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Less-Is-More Blog by Pierre Khawand

How Mobile Makes Life Better and Easier

Posted by Melissa Sweat on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 @ 12:10 PM

SC_Moatti_100x100.jpgGuest post by SC Moatti

We are all wired with anxieties that get triggered when we least expect them. In fact, psychology professor Roy Baumeister explains that it takes a lot of energy to keep this stress under control. He calls that energy willpower, which is also the title of his best-selling book.

“Some people imagine that willpower is something you only use once in awhile, such as when you are tempted to do something wrong. The opposite is true,” he says. “Most people use their willpower many times a day, all day.”

It all adds up to depletion of energy. That’s when we most feel that we lose control. “Depletion seems to be like turning up the volume on your life as a whole,” Baumeister says.

Great mobile products turn the volume down on our life, and they do it by knowing a lot about us. The more they know about us, the more personalized they get. The more personalized they get, the better able they are to cater to our individual wants and needs.

Sign up for our free webinar May 5, 2016 with SC Moatti, "Human First: How Mobile is Becoming an Extension of Ourselves"

Click now to register!

(At the webinar, we'll also be giving away 5 copies of SC's new book, Mobilized!)

By being constantly connected to our environment, mobile products sort through the millions of information bits we are bombarded with to show us only the ones that matter right here, right now. We give them permission to make these decisions on our behalf because they know enough about us to personalize everything.

This personalization is essential to what makes mobile products successful. It puts us in complete control of the experience.

Sometimes, the experience we get from mobile is so personalized that we wouldn’t be able to reproduce it otherwise. Life suddenly gets easier, because we are no longer hampered by circumstances beyond our control. Our stress level goes down, as in this example.

Mobile personalization success

Not too long ago, I had an important meeting with a major partner, and as I was leaving my apartment it started raining. I decided to hail a cab.

Of course, there was no cab in sight. It took me a while to finally find one and by then, I was soaked and already late for my meeting. On top of this, when it came time to pay the fare, I didn’t have enough cash so we had to stop by an ATM.

All I could think about was that I was going to lose my client. I blamed myself for not planning enough. I was upset at the rain for messing up the traffic. But really, I was afraid of losing a significant source of income. All because I couldn’t find a cab.                                               

Now that I started using Lyft and Uber, I no longer get stressed when I need a ride. All I need to do is pull up the service on my phone when I’m getting ready to go somewhere, get in the car when I’m notified that it’s here to pick me up, and get out when I’ve arrived. It optimizes my itinerary in real time by routing around delays that before would have left me stuck in traffic. It even tells me ahead of time how much the fare will be. I no longer even need to “pay” in the traditional sense, because the fare is automatically charged to my credit card. I feel cared for, even pampered, because the service eliminates all the previous hassle of getting from point A to point B. It feels good.

Feeling taken care of in ways we cannot provide to ourselves is a reflection of what is important to us, of what has inner meaning to us. A bond naturally develops from this extreme personalization, similar to any relationship. This connection lifts our spirit, not unlike intense feelings such as love. And what gives us more meaning than being in love?

To learn more about the formula for mobile success, including how to apply it to your own company, read my book, mobilized: an insider’s guide to the business and future of connected technology, visit scmoatti.com, or join us at the free webinar May 5!

Sign up for the FREE webinar!

Topics: emerging technology, giveaway, Technology, business results, productivity, Lunch & Learn Webinars, collaboration

Play in the Workplace? Three Radical Reasons For More Play at Work

Posted by Melissa Sweat on Mon, May 25, 2015 @ 01:25 PM

If having lots of levity and play in the workplace points to signs of happiness and longevity and work, look no further than the tenures of the longest running late-night show hosts as a guide.

  • Jon Stewart: 17 total years
  • Jay Leno: 21 total years
  • Conan O’Brien: 21 total years
  • Johnny Carson: 30 total years
  • Dave Letterman: 33 total years!

Source: Vocativ.com

Dave_Letterman_late-night_career_Michelle_Obama

Now, we all know that hosting a late-night comedy and entertainment show is not exactly the nine-to-five—but isn’t that the point? Don’t most of us office and knowledge workers come home feeling burnt out and wanting more from our day? And for managers, aren't your teams and employees lacking a certain cohesion and spark?

The data tells us the average worker is just plain burnt out.

