Business Counsel Associates

Archive for October, 2010

Corporate Sustainability in the XXI Century

October 31, 2010 By: azjogger Category: Human Resources, Operations

By Patricia Carrascosa

Corporate Sustainability is defined as the business approach in which a green strategy is created. However, it doesn’t only consider the environmental factor; it also includes the social, economic and cultural elements.

One of its most important principles is resource efficiency. This implies using research and new technologies to reduce their environmental footprint.

What are the benefits that companies get from this, in addition to contributing to create a more eco-friendly international community?

Recycling and reducing can lead to lower costs – and thus, companies are able to offer more competitive prices and increase their profits. This can be achieved, for example, through remanufacturing.

Attracting consumers to your brand
In addition, they are attracting other consumers to their brands. People are more interested in eco-friendly products and services than ever before, so companies have a unique opportunity to differentiate from competitors. The goal is to be appealing to a generation of consumers that is well-informed, cares about the environment, is constantly interacting with NGO’s and environmental activists through social network websites and social media and, in many cases, is willing to spend some more to buy a product or service that is eco-friendly.

More and more companies are hiring environmental professionals to help design strategies to go eco-friendly and to implement those at a later stage.

Countless job opportunities
Even though, to this day, many big companies still don’t have present plans to hire professionals to help them design or manage an environmental plan, there are countless opportunities for environmental professionals and the trend is going to continue; in the years to come, thousands opportunities will be created, even in smaller companies and organizations.

If you are a job seeker, environmental jobs (including sustainability jobs) offer great opportunities, and it is very likely that you will find positions that you are attracted to and that you can apply to and be a great candidate, considering your level of experience and area of expertise.

AllEnvironmentalJobs.com is a job board that lists thousands of Environmental Jobs, including Sustainabilit Jobs and many others.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Patricia_Carrascosa

Search Engine Marketing: A Marathon, Not a Sprint

October 31, 2010 By: azjogger Category: Marketing & Sales

By Lagnajeet Roy

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the consolidated process of marketing a website through search engines by use of optimization, paid ranking, directory submissions among other website promotion methods. According to statistics from internet marketing intelligence, over 70% of the people who consume content on the internet will get to such content through a search engine. This means that search engine marketing is the most effective way of marketing your website to new target clients.

Search website engines work to keep their search algorithm as secret as possible to avoid website owners spamming their way to the top of search results. However, every now and then, many of these search parameters are revealed either deliberately or unintentionally to the public. With such revelation, internet marketing companies exploit the information to gain search mileage over their competition. Therefore, the search results keeps changing as new websites work towards internet marketing their sites with new techniques and outdo their competition.

However, even as new search engine marketing information causes changes in the ranking of websites for various search terms, some websites always seem to stand out at the top of search results. They always seem to weather the changing trends and parameters as set by internet search companies and remain at the top of search results. This is always the aim of every website owner. However, having a website that remains at the top of a search result is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work and avoiding the many short-cut processes being offered to catapult you to the top. The only sure path in search engine marketing is building links.

Algorithm key to Google rankings
Google search gained its prominence after its revolutionary PageRank algorithm of ranking websites in a search result. The algorithm ranked website results based on the number of references a website had from other websites. Therefore, the website that had the most links pointing to the website from other websites was ranked at the top. This still remains the primary way in which Google among other top internet search companies continue to rank websites.

Therefore, the only sure way of search engine marketing to the top and remaining at the top is building as many inbound links as possible. To know how much links you need at a minimum, you can see how many links the first website in the search engine ranking has. Most top search words have top websites with hundred of thousands and even millions of links to the website. However, less competitive websites will have much less links.

There are various ways that a website owner can build links to their website. One simple way is registering your website to website directories. Many of these directories are free of charge but some will charge a price. Besides website directories, one can submit articles to article submission websites. You can also place comments on blogs or participate in internet forums and place a link to your website in such participation.

Place the link to your website with anchored text bearing your keyword
To ensure that your links add value to improve your ranking for a particular search term, you should always place the link to your website with an anchored text bearing your keyword. This way, the search rankings can associate the link to a particular search term of your choice.

As long as you are consistently adding links from other websites to your website, you are on your way to the top rank for searches in your niche. The journey may look long, but it is the only guaranteed way of winning in this internet marketing marathon.

