Archives For synergy


It is inevitable – change creates drama in most organizations. However, you have a choice as to whether you deal with change effectively or let it spiral out of control  – controlling you and creating unnecessary drama! Leaders need to be able to present a unified vision and convey support if they expect their people to embrace change. Indifference can lead to a rapid demise of the change effort. As a leader invoking change, make sure you provide:

  • A vision for how the change will impact the individual, team, division and organization
  • A firm commitment to change goals, while accepting input on the details
  • Specific, achievable objectives along with plans for achieving them
  • A roadmap for success with realistic timelines, budgets, and owners
  • A communication framework to support change adoption
  • Opportunities for people to give feedback during and after the change

Admittedly, organizational change is complex, but we often make it harder on ourselves than it has to be. Just as in the board game Clue, it is easy to engage in false assumptions that can lead our people down the path of suspicion and drama – away from the truth and the ultimate win. The result? A whole lot of ambiguous thinking regarding the application of structured, human-focused, change within the organization.

Here are just a few examples of how we can easily fall victim to false assumptions over our own realities:

People Resist Change: Actually, not always. People frequently seek out drastic changes in their lives and voluntarily embrace them. People do, however, resist being forced to change.
 How change is presented and managed will impact its success or failure far more than the change itself.  Most of us respond far better to change when we comprehend a valid reason for it – without solid justification, most people are likely to resist anyone who tries to force change upon them… and cause drama along the way.

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You can bet that if you do not set and manage expectations, drama will invite itself in for an extended visit. When people do not know what is expected, they will create their own expectations – and they most likely will not align across the organization. Disagreements and controversy ensue, causing chaos and distraction from driving positive results.  While setting and managing expectations may seem time consuming, the cost – in time, effort, and drama – of not doing so far exceeds that of being responsible and clearly letting people know what you expect of them.

Before you, as a leader, can hold people accountable for outcomes, you have to let them know what success looks like and what you expect to see as a result of their efforts.  If everyone knows what is expected, the focus is on driving for results and monitoring against set standards. The benefit of setting and managing expectations is twofold:

  1. Clear, concise expectations drive actions and decisions.
  2. Explicit expectations are a primary driver of success.

If you fail to create an environment where expectations are well understood and respected by your people, you are highly unlikely to develop a high-performing organization… or deliver strong business results.

Expectations are like the rules in the board game Sorry! When everyone knows the “rules” or “expectations”, some may try and cheat (like my husband, who can’t stand to lose), but the other players will hold the cheater accountable. When no one knows the rules, it is impossible to be accountable, much less hold anyone else accountable to anything.  Organizations are no different – if you want your players to know how to play to win and hold others accountable, you are responsible for setting and managing expectations.

When setting expectations, consider these four principles:

1. Clarity

Expectations should focus on outcomes, not activities. Leaders often make the mistake of attempting to direct the process that will be used, rather than focusing on the desired outcome. As a leader, you should be responsible for identifying the goal, while the employee (or the team) is then responsible for developing how to meet or exceed expectations.

2. Relevance

Relevance helps define the “why” of what is expected. If employees have complete understanding of the importance of what they are asked to deliver, they will be more committed to the result because they see how it fits into the big picture, as well as how their efforts impact the company.

3. Simplicity.

Simplicity creates a sense of grounding for both individuals and teams. If you identify what is expected in simple, straightforward terms, there is a clear understanding of exactly what is expected.

4.  Consistency

After setting expectations, you must maintain a consistent approach to managing expectations that can be applied in most situations. This facilitates a sense of unity and equality, and will bolster morale across the organization.

Now, let’s consider three important components to managing expectations:

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Gossip is as old as mankind, and if you have drama in the workplace – you more than likely have gossip. They can be found in nearly every workplace, these conspiratorial conversations that are more often than not unverified, unsubstantiated, and occasionally unseemly. It can be the type of chatter that can appear, at face value, as harmless speculation or good-natured teasing,  but if left unchecked, has the potential to severely impact your ability to generate positive business results. Leaders need to recognize that gossip can have a profound effect on their bottom line, and that not having a strategy to handle it could be a recipe for disaster.

It may sound like a harmless, unavoidable by-product of corporate life, but left unchecked, gossip can wreak havoc on company morale and efficiency. A negative work environment is a less productive work environment. Gossip can create an uncomfortable atmosphere –  not only for the person the gossip is about, but for everyone in the workplace.

