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Virtual Workplace? For Real! #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Looking for a full recap and resource links from this week’s #TChat Events? See the #TChat Recap: “Putting a Face on Remote Work.”)

Distributed workforce. Virtual team. Telecommuting.

Whatever term you use to describe remote work models, the concept continues to gain momentum in today’s business environment — and with good reason.

High-speed connections, mobile technology and cloud-based collaboration tools now make it easy and cost effective for people to “go to work” anytime, from almost anywhere.

XJyGYBut infrastructure and good intentions, alone, don’t guarantee that virtual organizations will be productive and profitable. So, what does it take? That’s the focus of  #TChat Events this week, as we look at why and how successful virtual teams really work.

And what better way to explore this topic than with an entrepreneur whose business is driven entirely by remote contributors? Our guest this week is Mike Hostetler, Founder and CEO of appendTo, a highly successful web engineering firm, powered by a far-flung workforce.

“Sneak Peek” Hangout: Trifecta of Awesomeness

To kick-off this week’s discussion, Mike joined me for a G+ Hangout, where he outlined the “trifecta of awesomeness” — three key reasons why the virtual workplace is taking hold:

What are your thoughts about how to build and manage awesome virtual organizations? This week, we’re seeking wisdom from the crowd — so share your ideas and opinions with the #TChat virtual community!

#TChat Events: Why Remote Work Continues to Rise

#TChat Radio — Wed, Jan 15 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

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Tune-in to the #TChat Radio Show

Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with Mike Hostetler about what it takes to create and sustain successful virtual workplaces. Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Jan 15 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Mike will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where the entire TalentCulture community will join the discussion. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these 5 related questions:

Q1: What are the pros and cons of virtual workplaces?
Q2: How do remote work models affect employee and customer engagement?
Q3: What factors should leaders consider when creating virtual teams?
Q4: How can recruiters identify traits of successful remote workers?
Q5: How can we apply technology to foster virtual collaboration?

We look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions, as talent-minded professionals who care about the human side of business.

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and on our LinkedIn Discussion Group. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Telecommuting: 5 Ways Companies Benefit

Last year, when Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer banned telecommuting for her employees, the decision stirred a vigorous debate about whether it’s valid for any business to let employees work from home.

As I see it, any organization can boost the personal and professional productivity of its workforce through telecommuting. And the more widely it is embraced, the better for the company.

Therefore, it’s a smart move to integrate technologies that make the work-from-home process smoother and more seamless.

Telecommuting Success: It’s More Than Technology

However, simply putting new technology into place and allowing your workforce to telecommute won’t make your business productive. Successful virtual work initiatives still require effective management. Leaders need to engage team members (as if they were physically at the office) and make sure they are kept in the loop, so they remain psychologically and socially connected, even when they don’t share a physical office space.

5 Key Business Benefits

But that said, when virtual work options are implemented appropriately, the advantages are abundant. For example, here are five major ways companies can benefit:

1) Morale: Happier employees get more done. In many cities, employees deal with a grinding commute, only to sit in an office where they interact very little with their coworkers. Whether the telecommuting arrangement is permanent or just a weekly flex day, the reduced travel and stress can provide a tremendous boost in employee morale.

2) Talent Acquisition: This can be a significant advantage in both large and small markets, because the best talent isn’t always within driving distance. This is certainly affected by the scope of the position, but businesses that don’t require day-to-day physical access to a shared office can benefit by finding the best candidates, regardless of physical location. Telecommuting lets companies choose from a much larger talent pool when it’s time to recruit for open positions.

3) Productivity: If you have ever worked remotely you probably know that you can accomplish much more when the conditions are right. At many offices, constant distractions mean less work gets done than the company desires. While face-to-face camaraderie may help employees build relationships, beyond small talk, there isn’t much that can be accomplished sitting in a meeting room that can’t be accomplished from a distance, using collaboration tools.

4) Flexibility: Trying to bring teams together in the same space and time isn’t necessarily easier because everyone travels to a central office. The technology that companies adopt to enable telecommuting allows teams to collaborate in real time from anywhere members are located. Participants can access teleconferencing, web conferencing and telepresence from almost anywhere. So when people can’t be in the same physical place, the meeting will still go on.

5) Adoption: I have said this for as long as I can remember: ”Eat your own dog food!” Any business that considers itself a high-tech organization should adopt tools, structures and processes required for successful telecommuting. What’s more, these capabilities should be  promoted as a way the workforce can achieve maximum productivity and work-life balance. Using this technology day in and day out can truly bring the organization closer. And the value of that connection can be priceless, as it translates to better selling, delivery and support of the solutions your customers need.

What other ways can organizations benefit from telecommuting? Does your company allow telecommuting? If not, why? Share your opinions and ideas in the comments below.

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted with permission from an article written for and published in Commercial Integrator Magazine and republished by Millennial CEO.)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

TalentCulture’s Greatest Hits: 2013 Edition

Lists! Lists! Lists! As we close the chapter on 2013, there’s no denying — the “best of” list season is in full swing.

And who can blame blogs for sharing top picks from the past year? After all, lists are incredibly easy to create, and there’s a certain seductive power in a headline that promises to deliver all the goods in just one single round-up post.

But for me, picking “best” blog posts is like picking “best” children — an impossible task. I’ve spent hours helping to envision, edit, implement and promote every one of the 200 posts we produced last year. And to me, each is uniquely relevant and valuable in its own right.

So please consider our showcase of 2013’s most popular content more than a “best of” list. It’s also our way of recognizing ALL of the many “world of work” experts who have contributed to our blog, our weekly radio shows, and our #TChat Twitter chats. For example:

Business leaders like Chris Boyce, CEO, Virgin Pulse; Richie Etwaru, Group VP, Cegedim CRM; Todd Owens, President, TalentWise; Dr. Janice Presser, Founder, The Gabriel Institute, and Jason Averbook, Chief Innovation Officer, Appirio.

World of work observers and educators like Josh Bersin, Angela Maiers, Dr. Marla Gottschalk, and Dr. Nancy Rubin

Best-selling authors like Bob Burg, Stan Phelps, Marcia Conner, Jamie Notter and Ekaterina Walter.

To these contributors, and to the many others who participate in our community of purpose, thank you. We’re all better because you share professional insights that are relevant today, and will clearly stand the test of time. Need convincing? Check out the items below, and let us know what you think…

Top 10 TalentCulture Posts (Most Popular)

1) Employees Quit Leaders, Not Companies — by David Hassell, CEO, 15Five

2) Want Engaged Employees? Tell Them Why — by Meghan M. Biro, CEO, TalentCulture

3) Are You a Good Fit? 3 Interview Questions — by Razor Suleman, Founder + Chief Evangelist, Achievers

4) 5 Social Skills Business Leaders Must Master — by Meghan M. Biro, CEO, TalentCulture

5) Considering a Career Change? Take a 360 Snapshot — by Dorie Clark, marketing strategy consultant, branding expert and author, Reinventing You

6) Brainstorming is Broken: Rethinking Group Dynamics — by Razor Suleman, Founder + Chief Evangelist, Achievers

7) Gen Y at Work: Feedback Changes Everything — by David Hassell, CEO, 15Five

8) The Steep Cost of Poor Management — by Tatiana Beale, Achievers

9) Want To Be Your Own Boss? Try This First — by Hans Balmaekers, Founder and Director, sa.am

10) Hiring Culture: Creating A Recruitment Ecosystem — by David Smooke, Director of Social Media, SmartRecruiters

Top 3 #TChat Radio Shows  (Most Popular)

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Listen to #TChat Radio replays

1) How Collaboration Unifies Polarization — featuring Jesse Lyn Stoner

2) The Big Deal With HR Data — featuring Andrew Courtois and Christene Pantalone

3) How Open Leaders Win Employee Hearts and Minds — featuring Dan Pontefract

Top 3 #TChat Event Preview Posts (Most Popular)

Featuring G+ hangouts hosted by Tim McDonald, Community Manager, TalentCulture + Director of Community, Huffington Post.

1) Leadership + Influence, From The Inside Out — featuring Steve Gutzler

2) You 2.0: Reinventing a Personal Brand — featuring Dorie Clark

3) Should Work Be Fun? Really? — featuring Dan Benoni

Top 3 #TChat Recaps (Most Popular)

1) HR Data: What Really Counts? — by Kathleen Kruse

2) Mindfully Managing Your Personal Brand — by Kevin W. Grossman

3) Face-to-Face With Brand Humanization — by Megan Burkett

Of course, this is only a slice from the TalentCulture archives. There’s much more inside — over 500 posts with helpful ideas and guidance on workplace culture, innovation, leadership, learning, career strategy, HR and talent management. So feel free to stop by anytime.

And no matter what your professional interests may be, we hope you’ll continue to bring your ideas and opinions to the TalentCulture table throughout 2014. Because, no matter how “popular” our blog or events may be on any given day, it’s our community’s collective energy that will truly shape the future of work. So, together, let’s discover how we can be even better.

Your Turn

What topics were your favorites in 2013? And what issues would you like to explore in the year ahead? Share your ideas in the comments area — we’re listening!

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like these with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

TalentCulture's Greatest Hits: 2013 Edition

Lists! Lists! Lists! As we close the chapter on 2013, there’s no denying — the “best of” list season is in full swing.

And who can blame blogs for sharing top picks from the past year? After all, lists are incredibly easy to create, and there’s a certain seductive power in a headline that promises to deliver all the goods in just one single round-up post.

But for me, picking “best” blog posts is like picking “best” children — an impossible task. I’ve spent hours helping to envision, edit, implement and promote every one of the 200 posts we produced last year. And to me, each is uniquely relevant and valuable in its own right.

So please consider our showcase of 2013’s most popular content more than a “best of” list. It’s also our way of recognizing ALL of the many “world of work” experts who have contributed to our blog, our weekly radio shows, and our #TChat Twitter chats. For example:

Business leaders like Chris Boyce, CEO, Virgin Pulse; Richie Etwaru, Group VP, Cegedim CRM; Todd Owens, President, TalentWise; Dr. Janice Presser, Founder, The Gabriel Institute, and Jason Averbook, Chief Innovation Officer, Appirio.

World of work observers and educators like Josh Bersin, Angela Maiers, Dr. Marla Gottschalk, and Dr. Nancy Rubin

Best-selling authors like Bob Burg, Stan Phelps, Marcia Conner, Jamie Notter and Ekaterina Walter.

