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Climate Change: What Can Entrepreneurs Do?

Nearly a decade ago, saving the climate from destruction did not feature as a top priority for businesses. The scenario has however reversed. Today’s climate problem is so far beyond our human experience that it demands a complete overhaul of engagement from senior executives from the private sector. The threats that climate change poses to businesses and capitalism altogether are increasingly hard to spot, let alone act on.

While today’s entrepreneurs are competing against the old way of doing it is recommended to encourage a mindset shift, from linear to exponential. If we maintain our current linear thinking, we’re most likely going to create incremental fixes, while exponential thinking will get us to the network solutions required.

For small entrepreneurs around the world what are the key discussion points that must occur in the matter of climate change? In the next paragraphs, we will present a few tools that can help you better understand and find solutions to the world’s most pressing problem and how energy consumption in the developing countries has the power and ability to augment economies and lead people out of poverty.

1. Exponential thinking and embracing abundance

Try and plan for scenarios that may happen on the exponential curve. The framework of abundance thinking affirms the idea of a world where technology can solve most of the world’s problems and also reveal latent entrepreneurial possibilities. Strive to bring extremely diverse groups together in order to catalyse these new ideas.

2. Use the power of new advancing technologies

Technologies accelerating on an exponential curve are the tools that have the largest potential for a  scalable impact; the ‘Internet of Things’ and ‘Springwise’  are rich with innovation opportunities. For example, ‘Quantified Planet, a non-profit organisation, is in the process of creating an open source community and data platform in order to collect environmental data to make smarter local decisions with global impact.

3. Try, fail, repeat

There is a growing need for an ecosystem of exchanging ideas and experimenting that supports and encourages many new initiatives and failures. This repetitive process is also known as rapid prototyping is how entrepreneurs usually test and rapidly boost towards better solutions. Silicon Valley’s success lies largely in the understanding that in order to find solutions faster, you need to fail as quickly as possible. With climate change, there is no time to put our eggs in just one basket. We need to place as many bets as possible with a low opportunity cost, so they can fail quickly without dire consequences.

4. Keep a lookout for supporting technologies

Some of the best opportunities in innovation are represented by supporting technologies that are driving tremendous growth towards renewable energy. For example, there are technologies supporting the performance of photovoltaics (PVs) such as ‘Otherlab’s’ project, Sunfolding, has created a new solar tracking technology by applying high-volume manufacturing techniques to solar. By addressing the high cost of the control components, Sunfolding has reduced the price of photovoltaic systems and increased capacity, which will definitely help the technology become more widely distributed.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

 

https://hbr.org/2018/01/climate-change-is-an-overwhelming-problem-here-are-4-things-executives-can-do-today

http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/ict_big_data/rob_nail/5_ways_entrepreneurs_are_helping_solve_climate_change

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/299644

Employees and Cyber-Security:Thinking like Hackers

This year, 2017, hasn’t been the best for companies all around the world when it comes to the matter of cyber-security. Given the fact that so many attacks have occurred, many organisations have started to shift their attention towards preparing their employees for a safer workplace environment through better cyber-security programmes. This will, of course, go beyond basic training exercises on protocols and changing passwords. These types of programmes have been rendered obsolete. In order to train your employees against organised hacker attacks, they will have to learn to think just like one.

At first, it is important to understand what a ‘hacker’ means and what he or she does. The first step is to erase everything you ever heard or read about hackers. The media does have a tendency to exaggerate the term and to point fingers towards cyber attackers even when it is not the case. The view on this matter should be broadened.

It has to be said that in the digital era, hackers represent model citizens. They are professional people who are very creative and resourceful. Curiosity is their main drive and due to this quality, they see opportunity in every problem. Furthermore, given the nature of their interest, hackers realise there are few limits to technology and usually display a bit of mistrust in operating systems and know that no piece of software is immune to bugs.

Understanding all of this about hackers is essential. Numerous organisations worldwide have already introduced their employees to the ‘hacker mindset’. Early results have shown a drastic change in perception and value regarding cyber-security, this automatically leads to a better security across all departments. And as an added bonus, curiosity and resourcefulness will become second nature to the employees. There are a few easy steps to which you can start teaching your staff to ‘think’ like hackers.

Sharing Information

When something major happens in your company’s industry, it is recommended to encourage your employees to share their findings with the others. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to prepare a full 5-page report, just a few ideas that are worth mentioning. The idea behind this is to create a workplace where sharing information and thoughts are second nature.

Hackers obviously know what valuable data they are looking for and how to find it, usually searching for something valuable enough they can sell or blackmail the organisation for a large sum of money. This is important to understand when protecting your most prized possessions.

When your employees learn to share and work together to such an extent, it will help build an actual community within the organisation. It will also help create a sense of purpose around the company. Employees will become more and more vigilant of what is happening and will be more alert in detecting and responding to cyber-threats.

