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Essential Routines for a Productive & Less Stressful 2021

When we were sent home last March, we patched together work habits to survive the new world of work and life. You endured and made it to 2021.

Now, as the new year unfolds, it’s time to level up and replace survival work processes, with practices that support and enable your productive side, performance, and peace of mind.

Here are the three essential routines you need to make the months ahead more productive and less stressful.

IDENTIFY YOUR ENERGY BOOST MOMENT

When the commute to your “office” is a few minutes from your bedroom to your sofa or kitchen table and the days of pandemic life merge together, it’s imperative to identify your energy boost moment so you can get an early win to ignite your energy and motivation for the day. Here are four ways you can jump-start your day.

Compete to beat your own time. Time yourself on a routine task. For example, how long does it take you to make breakfast? Read and respond to 12 emails? Or prepare the weekly report? Turn these routine tasks into a competition with yourself and see how fast you can go. You will be surprised at how much you can accomplish and how motivated you are to take on the day.

Organise and empower your perfectionism. Straighten up your workspace, file emails, or alphabetize your spices. Then stand back, admire your work, and tell yourself you did a great job. Now move on to the first task on your task list with confidence and vigor.

Dress in clothes that make you feel professional and productive. Before you skip over this potential energy boost moment, know that there is a scientific theory called “enclothed cognition” that supports the effect that clothes have on how we feel and act. According to Dr. Nina Vasan, a psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, “Clothing shapes your mental state and productivity. When you are stuck at home all day, what you wear can set the tone for what you are doing.” Dig into the back of your closet and pull out your favorite jacket, dress, or shirt. Put it on and use it to get your mind ready to work.

Move your body. You’ve heard it before, however, exercise does work to elevate your energy level. In a University of Georgia randomized controlled trial, researchers split people into three groups” low-intensity, moderate-intensity, and a control group (no exercise). During the six-week experiment, both exercise groups reported growing levels of energy compared to the control group. And, the good news, the low-intensity group reported less fatigue than the moderate-intensity group. Start your day with jumping jacks, a walk, or a few yoga poses, and get your blood and energy flowing.

ACHIEVE A 5 S.T.A.R. DAY

Targeted, intentional planning is how you achieve your goals and reduce stress. When you plan your upcoming work week, follow the four-step S.T.A.R. process.

S – Strategic: Review your strategic goals for the month.

T – Tasks: Identify the tasks that support the accomplishment of your strategic objectives. These are the discrete next action steps you need to perform to achieve your goals. Clarity is essential. Focus on the “must-dos,” not the “nice to-dos.” All action steps need to start with an action verb, for example, submit, call, or email.

A – Allocate: Allocate time on your calendar to complete your tasks. Is there time available on your calendar to complete the tasks required to achieve your goals? If not, look for opportunities to create time capacity. Can you decline a meeting where you are not required to provide information, represent a constituency, or be a decision-maker? Can you shorten a meeting or look for an alternative way to accomplish the meeting’s objective? Can you renegotiate a deadline to create capacity this week?

Now, you are ready to organise your calendar to achieve your goals. You have three options: block your days in either small, precise increments of time, block your days in larger time increments or create theme days. To create theme days, you organize your days around a theme, category, or type of work. For example, administration, team development, sales, prospecting, or writing. Review your tasks and the core accountabilities of your job to determine your theme days. Once you have identified your themes, select a theme or themes for each day of the week. Note the theme for that day on your calendar, and complete tasks and projects aligned to that theme.

R – Results: Commit to your results. When you are asked to attend a meeting without an agenda or join a call to “catch-up,” remember that every time you say yes to a request, you are saying no to something else. Honour you and your time. Intentionally say “yes” and “no” to requests for your time.

CELEBRATE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND SUCCESSES

In a remote work environment, it’s difficult to receive the affirmation and praise you readily heard in your office. Gone are the days of a “thank-you” in the break room from your colleague or the “great job on the presentation” from your boss as you walk past their office. It’s up to you to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments and successes. At the end of the work week assess how productive you were and how well you aligned with your strategic goals, or count your check marks on your task list, or reflect on any positive feedback you received via email or on a Zoom call. We all want and need to be seen and valued. Recognise how you have added value to your team, company, and customers.

It’s a new year. Use the start of the year as an opportunity to create new routines that will energise you, which will make you more productive, and remove stress from your workday.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

http://www.elivingtoday.com/lifestyle/item/1154-4-tips-for-a-productive-2021
https://www.fitnancials.com/productivity-tips/
https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/Accountancy-Ireland/Home/AI-Articles/learn-from-2020-for-a-productive-2021

Turn Your Underperformer into a Key Employee

Almost every leader out there has been in the unsavoury position of managing someone who believes their performance is terrific when it’s actually just mediocre at best. Recent studies in performance management have identified this as one of the most frequent and draining problems: the underperformer.

What causes the mismatch between these employees’ real output and their perceptions of success? Some may not be receiving the resources and clear feedback they need to develop and improve; others may be unable to recognize that they’re struggling. Whatever the cause, if leaders fail to address the situation, the lagging employee’s work will not improve, and the organization will lose the value of a team member who could thrive if given the proper support. Perhaps a more insidious risk is that the leader will appear to condone substandard work, and competent employees may become demotivated and disengage. But if you can identify the likely cause of an underperformer and his or her lack of self-awareness, these five approaches will help you correct the problem behaviours — or understand whether that’s even possible.

Expectations must be clear

A non-profit client had a congenial work environment and a cultural commitment to understanding each other’s needs. The board chair was exasperated by the lack of results from a particular VP, who believed she was doing fine because she was making an effort. The board chair reminded the VP’s manager, a senior executive, that he was responsible for ensuring results. The manager reinforced performance objectives with the VP, but because he didn’t want to blame her or hurt her feelings, didn’t explain the harm to the organization or the fact that her job was in jeopardy. He continued to lose confidence in the VP and eventually reduced her duties as an indirect way of acknowledging her lack of progress. Both the board chair and the manager later acknowledged that no one had been direct enough with her about her performance problems.

Employees require resources and support

Most employees need leadership, mentoring, and strong supervision in order to develop, particularly if they’re stepping into a function that’s new to the company or are promoted to fill an absence in the organisation. If their natural skills are insufficient to meet the requirements of their role and responsibilities, they may not even perceive what their deficits are.

A client company promoted a director to cover the gap left by the sudden departure of an executive two levels up. No one in the senior leadership evaluated the new director’s development needs, despite the fact that he was suddenly responsible for large numbers of people performing varied jobs. The new director assumed he was doing well by virtue of the promotion. But because this more complex job couldn’t be managed like his old one, the director became a burned-out micromanager, creating operating bottlenecks and severe employee dissatisfaction.

