Relationships Matter Most

Relationships

So if I have only learned one thing from work and office politics…it is that relationships matter to results!


And not only that they matter, but that they matter the most. 


Results are great and important; however if they come at the expense of relationships or it’s a “burn the bridges” type deal–then the results are not just tainted, but perhaps will be doomed to fail anyway and all the more so. 


The way we treat others is paramount to what we do. 


G-d watches us–and He/She will judge us accordingly. 


Every interaction with others is a test for us. 


How do we speak to and act with another one of G-d’s loving creations. 


Treating people well does not need to come at the expense of results–rather it is the secret sauce to getting results. 


This doesn’t mean that you have to be liked or loved, but that you do the right thing and for the right reasons–great deeds come with truly best intentions. 


Integrity is not just a word–it is a life principle!


When you treat people badly–how do you think that impacts the office and the ultimate mission?


Success is people and product.


And life has a funny way about it with karma being ever present.


(Source Photo: here with attribution to PoYang) 

The Power Of One, Many, And G-d

Voice
I took this photo at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale. 



I like how they took the pictures of the professors, administrators, and students and wallpapered it outside on the facade of the building. 



It says, “I am the voice of innovative education and civic engagement for the 21st century.”



It’s a cool idea showing the individuals and the power they have to make a difference as well as the aggregate of the photos, as a group, displaying that we are somehow all in it together. 



We can’t just rely on others, and we can’t take it all on ourselves…progress is a shared responsibility. 



We do our part and contribute to the greater group–it takes a variety of talents to get things done, so we leverage everyones strengths for the good of the team. 



Education is one part.  



Experience is another.  



Engagement is a third



And all these ingredients only come together with divine providence and the good fortune from the Almighty.



This last one is the secret sauce as they say. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Data 4 Ransom

Data 4 Ransom

The future of cybercrime will soon become the almost routine taking of your personal and corporate data as hostage. 


Once the hacker has control of it, with or without exfiltration, they will attach malware to it–like a ticking time bomb.


A simple threat will follow:


“I have your data. Either you pay for your data back unharmed OR your data will become vaporware! You have one hour to decide. If you call the authorities, you data is history.”


So how valuable is your data to you?  


– Your personal information–financial, medical, legal, sentimental things, etc.


– Your corporate information–proprietary trade secrets, customer lists, employee data, more.


How long would it take you to reconstitute if it’s destroyed?  How about if instead it’s sold and used for identity theft or to copy your “secret sauce” (i.e. competitive advantage) or maybe even to surpass you in the marketplace? 


Data is not just inert…it is alive!


Data is not just valuable…often it’s invaluable!


Exposed in our networks or the cloud, data is at risk of theft, distortion, or even ultimate destruction. 


When the time comes, how much will you pay to save your data?


(Source Comic: Andy Blumenthal)

Are They Anything Without Him?

Sometimes, one person can be so instrumental to the success of an organization that they really are, for all intensive purposes, irreplaceable.

Leadership classes and anecdotes about great leaders tell us that one of leaders primary duties is a good succession plan.

But what happens, when a visionary place like Apple, loses their very special talent–someone that is truly their “secret sauce”–someone like a Steve Jobs–who you can’t just replicate or replace (easily or maybe at all)?

While Apple still makes great products, the jury is still out on whether they can truly innovate without Job’s vision, exacting attention to detail, and bigger than life persona.

Hence, the question, are they anything without him?

Perhaps, Apple can find the next Steve Jobs–who will bring new energy and talents and keep them a great organization–or perhaps not.

This new movie about Jobs–played by Ashton Kutcher will remind us of the magic that a truly special leader can bring to an organization.

If only there was a pill to swallow to make talented leaders–now that would be a job for Jobs. 😉

>Building High Performance Teams

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At work, there is almost no greater feeling than being part of a high-performing team, and no worse than being part of a dysfunctional one.

Teams are not, by definition, destined to succeed. In fact more often then not, they will fail unless they have the right mix of people, purpose, process, commitment, training, and of course, leadership—along with the time for it all to jell.

I remember being on a team in one special law enforcement agency that had the “right mix.” The project was both very successful and was written up as a case study, and everything in the project was really fulfilling personally and professionally: from gathering around the whiteboard for creative strategy sessions to the execution of each phase of the project. Now, that is not to say that there were not challenges on the project and on the team—there always are—or you are probably just dreaming rather than really in the office working. But the overall, in the experience, the health of the team was conducive to doing some really cool stuff. When the team is healthy and the project successful, you feel good about getting up in the morning and going to work—an almost priceless experience.

Unfortunately, this team experience was probably more the exception than the rule—as many teams are dysfunctional for one or more reasons. In fact, at the positive team experience that I was described above, my boss used to say, “the stars are all aligned for us.”

The challenge of putting together high-performance teams is described in Harvard Business Review, May 2009, in an article, “Why Teams Don’t Work,” by Diane Coutu.

She states: “Research consistently shows that teams underperform their potential.”

But Coutu explains that this phenomenon of underperformance by teams can be overcome, by following “five basic conditions” as described in “Leading Teams” by J. Richard Hackman (the descriptions of these are my thoughts):

“Teams must be real”—you need the right mix of people: who’s in and who’s out.

“Compelling direction”—teams need a clear purpose: “what they’re supposed to be doing” and is it meaningful.

“Enabling structures”—teams need process: how are things going to get done and by whom.

“Supportive organization”—teams need the commitment of the organization and its leadership: who is championing and sponsoring the team.

“Expert coaching”—you need training: how teams are supposed to behave and produce.

While leadership is not called out specifically, to me it is the “secret sauce” or the glue that holds all the other team enablers together. The skilled leader knows who to put on the team, how to motivate its members to want to succeed, how to structure the group to be productive and effective, how to build and maintain commitment, and how to coach, counsel, mentor, and ensure adequate training and tools for the team members.

One other critical element that Coutu spells out is courage. Team leaders and members need to have the courage to innovate, “ask difficult questions,” to counter various forms of active or passive resistance, and to experiment.

In short, harnessing the strength of a team means bringing out the best in everyone, making sure that the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals offset each other—there is true synergy in working together. In failing teams, everyone might as well stay home. In high-performance teams, the whole team is greater than the sum of its individual members.