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November newsletter: the wisdom of age

Thank you to everybody who has submitted ideas and comments – it adds a different dimension to the Newsletter! Please keep them coming to Tina. For the next issue of the newsletter, we would love to hear your reflections on 2010 and whether you have had to adapt the way you work – and whether it has been for the better. In the mean time, keep reading Lynda’s blog - you can read and comment here.

Inspired by Drucker after Austria

Lynda has just come back from Vienna, where she addressed the 2nd Global Peter Drucker Management Forum. You can read some of the presentations (including Lynda’s) online.

Away from the formal programme, Lynda was very struck by some of the themes discussed on the sidelines: what hit home the most was the generally-pessimistic outlook for the older generation in Europe. She has put together five points for a Grand Plan on how to reinvigorate an ageing working population, and put their skills and knowledge to good use for all. You can read Lynda’s five points on her blog: we’d really like to hear your thoughts on how your company is integrating the senior (in age) members of the workforce, and whether you believe enough is being done. Email Tina with your ideas.

The Forum also took the chance to pay tribute to Professor CK Prahalad, who passed away this year. He was a friend to Lynda and to some of the Hot Spots Movement team members, and is missed personally and academically. You can view the recording of his speech at the Forum from a year ago by clicking here. His strategic thinking will continue to shape management practices for years to come.

What have we learned this year that will impact Hot Spots?

Thanks to our work on the Future of Work Research Consortium, the team has gained valuable insight into how businesses will change and adapt over the next decade. Andreas Voigt, Research Director for HSM, says there are three key trends which make working in teams even more important. This, in turn, has led us to revisit some of the ways we work with companies on developing these skills. Let’s hand over to Andreas to explain how the rules of the game have changed:

Interdisciplinary projects, task forces, and communities are created to tackle challenges that cut across boundaries of expertise. Yet, high diversity in mindsets and differences in specialisation raise the bar for effective collaboration - particularly in teams that are brought together for a limited period of time and have to deliver quickly and under pressure.

Technology enables work in the virtual space, and the cost of collaboration seems low. However, virtual work is not made for everyone as the clustering of team members in different parts of the world can bring fraction or a feeling of isolation. And information sharing, commitment making, and the building of trust in a virtual work environment create a whole host of complexities in addition to the struggle of global coordination across time zones. Last but not least, business leaders are rarely trained in leading virtual teams!

Generation Y brings funky technology and geeky skills to the playing field in your teams. Yet, the rules of the game change when members from different generations need to work together and the blending of tacit knowledge and deep insight experience with young drive and ambition are key to tackling business challenges effectively.

Andreas explains that everyone thinks that the principles of teamwork seem basic and therefore easy – but companies are still getting it very wrong.

Collaboration in complex situations requires a particular set of knowledge to make a group of individuals become more than the sum of its parts. Creating an effective team is far more than putting the people with the right skill sets together.

Take a football team as an example: an all-star team can quickly derail if no one is willing to do the crucial legwork and put the team first and above themselves. Because collaboration is task-driven, then action-taking enables value creation. We find that a detailed understanding of the team is the foundation for high performance. Yet, on top of that, clear action steps around the goals and aspirations of the team are needed to increase the bottom-line impact of the work.

Lynda is elected Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources

Congratulations from all of us to Lynda, who has just been elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources (NAHR) – one of the biggest honours in the field of HR worldwide.

The citation for Lynda’s nomination included acknowledgement of her “pragmatic sense of commercial business and the sound application of HR fundamentals and frameworks that apply in real-time applications”.

Lynda entered the 19th class of Fellows, and Mirian Graddick-Weir, chair of the NAHR, said: “By election to the Academy, the Fellows have been acknowledged by their peers as reaching the very highest level of achievement in the Human Resources profession.

“Each of these human resources professionals has made sustained and exemplary contributions to the broad field of human resources and have played a substantial role in shaping human resource management thinking and policy.”

NAHR is an American organisation and Lynda is only the third person from outside the USA to be elected as a Fellow. She was awarded at a gala dinner at the Yale Club in New York.

To read more about NAHR, click here.

