses the fundamentals and gets great results

Leadership does not have to be complicated. Asking and responding goes a long way to developing a relationship. Relationships are founded on trust and in an environment of trusting relationships people preform better. It creates great business results and a great place to work.

SAS Tops Fortunes List this year – here is how they survey employees

Regan Interview about survey results

From Mat Wilson’s Regan article

Karen Lee, senior manager of internal communications at SAS, said the #1 spot reaffirmed the role of communications in creating a stellar work environment:

“In an  era of social media where communication is critical, transparency within internal communications at SAS reflects the trust our employees have in our leadership and in one another,” said Lee, who was celebrating the selection with team members before dawn on Thursday.

Every year, managers/clients expect a complicated process or survey. The fact is a simple survey that is discussed, turned into action themes and acted upon creates a positive momentum. Surveys are the most scalable and demonstrable activity an organization can do that proves they are listening and that they care. Today, social media can also do this but the advantage of a survey is the legitimacy that the methodology brings to the conversation. Both should be used and likely in combination to enable a dynamic conversation with employees that encourages innovation and creativity.
Employee Survey Process Achieving Leadership Results Ryan Williams Oct 2007 http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf

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Filed under Communication, Employee Surveys

Building Effective Consulting Practices – Leveraging team while maintaining the benefits of unique approaches

Like all good leadership, good consulting starts by being a great listener. All assignments start with a discovery phase where we learn about our client’s business, the people involved and the nature of the problem that we will address. This process may be intuitive and discussion oriented. The discovery may lead to more discovery and adjusted plans.

This discovery process is most effective when a systematic approach is intentionally used. The credibility of a tested and tried approach assures the client of professionalism and comfort of past results achieved.

As a consultant, we have a methodology to approach each unique challenge. We balance our questions with diverse probing. With my partners we use the Tekara Integrated Model to build our understanding of the root cause of the problems. We then design our processes with an evidence based approach.

Tekara Integrated Model

This process lends itself to qualitative methods. It involves client meetings, interviews and focus groups. Our interview protocols are unique to each consultant. They are influenced by the integrated model. The result of the listening has produced effective processes and happy clients. The limitation is the shared knowledge across consultant practices and the ability to explore continuous improvements to improve our collective practice.

Qualitative processes are effective when all the stakeholders for the engagement can be involved. They also provide good indicator information to understand the root cause of the problems being addressed. The limitation is the ability to scale the process across an organization or across a diverse group of stakeholders.
Quantitative processes are more scalable. The most scalable involvement tactic in an organizational context is a survey. Surveys provide a predominance of opinion and can be used as bench mark measures to compare pre and post assignment successes.

Social media tools are now offering new opportunities; however, social media data does not have tested and validated methodologies. This does not enable generalizing results back to the larger population. As a result, the counts and comments must still be viewed as qualitative data. With good context, still valuable but limited in terms of interpretation.

As a team, the survey can speak to what we value and enable a consistent set of organizational diagnostic tools. Over time we can refine our processes and compare our results.

The cost is clear. To become more consistent with our approach, while maintaining unique solutions, we have to become  more similar and then allow the situation to create the leadership intervention.

For this process to be useful, it must create new opportunities and improve client results.

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Filed under Leadership, Management, Planning