And senior management is not immune. A May 2014 New York Times article, “Why You Hate Work," cited a recent survey of 72 senior leaders by Srinivasan S. Pillay, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist and professor studying burnout. The survey reports that nearly all of the senior leaders polled are experiencing some form of burnout at work.

It’s a growing problem in the modern workplace spurring studies and headlines everywhere from major international publications to niche industry blogs—like this one from the HR-focused TLNT: “Will 2015 Be the Year of Worrying About Employee Burnout?"

Clearly, we should be worried. The overall wellness and productivity of our employees and organizations are at stake. So, what to do about it?

"Unleashing the Power of Play" with
Emmy award winner Gwen Gordon
June 4, 2015, 12-12:40pm PT
Sign up for the FREE webinar! Fortunately, there are many forward-thinking experts leading the movement for more play and joy in the workplace, helping to illuminate the many benefits of a work-play balance.

Here are three reasons why we need more play at work—now, more than ever:

Reason #1:  Happiness inspires productivity.

Shawn Achor, CEO of GoodThink Inc. and bestselling author of Before Happiness and The Happiness Advantage, doesn’t want you to be average. In his research in the field of positive psychology, Achor focuses on the outliers: those who exhibit exemplary levels of happiness, productivity, and success, and what we can learn from them.

We need to raise this average up in our workplaces and escape “the cult of the average,” Achors states in his 2011 TEDxBloomington talk, “The Happy Secret to Better Work." We can do this by reversing the formula for happiness and success from, If I work hard and gain success, I’ll be happy to the much-more sustaining, If I’m happy, I’ll be more productive and successful.

Reason #2:  Play is essential to our well-being.

Gwen Gordon knows a lot about play. The Emmy-winning writer and creative director began her career in a world of play on none other than Sesame Street, building muppets for the landmark show. She then went on to bring her insights to the business world at an Apple research group at MIT Media Lab, and later at Xerox PARC, IDEO, and PepsiCo.

In a 2013 Huffington Post article, Gordon writes about the need for “restoring the playground,” our well-being, and bringing us adults back to our naturally playful natures.

“The playground is our true habitat,” she writes. “Within it we become truly human, without it we perish... Perhaps the most important project of our time is to restore our own habitat, to wake up to our deep need for the unbridled joy, freedom, and fullness of play... and take it seriously.”

Gordon is currently producing a PBS special about the need for play in our modern lives and workplaces called Now Playing. Watch the trailer below.



Join Gwen Gordon as she presents at our
free webinar, "Unleasing the Power of Play"
June 4, 2015, 12-12:40pm PT

Click now to register!

Reason #3:  Play makes us more creative.

In his talk at the 2008 Serious Play Conference, CEO of powerhouse design firm IDEO, Tim Brown, shared some revealing truths about adults and play. We’re embarrassed about sharing our ideas to our peers as adults, he says—we’re reluctant, in a sense, to go out on a creative or playful limb.

But exploring in this way actually leads to greater quantities of idea generation and much better ideas. Openness leads to play, and play leads to creativity and innovation.

“Playful exploration, playful building, and role play. Those are some of the ways that designers use play in their work,” says Brown.

But play is not anarchy, he cautions. Play has rules that help lead to productive and constructive play. In the adult work, he asserts, we need to learn that we can do and be both. We can transition from play to work, divergence to convergence, and achieve markedly successful outcomes.

Play in the workplace clearly has some huge potential to achieve practical, real-world results—and dramatically transform the success of our organizations at large. Are you game?

What are your thoughts about bringing more play into the workplace? Do you think play will help improve your work performance, teams, or employee engagement? Share your comments below.

Learn more about the free webinar, "Unleasing the Power of Play," taking place June 4, 2015, 12pm PT.

Topics: wellness, human resources, business results, productivity, collaboration, managing stress

5 Ways to Manage Conflict at Work You Can Use Right Now

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Tue, May 20, 2014 @ 03:22 PM

Lorraine Segalby Lorraine Segal

Many of us shudder with fear or dread when we hear the word “conflict.” We would do anything to avoid it, sidestep it, ignore it, or somehow fix disagreements without actually dealing with them.

Unfortunately, conflict is an inevitable part of human interactions, at home or at work and it won’t go away just because we, understandably, would prefer not to deal with it.

Sign up for our free webinar with Lorraine Segal, June 5, 2014 at noon PT, "Effective Strategies to Manage Conflict at Work."

