Monthly Archives: March 2014
Neural pluralism and divergent thinking are two scientific ways of saying Diversity of Thought. It is the ability to analyze any problem from a variety of different angles. Cartesian Logic is “doubt” about the truth of one’s beliefs, so it may appear to us as argumentative; however, that would be a cultural misperception. It is the hallmark of the French communication style, stemming from René Descartes – a French philosopher/mathematician who used logical skepticism to uncover truth from false claims. Below are some examples of Diversity of Thought, and a corporate example of what happens when there is a lack of diversity.
Abraham Lincoln’s ability to deal with competing viewpoints made him a remarkable president. He gained this ability by intentionally filling his cabinet with those who had polar extreme ideologies. For example, anti-slavery crusaders, like Secretary of State William Seward (who was criticized for purchasing Alaska as “Seward’s Folly”), were forced to work with slave owners, like Attorney General Edward Bates. Lincoln always encouraged vigorous debate and discussion. The initial perception of Lincoln by his cabinet was that this style was un-presidential, since he appeared indecisive to invite such opposing perspectives. However, they soon came to understand that Lincoln’s receptivity of vastly different ideas was an enormous asset.
During the height of its success, former General Motors Chairman, Alfred P. Sloan, once adjourned a board meeting after it had barely begun. He said, “Gentlemen, I take it we are all in complete agreement on the decision here…Then I propose we postpone further discussion of this matter until our next meeting to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what the decision is all about.”
Cockpit Resource Management (CRM) is a decision-making strategy designed to eliminate pilot error by mandating the multiplicity of viewpoints to weigh in on any given situation. CRM was developed in the 1970’s, from an investigative study NASA conducted on an airplane crash that killed all passengers on board. The pilot was not allowed to act as dictator of the aircraft. This newly imposed structure had flight crews working together with the cockpit, in constant communication. Dissent was obligatory if any member of the flight crew detected an error &/or erroneous judgment. Everyone was held accountable for safety issues.
Many hospitals have realized that an inclusive work environment and explicit expectation of all surgical team members to address all concerns to the attending surgeon can prevent surgical mistakes. Post-operation debriefings are held where each surgical team member has a platform to share his/her view of the surgery. At one hospital, with as little as six months of training, hospital staff members rose from 29% to 86% in their comfort level of questioning the doctors’ decisions. Consequently, this behavioral change resulted in a dramatic decrease in medical malpractice, a malady that is driving doctors (perfectionistic by trade) to leave their institution and even their field.
LACK OF DIVERSITY OF THOUGHT
A false consensus produces a group of losers. Conformity is the key ingredient for failure. One CEO created a “corporate strategy,” and he told his Senior Leaders that they could either sign his corporate strategy in agreement and support; or, they could leave the company. What do you suppose his well-paid executives decided to do in the middle of an enduring economic recession? Naturally, this company has not only had 7 consecutive years of lay-offs and a visit by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), but suffers from high turnover, due to inconsistent and contradicted values, inauthentic leadership, lack of transparency, and a heavy dose of social politics. The ship is sinking and the CEO is getting away from it in a speed boat with hoards of cash and stock options.
Who’s the captain now?
Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, and the founder of a virtual consultancy of OD experts, CLG. Visit us at CorporateLookingGlass.com.
©Rossina Gil, 2014
Doris Kearns Goodwin,Team of Rivals
Jonah Lehrer, How We Decide
In my last blog, Workplace Xenophobia, I wrote essentially about how it’s better for two people to be diverse than for them to be the same when solving problems. The theory behind the balance (or excess & deficiency) of opposing forces was allegedly first documented with Hippocrates’ Four Humors, which may have led to Swiss psychotherapist-psychiatrist Carl Jung’s Analytical Psychology, which led to the mother-daughter (Myers & Briggs) team Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) work, which led to psychologist David Kiersey’s Temperaments, which led Bob Hill and Lisa Yankowitz to the creation of the dynamic tool Ntrinsx – designed for understanding and leveraging differences into an organizational competitive advantage.
How does it work?
