Monthly Archives: February 2017

Problem Solving Approach

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PROBLEM SOLVING IN SEVEN STEPS

A methodical approach to problem solving is the best approach. Effective problem solving comprises seven steps:

  1. Define the problem clearly, and in writing. Writing something down incorporates many senses, embedding it into the brain more deeply. Putting the problem in writing not only clarifies the issue, it immediately brings more brainpower toward its solution.
  2. Read, research, and gather information. Data gathering is extremely important. The more information that is available, the more likely it is that a solution will emerge.
  3. Do not reinvent the wheel. Many problems are similar to other problems or have actually been solved previously. Consult experts and do the research to avoid duplication of effort.
  4. Let the subconscious work.After spending time on a problem, shifting attention away from it can inspire a new idea or solution.
  5. Use sleep. The brain continues to work during sleep, processing, analyzing, and categorizing information. Thinking about the problem right before bedtime can reveal a solution in the morning.
  6. Write it down. Breakthrough ideas can happen anytime. It is important to record ideas and insights — whether on paper or electronically — for future evaluation.
  7. Take action. Hesitation can make the difference between a good idea being implemented or wasted. Act on a solution as soon as it is selected.

MIND-STIMULATING EXERCISES

Information without practical application is of little use. However, most people hold on to a lot of knowledge. Individuals can use the following techniques to stimulate their minds and make the most of the knowledge they have acquired by putting it to good use in solving problems:

*The quick list method: Take 30 seconds to quickly write down three important life goals, assign a grade to each one in terms of current level of satisfaction and fulfillment, and then select the one with the lowest grade to work on.

*The brutal questions: Ask, “What are today’s three most pressing problems,” then commit to focusing efforts on those areas.

*The 20/80 rule: This principle states that the source of 80 percent of problems is internal. Therefore, identify which problems are internally based, then focus attention on internal factors to solve them.

*Identify favorite excuses: Articulate the excuses for any particular problem to better target a solution. The excuses provide an opportunity for focus.

*Practice idealization: Creating a clear vision for the future and then taking deliberate steps toward achieving that vision is the path to success. Keep the vision in sight.

*The magic question: Imagine success without the option of failure and create a step-by-step plan to achieve that success. Even small steps make a difference.

USE YOUR THREE MINDS FOR THINKING

All people have “three minds.” Each is different from the other and each plays an important role in creative thinking.

*The conscious mind: The conscious mind thinks both quickly (reacting to immediate situations) and slowly (giving careful, deliberate thought to information as it is presented). While fast thinking is necessary for decision making in a crisis (such as a medical emergency), slow thinking is important for more in-depth problem solving. Writing things down can help the brain transition from fast to slow thinking.

*The subconscious mind: The subconscious mind stores huge amounts of information and helps the brain make sense of the world. Instinct comes from the subconscious mind and can help tip the balance in decision making. The subconscious mind is also the storehouse for positive thoughts.

*The superconscious mind: The superconscious mind represents a deeper level of the subconscious mind. This is where insight, intuition, and breakthrough thinking dwell.

The best thinking happens when people learn to use all three of their minds, taking time to gather and absorb information, process it in a thoughtful way, then relegate it to the subconscious, trusting that the superconscious will help reveal a solution.

PRACTICE TWO APPROACHES TO THINKING

People’s thinking styles impact their levels of creativity. While every person’s thinking style is molded through experience, each individual also has the power to alter the direction of his or her thinking toward more creative thinking.

Mechanical thinking, which is narrow, rigid, and inflexible, lies at one end of the thinking style spectrum, while adaptive thinking, which is flexible and open, lies at the other. The goal is to move from mechanical thinking to adaptive thinking. By deliberately suspending judgment, asking probing questions, and working toward an optimistic and positive attitude, individuals can become more adaptive, and thus more creative, thinkers.

PRACTICE LATERAL THINKING

People tend to think in a linear fashion, with one thought logically following another. However, to think creatively, people need to learn to thinklaterally — to consider totally different and unusual solutions from what is typical or logical.

Lateral thinking can be developed by:

*Reversing keywords: Word play (like labeling a problem as an opportunity) can change a person’s mind-set.

*Restating the dominant idea: It is helpful to consider an issue from a different context or a different perspective. This is similar to the concept of “standing in someone else’s shoes.”

*Focusing on the customer: Too often companies are focused on product development rather than customer development. Knowing and identifying with customers, then developing solutions from their perspectives, is a more lateral approach. Businesses should focus on how they can develop (in other words, improve) their customers’ lives.

*Fantasizing: People can visualize a world in which all obstacles to achieving their goals are gone, then imagine how those goals would be achieved. Solutions are often leveraged from those imaginings.

HOW THE MIND WORKS

The mind is an incredible information processor, taking in information from all five senses. The mind processes information for creative thinking through three main methods:

  1. Visual (seeing).
  2. Auditory (hearing).
  3. Kinesthetic (doing and “feeling”).

Each person’s thinking and learning style is dominated by one of these three methods. Even though one will naturally dominate, to boost creating thinking it is good practice to pay attention to and use all three — especially when sharing information with others. People should know their own dominant methods, and leverage those in self-learning, as well as adapt teaching and information sharing to others’ dominant methods and styles.

