Monthly Archives: May 2016



DESIGNING COMPELLING VISUAL AIDS * Sparingly use relevant only props. Props should generally be avoided, because they draw attention away from the speaker and suspend the audience’s imaginati…





The term “emotional intelligence” first surfaced in the early nineties, and has become one of the most useful (and used) words in the management lexicon. Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 9.06.13 pmManagers should work to identify and develop emotional intelligence in their employees, or “the ability to recognize [their] own emotions and the emotions of others.”

However, it is emotional competence which produces superior performance, and this is “the application of emotional intelligence (emotional understanding) in a way that produces a positive outcome.” Those who possess emotional competence are aware of their emotions as well as those of their coworkers, and can manage their emotions in a way that is beneficial to everyone involved and to the bottom line of the company. Emotionally competent individuals understand relationships, and are thus able to employ strategies that positively impact both their own emotional state, and those of the people who surround them.

Managers should work to identify and develop emotional competence in their employees. The work of identification can be done by using a number of tools. Blakesely focuses on the Multiple Health System’s EQi developed by Ruevon Bar-On, which measures numerous emotional competencies, such as:

  • Intrapersonal Skills – A set of competencies defining self-understanding.
  • Self-regard – The ability to respect and accept one’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Assertiveness – The ability to express feelings, beliefs, and thoughts in a non-destructive way.
  • Independence – The ability to be self-directed and free of emotional dependency on others.
  • Stress Management – A set of competencies that describe an ability to manage stress
  • Adaptability – A set of competencies that allow one to adapt to the needs of the environment.
  • Reality Testing – The ability to accurately assess the correspondence between what is experienced and what objectively exists.
  • Flexibility – The ability to adapt and adjust one’s feelings, thinking, and behavior to change.
  • Problem Solving – The ability to solve problems of a personal and interpersonal nature.
  • Optimism – The ability to be positive and look at the brighter side of life.
  • Happiness – The ability to feel satisfied with oneself, others, and life in general.

Individuals who possess these competencies should be identified, developed, and put in positions where their abilities can be put to use in the service of the company, and their own personal development. The smart manager will do everything in his power to facilitate this process.




Peter F. Drucker

People are working more years of their lives than ever before, often pursuing more than one long-term career in a lifetime. But will that work be fulfilling? It can be, if people can learn to properly manage themselves.

Managing oneself to achieve ongoing success and happiness at work, whatever that work might be, comes through:

*Taking charge of one’s own personal development.

*Looking for opportunities to make a contribution.

*Being engaged in the work and the workplace.

The keys to this kind of self-management are:

*Knowing what one’s own strengths are and capitalizing on them.

*Understanding which personal learning and work styles work best.

*Having a strong sense of personal values and matching those to the work situation.

Operating from personal strengths, rather than trying to develop in weak areas, is the path to high performance. This is basically “doing what comes naturally” and doing it often. Discovering personal strengths comes through feedback and self-observation.

People perform best when they are allowed to learn and perform according to their natural styles. Some people learn by reading, others learn by doing. Some people like to work in teams, while others do better working alone. Environmental conditions are a factor as well. High pressure environments fuel top performance in some while others need peace and quiet to do their best work.

People tend to be happiest and most fulfilled when they feel they are making a contribution in a work culture that aligns with their own values. Making the right contribution is based on assessing business needs; evaluating how one’s own strengths, preferred performance methods, and personal values can make a difference in the situation; and taking into consideration the desired results.

Building successful relationships is a critical part of creating a fulfilling career. Successful relationships are developed through paying attention to the strengths, performance methods, and values of colleagues and coworkers and helping them be the best they can be at work. Good communication is the vehicle for developing this understanding.




Rosabeth Moss Kanter

While every company champions innovation in theory, very few do a good job of being truly innovative. Not only that, the broad championing of innovation seems to run in cycles, with the majority of companies on the innovation bandwagon at the same time.

Unfortunately, most companies have not done well in learning from their mistakes when trying to innovate, and so are doomed to make them again when the next innovation craze comes along. The good news is that there are common traps companies can learn to avoid to make sure their innovative zeal does not get derailed the next time an innovation wave hits.

*Strategy mistakes: Many companies only consider innovation opportunities that promise very high and very fast returns, overlooking the smaller and less obvious opportunities that could yield even better results. Companies also tend to focus on product innovation and overlook the benefits that come from process innovation. However, by creating an “innovation pyramid” of potential opportunities, companies can cast a wider net and allocate resource investments incrementally. This practice also opens the door to include both product and process innovations, inviting ideas from across an organization.

*Process mistakes: Innovation requires a flexible set of processes; however, all too often companies subject innovation to the same set of planning, budget, and review rules the existing business must conform to. This approach stalls and stifles innovation. One solution is to set aside resources to address innovation whenever an opportunity comes along to allow resources to flourish outside of standard processes.

*Structure mistakes: Creating a separate business unit chartered with innovation can help provide the kind of flexibility innovation requires, but unless the two units are communicative and coordinate well, there can be a serious “clash of cultures” that creates resentment and stalls progress. Leaders can avoid this pitfall by facilitating strong communication and nurturing relationships between the two units.