Tips for managing conflict at work

The good news

When we accept the reality of conflict, it is absolutely possible to learn techniques and ways of thinking that help us manage and even resolve conflict with co-workers, bosses, or employees. It can take practice, support, repetition and willingness to integrate and use these approaches well, but my clients, and I vouch for their effectiveness.

Here are a few effective strategies and mindsets to get you started:

    1. Accept that conflict happens.

    Conflicts will arise. You don’t need to blame yourself or another for a disagreement. This helps you keep an open mind to focus on solutions.

        2. Manage your own emotions and responses.

          Are they saying or doing something that sends you through the roof? Chances are the intensity of your reaction has to do with past experiences, not just the current problem. Becoming aware of what is getting triggered, and then separating the past from the present situation, will help you stay calm and present.

            3. Make the first move.                                                              

            Be willing to make the first move toward resolution, even if you think it is their fault and they should be the first to act. Do it anyway, and you will get the benefit.

                4.   Be willing to listen.                                         

                  Each of us has our own way of framing and describing our experience. When we recognize that they have a different story about what happened, and become willing to listen to and understand their perspective, we can see more clearly how we got embroiled and how we might resolve the conflict.

                    5.   Take responsibility for your part.

                    Did you make a mistake that affected someone else, lose your temper, or hurt someone’s feelings? This is human and inevitable, as well. If you can acknowledge your part, instead of reacting defensively, it can defuse conflict. This does not mean taking all the responsibility, but sincerely recognizing what you did wrong.

                      The rewards of mastering conflict skills

                      It takes a lot of practice and willingness to become aware of your assumptions about the other person, and to change your behaviors and ways of thinking about conflict. But making these changes will reap rich rewards—including peace of mind, more energy for your work and your life, and better interactions with those around you.

                      Get good enough at it, and you may be seen as the “go-to” person for helping others with their disagreements, which is an excellent leadership ability. Individual communication/conflict management coaching or classes can offer support, rehearsal, and guidance for strengthening these crucial skills.

                      Click now to sign up for our complimentary webinar on 6/5/14 with Lorraine Segal, "Effective Strategies to Manage Conflict at Work."

                      Lorraine Segal (M.A. TESOL) was a tenured community college professor for many years before she found her true passion for helping people communicate better, resolve conflicts, let go of resentments, and forgive themselves and others.

                      Now, she is a communication and forgiveness specialist, a certified conflict management coach, a mediator, and a teacher. She has her own Sonoma County-based business, Conflict Remedy, offering individual and group coaching. She also teaches communication and forgiveness skills at Sonoma State University and St. Joseph’s Health Life Learning Center. For more information about Lorraine and her work, visit her website: www.ConflictRemedy.com.

                      Topics: human resources, Lunch & Learn Webinars, management, collaboration, team work, leadership

                      Watch & Learn: Agile Development Methodology Demystified (Video)

                      Posted by Pierre Khawand on Fri, Nov 01, 2013 @ 03:49 PM

                      Have you heard of Agile? Agile is a popular software development production method, but is also used in a variety of other fields in the areas of project management, innovation development, and more. Project managers, business owners, executives, leaders, and change managers would well benefit from learning about this powerful development methodology that works in an ongoing, iterative approach, and always with the end customer or user in mind.

                      Watch the video below to hear a great explanation of Agile (in under 5 minutes!).

                      And please join us for our FREE Lunch & Learn Webinar on Nov. 7, 2013 to learn even more about how Agile can power productivity and innovation at your business or organization: An 'Agile' State of Mind: How Agile software development & values power productivity (in business and beyond).

                      Click to register now for the free webinar.

                      Additional Resources & Webinars

                      Topics: Technology, productivity, Lunch & Learn Webinars, management, collaboration, leadership

                      Sizing Up the Right Project Management Tool

                      Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 @ 04:18 PM

                      In addition to the project management tools that we teach at People-OnTheGo, such as Microsoft Project, Microsoft SharePoint, Google Sites, Asana, and project wikis, our guest blogger will shed some light on additional PM tools for various project sizes.

                      projectmanagement tool software people onthego

                      Guest blog post by Jose Maria Delos Santos

                      Initiating a project needs adequate preparation. A significant percentage of projects have failed because of the lack of it. Aside from the necessary project management skills and processes, people also need to use the correct tool for the job. As projects come in different sizes, it is also important to use the right-sized PM tool for the project.

