Category Archives: Team Building

Experts Discuss the Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Business and Education on The Gail Shane Show

I recently had the privilege of co-hosting The Gail Shane Show on WSRQ – Sarasota with, of course, Gail Shane.  The subject of the program explored the critical role Emotional Intelligence competencies (Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Social Awareness, Relationship Management skills and Empathy) have on creating and sustaining competitive advantage in business, education, and in our own personal lives.  We were fortunate to have on our panel neurosurgeon Dr. Ravi Rao, the author of “Emotional Business: Inspiring Human Connectedness To Grow Earnings And The Economy, Becky Canesse, CEO of Just For Girls, and Dr. Jennifer Rosenboom, the Principal of the Just For Girls Academy.

I’ve edited the podcast replay into three segments, which you can listen to by clicking the audio players below:

Segment One ~ Dr. Ravi Rao and Terry Murray discuss the neurology of human emotions, leveraging neuroscience to develop engaging and inspirational leaders, and how organizational  mastery of our emotional landscape contributes to competitive advantage, engagement, productivity and business performance (13 minutes).

Segment Two ~ Becky Cannesse and Dr. Jennifer Rosenboom discuss how they’re educating the whole child by cultivating empathy, compassion, resiliency, and Emotional Intelligence skills in young girls and how Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning, conducted by Performance Transformation, LLC™, has contributed to the girls’ development (8 minutes).

Segment Three ~ Ravi, Terry, Gail, Becky and Jennifer discuss methods for teaching emotional awareness skills, how Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning accelerates and supports the emergence of Emotional Intelligence competencies, and strategies for cultivating a positive, emotional landscape in organizations, businesses, and families (13 minutes).

Thanks again to Gail Shane, WSRQ – Sarasota, Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART), our collaborator and host for Equine programs, and Neal Communities, the sponsor, for having us on the air!

© 2013, Terry Murray, The Gail Shane Show.

Leave a comment

Filed under Experiential Learning, Health Care, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture, Sales Training, Strategic Planning, Talent Management, Team Building

The Dimensions of the Next Productivity Breakthrough

We’re on the threshold of a very exciting time to be in leadership.  Having survived the shocks of the Great Recession, business leaders are recognizing the traditional approaches to increasing productivity, engagement, collaboration and innovation have run their course.  Fresh thinking is needed to spark the next wave of prosperity.  Interestingly, insights from the broad and burgeoning field of neuroscience are validating the approach and philosophy we’ve been pursuing for five years.

Sophisticated neural imaging is providing hard evidence of what’s occurring in our brains under a variety of controlled inputs.  Our brains have plasticity, which is a relatively new understanding of what was once thought to be a staid organ once the developmental process was complete.  Our brains are constantly changing based upon our experiences and the neural input we choose to, or unconsciously, consume.  By developing intentional, neural development strategies, we can change the way we interpret and respond to the world around us.  To quote Dr. Richard Davidson, Affective Neuroscientist from the University of Wisconsin, commenting on the brain’s experience-dependent neural plasticity, “Neural plasticity refers to the idea that the brain can change in response to experience and in response to training.  The brain is literally built to change in response to experience.”

Dr. Davidson’s work goes on to identify that the practice of compassion activates the part of the brain that processes our perspective of people, events and the world around us.  Cultivating compassion also activates the part of our brain, the insula, that is in two way communication with our organs and body, and gamma waves expand that are associated with the creation of new neural connections.  New neural connections, initiated by novel experiences, are the foundational spark of creative thinking and innovative problem solving.

How does this relate to productivity in the workplace?  Let’s look at what CEOs and senior HR executives have recently acknowledged and are currently seeking to cultivate in their organizations:

1.) CEOs have identified inspirational leadership, customer obsession, and leadership teaming as the most important traits they are seeking in their leaders.

2.) CEOs surveyed in 2012 see human capital (71%), customer relationships (66%), and innovation (52%) as key sources of sustained, economic value creation.  They are also recognizing the need for more openness, transparency and collaboration.