To these contributors, and to the many others who participate in our community of purpose, thank you. We’re all better because you share professional insights that are relevant today, and will clearly stand the test of time. Need convincing? Check out the items below, and let us know what you think…

Top 10 TalentCulture Posts (Most Popular)

1) Employees Quit Leaders, Not Companies — by David Hassell, CEO, 15Five

2) Want Engaged Employees? Tell Them Why — by Meghan M. Biro, CEO, TalentCulture

3) Are You a Good Fit? 3 Interview Questions — by Razor Suleman, Founder + Chief Evangelist, Achievers

4) 5 Social Skills Business Leaders Must Master — by Meghan M. Biro, CEO, TalentCulture

5) Considering a Career Change? Take a 360 Snapshot — by Dorie Clark, marketing strategy consultant, branding expert and author, Reinventing You

6) Brainstorming is Broken: Rethinking Group Dynamics — by Razor Suleman, Founder + Chief Evangelist, Achievers

7) Gen Y at Work: Feedback Changes Everything — by David Hassell, CEO, 15Five

8) The Steep Cost of Poor Management — by Tatiana Beale, Achievers

9) Want To Be Your Own Boss? Try This First — by Hans Balmaekers, Founder and Director, sa.am

10) Hiring Culture: Creating A Recruitment Ecosystem — by David Smooke, Director of Social Media, SmartRecruiters

Top 3 #TChat Radio Shows  (Most Popular)

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to #TChat Radio replays

1) How Collaboration Unifies Polarization — featuring Jesse Lyn Stoner

2) The Big Deal With HR Data — featuring Andrew Courtois and Christene Pantalone

3) How Open Leaders Win Employee Hearts and Minds — featuring Dan Pontefract

Top 3 #TChat Event Preview Posts (Most Popular)

Featuring G+ hangouts hosted by Tim McDonald, Community Manager, TalentCulture + Director of Community, Huffington Post.

1) Leadership + Influence, From The Inside Out — featuring Steve Gutzler

2) You 2.0: Reinventing a Personal Brand — featuring Dorie Clark

3) Should Work Be Fun? Really? — featuring Dan Benoni

Top 3 #TChat Recaps (Most Popular)

1) HR Data: What Really Counts? — by Kathleen Kruse

2) Mindfully Managing Your Personal Brand — by Kevin W. Grossman

3) Face-to-Face With Brand Humanization — by Megan Burkett

Of course, this is only a slice from the TalentCulture archives. There’s much more inside — over 500 posts with helpful ideas and guidance on workplace culture, innovation, leadership, learning, career strategy, HR and talent management. So feel free to stop by anytime.

And no matter what your professional interests may be, we hope you’ll continue to bring your ideas and opinions to the TalentCulture table throughout 2014. Because, no matter how “popular” our blog or events may be on any given day, it’s our community’s collective energy that will truly shape the future of work. So, together, let’s discover how we can be even better.

Your Turn

What topics were your favorites in 2013? And what issues would you like to explore in the year ahead? Share your ideas in the comments area — we’re listening!

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like these with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

More Minds: How Diverse Ideas Drive Innovation

Is it me, or has 2013 been an extraordinary year for stories from the forefront of social business, leadership and organizational culture? For every new book I finish, it seems that 3-4 more find their way to my “must read” list. There never seems to be enough time to take it all in.

Among the books I’ve had time to complete, several have made a lasting impression. One of them is Ekaterina Walter’s Think Like Zuck: Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO. Of course, we all know another book that speaks to Mark Zuckerberg’s success. What more is there to say, right? Wrong.

Diversity of Thought: Rocket Fuel For Business?

Ekaterina looks beneath the surface of Facebook’s founder in an engaging assessment of why his company is so successful. Along the way, she uncovers something that many other leadership books seem to miss — the power of diversity in innovation.

I’m not just talking about demographic diversity. Don’t get me wrong — demographic diversity is absolutely vital to innovation, and organizations still have a long way to go in that regard. But since we know that diversity is strength, it makes sense to expand the classic business understanding of workforce “diversity.” This isn’t a counterpoint to the demographic meaning, but an extension of it. A flourish. An embellishment. In the same way that jazz performers rely upon flourishes to add unique depth and character to their music, diversity has the potential to elevate the business innovation process in unique and valuable ways.

How can leaders put this insight into practice? Here are three factors to consider:

1) Yin Needs Yang

In Think Like Zuck, Walter defines five “musts” for business success: passion, purpose, people, product, partnership. It was her thought-provoking chapters on people and partnerships that made me really sit up and start thinking about diversity, and why it’s vital.

Because of Zuckerberg’s passion and smarts, Facebook did well nearly from the start. But it didn’t go into orbit until Zuckerberg picked Sheryl Sandberg as his COO. Walter writes:

She had a completely different style from his. I think their differences are what make the Zuckerberg-Sandberg duo such an extraordinary team. They complement each other very well. What Mark lacks in experience, Sheryl brings to the table in abundance. When he doesn’t feel like stepping into the limelight, she steps in for him masterfully. The difference in age, as well as gender, contributes various perspectives and capabilities.

“Yeah,” I thought, “that makes a lot of sense. So why don’t more companies get this? Isn’t it obvious?” Nailing the point, Walter quotes Leslie Bradshaw of JESS3 (a social media firm that serves world-class companies like Nike, MTV, Samsung, NASA, Twitter, ESPN and Google):

In our partnership, Jesse Thomas is the yang, and…I have enough yin to balance it out. If you look beyond our personalities, the fact that our genders are different also adds diversity. The perspective I bring as a woman is very different from what he brings as a man, and that helps balance out the way we hire, the way we treat our employees, and the way we approach strategies when we execute for clients.

“Of course!” I shouted. (Luckily, I was alone. HA). Of course diversity allows you to do more — to think more, think differently, think better! It seems self-evident, really. Yet it can be incredibly hard to convince CEOs and managers to hire or involve people who are different from them. People who do things differently, who think differently. It’s a perceived risk. And it’s wrong. “Everyone needs to be talking about this” I insisted. I was pretty fired up — but with good cause, don’t you think?

2) It’s Proven: Two Brains (and Personalities) Are Better Than One

Inspired by Walter’s book, I dove into Hutch Carpenter’s article “Diversity and Innovation: Improve the Person, Improve the Idea.” Pacing back and forth, I searched for past threads that would push my current thought process forward:

A key aspect of the next generation of innovation is the ability to tap a much larger set of minds in pursuit of valuable ideas. The historic method of innovation relied exclusively on a designated few. (“So true!”) Diversity is the key element here. That is, engaging a broad set of different perspectives to generate something better than one could do individually. Cognitive and heuristics diversity — that’s what benefits innovation. People who see things in a different way, and bring a different practice to solving problems.

“Good, good, yes,” I thought, still talking to myself. “Of course — put people together, you get more ideas. Like one plus one, right?”

Not quite. Instead, we need to think one of this kind, plus one of another kind. Carpenter cites a study by Ron Burt of The University of Chicago, finding that “people with more diverse sources of information generated consistently better ideas.”

So. It’s not just about more sources. It’s about more more diverse sources.

3) E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One?)

Then I found out something totally cool. Are you ready for this? Group diversity leads to better innovation than a genius inventor working alone (or a group working in isolation) — even when that solo entity gets input from others. Although the “lone inventor” may come up with great innovations (okay, we’re all thinking Alexander Graham Bell) it’s less likely that will happen than with communities of diverse thinkers who freely explore ideas together.

It’s true: Zuckerberg didn’t work alone. And neither did Alexander Graham Bell. Facebook and the telephone may have been visions of “lone inventors,” but those visions became world-changing products only because Zuckerberg and Bell worked well with others who thought differently from them.

As Ekaterina Walter makes abundantly clear, Mark Zuckerberg, along with many others, has created a platform more powerful for letting our voices be heard than anything since the invention of the printing press. It’s the basis for social community on a grand scale.

Social Networks and Innovation: The Bigger Business Picture

Okay, then. So the tools are there to connect our diverse dots. Why not use social networks to create a new world of work? All of us, together, representing a spectrum of talents, personalities, styles, backgrounds, brains, ideas, experience. All of us focused on contributing to a common purpose. A diverse community — an orchestra, of sorts.

We could be riffing together like jazz musicians to create organizational cultures that are more responsive, resilient, energized, engaging and innovative. Diversity playing in unison isn’t only music. It can, in fact, inform the future of work.

What are your thoughts about the power of diverse thinking in the workplace? What’s the best business book you’ve read this year? And what did it teach you?

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

(Also Note: This post is adapted from Forbes.com, with permission.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Gut Check: Leadership and Emotion #TChat Recap

We’ve all worked with them. Brilliant intellectuals who hold managerial titles — yet they struggle to form and sustain effective professional relationships.

They lack self-awareness, and seem even more clueless about how to deal with others. As leaders, they may be tolerated, ignored or even undermined. Despite their impressive credentials, they’re like fish out of water in the workplace.

These leaders desperately need an emotional Intelligence intervention. A gut check. Fortunately, talent development specialists agree that essential “soft skills” can be learned — although the process may be hard.

That’s the topic we tackled this week at #TChat Events with guest, Steve Gutzler, President of Leadership Quest and author of “Emotional Intelligence for Personal Leadership.” As one of the nation’s premier experts in emotional intelligence, leadership and personal transformation, Steve helped us explore the connection between EI and the ability to influence others.

(Editor’s Note: See #TChat Event highlights and resource links at the end of this post.)

Defining Emotional Intelligence: What’s Inside?

At its core, emotional intelligence (EI) is about our ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions. Almost a decade ago, psychologist and author, Daniel Goleman, defined the 5 core components of emotional intelligence:

1) Self-awareness: Deep understanding of their own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives. People with strong self-awareness are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful. Rather, they are honest — with themselves and others.

2) Self-regulation: Like an ongoing inner conversation, this frees people from becoming prisoners of their feelings. Self-regulators feel bad moods and emotional impulses, just as everyone does, but they’re able to control and even channel those responses in useful ways.

3) Motivation: Virtually all effective leaders display this trait. They’re driven to achieve beyond expectations — their own and everyone else’s. The key word here is achieve.

4) Empathy: This is the most easily recognized aspect of EI. We’ve all felt the empathy of a sensitive teacher or friend; we’ve all been struck by its absence in a stoic coach or boss. But in business, people are rarely praised, let alone rewarded, for their empathy.

