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Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

How to successfully communicate cross culturally

In Collaboration, Communication, culture, Development, Effectiveness, Language, Leadership, Strategy, Team, teamwork on July 3, 2017 at 6:07 am

Once upon a time, some 100,000 years ago, language was born when a human uttered the first word to another human.

Fast forward to the modern day and language is only a part of how we communicate these days as we navigate our way through other communication complexities such as technology, virtual reality and multiculturism.

As we move swiftly forward in a global entrepreneurial world, multicultural teams become more and more prevalent, and having the ability to break down any communication barriers is vital to ensuring that collaboration and productivity stays at a high.

For as if it’s not hard enough to communicate with someone when you don’t even know their preferred communication style, default behaviors, or conflict preferences, or worse, when you can’t even see their visual cues and body language, as in the case of a remote team, add in time difference, distance and cultural differences, and you won’t be blamed if you sometimes feel as if you might as well throw in the towel. What’s more, all of this can occur even if you’re speaking the same language!

Such triggers can frustrate and give rise to conflict.

Not all is lost though. The very crux of communication is about ownership of the message you send as much as the message received. After all, how can you expect someone to understand you when you can’t even understand yourself? There are some things you can do to strengthen and grow your communication toolkit. And its roots come from more than speaking the same language, indeed, more than what you say or the words you use.

So how do multicultural teams successfully deal with multicultural challenges? One of the most successful ways is to recognize complexities and adapt accordingly. Acknowledge the diversity and rather than focusing on this as a barrier, learn to celebrate this. Identify cultural gaps openly and work around them.

Diplomat and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan once said:

“Tolerance, inter-cultural dialogue and respect for diversity are more essential than ever in a world where people are becoming more and more closely interconnected.”

He is not wrong. Successful cross cultural communication stems from cultural intelligence, the success of which depends on three pillars.

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Unconscious bias: Why every leader should avoid it and how

In Communication, culture, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Development, Performance Management, Personal Branding on February 6, 2017 at 12:19 am

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Human beings are extremely judgmental creatures. Harsh but true. We make impressions on people, events and things, often within the first fifteen seconds of coming into contact with them. We form opinions and tell ourselves stories that become reality in our minds.

We often credit this to intuition or a claim to have good judge of character. Sometimes, we are right. Sometimes we are not. Sometimes, the judgment is tainted by our experiences, fixed ideas and unconscious bias.

But it’s the opinions we form and the stories we tell ourselves that can become dangerous. Because sometimes, just sometimes, even after we have become more acquainted with the person, event or thing, these opinions and stories stick in our subconscious, even if they prove to be false. We remain wedged in the bias.

Herein lies one of the fundamental flaws of the human psyche. And the workplace is no exception to this rule.

The thing is, managers and leaders are first and foremost humans and are not exempt from this. But to be an effective and fair manager, we want to separate ourselves from this pitfall and manage, inspire and lead without bias, either conscious or unconscious. So how do we ensure we don’t get sucked into the zone of stereotyping but instead embrace attributes that promote inclusivity and diversity?

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How mindfulness makes you a more effective leader

In culture, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Philosophy, Positive Thinking on December 6, 2016 at 5:17 am

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According to research conducted by Harvard University, about 47 percent of us spend our waking hours thinking about something other than what we’re doing. What this means is that we are not present or conscious in the moment to fully listen, connect and engage with events, opportunity and people around us; all vital elements to being an effective leader.

The Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard University claims that mindfulness enhances the qualities organizations need. Qualities such as increased brain-wave activity, enhanced intuition and better focus. All also vital elements to being an effective leader.

Mindfulness contributes to raising your awareness of self and of those around you. It increases your ability to be mindful of your emotions, reactions and therefore, your behaviors. These are all exemplary qualities to have as a leader.

To be an effective leader, leaders are taught to lead via the three vital pillars of leadership:

  1. Leading from within
  2. Leading by example
  3. Leading others

So what if as a leader, you practice mindfulness? How much more engaging would your leadership presence be? How much more effective and focused would you be as a leader?

A mindful and focused leader is a leader with a strong leadership presence. Someone who can lead better towards his or her vision via a structured business strategy.

Let’s look at how mindfulness can boost each pillar of leadership.

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How to use mindfulness to stay ninja focused

In culture, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Learning, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Positive Thinking on November 4, 2016 at 4:56 am

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The words busy, dynamic and stress are so rampant in our vocabulary that we forget to stop and focus on the core elements that contribute to each day.

What if there was a way to choose how we describe our perspective simply by using other words or a different thought process? How would that assist us in making the most of our potential skills and talents without exhausting ourselves? Here’s where we could consider practicing mindfulness.

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The qualities of a good leader

In Communication, culture, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Organizational Development, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Strategy on September 23, 2016 at 6:25 am

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It takes courage to be a leader. To stand up and say: I can lead these people into the future with my vision. I can guide them through change. I can inspire them to want to tap into their passion and give that one hundred percent to a cause every single day.

No one said being a leader is easy. Whether you’re a person or a company, there is a certain sense of gravity and expectation that goes with the job and the title. So grave is the weight, that it caused Joseph Wambaugh to pen the words: ‘fish rots from the head’. Meaning that when an organisation or state fails, it is the leadership that is the root cause.

So what are the qualities of a good leader? It all starts with how others perceive who you are as a leader.

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Developing talent for the new organization

In culture, Development, Inspire, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Development, Performance Management, Philosophy, Strategy, Training on September 6, 2016 at 2:52 am

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Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2016 identified that:

“The ‘new organization’, as we call it, is built around highly empowered teams, driven by a new model of management, and led by a breed of younger, more globally diverse leaders. To lead this shift toward the new organization, CEOs and HR leaders are focused on understanding and creating a shared culture, designing a work environment that engages people, and constructing a new model of leadership and career development. In competition for skilled people, organizations are vying for top talent in a highly transparent job market and becoming laser-focused on their external employment brand.”

External employment brand is about the people feeding the culture internally. It is about a job being more than just a job. It is about a culture where every person passionately gives the best that they can to a cause they believe in the organization.

This is priceless.

There can be no separation between corporate culture and brand. An organization can have the best marketing and corporate communications aligned with a best practice business strategy to market its brand, but if its people do not believe the brand and what it stands for, they will not live it. And if they do not live it. You will hear it in their voice, see it in their actions, and feel it in their work.

This means that human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) professionals lend a powerful voice to the paradigm shift from the old organization to the new organization. And senior leaders need to listen to them. Because the competition for skilled people is high and organizations need to focus on developing their talent so they stand a chance of survival in the new world.

But how to do this?

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The value of feedback and coaching conversations

In Communication, culture, Development, Effectiveness, Leadership, Performance Management, Team on August 4, 2016 at 6:12 am

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Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said:

“I think it’s important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”

The beauty of human behaviour is that we are constantly learning. No matter how old we are, or how advanced we think we are, we never actually stop learning. And feedback and coaching conversations are a way in which we can learn. After all, how else are we meant to know if we’ve done something wrong or right and then learn or evolve from it?

But feedback conversations seem to have a negative association. People don’t like giving them, having them, and lastly, receiving them. But why is that? When delivered effectively, feedback conversations can be the catalyst that steers your employees in the right direction, and can be transform your managers into standout leaders.

The first step to positively giving and receiving feedback is to create a culture of feedback. This means that it’s important not only that feedback be given in a timely manner, but that individuals have the courage and permission to elicit feedback.

So what is best practice in feedback and coaching conversations that have an impact on and drive performance? Let’s explore.

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