Allow me, if you will, to be a bit dramaturgical…every acclaimed play, script, film contains a representative of each of the Four Temperaments (as further shown below). This is to create the connection between the audience and the story. The connection exists because we as humans can identify most with those who behaviorally resemble ourselves. This is the pathos, or EMOTION. Their THOUGHTS is the logos; and what we think of their character is the ethos – which is really what the audience casts upon the individual. Together, they represent Artistotle’s three modes of persuasion.
In an organization, it is best to form a team that can identify its abilities and consider those abilities as strengths in a toolbox upon which to draw from when faced with workplace challenges and clients. This would contribute towards Cultural Competence, the key to organizational success.
Color Me Beautiful
Naturally, culture is situational and complex, so for simplification purposes, the following are pop culture representatives of the Four Temperaments with their style/traits and preferred workplace. See which one you most identify with. Ask your friends and colleagues to describe their ideal workplace before you show them my chart.
|The ideal workplace would have to have limited distractions, i.e. sight/sound.
This would entail sound-proof walls, no glass walls facing walk-ways, an actual office (not a cubicle), a door, access to a variety of informational resources, and a comfortable conference room or “pit” to hold intellectual discussions.
|The ideal workplace would have top-notch technology.
This would entail best-in-class Information Technology that would provide quality results and would be thoroughly secure. The building is solid and pragmatic, i.e. usually in rectangular shape. Documentation and efficient processes are key.
Good in a crisis
|The ideal workplace would be exciting with several distractions.
This would entail large windows, a double-monitor computer, a flat-screen TV, a treadmill, a chef, a bar, a massage therapist, beach/mountains/trail outside, quick access to transportation. The building is modern with unusual shapes and curves.
|The ideal workplace would be compassionate with collective energy.
This would entail a child care center, a pet care center, a lactation room, circular conference tables, low-rise cubicles to enhance conversations, potlucks, social after-work activities, team prizes and recognition.
©Rossina Gil, 2013
Live (ACTIONS). Love (EMOTIONS). Learn (THOUGHTS).
Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator. CorporateLookingGlass.com.
Aristotle, Rhetoric (Acheron Press, UK).
Sex & the City, Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Avengers
As always, my Green-Blue mind.
Jack Welch and his wife Suzy feel that so many leaders get it wrong: Ineffective corporate leaders hire people to run Human Resources (HR) who wish to be “kingmakers or cops.” The Welchs suggest that HR professionals must be those who are a hybrid of people who are part Pastor (to whom one may confess sins without recrimination) and part Parent (who will tell the employee straight up what they need to know in a guidance manner). They are people who have integrity, insight, and candor.
In essence, a robust organization is most suitably supported with impartial business partners; not cloak-&-dagger Education majors who try to make and break careers. What Fortune 500 companies hire are Organization Development (OD) people. OD practitioners are HR folks on steroids.
OD, as a field, is a strategic intervention/approach designed with support from the C-Suite to impact the entire organization’s effectiveness through its processes, systems, and structure by using behavioral-science knowledge. It is a key analytical position taken by practitioners who typically have a systemic (broad picture) view. OD focuses on ALL resources, i.e. materials, equipment, savings, talent, etc. – although it is a function commonly placed in Human Resources (HR). This is most likely due to the fact that two out of the four major types of OD interventions are directly related towards talent.
Four Major Types of OD Interventions:
- Human Process
- Human Resource Management
- Strategic (managing the organization’s relationship to its external environment and the internal structure / process necessary to support a business strategy)
Coaching & Training
Organization Confrontation Meeting
Large Group Interventions
High Involvement Organizations
Total Quality Management
Human Resource Management:
Career Planning & Development
Managing Workforce Diversity
Integrated Strategic Change
Mergers & Acquisitions Integration
Org. Learning & Knowledge Mgmt.
- The head of the OD team must have an educational background in OD, Psychology, Business, or HR. Other fields do not encompass the necessitated depth of knowledge and understanding to lead OD practitioners – who tend to be “third-eye,” philosophical, countercultural change agents.