5) Social Skill: As a dimension of EI, this is not as simple as it sounds. It’s not just friendliness — although people with high social skill are rarely mean-spirited. Rather, social skill is friendliness with a purpose. It’s about moving people in a desired direction, whether that’s agreement on a new marketing strategy or enthusiasm about a new product.

Emotional Intelligence: Leadership Secret Sauce?

Why is EI so vital? Today’s business environment is increasingly collaborative and team-oriented. To succeed in almost any mission, leaders must inspire and influence others. That’s where EI skills make all the difference. For better or worse, every interaction we have in the workplace has an impact on emotions, attitudes and motivation within us and within others. High-performing leaders understand this, and use it wisely.

What did our community have to say about this topic? Check out the resource links and highlights from this week’s #TChat conversation, below. Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas and opinions! Your experiences make concepts like EI more meaningful for us all.

#TChat Week-In-Review: Emotions, Leadership and Influence

SAT 12/14:

Steve Gutzler (2)

Watch the Preview hangout now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post and “sneak peek” hangout video with guest, Steve Gutzler. Read the Preview: “Leadership + Influence From The Inside Out.

SUN 12/15:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro suggested ways that leaders can up their EI skills to help the talent in their organizations shine. Read: “Leadership Is About Emotion.”

MON 12/16 — WED 12/18:

Related Post:Psst! Leaders, Are You Really Listening?
Related Post:Managerial Magnets: Becoming a Leader Others Want to Follow

WED 12/18:

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Listen now to the #TChat Radio replay

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with Steve Gutzler about why emotional intelligence matters in the workplace, and its connection with influence. Listen to the Radio replay now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and Steve joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, as I moderated an open, crowdsourcing conversation focused on 5 related questions. See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Leadership, Emotion and Influence

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/where-reputations-are-built-leadership-and-emotion.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Steve Gutzler for sharing your perspectives on emotional intelligence and leadership success. We value your time, your passion and your expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about how leaders can be more successful by developing emotional intelligence? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Happy #TChatHoliday!

Our weekly #TChat Events are on hiatus until the New Year — mark your calendar for January 8th. We’re preparing to start 2014 strong, with a full month of forward-looking #TChat guests and topics that you won’t want to miss!

Meanwhile, the lights are always on here at TalentCulture, where we’ll continue to post relevant “world of work” content over the holiday. And as always, the conversation continues daily on the #TChat Twitter stream, our LinkedIn discussion group. and elsewhere on social media.

So make merry, enjoy this festive time of year, and we’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

#TChatHoliday: Sharing Warm Wishes, Community-Style!

The holidays are a perfect time to reflect upon the past year’s experiences, and look ahead to new opportunities — something the TalentCulture community does continuously.

But earlier this week, Kevin W. Grossman joined me for a brief hangout to compare notes about what it has meant to connect with all of you this year, what our holiday plans are, and best of all, why we’re so excited for 2014!

Of course, we’re not the only ones with ideas, plans and goodwill to share with the community. We’d love to hear from you, too!

Just leave a comment below — or post a tweet, photo or video from Vine or Instagram, and include the hashtag #TChatHoliday. As we roll into the New Year, we’ll curate and share your greetings, memories and aspirations for all to see.

THANK YOU for being part of our growing, thriving, continuous world of work conversation! We appreciate everyone who is helping us explore this new form of community building.

We hope that you enjoyed Hanukkah and Thanksgiving holidays. And we wish you a Merry Christmas, Heri za Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!

Looking forward to our next #TChat on January 8 — but until then, make the most of this time to catch-up with those who matter most to you. Stay safe, and be merry!

Image credit: Kirkland’s

Managerial Magnets: Becoming A Leader Others Want To Follow

Written by Roberta Matuson

Are you a manager who’s ready for a professional breakthrough? Then it’s time to become the kind leader people will do anything to work for. The kind of leader who draws others to you. It’s time to become a magnetic leader.

Contrary to popular belief, great leaders aren’t born that way. Most are developed, coached and mentored throughout their careers. But why wait for someone else to guide you? Magnetic role models are all around us. So, no matter what your title or level of experience, you can observe more closely and strengthen your own skill set anytime.

Here are 5 best practices to help you get started:

1) Put Your Team First

When in doubt, put the interests of your employees ahead of your own. For example, it’s tempting to volunteer your department to organize this year’s charity event. After all, it would be great PR for you and the rest of your team. But everyone has been working on weekends to complete a critical project on time and within budget. They’re already burned out.

This is a good time to take a pass. Your team needs a break. Let them recharge. There will always be other volunteer opportunities.

2) Go to Bat for Your Employees

Let’s say you’ve been discussing a potential reorganization with your superiors. However, upon reflection, you believe the timing isn’t right for your organization to make that move. You feel uncomfortable asking your manager to reconsider the current plan.

Be bold. Let your boss know you’ve had a change of heart. Explain your rationale, and be prepared to offer alternative solutions. Regardless of the outcome, your employees will eventually figure out that you had the courage to push back when others would have retreated. Those who walk through the fire with you will stick by your side through thick or thin.

3) Learn to “Manage Up”

In my book, Suddenly in Charge, I explain that managing up isn’t about brown-nosing. It’s about developing strong relationships with those above you and throughout the organization, so you can get your people the resources they need to perform well.

In every company, there are people who are somehow able to get what they need while everyone else waits on the sidelines. These people have taken the time to build strong relationships up and down the organization. You can bet these resourceful leaders have no problem keeping top talent on their team. Observe how they work — and if an opportunity presents itself, ask for some tips.

4) Make Yourself Visible and Accessible

Magnetic leaders are visible both inside and outside their organization. Get involved in a professional association. Whenever possible, step up and volunteer to take a leadership position. You’ll be seen as a leader in your field, based on that affiliation. Don’t be surprised if others come to you seeking advice or a position on your team.

5) Treat People the Way You’d Like to be Treated

I bet you’ve heard this one before, right? It seems so obvious — but when is the last time you saw someone in a managerial role who consistently follows this creed?

In my book, Talent Magnetism, I tell the story of magnetic leader, Chris Patterson, CEO of Interchanges, who took it upon himself to help an employee who was in crisis. Patterson made it his personal mission to provide his employee with the best care possible during a life-threatening illness. He did so with compassion and conviction. This is a guy who is magnetic in every way.

Magnetic leaders are highly valued by their organizations — and are compensated accordingly. But it’s not just a reward for their effort and contributions to corporate objectives. Their employers know that leaders who display these characteristics are highly attractive to competitive organizations.

Do you know role models who demonstrate the value of magnetic leadership? What do they do that makes them so attractive to others in their professional sphere? Please share your experiences and ideas in the comments area.

Roberta-Matuson-Photo(About the Author: Roberta Matuson, The Talent Maximizer®, is the President of Matuson Consulting, a firm that helps organizations achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. Her new book, Talent Magnetism, is available for download or purchase at Amazon.com. Connect with Roberta on Twitter or on LinkedIn.)

(Editor’s Note: This post is adapted from Brazen Life, with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Rebecca Krebs via Flickr

Making Teams Work: Is There a Better Way?

For many of us today, teaming is an integral aspect of professional life. Yet, although we may see value in collaboration, many of us also struggle with various aspects of the team process.

Sometimes, issues arise from our self perceptions. For example, we may have reservations about sharing our opinions publicly, or insecurities about our ability to contribute effectively.

However, concerns also stem from inherent weaknesses in the teaming process, itself. Issues surrounding coordination and motivation tend to reduce a team’s effectiveness. For example, even when participants freely generate many valid ideas, those suggestions may be overlooked or underutilized. It’s no surprise that many of us become cynical about teams when our attempts to add value fail.

Cracking The Collaboration Code

How can we turn this around, so more of us are comfortable bringing ideas to the table, and confident that our efforts will make a difference? One possibility is to rethink the role of brainstorming, so teams focus on identifying and combining worthy ideas to formulate stronger solutions.

I have been involved with a variety of teams over the years. The “personality” of each group was truly unique — influenced by the dynamic of the selected members, the teaming process and the team leader’s experience. Some teams hesitated to cross or effectively challenge the opinions of those with seniority — a common problem. But in many situations, the real challenge wasn’t that individual voices were unheard. Instead, the root issue was that contributors’ ideas weren’t used wisely. In every scenario, as soon as this became apparent, that’s the moment when things went awry.

Often, multiple proposed ideas were worthy of exploration, but we were focused on choosing only one “winning” idea. This “either/or” decision filter is a potentially fatal flaw in the collaboration process. Instead, we should have focused on a different goal.

Insights From Collaborative Leaders

At some point, every team must move from generating ideas to assessing their value. The process used to evaluate those ideas is critical to the team’s overall success. So, how do we effectively address this challenge — the “we-have-numerous-great-ideas-but-what-do-we-do-with-them” issue? Here are several sources of insight:

•  Dr. Ed Catmull, President, Walt Disney Pixar Animation Studios:  In an interview with Harvard Business Review, Dr. Catmull describes how Pixar development teams routinely combine ideas to excel. It’s not necessary for one idea to “win” or “lose.” Instead, numerous viable concepts can be incorporated into a plan, a product or a process. This approach may lead to healthier outcomes. After all, game-changing products and processes often integrate multiple features.

•  Mike Krieger, Co-Founder, Instagram: At Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner, Mike Krieger discusses his perspectives on the value of combining ideas when developing innovative solutions. In Krieger’s opinion, this integrative approach is the driving principle behind the best startup companies. Instagram is compelling evidence.

Three Ways To Achieve Better Results, Together

Of course, this approach may not be appropriate for all teams, or in every circumstance. However, it deserves consideration — especially when teams are struggling. To move the collaboration process forward, consider these three “ideation” guidelines from brainstorming best practices:

•  Share ideas sooner. Move beyond the requirement that an idea must be perfected before you share it. Allow colleagues an opportunity to develop your concept more fully.
•  Cut the cord. Strive to give up emotional ownership of your idea. Stay invested and serve as a guide, but allow the team to invest in it, too, so you can maximize its potential, together.
•  Nurture a different perspective. Stay open to pairing ideas that can produce a novel product or process. Expect the unexpected. Explore diverse combinations. And try not to jump to conclusions too soon.

What are your thoughts about combining ideas to collaborate more effectively? Have you tried this approach? What were the outcomes?

(Editor’s Note: This article is adapted from a LinkedIn Influencer post, with permission.)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at  events; or join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Going Social: Learning In Action #TChat Recap

“Learning is more effective when it is active rather than a passive process.”
– Euripides

One of the most active learning environments I know is #TChat.