                      The defining line whether a project is small or medium-size can be difficult but is generally relative to the sponsoring organization. As such, PM tools for small and medium-size projects sometimes fall into one group. However, a PM tool having more core PM functionality, such as project tracking, task dependencies, time and expense tracking and resource management, is better suited for medium-size projects. Large projects have a bigger impact in terms of duration, resources, cost, risk and deliverables, and therefore need a PM tool that has a comprehensive set of integrated and sometimes customizable features.

                      PM Tools for Small Projects

                      Producteev is a web-based social task management platform that is well suited for small projects. The first interface is called the Workspace, and from this page, the user can create and complete tasks as well as invite people for collaboration on the task. It is available on many platforms such as a PC, Mac, mobile devices, and even just with an email.

                      Teambox is a project management and collaboration platform that is relatively easy to use. All communications of the team can be organized by projects for easy reference. The discussion may be converted easily into tasks and tracked for progress through a workload view, calendar, or Gantt chart.

                      ProofHub is an online PM tool that offers cloud-based storage, flexible pricing, and unique inbuilt chat and proofing tool that improves work efficiency greatly. For example, team members and clients alike can use the online collaboration tool that is faster and more powerful than email. All chat history is then stored for easy reference and update.

                      PM Tools for Medium-size Projects

                      AceProject is an online application that has strong project management features including Gantt charts, project tracking, time and expense tracking, document management, reporting, and mobility. It also has important human resource management features critical for medium-size projects involving a greater number of people. It can include external collaborators to the project while maintaining security and integrity with access rights. Since projects always involve resources, their availability and their assignment, AceProject’s time tracking, expense tracking and reporting features become indispensable.

                      LiquidPlanner is an online PM and analytic tool that has more than just a built-in project collaboration feature. It also has the important scheduling and organizational features that can be set by priority. It also has time tracking and approval features that make it easy for team members to fill up their timesheets and for project managers to approve them.

                      Intervals is an online software that helps users take control of their time, tasks, and projects. Many businesses in over 100 countries are using it, which resulted in successful projects and expansion of their business. It has powerful reporting features that allow the project manager to see how the projects are advancing, what the workload is on a team member, and how well within budget is the project costing.

                      PM Tools for Large Projects

                      EPM Live is a work management platform for managing projects. Aside from project management tools such as scheduling, collaboration, timesheets, and reporting, it also has portfolio management, cost management and work management features. It has powerful workflow automation features that can be implemented across the organization for the total picture of project performance. It may be deployed online through the Internet or on-premise within the company.

                      Project Insight is a customizable online PM software that boasts of a long list of features but still retains ease of use. It is flexible as well to be deployed online or on-premise. It has the needed features to support project scheduling and resource allocation. It also has issue tracking, MS Outlook and Office integration, and portfolio management features.

                      Genius Project is an enterprise project management system that has all the needed PM features and more. It has project portfolio management, invoicing, demand management, risk and change management, and Agile SCRUM support. It can be deployed as software-as-a-service or hosted on-premise. It also has integration with IBM’s Lotus Notes and Domino.

                      Conclusion

                      Web-based PM tools are being adopted more by SMBs because of low initial costs, scalability, and rapid deployment that have increased their ability to compete with larger competitors. Security issues that have made bigger enterprises hesitant to adopt cloud services are now being addressed by on-premise deployments of these same PM tools. Clearly, whatever the size of the project or organization, a PM tool now exists with a right fit.

                      About Jose Maria Delos Santos: Jose is a freelance article writer for Project-Management.com, a website dedicated to provide PM articles, detailed project management software reviews, and the latest news for the most popular web-based collaboration tools.

                      Additional Resources & Webinars

                      Topics: virtual teams, document collaboration, Microsoft Project Training, Microsoft SharePoint Training, Technology, management, collaboration

                      How to Create a Mind Map with MindJet Information Mapping Software (Video Tutorial)

                      Posted by Pierre Khawand on Fri, Jul 05, 2013 @ 04:07 PM

                      Here's a great video tutorial, below, on mind mapping with MindJet software. For more tips and tools about visual project mananagent, join us for our next free Lunch & Learn Webinar on 7/11/13 at noon PT: How to Use Visual Project Management for Greater Productivity.

                      Click to register for the free webinar.