- Hire an external vendor at least once a year to keep the perspective bold and fresh, and to draw Best Practices from other organizations, cross-industry.
- For smaller organizations, consider contracting OD consultants on a regular basis (e.g. one week monthly or two days a week), as needed. This is HR support “on-demand.”
Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, and the founder of a virtual consultancy of OD experts, CLG. Visit us at CorporateLookingGlass.com.
Jack & Suzy Welch. So Many Leaders Get This Wrong. 3/24/14.
Pepperdine MSOD program
An “elevator pitch” is a value statement that communicates what you do and how you do it differently than anyone else in your field. What makes YOU you? That is your competitive advantage. The barriers to entry are removed when you can succinctly describe your differentiator, one which separates you from the pack, the clutter; the disingenuous charmers.
Typically, your elevator pitch is going to be <30 seconds. This time frame is roughly the time it takes to ride an elevator.
So, is this really to be delivered in an elevator? No, it can be delivered anywhere. The idea is that less is more; and, to provide the listener with enough encapsulated knowledge to let them chew on your value-add. However, I did have one client who encountered the CEO of his company within the elevator, AND, he happened to have crafted his elevator pitch the day before in his meeting with me, so he put it to good use! This left him feeling proud and the CEO impressed…Who doesn’t want more of those types of occurrences happening? Success = Being prepared + when the opportunity presents itself.
Crafting Your Pitch – 3 Phases
Phase 1: Position Yourself
- Specify what you do.
EXAMPLE: I am Director of Global Organization Effectiveness.
2. Select a particular area of focus/expertise.
EXAMPLE: Diversity of Thought and Inclusion. World cultures.
3. Provide some context. What type(s) of environment tees you up for success?
EXAMPLE: Aligning teams with their leaders. Facilitating dialogue and feedback.
4. Identify what makes you stand out/unique. THIS IS THE BIGGY!
EXAMPLE: Clients typically arrive stressed and leave appreciative from learning how to reframe the situation. Participants say it helps that I’m calm, intense, a GREAT listener, sincere, passionate, I can extrapolate meaning well, and all of that helps them trust me.
Phase 2: Reduce/Simplify
How can you say all of Phase 1 in fewer words? Two sentences max. Let them ask questions, if they’re interested. Your job is to pique curiosity.
EXAMPLE: I align diverse and international teams with their leaders, and facilitate dialogue and feedback. My ability to convert abstract meaning into action plans, my intensity of listening, and calm demeanor enable my clients to confide in me.
Phase 3: Repeat
- Pilot Test. Run your elevator pitch to your friends and family to gain their input. Return to Phase 1 &/or 2 for re-design, if necessary.
- Mantra. Tell yourself your pitch first thing in the morning and last thing at night. It’s healthy and helpful to remind yourself of who you are.
This is the heart of your personal brand.
Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner who aligns diverse and international teams with their leaders, and facilitates dialogue and feedback. Her ability to convert abstract meaning into action plans, intensity of listening, and calm demeanor enables her clients to confide in her. CorporateLookingGlass.com.
©Rossina Gil, 2014
In an effort to stir up more conversation about Leadership and Self-Esteem, the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, has launched a “Ban Bossy” campaign. Is it not ironic to anyone that telling others what to do is a perfect example of exactly what she is “attempting” to ban?
The conversation to have as leaders is what leadership parity looks like; it is a strength-based dialogue. The campaign would be more effective if it described the results: Voices heard.
The late French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “If you want to build a ship, then don’t drum up people to gather wood, give orders, and divide the work. Rather, teach them to yearn for the far and endless sea.”
Is this really Sheryl Sandberg’s “unfinished business” of how she was hurt in high school by a teacher who called her “bossy”? Here is a quote from ABC News:
“’I was called bossy when I was in ninth grade,’ Sandberg recalled. ‘My teacher took my best friend Mindy aside and she said, ‘You shouldn’t be friends with Sheryl. She’s bossy.’ And that hurt.’”