In fact, sometimes it’s truly hyper-active, as the TalentCulture community meets on the Twitter stream to exchange ideas about the world of work. That’s certainly how it felt this week, as we gathered to celebrate three years of #TChat events and continuous online knowledge sharing.

It was fitting that our conversation focused on social learning. And it was equally fitting to welcome an HR executive who’s responsible for (among many other things) leveraging social tools and techniques to foster learning across her fast-paced, global organization.

Our guest this week was Ambrosia Humphrey, VP of Talent at HootSuite. And the insights she shared on #TChat Radio are instructive for any organization striving to elevate its learning culture.

(Editor’s Note: See full event highlights and resource links at the end of this post.)

Social Workplace: Learning Everywhere

As social media weaves itself deeper into daily life, organizations are searching for effective ways to blend social behaviors with learning methodology. There are good reasons for all the interest.

Social channels remove the hierarchy found in most organizations. With traditional roles de-emphasized, everyone has more freedom to contribute, interact, experiment and develop personally and professionally. It’s collaboration at its best. When organizations channel this collective energy, there’s great potential to boost innovation and business performance.

However, many companies are still only testing the waters in their cultural commitment to social learning. Twitter chats such as #TChat provide a low-risk model outside organizational walls; bringing together experts and talent-minded professionals to discuss today’s workplace — what works, what doesn’t, and how to address key issues.

#TChat: Social Learning Slice Of Life

As #TChat proves, social tools and techniques are an attractive way to develop and sustain learning communities. The immediacy, flexibility and availability of social media make it possible for people with common interests to connect and contribute easily in real-time, from all corners of the globe.

Imagine the possibilities when this approach is applied within organizations! Employees feel more appreciated and valued for their input. Engagement increases. And employers signal a commitment to employee development and growth. It’s a win-win. Companies gain a more engaged, productive workforce, and in turn, employees are challenged and become more competent.

This is why I look forward to many more wonderful years for #TChat and TalentCulture — an open, ongoing learning environment that is helping us all shape the world of work for the better!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Online Communities and Professional Growth

Kevin Grossman Tim McDonald TChat (2)

Watch the #TChat hangout now

SAT 11/16:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Editorial Director, Kathleen Kruse framed this week’s topic in a post that features a special 3rd Anniversary #TChat hangout video with co-founder, Kevin W. Grossman. Read the Preview: “We’re Turning Three! Let’s Celebrate Community.”

SUN 11/17:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro looked at 7 ways leaders can foster a high-octane social workplace culture. Read: “7 Characteristics of a Social Leader.”

MON 11/18 — THU 11/21

Related Posts:
Read: “What Drives Social Influence? Insights From Recruiting Circles” by Carter Hostelley
Read: “#TChat Road Trip: Going to the Next Level Together” by Meghan M. Biro
Read: “Community Heart + Soul: #TChat Favorites” by Kevin W. Grossman

WED 11/20:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guest Ambrosia Humphrey , VP HR at HootSuite, about why and how organizations benefit by committing to social learning initiatives. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and team Hootsuite joined the entire TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, as I moderated an open conversation that centered on 5 related questions. For highlights, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: The Growth of Online Learning

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Ambrosia Humphrey for sharing your perspectives on social learning and organizational culture. We value your time, enthusiasm and expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about social learning in the workplace? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, #TChat Events go quiet, as we celebrate the Thanksgiving week in the U.S. However, we’ll be back on December 4th, with a special double-header, featuring two of our community’s most beloved HR experts, Dave Ryan and Donna Rogers! Look for more details next weekend.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream,  our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Another Kind Of Revolution: Social, Mobile, Cloud

“You say you want a revolution? Well you know, we all want to change the world.” –John Lennon

It’s deja vu on a grand scale — like the Beatles are arriving in America all over again. A huge culture shift is upon us, and the winds of change are blowing in ways that are simultaneously unsettling and exhilarating.

“Boomers” are transitioning out of their careers, and the leadership reigns are slowly-but-surely being handed to Millennials at start-ups, small businesses and enterprises everywhere. Much like when John, Paul, George and Ringo touched down in New York in 1964, at first there was some resistance, but eventually the new guard convinced skeptics and changed minds. In the 60’s, revolution was expressed through music and social change — while today, next-generation leaders are driving disruptive change in technology and business.

New Agents of Change

Cloud computing, mobile devices, “big data” and social media are now prominent fixtures across the business landscape. From solopreneurs to the global enterprise, companies are more connected than ever with their customers, employees, shareholders and stakeholders.

Enabled by connectivity and powered by the cloud, this is more than just “Marketecture,” this is the engine of our business future. Millennial leaders are strongly committed to embracing these technologies and putting them to use in a way that drives their organizations forward, leaning on cloud applications to keep employees connected with anyone, anywhere, anytime. This allows business to continue 24×7×365 if needed, yet provides employees ultimate flexibility to untether from their desks and remain productive.

I don’t see anything wrong with that, do you?

And then there is social media. This phenomenon isn’t just about tweeting #hashtags on Twitter and posting  “likes” on Facebook. Social media offers a whole new way for humans to engage and extend our communities through the most powerful business-building infrastructure in the world — the Internet.

Thanks to social powers, the timeline for building a global business has compressed from decades to days, because word can spread and new markets can be created at a such a dramatically accelerated pace. New ventures everywhere can instantly reach out to potential partners and target markets to ask questions and find solutions for the most simple and complex business problems.

Building the Future, Differently

When the Beatles came to America, they permanently redefined rock and roll. Adding their collective influence to the voices of their time, they made music better for all of us who followed. And today, through social synergy, Millennial leaders seek to do the same for business.

Leaning on the best ideas and innovations that have previously defined success across industries, the CEOs of the future are not content to settle for the status quo. The goals of next-generation leaders may be similar to those before us in some ways, but they are different enough, so our mark will be felt.

We will leverage breakthrough cloud and big data resources to develop businesses that are inherently social, and we’ll create cultures that thrive on collaboration. Like leaders throughout history, our goal is to solve business problems effectively, but we’ll approach those problems very differently. Building a smarter planet through technology is exactly what the Millennial CEO of the future is destined to do.

What role do you think technology plays in next-generation business success? What must Millennial leaders do to succeed in a hyper-connected marketplace? Share your ideas in the comments area.

(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from the Building a Smarter Planet Blog, with permission.)

Image Credit: Wikimedia Public Domain image archives

Engagement As Energy: #TChat Lessons From #HRTechConf

“Employee engagement?”

She furrowed her brow and challenged our use of the term. And that’s when things got interesting.

Or maybe that’s when things got accurate. Historically accurate. Holistically accurate. Painfully accurate.

Meghan and Kevin LasVegas HRTechConf 2013 (2)“Why are we using that word? When employees meet each other in the hallway, do they ask each other ‘Are you engaged today?'”

All of us on the panel shook our heads and smiled. She continued, “No, they don’t. What we’re really talking about is improving individual and organizational energy, drive and focus.”

We all nodded.

The “she” in this story is Marcia Conner, collaborative learning thought leader, author and Principal of the SensifyGroup. She was one of five panelists at a very special “live”  #TChat roundtable in a jam-packed Peoplefluent booth at this year’s HR Technology Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas. (And by the way, thank you, Peoplefluent for hosting the event!) Others on this stellar panel included:

Employee Engagement: Why Should We Care?

TalentCulture at HRTechConfMy TalentCulture co-founder Meghan M. Biro and I gathered this panel of smart HR executives and industry influencers to look closer at employee engagement employee energy, drive and focus, which has become the holy grail of HR and business leaders, through every aspect of the talent lifecycle — from recruiting and onboarding, to continuous development and performance management.

Again we ask the question: Why? And why so much fuss over something so seemingly out of HR’s control? We’ve seen the dismal research results for years. We keep sharing industry jargon surrounding this issue. And yet most initiatives designed to improve the status quo haven’t moved the needle much, if at all.

Engagement — energy — whatever you choose to call it — is a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon. Nor is it likely to be resolved without continued awareness and dedicated effort. But there’s a lot at stake for those who crack the code, and that’s why the smartest employers remain focused on finding solutions.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that employee engagement is a top priority for all three of the practitioners on our panel. They recognize that emotionally connected individuals simply perform better, day to day. In turn, this increases productivity, improves performance, reduces attrition and boosts overall business results.

Employee Engagement: What Matters Most?

But clearly the best answers won’t come from a one-size-fits-all approach. We know that more emotionally committed employees invest more discretionary effort at work — and some individuals are more committed than others. It’s always been that way. A myriad of variables determine commitment. But if employers pay attention to the most important factors, perhaps commitment (and by association, energy, drive and focus) will improve. That’s the goal.

Meghanandfriend (2)All three of the practitioners on the panel shared examples of how they’re addressing key factors to influence engagement levels across their organizations. The initiatives range from community building, to culture immersion (at Buffalo Wild Wings, one restaurant at a time), to coaching and mentoring, to performance-specific rewards and recognition, to highly configurable collaborative communication platforms.

None of these ideas were lost on the TalentCulture community, as the #TChat Twitter stream lit up with questions and comments throughout the live discussion. It was truly an engaging meeting of the minds.

And that’s when Meghan and I suggested we focus all of that energy and drive into one grand, collective #TChat hug. A figurative hug of course — but a group hug nonetheless. C’mon, bring it in…

 

 

Age Bias At Work: Bad Business #TChat Recap

“Discrimination due to age is one of the great tragedies of modern life. The desire to work and be useful is what makes life worth living, and to be told your efforts are not needed because you are the wrong age is a crime.” Johnny Ball

Who wouldn’t agree with that statement, in theory? But in fact, age discrimination persists. Why? And what should talent-minded professionals do about it? These were the core issues we tackled at this week’s #TChat Twitter forum.

To help us take a collective look at the impact of age discrimination on today’s workforce, two of the HR community’s sharpest thought leaders joined our moderator, Cyndy Trivella:

Steve Levy, a prominent workforce sourcing expert and popular recruiting blogger.

Heather Bussing, an employment law attorney who is also a founding editorial advisory board member and contributor at HR Examiner.

Here are some top takeaways, followed by resource links and the #TChat highlights slideshow:

Ageism “Sniff Test”

TChatTwitter_logo_020813Age discrimination is often not as overt as other forms of bias. When interviewing for a position, older candidates may be told that they’re not the right “fit” for an organization, or they’re “overqualified” for a job. Younger job seekers may be told to pursue unpaid internships to “gain more experience.” Either scenario may be appropriate — but when a pattern emerges, it’s most likely a systemic problem. Similarly, if employees “of a certain age” are consistently left out of communication loops, meetings and business decisions, discrimination is a likely culprit.

