Fast Start, blog, Toby Elwin, image: pixabay.com

Fast Start — What It Takes to Build a Team

Fast Start conversation:  When is a team not a team?  When they are professional collection that ignore broader company issues for myopic turf wars, entrench their position, and avoid perception to look bad. So, what makes a real team? A real team works to meet common goals: Share success; Collaborate for achievement; and Give up resources for the good of the collective When was the last team meeting, you were part of, where someone offered up resources? Talent Management Magazine’s John R. Anderson presents What It Takes to Build a Team, a dense and rewarding read. 2015 expanded post: High performance team of me

great wall of china, done versus accomplished, Toby Elwin, blog

Getting it done versus getting it accomplished

Some people, and some organizations, can confuse very elemental operational concepts.  The confusion is tough to trace to a culture issue or a perception issue between getting it done versus getting it accomplished. Getting it done means you care more about finishing than about quality of what you finish. Very different terms. Very different concepts. An alternative way to think about the difference between getting it done versus getting accomplished is like working with someone who continues to advocate the intuitive versus someone who advocates the empirical. Stretched further it is the induction versus the deduction. Very different theories. Just as managing by lists is very different from managing by milestone. When you manage by list, you only view the blades of grass.  However, when you manage by milestone you have the entire field in perspective. When you manage by list you only concern …

change communication, mission

Communication, change, and your mission — if you choose to accept it

Change is fun for some:  the energy of the unknown, the passion instilled in people looking forward to a new adventure. Some embrace the unknown as an opportunity to both learn, grow, and stretch their current perspectives. Time to change communication. Change is pain for some:  the feigned excitement for heading into unknown, the new roles and responsibilities to learn. And having lived through so many failures that all began with the same patterned enthusiasm many can’t be bothered and opt-out. Which side of the fence are you on? Which side of the fence is your team on? Which side of the fence is your organization on? Change Communication Regardless of the fun for some, there is a distinctly important group of people who need a bit more assurance that this time things are different, that this time you and …

evolution, revolution, information, development, link, Toby Elwin, blog

The value of information and the link to development

Information is not competitive advantage, knowledge is competitive advantage.  Until you socialize your information amongst others you never discover if the value of your information is actual knowledge. An organization’s socialized knowledge is really their competitive advantage and information and knowledge are both human capital issues. Enterprise knowledge management is a critical strategic need and how you collect and share information maximizes your organization resources. However, the value of knowledge comes only when knowledge aligns to strategic and tactical need.  Socialization of information is the critical step to align and coordinate resources:  people, time, and financial. Information for the Gentry Class Too often organizations build strategy as an executive exercise of information and tightly-controlled knowledge.  This high-level review leaves out the opportunity to invite in fresh perspectives and leverage the organization’s cognitive diversity. Strategy created in a vacuum invites change resistance. You, and your organization, can only know …

sign, bright future, Toby Elwin, blog, innovation, tax

How do you measure innovation: tax revenue

When we talk innovation, innovation is usually connected to a firm or a region.  Interest with innovation at the regional level is usually couched in economic development. So, what is economic development other than politicians, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and glad-handing photo-ops? Why are so many incentive packages being offered?  Tax havens being offered?  Tax holidays? Who do they benefit?  How are these policies and programs measured for success?  Where are their success measurements? There is only 1 performance measure for regional development success:  tax revenue. From a policy perspective building a cluster, special economic zone, technology or innovation courtship a tax revenue performance measure is terribly easy to remember:   tax revenue minus projected revenue of tax concessions. Tax revenue is an easy performance measure to track and easy to comprehend: has tax revenue increased or has tax revenue decreased. It …

Viral marketing and Twitter gone right – the comment & the blog

On my last blog I received a comment I thought deserved a longer response than should be posted within the comment section. So, I decided to pick up the comment and carry it onto a new post. The blog comment david_becker: I disagree with this article as this is a “contest” and not a viral campaign. Before positioning himself as a expert I reccomend [sic] that the author should get some Marketing 101 lessons. My comment [now expanded]: David – thank you for the suggestion that Adecco sponsored a contest and not a viral campaign with their Labor Day offer. Earlier, as close as 5 years ago, marketing meant: tell a compelling story about a service or product. Meanwhile, public relations meant: get media to tell a story that includes your service, product, or company. I believe, contest or campaign, …