                      Topics: virtual teams, Technology, business results, productivity, Lunch & Learn Webinars, management, collaboration

                      Why Your Organization Needs 'Visual Leaders' and How To Become One: An Interview with Author David Sibbet

                      Posted by Pierre Khawand on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 @ 06:27 PM

                      describe the imageDavid Sibbet is a world-reknowned visualization expert and author of the new book Visual Leaders: New Tools for Visioning, Management, and Organization Change. He will be presenting at our free webinar Thursday, January 31, 2013 at noon PT. (Seats are filling up fast! Click to register now.)

                      We're also giving away several copies of David's new book! Simply participate in our short Leadership Survey for a chance to win. 

                      The world is becoming an increasingly visual place—and your organization, business, or team needs a leader with the right visual IQ and know-how to communicate the "big picture." You don't have to be an artist, but becoming adept at utilizing visual practice techniques will be a huge boon to getting your team on board, sharing ideas, propelling projects forward, and so much more. 

                      Read on for our interview with David Sibbet, who shares his expertise about the practice of visualization, why it's important to be a visual leader today, and how you can become one.

                      People-OnTheGo: For those who aren't familiar with visualization or visual practice, can you please describe the basic ideas of the field and its uses in a business or professional environment? What are some common applications?

                      describe the imageDavid Sibbet: Visual practice is using the tools of design thinking and graphic design interactively—much like one uses spoken words. Where once these ways of working were focused on design itself, the methods are now used by leaders and facilitators to support meetings, teams, and organization change processes. Visual practice includes graphic recording of meetings, visual facilitation of meetings and teams, and use of many kinds of media on the part of leaders to collaboratively develop visions, processes, and plans.

                      Why do think it's important in this day and age for leaders and managers to be "visual leaders"?

                      Almost all media in today's world integrates text and graphics, and in increasing numbers of cases, video. Not only are younger people quite fluid with these new ways of communicating, but anyone who is trying to develop and align people on new plans needs visuals to make sense out of the complexity. People understand how different parts of an organization connect and work together with mental models, diagrams, maps, and other kinds of displays. A leader who is visually adept has a tremendous advantage in his or her personal communications. If a leader understands how to work with and guide visual professionals it is an even greater advantage. 

                      How can visualization techniques improve meetings, project management, and overall team function?

                      Active visualization improves meetings in four proven ways. 1. Visual spark imagination. 2. Active recording and co-creation greatly increases engagement. 3. Visual are the key to big picture thinking and systems thinking in groups. 4. Visuals create a group memory that supports implementation and action. This latter aspect is critical to project management, which is largely about getting actions to align and integrate over time. While project management software is highly visual, it is designed for individuals. Graphic templates, decision rooms, roadmaps and other large format visuals are what work with groups. Teams that understand how to run visual meetings and work visually in virtual settings have a much greater chance of getting results than those that don't—especially if they helped co-create the key documents they steer by.

                      What are three ways that leaders, managers, and others can increase their visual IQ? For non-artists/drawers, what are some tips and tricks to overcoming a fear or hesitancy of using these visual strategies?

                      Visualization is effective with very simple shapes and figures that anyone can learn to draw. The first way a leader or manager can become more literate is to use visuals in his or her personal notetaking and diagramming to thinking through ideas. A second important way is to begin paying attention to organizing mental models and metaphors that are embedded in verbal communication, and allow people to see how things work together. Visual note taking helps with this, but working with a visual practitioner who graphically records what is happening in key meetings raises everyone's consciousness on a group basis about the metaphors being used. To the extent that much of strategic thinking is analogous thinking (i.e. comparing one thing with something else), visualizing these comparisons allows everyone to expand on, challenge, and ultimately understand how everyone thinks things should work. A third way is to encourage teams and groups to share their ideas with each other using graphic templates rather than slide decks. Slides help the individual develop ideas, but do not invite enough engagement and interaction in most cases to allow others to come to new insight. Large murals and sketches, sticky notes and timelines allow groups to develop ideas all together at a rate that everyone can absorb. Drawing and diagramming is a way of thinking in and of itself. Consciously picking different formats to work with is like going to a brain gym and working out all the different mental muscles available to human beings.

                      Please describe some of your favorite visualization techniques and technologies.

