The Culture Key To Organizational Success

As I continue to learn more about organizational success strategies, I am coming to understand that the underlying culture of the organization is so very fundamental to its success.


I believe this is especially the case in terms of three critical competency areas:


– Communication – needs to be timely, constructive, multi-directional, and with emotional intelligence.


– Trust – must be be based on honesty and integrity including consistently supporting the success of everyone professionally and as a organization. 


– Collaboration – must be be anchored in respecting, valuing, empowering, and rewarding each and every person for their views and the contributions, both individually and as team members, and in treating diversity and collaboration, as a true force-multiplier. 


If any of these elements are missing or broken then it does not seem to me that the organization will be able to be successful for the long term.


Organizational success is built on ingredients that strengthen the ties of leadership and individuals and that foster contribution as individuals and as team members. 


No amount of smart, innovative, and even hard work, in my mind, will make up for shortfalls in these critical organizational success factors. 

So when planning for organizational success, make sure to build these in from the get-go. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Listen Better, Empathize More

So I am working on myself to improve and be a better person.


Recently, I had a number of experiences with people telling me of some very trying circumstances.


And at first, I found myself listening and talking to them about it, but then my mind started to get distracted by other things going on and other problems in my life that I needed to deal with.


So after we finished speaking about their respective family, work, and even health problems, I felt that I may have cut off some of these conversations too early or without enough empathy. 


After clearing my head, I thought to myself, I really want to listen better and empathize more. 


And so I went back and did just that. 


I found each person (in person, by phone, or email), and I said that I felt sorry for what they were going through, and I asked more questions and tried to really just be in the moment and there for them.


They seemed to each really appreciate me taking the time and effort to come speak with them and that I cared. 


I know that I am human and make mistakes, but I want to continually grow and do better in life. 


In this case, listening better and empathizing more–it felt great and I learned to listen to my conscience and do more when I think it’s right! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Living In A Big F-cking Interconnected World

on-and-off

So I can hardly remember a world without the Internet, television, or travel. 


Yet if the world, as created, is just under 6,000 years old, then we only have these critical interconnections with each other for the last 100 years…that’s only a tiny fraction of world history or less than 2%!


Pervasive and invasive communications and travel like the Internet (1990), television (1927), commercial airplane (1914), and mass produced automobile (1908) have expanded our personal universes. 


Hearing stories as a kid about how people rarely traveled more than 25 miles from their villages and barely got news from far beyond that, it is very hard for me to imagine such a small world to be confined to. 


Yes, some people look back with nostalgia yearning for the simpler times and “the good ‘ol days,” but they forget how on one hand, mundane it was and on the other, how unstable and violent it tended to be. 


Now with social media, smartphones, 24/7 news coverage, and world travel, connecting with people and events irrespective of distance or even language is taken for granted, and we are always on and expected to be (the last part is one downside for sure). 


Still yet to be conquered, but I am sure not that far away, is connecting outside of our own world and irregardless of time…reach forward or back and across the vastness of the stars–it’s all one. 


Frankly, I do not know what I would do in a world limited to just 25 miles and not being able to get connected online, anytime, anywhere…what a boring and small world that must’ve been.


In the same way, once we reach beyond our own world and routinely travel to and settle on other worlds, and can reach beyond the present into the past and the future, I think the next generations will be astonished at how small we too have lived. 


25 miles…what the heck!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Say It And They Believe It

Anti-Terror Device

This was pretty funny in Starbucks. 

This guy comes in with a briefcase and sets in down on the table. 

He opens it up and proceeds to take out an electronic device–turns out it’s his laptop computer. 

But on the briefcase, there is a label that says:

POWERFUL ANTI-TERROR DEVICE INSIDE.”

So everyone is looking like there really is something to this.

You can almost tangibly feel them wondering what the heck type of device is this that he is carrying…it must pack a real punch!

Then one person near me, bends over sideways, and whispers in my ear…”Does he really have a powerful anti-terror device inside?”

Like I look as if I’m in the know on these things!!! 

I lean back over in the other direction to the other person and whisper back, “No, I’m pretty sure that it’s just a gag…the guy must be looking for some serious attention.”

And all of sudden, it’s as if all the heads around me start to nod, like I stated some amazing insight here or perhaps that they somehow knew it all along. 

Anyway, it’s incredible what people will believe…if you just state it (in an official way, of course) on your briefcase, a badge, on your forehead or wherever, it’s got to be true, because we are so gullible and willing or wanting to believe. 

Yes, I believe! I believe!  😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

How-To Book Craze

How To Take Photos

I took this photo of a person reading a how to take great photos book.


Sort of ironic, funny, no?


You can read about it or do it. 


I’m one of those people who learn more by actually doing. 


Ok, I’m not the greatest photographer in the world (by a really long shot).


But for me it’s more about the idea I’m trying to convey than the pure artistic value per se. 


Anyway, in the vein of words being cheap, “Reading is fundamental,” but doing is absolutely fundamental. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Loving Your Sheep

Sheep

I guess people love all sorts of things. 

This one lady had a bumper sticker on her truck that said, “I [Heart] Love Sheep.”

First, I thought the messaging was about loving “The Shepard”–either her husband, a paramour, or a reference to the Messiah. 

Then I took a second take, and realized, NO not the shepard, but the actual sheep–she loves. 

Well, people love their dogs, cats, horses, and so why not their sheep?

I don’t know, but as a “city boy,” loving your sheep never would really occur to me, then again I was sheltered in Yeshiva. 

Anyway, after I took a quick photo of the professed love sticker, this lady starts yelling after me about why am I looking at her car.  

I responded, “No, not the car–the sticker (about the sheep).”

She’s like, “Oh, that’s okay then!”–like of course, it’s about my love of sheep. 

So here, this post is dedicated to everyone that loves their sheep or shepard or whatever rocks their particular boats. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Boardroom B.S.

Gavel

So I had the opportunity to attend a board meeting recently and to see firsthand why most decisions are so flawed. 


– No Diversity–The board members were all from a single age group and color, and this clearly impacted their thought processes and decisions. For example, when others attending the meeting asked about updating some technology, the board members blankly felt that was not important even after almost a decade of the same thing. 


– Self-Interest–The board only entertained issues that they were interested in for themselves. For example, when someone stood up to talk about issues they didn’t feel were important to them, the board members tuned out, interrupted the speakers, actually scrowled at them, or just shut them down altogether. 


– Getting Personal–Board members frequently changed the discussion from substantive discussion to personal attacks. When one person questioned a recent decision, a board member started yelling about being called names (which never happened that I saw) or telling the speakers that they didn’t know what they were talking about. 


– Information Poor–Board members made decisions or committees recommended decisions first, and then put it up for discussion later (like at a subsequent meeting). Moreover, the board members referred to decisions being made over and over based on anecdotes of people telling them this, that, or the other thing (none of which could be verified) and not on facts or surveys of those impacted by the decisions. 


– Transparency Lacking–Board members made decisions without explanation for the reason or justification, and even without necessarily evaluating all the alternatives. When questioned, the board wasn’t able to identify costs of alternatives or even fully explore the other viable options. 


– Intimidating The Opposition–The board members actually seemed to challenge and turn to intimidation to stem alternate views from their own. Some people that had supported other voices in the room where turned or told that they hadn’t understood the issues properly to begin with. 


Despite some nice people personally and one or two that didn’t seem to go along with the shinanigans, overall it was a very disppointing show of decision-making, governance, communication, and leadership. 


No wonder people get turned off by the process, don’t participate, and lose confidence in those at the top. Maybe time for people to be leaders with heart and not megalomaniacs with gavels. 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to CJ Sorg)