Micrositez is a leading search engine marketing firm that provides services that are effective and reliable. You can find out more of our internet marketing services by following the links.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lagnajeet_Roy

6 Tips for Creating Valuable Landing Pages

October 31, 2010 By: azjogger Category: Marketing & Sales, Operations, Technology

By Kelly Cutler

A landing page is the web page that appears when a web user clicks on an advertisement. The page usually displays a call-to action message that is an extension of the advertisement or link. When engaging in pay per click (PPC) marketing campaigns, your goal should be to increase conversion rates and decrease bounce rates.

Here are 6 tips for creating a valuable landing page:

1. Have a clear headline. Since the headline is the first thing a user sees on the landing page, it has to capture attention. Make the headline clear, concise and direct. The headline should be a simple statement of what the user is trying to accomplish.

2. Have a persuasive call-to-action. It is important to have a strong, influential message for the call to action. Ask yourself, from the perspective of your user; “why would I care? What do I need to do?” You should also focus on one objective per landing page; the content should drive your call-to-action.

3. Utilize white space. Online users do not read all the text on a website. They skim over the information for the elements that are relevant to them. White space allows users to absorb key messages and easily find important information. It’s also a good idea to keep your content above the fold of browser windows. This makes it easier for users to reach the page, see your message and act.

4. Avoid distracting visual elements. If photos and charts don’t inspire your visitors to taking the desired action, don’t include them on the page. Every page element has to work consistently toward the same goal. Removing standard navigation elements from the page may help encourage visitors to complete the task instead of guiding them away. It’s also possible, if it’s a standalone webpage, that it’s actually hard for people to get back to it if they click away, unless they use the back button.

5. Demonstrate trust and security. Trust, security and online reputation have a tremendous impact on conversion. Testimonials are also part of this group. These elements generate confidence in users, which can increase conversion rates. If they can be incorporated seamlessly into your landing page, use them.

6. Always, always test. Before launching your campaign, make sure any forms or email sign-ups are working properly and direct users to a unique thank you page. Also see how your page looks across browsers to ensure consistency. After launch, you can A/B test landing pages. Utilizing tools such as Google Website Optimizer makes this form of testing easy, and more importantly, shows powerful results. Whether you test which call-to-action copy, or different colored buttons perform better, you can make changes to your page based on real user data.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Kelly_Cutler

How We Fail to Prepare Top Executives

October 31, 2010 By: azjogger Category: Management, Training

From Leading Effectively, Center for Creative Leadership

Even the best and brightest can fail and falter. In spite of intelligence and drive, expertise and experience, many top executives arrive in their high-impact roles without being fully prepared to meet contemporary challenges, according to the editors of a new book on executive development.

Businesses and institutions around the globe seek to innovate, adapt to change and forge a path to success. Yet almost two-thirds of change initiatives fail and turnover and turmoil at the top levels of leadership are commonplace. What is going on in the process of developing senior leaders that prevents them from effectively facing the demands of today’s leadership?

In the book Extraordinary Leadership: Addressing the Gaps in Senior Executive Development, editors Kerry A. Bunker, Douglas T. Hall and Kathy E. Kram have worked with a wide range of authors to address the “powerful learning gaps in executive development that can derail otherwise talented and successful managers.”

Today’s senior executives — as well as those in the leadership pipeline — must master complex and ambiguous business demands, but they must also face the human and relational challenges associated with leading in such an environment.

“More than ever before, successful leadership hinges on learning agility and the experience necessary to navigate and lead others though complex situations,” the editors write. “It’s not about the perfect pedigree or knowing all the answers anymore. It’s about resiliency and openness. Sheer intellect, savvy business sense, bottom-line focus, and solid management skills are necessary, but they are clearly not sufficient for meeting the demands of leadership in the 21st century.”