Determine whether the individual is worth the time & resources investment

If you’re not, it’s much more practical to reduce your expectations. In response to increasing frustration with a VP who consistently talked a great game but whose results over several years were always just shy of their target, a CEO eventually reassigned some of the riskier and sexier aspects of the VP’s job to another executive. The VP was offended, but stayed — and from an underperformer he became more successful given the reduced scope of responsibilities.

Discover whether they’ll accept help

It’s emotionally draining to keep faking success or status that’s not legitimate. In contrast to the people who experience imposter syndrome, many others fall victim to the Dunning-Krueger effect, a cognitive bias that prevents people from recognising how badly they’re performing and that they need help. A mid-level administrator at a client organisation resented the suggestion that his skills needed to improve and ignored the coaching that was offered to him. He found fault with everyone who questioned him and began setting up his colleagues, undercutting them, and misrepresenting their contributions and concerns. When these actions came to light, the business was forced to let him given the fact that besides being an underperformer he also became a very toxic presence for the work environment.

Praise carefully

When an employee with an inflated sense of their own performance delivers high-quality work or conducts an interaction well, it’s important to praise them. But letting the praise stand alone can encourage them to think that everything they do is outstanding. Connect your positive comments to other things you want them to address. For example, you could say, “Now that you’ve done so well with the ABC presentation, for the next one, I’d like you to also [do the next thing they need to improve]. It’s important because…” Make sure you’re clear about both the necessary new behaviour and why it’s required as part of satisfactory job performance. They may still think too highly of themselves, but doing this gives you a better chance of getting the crucial behaviours you need.

Helping an unaware underperformer be more realistic about their work requires a lot of attention and involvement. Understanding what’s driving their lack of awareness will either help you determine what support they need in order to improve, or confirm your assessment that they just might not be able to satisfy the requirements of the job. Managing one underperformer or more isn’t easy, and it can make you feel like you just lost the employee lottery. But with a little patience and self-awareness, you may find that there are some ways that you can better help those struggling on your team—and maybe even turn them into a success story.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://modus.medium.com/the-skilled-managers-guide-to-dealing-with-underperformers-dd0386c6893d
https://www.themuse.com/advice/6-signs-its-not-your-employee-whos-the-problem-its-you
https://www.vantageleadership.com/our-blog/dave-sowinski-on-dealing-with-underperformers-who-really-failed/

Delegation Is An Art: How Should It Be Done?

Delegation is a good idea but often falls flat in practice. Despite hiring bright minds and able hands, managers often find themselves overburdened and overloaded with tasks. Best practices tell individuals to focus on the highest priorities and delegate tasks to others, especially if it offers the opportunity for growth and development of your team. While this idea is great in theory, many people run into trouble.

A one-size-fits-all approach to delegation represents a strategy doomed to defeat. You could identify an item to delegate and then rely on the direct reports to figure out how to execute it or to speak up with questions if needed to. Unfortunately, not every item or even every employee is suited to this process, and problems can reveal themselves hours or minutes before a deadline. Here are four common reasons why delegation fails and what to do about them.

Lack of Critical Thinking

While many of us want to be considered smart, focusing on how others see you can be problematic when overplayed. If you jump in too early and too often with insights, your peers and direct reports will never have an opportunity to develop their own expertise. Confidence also takes a beating when people enter a meeting knowing they will leave feeling less than their manager. And while your insights may be helpful, they’re often offered only after a team has invested weeks of work preparing a presentation. It’s also dangerous to have only one person doing most of the critical thinking in an organisation; you could be leaving your company vulnerable to blind spots.

To elevate your team’s capacity to think for themselves, embed the practice of coaching early in the process. Instead of providing answers, ask questions. The quality of their insights will be directly proportional to the quality of your questions. For instance, by asking, “How would our chief competitor respond to this strategy?” Open-ended questions allow others to broaden their lens and consider new angles, rather than merely data-gathering queries. Instead of having to supply the solution, you activate others’ critical thinking skills.

Lack of Initiative

Sometimes employees lack the initiative to make bold moves or even follow up on smaller ones. They could agree to action items that they left incomplete or fail to communicate why they would miss a deadline. If you find yourself almost always initiating follow-up discussions then that is not delegating, that resembles micromanaging a lot more.

If your attempts at delegation are failing because you think others lack initiative or follow-through, address it tactically and strategically. Assign someone to jot down notes, action items, dates, and ownership before the end of each meeting, and start the next meeting following up on promises made. While this might sound basic, nearly half of the executive teams I work with lack appropriate hygiene in follow-through. More strategically, consider crafting a “placemat”— a one-page document (about the size of a placemat) that lists top priorities. A placemat signals what you plan to reward and provides another way to increase employee motivation. By scrubbing sloppy execution and signalling what truly matters, you can shape up accountability and motivation.

Lack of Quality

Unleash your team’s ability to contribute quality. First, provide them with a list of common mistakes in a presentation and what you would like instead. For example, instead of wordsmithing the title of a slide so it’s shorter, direct your team to deliver slide titles that don’t overflow to a second line. You can even delegate drafting this list to your direct reports based on what they already know about your preferences. Second, instead of fixing the fault, point it out and request a repair. Annotate a document with comments, instead of redlining it with direct edits. This will take more time initially but save you time in the long run as your team learns what you’re looking for. This may also require earlier deadlines, so your direct reports aren’t submitting final products at the last minute — and that’s ok. By showing them where they can improve, you’ll find that you’ll have better quality presentations and more time in the future.

Lack of Speed

Almost every CEO I have worked with marches to the beat of “CEO time” — a time warp where they either think they can (or they do) complete tasks faster than others. This may be the case because the CEO is more experienced, is clear about what she wants up front, doesn’t have to spend time divining or iterating to tailor the task, and hasn’t taken into account the extra time spent by employees because they want to look professional in front of the boss.

The next time you have what you consider a “quick” task, ask your team member how long they think it will take. If there is a discrepancy, ask about their process and the reason for the estimate. If necessary, you can help shave off time but removing unnecessary frills or details. For example, they may not need to create a beautiful slide deck but simply write up two paragraphs. On the other hand, you will start to become better educated about what and how long it takes to complete a delegated task and adjust your expectations accordingly.

Managers often experience the push and pull of delegation. We push out the work, only to pull it back again when it fails to meet expectations. By diving deeper into the point of failure, we can better address the underlying causes of delegation failure and encourage our team to be more motivated and productive.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.meistertask.com/blog/delegate-tasks-effectively/
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_98.htm
https://www.inc.com/jayson-demers/7-strategies-to-delegate-better-and-get-more-done.html

Vulnerability – The Key to Unlocking Better Leadership

Few myths are as universal as the notion that leaders ought to appear tough and confident. Or at least that was the case before the current and ongoing pandemic, which has exposed the many weaknesses of forceful, dominant leaders and highlighted the superiority of those who have had the courage to reveal their vulnerabilities.