Ageism can be a factor at any stage in our lives — and tension seems to be mounting at both ends of today’s workforce, as the economic slowdown continues and more employees are retiring later in life.

What’s The Source?

Discrimination based on age (or other arbitrary criteria) stems from our need to categorize the abundance of information that surrounds us each day. Classifying information helps us process the world more efficiently — but not always effectively.

Fear seems to be a common factor in age discrimination. We tend to feel more comfortable with things that are familiar, and we fear things that we don’t know or understand. An older worker may fear that a younger counterpart is more energetic, or offers more creative ideas. While a younger worker may fear that an older employee contributes more depth of knowledge in a particular area, or resists fresh ideas. These feelings may not be rational, but the fear can be very real. Yet, ironically, no one likes to be stereotyped.

Keeping Age Discrimination Out Of The Office

To move past age discrimination, we need to embrace diversity, in all of its forms. A culture of  inclusion starts with leaders who leave age at the door. Smart leaders know that a diverse workforce contributes to innovation, and adds to a company’s value in the marketplace. It creates a “virtuous cycle” effect that encourages more collaboration among teams and employees. On the other hand, a one-dimensional workforce can breed “group think” that weakens a company’s competitive position.

How Can Leaders Foster Workplace Diversity?

Start with the hiring process. Hire the best candidate for the job. Use performance based hiring to avoid age discrimination. Consciously strive for a fair, inclusive, transparent recruitment process.

Create a cross-mentoring program. This makes sense for employers in the face of today’s talent shortage. It encourages knowledge sharing and helps support succession planning. It can also boost employee engagement.

What Can Each Of Us Do?

Consider listening and inquiry your personal weapons in the war against age discrimination. Never stop learning — no matter what your age. Embrace technology and use it as a tool to network with others and learn from them. Look for opportunities to grow personally and professionally, and share ideas with others at social forums, like #TChat Twitter — where diverse thinking is always welcome!

For more inspiration, see resource links and #TChat event highlights in the Storify slideshow below. If this post inspires you, be sure to add a comment below or jump into the #TChat stream any time. In our world of work, everyone is welcome, at any age!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Age Discrimination Perception + Reality

SUN 10/6:

SteveandTim

Watch the #TChat Preview video now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald set the stage for this week’s event in a preview post that featured a fun G+ hangout video with guest Steve Levy. Check it out: “Old Dogs + New Tricks: Will HR Learn?”

TUE 10/8:

Related Post: This week’s other special guest, Heather Bussing, offered a very human perspective on discrimination in a post at HR Examiner. Read: “Why Age Discrimination Should Matter to You.”

WED 10/9:

Related Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro outlined 5 steps that business leaders should take in overcoming workplace age stereotypes. Read: “How To Break The Age Bias Habit.”

#TChat Twitter: This week, we by-passed #TChat Radio. Instead the entire community set the #TChat Twitter hashtag on fire, as our guests joined moderator Cyndy Trivella in a lively discussion about 6 key age discrimination issues. The hour flew by, as thousands of ideas and opinions hit the stream. For highlights, see the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Age Discrimination Perception + Reality

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GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Steve Levy and Heather Bussing for shining a light on workplace age discrimination. We welcome your enthusiasm and perspectives anytime!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about age in the workplace? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week we focus on next-generation workplace leadership with our special guest, YouTern CEO, Mark Babbitt! Watch for more details in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues! So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your thoughts are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Tim Tyrell-Smith at flickr

Virgin Pulse + TalentCulture Team Up To Champion Workforce Engagement

Changing The Engagement Game Together

Nearly four years ago, we launched TalentCulture on a simple premise — that talent-minded professionals can transform the “world of work” through purposeful social connections. Our vibrant community continues to grow and evolve, fueled by three core values:

•  Desire to advance the “human side” of business;
•  Passion for innovation;
•  Commitment to open collaboration.

In this spirit we welcome Virgin Pulse to the TalentCulture circle — where we’ll work hand-in-hand to help develop better business organizations from the inside out.

Virgin Pulse — Not Your Father’s Wellness Program

Virgin-Pulse

Learn more about Virgin Pulse

Part of Sir Richard Branson’s famed Virgin Group, Virgin Pulse (formerly Virgin HealthMiles) is the leading workplace health engagement platform. Every day, its “Total Quality of Life” approach empowers more than 1,000,000 participants to improve their health in ways that are meaningful, fun and sustainable. This elevates employee performance and retention, while simultaneously building stronger, more resilient organizations.

The Virgin Pulse philosophy fits naturally with TalentCulture’s emphasis on “seeing employees in 3D.” Together, we aim to advance the concept of “bringing your whole self to work.”

Everybody Plays — Everybody Wins!

What does this alliance mean for you? In the months ahead, look for TalentCulture and Virgin Pulse to:

•  Examine core engagement issues facing today’s business and HR leaders;
•  Investigate the connection between healthy employees and business performance;
•  Exchange benchmarks and insights from our respective communities;
•  Share thought leadership that is shaping engagement standards and practices.

Today’s organizational challenges are highly complex. There are no easy answers, but diverse ideas can lead to innovative solutions. That’s why we welcome everyone to the TalentCulture table — including HR technology and services vendors. We believe that this inclusive environment encourages effective problem solving, and accelerates everyone’s path to progress.

Our relationship with Virgin Pulse promises to add an exciting new level of depth and energy to the TalentCulture conversation. We invite you to join us each day on our combined social channels, as we explore workplace issues that affect us all.

(Editor’s Note:  Save the date for a very special #TChat double-header (BlogTalk Radio interview and Twitter chat) with Virgin Pulse CEO, Chris Boyce on Wednesday, October 23!)

Image Credit: by Mike Baird on Flickr

Want To Build A Business? Lead With Trust

If you could define business success, what would it look like to you? Would you focus on market share? Growth rate? Revenue? Profitability? Or something else?

At young companies, conversations tend to revolve around how to raise seed funding, where to invest capital, and how to compensate key contributors. Often, it seems that our perception of business success (or failure) largely revolves around money.

While it is true that a well-run company requires appropriate funding and sound financial management, I would argue that there is something even more vital to the sustained growth of any venture. It’s not something you can buy or sell — nor does it come prepackaged on a shelf.

I’m talking about trust.

Broken Trust: Good Examples Of Bad Behavior

From the Enron debacle to the Madoff scandal, stories of insider trading and fraud have captured headlines far too frequently. Our nation is losing faith in corporate leaders, and there’s a growing demand for corporate accountability and transparency.

The only way to turn this around is for those at the top to take responsibility and lead by example. We must create open, transparent cultures that promote accountability, integrity and honesty.

The truth of the matter is that employees need to know what’s going on in order to feel connected with their work and perform at their highest level. Staff concerns about the stability and the health of the company are a distraction that can erode trust, inhibit productivity and have a negative impact on the bottom line.

Creating an environment of trust goes far beyond releasing quarterly reports. It requires a daily commitment to transparency that’s infused into all aspects of business operations, and reaches all levels of the organizational chart. Most importantly, it requires team coaching and open communication across all functions, with management that listens and responds to constructive criticism.

Trust Is The Cornerstone Of Culture

Leadership legend, Stephen M. R. Covey said:

“High trust is a dividend; when it goes up you’ll find that everything happens faster and cost goes down. It’s that predictable.”

Although trust can take a long time to build, once we have achieved a state of trust, we often take it for granted. But the fact of the matter is that trust is at the core of the daily work activities that collectively make up company culture. As Deborah Mills-Scofield explains in the Harvard Business Review:

“Trust trumps everything. And everything flows from trust — learning, credibility, accountability, a sense of purpose and a mission that makes ‘work’ bigger than oneself.”

When it comes to trust, the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. For example, many startups have created cultures based around staff perks like a ‘no vacation policy’ vacation policy, providing employees with top-of-the line equipment, offering flexible hours, and letting staff work from home. While benefits like these may attract and retain top talent, there’s also a higher mission. Companies that offer these unique self-directed work options are sending employees a message that says, ‘I trust you, and I trust your judgment in using these privileges.”

Earlier this year, HubSpot released its long-awaited Culture Code – a presentation that summarizes the organization’s nine core beliefs. The document is remarkable because it emphasizes that trust is at the center of Hubspot’s organization. Rather than creating binders full of company policies, HubSpot has created a simple three-word policy for nearly everything: use. good. judgment. From social media activity, to travel expenses, to sick days, HubSpot understands that a healthy company starts with trust.

The Trust/Time Ratio

Of course, trust is a two-way street. Not only is it essential for employees to trust management, but leaders must trust their teams, and feel confident in their ability to move the company forward.

As Stephen M.R. Covey explains in his book, The Speed of Trust, trust is the great liberator of time and resources. It’s also an essential condition for growth. He notes that “when trust goes up, speed will also go up and cost will go down,” and that “when trust goes down, speed will go down and costs will go up.” Therefore, he concludes that the speed at which you can grow a business is directly proportionate to the time that you invest in creating trusting relationships.

Leading By Letting Go

One of the most important lessons I learned as a CEO was the importance of trusting your team. As the leader of any organization, large or small, your primary job is to communicate the vision; give your people the information, tools and resources to move toward it; and then get out of the way. This frees your staff to be as productive as possible, while allowing you to focus on your responsibility to drive the company forward, strategically.

The truth is plain and simple: if you’re a leader who wants to grow a company, you must have faith in your staff to get the job done – without you hovering around their desks. It is impossible to innovate while being bogged down in the daily minutia of your company. Trust allows you to remove yourself from the details and create necessary space to focus on long-term growth.

Trust is a natural human instinct, yet we tend to over-complicate it when we try to apply it to the business world. The best way to create a culture of trust is to begin by being open and honest with ourselves and those around us. By committing to being transparent in all our interactions, we will gradually create a culture of trust around us. And as trust grows, we should expect to see business results follow.

How do create and sustain trust within your organization? What results do you see?

(Editor’s Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome. Learn more...)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Who's On Your List? Advice For Rising Stars From Yum! CEO

Written by Bob Burg

In his excellent book, Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen,” iconic Yum! Brands Chairman and CEO, David Novak explains the importance of getting inside the heads of those we wish to influence. In other words, it’s not enough for us to want or desire a goal — we must know what motivates and drives the people we wish to take along with us.