There are development gaps
Many top executives, though successful, have missed out on the more “elusive factors of leadership effectiveness” that have been overlooked by traditional development programs, systems and mindsets. As a result, their developmental gaps are likely to involve:

•Interpersonal relationship challenges.
•Difficulty adapting to rapid change and spiraling complexity.
•Problems partnering and sharing responsibility and accountability.
•A leadership style that not only fails to inspire and motivate the masses but may actually foster a culture of fear or risk aversion.
What can be done to re-invest in top leaders and build much-needed leadership capacity in our organizations? The 20 scholars and practitioners who contributed to Extraordinary Leadership (including Peter Vaill, Naomi Marrow, Jay Conger and Frances Hesselbein) evaluate the gap and offer solutions in four key areas:

1.The gap within: Intrapersonal learning and development issues within an individual.
2.The gap between: Interpersonal and relational issues that operate between individuals.
3.The gap in the system: Organizational issues that operate among systems, organizations, groups and individuals.
4.The gap at the institutional level: External and contextual issues such as cultural differences, dramatic change, paradigm shifts and economic fluctuations.
A tailored approach to assessment, feedback and development — with opportunities for reflection and experiential learning — is required to help individual leaders identify and overcome their personal gaps. Guidance and support are generally required and may take the form of a professional coach, a savvy HR advocate, a mentor in senior management or some combination of those roles.

“We realize that the world we now live in is more complex than ever before, and it is ever changing. As a consequence, our approaches to leadership development must offer certain opportunities for leaders to learn, reflect, experiment and dare to be vulnerable,” write Bunker, Hall and Kram.

“Only with such opportunities will individuals, groups and organizations generate the capacities to effectively respond and adapt to changing conditions as they unfold.”

This article is adapted from the Introduction to the book Extraordinary Leadership: Addressing the Gaps in Senior Executive Development, edited by Kerry A. Bunker, Douglas T. Hall and Kathy E. Kram and published by the Center for Creative Leadership and Jossey-Bass.

Leadership Skills for an Uncertain World

October 31, 2010 By: azjogger Category: Management, Operations, Training

From Leading Effectively, Center for Creative Leadership

Last April, noted futurist and author Bob Johansen was giving a keynote presentation on leading in a volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) world when a volcano erupted in Iceland.

As if nature were listening and decided to help Johansen make his point, the volcano Eyjafjallajökull spewed ash across Europe, halting flights and grounding about 10 million travelers worldwide. Commerce stalled, and routine business operations suddenly seemed vulnerable and volatile.

Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity are the realities of today and will continue to be so in the future, Johansen says. “It won’t be getting easier and leaders must accept this reality.”

But even the expert Johansen found the disruption hard to take. “The weather in London was clear — it looked fine. But I was stuck in London for a week; all my plans changed,” he recalls. “It is much more difficult to experience VUCA than talk about it! I thought: I can’t believe what a wimp I am about this! The point is that we have to experience these things — over and over — to learn and grow as leaders in a changing and uncertain world.”

Leaders will face challenges that have no solutions
In his new book, Leaders Make the Future: Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain World, Johansen says that leaders increasingly will face challenges that have no solutions. Of course, they will have to make decisions anyway.

The VUCA world will also have both danger and opportunity, he explains. “Leaders will be buffeted, but they need not allow themselves to be overwhelmed, depressed or immobilized. Leaders must do more than just respond to the whirl of events, though respond they must. They must be positive change agents in the midst of chaos, creating the future. Some things can get better, even as other things get worse.”

To make a better future, leaders must seek out experiences and opportunities to learn and apply 10 new skills:

1.Maker instinct. Ability to exploit your inner drive to build and grow things, as well as connect with others in the making.
2.Clarity. Ability to see through messes and contradictions to a future that others cannot yet see.
3.Dilemma flipping. Ability to turn dilemmas — which, unlike problems, cannot be solved — into advantages and opportunities.
4.Immersive learning ability. Ability to immerse yourself in unfamiliar environments and to learn from them in a first-person way.
5.Bio-empathy. Ability to see things from nature’s point of view — to understand, respect and learn from nature’s patterns.
6.Constructive depolarizing. Ability to calm tense situations where differences dominate and communication has broken down — and bring people from divergent cultures toward constructive engagement.
7.Quiet transparency. Ability to be open and authentic about what matters to you — without advertising yourself.
8.Rapid prototyping. Ability to create quick early versions of innovations, with the expectation that later success will require early failures.
9.Smart mob organizing. Ability to create, engage with and nurture purposeful business or social change networks through intelligent use of electronic or other media.
10.Commons creating. Ability to seed, nurture and grow shared assets that can benefit other players &msdash; and sometimes allow competition at a higher level.