Consider how Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Jair Bolsonaro dismissed the virus, displayed fearless bravado, and undermined the policies of wearing a mask or social distancing, putting others at risk. Contrast this with the honest and data-driven approach taken by Angela Merkel, Jacinda Ardern, or Sanna Marin, which saved thousands of lives and mitigated the economic damage to Germany, New Zealand, and Finland respectively.

People in compeanies of all types are better off when their leaders are smart, honest, and caring when taking bold, potentially unpopular actions — when their focus is on helping the organisation move forward, not on how they look and certainly not on creating a false sense of invincibility that actually harms people. In a complex and uncertain world that demands constant learning and agility, the most adaptable leaders are those who are aware of their limitations, have the necessary humility to grow their own and others’ potential, and are courageous and curious enough to create sincere and open connections with others. They thrive on building inclusive team climates with psychological safety that encourage constructive criticism and dissent.

According to author Brené Brown, Ph.D, LMSW, in her latest book ‘Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead’, “Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.” She defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.”

Myths and Misconceptions About Vulnerability

1. Vulnerability is a weakness. Brown says “To feel is to be vulnerable.” So when we consider vulnerability to be a weakness, we consider feeling one’s emotions to be so, too, she says, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”

2. Some people don’t or can’t experience vulnerability.Virtually Everyone feels vulnerability at one point in their life. “Life is vulnerable,” Brown writes. Being vulnerable isn’t the choice we have to make, she says. Rather, the choice is how we respond when the elements of vulnerability greet us: uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Many of us respond by avoiding or suppressing vulnerability.

3. Vulnerability means spilling some of your secrets. Some of us hesitate to be vulnerable because we assume that means exposing our “secrets.” We assume that being vulnerable means spilling our hearts to strangers, and as Brown puts it, “letting it all hang out.” But vulnerability embraces boundaries and trust, she says. “Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable takes courage.”

4. Another Myth: You Can Go It Alone. None of us, in recognizing our vulnerability, should pretend we are able to “go it alone.” When we ask others “Can you help me with this? What are your thoughts on this issue? Are you willing to work on this together with me?” “I’m not sure what we should do here,” we are expressing our vulnerabilities in a courageous and positive way.

Vulnerable Leaders

In today’s business world, employees, shareholders and customers alike demand honest and transparent CEOs — those who are not only confident, but can be trusted. Yet recent Edelman Trust Barometers show that trust in business leaders is declining. Compounding this disturbing trend, the prevalence of corporate misconduct, value destruction, and toxic corporate cultures, executives may earn as much as 271 times more than the average worker.

To shake the image of the self-serving CEO with little to lose, business leaders need to be honest about their vulnerabilities — their own, their partners’, and their business’ susceptibility to loss or mistakes. If CEOs continue to act as though they have nothing to lose, or act out of self-interest they will fail to regain trust.

In business, vulnerability has been and is generally perceived as weakness. Media headlines encourage businesses to avoid vulnerability or suffer the consequences: “30% of Auto Parts Retailers’ Business Is Vulnerable to Amazon,” “Five Industries Most Vulnerable to Digital Disruption,”. Personal vulnerability is considered a liability for leaders and their organizations, so it is studiously avoided. Conventional wisdom holds that it is difficult to lead or negotiate or make demands from a position of perceived weakness.

What Vulnerable Leaders Do

Being vulnerable in the workspace doesn’t mean you walk around with a box of tissues and share your deepest, most personal secrets with everyone. So what does being vulnerable in the work environment look like?

Accept the fact that vulnerability as a strength. Being vulnerable isn’t a bad thing and it doesn’t make you weak; it actually makes you a better leader because you stop wasting energy protecting yourself from what you think other people shouldn’t see. It allows you to start showing your authentic self. By accepting vulnerability as a strength, you stop worrying about having every answer and realize it’s okay to be wrong.

Admit and own their mistakes. We all make mistakes, especially as leaders. The more willing we are to admit and own our mistakes (not make excuses, point fingers, or avoid responsibility) the more others will trust us and want to follow our lead. Taking responsibility, apologising, and making amends for the mistakes we make are not always easy things to do, but they’re essential for us to have true credibility with the people around us.

Not taking themselves too seriously. t’s important for us to have a sense of humour and not get too full of ourselves, which is something many of us do, particularly as a leader. “Do you have any idea how important I think I am?” We must laugh at ourselves, notice when we get too serious, and have enough self-awareness to keep things in a healthy perspective.

Asking and receiving help from others. As leaders. most of us like to help others, but often we have a difficult time asking for and receiving help. Requesting help can be perceived, especially by us, as an admission of weakness or an acknowledgment that we’re not capable of doing something. However, all of us need help and support — and in some cases, we need a lot of it. Being the kind of leader who is comfortable enough with yourself and the people around you to admit when you don’t know something, can’t do something, or simply need help in making something happen, is not a sign of weakness; it’s both a sign of strength and an opportunity to empower others in an authentic way.

Benefits of Leader Vulnerability

1. It decreases tension and stress at work. Stress could be decreased considerably by allowing free discussion about controversial or uncomfortable issues.

2. It increases flow of ideas, creativity, and innovation. By acknowledging that they don’t have all the answers, leaders allow others to contribute their ideas and criticisms. And admitting their mistakes, leaders give allow others to make mistakes and talk about them. Leaders who acknowledge they made poor decisions through their example, let those under them know that it is okay to take risks or make constructive suggestions.

3. Emotional connections leads to less turnover. A great deal of workplace research points out that being emotionally connected to a workplace is often a deciding factor on whether or not people will stay or look elsewhere. An open, honest and authentic leadership makes it much more likely that staff at all levels will feel a connection to the organisation at an emotional level when they feel connected with their leaders.

Now more than ever, the world needs leaders who are vulnerable, empathetic, and compassionate — servant leaders — who put the interests of others and the world first. We’ve seen how the other kinds of leaders — self-serving, narcissistic (and sometimes psychopathic) and toxic — have created chaos and damage. It’s time for a change.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/carleysime/2019/03/27/could-a-little-vulnerability-be-the-key-to-better-leadership/#61a2e5f0783e
https://medium.com/why-the-best-leaders-view-vulnerability-as-a-strength-6a4a7e27d461
https://hbr.org/2020/10/todays-leaders-need-vulnerability-not-bravado

Aristotle’s Knowledge & How Leaders Can Apply It

Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) ranks among the greatest philosophers of all time. Judged solely in terms of his philosophical influence and knowledge, only Plato is his peer: Aristotle’s works shaped centuries of philosophy from Late Antiquity through the Renaissance, and even today continue to be studied with keen interest. A prodigious researcher and writer, Aristotle left a great body of work, perhaps numbering as many as two-hundred treatises, from which approximately thirty-one survive.