It starts with genuine interest and caring about their needs, wants, goals and desires. But even that is not enough! Why? Because the following error can render our ideas nearly useless. According to Mr. Novak:

“One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is not thinking through all the people they have to lead to get where they want to go.”

He recommends that we ask ourselves who we need to affect, influence or take with us in order to be successful. As a former marketing executive, he compares this to a marketer trying to identify potential customers. And he believes that this list is absolutely essential.

When suggesting likely candidates, he casts a broad net: “your boss, your coworkers, people on your team, people from other departments whose help you’ll need — even people from outside your organization, such as shareholders, vendors, customers or business partners.”

Implications for Intrapreneurs

What does this mean for those among us who operate as “intrapreneurs” — those who work in an entrepreneurial way as employees of larger organizations? If you’re determined to make things happen as a leader (whether you have a formal title or not), but you don’t take Mr. Novak’s advice to heart, be prepared for a sudden halt in your progress.

His advice reminds me of a leadership failure or two from my past. In those situations, I’m fairly sure I persuaded those I targeted. However, my list was too short. I left out key “needed people,” and never even tried to obtain their buy-in. This wasn’t intentional; it was more a matter of not thinking things through and considering all the people whose commitment I would need. And inevitably I paid the price.

Network Relations: Connecting The Dots

Those were painful lessons, but I needed to experience them in order to grow. Or perhaps I could have avoided the pain, if Mr. Novak’s book had been available at the time. I’m not sure I would have understood without my first-hand experience as a reference point. But if there’s one thing better than learning from our own painful experience, it’s learning from someone else’s wisdom (which, most likely, was based on their own painful experience).

So, in that spirit, I encourage anyone who is on a path to intrapreneurial success to be sure and dot the I’s and cross the T’s — not just in terms of selling your vision, but in selling it to everyone who needs to be sold.

BobBurgHRHeadshotLearn More! Listen now to Bob’s 1-on-1 chat with David Novak, “Taking People With You,” where he shares numerous hard-hitting, valuable ideas from his book.

(Author Profile: Corporate speaker, Bob Burg, is coauthor of the International bestseller, “The Go-Giver.” His newest book, “Adversaries Into Allies” is scheduled for a late October release. Bob was a featured guest on #TChat events in early September, where he helped our community focus on ways that intrapreneurs can create business value within organizations. To learn more about Bob and connect with him on Social Media, visit www.burg.com.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Who’s On Your List? Advice For Rising Stars From Yum! CEO

Written by Bob Burg

In his excellent book, Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen,” iconic Yum! Brands Chairman and CEO, David Novak explains the importance of getting inside the heads of those we wish to influence. In other words, it’s not enough for us to want or desire a goal — we must know what motivates and drives the people we wish to take along with us.

It starts with genuine interest and caring about their needs, wants, goals and desires. But even that is not enough! Why? Because the following error can render our ideas nearly useless. According to Mr. Novak:

“One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is not thinking through all the people they have to lead to get where they want to go.”

He recommends that we ask ourselves who we need to affect, influence or take with us in order to be successful. As a former marketing executive, he compares this to a marketer trying to identify potential customers. And he believes that this list is absolutely essential.

When suggesting likely candidates, he casts a broad net: “your boss, your coworkers, people on your team, people from other departments whose help you’ll need — even people from outside your organization, such as shareholders, vendors, customers or business partners.”

Implications for Intrapreneurs

What does this mean for those among us who operate as “intrapreneurs” — those who work in an entrepreneurial way as employees of larger organizations? If you’re determined to make things happen as a leader (whether you have a formal title or not), but you don’t take Mr. Novak’s advice to heart, be prepared for a sudden halt in your progress.

His advice reminds me of a leadership failure or two from my past. In those situations, I’m fairly sure I persuaded those I targeted. However, my list was too short. I left out key “needed people,” and never even tried to obtain their buy-in. This wasn’t intentional; it was more a matter of not thinking things through and considering all the people whose commitment I would need. And inevitably I paid the price.

Network Relations: Connecting The Dots

Those were painful lessons, but I needed to experience them in order to grow. Or perhaps I could have avoided the pain, if Mr. Novak’s book had been available at the time. I’m not sure I would have understood without my first-hand experience as a reference point. But if there’s one thing better than learning from our own painful experience, it’s learning from someone else’s wisdom (which, most likely, was based on their own painful experience).

So, in that spirit, I encourage anyone who is on a path to intrapreneurial success to be sure and dot the I’s and cross the T’s — not just in terms of selling your vision, but in selling it to everyone who needs to be sold.

BobBurgHRHeadshotLearn More! Listen now to Bob’s 1-on-1 chat with David Novak, “Taking People With You,” where he shares numerous hard-hitting, valuable ideas from his book.

(Author Profile: Corporate speaker, Bob Burg, is coauthor of the International bestseller, “The Go-Giver.” His newest book, “Adversaries Into Allies” is scheduled for a late October release. Bob was a featured guest on #TChat events in early September, where he helped our community focus on ways that intrapreneurs can create business value within organizations. To learn more about Bob and connect with him on Social Media, visit www.burg.com.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

HR and Marketing: Smashing Silos #TChat Recap

In this do-more-with-less era, it’s almost counterintuitive to think that “silo” mentality still defines some organizations. We’ve all seen it — different departments don’t know why or how they should rely on each other, and business suffers from a lack of collaboration.

Of course, I do know some companies where communication is strong. People forge cross-functional relationships, and they use influence to drive progress. But unfortunately, that’s not the norm. More often, departments work in isolation — struggling to understand business problems, confused about how to solve them, and uncertain how to move to the next level. Cultures like this lag far behind collaborative competitors.

Bridging the Gap

Where is this challenge most prevalent? Let’s start in our backyard, with human resources and marketing. As the TalentCulture community discussed this week at #TChat events, these two disciplines share much common ground, but tend not to realize it. Why? Let’s dig deeper.

According to the American Marketing Association, “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings.” How does that apply to recruiting — a critical HR responsibility?

When a company seeks candidates for an open position, it relies upon a process that helps recruiters translate the need into a workable activity. For example, the process may start with a job description, created with requirements and other information obtained from the hiring manager. The description is transformed into a job posting and communicated externally in multiple forms. Various channels deliver the message to appropriate audiences as an offer that says essentially, “Here’s the kind of talent we seek. In exchange for your ability and commitment to perform the job to our expectations, we will compensate you with X, Y and Z.”

This tactic is pure marketing. It rings true with the classic “5 Ps” of the marketing mix — as well as the more recent inside-out version:

People – Potential employees
Product – Job opportunity
Price – Associated cost to recruit, fill, hire and retain
Promotion – Advertising and word-of-mouth about the job opening
Place – Organizational culture, which extends to talent communities that share job information

At the intersection of recruiting and marketing, many tactics and fundamentals go hand-in-hand, creating opportunities to exchange knowledge and hone skills. But more importantly, at the center of this common worldview is the employment brand — a powerful organizational asset. This is the foundation upon which an employment value proposition flourishes. The proof points are bits of raw workforce and candidate experience data we should analyze within the context of a strategic recruitment plan. Ultimately, that recruitment plan should not only inform corporate brand strategy, but also be shaped by it.

Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Like two sides of a coin, recruiting and marketing practitioners must work in concert to be truly effective. As people listen, learn, empathize and sharpen their communications, the opportunity to understand and leverage interdepartmental strengths will expand. When teams work in concert to unify brand positioning, measurably improved outcomes can’t be far behind.

Thanks to everyone who shared ideas and opinions about this topic at #TChat events this week. We invite you to review the related resources below, and continue this conversation here and on social channels. Hopefully, we can be an example of effective professional collaboration!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Recruiting IS Marketing?

SUN 9/1:

ChrisFields

Watch the Hangout with Chris Fields

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald provided a “sneak peek” of this week’s topic, featuring a brief Hangout discussion with one of our special guests, Chris Fields. Read the Preview: Recruiting and Marketing: Blurred Lines?

MON 9/2:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro explained why and how business leaders should view recruitment as a strategic marketing initiative. Read: “5 Recruiting Habits of Successful Leaders.”

TUE 9/3:

Related Post: Guest blogger, David Smooke defined 3 keys to “Hiring Culture” as the basis for strategic recruiting initiatives. Read: “Hiring Culture: Creating A Recruitment Ecosystem.”

WED 9/4:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio: As a prelude to our open Twitter chat, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, talked with two recruiting experts about why and how HR organizations can leverage marketing expertise to enhance recruitment. Our special guests were:

David Bernstein, VP of the “Big Data for HR” Division at eQuest, and
Chris Fields, independent HR consultant, resume development specialist and HR writer.

Listen now to the radio show recording.

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, I moderated an open discussion with Chris, Meghan, Kevin and our entire community on the #TChat Twitter stream. For highlights from the conversation, watch the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Recruiting IS Marketing

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-recruiting-is-marketing.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to guests David Bernstein and Chris Fields, for offering your perspectives on recruiting and marketing this week. Your expertise and insights are invaluable to our community.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about related issues? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week on 9/11, we take a serious look at an important subject, “Workplace Violence and Prevention.” This promises to be a helpful and informative session. So plan to join us, and check for more details in coming days here and on TalentCulture channels.

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues! So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Intrapreneurs: Creating Value From Within #TChat Recap

How can a culture of intrapreneurship help companies retain top talent, while serving customers more effectively? That was the focus of our community conversation at last week’s #TChat forums. We understand that the concept of intrapreneurship is new to some of our participants. So, let’s first look at its history and meaning, before we summarize the week’s events.

Innovation With Infrastructure

The term “intrapreneur” first appeared in a 1978 article written by organizational design experts, Gifford & Elizabeth Pinchot. A recent FastCompany article defines intrapreneurs as people who work within existing organizations to accelerate change, while simultaneously creating business value.

In another FastCompany article, Hilton Worldwide VP Jennifer Silberman takes a more expansive view, noting that intrapreneurs are integral to corporate responsibility initiatives. She says, “the intrapreneurial mindset helps drive innovation and uncover opportunities within the challenges of operating in a changing world.”

David Armano, EVP, Global Innovation & Integration at Edelman, describes intrapreneurs as people who have entrepreneurial DNA, but choose to align their talents with a large organization, rather than creating one from scratch. Of course, successful intrapreneurs are valuable employees, because they’re a source of sustainable competitive advantage.