 IT Competitions and Hackathons

Encourage employees and even offer them leave days in order to attend hackathons, even if they go to learn and observe. Events like these offer people the chance to disconnect from their day-to-day routine and think outside-the-box in order to solve various issues, which basically describes the process of hacking. The general idea of hackathons is to enable people to flex their brain muscles into thinking in new and creative ways in order to solve problems. Through these exercises, teams manage to avoid one-dimensional group thinking and tunnel vision. Due to the complexity of the exercises, it makes participants and viewers alike more curious of the things happening around them, which is at the heart of a proper cyber activity.

If you wish for your employees to have a more hands-on cyber-security experience, you could arrange for company-wide competitions and games that will enable employees to figure out how cybercrime happens and the means to minimise or stop it. You could also use this opportunity as a means of developing a plan of action which allows security teams to respond as soon as possible. You can plan ahead of time and approve the necessary actions the company must take when malicious activity is detected.

Interdepartmental Collaboration

Introduce the idea of interdepartmental collaboration in the company’s bylaws. This will enable people from all areas to communicate more and offer support when difficult challenges arise.

Even if your organisation has the best security team there is on the market, we all know that humans are bound to make mistakes, it is in our nature. When the same people are looking at the same lines of code all day every day, it’s only a matter of time before something important gets passed them. The most security-conscious companies tend to invite security experts from outside the firm in order to help identify any mishaps the security system may have.

Given the current and future climate of business it is quintessential we learn to think like hackers. If we manage to adopt a ‘hacker mindset’, you will not feel left behind by all the technological advancements. By embracing them and recognising their power and ability to make the world a better and safer place will not be good only for security but for the business industry as well.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

 

https://hbr.org/2017/12/train-your-employees-to-think-like-hackers

https://www.inc.com/brian-kelly/think-like-a-hacker.html

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232402

Work-Life Balance for Parents: Is it Achievable?

Work-life balance has become an obsession for everyone nowadays. There are numerous articles, research papers and self-help books that are offering people advice on how to begin or develop a better balance between their personal and work lives. Unfortunately, the advice given in these reading materials are generally focused on the idea of making changes on individual levels, team expectations in relation to your job attributes or even organisational contexts that affect you only.

In a research paper published recently by Human Relations, they have discovered that our very own upbringing can have a powerful influence on our career and life decisions. Subconsciously, we learn and mirror our parents’ behaviour in terms of work-life balance. The research conducted by Human Relations had 148 in-depth interviews with around 80 parents working in London for law and accounting companies. An equal number of men and women were interviewed with ages ranging from 30 to 50 years old and with positions in middle or upper management roles. In the case of male participants in the study, the majority of them had a stay-at-home wife, but in the case of female participants, this wasn’t the case at all. It is also important to know that most of the participants were coming from middle-class families who were typically formed from a stay-at-home mother and a working father.

The principles and ideas they share are in a direct correlation with the deeply ingrained routines and ideas coming straight from their parents.

Replicating the Parental Model

The majority of male participants have been reported to have a work-life balance similar to the family they grew up in. Like their fathers before them, these men are the sole breadwinners in their household. This has made them internalise the work ethic and has ended with them working very long hours. As mentioned above this effect was stronger for men, due to the fact that both men and women in the study have designated the same-sex parent as their role-model.

Given the fact that these people have seen their parents working hard throughout their childhood and adolescence, their professional careers were inclined to follow in the same footsteps. Although they were able to rationalise and acknowledge the fact that their compulsive work ethic had negative effects on their personal lives it was very difficult for them to change their behaviour both on and off work. Even remotely trying to act divergently, this ‘pre-disposition’ continued to be seen in their actions.

Breaking Off the Parental Model

Worryingly enough, there are fewer cases in which participants have said that they have rejected their parents’ work-life balance. In most cases, this was an intentional act of breaking the ‘status-quo’, but there were a few cases in which participants wanted to distance themselves from their parents’ model even though they wanted to follow up in their footsteps.

Like every human being on this planet, some participants have started to question the influence their parents have had on them, after pondering on failures, regrets or traumatic experiences they might have picked up along their adult life (i.e. a close friend or relative getting sick). After such an experience, participants had a tendency to overhaul their entire schedule and refuse to no longer work weekends or even leaving their employer and finding themselves an environment with a more manageable schedule.

In the case of women, there were two groups that were identified as serious in their significance: women who wanted to be more close to their families because they had workaholic mothers and women who wanted to be more actively involved in the workforce due to their regret-filled stay-at-home mothers.