“The VUCA world of the future will be formidable and loaded with opportunities,” says Johansen. “The biggest danger is not being prepared — and you can control that by preparing yourself as a leader and readying your organization for an uncertain future.”

Senior-Level Trade-Offs: What Experienced Leaders Need to Know

October 16, 2010 By: azjogger Category: Management, Training

From Leading Effectively, Center for Creative Leadership

Oliver was recently promoted to lead a business unit at his company. He has been in management and leadership roles for many years, but, for the first time, he’s responsible for much more than short-term results and team-level execution.

Chloe, too, is balancing the trade-offs between today’s needs and tomorrow’s priorities. As director of operations for a region that is strategically important for the company’s growth, she needs the ability to envision the future, effectively communicate her ideas, and turn them into a strategic plan for execution.

Both Oliver and Chloe know that they are at a pivotal point in their careers: skillfully leading a function or division is not only critical for their own personal success, but also to the success of the organization.

“Leading at this level has unique challenges,” says Stephanie Trovas, global portfolio manager of CCL’s Leading for Organizational Impact, one of several CCL programs for senior leaders. “Employing strategy, prioritizing and managing others are done on a much broader scale by working across multiple boundaries.”

“Whether their scope is local, regional or global, managers of functions and divisions have to set a vision and build toward the future. At the same time, they face very real and challenging short-term pressures,” Trovas continues. “How can senior leaders balance the trade-offs between the short and long-term, make the tough calls and build alignment within the organization?”

Leadership success is rooted in what CCL calls The Fundamental Four: self-awareness, communication, influence and learning agility. If you are an experienced leader, you have developed these skills during your career. But as you advance in your career, you need to know how these four skills are applied differently at the senior level.

Self-awareness is critical for senior leaders in the organization. It goes beyond knowing your strengths and weaknesses, your preferences and patterns, and the effect of your behavior on others. At this level, you need to really understand the impact your leadership behavior has on organizational outcomes.

Being an effective communicator becomes more complex as you lead a function or division. The logistics of sharing information, often across time zones, cultures and operations, is one challenge. Effectively communicating the goals of the business while at the same time inspiring trust is the larger challenge for many senior leaders.

Learning agility involves learning from your experiences and applying that knowledge in new ways. For many seasoned executives, this has become second nature. But over-relying on what worked in the past or assuming you have what it takes to be successful in the future can spell trouble. For you, the challenge may be knowing when to change course and having the tools to learn and adapt (and helping others to do the same).

The process of influencing others takes on new dimensions as well. More than ever you need the ability to influence across vertical, horizontal, stakeholder, demographic and geographic boundaries.

As you manage a business unit or division, you also need to have (or develop) seven additional competencies that address the breadth and complexity of your role:

1.Being visionary.
2.Driving results.
3.Strategic thinking and acting.
4.Creating engagement.
5.Identifying innovation opportunities for new businesses.
6.Working across boundaries.
7.Leading globally.

While this checklist just touches on the complexity of your job, these leader competencies are key to meeting the goals of your organization. “Organizations suffer greatly when senior leaders falter or fail,” says Trovas. “In spite of this risk, leader development at this level is often overlooked.”

“By strengthening these seven competencies, as well as the four fundamentals of effective leadership, even very experienced managers can accelerate their effectiveness. They begin to see their strengths and weaknesses within the context of the organization and the demands of their role,” Trovas continues. “They can then work on the specific behaviors that will have the greatest impact on their success and on the success of the business.”

Leading for Organizational Impact
As a senior leader, you are no stranger to setting strategy, prioritizing and managing others. But leading a large function or operation requires something more — it requires that you drive organizational-level results.

Whether you are taking on a top job at a small firm, managing a function of a mid-size business or running a division of a global company, you must lead in ways that build on your experience, but also go beyond it. To be effective you need to:

•Develop the ability to recognize opportunities and avoid pitfalls,
•Balance tactical concerns with strategic possibilities, and
•Leverage leadership to impact organizational outcomes.
“One of the best ways to make the transition to leading at the functional level is to gain a deep understanding of your strengths and development opportunities,” says CCL’s Stephanie Trovas. “It is critical to understand how your leadership behavior impacts organizational outcomes.”

