Readers' are enthusiastic!
. . . . these communication tips are timely and frankly they have begun to feel like an essential part of my personal growth.
I hope you know what a difference you make in . . . people's lives! I wanted to thank you once again for your wisdom . . . and for taking the time to show genuine, positive regard for those who have had contact with you. . . Each time I read the newsletter. . . I trust that I am on the right track.
Please continue to enlighten and educate, it is a gift that is appreciated and honored. Sacred work is never easy but you do that work with grace. Brilliant. Simply Brilliant.
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Leading Unstoppable Teams!
Since 2003, Dr. Maria Simpson's weekly eColumn, Two Minute Training, has been a welcomed source of information on leadership and team development for a select group of readers.
Now, the first collection of these columns is available to the public in Leading Unstoppable Teams! Written for the organizational practitioner and based on her experience as consultant, executive coach, and mediator, these tips and ideas provide important information on how to encourage a team to higher performance and how to develop the skills necessary to become an effective team leader.
Leading Unstoppable Teams! is a handy reference for managers when a quick update or answer is needed, and can serve as the basis of management and leadership training programs. Short and focused on a single idea, each of the 57 articles provides the quick, practical answers to questions that pop up in today's organizations. Its style and approach match the specific needs of today's leaders and managers and those who are preparing to take on leadership roles in the future.
There are few jobs in the business world that can be managed by a single person, and when there is more than one person on a job, it becomes a team effort. Given the wide variety of human personalities, it is inevitable that there will be conflicts. Properly handled, this is a good thing, for the best work is done when people of different perspectives and professional opinions interact and forge a synthesis. Unfortunately, that does not always happen, the process often degenerates into a state where there is only conflict and no synthesis. The players dread going to the meetings as they know beforehand that it will be nothing more than a another grinding together of positions with little movement. Solid estimates are that over $300 billion a year is lost due to teams entering into some state of dysfunction.
Given all of these facts, one would believe that training the troops in teamwork and managing conflict would be an industry priority. Unfortunately, that is not the case; few organizations spend the time and money in having their employees trained in these areas. Yet, as Simpson points out, an overwhelming supermajority that have the training report that it was very helpful in improving their work performance.
There are many target audiences for this book; to me the most important would be managers at all levels. Simpson makes an overwhelming case for the need for training in conflict management and how valuable it can be to the organization. She also makes it clear that the acceptance of a level of conflict is a necessity as this is the best way to arrive at a result that meets the needs of the widest possible variety of shareholders. In an environment where business is stretching every dollar as far as it can, this book is an inexpensive investment with the potential for great rewards. Simpson demonstrates quite clearly how to make the transition from simply arguing to the productive arguing.
From "Good Fit"
In 1982 Deal and Kennedy appplied the insights of the cultural anthropoligists specifically to business organizations in their seminal work Corporate Culture, and used a phrase from a McKinsey and Company study as the most succinct of all definitons of culture:
"How we do things around here."
Organizational cultures have much shorter lives than national cultures and are organized for a specific purpose such as a change in business environment. They also reflect the personalities and values of their founders. The reason Bill Gates established Microsoft in 1975 is quite different from the reason Cindy Lightner founded MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) in 1980.
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Is This a Good Fit?
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This analysis answers the question of how something that looked so good initially could possibly have gone so bad -- whether that was a new hire, team interaction, or process design -- by exploring the relationahip between organizational cultures and the communications and conflict styles that work best within them.
First, the definiton and models of organizational culture are explored. Then, conflict and comunications styles are discussed, especially which styles work best in which cultures, and how these styles impact all aspects of organizational functions. Finally, a detailed analysis of the case study provides suggestions on how you can apply the concepts and insights to your own organization.
For those in OD, this information provides an approach to designing projects and processes that will fit well in your culture. For those in HR, this information adds a helpful layer of understanding to hiring and evaluating employees. For those in Conflict Resolution, relating the concept of culture to the organization addes a dimension to the discussion that can help resolve or even prevent employment disputes and team conflict.
This very intelligent PDF describes how to define organizational culture and approaches the sometimes vague issue of fit from different perspectives: the person him or herself, HR, OD and executive leadership. The book explores the nature of organizational culture and conflict and how power is generated organizationally. This is a great overview of these issues for those in OD and HR trying to align fit issues internally.
Simpson and van Luinen provide those of us who work in the worlds of HR and OD thoughtful yet accessible insights in maximizing personal and organizational results. By focusing on the critical intersection between organizational cultue and personal conflict styles, they offer real world insights and strategies to help endure a win-win for both the organization and the individual.
former Associate Dean, Toyota University