Sheryl, go back and THANK that teacher for calling you bossy, because now you ARE the boss. Look where your alleged “bossiness” got you…to the C-Suite! She viewed talent in you, to which she chose to attach a negative connotation, due to the existing social construct. Her feedback was a gift. She was a product of that cultural era, AND she recognized that Mindy must a) think for herself, b) have a voice; and c) not be subservient to others! If I had Mindy as my daughter, I would be grateful to that teacher. If I had Sheryl as my daughter, I would be proud to know I have a future leader in my gene pool.
Eleanor Roosevelt: “You can often change your circumstances by changing your attitude.” My proposition is to have women EMBRACE the term Bossy. We, as leaders, CHOOSE to apply a POSITIVE connotation to the word, instead of stepping on our own power.
Empower yourself from within. Do not surrender your power to the admission that “Sticks and stones hurt our bones, and words are something we can’t get over, no matter at what level of influence we attain.” Slang has changed a lot of words: phat, the bomb, SNAFU. (Perfect web example: http://bossygirl1980.com). “Chicano” used to be a word that had negative connotations, until those who are Mexican-American chose to use it as an identity of pride. Now universities, such as UCLA, boast programs such as the Department of Chicano Studies. Are the dean and chancellor, et al, of UCLA attempting to be rude?
Traditional methods of solving problems in human systems are no longer adequate. Appreciative Inquiry is an approach that can be applied to any organizational change process or model. The focus is on WHAT IS DESIRED (i.e. the Pygmalion Effect), versus the negatively reinforcement of what is NOT appreciated. This negative messaging is precisely how young people become horrible supervisors – they do not focus on the constructive guidance; rather, they rant for 30+ minutes about how the employee failed. How does this improve performance? Leaders work on building and infusing energy, not purposely demoralizing resources/talent. Whose interest does that serve?
|Weak Paradigm: Deficit-BasedOrganizations are Problems to Be Solved||Paradigm Shift: Strength-BasedOrganizations are Mysteries to be Embraced|
|Identification of Problems||Appreciating the Best of What Is|
|Analysis of Causes||Envisioning What Might Be|
|Analysis of Possible Solutions||Dialoguing about What Can Be|
|Plan of Action (Treatment)||Innovating What Will Be|
|DEFICIT FOCUS||AFFIRMATIVE FOCUS|
|Sexual Harassment||Positive Gender Relations|
|Low Morale||Highly Motivated|
|Turfism/Silos||High Performance Teams|
|Customer Complaints||Customer Compliments|
|Lack of Training||Highly Skilled|
|Missed Commitments||Commitments Met|
Lean In’s Mixed Messaging
If the intent behind banning the word “bossy” is to raise self-esteem, then why has Miss Piggy been featured on LeanIn.org’s home page for months? Is Miss Piggy a healthy representative for a culture which suffers from body image issues? (BDD – Body Dysmorphic Disorder).
Furthermore, Disney describes Miss Piggy’s personality as:
|Personality||Ditzy, funny, bossy, sexy, glamorous, aggressive, feisty, self-centered, shallow, vain, short-tempered, a diva, demanding, impatient, sometimes sweet and innocent|
For Lean In’s messaging to proclaim how women/girls need to develop their leadership skills and self-esteem, why does their homepage feature Miss Piggy with the article “How to Know He’s the One”? How EXCLUSIVE is that for those of us who are happily single &/or lesbian? Why is Leadership & Management relegated for us to scroll down BENEATH the screachingly 1950’s stereotype of “Kids and Teens, Parenting, and Partnership”? (This alone makes me scream to Hera to help us). What is being subliminally reinforced here as a priority for us women?
Bossy = Boss + (for the Gen) Y
The new wave of feminism is called EGALITARIANISM. “Masculinist” does not exist as the antonym to “feminist.” We leaders CHOOSE to use words that UNITE; not divide. Thus, we are Egalitarians. We ask for Equal Pay for Equal Work and Equal Treatment. No more of this women earning 77 cents on the dollar nonsense. What the heck does “feminine anything” have to do with that?
