Culture’s Cogs – Feedback

Synopsis: Feedback is the mechanism that keeps a culture alive...  This post is part 4 in the Cultures Cog’s series of posts. Click here for – Part 1 In the two prior parts of this blog series we looked at the role "imperatives" and "expectations" play in giving rise to a culture. In this final post we'll look at how feedback is the link that keeps a culture alive. Feedback is the interaction between people that tells them whether or not expectations are being achieved. Feedback can eit...
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I, We, You, Me – Observations on Team Dynamics

As with most Project Managers, I've worked directly with a lot of people and a lot of teams. As an instructor I've observed and coached even more. I've seen good teams and I've seen dysfunctional teams and over the years I've tried to understand what makes some teams work while others don't. Why do some teams gel so quickly while others never click? Why do some teams transcend individual efforts to perform as a whole, while others remain ineffectual? Why do some teams become lifelong friends and...
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Culture’s Cogs – Expectations

Synopsis: Expectations are the medium through which a culture propagates. Expectations can be set through words, use of benchmarks and through actions. This post is part 3 in the Cultures Cog's series of posts. Click here for - Part 1 If a culture is to propagate it needs a medium through which to flow. As suggested in the culture's cog diagram shown in part 1 of this series, expectations are a vehicle through which cultural norms are transferred from leader to team and peer to peer. In th...
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Culture’s Cogs – Imperatives

Synopsis: Imperatives are the core values of the management team and the foundation stones of corporate culture. To influence corporate culture, leaders need to bring clarity and consistency to their imperatives. This post is part 2 in the Cultures Cog’s series of posts. Click here for – Part 1 As a follow up to my discussion on the topic of "culture's cogs" I thought I would dive a bit deeper into each of the cogs. In this post I'll explore the issue of imperatives. As noted in my origina...
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You’re hired!

Synopsis: It's simple logic. If you want to thrive in today's job market you have to have the skills employers are looking for. Perhaps one of the biggest shifts in employment trends in past 20 years has been a growing emphasis on candidates having a "portfolio of skills". While technical knowledge alone was once king, employers are now looking for people with a broader set of skills. A willingness to take ownership of work, the ability to get things organized and the capacity to get things ...
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Culture’s Cogs

Synopsis: Imperatives, expectations and feedback are the mechanisms through which management's desire for high performance are translated into a functioning corporate culture. Regular readers will know that I've been studying corporate cultures over recent months. My goal is to understand how corporate cultures come to be and what management teams can do to shape positive cultures (i.e. cultures that improve quality and productivity while simultaneously lifting employee engagement, morale and...
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Everything is (not always) Awesome

Synopsis: Feedback to staff is a critical tool management can use to shape corporate culture  This year's Lego Movie spawned the song that has turned into something of an Internet meme. Likely to be 2014's most cheerful tune, the "Everything is Awesome" song tells us that we shouldn't worry about the negatives in life, instead we should focus on the positives. While that happy-go-lucky message lifts spirits and is fun, from a business perspective the song's message is something of a trap that...
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Pride of Workmanship

Synopsis: The more management focuses on product quality the greater the levels of motivation at the staff level I've written before about how corporate cultures are formed and the massive impact they can have on the outcomes an organization achieves. My hypothesis is that in the longer term organizations with healthy, positive cultures (that are properly aligned with the organization's desired outcomes) are more productive and successful than organizations in which the culture is negative an...
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Make your Meeting Worth Having – 5 Tips to Connect with Your Audience

I recently watched a video on a study centered on improving productivity in the workplace. The top cited problems for work interruptions and lack of concentrated efforts toward producing results while at work were, Managers and Meetings. Upon reflecting on what I now call the M&M factor, I realized it is indeed quite accurate. When I think of going to a place to get some serious work done, I unfortunately do not think of the office and I’m not alone. Managers are one thing, and they have a j...
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Connecting for Success

Everywhere we go we are bombarded with messages and someone vying for our attention. Every advertisement, politician, family member, or friend, has a message and something to say to us and many ways in which to say it; email, text message, Facebook posts, tweets, magazine articles, on and on. Our world is cluttered with words. So, how do you as a leader or more importantly your team choose, which to tune in and which to tune out? As a project manager, you’re constantly tasked with getting you...
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