So many books, blog posts and articles have been written about leadership, internal culture and build the team you need for your business. I’ve been thinking about it for years, writing about it and trying to implement many of my findings in my own venture. It’s also very easy to talk about, debate with others and waste your time on it.
My kid has a busy schedule. She has to get up early in the morning to be in school on time, spend all day in school and then go to bed early evening. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for creating things, finding time to think and just be a kid. Over the last few months, she carved out time during the day to just create and think.
After breakfast, she demands half an hour just to play, create things and think. Same happens before she goes to bed.
Maybe it’s that easy:
Give your team the time and space to think and create.
When you look around at your business, is everybody just busy all the time? Does the busy work stifle thinking? How much better would your company perform if you actually give them the freedom to think things through and create based on their thinking?
You just won’t attract the best builders in a command and control environment.
Set them free.
Tags: business, Critical thinking, Learning, Management, Science in Society, Skeptical Inquiry, Thought, United States
The majority of companies involved in the Social Web are listening to their communities, some are participating but almost no one is providing the necessary leadership to cultivate, nurture and shape the community engagement over a long period of time.
You can’t leave community leadership to community managers
A key skill companies need to develop over time is a deep comprehension and experience how to lead communities. Without this key skill, brands won’t be successful in the long term with any social strategies. Well-run companies have the skills and knowledge base to lead communities because an enterprise is an internal community with leadership. However, internal communities and corporate have explicit rules and rewards to shape the enterprise and reward behavior.
Leading an external community requires a different skill set
More importantly, social business leaders need to understand what shapes an external community culture. The main shortfall of brands engaging on the Social Web is their view of social platforms as a homogenous culture. Each platform has a different culture, different rules, different ways to engage successfully. What works on Twitter, won’t work on Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+. Each social platform has unique community culture, which means in plain English: “This is how we do things here.”
Brands need to participate
You can’t understand a community culture without participating. How can you understand a baseball fan when you never went to a game and chanted for your favorite team? How can you understand Grateful Dead fans if you’ve never been to a performance? While we recommend full participation of brands in communities, we also make sure that they understand over time what drives people’s behavior in the community. This deep understanding is the difference between a brand just floating around and a brand leading the community by dipping into the cultural forces that are driving the overarching community culture.
Important pointers for community leadership
- Stories: What are the success stories being told, the myths shared and heroes being admired?
- Games: What are the game mechanics that work within the community and what games are being played?
- Motivation: What motivates the community to participate, collaborate and lead?
- Rewards: What behavior is being rewarded and punished?
A very successful tactic to become a leader in a community is to identify and reward emerging leaders. Empowering other leaders gives a strong signal to the community about yourself: what you value and what kind of participation and engagement you’re willing to support. A pretty standard management practice: Identify and recognize leaders by supporting them.
Tags: business, Facebook, leadership, linkedin, Management, Organizational culture, Performance management, Twitter
As a manager, I don’t watch the clock.
I don’t care if people get their job done in 6 hours. Or 9 hours.
I also don’t care when people come to work. 6am is fine with me. 10am. Noon.
As long as they do their job, are engaged and there’s enough time for the team to collaborate.
A few years back, one of my employees abused my laissez-faire style.
Her lunch breaks were 2.5 hours long.
She came in at 10am and left at 3.
4-5 cigarette breaks.
So I acted like an inexperienced leader.
I came up with new rules: Everybody has to be in the office by 8.30. Nobody leaves before 4pm. Lunch breaks are only 1 hour long.
Out of anger that somebody abused my rather liberal time management style, I punished everybody.
What a mistake.
I should have just talked to her and fixed her problem. Instead, my anger clouded my thinking and I started to believe all my employees were abusing privileges. It was me against the world.
Out of this anger and my clouded head, I punished everybody.
We tend to create rules for many to punish some.
A terrorist tried to light his shoes on fire on a plane. Since then, we all have to take our shoes off.
1 employee spends all his day on Facebook and Twitter. Suddenly, these sites can’t be accessed at work anymore.
A 20-year old with a fake ID drinks a beer and then bar gets fined. The bar posts a sign “We check every ID. NO EXCEPTION.” And a 70-year old has to pull out his ID.
People make mistakes.
People act stupid.
Deal with the specific problem.
Don’t punish everyone for one person’s mistake.
Tags: Management, management style
One person in your team has a good idea. And, it’s not the first time.
They share it with your company. The whole company tries to convince each other it’s not a good idea.
Do you allow that person to follow their gut reaction? They had good ideas before. They had bad ideas before.
Analyzing the past and basing your decision on it seems safe. Relying on your instincts is the only way to to do something unsafe.
Unsafe things turn into Lady Gaga. Old Spice Guy. iPads. Safe things never do.
Running against Hillary Clinton was unsafe. Pay-what-you-want was unsafe. Car Sharing was unsafe.
When you have a good idea, don’t bother trying to convince people looking for a safe solution. Look inside yourself and perform your own gut check. If the ideas passes your own gut verification, go for it.
All the way.
Tags: analysis, ideas, Management, thought leadership
For more than 15 years my father and I were not on speaking terms.
I believed he was a weak person. He didn’t stand up for me when I needed him to. I had this anger and resentment in my mental baggage for more than 20 years.
When I stood at his grave, I realized that distant, somehow fuzzy memories determined my relationship with him. He made many mistakes, that’s for sure. And the memories of these mistakes determined our relationship until the end of time.
How often does that happen to you in your private life? In business?
Way, way, way too often.
You hand an employee a task, they don’t meet your objectives and you conclude: “A: I should never trust this person again. B: I shouldn’t trust anyone.” Two wrong conclusions.
Not everyone will drop the ball. And that person might over-deliver next time. As a manager/leader/mentor, your job is to create an environment where people can perform and do their best work. Share your disappointment with the person and give it another shot. Maybe your assignment was vague, your timeline adjusted to your pace – so many reasons why things can go wrong.
Think more like a parent: Stuff happens, pasta plates get dropped. Clean up the mess, let’s not do it again and move on.
My past determined the future with my father. And we had none.
Don’t make the same mistake.
Tags: insights, leadership, Management