This type of Ban Bossy conversation is unequivocally NOT the one to have to advance women and girls. It is a detrimental and divisive conversation that takes us two steps back, instead of a quantum leap forward. The intent is well-meaning; the impact is harmful. The adverse, unintended ramifications, for our blossoming girls is that our nation’s most powerful, fierce (dare I say, BossY?) women are telling them to not be bossy.
Girls, be who you are. If you are bossy, be proud. It may get you negative feedback in a 360, AND you can learn to be more effective while being the boss. Listen to Eleanor Roosevelt: “People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” “Do what you feel in your heart to be right — for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”
Lastly, Mayor A.C. Wharton of Memphis, Tennessee, delivered a crowd-pleasing speech at the Vanderbilt University Healthcare Workforce Diversity Forum last Friday, March 7, 2014. He said, “Out of compost a flower blooms. Do not water the weeds, for they will grow faster than any potential blossoms and thwart their development.”
Ignore the weeds. Bloom, baby, bloom.
Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner who focuses on positive growth (see logo); not on the weeds. She is the Chair of Nashville’s Mentorship Programs. CorporateLookingGlass.com.
©Rossina Gil, 2014
Binge eating: The Golden Corral (all-you-can-eat buffet)
Binge drinking: college Freshmen, the Super Big Gulp (7-Eleven’s 1.2 litres/41 fl oz)
Binge weight loss: The Biggest Loser (contestants on TV show)
Binge fat loss: liposuction
Binge watching: House of Cards (courtesy of Netflix)
A beautiful coup Netflix has accomplished. It created a differentiator for itself in order to enter an industry that has a steep barrier to entry (i.e. Media & Entertainment, e.g. HBO & Showtime), and managed to nab an Oscar nomination in the process.
Teradata’s “data analytics” software technology provides Netflix with consumer profiles of what type of end-user is interested in which types of movies. This, incontrovertibly, led to its $100 million investment in the production of House of Cards (HoC), a calculated gamble that is paying off in spades. Netflix is providing for their consumers exactly what their tastes have indicated.*
Netflix has 1) eliminated the middleman by not using Cable, 2) they eliminated the annoying window of time for your rental, 3) they reduced the cost by offering a flat fee for ALL products (e.g. not scaled like Amazon movies); and, 4) partnered with two core actors (i.e. Kevin Spacey; Robin Wright) who can carry the show.
In essence, Netflix has redefined home entertainment. Their straight-to-streaming productions has viewers binge watching an entire season in a matter of days. Netflix’s second season of HoC was streamed in its entirety by roughly one million people over Valentine’s Day weekend, 2014. This unprecedented business tactic appeals to the American “on-demand, I-want-it-now!” cultural preference. Netflix has taken the narrow-minded “It’s never been done that way!” mentality, and has turned it upside-down on its head with a big, fat, “Who cares? WE will do it that way!”
Could it be a developmental pattern of American behavior that has escalated from the 1940’s to 2014? This is particularly evident in the behavior of “binge working.” The workweek has gone from 40 hours in five days, to 60+ hours in six days. This shift in office workplace habits has created terms such as “workaholic” and “work-life balance” (as a counter-reaction).
What happened to moderation? What are the predictions for a mass culture that does not practice restraint? How is it that other cultures have policies that allow wine at lunch, e.g. France, while the USA struggles with Alcoholics Anonymous? What will become of those states, e.g. Colorado, that offer permissive laws on substances, such as marijuana, to a population which has difficulty knowing when to say, “No, I’ve had enough”? What are the steps leading to a “Nanny State” that panders to a dependent populace?
What really matters? Perhaps it’s being connected with people you love while sharing a story that provokes thought and evokes emotion.
Pass the popcorn.
Jogger/Rower Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator. CorporateLookingGlass.com.
* Netflix’s Analytic Thought-Leader Kurt Brown is providing a free webinar called “Analytics in the Clouds,” on March 18, 2014. He will address how Netflix uses analytics in the cloud to drive its business. To learn more or register, please CLICK HERE.