3.) According to IBM’s 2012 research, CEOs are most focused on three organizational attributes; ethics & values (65%), collaborative environments (63%), and purpose & mission (58%).  CEOs in growth-market industries are 79% more likely than their mature market peers to make significant changes to their organizational values over the next three to five years.

4.) According to a SHRM 2012 survey, the three biggest challenges HR executives anticipate over the next ten years are:  Retaining and rewarding the best employees (59%), developing the next generation of corporate leaders (52%), and creating a corporate culture that attracts the best employees to their organization (36%).

5.) CEOs have acknowledged they will require an improvement in productivity of 20% from their current human assets in order to maintain competitive advantage moving forward.

If we reference the recent research from the Corporate Executive Board’s Executive Guidance – 2013, we can see today’s high performers and high potentials are already demonstrating many of the so-called, soft skills necessary to succeed in highly volatile, ambiguous times.  Skills that are grounded in Emotional Intelligence competencies (in particular and from the report, self and social awareness) and a passion for the customer and business that are a result of full engagement (both cognitive and emotional).  Skills that demonstrate nimble, neural plasticity.  Skills that can be taught to others.

Since 2008, we’ve intentionally chosen to work extensively with at-risk populations in our society and have come away with some powerful experiential lessons.  Segments of our society that present significant challenges in their engagement levels, awareness, sense of purpose, and ability to function as productive members of society.  Veterans and their families struggling with PTSD.  Teens incarcerated in juvenile detention.  Women coming out of county jail.  At-risk girls living in poverty and surrounded by crime.  Diverse populations that cling to the fringes, almost entirely excluded from participating in, and contributing to, our collective prosperity.  Populations that are dealing with challenges that are significantly greater and more deeply engrained than what we typically see with our business clients.   We’re happy to report we’ve witnessed remarkable results!

Here’s an example of a recent program for young, at-risk girls in our community:

So, as a business leader, where do you begin?  We suggest looking to the types of values your organization is leveraging for engagement.  Are they purely extrinsic (compensation, power, prestige) or a balance including intrinsic values (authentic relationships, personal development, purposefulness…feeling a part of something important and larger than one’s self interests)?

Extrinsic values, while highly effective during the Industrial Age, when the workplace was culturally homogenous, no longer resonate in today’s multi-cultural, multi-generational workforce.  Intrinsic values transcend the differences stemming from generational perspectives and cultural orientations.

These values resonate through the emotions of compassion, empathy and caring for one another.  These were, and still are, the survival skills that enabled human beings to survive, evolve and flourish.  Research from the neurosciences supports this insight.  It is only through the intentional creation of a culture that propagates these emotions and strikes a balance between intrinsic and extrinsic goals and values, that the targeted 20% improvement in productivity can emerge.

© 2013, Terry Murray.

References.

1.) “Leading Through Connections – Insights From the Global Chief Executive Officer Study.” IBM® Institute For Business Value,  May, 2012.

2.) ibid.

3.) ibid.

4.) “Challenges Facing HR Over The Next 10 Years”, Society for HR Management, November, 2012.  http://www.slideshare.net/shrm/shrm-futurehr2022final.

5.) “Breakthrough Performance in the New Work Environment – Identifying and Enabling the New High Performer”, Executive Guidance for 2013, CEB, December, 2012. http://www.executiveboard.com/exbd/executive-guidance/index.page.

Leave a comment

Filed under Diversity & Inclusion, Experiential Learning, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture, Team Building

From Knowledge Management to Content Collaboration – Unleashing Value Creation in the 21st Century

I’d like to share some exciting research and insights from several business thought leaders that have come to light over the past seven months that point to the remarkable business opportunities that are right before us!