The obvious place to begin a consideration of epistêmê and technê in Aristotle’s writings is in Book VI of the Nicomachean Ethics. Here Aristotle makes a very clear distinction between the two intellectual virtues, a distinction which is not always observed elsewhere in his work. He begins with the rational soul (to te logon echon) which is divided into the calculating part (to logistikon) and the scientific part (to epistêmonikon). With the calculating part we consider (theôroumen) things which could be otherwise whereas with the scientific part we consider things which could not be otherwise. When he adds that calculation and deliberation are the same, he indicates why calculation is about what could be otherwise; no one deliberates about what cannot be otherwise. Things which could be otherwise are, for example, the contingencies of everyday life; things which could not be otherwise are, e.g., the necessary truths of mathematics. With this distinction between a reality which is unpredictable and a reality which is necessary, Aristotle has laid the foundation for the strong distinction between technê and epistêmê. Then the account turns to action (praxis), where we find the kind of thought that deals with what is capable of change. The efficient cause of actions is choice (prohairesis). The cause of choice is desire (orexis) and reasoning toward an end (logos ho heneka tinos). Thought (dianoia) by itself moves nothing, only thought that is practical (praktikê) and for the sake of an end.

The experience of the 2020 pandemic deals a powerful lesson: A crucial ability a leader should bring to the table is the capability to figure out what kind of thinking is needed to deal with a provided challenge. Bring the incorrect kind of thinking to an issue and you’ll be left fruitlessly evaluating scientific data when what’s desperately required is a values-informed judgment call.

Mistakes like this happen all the time, because different kinds of human effort need various kinds of understanding. He outlined distinct types of knowledge required to solve problems in 3 realms.

The reason that Aristotle bothered to detail these 3 types of understanding is that they require various styles of thinking– the people toiling in each of these worlds tend towards practices of mind that serve them well, and distinguish them from the others. Aristotle’s point was that, if you have a phronetic problem to solve, don’t send out an epistemic thinker.

Imagine you being a leader of a big business that has obstacles cropping up frequently in all three of these worlds. You also have epistemic difficulties; anything you approach as an optimization issue (like your marketing mix or your production scheduling) presumes there is one absolutely ideal answer out there. As a leader presiding over such a multifaceted company, it’s a big part of your job to make sure the right kinds of believing are being pushed into making those various kinds of decisions.

That’s all the more true for the largest management obstacles in the modern-day world, those that are scoped so broadly and are so complex that all these types of thinking are required by one problem, in one element or another. Imagine, for example, of a corporation dealing with a liquidity crisis. Its leaders need to marshal epistemic know-how to discover the optimal resolution of loan covenants, issuance constraints, and intricate monetary instruments– and the phronetic judgment of where short-term cuts will do least damage in the long run.

Coming back to the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic and the challenges it has actually presented to leaders at all levels– in worldwide firms, nationwide and city governments, and organizations big and little. To be sure, almost all of the world was blindsided by this catastrophe and early bad moves were inescapable, especially provided misinformation at the outset. Still, it has actually now been 10 months considering that patient zero. How can the destruction still be running so widespread– and have segued, untreated, from fatal illness to financial disaster?

Perhaps is that lots of leaders stumbled in the basic action of identifying the nature of the obstacle they dealt with and determining the various type of believing that needed to be offered on it at different points.

In the early weeks of 2020, Covid-19 presented itself as a scientific issue, securely in the epistemic world. It immediately raised the type of questions to which outright right answers can be found, offered enough data and processing power: What type of infection is it? Where did it come from? How does transmission of it occur? What are the attributes of the worst-affected people? What therapies do most to assist? Which instant framing of the problem caused leaders– and individuals they influence– to put huge weight on the assistance of epistemic thinkers: namely, researchers. (If one expression ought to go down in history as the mantra of 2020, it is “follow the science.”)

In the U.K., for example, this translated to making decisions based on a model produced by scientists at Imperial College. At the regular conferences of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies there was one federal government authorities in participation, and early on, he tried to inject some useful and political factors to consider into the considerations.

However, the reality was that, while clinical discovery was an absolutely required element of the action, it wasn’t enough, since what was happening at the exact same time was an escalation of the situation as a social crisis. Extremely rapidly, requires occurred for hard thinking about compromises– the kind of political deliberation that considers numerous dimensions and is notified by different point of views (Aristotle’s phronetic thinking). As a result, leaders were sluggish to begin resolving these societal obstacles.
What should an excellent leader do in such a crisis? We think that the right method with the Covid-19 pandemic would have been to draw on all the appropriate, epistemic knowledge of epidemiologists, virologists, pathologists, pharmacologists, and more– however to guarantee that the scope of the issue was understood as broader than their focus. If leaders had from the outset framed the pandemic as a crisis that would demand the highest level of political and ethical judgment, and not just scientific data and discovery, then decision-makers at all levels would not have discovered themselves so paralyzed– concerning, for example, mask mandates, restrictions on big gatherings, organization closures and re-openings, and nursing house policies– when screening results shown so challenging to collect, assemble, and compare.

This are all very broad strokes, but certainly some leaders balanced completing top priorities and managed the catastrophes of 2020 better than others. The point of this article is not to point fingers but merely to utilise the extremely prominent example of Covid-19 to highlight an essential and under-appreciated duty of leadership.

Part of the task as a leader is to frame the issues you want individuals to use their energies to resolving. That framing starts with comprehending the nature of an issue, and interacting the method which it must be approached. Calling for everybody to weigh in with their viewpoints on a problem that is truly a matter of information analysis is a recipe for disaster. And insisting on “following the science” when the science can not take you almost far enough is a method to immobilize and annoy people beyond step.

This ability to measure a circumstance and the type of knowledge it calls for is a skill you can develop with purposeful practice, but the essential primary step is just to value that those various type of knowledge exist, which it’s your obligation to recognise which ones are required when. Aristotle’s efforts regardless of, a lot of leaders haven’t thought much about levels of understanding and what issues they can resolve.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://enewsplanet.com/leaders-required-to-utilize-aristotles-3-kinds-of-understanding/
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/episteme-techne/#Aris
https://hbr.org/2020/10/leaders-need-to-harness-aristotles-3-types-of-knowledge

Improving Decision-Making and Group Performance

Running a business is nothing more than making a series of important decisions. For a business owner or manager, each day is filled with decision-making, with some of those decisions likely meaning the difference between profit and loss. It can become stressful to make such important decisions day after day, especially if you are trying to make them all on your own.