More and more companies are leveraging intraprenuerial talent by establishing initiatives and cross-functional teams to design and launch new products, services and systems. Project leads are given autonomy and resources to generate and develop concepts. In return, they “own” their endeavor’s success or failure.

According to Douglas Brown of Post University, an intrapreneurial role can lead to greater job satisfaction, because individuals are able to perform in a leadership capacity, exercise creativity, build credibility, and make a meaningful impact on the business — all within a reasonably safe environment.

Fueling The Intrapreneurial Fire

GoGiver

Learn more about The Go-Giver

So, how can organizations nurture an intrapreneurial spirit in employees? And how can each of us tap into our “inner entrepreneur” to create business value?

Helping us explore those questions was the week’s special guest, business author and commentator, Bob Burg. Bob is widely recognized for his ability to bring complex concepts to life in ways that are entertaining and easy to understand. In this case, Bob asked us to consider behaviors that distinguish “go-getters,” “go-takers” and “go-givers.”

Go-getters are people who take action. Go-takers also take action, but feel entitled to receive without offering value in return. Meanwhile, go-givers focus on actions that continuously add value to others’ lives. Bob’s book, “The Go-Giver” outlines 5 powerful principles that contribute to success:

• The Law of Value – Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment
• The Law of Compensation – Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them
• The Law of Influence – Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first
• The Law of Authenticity – The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself
• The Law of Receptivity – The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving

This lighthearted video reveals more about the 5 “Go-Giver” laws:

Celebrating “Go-Giver” Intrapreneurs

In a recent Huffington Post article, Wharton professor Adam Grant emphasized the importance of Recognizing Go-Givers. This is just one way companies could build a culture that supports creative contributions. Our #TChat Twitter participants offered hundreds of other suggestions. (For highlights from the conversation, see the Storify slideshow below.)

Thanks to everyone in the TalentCulture community who shared opinions and ideas at this week’s #TChat events. We invite you to review the resources below, and continue this discussion about innovation from within!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Entrepreneurs In Your Organization

SAT 8/24:

Bob_Burg_TChat Preview

Watch the #TChat “sneak peek” video now

#TChat Preview: TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald the framed the week’s topics in a preview post, featuring a “sneak peek” video with guest Bob Burg. Read: “Corporate Entrepreneurs: Best Of Both Worlds?”

SUN 8/25:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro challenged business leaders to rethink the ways they engage with their most creative employees. Read: “5 Ways To Unleash The Power Of Your People.”

MON 8/26:

Related Post: Hans Balmaekers, Founder of intrapreneurial incubator sa.am, offered relevant advice to young professionals who are looking for entrepreneurial opportunities. Read: “Want To Be Your Own Boss? Try This First.”

WED 8/28:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: In a thought-provoking warm-up to our community Twitter conversation, Bob Burg spoke with radio hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman about how intrapreneurs fit in today’s workplace, and how organizations can create an environment that supports those endeavors. Listen now to the radio show recording.

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, I moderated an open discussion with Bob and our entire community on the #TChat Twitter stream. For highlights from this dynamic session, watch the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Highlights: Entrepreneurs In Your Organization

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-intrapreneurs-taking-entrepreneurs.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Bob Burg for generously sharing your expertise about the importance of creating value in business and in life. Your practical wisdom is deeply relevant and helpful to all of us.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did last week’s events prompt you to write about intrapreneurial values, behaviors and success? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: This week, we leap into a jam-packed fall season for #TChat events, starting with the topic, “Recruiting IS Marketing” with David Bernstein and Chris Fields, It’s one week you don’t want to miss! So plan to join us, and check for more details here and on TalentCulture channels.

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues — even on Labor Day! So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Corporate Entrepreneurs: Best Of Both Worlds? #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Want to see full highlights from this week’s events, including resource links? Read the #TChat Recap: “Intrepreneurs: Creating Value From Within.”)

Earlier this month, we kick-started a community conversation with Marcia Conner about ingenuity in our personal and professional lives — looking at how each of us can benefit by channeling our inner “McGyver.” More recently, we drilled down on the concept of disruptive innovation — how radically new ideas and technologies continue to create new business opportunities.

This week, we invite you to help us connect those two dots, as we explore what’s possible when organizations actively nurture an entrepreneurial culture. So-called “intrapreneurship” isn’t a novel idea. However, at a time when employee engagement seems stuck at low ebb, a dedicated effort to drive internal innovation can help retain top talent, and simultaneously create a competitive edge. But how?

To lead this conversation, we’re excited to welcome one of my favorite business authors and commentators, Bob Burg. Bob writes extensively and speaks enthusiastically about what it takes for organizations and individuals to leverage their strengths in today’s world of work.

For a glimpse of Bob’s view of intrapreneurship, watch this brief #TChat sneak-peek Hangout:

This week’s #TChat forums promise to be dynamic and informative. So bring your best ideas, questions and concerns — and let’s continue the conversation!

#TChat Events: Entrepreneurs Inside Your Organization

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

#TChat Radio — Wed, Aug 28 at 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

Bob joins our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman to talk about how intrapreneurs fit in today’s workplace, and how organizations can create an environment that supports those endeavors. Listen LIVE and dial-in with your questions and feedback!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Aug 28 at 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Bob will join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, where Dr. Nancy Rubin will moderate an open discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Anyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we address these questions:

Q1: How can entrepreneurs find happiness in a corporate workplace culture?
Q2: What’s the difference between a “go-getter” and a “go-giver”?
Q3: How do companies attract, hire and retain “intrapreneurs”?
Q4: What can business leaders and HR gain from being intrapraneurs?
Q5: What technologies today enable intrapraneurship, and how?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep this discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

What Can Swarms Teach Us About Teams?

You may not work in an emergency room — but your organization may want to function like one. As critical issues arise, the ability to quickly shift resources and refocus energy can have a keen impact on continued business success.

This kind of workforce agility helps organizations meet challenges swiftly and succinctly. Which begs the question: Is your organization ready for a work swarm?

Swarming: A Closer Look

Borrowed from the rhythms of nature, the notion of “swarming” to assemble a cross-functional or cross-departmental team, could be considered a key factor in an organization’s ability to develop and thrive. Gartner described a work swarm as a “flurry of collective activity” to deal with non-routine workplace problems or opportunities. (See that discussion here.) Without this option, organizations can fall short in their quest to respond to stressors (or opportunities) in quickly changing internal and external environments.

Developing an ability to swarm is just as much an orientation toward the work itself, as it is a problem solving technique. Swarming needs talent and skills to flow quickly toward projects, as it capitalizes upon an agile culture and a fluid talent stream. This requires a modern view of organizational boundaries and talent utilization. There are challenges to swarming — and the process may not prove appropriate for all organizations. However, it may be an interesting option to consider.

Putting Swarm Theory To Work

Here are some ideas to keep in mind:

1) Apply open-system theory. Work swarming requires talent to flow into the organization, as well as within its borders. Early structure theorists (See Katz & Kahn) discuss open-system theory. However, applications of that view seem more possible with the advent of relevant social networks.

2) Let internal structure flex. To enable swarming, the structure of an organization would need to become increasingly fluid. Talent within the organization would be allowed to cross functional lines more easily and routinely.

3) Seek diversity. Including a considerably wider range of knowledge bases when forming a team to problem solve is desired – as solutions can come unexpectedly, from a loosely “related” discipline or function. These sources can include suppliers and others in close proximity to core problems and customers.

4) Remember roles rule. Becoming crystal clear concerning the roles of team players is key. Role clarity can help focus more energy toward the actual content of the problem or issue – and help team members attack their portion of the task at hand more readily.

5) Utilize social platforms. Crowdsourcing platforms (both internally and externally focused) can be utilized to facilitate the problem solving process – where stubborn organizational challenges can be posted and exposed to greater numbers of potential contributors. (Learn more about Innocentive here.)

6) Curate talent communities. Building a pipeline of talent is imperative with swarming – but this should be developed in a manner that is meaningful. Mapping the skills and strengths of potential team players within relevant industries, becomes a critical goal. Furthermore, teaming applications can also help document the evolving skill sets of potential contributors.

Have you utilized swarming techniques to speed problem solving at your organization? If so, how well did it work?

(Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared as a LinkedIn Influencer post. It is republished with permission.)

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Tech Disruption: Too Much Of A Good Thing? #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: Are you looking for a full review of week’s events, including resource links? See the #TChat Recap “Quantum Change: Embracing Innovation.”)

Innovation at the speed of business.

That sounds like a tagline for countless high-tech vendors, doesn’t it?

Once upon a time, it was a strategic call-to-action for organizations seeking competitive advantage in the digital age. But what does this catchphrase imply today, for a global workplace that’s more turbo-charged than ever?

Ready Or Not — Here Comes More Change

For better or worse, disruption has become part of our lives. Technology is advancing at a feverish pace, and a new wave of digitally-savvy workers is entering the workforce in droves. Yet at the same time, employee engagement seems to remain stuck almost in neutral. This apparent disconnect raises nagging questions about how effectively innovation really drives individual and business performance.

We Have Seen the Future, And It Is Us

Most of us agree that tools, alone, have little value. It’s what we do with them that matters. So, in a world where technology is continually disrupting our organizational workflows, what lies ahead, and how can we prepare more effectively? As the rate of innovation accelerates, can adoption actually keep pace? How can we stay ahead of the learning curve? Why does it matter? And what are the human consequences — good, bad, and indifferent?

These are big questions with serious business implications. That’s why we’ve asked a workplace innovation expert to be our guest at #TChat forums this week. Jim Lundy, founder and CEO of Aragon Research has been at the forefront of enterprise collaboration and learning technology for almost 30 years — both in product marketing and sales executive roles at vendors like Saba Software and Xerox — and as an industry analyst at Gartner and now Aragon.

#TChat Events: Fusing Technology Disruption And Adoption

This week’s conversation promises to offer a fascinating peek at what’s ahead — and why that matters for all of us in the world of work. So join us as our “Summer Restart” series looks at why and how technology disruption and adoption are essential companions in business transformation. Bring your questions, concerns and ideas, and let’s talk!

#TChat Radio — Wed, Aug 14 at 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show

Jim Lundy joins our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman to talk about the most disruptive technologies on the horizon, and their potential impact on organizations. Listen live and dial-in with your questions and feedback!

