While nearly everyone in today’s global workplace recognizes the need (and appreciates the value) of collaborative work, it is not easy – especially when cultural differences, time zone challenges, work and communication styles enter the equation. Despite this, true global collaboration is simply too valuable not to take advantage of because it provides you, as a leader, with a significant opportunity to leverage learning, negotiate meaning, and share aptitudes – creating high potential sources of competitive advantage.

The rapid pace of globalization and the growing number of collaborative technology solutions have enabled virtual work while the demand for skills from around the world have made it a necessity. However, collaborative teamwork in virtual environments is not intuitive. It’s far more than dealing with technology and time zones – it is about people and the value that cross-cultural, virtual collaboration can bring to the organization.

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As we look forward, it is helpful to also look back and gain perspective. Today’s supply chain is even more global than two years ago… It is more aligned and proactive than it was five years ago. We are making progress, but there are still critical challenges to address.  It is still not working well… experience tells me we can do better.

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Typically, even though organizations may be consolidating for cost management and scalability purposes, the walls of the individual functions, channels and regions have become even thicker. As a direct result, it is harder for you, as a leader, to build end-to-end supply chain functionality in an ever-changing global marketplace. It has become increasingly difficult for you to gain agreement on specific, customer focused initiatives or broader organizational change.

This is not a technology, process or policy problem – it is a people problem:

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Today, quality in products and services is a given. Customers are increasingly aware of their choices, and as a result quality has become assumed if an organization seeks to survive. Quality performance has peaked globally, resulting in the face of quality shifting from the front-line employee to the corporate leader.

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As quality continues to evolve, the question becomes, “how do we shift the ‘definition’ of quality to reflect quality leadership?” If we refer to Deming’s quality methods, there are some clear indicators as to how we can connect quality principles to leadership principles. Deming’s Quality System is based on what he called “Profound Knowledge” – calling out four interrelated and inseparable aspects of quality that act as a critical foundation: Continue Reading…

Innovation is the catalyst to growth. Innovation means doing something different, smarter or better that will make a positive difference.  Innovation applies to every aspect of your business – you can be innovative with products, services, methods or business processes.   Innovation is free and unlimited – if you actively tap into it as a leader.

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Incorporating innovation into your business can help you save time and money, and give you the competitive advantage to grow and adapt your business in the marketplace.  Because innovation refers to making things better, it can significantly increase the likelihood of your business succeeding. Research (and real life examples) have shown that businesses that innovate create more efficient work processes and have better motivation, productivity and performance overall.

Last week I discussed how self-esteem affects you as a leader, but what about how your self-esteem provides the mechanism for you to help others? Self-esteem is essential to your ability engage and maintain meaningful, respectful working relationships – self-esteem holds you accountable to how you interact and work with others and keeps you centered, as a leader. As you engage in building comprehensive self-esteem across your organization, others will notice and will find great encouragement and respect in your commitment to building the foundation of your organization.

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Self-esteem just may be the Holy Grail when it comes to leadership development. It is perhaps the only human characteristic that determines how we see ourselves from the inside while directly correlating to how others perceive us on the outside.

While typically not a topic discussed over coffee, self-esteem is a matter of critical importance for you as a leader. Self-esteem holds you accountable to how you interact and work with others… self-esteem keeps you centered…self- esteem is the genesis for how well others respect you. It has an effect on how you think, feel, act – and your business results. Self-esteem determines your ability to be an Authentic Leader.

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In short, your self-esteem reflects the degree to which you feel comfortable with yourself as you are, believe that you have inherent value as a unique individual and demonstrate confidence in your ability to successfully achieve your own measure of success.