In many cases, it will be better to make decisions as part of a group. When a group comes together to make an important choice, the company as a whole will enjoy several advantages. For one thing, the knowledge of all of the various people in the group will be used to make the choice, not just the knowledge of one individual. There are sure to be many different backgrounds and types of experiences within the group, which means great things for the quality of the final decision. Also, bad ideas tend to get filtered out in the group setting, meaning the eventual choice is less likely to be a dud.

With all of that said, group decision-making is not perfect. It can be tough to get everyone on the same page, meaning it may take quite a bit of time to make an eventual decision, even if that decision does wind up being a good one. To make the group decision making process run as smoothly as possible, you may wish to employ one of the methods outlined in the content below. We have identified a few methods for group decision making, so there is a good chance that one of these options will be right for your needs.

The Hoy-Tarter Model of Decision-Making

Originally created for use within a school system, the Hoy-Tarter Decision-Making Model can actually be applied in a number of different settings. If you are the owner or manager of any kind of organisation, you already know just how difficult it can be to make decisions. Specifically, it can be hard to decide how to make those decisions, in terms of who you should include, what you should consider in the process, and more. Making good decisions is a key to success in business, but you can only make good decisions if you have an appropriate process in place.

In this model, the main goal is to figure out exactly who should be included in the decision-making process. Different decisions are going to require different inputs from various people, so determining who should be included in making the decision (and who should be left out) is a key step not to be overlooked. Including the wrong people, or failing to include the right people, is a mistake that can have serious consequences.

If you decide to take a closer look at how to use this model, you will find that it requires you to create a matrix which will be filled with evaluations of expertise and whether or not an individual has a personal stake in the decision. It can take a bit of time to understand exactly how this model works, but it’s worth the effort because of its effectiveness.

Multi-Voting

If you would like to use voting to help make important organisational decisions from time to time, you may wish to employ the popular Multi-Voting Decision Making method. With this method, you can select the most popular options from a list in order to get an idea about the consensus of the group. Multi-voting is not always the right solution when trying to make a decision, but it can be perfect in specific circumstances.

If you would like to use the Multi-voting method, the first thing you need to do is develop a list of ideas that are going to be the subject of your vote. Ask the team that is working on this project to collaborate on a list. At first, you can put any idea that is presented onto the list, but you will want to slightly narrow down and ‘clean up’ that list before it goes to the vote. Before taking the vote, you will want to decide on exactly how many votes each individual is going to be given. Generally speaking, each person should be allowed to vote for roughly 1/3rd of the ideas on the list. So, given a list of 15 items, each person would be allowed to place five votes (thus the name ‘Multi-voting’). Of course, you are free to alter the number of votes allotted as you see fit, but the 1/3rd rule is a good place to start.

With all votes cast and collected, all you’ll need to do is count up the totals and determine the winning ideas. If you would like, you can narrow down the list of contenders and do the vote again, further concentrating your list to just a few of the strongest options. Multi-voting is the perfect way to gauge the opinion of a large group when several ideas are on the table.

Hartnett’s CODM Model

In this application, CODM stands for ‘consensus-oriented decision-making’, and that title tells you just about everything you need to know regarding the goal of this model. The idea here is to bring your group to a consensus as far as the best decision for the situation at hand. Once you have a group assembled that you are going to use to help make this important decision, Hartnett’s CODM Model calls for following through with a seven-step process. The seven steps are as follows:

  • Framing the problem
  • Having an open discussion
  • Identifying Underlying Concerns
  • Developing Proposals
  • Choosing a direction
  • Developing a preferred solution
  • Closing

Regardless of the decision that needs to be made, this is a solid framework that you can use to walk through the process from start to finish. Of course, it may be necessary to tweak the model slightly in order to have it fit nicely with the needs of your organisation.

Delphi Technique

When a team truly struggles to reach a consensus for a major decision, you may need to step in and narrow down the options for them. The Delphi Technique takes all the ideas and compiles them for the manager of the group to break down into a smaller amount of possibilities. He or she then takes the remaining options back to the group for their consideration.

If the team continues to grapple over the resolution, the manager will condense the choices even further until they can make a decision. It gets easier for groups to reach an agreement when there are fewer outcomes available.

Rank the Possibilities

Rankings work for determining who is the best within sport leagues like the British Premier League and NFL, so why wouldn’t they work for a business as well? Whether you decide on an idea’s ranking by using a voting system or working as a team to prioritize them, it can be a great group decision making process for issues or questions that have many potential outcomes.

This technique can be organised through email, an online communication tool, or in a brief meeting. One specific way to determine how the possible scenarios should be ranked is by having everyone make a personal list of how they would rank them. Then, combine the lists and do some basic math to determine the average spot where each possibility should be represented.

By using one or more of these strategies in your business, you will see a dramatic increase in productivity and resolving issues among your team. Take a look at some of the upcoming choices your team will need to make soon and determine which of these tactics will be the most effective.

There are also numerous team-building activities you can do with your group to boost your team’s collaboration even further. Give these ideas a try and see if it makes your group decision making processes easier than ever before.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2020/09/7-strategies-for-better-group-decision-making
https://upraise.io/blog/group-decision-making-techniques/
https://airfocus.com/blog/guide-to-group-decision-making-techniques-tools/

Has the CEO Position Evolved to a Two-Person Job?

When Netflix announced this summer that it was elevating Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos to co-CEO, sharing the title with founder Reed Hastings, the move cut against conventional wisdom. Salesforce.com, SAP, and Oracle all had abandoned co-CEO structures within the last year, leading The Wall Street Journal to ask: “Co-CEOs Are Out of Style. Why Is Netflix Resurrecting the Management Model?”

In the hierarchies of corporate America, there’s nothing ambiguous about the position of “chief executive officer.” Whoever holds the CEO title sits at the tip-top of the org chart; it’s right there in the capital C. But what happens when that designation—and the power it implies—is shared? 

That’s the unusual experiment that several companies have undertaken in the past few months, splitting the role of CEO between two executives. In September, WeWork’s parent named two interim CEOs, Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson, to replace founder and spiritual guru Adam Neumann, who stepped down as the embattled shared-office giant postponed its IPO. (The pair will be replaced in February by a single new CEO, Sandeep Mathrani.) Software giant SAP in October named Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein co-CEOs—the third time the German company has opted for the dual-leader arrangement. And in January, luggage startup Away wound up with two CEOs after former chief Steph Korey returned to cohead the company just weeks after reports of toxic work behaviour prompted her to step down. She’s now splitting the position with Stuart Haselden, the former Lululemon executive whom Away had initially tapped as Korey’s lone replacement.