In the November, 2012 edition of the McKinsey Quarterly®, research published in the article, “Capturing Business Value With Social Technologies” provides us with a glimpse into the breathtaking potential of creating real business value through the targeted application of social connectivity platforms.  Obviously, we’re not talking about Facebook here, but emerging media designed specifically for business.  What the authors of the article have discovered is too important to paraphrase, so I’ll quote them directly:

“An in-­depth  analysis  of  four  industry  sectors  that  represent  almost 20  percent  of  global  industry  sales  suggests  that  social  platforms can  unlock  $900  billion  to  $1.3  trillion  in  value  in  those  sectors   alone.  Two-­thirds  of  this  value  creation  opportunity  lies  in  improving  communication  and  collaboration  within  and  across  enterprises.”

As promising as this sounds, technology, in and of itself, is not the entirety of the answer.  Capturing this promise will require a shift in leadership perspective.  One that ferries organizations, and most importantly, organizational culture from an orientation forged during the Industrial Age to one that truly fits what author and thought leader Don Tapscott calls The Age of Networked Intelligence.

In an interview (also from the McKinsey Quarterly) that was published last month entitled, “Making Internal Collaboration Work”, Don Tapscott shared his views on the subject.  First, he states that Knowledge Management has failed.  According to Mr. Tapscott, attempting to containerize knowledge in repositories is futile.  Why?  Because knowledge is not a static entity, nor a finite asset.  Tapscott also points to the false assumption that a company’s knowledge assets exists within the walls of the company.  In the interview, he states that the most important knowledge exists outside of the boundaries of the organization and the way to tap into it is through open collaboration.

Tapscott goes on to identify the problem with email, humorously pointing out that, like Mark Twain once said about the weather, “Everybody’s complaining about it, but no ones doing anything about it!”  (In actuality, we are…and I’ll share more below.) Email sequesters valuable information and knowledge resources.  Not only does email make access to knowledge difficult, it’s a time and productivity sink.  Referring again to research from the November McKinsey article, the researchers discovered that the typical interaction worker (i.e. knowledge worker) spends 28% of each day reading, writing and responding to emails.  This figure represents 13 hours a week or the equivalent of more than 80 days a year working on emails!  All to further lock away valuable, company knowledge into an unsearchable, uncatorgorized tomb.  The authors go on to identify that the productivity of interaction workers could be improved by 20% to 25% by migrating away from email and onto collaborative, open media platforms.  This is the exact productivity improvement CEOs have identified as necessary to maintain competitive advantage in today’s economic climate (as reported in the Corporate Executive Board 2013 Executive Guidance report).

Knowledge sharing on email, once initially exchanged, falls into a virtual safe deposit box that requires two keys to open; knowing exactly what it is that you’re looking to retrieve and remembering who that email was sent or received from.  The first iteration of Knowledge Management attempted to pull the knowledge out of the safe deposit boxes, but still left it in the vault.

Let’s take a look at this opportunity through another lens, one that will help us focus on how we get from where we are to where we need to be.  In order to incorporate and successfully orchestrate emerging social technologies for value creation we will need to prime the knowledge pump.  Here’s where traditional corporate training, another artifact from the Industrial Age, falls short.  In a white paper written by thought leader Jay Cross for Citrix® entitled, “Why Corporate Training is Broken and How to Fix It”, the author points to the challenges traditional training represent in a collaborative, networked world.  In his paper, Mr. Cross identifies the fact that 3 out of 4 Chief Learning Officers are dissatisfied with their corporate training programs and lack of results.  He points out as Industrial Age hierarchies begin the slow migration to collaborative networks, corporate training must follow suit.