GE Revolutionises Approach to Marketing

October 07, 2010 By: azjogger Category: Management, Marketing & Sales

From World Advertising Research Center News, Data sourced from Harvard Business Review; Additional content by World Advertising Research Center

General Electric is treating marketing as a “critical function” for the first time, in recognition of its crucial role in driving growth.

Beth Comstock, GE’s cmo, joined under former ceo Jack Welch, who concentrated its communications output on certain sectors like plastics and appliances, but emphasised expansion via acquisition.

“For the time he ran the company, it was very much a focus on acquisitions and growing largely from acquiring businesses, and not necessarily the focus on ‘How do we grow from within?'” Comstock told the Harvard Business Review.

Jeff Immelt took over from Welch in 2001, and has revolutionised the organisation, pushing up sales through internal initiatives like the Ecomagination clean energy programme.

“He said we’re going to do that by being more global, being ore innovative and investing more than technology than ever, and being more customer-focused, more market-focused,” added Comstock.

GE’s marketing division was thus handed a “revenue-generating role in its own right”, based around the notion of “commercial innovation.”

In demonstration of marketing’s heightened importance, worldwide staffing levels doubled from 2,500 people in 2003 to 5,000 at present.

Chief marketing officers for all GE units

Immelt also created chief marketing officer positions for all GE units, providing in-depth training when required.

However, the recession led to a major reappraisal pf the company’s approach to this aspect of its operations in a minimal growth environment.

In house self-audits conducted

More specifically, it conducted a “Maturity Evaluation”, an in-house “self-audit” tracking eight capabilities extending across strategy, sales force effectiveness, market knowledge and targeting.

This process encompassed 35 individual skills and 140 definitions of success, and revealed there was inconsistency in performance and uncertainty about which abilities were integral.

In response, approximately 30 senior marketers established new standards, and the talents vital to meeting common challenges.

They divided these eight core activities in to two groups, in the form of “go-to-market” tasks like segmentation, and “commercial essentials” covering elements such as branding and communication.

Four key assignments for marketers

Ultimately, four key assignments for marketers were identified, including “instigators” who disrupt the status quo and “innovators” that transform insights in to goods and services.

“Integrators” engage with other divisions, and “implementers” are responsible for executing ideas.

The Maturity Evaluation is on-going, offering an objective way to measure results and allowing comparisons across GE’s diversified portfolio.

An example of how this scheme has worked in practice is turning GE’s medical arm into a “home health” pioneer, which would not have happened before, when it typically acted as a “technology pusher.”

“We developed products because we could do it

“We had a tendency to develop products because we could do it and not because they were wanted in the market,” said Jean-Michel Cossery, cmo, GE Healthcare.

Thomas Gentile, vp, engine services, GE Aviation, argued a similar shift characterises his unit, which operates against a limited number of competitors and in an industry with unique features.

“We didn’t really know how to translate what we knew about customers into the next growth idea,” he said.

Elsewhere, GE Capital held a weekly “war room” at the start of the downturn, featuring 20 executives from the ceo to general counsel, reacting to changing conditions.

“At first the war room was a process, but it’s since become more of a mentality for making commercial decisions and for instilling accountability,” said Lee Cooper, cmo, GE Capital.

“It’s become part of our culture.”

GE also now taps its top 50 up-and-coming marketing “rock stars”, providing additional coaching and career counselling, and including them in planning process for the department’s future, Comstock added.

Career Setback? Learn and Lead

October 07, 2010 By: azjogger Category: Human Resources, Operations, Training

From Learning Effectively, Center for Creative Leadership

Career setbacks can be demoralizing but they don’t need to be debilitating.

In fact, CCL research shows that many executives look at setbacks and mistakes as turning points or important lessons in making them effective or successful leaders.

“Early setbacks represent a key developmental event that successful executives cite when they look back over their careers,” said CCL’s Ellen Van Velsor in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. Van Velsor, a CCL Senior Fellow, has been involved in the Center’s “Lessons of Experience” research for more than two decades.