©Rossina Gil, 2014
This is a story of Know Thy Consumer…
Several years ago, I was part of a national deployment for a Leadership Development program at a large food & beverage manufacturer. I was pregnant at the time and had to travel cross-country to deliver the program, so I packed more durable, healthy snacks to fill the hours in between meals. My physique made my pregnancy obvious – my notable roundness was not the result of one too many beers.
Once the participants were actively engaged in table discussion exercises, I pulled out one of my snacks to munch on. It was Pirate’s Booty, a baked corn puffed snack. I rounded the tables to listen in on snippets of the conversation, as I ate my bag of “Booty.” One male employee looked at my bag and flatly said, “You can’t eat that here.” I noticed a female employee at his table make what looked to be a condemning stare, and then another female employee had a sympathetic tone when she spoke to her colleague, “She’s pregnant.” “It doesn’t matter,” he countered; then turning back to me, “Haven’t you heard about the guy at Coke who got fired for drinking a Pepsi at work?” “Yes,” I answered, “I understand that. However, those two products are comparable. Your company does not offer a healthy snack in a bag.” Another woman joined what was becoming a fracas, “Leave her alone.” He resisted and became more defiant and oppositional, with the “glaring woman” joining his side, “She can’t walk around our hallways with that bag in her hand!” Since I am aware that intent does not equal impact and my job is to listen, this gave me an idea.
I walked my fat belly back to the closest company kitchenette, where they had a full display of various bagged chips, free for the taking. I took one that was of comparable size to my Booty, dumped the contents into the trash, filled the empty bag with my Booty, and tossed the Pirate’s Booty bag into the trash. I returned to making the rounds at my tables to alert the participants quietly that they had five minutes or so to wrap up. I continued to finish the contents of my new bag, without hiding what I was eating.
Once I returned to the table in mention, the same fellow who was aggressively, and somewhat offensively, loyal to his company brand, looked straight at my bag with a scowl that quickly turned to a look of surprise and then apparent ridicule. He called out to a woman at the end of his table, “Look! She wants a healthy snack, and now she’s eating the highest fat content and cholesterol snack we have!” I let it rest.
Corporate Opportunity or Disconnect?
My initial interpretation was that this executive could not properly understand my Frame of Reference, i.e. life from my point of view. He was seemingly more concerned about what is “correct” behavior (ostensibly, APPEARANCES) within his company, which is his organizational culture and identity. And, needless to mention, has never had to nourish a growing child within his body. Perhaps it was while I was in the kitchen (changing the branding; keeping the content) that one of his colleagues explained to him that I was focused more on what was on the INSIDE (i.e. my growing child), and had no intent to disrespect him, his point of view, or the company. Interpretation and speculation aside, his words indicated that while he definitively HEARD what my viewpoint was, he still only SAW what he wanted to see (i.e. HIS frame of reference…the seller). This is Corporate Myopia.
When do you choose to stop looking at what matters? What matters? For whom exactly does it matter?
Mind over Matter
What does your natural reaction to viewing an entirely novel scenario indicate about how you show up, how you may be viewed, and how you can create a new or more powerful product? Let’s take a look, shall we?
Many people choose to look at the images below as fun or entertaining. While it may be intriguing to see if others see the same image(s) as you, what is critical to observe are the following:
- What do you notice?
- What do you notice about what you notice?
- How is this applicable to how you move forward at work and in life?
Some people adamantly insist that they are correct; and, they are correct…it’s just: What ELSE is “correct”? Others retire in frustration and may demand to hear what they are missing…with such a simple exercise, the question is: What is bubbling under that frustration of not having a matching perception?…Is life a competition? Some are eager to help others, and some refuse assistance…question yourself for each of your natural reactions. None of them are wrong, per se; they are indicators of how life has shaped you to be who you are: a perfect product of your culture.
While your product may be perfect for you and others, it may be ineffective and unsuitable for some. How marketable is your brand? What opportunities exist for you to maximize profitability? Market power increases when you understand the consumer’s frame of reference.
Everybody’s a customer.
Matey Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a bootylicious Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator. CorporateLookingGlass.com.
©Rossina Gil, 2014