Parents who actually manage to achieve a rewarding work-life balance do not designate all their time and effort into making their children happy. Interestingly enough, these parents strive on raising children with a strong sense of responsibility who will eventually grow into respectable and responsible adults. These are the parents who ask their kids to help around the house by giving them chores. They establish a clear set of consequences if the kids do not follow through with their tasks. By enabling their children to value hard work and also, this being of quintessential importance, experience disappointment, their personal development will be more easily done.

Neglecting Themselves

Adults often forget about taking care of themselves. This statement is even truer when you’re a parent. It may very well be a cliché, but more often than not clichés are true so it is pretty clear that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to help the closest people to you. Sometimes it may seem near impossible to have some well-deserved ‘me time’, especially if your schedule throughout the day has left you overtired or stretched to the very last drop of energy.

There are a few successful parents in the study that have discovered that taking care of themselves offers them the best chance at being efficient and productive over long periods of time. Relaxation and sleep may be essential, but exercise plays a decisive role nowadays. Physical activity not only improves overall health levels, but it is the key towards finding the right balance between work and family time.

Post-Work Guilt

Somewhat surprising, many parents wouldn’t want to be working full-time, but unfortunately, the current economic and social climate doesn’t offer the possibility of one to stay home or even work part-time. 44% of working mothers have reported they would be thrilled about the idea of working part-time. As mentioned above, this would not be financially feasible. Parents who succeed in today’s working environment have ridden themselves of guilt over the fact that they are working full-time. They feel there is no point in wasting time and energy over-thinking this problem. Coming up with the best plan for their scenario seems like the next best thing (i.e. working flexible hours, full-time job with kids somehow has to work).

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/the-5-things-successful-parents-give-up-to-reach-a-work-life-balance.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/01/20/the-five-things-successful-working-parents-give-up-to-reach-a-work-life-balance/#59e263a157ea

https://hbr.org/2017/10/your-feelings-about-work-life-balance-are-shaped-by-what-you-saw-your-parents-do

Successful Brainstorming: Possibility or Hoax?

In terms of brainstorming, people often tend to forget that in order for it to be achieved the answer is quantity, not quality. Brainstorming represents the essential first step in early stages of a new project, so it is crucial that everyone understands how important it is to be open towards all ideas and variables. Naturally, issues occur when team members feel the need to filter themselves from potentially good ideas that they may seem far-fetched or just simply because they are afraid of rejection and embarrassment.

Another common misconception about brainstorming is that employees and managers alike believe it can be done only in a certain way: the evergreen group discussion with everyone involved. It is not necessarily the worst idea, but it can have major drawbacks from a creative point of view. There is a general tendency that during these meetings, the first two ideas that get bounced around tend to be the focus of the entire meeting. In a recent study on traditional brainstorming methods, it has been discovered the fact that only a handful of people do approximately 60-75% of the talking. Logically, it can prevent other ideas from being discussed.

How to Make Brainstorming Better

There are many ideas through which brainstorming sessions can become more practical, based on individual creativity, idea generation and a better meeting experience. The following strategies will help your organisation’s brainstorming.

1. Select only necessary employees: Choose the people you need for a brainstorming session. If the meeting is filled with people who have no relation to the nature of the discussion, their contribution and participation will be zero. Moreover, more people mean a higher level of difficulty in passing along ideas given the fact that people may exhibit anxiety in explaining their ideas. A manager’s best bet here is the creative individuals who can actually carry the discussion in a productive manner.

2. Brief sessions: It is as clear as day that shorter meetings are more efficient. The current tradition is for a meeting to last for an hour. However, shortening the meeting time will entice people to bring ideas to the table much faster with a healthy disregard to keeping some ideas for themselves. Normally, a meeting shouldn’t be any longer than 30 minutes. Managers can always do follow-up meetings to discuss leftover ideas or if the schedule is too hectic then the recommendation is individual brainstorming time.

3. “Bad” ideas are welcomed: Managers should encourage their employees to speak their mind. Good ideas “happen” after a lot of other ideas have been bounced off at the meeting table. People should understand the fact that there is a very fine line between good and bad ideas. From a managers point of view all ideas are welcomed given the obvious fact that it will lead to the best solution in the end.


Read also: What Makes a Great CPO


4. Brain Writing: The general principle of this technique is to separate idea generation from actually talking. The manager shares the topic with the team, and the team members individually write down their ideas. This helps eliminate anchoring and encourages everyone on the team to share their own ideas. It also gives everyone more time to think over their ideas, which is especially helpful for your introverted participants. This brainstorming technique works best for teams who seem to be greatly influenced by the first ideas presented during a meeting. When you get your team to brainstorm ideas individually, away from distraction and public opinion, concepts are generated that may not naturally surface when in a larger setting. Individual brainstorming techniques such as this will often give you more unique ideas than when the group is left to think up topic ideas.