In the May 4, 2010 article, Three Who Thrived After Early Gaffes, columnist Joanne Lublin described setbacks of Jeffery Hollender, co-founder of Seventh Generation Inc.; Peter G. Peterson, the billionaire co-founder of Blackstone Group LP; and Myron E. Ullman III, chief executive of J.C. Penney Co. Each of these executives used their stumbles as learning experiences. They reflected on their missteps and mistakes and, as a result, made important personal and career decisions.

Learning from hardships important to growth

CCL’s Lessons of Experience studies show that the ability to reflect on and learn from hardships is important to the growth and success of leaders around the globe. The research, initiated in the United States in the early 1980s, looked at the key developmental events in male executives’ lives and the lessons learned from those events. Over the years, CCL conducted similar studies with women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, as well as with international executives, including senior leaders from China, Singapore and India.

Adverse situations — such as crises, mistakes, career setbacks and ethical dilemmas — are important developmental moments. Tangible business losses, loss of confidence or loss of control are all powerful experiences. And, while adversity is not something to seek out, it can be a powerful opportunity to learn.

Many leaders — across cultures — believe that the experience of hardship prepared them to thrive in better times. As one Chinese saying puts it, ”First bitter, then sweet.”

This article is adapted from “Learning from Experience” in The Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Leadership Development.

Learn more about surviving setbacks and hardships:

•Return on Experience: Learning Leadership at Work
•Adaptability: Responding Effectively to Change
•Building Resiliency: How to Thrive in Times of Change

Leadership: Try to See it My Way

October 07, 2010 By: azjogger Category: Human Resources, Operations, Training

From Learning Effectively, Center for Creative Leadership

Leaders everywhere need to develop and adjust their behaviors to work in a global environment. But what works well in one setting may not in another.

“If you are generally an effective leader in your home country or culture, but find yourself literally working in new territory, you need to understand that good leadership is in the eye of the beholder,” says CCL’s Regina Eckert. “What made you successful up to now may not matter as much. Or worse, those strengths may become liabilities.”

Various studies about leadership styles have shown that different cultures have different definitions of leadership and different expectations of leaders. How we evaluate leaders — good or bad — is largely dependent on the values and practices we have grown up in.

“We need to be aware that culture has an impact on how leaders are perceived by others. People have set ideas about leadership and they judge others as to how well they live up to them,” Eckert explains.

Many leadership attributes are seen as effective in some cultures and not in others, or neutral or negative in some cultures and not in others. The well-known GLOBE research — which examined the relationship between concepts of effective leadership and national cultural values in 61 societies around the world — solidified this idea that culture impacts our view of effective leadership.

Refine your leadership style

If you are working in a culture different from your own or working on virtual teams across countries, Eckert suggests the following steps to refine your leadership style:

•Appreciate the boundaries of your own approach to leadership. Know that your view of leadership is only one view and it has both strengths and weaknesses.
•Assess the relative importance of a particular skill or competency in the eyes of the people you lead and work with. Ask questions and listen carefully to try to understand what they expect of you as a leader. Even common assessments or feedback tools might not be sufficient. If you’ve recently been given a 360-degree feedback assessment, for example, you may have been given a low rating on a particular skill and feel you need to improve. But it may be worth considering cultural context. A low rating on something that is seen as unimportant in a particular setting doesn’t seem like a problem.
•Consider how well you are living up to others’ leadership expectations. Where is there a mismatch between what they value in a leader and how they perceive you? What could you do differently? How could you work to better align the two? Of course, the goal is not to constantly change or adapt to meet each person’s or each culture’s every expectation. However, you’ll improve collaboration and build better relationships when you manage these different views in an authentic fashion.

Leading Afghanistan: Lessons from a Four-Star Resignation

When General Stanley McChrystal resigned last month amid controversy over an article in Rolling Stone, it raised many questions of politics and policy. But lessons of leadership were front and center for CCL’s Clemson Turregano as he observed the events.

Turregano, a former U.S. Army officer, works with government and military agencies as a senior faculty member at CCL. His column, Lessons from a four-star resignation, recently ran on WashingtonPost.com. He noted powerful leadership lessons, taught by General McChrystal, President Obama and General David Petraeus, who was tapped to relieve McChrystal:

•From General McChrystal: the importance of accepting responsibility for our actions.
•From President Obama: when a handpicked, high-profile, high-potential subordinate acts out of accordance with established rules of conduct, it’s important to take the same actions we would with a more junior employee.
•From General David Petraeus: when duty calls, a positive response is required. We need to grab the reins and do the best we can.