Here’s a great example.  I got into a debate the other day on a LinkedIn discussion group focused on team building.  Having suffered through seemingly endless, nonsensical team building programs during my corporate days, be it ropes courses, game playing, or building toy boats in a resort swimming pool, I hold some strong opinions as to the vacuous nature of such investments.  As an executive, I sought a truly meaningful, efficacious and aligned approach to building cohesion and collaboration in the organizations I led.  It was a framing perspective for the development of our own, scientifically-substantiated Adaptive Team Building programs that focus on cultivating soft skills, that are truly causal skills, that positively effect team cohesion, creative thinking and collaboration.  The ropes course advocates took great offense.  Yet, with ten minutes of research, I discovered that by the year 2000, there were more than 20,000 such courses offering team building programs to businesses in the country.  The CAGR of courses was adding an additional 250 sites per year to the landscape.  Sitting here today, with somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 of such programs in operation, why are we still searching for tools that support collaboration, cohesion and creative thinking in teams?  This Industrial Age approach to training no longer delivers value, if in fact, it ever did in the first place.

Jay Cross makes another insightful observation in his paper regarding the limitations of applying social technology without additional support.  He states, “Simply bolting on informal and social learning as a new technique doesn’t work.  A company cannot take full advantage of networked learning without shifting its values, culture and practices.  It must move toward becoming a collaborative organization.”  This migration requires the alignment and optimization of leadership, strategy and organizational culture; the fundamental premise and philosophy we at Performance Transformation have been discussing for five years.  Mr. Cross goes on to offer a four step approach to solving this dilemma.  Here are his recommended steps and Performance Transformation’s tools and solutions for igniting the value creating, collaborative flywheel:

1.) Create a Collaborative Culture.  This requires engagement well beyond the approximately 30% of associates that are actively engaged today (Gallup and the Chartered Management Institute).  Trust must be repaired.  This begins with adopting a fresh approach from transactional leadership toward transformational leadership.  Affective Leadership development focuses on cultivating the interpersonal and emotional intelligence skills that help leaders get off the dance floor and into the balcony by gaining insights into how their leadership neurologically and biochemically affects those they lead.  This approach literally invites engagement, the prerequisite for successful, open collaboration.

2.) Impart Collaborative Motivation.  Once again, we’re back to leadership, but also organizational structure.  Command-and-control leadership is as outdated to Gen X and Gen Y workers as an Etch-A-Sketch, and hierarchies can stifle motivation, especially in younger workers.  Introducing an Open Network Strategy Accelerator (“Accelerate”, Kotter, Harvard Business Review, October, 2012) that can thrive along side the efficiencies of the hierarchy opens the door for multi-generational, multi-cultural collaboration across company silos.

3.) Introduce a Collaborative Infrastructure.  While hierarchies can deliver remarkable efficiencies ensuring companies hit next quarter’s numbers, this structure is also stable to the point of being staid.  Hierarchies weren’t meant to be nimble.  Through our partners at Democrasoft, we’ve introduced a dynamic software infrastructure that supports the Open Network Strategy Accelerator described by Professor Kotter in the HBR.  This platform invites engagement and collaboration throughout the organization, cross pollenating creative ideas and insights, delivering remarkable visibility and transparency.  It pulls knowledge sharing and content collaboration out of email threads and onto a highly accessible, open platform.  The software even enables social branding initiatives to reach out into the marketplace as well as enabling segments of the network to open and capture knowledge from outside of the organization.

4.) Enable Collaborative Learning.  Our unique approach to collaborative learning incorporates Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning (EFEL).  Our relationship-based approach has been commended by General David Petraeus and, most recently, adopted into the core curriculum of a charter school for at-risk girls.  It is not traditional training.  It is experiential learning on a truly collaborative level, both with fellow participants and the horses.  It is no more static than today’s economic landscape and engages the participants in a research-based, statistically substantiated and efficacious approach to professional development.

Touching on what Don Topscott shares in his TED video, he identifies four principles necessary for success in the new, open world.  They are collaboration, transparency, sharing of assets, and empowerment; all dramatic shifts from traditional managerial philosophy.  Again, we’re back to leadership, strategy and organizational culture as the overarching drivers of creating nimble, engaged, and innovative companies.

The point is, there’s no one, silver bullet solution to the challenges and opportunities we face today.  Success going forward will require an integrative approach to how we connect, engage, inspire and motivate human beings to collaborate and co-create in the age of Networked Intelligence; the rapidly emerging source of business value creation in the 21st century.