VC’s missing formula, discounted cash flow, human capital, alchemy,

The VC’s missing formula: human capital discounted cash flow

Accounting assigns of assets and liabilities and financial management’s current or pro forma valuation both rely on art and interpretation more than any professional standard, science, or law. What valuation models measure human capital ability to meet financial and strategic business goals? What formulas are used to measure human capital contribution to profits? What are the human capital risk factors you justify when you build your financial statements and projections? Organization valuation usually involves four areas: Physical capital, Financial capital, Intellectual capital, and Human capital Both accounting and financial management start with familiar industry formulas to measure physical, financial, and intellectual capital. The departure from formula comes with asset classification and subjectivity of inputs. You most often witness this in the beta, or the numerical representation of risk, used in the discounted cash flow formulas on glitzy, initial public offering, road shows. …

twitter, social media, blog, marketing

Twitter is a waste of time

Twitter has changed the way people communicate. The marketing world, as it was known, has been carpet bombed. The rules have changed. The roles have changed. In a series of earlier blogs I talk about communication in the age of saturation, so I won’t repeat those points. However, I will revisit one reality: people don’t trust marketing and public relations any longer. Firstly, people want a clear value proposition articulated to their point of view, not from yours. The features or benefits you believe are not the features and benefits they may believe. Secondly, the most powerful motivator in today’s purchase decision is a recommendation. Do you have a Twitter strategy? Does your Twitter strategy consist of ignoring Twitter or a some other proclamation around: I don’t get what the big deal is? Twitter is free to join and you …

George Washington slept here

Statues are built for leaders, or leaders are built for statues. One way or the other statues are built for pioneers, those who sought a new way; who risked conformity for their vision of what could be; who sacrifice an easy path to retirement for an audacious goal. The statues you see in your town square, are well-placed: usually set apart with a quick recap of their accomplishments. These bronze versions of Power Point slides are usually far too brief to do justice to the struggle they faced. Status Quo The statues for these leaders are made to honor triumph over the mortal enemy of awesome: status quo. Change upsets the status quo and there are a great many interested in maintaining the status quo. The status quo is how many hold their power, those who most benefit from the …

tasmanian devil, strategic plan, Toby Elwin, blog

The devil in the details — the strategic plan

I find people have a tendency to become too involved too quickly with tactics. Tactics include what to buy, what to build, what to move. Strategy is why build, why buy, why move.

Much of your organization is involved in the detail of execution, it is illogical they are not strategically aligned. When your team discovers tactics they deliver align to organization goals there is clear purpose in what they do.

Purpose provides motivation.

The meat of the strategic planning process is the goals-objectives-actions value chain. People may have other definitions for goals, objectives, and actions, and bristle at the rigidity of the definitions, however, a single use for each term will remove interpretation and confusion.

herzberg, factor, job satisfaction, Toby Elwin, blog

The bottom line: motivation

Your organization is only effective when they feel like it.  Have you coached your management and executive team on how to motivate people around your vision?  The company’s bottom line is motivation, their motivation, not yours. A leader holds managers accountable to understand, commit, and own a manager’s role to translate an enterprise vision to their team.  Your management’s ability to own their role and effectively translate that to their team is the break point for organization success or failure. Leaders inspire, leaders role their sleeves up to involve themselves in gauging the pulse of their organization, division, their department, their team.  Leaders sit with their talent to out how they can lead better.  Leaders lead.  Managers manage.  Both motivate. Start Here, End There The alpha and beta of motivation in the workplace is Frederick Herzberg’s Motivation to Work study, published in 1959.  This 180-page book should reside on every leaders Kindle, iPad, …

blog, diversity, facade, Toby Elwin

Diversity façade, part 1

Intelligence does not guarantee insight. However, diversity does. The very leverage of knowledge is dialogue. And dialogue, a true exchange of ideas and opinions, is only possible in an environment that welcomes and fosters diversity, not the diversity façade, but the diversity lever of possibility. Although diversity can be a sensitive and often incendiary issue, I want to focus on diversity’s greatest benefit: the birth and exchange of ideas and perspectives. What is the goal of diversity in the workplace? Why is diversity an important topic? What are distinct, tangible benefits of diversity in the workplace? I feel diversity efforts attempt to build an environment where qualitatively, diverse individuals are expected to provide insight, cross-learning opportunity, and opinion. However, what too often results is the extreme opposite: a retreat to group-think and the dilution of individuality to a normative environment …