VIDEO: It’s here! We launch FOW2 in London

After months of planning, and a more exciting line-up of partners than we could possibly have hoped for, we launched Phase 2 of the Future of Work Research Consortium in London on 5 November.40 of the 43 member companies were represented and we had more than 70 people attendees live, with another near-hundred people participating via webinar.

Have a look at our video on Hard Facts about the Future of Work – why not use these statements to initiate discussions among your own team members?

Lynda will be sharing some of her thoughts on her blog over the next few months, so keep checking back to read.

Looking ahead: India in January

We’re really excited to announce that we will be running a Future of Work workshop in Mysore in India on January 20 for the four Indian members of the Consortium. This will actually be the first ever face to face FOW event in India, and we’re grateful to Infosys for hosting us, alongside their co-Consortium members Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro.

Lynda has made several trips to India recently and always comes back refreshed and full of inspiration. This time, she’ll be joined by Julia, Max and Marzia – a real powerhouse team! – so we’re looking forward to hearing their ideas and filling you in on some of their learnings in the New Year.

What questions are you asking us at the Hot Spots Movement?

Tina Schneidermann, in charge of Marketing & Development at the Hot Spots Movement, has observed a significantly increased interest in our diagnostic tools. We asked her to explain more about the tools and how they can help:

There is a lot of interest in getting benchmarked performance dasta about teams – and although our core diagnostic tool, the Hot Spots Team in Context Profile, has been part of our offer for several years, companies are now really keen to start the process of creating and sustaining hot spots with a ‘reality check’. For corporations (or indeed, teams within organisations), it makes a lot of sense to get a clear and objective picture of current team capabilities. Then, on that basis, we can build a programme to assist the team, enabling a focus on areas that are of strategic importance to the overall organisation but where the reality check has shown the team is weaker.

As well as the reality check, the Hot Spots Research Institute has developed a couple of diagnostic tools to help businesses drive collaboration for high performance in teams, projects, and communities. Tina explains:

Our Hot Spots Teams in Context Profile maps and benchmarks a team with regard to its current potential and the reality of working with each other effectively. The tool also captures key drivers of complexity in the team’s work and identifies assets for high performance that are not fully leveraged yet, while pointing out challenges for effective collaboration. Feedback data from team members and key stakeholders enable the team to define goals and action steps in their work with each other and with their clients and suppliers. Finally, in our profile, we also factor in current people practices in the company to understand how the team or project can be supported more effectively.

The Hot Spots Performance Dashboard takes a close and simultaneous look at a larger number of teams and projects that are key to tackling business challenges and delivering to strategic objectives. The dashboard of an organisation helps with understanding the current output with regard to performance and innovation and comes with an action plan for how to increase bottom-line impact.

The Short Team Profile (which includes a 1½ day onsite workshop) can help a group of leaders in an organisation to build high performance teams and face the challenges of leading in complex settings. The course puts an emphasis on the changing rules of the game when it comes to work in teams or projects to become fit for the future.

Would you like to speak to us about how diagnosing your team(s) could help generate top-performing hot spots in the organisation? Email Tina for more details.

Cool office: Proctor & Gamble

Taking a “no hierarchy” approach to office design is Shantanu Khosla, managing director of Proctor & Gamble’s Indian operations. Khosla doesn’t sit in a plush corner office, with views of the Mumbai skyline: in fact, he doesn’t have an office at all but sits at a six feet square workstation alongside his colleagues. The entirely open-plan office is in line with P&G offices around the world: individual offices are banned, giving increased space to public areas and meeting areas. In addition, Khosla says the open plan layout has led to a transformed work culture, an elimination of perks for seniority (such as reserved parking places or separate dining areas).

Read Aparna Raje’s interesting interview with Khosla here, including how changing the office layout has resulted in huge changes in working culture.

Who’s in our network?

This issue, we’re combining sections with our blog watch: we’d like to introduce you to Box of Crayons. The founder is Michael Bungay Stanier, and the company works with organisations to improve the effectiveness of their teams, as well as working with their top executives to help them do “less good work and more great work”. Michael was actually named Canadian Coach of the Year in 2006, and he has a really great approach that delivers results - in a fun way.

Michael and his colleagues have also produced some vignettes that you can view here – we really recommend them, especially the Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun! The site also has some excellent interviews and content.

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