*Skills mistakes: Strong interpersonal skills are required to both lead and champion an innovation effort. However, leadership is often put in the hands of technical experts instead. Companies should select leaders who are well versed in people skills and good at building strong teams.




John P. Kotter

In the quest to best competitors, many companies undertake transformational efforts; unfortunately, these efforts often fail. This failure is due to errors in fulfilling one or more of the following eight critical steps to achieving successful transformations.

1. Establish a sense of urgency. The belief that transformation is required must be urgent and pervasive throughout an organization. For transformation to succeed, approximately 75 percent of the management team must be wholeheartedly committed to it. Most companies fail to do this.

2. Form a powerful guiding coalition. While the impetus for transformation can initially come from one or two people, a strong and skilled guiding group to spearhead the effort must quickly be established. A cross-company coalition is required. Leaving the task to a function, such as HR, is ineffective.

3. Creating a vision. For people to change, they must be engaged in a compelling and easy to understand vision of the future. Clarity and simplicity are key.

4. Communicating the vision. Given that hundreds or thousands of people must be engaged in the transformation, communication is critical. This communication must be clear, frequent, and pervasive.

5. Empowering others to act on the vision. Too often employees believe in their companies’ visions, but find obstacles when attempting to act on them. Sometimes this comes in the form of a disengaged manager who is resisting change. Companies must be prepared to remove obstacles that thwart employees’ ability to make required changes.

6. Planning for and creating short-term wins. Transformations can take years to complete. It is easy for motivation to waver over that amount of time. Planning for, creating, and showcasing early and even small wins will boost morale and motivation, keeping employees on board with changes.

7. Consolidating improvements and producing still more change. Companies are sometimes compelled to “declare victory” before changes have had a chance to become deeply entrenched in their company cultures. New processes, even though implemented, can easily be undone.

8. Institutionalizing new approaches. Change has truly been achieved when it becomes “the way we do things around here.” Conscious demonstrations of new approaches, behaviors, and attitudes help infuse and reinforce change within an organization’s culture. Ensuring the change is embraced and modeled by new managers moving up through the ranks helps embed the change in the culture as well.




Disruptions from technological innovations will change work in the following ways:

*Jobs of the future will exist in the innovation ecosystem. People will have to learn how to create knowledge value or how to manage smart machines, digital businesses, or mobile services.

*New careers will be in Big Data analytics, 3D printing, virtual media, biotechnology, and robotics. Potential future job titles may include predictive commerce manager, virtual entertainment producer, and 3D organ printer.

*Forces that will shape the job market include rising international gross domestic products (GDPs), a growing middle class, and the new business building blocks of bits, atoms, and genes.

*There will be a new work ethic that revolves around making a difference in the world, being a lifelong student, and embracing entrepreneurialism.

*Unless they are specifically engineered to enable human employment, robots will eventually take people’s jobs.


Over the next 10 years, medicine will shift in focus from disease to prevention. This will be facilitated largely by Big Data science, which combines supercomputers, smart networks, and personal genomic data to predict people’s illnesses and determine the appropriate treatment. Further medical advancements will include the regeneration of body parts thanks to affordable 3D bio-printing, regenerative medicines that tap into the existing capabilities of animals like salamanders and starfish, and stem cells, which have the ability to rejuvenate diseased cells into healthy ones.

Ultimately, the future of medicine will increase the longevity and quality of human life. Treatments will improve thanks to both robotic surgeons, who can operate with better precision at molecular levels, and digital health innovations capable of performing diagnoses and treatments in real time through cloud computing. Additionally, there will be a rise in medical entrepreneurs who create apps, tools, and sensors for more efficient self-care.


To prepare today’s students to work in the future, the following elements of education must be reinvented:

*Skills. Future Smart students must learn to speak foreign languages, problem solve, devise digital business strategies, understand globalization, code, and collaborate with diverse teams.

*Curriculum. Future Smart schools must teach classes on game changers and how to produce them, the laws and concepts of science, managing change, twenty-first century leadership, how to innovate, the global connected future, and digital design.

*Tools. Instead of outdated textbooks, education tools will need to include simulations, mobile platforms to learn anywhere, and teacher avatars. The gamification of education will engage students further.

*Teachers. Teachers must take a more curious, collaborative approach to education and aim to prepare students for the new future by coaching creativity, enabling bold ideas, and facilitating whole-systems thinking.

Action Oriented Leader



Great leaders are action oriented. They have ideas or concepts and take action to make them happen. They do not spend a lot of time over analyzing things, but instead find new solutions. Leaders are the opposite of procrastinators, and when it comes to achieving goals, leaders follow seven steps:Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 8.43.15 pm

  1. Decide what their major goals are going to be.
  2. Write goals down as specifically and in as much detail as possible.
  3. Set deadlines for achieving their goals.
  4. Break down their goals and list everything they need to do in order to achieve them.
  5. Create an action plan for their lists based on priority.
  6. Immediately begin working on the items on their lists.
  7. Do something every day that moves them a little closer to their goals.

Courage is one of the most important leadership qualities. It takes courage for leaders to make decisions. Sometimes courage means actin