© 2013, Terry Murray.

Learn more about our integrative approach at Performance Transformation, LLC™.

Leave a comment

Filed under Experiential Learning, Health Care, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture, Strategic Planning, Team Building

Positioning with Purpose ~ Meaning, Engagement and Social Branding

The McKinsey Quarterly® just published a compelling article entitled, “Increasing the Meaning Quotient at Work”.  The article explores the power of meaningfulness in the workplace and shares several approaches to cultivate a sense of purposefulness throughout the organization.  We must admit, we have a bias in endorsing the research, as the concepts and application of psychological flow, emotional intelligence, the endowment effect, and inclusion through authentic engagement have been central tenets of our curriculum for the past four years.  For us, it’s a point of independent validation of our thought leadership (of being a step ahead of such prestigious, global firms like McKinsey) and approach to professional and organizational development.

Bell Curve FlowRenowned research psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, has demonstrated that when people are in psychological flow, they’re performing at their optimal abilities.  Be it an athletic, artistic or intellectual pursuit.  In fact, I wrote extensively about flow in my book and identified methods for creating and sustaining the culture necessary to propagate flow in knowledge workers.  In fact, working from flow increases productivity five-fold.  By intentionally building an emotionally intelligent workforce and emotionally intelligent culture will emerge.  Incorporating the work of Daniel Goleman, one of the fathers of emotional intelligence research, and the research of affective neuroscientists Jaak Panksepp and Richard Davidson, we’ve created easy-to-use, yet powerful tools to assist our clients successfully navigate their emotional landscape (i.e., The Emotional Compass™).

Another interesting finding from the article is another lesson we’ve long understood and emphasized.  It is from the discipline of Applied Behavioral Economics, and in particular, the research of Dan Ariely.  When we own something, be it an idea or an item, we naturally overestimate its value.  The McKinsey study reveals this with the experiment of writing your own lottery ticket.  Dan Ariely demonstrated it at Duke, with basketball tickets.  We’ve seen it for years in our strategic planning practice and it is why we migrated from writing strategic plans for clients to coaching them through the process.  When we feel (notice it is feel, not think or believe) ownership, we adhere and champion our work.  We have a psychological and emotional skin in the game, which also drives engagement.

The other tool McKinsey talks about is storytelling.  Storytelling was humankind’s first knowledge management system.  It was how, for millennia, human beings passed on survival skills, and the cultural mythologies that defined their identity as a people.  This is another long-standing tool we’ve incorporated into our experiential learning workshops as well as our new, social knowledge management platform.  Stories are powerful psychological tools that resonate with us.  It’s part of why we so readily remember song lyrics; stories set to music.

One of the artifacts of the Industrial Age of management is the exclusive use of extrinsic goals and values to drive engagement.  Money, prestige and the big corner office may have worked well to motivate a homogenous workforce, but falls short in today’s multi-cultural, multi-generational workplace.  Extrinsic goals and values are conditioned values, things our society tells us we should value.  By introducing intrinsic goals and values, leaders can transcend both cultural and generational differences in orientation and perspective.  Intrinsic values are universal values we all share.  Authentic relationships, personal development and a sense of shared purpose.  These are the values that resonate neurologically in human beings.  They are ancient, and we can still see how they manifest themselves in primal societies in which survival is highly interdependent.

Companies are coming to realize how purposefulness, of being a part of something larger than ourselves, drives engagement.  Professional development demonstrates an investment by the firm in the individual as well, implicitly communicating, “You have value and are worth investing in.”  Incorporating professional development plans for each associate engrains this message throughout the entire enterprise and can help change the tenor of the culture.