The truth is the archetype of the omnipotent CEO — the lone commander atop the corporate pyramid — is increasingly a relic of 20th century management thinking. There are some notable exceptions: Founders like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg still command and control. But in our research with the American Psychological Association, we’ve found that for most mere mortals, it’s simply too hard to go it alone. The modern business landscape is too fast-moving and the demands on a CEO have become too innumerable for a single person to set an organization’s strategic direction and oversee a multitude of internal decisions, all while acting as its public face to stakeholders.

Tellingly, while executive teams have doubled in size over the last three decades as different corporate functions have gained importance (human resources) or have come into existence (digital strategy and data security), the top job has largely remained a solitary grind. As entrepreneur Joe Procopio has observed, “The math on giving 110% usually breaks down to giving 10% across 11 different priorities.”

At the same time, the expectations of modern leadership have evolved. Organisations are more agile, less hierarchical, and must adapt quickly to the sudden dislocations we have today. Generational shifts in the workforce and society bring rising social consciousness of inequalities and a mandate for including others with different experiences into decision-making. These exigencies have made non-traditional soft skills essential additives to leadership.

There are four basic rules on how to 2 CEOs should cooperate when they both are running the company.

1. Pick the right partner. Co-CEOs are in a very real sense professionally married. The foundational qualities of such an enduring personal relationship also apply in a shared C-suite: a common vision, clear communication, and most important, deep trust. This sustains the partnership when, inevitably, there is a disagreement. Each must remember the other’s talents and make decisions knowing it’s still one P&L both must own. You cannot go into this arrangement without believing in the character of the other and vice-versa.

2. Set expectations. Critics of dual CEOs argue that shared accountability amounts to no accountability at all — if two are in charge, no one is. But properly managed, the opposite is true. The idea of joint accountability means setting performance standards that put each partner in the position of having to live up to the other. Ideally, this creates a healthy competition. Would-be CEOs are typically high-performing individuals, so clear lanes help each partner drive improvements in the other. Indeed, a 2011 paper published in Financial Review found that co-CEOs’ mutual monitoring can generate enough accountability to substitute for board supervision.

3. Define roles and responsibilities. The organization must understand who is in charge of which aspects of the company and where decision-making authority lies. We have a highly decentralized workforce — the two of us live in different cities — yet our managers intersect with us with a clear understanding of what types of decisions we are each responsible for. This is liberating in that it takes some daily responsibilities off each CEO’s plate. It also frees up time for skill-building around one’s dedicated areas, yielding more focused mentorship. And one leader can come into another’s problem from a fresh outside perspective. Clearly delineating areas of responsibility also mitigates another common criticism — that co-CEOs are a bottleneck. In fact, the structure often facilitates a quicker response because one individual has authority to make a decision from a greater depth of experience and knowledge.

4. Distribute authority but not responsibility. While each partner has individual duties, both must fundamentally remain a leadership unit, one in which successes and setbacks alike are owned together. These successes and setbacks should be reflected in short- and long-term compensation. They must be prepared to be rewarded or penalized as a unit and accept the consequences. With the right chemistry and trust, it incentivizes both healthy competition and having each other’s back. Another benefit of this conjoined career planning is that it can both temporary or long term. Some companies may see a co-CEO arrangement as a grooming opportunity for a junior leader.

Let’s be honest: The modern CEO is often overwhelmed by unrealistic demands. Netflix’s move to co-CEOs says less about the limitations of individual leaders than about a system that sets them up to fail. We believe business pyramids are stifling innovation, when a division of authority can unleash it. In unprecedented times like these, more companies should rethink their structures and embrace co-CEOs, putting their leaders in positions to succeed.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2020/09/is-ceo-a-two-person-job?ab=hero-main-text
https://marker.medium.com/heres-when-it-actually-makes-sense-to-have-2ceos-64827d0ddb5c
https://fortune.com/2020/02/17/co-ceos-model-companies/

What to Do When Your Boss Doesn’t Respect Your Working Schedule

When trying to balance your work and family commitments, it helps to have a boss who is understanding and supportive: someone who doesn’t raise an eyebrow when you sign off early to attend a school event or take a personal day to accompany one of your parents to a doctor’s appointment.

But what if your manager isn’t sympathetic to your familial responsibilities? Or worse, your boss is outright dismissive or even hostile toward your obligations? This is particularly challenging during the pandemic when many people’s work and home lives have collided. How should you handle a boss who refuses to acknowledge the other demands on your time? How can you find room for flexibility? What should you say about your family commitments? And who should you turn to for moral and professional support?

Career coaches at Work It Daily have discovered certain patterns. At this moment, employee frustration is at an all-time high. Workers are feeling fed up with their employers and wondering if the grass could be greener elsewhere.

While pay and opportunity for growth remain the top two reasons people claim they want to find a new job, the research done by Work It Daily shows that what ultimately pushes a person to seek a new job is feeling disrespected by their boss. Think of it this way: most professionals enjoy a job search about as much as they enjoy having an invasive dental operation. In order to put in the extra time and energy to switch jobs, the pain has to be really bad. When job seekers have gone the Work It Daily coaches they have complained about their manager’s lack of respect. If you don’t have the respect you want, it’s because you allowed your boss to treat you a certain way. From your first interaction with your boss until now, you have set the tone for how you’re perceived in the role. The good news is, you can change this. But to do so, you have to recognise the signs that your manager doesn’t respect you.

Know your rights

First things first, “know your rights” and understand what you’re entitled to in terms of paid leave and care options, says Thompson. Do some research into your company’s policies and whether there are alternative work arrangements on offer. Long before the pandemic hit, an increasing number of organisations instituted flexible work plans for employees, and many states have flex-work policies in place for their government workers.

Find out, too, if your situation qualifies you for the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The law requires some employers to provide paid leave to workers who must care for someone subject to quarantine or a child whose day care or school is closed. Washington recommends talking to your company’s HR person, if you have one, to learn what options and accommodations are available to you. “Knowledge is power,” she says.

Exhibit empathy

Next, summon compassion. It’s not easy to be a boss, especially right now. Many managers are under pressure. “They’re stressed, anxious, and struggling to do more with less,” says Washington. Consider the situation from their perspective.

Thompson says your empathy should be both “genuine and strategic.” Ask your manager about their pain points. Find out where their worries lie. Be sincere — show you care about them as a human being — and be tactical. Ask about their “objectives and the metrics they need to hit,” she says. “You’ll get important information about what they’re concerned about” which will help you sharpen your focus in terms of the work you prioritise.

Develop more than one plan

Once you “understand what’s top of mind” for your manager, you can frame your plans for getting your job done in a way helps them achieve their goals and objectives, says Thompson. Focus on results. When you’re a caregiver, your schedule can often be unpredictable so it’s important to make a plan as well as several contingency ones. Address your manager’s “insecurities about you not pulling your weight” by demonstrating that you’re “making arrangements to get your work done.” You want your manager to come away from your conversations thinking, “They’ve got this.”