From all three men, we can learn the value of humility.

“All modeled real humility in their responses — and that’s a quality we can never see too much of in our leaders,” Turregano writes.

Of course, the leadership lessons — as well as the politics and policy matters — have crucial, real-world implications. For Turregano, reflections on leadership are not academic. He is no stranger to the complex realities facing the military in Afghanistan and the leaders of Afghanistan. Prior to joining CCL, Turregano worked in the Initiatives Group for the senior U.S. staff in Kabul, Afghanistan. As the deputy director for Strategic Initiatives, Clemson developed international agreements and training plans, in addition to mentoring senior Afghan and coalition officials.

Last year, he returned to Kabul to bring CCL-style leadership development to Afghan military leaders. Read about the creative leadership work that the CCL team brought to a group of seasoned Afghan leaders in Turregano’s series of blogs: Learning Leadership in Kabul.

How to Lead a Collaborative Team

October 07, 2010 By: azjogger Category: Human Resources, Operations, Training

From Learning Effectively, Center for Creative Leadership

What do you do when teamwork doesn’t work? You can’t afford the loss of productivity, the depletion of energy or the drain on the bottom line.

The solution is collaboration — which may seem impossible if your team is struggling. But CCL’s Edward Marshall says true collaboration is about ownership and, yes, it is possible.

“Collaboration is about creating an ownership culture. If you want your team to perform better, the members need to take care of it. People take care of what they own,” explains Marshall.”

Marshall, author of two books on collaboration in the workplace, says that building a collaborative team requires the leader to address what isn’t working, view trust as a must-have resource and insist on behaviors that support collaborative principles.

Understand why teams often don’t work. The list is long but probably not surprising, including: the history of the team, poor relationships, ineffective meetings, little transparency or inadequate sharing of information, no team governance processes, conflicting styles of decision-making, behind-the-scenes conversations and processes, competition, turf wars, poor ownership or engagement among team members, it’s all about “me.” Your team will not be effective as long as these are the team dynamics. Take a good look at what is going on in your team and diagnose what isn’t working. Better yet, get team members to look at what’s going on and start to think about how true collaboration would replace or resolve their problems.

Commit to building trust. Trust is essential for collaborative teams and is the foundation of a collaborative culture throughout an organization. Many of the reasons teams don’t work — see above — are tied to lack of trust. Without trust, people operate out of fear. “Trust is the tie that binds — if I trust you, we can do anything; I will subordinate my self-interest to the good of the whole,” Marshall explains. “With no fear, team members will give it everything they’ve got. As a result, teams gain productive energy, creativity, speed and better results.”

Bear in mind, however, that trust can’t be trained into a team. It takes a leader who is willing to show integrity, change behavior and take on the hard work of dealing with differences.

Operate on principle. Lead a team based on principles rather than structures, politics or personality. Marshall’s “Principles of Collaboration” are ownership, alignment, full responsibility, self-accountability, mutual respect, integrity and trust. Your job as team leader is to help the team turn these values into agreed-upon behaviors or operating agreements. “Operating agreements are the conscious choices we agree to 100 percent as a team, which define how we will work with each other. They are the foundation for mutual trust, respect and high performance,” says Marshall, who developed the Collaborative Team Governance Process®, a time-tested best-practice method for establishing team norms.

“When team leaders don’t value and support collaboration, they are undermining their teams and sub-optimizing performance,” says Marshall. In contrast, when teams embrace an effective governance system and leaders commit to a culture of trust and collaboration, the building blocks are in place for success and strong performance.

What are the benefits of collaboration?

•Organizations collaborate internally to compete externally.
•Decisions are faster, of higher quality and customer-driven.
•Decisions are made on the basis of principle rather than power or personality, resulting in greater buy-in and impact.
•Cycle time is substantially reduced and non-value-adding work eliminated.
•The productive capacity of the workforce doubles.
•Strategic alliances succeed, while building trust and producing extraordinary results.
•Return on investment increases dramatically.
•Span of control increases substantially.
•The workforce takes on full responsibility for the success of the enterprise.
•Conflict is reduced as work relationships open up and build trust.
•The fear is gone — change is seen as a positive opportunity.