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Archive for the ‘Team’ 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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The role of a good facilitator

In Communication, Development, Effectiveness, Inspire, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Development, Personal Branding, Team, Training on March 20, 2017 at 4:38 am

Have you ever been to the symphony or watched a snippet of an orchestra playing on TV? Can you visualize the conductor at the front of the orchestra? What exactly is the role of the conductor? Do they simply stand at the front waving their batons madly? Or is there a crucial role they play that if there is no conductor, the orchestra falls apart and the music crumbles?

It seems with the baton, the conductor speaks a subtle language to the orchestra to remind them during the performance of how to play the piece. It’s almost hypnotic to watch.

In fact, with the baton, it’s almost as if the conductor gives each instrument a chance to play and each musician an opportunity to speak. As if without the conductor, the audience might overlook the presence of an instrument or musician in the orchestra. And it’s almost as if without the conductor, the audience would miss pivotal moments in the symphonic piece.

So when we think about it, could we compare the role of a facilitator to that of an orchestra conductor? Why not?

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So you want to become a leader: here’s how

In Development, Leadership, Performance Management, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Strategy, Team on February 23, 2017 at 1:46 am

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In today’s competitive environment, standing out can actually be the thing that gives you an edge. For instance, if you’re positioning yourself for a leadership role or promotion, It’s important to develop a strategy to consistently demonstrate your personal leadership traits.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a peek into Tim’s profile. Tim is an inspired, hardworking and conscientious high performer. Tim is great at stakeholder meetings and client-facing events. He is also an empathetic listener and hands on team player.

You could say Tim has high potential to be a leader: he’s a HiPo, that is, he has been identified as having the potential, ability, and aspiration for succession to leadership positions within the organization. However, Tim has no management experience, having never officially led a team before. Apart from his own self-confidence and what some of his peers and his manager know, Tim has no concrete data to make a strong case. What’s more, Tim works in a dynamic firm with dozens of others who could possibly be vying for the same role.

So how can Tim progress his career? Tim could start preparing for his performance review conversations by gathering data. You see, future leaders are made long before they are earmarked for success. It comes from your own desire to excel. So what steps do you take to ensure you outshine those vying for that one coveted position?

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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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How to decide between virtual or classroom learning

In Development, Effectiveness, Instructional Design, Leadership, Learning, Performance Management, Strategy, Team, Training on April 28, 2016 at 6:07 am

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Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2016 identified that:

“… the ubiquity of always-connected mobile devices makes learning potentially available everywhere and accessible to everyone at any time. Employees can now take a course on nearly any subject online, search for an expert video or podcast to learn a quickly needed skill, and even earn a college degree in a new topic like data science without leaving their desk—or a couch or coffee shop. This new world of consumer-centric learning puts employees, not L&D departments, in charge.”

Indeed, one of the benefits of online and virtual learning is its cost effectiveness and ubiquitous presence. The fact that it allows for easy deployment, administrative tracking and consistent roll out of content to a mass group of learners, is certainly very tempting for organizations pressed to complete training on large scales. With online and virtual learning, induction and compliance training seem a breeze.

But what about how online and virtual learning effects a business’ return on investment? And how do online and virtual learning effect learning objectives and behavioral shifts?

To consider this, we first need to explore a few avenues.

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Communication: The most important leadership skill

In Communication, Effectiveness, Inspire, Language, Leadership, Performance Management, Philosophy, Team on April 5, 2016 at 5:40 am

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“Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.”

So says billionaire Richard Branson, who believes that communication is the skill that will set you apart from the crowd.

Indeed, Branson can certainly form alliances with the many business leaders and entrepreneurs who credit effective communication skills for much of their success. He joins the ranks of Warren Buffet, who believes that effective communication will instantly raise a person’s professional value.

Branson and Buffet are not wrong. Effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills are highly valuable in the workplace. So valuable that some companies dedicate a good amount of their training budget to upskill their employees on how to communicate effectively.

Why? Because it’s a big bad world out there. Competitive. Dynamic. Fast paced. And being able to communicate effectively will help you stand out from the crowd.

But what exactly are the benefits of effective communication skills? To the individual, to the team and to the organisation. Let’s explore, shall we?

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Five basic principles of a true leader

In Communication, Development, Inspire, Leadership, Personal Branding, Philosophy, Positive Thinking, Team on November 9, 2015 at 10:53 pm

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What makes a true leader? Indeed, what makes a leader?

Are some of us really born leaders?

But what is it that true leaders do that sets them apart from the crowd? Apart from the ability to demonstrate well executed activities, such as planning, motivating, organizing, and decision making, what are the human elements that complement such tasks?

If we had to narrow it down to five basic principles that any leader needs to take him/her from simply one who manages to one who inspires and leads, what would they be?

Let’s take a look.

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Six ways to foster collaboration in the workplace

In Collaboration, Communication, Development, Effectiveness, Leadership, Performance Management, Team on September 15, 2015 at 2:59 am

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There’s a saying that goes: “Competition makes us faster. Collaboration makes us better.”

To attain and maintain a high performing team, sure, it’s important to feel an edge of competition. After all, a healthy amount of competition means you work extra hard to stay ahead of the game.

But competition breeds individualism.

And individualism is the opposite of collaboration.

And where competition encourages silos; collaboration breaks them down.

But we could learn a thing or two from the positive practice of a multi-active culture; a focus on people, connection, and relationships, even in business.

So it seems the focus has shifted. Where once it was about being the fastest in the industry and who could shine the brightest in the team; these days, it’s about putting all our strengths and talents into a collective pool and working together as a team for exceptional results.

Using the metaphor of the shining star, after all, one star can only shine so bright, but a collection of stars, well, you get the gist.

So we’ve come to realise that as a united front, a team can deliver so much more than just one individual.

And perhaps we’ve always realised it – we’ve only just started living and breathing it.

Collaboration. When did it get so popular? Or did it always exist under the pseudonym ‘teamwork’? And has it always been an utopian state most organisations and teams strive for but only a few succeed?

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