 5. Online Brainstorming: These days, virtual teams are becoming more and more common across all industries. The evolution of email and collaboration tools makes working remotely the norm in some organisations. Having a central location online where team members can collaborate is crucial for these virtual teams — talking here about cloud-based document storage or an online collaboration tool. One of those brainstorming exercises for groups involves using an online mind-mapping tool to answer very specific questions or simply to generate ideas that might be tangential to the main problem. What other ideas surround this concept? Map these examples out, visually.

 

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://www.wrike.com/blog/techniques-effective-brainstorming/

https://www.inc.com/larry-alton/5-strategies-for-team-brainstorming-to-use-in-your-next-meeting.html

https://www.inc.com/kat-boogaard/4-easy-tips-to-improve-your-brainstorming-sessions.html

Presentation Mistakes: Why it Happens and How to Solve It

At some point in your life, you must have experienced this unfortunate event. You are halfway through your presentation and things are going amazing. Your speech is fluent, the audience is engaged and you are feeling confident. But, somehow, your mind draws a blank. And your mind starts racing: “Oh no, things are getting bad! What was I about to say?”

If you relate in any way to this situation, you obviously know how awkward and cringe that feeling can be. It is also difficult to regain your rhythm. So the question now beckons; what can you do to avoid this mental mishap? Fortunately for everyone, there are a few tricks you can use and they will follow in the list below.

  1. Oversimplification isn’t helpful

Regularly, keeping things simple is one first public-speaking strategies you can follow, but there is a limit to simplicity as well. For example, if you are looking for one word or phrase to best explain various ideas you may not select the right one. Consequently, your thoughts get tangled, and your mind has to go through the whole process of unravelling each idea and then try to put them back together in the appropriate order.

Sometimes, all you need to get baffled during a presentation is to forget or cannot find the right word. This usually happens when people are trying to compress 2-3 ideas into one. That is where the mind can no longer cope. When preparing for a presentation it is essential you pinpoint every main idea and afterwards search for explicit language in order to convey it. Oversimplifying can make people struggle during a presentation in which everyone is paying attention to them.

  1. Never mention how many points you are going to make

This one is one of the most common mistakes out there. People should avoid telling the public how many points they are going to make because once the audience has a number in their head, be assured they will be counting. Being prone to mistakes due to our human nature, you may forget which exact point you were talking about and will have to encounter that awkward silence trying to remember where you left off.

In terms of strategies, people should also avoid using terms and idioms such as: “first of all”, “secondly”, “third” etc. It is recommended you keep things a little bit ambiguous by saying: “One of our strategies”, “Another one of our strategies” and so on and so forth. If you manage to keep out numerical terms from your speech you are helping your mind avoid going blank.

  1. Keep your rhythm

If you happen to stumble during your speech, do not get stuck trying to make it right. There are speakers out there that once they mispronounce a word their next thought is completely deleted from their “system” due to the simple fact that they thought about their mistake. In order to get passed the “system” failure all you have to do is reconnect with your speech rhythm. Start by breathing. When people breathe, they have the opportunity to get the body back in sync and from that their thoughts will start flowing again.

Drawing a blank is nothing to be scared or ashamed of. It happens to absolutely everyone and it doesn’t mean that you are not cut out to be a speaker. A true speaker is the one who knows how to make mistakes less often and how to recover quickly when it happens.

  1. Technical difficulties

There is nothing worse than sitting around and waiting for a presenter to figure out how to make the projector or clicker works or even worse, listening to a presentation without visual aids because he or she couldn’t make it work. Be prepared to connect to anything. Know beforehand the kind of projector, the size of the screen, and the layout of the room so you can be prepared for anything.

  1. Disorganised presentation

When people have to make a presentation, most people open up PowerPoint and start making slides.  That is a really bad idea. At first, use sticky notes to prepare your presentation’s story. It will save you loads of time and make your presentation more organised. Plus, if you want to create an emotional response in your audience use full-screen pictures. The text should just be used for facts. Animations are fun for the person making the presentation, but they don’t usually add anything valuable to it.

It is as clear as day that mistakes are inevitable; there will be a point in everyone’s career when they will have to make a presentation. Of course, for some people, public speaking is their opportunity to shine, but for others, it may seem like the perfect nightmare. Wherever you think you may have a problem, these tricks will help you develop your presentation skills.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/239443

https://www.fastcompany.com/40478112/heres-how-to-avoid-drawing-a-blank-in-the-middle-of-your-presentation

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/presentation-mistakes.htm

Innovation through Failure

For the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, every practice session ends up with something a little bit surprising and that the analysis of their mistakes. The pilots do not congratulate each other on their training achievements, but rather say what they did wrong in front of the whole group and how they plan to fix that issue. Even though they are expert aviators, the Blue Angels do not allow their pride to come in the way of further improvement. Their approach is meant to strengthen ownership, to encourage the desire of being better and also coming up with a plan for it as well.