Don’t be shy about reminding your manager of your track record for delivering on expectations, adds Washington. “Your past performance is the strongest indicator of your future performance,” she says. Hopefully, your manager will come to see “that what’s most important is not how the job gets done, but that it gets done.”

Articulate boundaries

If your boss is a face time tyrant, it can be tough to establish boundaries, but it’s still important to do. We all need time in our day that’s off-limits for work, says Washington. “If 6 pm is when you have dinner and put the kids down,” so be it. “Have those boundaries — and let your boss know that you will be unavailable then.”

But if your manager continues to be disrespectful of your family time, you need to have a conversation. Frame the discussion around you — how you prefer to structure your workday and how and when you perform best. Explain that you need your non-work hours to regroup and take care of your family commitments. Without that time away from work, you will not be able to fully devote yourself to your job.

Take care of yourself

Working for someone who doesn’t respect your life outside of work can be exhausting so make sure you’re taking time for yourself. Be purposeful about giving yourself “a forced mental break,” says Thompson. Make time to read, cook, dance, run, meditate — or any other activity that you enjoy or helps you relax. “Schedule joy,” she says.

And even if exercise isn’t usually your thing, Thompson suggests finding time for it every day, especially during this difficult period. “Don’t underestimate the power of 20-30 minutes of daily physical activity,” she says. At a time when your boss is being difficult and “nothing feels in your control,” getting your endorphins pumping should be a priority.

Don’t let a lack of respect from your boss hold you back from achieving your goals. Learn how to interact better so you can get what you need to succeed!

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/jt-odonnell/7-warning-signs-your-boss-disrespects-you.html
https://hbr.org/2020/09/when-your-boss-doesnt-respect-your-family-commitments
https://www.drcaitlinfaas.com/blog/how-to-get-your-boss-to-respect-your-boundaries

Does Productivity Soar by Working from Home?

Amid the Covid-19 crisis, working from home has become the norm for many. But even as remote work has normalised, it’s a recent development: doing your job from your couch was less mainstream before the coronavirus – and even stigmatised.

“Have you punched into Google image search, ‘working from home’, and looked at the top 20 images? They’re basically naked people, a guy drinking champagne in what looks like a jacuzzi. I mean, almost none of them are positive images,” says Nicholas Bloom, a professor at Stanford University in California. He’s made a career out of studying work practices, including remote work. And he thinks the attitudes around working from home are finally changing.

“One silver lining with the Covid pandemic: it’s going to kickstart working from home [moving from the] fringe to a mainstream technology that is commonly used across the country,” he says. That process is already under way; firms including Fujitsu and Twitter have already announced plans to make remote work a permanent option, even after the pandemic.

A study done by Nicholas Bloom, professor at Stanford University, back in 2013 somewhat forecast this trend: in his experiment, Bloom worked with a Chinese company to study remote-work productivity. Somewhat to Bloom’s surprise, the company’s staff became notably more productive by working from home four days a week.

Now, six months into the global pandemic, an increasing number of companies are asking: should we work from home indefinitely? And if they do decide to make major organisational changes about remote work, could they see similar leaps in productivity?

How Do Knowledge Workers Spend Their Time?

In 2013, knowledge workers spent two-thirds of their time either “managing across” in meetings, often with many colleagues, or doing “desk-based work” on their own. Externally focused work (e.g. talking to customers), managing down (coaching and supporting subordinates) and managing up (interacting with the boss and other senior people) all got very little time, while training and personal development got almost none.

How has this picture changed during lockdown? There were two significant shifts: 12% less time managing across through meetings and 9% more time doing externally focused work. Desk-based work continues to take a third of our time. Other changes — a little less time managing up and a little more time on training and development — were not statistically significant.

Standing back, the evidence suggests lockdown has helped us more effectively prioritize our work. We still need to get through our emails and report-writing. But we are significantly less likely to get drawn into large meetings, and this leaves us more time for client or customer work and for training and development, which most people would argue is a good thing. However, lockdown doesn’t seem to have helped with hierarchy-spanning activities (managing up and down), presumably because it’s impossible to have the short, spontaneous meetings that used to be possible.

How Do Knowledge Workers Decide What to Do? 

While most knowledge workers have a written job description somewhere, it is well understood that they take responsibility for choosing what to do and when to do it based on a variety of factors, including tasks outside of their formal role when it appears sensible to do so.

To get a sense for how these decisions are made, we asked study subjects to choose among four options for every activity: It’s a standard part of my job/my boss asked, a peer or colleagues asked me, I did it spontaneously, or it was important and I found time. In 2013, respondents said 52% of their activities were standard, 18% requested by a peer , 24% independent but important, and 3% independent and spontaneous. In 2020, we are still spending half our time on standard activities, but we are doing only 8% because a colleague asked, and a full 35% because we thought the activity was critical.  Both these differences were statistically significant. Spontaneity rose to 6% but this difference was not statistically significant.

What’s going on here?  It seems we have been taking more direct charge of our time during lockdown. Working from home gives us a bit of breathing space: We don’t have colleagues or bosses badgering us, and we don’t get drawn into meetings by force of habit, just because we happen to be around. The result is a reassuring increase in us making time for work that matters most to us.

Concerns and Challenges

Working in lockdown has helped us to focus and to take responsibility. But that’s not the whole story. Follow-up interviews revealed some of the areas of concern that we as individuals — and as leaders of others — need to understand.

Some respondents cited the potential for shirking: “I am worried there is some slackening of effort. People are starting to get a bit too comfortable working from home,” said one. In our view, this is not a huge problem: There are many ways of informally monitoring how much time your colleagues are putting in via Outlook, Slack and other tools, and we should really be evaluating knowledge workers on their outputs not their inputs anyway.

The bigger areas of concern were around the things people couldn’t do well in a virtual environment. Take managing across first: It’s not so hard for an existing working group to stay on course when working remotely, but the challenges of getting started on something new (the forming/storming stages of team development) or resolving internal conflicts are enormous. Of course, these activities can be done over Zoom – just not as well. Few people are energized by informal online get-togethers. As one person said, “We are slowly losing the social glue that holds us together.”

Managing up and down are no less tricky under lockdown. Most respondents had instituted regular one-on-one catch-ups with their teams and bosses, but they usually focused on immediate task and personal well-being issues, rather than longer-term development. They missed the opportunity to bottom out difficult issues: “You cannot challenge a person quite so well over Zoom. You tend to hold back,” said one. They also lamented the loss of growth opportunities for their teams: “I used to throw people into new assignments, where they learned on the job, watching and learning from experienced colleagues. That’s almost impossible to do in a virtual setting.”