#TChat Twitter — Wed, Aug 14 at 7pmET / 4pmPT

Immediately following the radio show, Jim follows us to the #TChat Twitter stream, as we open the discussion to the entire TalentCulture community. Anyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we explore these questions:

Q1: What are the top disruptive HR technologies today and why?
Q2: How can the enterprise leverage innovation for positive workplace outcomes?
Q3: Why disruption? Can’t we just improve the process/tech status quo?
Q4: What can leaders do to encourage employee engagement via disruption?
Q5: Has innovation flattened today’s world of work for the better?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image Credit: CBS Television

101 Ways To Save The Day With A Paperclip #TChat Recap

“Better is possible. It does not take genius … It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.”-Atul Gawande

When I bumped into this quote, it stopped me in my tracks. It seems like the ideal way to summarize key insights from Wednesday’s #TChat events. However, the source isn’t a #TChat participant. This isn’t even a tweet. And it wasn’t written in the recent past.

Actually, it’s a quote from the 2007 book, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance. The author is a practicing physician, whose riveting narrative focuses on finding creative ways to be more effective as a professional within a complex, bureaucratic environment. (Does that sound familiar to some of you? At least you know you’re not alone!)

Of course, in Atul Gawande’s profession, a creative approach can mean the difference between life and death. With such serious consequences hanging in the balance, fear of failure is always a factor. But unless medical practitioners are willing to take clever, calculated risks, the standard of care will never advance. As Dr. Gawande explains in an interview, “In The Belly Of The Medical Machine”

“…I work in a bureaucracy with 10,000 employees. Functioning in such a world is not all that pleasant. But there are things that you can do only if you are in such an organization. So you just need to find the patterns of what has worked. Like Warren Warwick, of Fairview University Children’s Hospital in Minnesota – he’s a great example. He lives in the machine. Through sheer force of will and creativity, he makes it work – and the patients in his clinic live longer than in any other cystic fibrosis clinic in the country. It’s stunning. It’s inspiring.”

Pioneering doctors like Warren Warwick and Atul Gawande aren’t exactly saving the day with a paperclip, MacGyver-style. But in my view, they’re the closest thing we’ll see in real life.

They’re also shining examples of the ingenious spirit that we explored this week with #TChat expert guest, Marcia Conner. Marcia is Principal of SensifyGroup, a management consultancy that specializes in elevating workplace culture, learning and collaboration. A highly regarded social business thought leader and author, Marcia is developing a book focused on the the power of ingenuity in transforming our lives at work and beyond.

Marcia challenged us all to take a fresh look at the world around us to create better ways to work. And our community responded by storming Twitter with a rush of ideas and insights to kick-start that process. In case you missed any of the action, we invite you to review #TChat highlights in the slideshow, along with other related resources listed below.

If this week’s events inspire you to put ingenuity into action, let us know where that effort leads. Who knows? You may be surprised to find that a small, smart shift in your approach can make a huge difference. The evidence shows that we don’t need to be super-human to be ingenious. We just have to be willing to try.

#TChat Week in Review: The Transforming Power of Ingenuity

SUN 8/5

MarciaConner

Watch the G+ Hangout now

#TChat Preview: Our Community Manager, Tim McDonald, outlined the week’s topic in a post that feartures a brief G+ Hangout with Marcia. See the preview: “Transforming Culture: The Force Within.”

MON 8/5

Forbes.com Post: In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, offered advice about why listening is more important now than ever, and how leaders can improve their listening capabilities. Read “5 Leadership Lessons: Listen, Learn, Lead.”

WED 8/7

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the radio show now

#TChat Radio Prior to the week’s Twitter chat event, Marcia joined our hosts, TalentCulture founders and radio hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman, to talk about what it means to be ingenious in our personal and professional lives. Listen now to the radio show recording.

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, the entire TalentCulture community came together for an open conversation on the #TChat stream. In case you missed the action, check out the highlights in our Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights: Transforming Culture: The Force Within

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-transforming-culture-the-force-wit.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Marcia Conner for sharing her expertise and enthusiasm about how we can tap into ingenuity in our personal and professional lives. You inspire our community to keep pushing the collaborative envelope.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about innovation, collaboration and corporate culture? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, technology analyst, Jim Lundy, joins us to look at innovations that are redefining the world of work! Stay tuned to TalentCulture social channels for details.

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues each day. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or on other social channels. And feel free to explore our redesigned website. The gears are always turning here at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: ABC / HenryWinkler-JohnRich Productions

 

Social Learning: The New Business Edge?

A recent #TChat Radio show really piqued my interest. The topic was collaboration and social learning, with guest, Nick Kellet. Nick is one of the innovative minds who founded Listly — a service that nurtures individual and collective growth by enabling people to discover, filter and share content easily within their digital communities.

Obviously, social learning isn’t a new concept. As Nick noted, it’s not really even “actually a thing” in itself. Rather it’s a by-product of the fact that we are social beings. Learning through interaction with others is naturally built into our work lives. And now, with content and tools that make it incredibly easy to collaborate online, social learning is gaining tremendous momentum in the digital space.

In fact, according to Bersin by Deloitte, U.S. companies spent 39% more on social learning initiatives last year than in 2011. That’s a huge jump, and it indicates how swiftly business is embracing the need to provide infrastructure for collaborative business processes.

Why Social Learning Is Essential: 3 Reasons

So what’s the big deal? Why is social learning suddenly such a hot business topic? Actually, I think it boils down to three fundamentals:

• Employees want to learn and grow.
• Growth contributes to engagement.
• Engaged employees stick around.

It’s just that simple.

Consider this: The Cornerstone OnDemand 2013 U.S. Employee Report indicates that 1 in 3 employees would stay at their company longer if their employer helped them develop their skills. That’s a significant number of employees you could retain — not to mention recruitment costs you could save — just by providing today’s workforce with better paths to learning.

Social learning options are an ideal way to respond to employees’ desire for development, because in addition to providing the knowledge and growth they crave, it also builds a sense of connection and belonging within your organization.

Building Competence and Connections

In responding to performance review questions, have you ever been asked if you have a best friend at work? Did you wonder why that question was relevant? It’s because employees who form bonds with their peers feel much more engaged and comfortable in the workplace. And connections that are good for individuals are also good for organizational culture. Social learning helps employees to connect — not just within their workgroups, but with peers around the globe — expanding their networks and strengthening their sense of belonging. That’s no small feat.

While the technology may be ever-changing, the concept of social learning is clearly here to stay. It’s wise to take a cue from the companies that increased their social learning spending last year, and make it a priority in 2013 and beyond. Your employees will thank you for your investment in their future — and ultimately, so will your bottom line.

Tell me: How is your organization enriching or expanding the learning experience? What hurdles have you faced? And what kind of difference do you see in your workforce? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s learn from one another.

(Note: If you’re not yet one of Listly’s many ardent fans, we recommend you take a closer look. We love it at Achievers. We’ve even created a Listly-powered Achievers resources collection.)

Image Credit: Niharb via flickr Creative Commons

Crowdsourcing: Hot Mess or High Art? #TChat Recap

Do you ever wonder what unsuspecting people think when they stumble across a #TChat event in-progress? Do they mistake it for some sort of wild, unchained idea orgy?

I can see why the uninitiated might assume that a magical “meeting of the minds” has spontaneously sprouted in a random social media moment.

After all, for 2+ years on Wednesday nights, the #TChat hashtag has consistently trended on Twitter, as the stream lights up in a blaze of 140-character glory about workplace culture. We’re creating our own gravitational pull with all those tweets. Could a TalentCulture zip code be far away?

But seriously, those of us who participate in #TChat conversations know that it’s not crowdsourcing’s answer to a flash mob. This isn’t just a way to fill an hour with social serendipity that evaporates when we turn out the lights. At least, that’s not the intent.

Instead, I like to think of TalentCulture as a living learning laboratory — or as Meghan Biro puts it, a metaphor for the social workplace. And each week’s events are carefully planned and presented with the goal of creating something bigger than the sum of its parts. Ideally, each of us can find something useful to ponder and apply in our professional lives, between those intense #TChat conversations.

For me, the most memorable and meaningful idea this week came from learning expert, Justin Mass:

What was your top takeaway?

Most likely, it was one of the brilliant thoughts from our guest, Nick Kellet. As co-founder of List.ly, a service that makes it easy for people to organize and share information through social channels, Nick deeply understands the art and science of digital discovery, curation and collaboration. His #TChat insights were so varied and powerful, I’m inspired to write a separate post that showcases those ideas. But in the meantime, here’s the “Nick” tweet that garnered the most retweets this week — with good reason:

So, in that spirit of discovery and sharing, we invite you to review other comments from Nick and the entire #TChat tribe in the “highlights” slideshow below. There’s an abundance of wisdom in this crowd, and we’re grateful for your contributions. Let us know how these resources help you gain a better perspective on tools and techniques can improve your world of work. We’re always open and interested in your thoughts!

#TChat Week in Review: Learning Through Collaboration

SAT 7/27

NickKellet

Watch the G+ Hangout with Nick Kellet

#TChat Preview: Our Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topics in a post featuring a brief G+ Hangout with Nick. Read the Preview Post: “Social Learning: Making Connections Count”

SUN 7/28

Forbes.com Post: In her weekly Forbes column, TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, offered advice about how organizations can create more value from collaborative endeavors. Read “5 Leadership Secrets of Collaboration Success.”

Audit ResultsTUE 7/30

Related Post: Our guest, Nick, contributed a fascinating post about blog content analysis, inspired by a benchmarking tool he has created with Listly. To learn more and to request a free audit of your blog site, read “Web Content: What Does It Say About You?”

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show

WED 7/31

#TChat Radio: Just prior to our weekly Twitter chat event, Nick joined TalentCulture founders and radio hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman for a thoughtful look at why and how collaboration tools and techniques are redefining how we live, work and play. Listen now to the radio show recording.

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, the entire TalentCulture community came together for an open discussion on the #TChat stream. In case you missed the action, check out the highlights in our Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights: Social Learning Through Collaboration

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-social-learning-making-connections.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Nick Kellet for sharing his extensive understanding of core issues and opportunities surrounding learning in today’s networked business environment. Your passion and depth of knowledge inspire us to keep pushing the collaborative envelope.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about social learning tools, techniques or implications? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we welcome workplace learning and innovation expert and author, Marcia Conner! Stay tuned to TalentCulture social channels for details.

In the meantime, the World of Work conversation continues each day. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or on other social channels. And feel free to explore our redesigned website. The gears are always turning here at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Punkrose via Flickr Creative Commons