                      A. Telling a group story visually is a winner in any kind of situation where you need to onboard new people, reflect on the past for insights, reinforce and think about values and culture. B. I love using graphic templates in small groups to create rapid prototypes of different things—like the general environment, possible visions, new business models, potential action plans—and then comparing for common themes and insights. Groups are full of wisdom and ideas if allowed the means to express them. C. Another favorite is taking strategy, visions, new business models, and other outputs from key meetings and turning them into story map posters that any leader can use to share the conclusions more widely. Treated like software, these large murals can go through versions and people provide input and feedback. The process of vetting the images aligns everyone who is involved, and makes the visuals very meaningful when they are eventually used in less interactive media. The technologies that allow these things to happen easily consist of readily available big paper from plotter printers, all variety of sticky notes in many color, many choices of water color markers, digital cameras and simple photo processing software. The professional tools for print production, infographic design, and video are easier and easier to use.  There really is no technical barrier these days to being highly visual, as young people are discovering in explosions of interest.

                      What do you see is the future of visualization? And why is it important to get on board with this practice now?

                      In general, rich media is on the rise in all channels of communication. In business, because visualization is essential to systems thinking and design, and both these qualities are in high demand, visualization is also in increasing demand. This is probably why "design thinking" is so trendy right now. The fact that new touch technologies are transforming our ways of relating to the computer is bringing hand-creation back into vogue, so visualization goes beyond thinking to co-creating. In the future it's possible we'll see keyboards as a very outdated way to interface with information. Since a premium in any organization is having people engaged, understanding what they are doing, and remembering plans as everyone works on different aspects of a project—and these benefits come regularly when groups work together in visual ways. I believe you will see visualization become as standard as writing and calculating.

                      Topics: business results, Lunch & Learn Webinars, management, collaboration, team work, webinars, leadership

                      Creating your Collaboration Zone™! Three ways to get the most out of team work

                      Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 @ 11:16 PM

                      "Team Meeting" by Jennifer MorrowCollaborating with others is crucial for getting meaningful goals accomplished, especially in today’s work environment where we are increasingly interdependent on each other. Trying to be collaborate all the time however, responding to incoming requests as they come in, being constantly available and responsive on e-mail and Instant Messaging and ad-hoc interactions, would leave us drained and would be at the detriment of our individual focused effort, not to mention that it would also reduce the effectiveness of our collaborative effort. So how can we solve this puzzle and fully leverage our collaborative effort while staying energized and maintaining our ability to focus, imagine, and create?
                       
                      Have you ever considered creating a Collaboration Zone™? This means dedicating time for collaborative effort. During this time you are fully collaborative and open for interactions with others. These collaboration sessions can be structured or ad-hoc, and probably a combination of the two.

                      Make your Collaboration Zone™ shine

                      Here are three ways to make your Collaboration Zone™ shine and get the most out of team work:
                      • First: Make it known to your team that you are in the Collaborative Zone™. Whether this means scheduling “office hours” or informally indicating your availability via your instant messaging status, your open door, or your bowl of M&M’s at your desk (or fruits and nuts, fresh or dried, for a healthier environment). Occasionally, you might even take a walk around the office and see who is available for some brainstorming or informal learning.
                      • Second: Move from e-mail to more modern and effective collaboration technologies, so that collaboration and valuable knowledge don’t get buried in e-mail, and so that collaboration doesn’t stop when you are out of the Collaboration Zone™. Consider blogs, wikis, Microsoft SharePoint, Google Apps, and social tools such as Chatter from Salesforce.com and Jive from Jive Software, among others. The Collaboration Zone™ is a great time for live interactions, however, ideas and breakthroughs are likely to happen unexpectedly well after these interactions. Collaboration technologies enable everyone to continue to collaborate anytime and from anywhere.
                      • Third: Rethink meetings and transform them into highly effective working sessions with clear purpose. Meetings can be a great platform for collaborating. There are four elements that need to be explored however to make meetings so. First is facilitation and participation skill development. Second is the use of both in-person and virtual meetings in conjunction of the collaboration technologies mentioned above to create the ultimate interactions irrelevant of time and space. Third is being strategic and focusing meetings on the issues that will create results. And fourth, going after the root causes of ineffective meetings and stopping our obsession with the symptoms.

                      Additional Resources

                      Topics: virtual teams, collaboration, team work

                      Can Baby Boomers learn a thing or two from Gen Y? Yes they can!