These lessons have strategic value and we are seeing this value manifest itself through the use of social media to create social branding.  Home Depot’s Aprons in Action program is an example of this application being conducted on Facebook.  Home Depot currently has a social media voting contest in place to support nonprofits that work with our veterans.  Each month, four nonprofits compete for votes to win a $25,000 gift card.  This engages both the public and their own associates to feel a part of doing something good for the community…of being a part of positive change.  Just think how much more cost-effective this is compared to a 30 second spot on television!  It sends the implicit message, “We care,” that resonates on an emotional level with the company’s stakeholders.

This approach creates deep reach.  For example, we partner with Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART) to conduct our experiential learning workshops.  In doing so, our client’s investments in leadership development, team building and sales skills programs directly supports a community nonprofit that serves children with developmental disabilities and wounded veterans returning home.  It connects the developmental process with societal meaning and demonstrates service leadership.  When we heard SMART was in Home Depot’s contest this month, we sprang to action to create a fun promotional video for the contest. This level of engagement, of being a part of something bigger than us, mobilized action in support of their needs.  With that said, we invite you to please vote for SMART by visiting the Aprons in Action link.

This is the exclamation point on the power of social branding to drive engagement throughout an enterprise’s business ecology.  Videos are made, social media networks are leveraged, blogs are written and peer opinion and shared intention drives traffic to the Home Depot Facebook page.  Value is created in every direction that benefits Home Depot, SMART, and Performance Transformation.  How we feel, about Home Depot in this example, compels positive behaviors from outside the organization that contribute to the company’s brand equity and social standing.

Perhaps more than ever, employee engagement, customer engagement, leadership, marketing and brand management, are intersecting not so much in the head, but in the heart!

© 2013, Terry Murray.

Leave a comment

Filed under Diversity & Inclusion, Experiential Learning, Health Care, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture, Sales Training, Strategic Planning, Team Building

Scientific Study Demonstrates the Efficacy of Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning

leadership-round-pen-2-lo-res.jpgThose of us employing a relationship-based approach to Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning (EFEL) in the personal and professional development business know how powerful the approach can be for our participants.  The success we’ve witnessed traveling the country these past four years conducting workshops, from Hawaii to Montana to Florida, has been remarkable.  We’ve seen rapid, developmental progress made in combat veterans, women leaving county jail, VA counselors, juveniles in detention, at-risk children, clinicians and business professionals.  The approach delivers a powerful shift in one’s perspective of self, others and how the interplay between human beings (and horses, too) has a biochemical, neurological and psychological affect that subtly defines the nature of our relationships.  Whether we’re leading a team of professionals, selling to prospects, or simply interacting with our friends and families.  We know this works because we’ve seen it working.

Now there’s a solid, scientific research study that confirms what we know anecdotally.  Researchers Patricia Pendry and Stephanie Roeter of Washington State University published the study, “Experimental Trial Demonstrates Positive Effects of Equine Facilitated Learning on Child Social Competence, in a 2012 edition of the professional journal, Human-Animal Interactions.  Conducted as an eleven week after-school program, the study demonstrated improvements in the youth’s’ self-confidence, self-esteem, school bonding, positive social behaviors, school grades and achievement test scores.  To quote Pendry and Roeter, “Results echo findings from prior correlational, anecdotal, and case study evidence, which suggest significant positive associations between participation in equine facilitated programs and various aspects of adjustment and wellbeing.  Faced with skepticism about the efficacy of equine facilitated programs by potential funders and third party payers, therapeutic professionals and clients can now point to causal evidence.  This may not only increase the public’s confidence in equine programs’ ability to positively affect child development, but also translate into increased structural support to increase accessibility to such programs.”1

At first glance, working with horses to develop mindful leaders, cohesive teams and highly efficient sales professionals may look a bit woo-woo.  It isn’t.  We’ve canvased over 200 peer-reviewed research studies in everything from affective neuroscience, biochemistry, applied behavioral economics, performance psychology, adult learning styles and even quantum physics to correlate and explain what is actually happening in our workshops.  Our approach incorporates this research to introduce and frame the lessons the participants are about to experience, in specifically designed horse/human relationship-based exercises, firsthand for themselves.  As we introduce business metaphors throughout the exercises, we see eyes widen as that ah-ha moment emerges when a lesson is embraced through self-reflection and self-discovery.  These kinesthetic lessons are not easily forgotten.