Failure is often seen as inevitable, but the way in which it should be viewed is invaluable. Failure is common in all industries, economic situations and market trends; it is one of life’s best philosophies. If your employees do not fear failure, they have a very good chance of succeeding. Fear is a very powerful component of the human mind, it makes people disengage, panic and pull out of possibly prolific business opportunities. The past cannot be fixed, but learning from past experiences can enable employees into harnessing a strong sense of innovation. Here are just a few tips through which companies can enable their workers to be more innovative.

  1. Creating an innovation prone environment

This has to start right from the very top. CEOs and CFOs have to start creating an internal ecosystem in which innovation can flourish. In order to begin garnering innovation, there has to be a clear vision of what the company wishes to achieve and how innovation is at the very heart of it. Leadership teams within the organisation have to figure out the right way in which employees can be motivated and inspired in order for them to deliver on any innovative ideas the company may want to implement.

Of course, selection and recruitment play a very important role in this matter. The HR department has to recruit the right candidates, people who are well-trained on how to come up with ideas and to properly establish what kind of tools and resources they require in order to create, test and receive feedback from customers. All of these processes together help create an innovative culture. An organisation that tries out a lot of ideas will definitely encounter failure but chances are, success is closer than ever. Due to the fact that companies have numerous initiatives, they improve their chances that one of them will be a major score.

  1. Outside-the-box thinking and aggressiveness

Usually, the basic culture of a team promotes safe-playing. In layman’s terms, be on time, try not to upset the hierarchy, follow the group norms and have a steady paycheck. This type of model is clearly an innovation killer and can put an organisation light years behind the competition. For example, entrepreneurs have never been people who play it safe. Also, they praise employees within their organisation that actually do something and are outside-the-box thinkers. Managers have to make sure their teams do not rest on their laurels because there is no such as thing as a one-size-fits-all game plan. It is essential that entrepreneurs and managers empower their workers to come forward with their ideas, to present their action plan and put it into practice afterwards.

Of course mistakes and odd product releases may happen but that is simply part of the business world as we know it. In the 1950s, the Jacuzzi brothers invented a whirlpool bathtub in order to treat people with arthritis. Even though the product worked in the way it was intended, from a sales point of view it was a total bust. Unfortunately for them, their target market was small, due to the simple fact that not a lot of people could afford expensive bathtubs. The idea was killed immediately after but was relaunched in a completely different market – luxury item for the rich. Obviously, it was an instant hit.

In 1959, Honda Motor Company entered the US market with their range of low-powered motorcycles. Things were going from bad to worse for Honda, as it learned in a very cruel way that what was tremendously popular in Tokyo suburb areas was a complete flop on American soil. After a while, they came back in the US with high-powered bikes that became an instant success. The founder of Honda, Soichiro Honda had this to say: “Many people dream of success. Success can only be achieved through repeated failure and introspection. Success represents the one percent of your work that results from the 99 percent that is called failure.”

Great deals of successes have been failures in the beginning. What today may seem like a logical invention that was meant exactly for that purpose, this is not always the case. People have to ready to fail; success cannot be achieved without gaining all the necessary variables from a problem. At Penn State University, there is a course for engineering students which is called Failure 101. The sole purpose of this class is for students to take risks and do as many experiments as possible. The more fails they have it gets them that much closer to an A grade.

Another great example is Christopher Columbus. He set out to discover a new and easier route to India. He landed in America and the rest is history. Pfizer scientists were testing a drug called Viagra which was meant to reduce high blood pressure. After further investigations it lead to the discovery of the effects it had on men, thus making Viagra one of the most successful failures in recent history. Another great example is regarding champagne. It was invented by a monk called Dom Perignon and it happened when a bottle of wine had fermented twice. 3M invented glue that wasn’t sticky enough. However, it was the basis for the invention of our daily used Post-it notes.

A leader who thrives on innovation will always encourage a culture of experimentation. People must learn that every failure they encounter is another step closer towards the road to success. Allow your employees to have the necessary freedom to innovate, to experiment and to be successful. All in all, it means allowing them the freedom to fail as well.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/294673

https://www.forbes.com/sites/karenhigginbottom/2017/08/03/why-the-ability-to-fail-leads-to-innovation/#5bfd624a36f6

http://www.innovationmanagement.se/imtool-articles/failure-is-the-mother-of-innovation/

Overworked Employees: Signs and Prevention

Every manager dreams of having a team full of hard-working employees, people who, on a daily basis, come in engaged, focused and prepared to reach all of their goals. And while everyone can appreciate employees who are very productive, there is a fine line between productivity and burnout when we talk medium to long-term. Unfortunately, that line is not hard to cross. All they have to do is start believing they have to work longer hours, even though business hours were over a few hours ago.