                      Posted by Pierre Khawand on Fri, May 06, 2011 @ 09:06 PM

                      learn from Gen YI belong to this organization (its name to remain anonymous) and it was time to renew my membership recently. I was asked to fill out the membership application again (same application that we filled out last year). Being the productivity and efficiency evangelist that I am, I couldn’t “digest” that request very well. So I objected and questioned why we would be asked to submit the same information again! Shouldn’t we all be focused on doing work that has some purpose after all?

                      This didn’t stop here! When the application was not received in time, our company profile was deleted from the organization’s website and it seems it was not stored in any other backend database. Now we have to fill out an application that we already filled out previously, and re-submit the profile information that we have submitted previously!

                      This didn’t stop here either. I got a lengthy response from the baby boomer in charge, explaining the logic behind the “illogical” process!

                      Let us learn something from Gen Y. And that is having things be practical and doing only things that make sense! Not to mention that Gen Y can’t learn a thing or two from Baby Boomers—I will point that out at the next opportunity as I continue to promote a multi-generational workplace where we all learn from each other! What can you learn from other generations? Your turn!

                      More Resources

                      Review recordings of the following lunch & learn webinars at the "Accomplishing more with less" Facebook group:

                      • Gen Y in Action by Jenny Blake
                      • Gen X in Action by Adam Christensen
                      • Baby Boomers in Action by Peggy Wolf
                      • Seniors in Action by Bill Denyer
                      • Generational Panel Discussion

                       

                      Topics: generations in the workplace, business results, productivity, collaboration

                      Virtual Worlds are bringing virtual teams together in ways that wouldn't be otherwise possible

                      Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, Mar 04, 2010 @ 04:02 PM

                      Second LifeIf you haven't explored Virtual Worlds yet, or if you have but still seeking more ways to leverage them, the observations below, from one of the workshops that I conducted in Second Life, shed some light on how Virtual Worlds can provide virtual teams with unique experiences and benefits that aren't otherwise possible. Keep on reading!

                      The workshop was the same but the setting was very different. Instead of people gathering in a training room or around a conference room table, we were gathered (as avatars) around the conference room table in Second Life. The level of experience varied, some being first timers in Second Life, while others having many hours of experience. However everyone got a chance to attend the orientation session and learned what they need to know in order to navigate and communicate properly.

                      The assignment

                      The next team-building exercise was about to start. We divided the team into small groups. Each group is assigned a task which involves searching for specific clues and relevant information around the island, collecting them, and reporting back to us within a specified time period. This requires that the small group members strategize on how they would approach this assignment and then execute and continue to communicate and collaborate during execution.

                      The challenges

                      In addition to the assignment itself, the group members had to deal with many group related issues:

                      • Some team members were more experienced than others (in Second Life). Accordingly the experienced members had to make some difficult decisions: Should they help their group and stay all together, or should they proceed on their own to get the assignment done faster?
                         
                      • The groups were not given enough data about the assignment so they had to make some assumptions and decisions based on insufficient data.

                      The debrief

                      The time is up and some groups made it back on time while other didn't. Once everyone got back, we compared the results and discussed what went on.  This discussion was as rich and insightful as any discussion I have seen in person. We got to the core issues quickly and it was no longer about avatars but more so about the people. The issues became real. We reviewed what went on and how the different approaches and communication styles contributed to each person's experience and to each group's performance. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate these discussions.

                      • Someone made the decision to stay with the group even though her skill level is much more advanced. She could have gone much faster searching for the clues and relevant information on her own. However she saw more value in helping her group members and working as a team instead of getting the task done. We discussed her approach and the pros and cons of this approach. This brought some constructive discussions about how to manage daily situations where there might be significant discrepancies in skill level, and how to creatively balance between individual performance and group performance.
                         
                      • One group member was frustrated with the above assignment because he wasn't "getting it right." He seems to have misinterpreted the assignment, and his group seems to have jumped into the execution phase without much strategizing. This was poor team work with incorrect assumptions which resulted in frustration and poor performance. Does this sound familiar? However, having observed this in the Virtual World, the group members got some valuable insights into how they can do it different in their daily work.

                      Got it?

                      There is nothing "virtual" about the above learning. It is as real as it can get. It is only possible because of the rich 3-D environment and rich communication tools that Virtual Worlds offer. Virtual Worlds are opening up the possibility for virtual teams to interact and strengthen their working relationships and collaborate more fully than ever before!

                      Topics: emerging technology, collaboration

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