The research pipeline for EFEL is beginning to fill and in the coming years I’m confident we’ll see even more validated results to the approach.  Validation of what we’ve learned experientially by conducting workshops these past four years.  If you are interested in learning more about our approach, we invite you to visit our website!

1.) Patricia Pendry, Stephanie Roeter, “Experimental Trial Demonstrates Positive Effects of Equine Facilitated Learning on Child Social Competence”, Human-Animal Interaction, 2012, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1-19.

© 2013, Terry Murray.

1 Comment

Filed under Diversity & Inclusion, Experiential Learning, Health Care, Leadership Development, Sales Training, Team Building

Is it Time to Upgrade Your Human Software?

Emerging advances in social knowledge media and management software promise a future of remarkable connectivity, responsiveness and strategic flexibility for businesses.  The greatest limitation to these emerging capabilities, of communicating and collaborating in unprecedented ways across traditional business boundaries, may be the businesses themselves.  In particular, the individual operating systems that comprise the business; human beings.

Early in my corporate career I was taught an invaluable lesson.  It was during the mid-nineties when many companies were making the final migration away from business software operating systems that were developed in-house to enterprise software platforms from the likes of ORACLE and SAP.  The new, integrated platforms promised remarkable upside.  Promise that often came along with substantial disruption, especially during conversion, which could drag on for months (or sometimes years).  While many of the problems were purely technical, variable and unstable business processes were also contributing to the challenges at hand.

What I learned was you cannot improve process by simply applying technology.  Automating a questionable process only exacerbates questionable results.  Even worse, it often accelerates and amplifies those results.  Back in the 1970s software engineers had an acronym for this phenomena; GIGO – garbage in, garbage out.

Now we’re on the precipice of another business software/process evolution; social media and social knowledge management.  The looming impact this next wave of technology will have on current business processes makes the old CRM conversions pale in comparison.  Open networks, strategy accelerators, social branding, on-demand customization, Design Thinking and spherical collaboration will alter many of the established, stabile business processes that have been optimized for hierarchically-organized companies.  The scope of change, and the speed at which it is taking place, is unprecedented.  I dare say social technology will effect commerce in the Ideas Age on a scale similar to how the assembly line impacted the Industrial Age.

While unstable or simply bad processes were brought to the surface as enterprise software gained traction, this new evolution will surface something more fundamental; misaligned thinking, outdated leadership and dysfunctional culture.  While the pace of change in the 1990s enabled organizations to muddle through their enterprise conversions, today’s environment will be much less forgiving.  This isn’t about fine-tuning yesterday’s processes to meet the new, adaptive challenges.  It’s about co-creating entirely new processes, and more importantly, embracing an organizational shift in perspective and orientation that will empower greater collaboration.  Companies will need to strategically navigate the journey from yesterday’s command-and-control thinking to tomorrow’s engage-and-inspire actions.

Structural Effects on Performance

Structural Effects on Associate Performance Orientation

Fortunately, we’re not navigating in the dark.  I wrote a blog last week about global advisory firm CEB’s Executive Guidance – 2013 report that identified the top ten competencies today’s high performers are demonstrating as they thrive in volatility.  A thematic thread runs through these imperative (and teachable) skills.  One of high emotional intelligence, an interpersonal orientation, psychological agility, and a sense of purpose greater than the individual self.  Notice that these skills are oriented around intrinsic goals and values (personal development, authentic relationships, purposefulness).  Goals and values that transcend the superficial differences that exists in multi-cultural, multi-generational workplaces.  The fact is, organizationally leveraging extrinsic goals and values (money, prestige, power) is no longer the go-to motivating factor it was in the past.  Deeper meaning must be imparted through mindful leadership and a highly engaging, inclusive culture in order to ignite breakthrough performance through the application of human capital.