Perhaps there are managers out there that don’t want to realise this is a rising trend. In 2015, a report from Workfront “State of Enterprise Work” analysed the working hours of more than 600 employees. 52% of them have said they work longer not to catch up with assignments but actually to get ahead. This statistic raises a number of questions:

  • Do employees think this is what is expected of them?
  • Where does this feeling of working longer hours come from?
  • Are employees trying to avoid getting overwhelmed by work?

Perhaps an even better question would be:

  • Why don’t managers acknowledge this?

Managers have the responsibility to establish an environment where employees know and feel that they appreciated for their efforts instead of constantly questioning themselves and think they need to put in more and more work. Although the latter scenario may sound ideal, it is as clear as day that it leads to exhausted and even burntout employees.

Your business may be flourishing, but if you do not have any workers left to run the operations smoothly, employee turnover levels may change quickly. If you feel your employees have been neglected or have been overworking themselves, it may be time to take action and prevent anyone from quitting. Here are a few quick steps to implement in order to boost morale and bring back engagement at respectable levels.

Employee attitude shift

When employees start getting exhausted and frustrated about their workload, their attitude starts to drift towards a more negative perspective on work-related issues. Perhaps you have noticed some of your workers being angry and extremely irritable with frequent outburst towards their colleagues. It is a very clear sign they are over-worked and over-stressed. They may require some time off work or if deadlines are piling up the manager should be directly involved in dealing with day-to-day tasks and activities.

Higher working hours/week

In the vast majority of companies, the typical employee works more than 40 hours per week, more often than not it goes beyond 50 hours. In John Pencavel’s Stanford study, he has discovered that productivity reaches its maximum potential at around 49 hours, after that it dips down dramatically. If your workers are constantly working over 50 hours a week, it may a clear sign of exhaustion. Long hours lead to lower engagement levels, frustration and eventually burnout, so it is essential that the manager checks the average working hours put in by his team. Also, try and encourage your staff to work more reasonable hours in a week.

Vacation Days

There are situations in which employees do not use up all of their vacation days. This typically happens when they are over-burdened with work or they feel they haven’t pulled up their weight in the past few weeks or months. This where the HR department has to keep a close eye on employees, who do not use their vacation days in order to relax and decompress.  A quarterly review of this situation is imperative so that companies avoid burnout employees.

Increased employee turnover

It is common knowledge that stressed and exhausted employees are always susceptible to quitting. Obviously, this happens because employees have stopped being happy and they start seeking other employment opportunities. Providing flexibility for their work schedule can go a long way to reducing unwanted stress. Some people may be excellent workers during the early hours of the morning while others are night owls; allowing your employees some leeway with their schedule can be a simple way to create a happier and more productive work culture. Also, provide your employees with a Goals and Objectives document. This enables you, the manager, to have discussions with your staff regarding new projects or deadlines in order to mutually determine project priorities, shuffling due dates and rebalance workloads.

“Unplugging” from work

This has to start from the manager exclusively, by avoiding sending emails or texts during night time. Managers have to show faith in the importance of their employees’ life. A life in which they work, they have time for their hobbies and time to rest. Everyone needs to detach from work, which nowadays automatically means to spend time away from our smartphones and gadgets.

Bottom line is, there has to be respect for the people who work for you. It is essential for the manager to provide work for his employees, tasks that are challenging and exciting whilst at the same time making sure they do not overload. With the right balance and tension between projects can help create a wonderful working atmosphere with properly engaged and motivated employees. Managers should be mindful and keep an eye on for various signs that their team might reach the burnout point. Employees tend to keep their thoughts and ideas to themselves, afraid of what might happen if they confront their managers. This is why it’s up to the managers to observe and adjust any unfair situations that may develop in the workplace.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

 

https://www.inc.com/mandy-gilbert/what-to-do-when-everyones-overworked-and-theres-a.html?cid=hmpopface5

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/286777

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/how-to-manage-a-staff-that%E2%80%99s-overworked.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2015/11/08/8-signs-that-you-could-be-accidentally-over-working-your-team/#1f52711a5899

How to Stop Thinking about Work

For many people, work has become synonymous with their personal lives. Whether employees love or hate their current job, they most likely are thinking about what they have to do, even in their off hours. There are times when planning and organising future moves is helpful and useful, but when you do something for too long it may become detrimental to your personal life and health.

If you have had nights in which you cannot fall asleep because you are stressing out over what you have to do at work and start ignoring your friends, which may be the sign that you are in way over your head.

In layman’s terms, bringing work back into your home can transform you into a very tensed, boring, stressed-out and sleep-deprived person. If any of these thoughts have invaded your mind lately…

  • The business will fall apart in my absence.
  • There is a definite crisis at the office.
  • I’ll definitely receive a very important email anytime soon.