Finally, some people worried about their own development. While time spent on self-education went up during lockdown, this was mostly due to online webinar and course attendance — which helps build knowledge but doesn’t encourage the active experimentation and personal reflection that help us really grow.

For many of us, the new socially distanced mode of working may continue for some time.  The good news for knowledge workers from the first phase of this experiment is that lockdown has helped us better manage and prioritize our schedules to favor the most value-added work. The challenge — as we move into the next phase where some face-to-face meetings are allowed — will be to bring back the informal and social elements of office life that are so vital to organizational and individual success.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200710-the-remote-work-experiment-that-made-staff-more-productive
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/study-working-from-home-means-more-time-on-computers-but-workers-arent-more-productive/
https://hbr.org/2020/08/research-knowledge-workers-are-more-productive-from-home?ab=hero-main-text

AI & People Represent the Future of Work

Too many business leaders still believe that AI is just another ‘plug and play’ incremental technological investment. In reality, gaining a competitive advantage through AI requires organisational transformation of the kind exemplified by companies leading in this era: Google, Haier, Apple, Zappos, and Siemens. These companies don’t just have better technology — they have transformed the way they do business so that human resources can be augmented with machine powers.

While no one knows what artificial intelligence’s effect on work will be, we can all agree on one thing: it’s disruptive. So far, many have cast that disruption in a negative light and projected a future in which robots take jobs from human workers. That’s one way to look at it. Another is that automation may create more jobs than it displaces. By offering new tools for entrepreneurs, it may also create new lines of business that we can’t imagine now.

A recent study from Redwood Software and Sapio Research underscores this view. Participants in the 2017 study said they believe that 60 percent of businesses can be automated in the next five years. On the other hand, Gartner predicts that by 2020 AI will produce more jobs than it displaces. Dennis Mortensen, CEO and founder of x.ai, maker of AI-based virtual assistant Amy, agreed. “I look at our firm and two-thirds of the jobs here didn’t exist a few years ago,” said Mortensen.

In addition to creating new jobs, AI will also help people do their jobs better — a lot better. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer summed this idea up as, “Human plus machine equals superpowers.” For many reasons, the optimistic view is likely the more realistic one. But AI’s ability to transform work is far from preordained. In 2018, workers are not being adequately prepared for their futures. The algorithms and data that underlie AI are also flawed and don’t reflect the diverse society it’s meant to serve.

How AI Could Grow Jobs: Inventing New Ones, Empowering Existing Ones

While AI will certainly displace some jobs, such displacement has occurred long before AI was on the scene. In the past century, we’ve seen the demise or diminishment of titles like travel agent, switchboard operator, milkman, elevator operator and bowling alley pinsetter. Meanwhile, new titles like app developer, social media director, and data scientist have emerged.

Daugherty and Jim Wilson, managing director of Information Technology and Business Research at Accenture Research have co-authored a book titled Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI. In their view, future (and current) jobs include trainers and explainers. Trainers will teach AI systems how to perform and mimic human behaviours.

Empowering Workers, Businesses and Industries

Rather than replacing workers, AI can be a tool to help employees work better. A call center employee, for instance, can get instant intelligence about what the caller needs and do their work faster and better. That goes for businesses and industry too. In another example, in life sciences, Accenture is using deep learning and neural networks to help companies to bring treatments to market faster.

In addition to helping existing businesses, AI can create new ones. Such new business include digital-based elder care, AI-based agriculture and AI-based monitoring of sales calls. Finally, automation can be used to fill currently unfilled jobs. As Daugherty noted recently, there is a shortage of 150,000 truck drivers in the U.S. right now. “We need automation to improve the productivity of the drivers, the lifestyle of the drivers to attract more people to the industry,” he said.

The Value of Human and Machine Working Together

AI technology can boost business productivity by up to 40 per cent, according to Accenture. But while business leaders may rejoice at that fact, 72 per cent of employees fear AI stealing their jobs, Pew Research found.

However, the adoption of AI doesn’t mean a wipeout of work available to humans. While some tasks may be trusted completely to AI, like the algorithms that drive recommendation engines on platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify, others are reserved for human skill only.

For instance, because AI cannot offer empathy or emotion, traits native only to humans, it likely won’t have an applicable role in practice areas like psychotherapy, social work or in-depth customer service.

There’s also a third category of work: the kind best done by humans and AI working in tandem. In the case of many tasks, AI can help get progress started, but it still requires a human to complete the job by verifying the accuracy or providing more context. These gray areas include services like accuracy checks and human interaction.

While AI may not complete such tasks perfectly on its own, there is still value in keeping AI a part of the process. The ideal AI-human arrangement is one in which AI technology drives the lower-level, repetitive processes associated with completing a task, while human oversight ensures the timely and accurate completion of that task.

AI-Human Teams in Action

So where can we see this tag-team dynamic in action? The voice transcription space serves as one example.

Quick and accurate voice-to-text technology plays an important role in the deaf and hard of hearing community, as well as the higher education and legal industries. AI can transcribe human speech much faster than humans can—in a controlled environment, that is.

But the everyday need for voice transcription doesn’t always come in the form of a controlled environment. AI only hits peak accuracy when the speech mimics the kind it was trained on. We can’t rely on AI alone to transcribe voice perfectly when the accent, speed, diction, and tone of the speech vary, or if background noise is present.

However, it’s most efficient to give AI the first crack at it and employ the help of humans to verify accuracy and fix errors if needed. Taking this approach has enabled faster access to high-quality voice transcription than ever before.

Teams that rely on fast voice transcription are reaping the benefits of humans and AI perfecting the practice. Courts, for example, face a court reporter shortage, with an estimated 70 per cent of the workforce expected to retire over the next 10 years. AI and human-powered voice transcription will help fill in the gaps.

Students — whether deaf, hearing-impaired or with no hearing issues — all benefit from timely access to the transcriptions of course lectures. Deaf and hearing-impaired students deserve the chance to keep up with their hearing classmates, and not all hearing students learn best by listening.

While AI has earned its place it every industry, it doesn’t always perform best on its own. Enlisting the help of humans brings it to its full potential and allows us all to take full advantage of a powerful technology, making a true difference in end-users’ lives.

Given our current situation knowing that your colleagues or employees are best suited for this new scenario we find ourselves in. Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It is now important to find out whether your managers or your team is well-equipped of working together from various locations. It requires deep knowledge of their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you discover if your people are resilient during times of hardship, if they are autonomous, if they are team players, without actual human contact. Given that our platform is cloud-based, everyone can use it from home as well. Humanity finds itself at a crossroad for various reasons now, why not help people discover and develop themselves from the comfort of their own homes?

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Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/329099
https://www.wired.com/wiredinsider/2018/04/ai-future-work/
https://hbr.org/2020/08/the-secret-to-ai-is-people