Category Archives: Leadership

OVERWHELMED? ADOPT A PARADOX MINDSET

With lockdowns closing schools and offices around the world, it’s become commonplace to see dogs and kids barge into business meetings as the boundaries between work and life have blurred. A seamless balance is impossible. We have to do both – work plus managing our lives, our spouses, kids, pets and home – all at once.  Doing both depends on our ability to adopt a paradox mindset, to consider the world with a “both/and” approach instead of an “either/or” one. In times like these, times of change, uncertainty and scarcity, we need to do many tasks together. And people need to feel comfort with discomfort – these hurdles aren’t going away.  The paradox mindset suggests an alternative perspective, accepting and learning to live with the tensions associated with competing demands. It is an understanding that these competing demands are not really resolvable, in the sense that they can’t be completely eliminated.  A paradox mindset can be cultivated.  In the current crisis, a paradox mindset won’t solve every problem, but it is a helpful and relevant way of thinking.  A paradox mindset allows us to look at the challenge, understand the need to adapt and uncover a different way of working.  Read More >>

HOW TO TURN ADVERSITY INTO ADVANTAGE DURING TIMES OF CRISIS

None of us are experts. None of us have all the answers. We are all feeling immense uncertainty and none of us are truly in control, really.  You cannot solve a complex, multi-step equation in your head. You need to be able to isolate variables, simplify pieces that can be simplified, think differently about terms inside versus outside the parentheses. You can only tackle one thing at a time.  In the business world, we talk about the power of networks—strong ties that provide us with deep connections, weak ties that provide us with informational flow. This has most often been applied to getting you the job/contract/opportunity you’ve been looking for. But extend this further.  Don’t let guilt get in the way of understanding and being a part of humanity.  There are going to be drawdowns, low points, periods of depression and anxiety. We are all being impacted differently, which means that we are all going to need to handle this differently.  If you’re the leader of a large organization, what are the two or three things that really made your first 5 to 10 customers passionately fall in love with your product or service. That’s where you’ll find your North Star, which will allow you to dust off old things or seek out new oceans.  Look for inefficiencies. Where are we lacking, where are things not operating as efficiently or as effectively as they could? There were inefficiencies that existed before this pandemic, and there are new efficiencies that have cropped up since. The ones that come to my mind immediately are things like supply chain issues, deliveries and goods out of stock.  Write a different story, with a different story angle, based on who you are and your before-and-after viewpoint before this tsunami uprooted all of our lives.   Read More >>

IS YOUR INNOVATION PROCESS A CORPORATE ILLUSION?

There are six common blind spots that severely constrain the performance of innovation labs. Research and Development accelerators and incubators have generated poor innovation results and poor investment returns. These blind-spots are weak navigational direction, a focus on tweaks and enhancements, a lack of credibility with the corporate core, the mismanagement of the fear associated with disruption, the failure to reconcile mindset differences, and sheer impatience. The best way to fight the effect of these blind-spots is to leverage team diversity and facilitate leadership capabilities.   Read More >>

Start-ups: The Founding Team Is a Real Magic Bullet

The majority of new ventures fail prematurely.  A lot of this failure is due to a lack of collaboration within founding teams.  Important, early decisions are prone to conflict. Examples of these decisions include funding, development, etc.  Because tensions are so high, investors often look at the team-dynamic as much as the start-up product itself. Strong teams can overcome and navigate turbulence, leading them to success.  Founders of start-ups are in a unique situation, as they can build and craft their whole team from the ground-up. Teams should be made of both unique skills, and people with interpersonal skills.  The culture that the originating team sets usually lasts long after the staff rotates out.  Read More >>

Your Work Friends and Enemies are Affecting your Performance

Conflict may appear to be two-sided, but this is not usually true.  The basis of most conflict at work is tryadic: when there are three parties involved.  The third party is often the key to relieving tension and restoring balance. When employees feel socially balanced at work, they tend to perform better.  Researchers from Northwestern University, Harvard Business School, and University of California teamed up to discover how social triangles change over time.  They ruled relationships into four categories: a friend of a friend is a friend, a friend of an enemy is an enemy, an enemy of an enemy is a friend, and an enemy of a friend is an enemy.  If all four rules are satisfied in a tryad, the tryad is balanced. There are two possibilities for this, which are when all three people like each other, and when two friends have a mutual enemy.  Balanced relationships are important because employees tend to make better and more profitable decisions than when they are in an unbalanced situation.  Read More >>

What You can Learn from Being Asked to Resign

Being asked to resign can be an incredibly painful experience.  However, dealing with this confrontation can lead to insight of how the company is doing, and what is going wrong.  Many people asked to resign are caught off-guard, and receive criticism. This honest constructive criticism can lead to one’s future success.  While alarming at the time, constructive criticism is a gift that allows one to listen to others’ concerns and re-evaluate one’s own actions. Listening and allowing oneself to be vulnerable will help one bloom into future jobs, or keep the ones they already.   Read More >>