… you may require a real break from everything starting from the office environment and even the city where you do your business. It sounds easier said than done because fear plays an important role in achieving a healthy work-life balance. In order to start coping with this situation here are a few suggestions of what you can do:

Bypassing the brain in order to relax

The vast majority of people can agree that smartphones make our lives just a little bit easier. Unfortunately, they have become problematic for many employees who cannot resist the temptation of checking their emails and workload. Because we have incorporated smartphones into our day-to-day business activities, they activate the Zeigarnik Effect – which represents the difficulty with which people forget something that has been left incomplete. This is a real psychological justification why people struggle to switch off during vacations. However, there are ways in which we can reduce the Zeigarnik Effect to become part of our private lives.

  1. Sports – Taking up tennis, or going out with your friends to play a game of football can set your mind free of the incomplete activities you have going on at work. Basically, everything that necessitates constant focus in order to keep your mind busy on something new and fresh.
  2. Turn it off – If you know that physical exercises cannot make you give up your gadget, it’s time to switch it up a notch: turn it off or give to your friends or family to hide it. At some point, the brain will give up on trying to solve those problems.

Focus on future actions instead of work

When employees are out of office, some of them are experiencing what is called informally as ‘fear of missing out’ or FOMO. People tend to think that while they are out of office something important is going to happen and they are not there to experience it. Obviously, this leads to people obsessively checking their emails and forgetting to relax.

The solution here is pretty straight forward. People have to start focusing on things they are about to do in the near future rather than what they are going to miss out on. For example, if your plan is not to think about work you already lost the battle because you’re actually thinking about work. Instead, aim your attention towards a dinner party you’re about to attend or all the time you get to spend with your children. For better results keep it as specific as possible. For example, instead of thinking of ‘family time’, think about how you are going to take the kids to see a movie or go with them to the park and play.

In conclusion, try and set yourselves up for success. Try and put away anything work related when you get home. If that means you have to turn your phone off or leaving your laptop at the door as soon as you get home then by all means, just do it. Make it difficult for you to access work-related actions, given the fact that you will think at least twice before accessing it.

This is where Great People Inside comes to your aid. Our online platform offers the best solutions and tools for your company’s employees to thrive in any possible situation your organisation may find itself. In terms of lowering your employee turnover rates, we recommend our GR8 Full Spectrum assessment for hiring and 360° Survey for retention. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-ways-to-stop-thinking-about-work-when-youre-not-there

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-stop-working-when-youre-off-the-clock-1798470779

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/work/how-to-stop-worrying-about-work-and-unwind-on-holiday/

https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/science-explains-how-to-end-your-compulsion-to-work-on-vacation.html

The Effectiveness of High-Potential Employee Programs

High-potential (HIPO) employees find themselves in the top 5% within an organisation, based on their individual performances. They are considered the company’s most prized assets and are being tipped-off to go into leadership positions. But this is easier said than done. In most cases, organisations develop HIPO programs in order to train their best employees in becoming future leaders.

Although high-potential employee programs might seem like the perfect solution, over 40% of the people participating do not belong there, according to the data analysed by the Harvard Business Review (HBR). The information gathered by HBR consists of 1,964 high potential employees, from 3 distinct companies, who have measured their leadership abilities through 360° assessments. Feedback is immediate, with analysis reports being developed almost instantly. This type of assessment is done when organisations wish to measure capabilities such as low turnover, employee engagement and high productivity. Obviously, the better the score, the better the outcome.

When looking at the data gathered from the participants in the HIPO programs, the results were outlandish. 12% of them found themselves in the lowest quadrant in leadership effectiveness; resulting in an overall 42% below average. They’re not in the top 5% anymore, not by a mile.

What about the quality of the HIPO programs that are running in your company? There are a couple of mistakes that may come along the way in regards to these programs:

  1. Performance doesn’t equal potential: HIPO programs tend to focus too much on performance and that generally leads to problems in today’s ever changing business climate. First of all, most companies do not know how to measure performance given the fact that if subjective ratings are eliminated, there are very few metrics left to count on. Secondly, even if the right parameters are chosen to measure performance, most top performers cannot handle or are simply not prepared for the next level. The transition from being a simple employee to a manager, or from a manager to a leader, requires abilities most people haven’t been trained for before. Plus, there is always the possibility that HIPO employees focus on solving problems or an all-round team player. Unfortunately, this leads to people placed in jobs they are not able or do not want to perform. It is absolutely vital to understand that performance represents what you do and potential is simply what you COULD do. If you are really good at doing X this doesn’t mean you will be great at doing Y – X and Y here being two distinct activities.
  2. HIPO’s have their weaknesses: Here, the Pareto principle fits the bill quite perfectly. If you don’t know what the Pareto principle is, here is the explanation: 20% of employees make up for 80% of the company’s revenues and profits. Based on this idea, it is clear that 20% of employees cause 80% of the problems within an organisation. Coincidentally or not, they are most often than not, the same employees. HIPO personnel, who generally know their worth, are frequently more difficult to manage. Nevertheless, no matter how astute these people are, they tend to have a dark side as well. In this scenario, the HR department has to intervene. Unfortunately, when it does intervene, the focus is on improving their existing qualities which leaves out their other personality problems to roam free. Overworked strengths have a tendency to become weaknesses and that is not good news for any organisation.