Gossip can often become likened to the old childhood game of “Telephone”, where one person starts the spread of information, and by the time it reaches the last person, it has evolved and changed into something entirely different. Some gossip may have truth to it, while other information carried on the gossip relay may be false. Either way, gossip is a harmful means of communication and should be avoided.

Here are just a few destructive results of gossip in the workplace:

  • Wasted time and lost productivity
  • Severe erosion of trust and morale
  • Hurt feelings and the possibility of reprisals
  • Miscommunication leading to conflict, missed opportunities or misinformation
  • Heightened fear or falsely raised expectations
  • A “toxic” work environment

Now that you understand the serious impact that gossip can have, what can you do about it? First, you need to understand that you are not likely to completely eliminate it. However, you also need to understand that how an organization deals with habitual gossip can be mean the difference between growing and thriving… or disintegrating from within. Understanding the effect it has on achieving your organization’s goals and objectives, your goal should be to limit gossip to the greatest extent possible.  Below are some tips for controlling gossip in the workplace:

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Global leaders everywhere are now realizing how critical global teams are to future competitiveness and overall productivity. The power of global teams to respond expeditiously to corporate challenges has become a key component to a company’s ultimate ability to succeed in demanding and constantly evolving environments. Despite knowing the reality of today’s networked-style global organization, very few have successfully developed and leveraged global teams. Although they are consistently seen as essential for global prosperity, these teams are left to fail more often than their success is facilitated. The reality is that global teams generally have more talent and potential than other types of teams by sheer force of their diversity. Yet this potential is often squandered because of an innate inability of both the team and the organization to harness the power of the global team. It is essential that corporations begin to break down the complexities of global teams and facilitate an understanding of the challenges inherent to the concept – successfully creating and deploying global teams is one of the most significant business challenges of this century.

As an individual strives to become an Extreme Global Leader, s/he will come to realize that people, across boundaries and borders, will determine whether or not s/he wins at the great game of business. Made up of people, global teams are the modus operandi for getting things done in organizations – and within global organizations there is a critical requirement for global teams. One can attempt to build an exceptional, culturally diverse team by design and by talent, but will likely fail. One may put together a team of specialists from across the various regions, but that will not create what is needed to ultimately win. Performance depends on both individual excellence and on how well the team works together across their disparate locations and functions. “Alignment” emerges when, despite culturally diverse backgrounds, a group of people understands the unique value of each player and leverages that value to function as a cohesive, global whole. When a global team becomes aligned, a commonality of direction emerges, and individual efforts synchronize with the whole. Synergy evolves – there is commonality of purpose, a shared global vision, and an inherent understanding of how to leverage one another’s talents – despite disparate cultures and functions. Alignment is the “X Factor” of global teams, making them Extreme.

Exceptional team development across boundaries and borders is the process of aligning and developing the capacity of the team to create the winning results. It builds on the discipline of developing shared vision. It also builds on personal mastery: talented teams are made up of talented individuals. But the bottom line is that shared vision and talent are not enough to create an Extreme Global Team. The world is full of talented teams who share a vision for a while, yet they fail to learn and grow together, and ultimately fail to win. Extreme sports champions have talent and a shared vision, but what really matters is that the team knows how to play together – Extreme Teams in organizations are no different.

There has never been a greater need for the development of Extreme Teams in global organizations than there is today – yet they are not common, and even more rare, successful. A significant portion of important global decisions are now made in teams –  directly or through the need for teams to translate individual decisions into global organizational actions. If global teams are developed with the focus and intent on learning to excel as a cohesive unit, organizational insights are gained that can be translated into exceptional results. Skills are developed that can propagate and motivate other teams to be exceptional across the organization and across the world. Most of all, the Extreme Team’s accomplishments can set the tone  and establish a standard of excellence for the larger organization, across boundaries and borders.

The power to link and leverage, as well as to move and manipulate resources, enables organizations to provide superior products and services at a lower cost that will quickly overwhelm competitors who do not use global teams effectively. Aligned global teams exponentially increase competitive advantage as they will attract the best talent, create and develop the best products and services, and ultimately attract the best, and most loyal, customers. Are YOU building an Extreme Team?

You can contact me at Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next Thursday for the next installation  of Leadership Across Boundaries & Borders.