The study went on to identify that, on average, only 5% of employees demonstrate competencies in these areas, so there’s enormous room for growth and performance improvement.  But a shift in perspective must first occur in order for these productivity gains to be realized.  Here’s a quote from the research that supports this insight:

“What skills and behaviors will differentiate the most productive employees?  Most managers and performance management models assume that strong business acumen, task and process mastery, and technical know-how explain the majority of an employee’s job performance.  Unfortunately, the prevalence of outdated assumptions about the most valuable skills and abilities leads to the misidentification (or under-identification) of the organization’s next generation of high performers.  Using existing methods, organizations will likely fail to identify 65% of their new high performers.”*

This points to a misalignment, or misunderstanding, of values…of what matters most in driving performance.  Adopting a social knowledge management software platform without first addressing the firm’s human software (the associates’ thinking, orientation and perspective) is akin to seeding a field without first tilling the sod.  These new insights into the skills necessary for high performance lead us to additional insights into the type of leaders we must be developing and the organizational culture required to foster these competencies and behaviors throughout the organization.

Social knowledge management offers remarkable promise for increases in productivity and performance.  A study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute and published in the November, 2012 McKinsey Quarterly®, demonstrated that improved communication and collaboration through social technologies can raise the productivity of interaction workers by 20 to 25 percent.  In analyzing just four key business sectors, the research goes on to suggest social platforms can unlock somewhere between $900 billion and $1.3 trillion in value!  Just don’t forget to upgrade your human software first!

*CEB, CLC Human Resources High Performance Survey, 2012.

© 2013, Terry Murray

Leave a comment

Filed under Diversity & Inclusion, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture, Team Building

Speak with Author Terry Murray Live on Patricia Raskin’s Positive Business™ Radio Show

For Immediate Release

Entrepreneur, Author, and Business Strategy Architect Terry Murray will be appearing live on Patricia Raskin’s nationally syndicated, call-in radio program, Positive Business™, today, December 7th at 4:30 p.m., E.D.T.

New Cover 2:18:11Terry Murray, author of “The Transformational Entrepreneur ~ Engaging The Mind, Heart & Spirit For Breakthrough Business Success”, is scheduled for a live interview with renowned radio talk show host Patricia Raskin, this afternoon at 4:30 p.m., E.D.T.

Terry’s book provides a step-by-step approach for creating and sustaining breakthrough performance in today’s volatile world.  Looking beyond conventional wisdom, Terry re-examines his entrepreneurial experiences to examine the human elements that consistently drive creativity, innovation and success.  The book was recently cited in the March, 2012 edition of the academic Journal For Economic Literature.

“We’re well past the Industrial Age, and in fact we’ve moved beyond the Information Age.  We now live in the Idea Age,” adds Terry.  “In today’s global economy, intellectual property is the driver of value creation.  The source of commercially viable ideas are people.  Highly engaged, talented, passionate people.  Human beings, and our remarkably creative and adaptive abilities, are the raw material for business in the 21st century.  The traditional, Industrial Age approach to leadership, strategy and organizational culture must also evolve in parallel with this evolutionary shift.”

Listeners are welcome to call into the show at (888) 345-0790.  The program is syndicated throughout the United States and will stream live at http://www.790business.com.

Ms. Raskin has interviewed more nearly 2,000 guests on her show.  Her past guests include such luminaries as Dr. Mehmet Oz, Maya Angelou, Gay Hendricks, Debbie Ford Dr. Ravi Rao and Dr. Andrew Weil.  In addition, she has written over 700 newspaper articles and produced and hosted 500 television programs and documentaries.

A podcast of the program will be posted on Terry’s blog site shortly after airing.

© 2012, Performance Transformation, LLC™.

Leave a comment

Filed under Diversity & Inclusion, Experiential Learning, Health Care, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture, Team Building