It is a well-known fact that a top performer may start having difficulties at his job when he is placed in a leadership role. It is clear he may perform well in one company but he cannot have the same impact and results in another organisation. It all depends on his vision and leadership, and these qualities are not easy to find.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

We help you find the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. The GR8 360° tool is excellent at developing managerial competencies, skills and behaviours. When using this assessment, you will find over 50 dimensions that come along with suggestions for future improvement and development. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

 

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Sources:

www.hbr.org

www.dcebglobal.com

www.forbes.com

Productivity vs. Efficiency – What Are the Differences?

In any given organisation, productivity and efficiency are highly regarded. Most managers and employees get their feedback based on these two factors. But what exactly do we mean when we say productivity or efficiency? Apparently there are some questions around this topic that haven’t been answered yet.

In order to explain the differences between productivity and efficiency, we must first understand what they exactly mean. To put it in simpler terms, we are talking about differences between quantity and quality. It is nearly impossible to obtain 100% quality, while having productivity levels up at maximum. There should be a middle ground in order to optimise your results.

Both productivity and efficiency are absolutely crucial for building a fantastic work ethic. If you manage to learn how to handle both of them and what makes them distinctly important, you and your business will thrive. As a beginner, you may be tempted to focus too much on efficiency and although this isn’t a bad thing to do, understanding the key variables between efficiency and productivity is imperative.

Given the complexity of this issue, insight is required on what these two factors actually are.

Productivity

At its very core, productivity shows you the rate at which products are being developed or a task is being completed.  When you are measuring productivity things get a little more complex than that. You have to take into account whether it’s physical or office work, if the job requires a certain quality factor or the impact a specific industry’s requirements may have on its workers. Nonetheless, productivity is an integral part of any successful company.

Efficiency

Efficiency is all about the comparison between what is really being produced or performed with what can be produced taking into account the same amount of resources, such as: money, time and labour. In simpler terms, efficiency measures whether there is any waste in your company. Depending on the industry you work in, efficiency may be more desirable than productivity, but usually their importance is proportionate.

Efficiency vs. Productivity

Everyone wants to be as productive as possible, but there are always problems of various sorts that keep us from getting the job done. Firstly, don’t waste more time than necessary when completing a task. Try and set your own rhythm and pace and stick to it. Try and write down every step necessary in order to complete a certain task and follow that process religiously. Once you have the whole process set in stone, you will see that the amount of time you require will steadily decrease.

Many people ask if it is possible to be productive and efficient at the same time and the answer is yes. All you have to do is analyse the task at hand and try and find out what it requires more; whether it is quantity or quality.

It all comes down to the importance of the task. As an example, let’s talk about employee enquiries towards the HR department. We all know they must be dealt with in a respectable amount of time. This type of task is considered to be more on the productive side, due to the fact that it is the same process over and over again, with the same forms and documentation that need to be filled out every time. You can finish all the enquiries quickly and with complete certainty that their quality is top notch as long as you deal with them in the correct manner.

With efficiency tasks, most often than not they do not have a precise and by the book approach. These tasks obviously require more time and a high level of due diligence. In this scenario, quality trumps quantity. Of course, every task has a deadline. But if you happen to have the misfortune of dealing with it poorly, it doesn’t necessarily matter too much. You should always work at your full potential, but given the fact that the assignment doesn’t have a methodological way of dealing with it, you have some wiggle room and the possibility to improve it.

As mentioned earlier in the article, it is very important for both productivity and efficiency to be part of your workflow. It provides you with time, expertise and discipline in order to handle distinct assignments. Balancing productivity and efficiency may seem troublesome at first, but once you find it, certain tasks will stop being such a burden on you.

In conclusion, one more idea that is important to remember is this: never sacrifice your work. If you need to do good, solid work then don’t rush it by any means, and when you are looking for quantity don’t get yourself lost in too many details. With this in mind, you can accomplish anything you want. Do the work you have to do the way it was meant to be done and never compromise. It is essential you know and understand the differences between these two practices in order to ensure your work never has to suffer again.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

We help you find the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. The GR8 Productivity Gap tool is excellent at showcasing the evolution of any given employee over time. By contrasting two assessments made before and after training, it allows you to analyse both your employees’ development and their involvement in the process as well.

 

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Sources:

www.smallbusiness.chron.com

www.doityourself.com

www.differencebetween.info

www.selfthrive.com