SYSTEMATIC PROBLEM SOLVING REVISITED

One of the goals in problem solving is to keep emotions out of the process so as to arrive at the best solution. Below is an expansion on the step-by-step process to problem solving that helps ensure objectivity and the best results:

  1. Assume a logical solution. Maintain a sense of calm and the belief that every problem can be solved logically.
  2. Use positive language. Reframing a problem in positive terms (i.e., as an opportunity) encourages creative thinking.
  3. Define it clearly. Getting clarity on the situation ensures that efforts are targeted in the right direction.
  4. Diagnose the situation. It is important to know if the issue is a one-time situation or something more systemic that requires broader change.
  5. Expand the possibilities. Look for all possible resolutions to make sure nothing is missed. A thorough investigation is an objective investigation.
  6. Make a decision. Typically a solution will emerge if the previous steps have been performed properly.
  7. Assign responsibility for action. Without accountability, the best solution can go by the wayside.
  8. Set deadlines. Establishing a time frame for execution ensures the solution is more than simply a topic for conversation.
  9. Take action. Solutions without action are wishful thinking.
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TALENT MEASUREMENT & ASSESSMENT

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TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Part of the reason that many businesses struggle with talent measurement is because they do not know what measurement methods and tools are at their disposal.  Considering the following eight measurement methods:

1. Tools for sifting candidates. Sifting tools are a common component of many firms’ hiring processes. Typically, sifting tools are used in the early stages of the hiring process as they allow a business to narrow down a large pool of applicants. These tools can be preprogrammed algorithms or scoring systems that select the best résumés from the pile.

2. Interviews. Research shows that well-conducted interviews lead to accurate hiring judgments. While interviews do not measure a person’s competencies, they are shown to successfully gauge their social skills and experience. For interviews to be effective, businesses must ensure that they have structure. The biggest problem with interviews is that they are subject to interviewers’ biases.

3. Psychometric tests. Psychometric tests are questionnaire-based tests that evaluate factors like intelligence, personality, and integrity. When crafted well, these tests have been proven to be quick, cheap, and accurate. The most common problem with psychometric tests is that many do not have enough research to back up their accuracy.

4. Assessment centers. Traditionally, assessment centers are composed of multiple assessors who observe a group of participants over a series of exercises and tests while rating their competences. They offer a rigorous process that involves multiple perspectives. The limitations of assessment centers include the decline in their validity and the travel costs of sending candidates.

5. Situational judgment tests. Also known as “low-fidelity simulations,” situational judgment tests (SJTs) present people with realistic work scenarios before asking questions about them. SJTs can test people’s behavioral tendencies or their knowledge. Although they are easy to run, SJTs need to be well designed to deliver good levels of validity.

6. Individual psychological assessment. There is a lack of evidence to prove the benefits of individual psychological assessments. However, many organizations like to use this talent measurement process to determine if mid-level to senior executives are ready for promotions. It is an excellent way to evaluate an individual’s “fit.”

7. 360-degree feedback. This measurement method evaluates a person by asking a range of their colleagues to answer questions about them. The questions are designed to measure people’s competencies or their performance levels. The feedback received from the people questioned is generally regarded as fair and valid. However, the method usually fails to distinguish high performers from poor performers and is inefficient in that many participants interpret their ratings of a person as how much they like them.

8. Work sample tests, simulations, and games. Along with simulations and games, work sample tests have been found to be fair and capable of predicting performance. It is best to use this method in the recruitment process, particularly for skilled or semiskilled roles. The main limitation to this method is that if the design of the work sample is poor it is rendered ineffective.

HOW CAN YOU DETECT LIES

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Body language is very helpful when it comes to detecting lies, but it is not the only method people can use. There are 30 non-visual cues that can be used to aid in the detection of lies:

  1. Unusual eye contact
  2. Pupil dilation
  3. Change in blink rate
  4. Eye blocks (touching around the eyes)
  5. Blushing or blanching
  6. Fake smile
  7. Retracted lips
  8. Duper’s Delight (a fleeting smile after an untruthful statement)
  9. Under- or overproduction of saliva
  10. Nose touching
  11. Mouth touching
  12. Vocal cues
  13. Clammy palms
  14. Foot movements
  15. Unusual stillness
  16. Pacifying gestures
  17. Decreased illustrators (using fewer hand gestures)
  18. Hidden hands
  19. Nervous laughter
  20. Cathartic exhale
  21. Fidgeting
  22. Gestures after words
  23. Partial shrug
  24. Torso shield
  25. Distancing behaviors
  26. Forward lean
  27. Foot locks
  28. Longer or shorter response times
  29. Frequent and shallow breathing
  30. Throat clearing

POWER Communication

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Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 6.14.08 pmPOWER notes are:

* Personal

* Optimistic

* Written

* Effective

* Relational

To write successful POWER notes, individuals must follow seven steps:

  1. Use personalized or monogrammed cards to make notes more special.
  2. Use blue ink to make notes look original and positive.
  3. Use the word “you,” but avoid the words “I,” “me,” and “my.”
  4. Be specific and compliment the character or a unique quality of the recipient.
  5. Utilize the power of positive projection by identifying a trait they want to improve and expressing respect for the recipient’s similar traits.
  6. Focus on handwriting, making sure that the text slopes slightly upward and to the right.
  7. Use the P.S. as a call to action (e.g., “P.S. Give me a call next week!”).

Engaged employees

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Highly engaged employees know that their contributions and levels of engagement are significantly influenced by how they approach their work. A person contributes within an organization in five ways:

1. The Private: Like a military soldier of the lowest rank must learn, the basic requirements for making a contribution are first to show up and then to follow through. Sadly, those employees who do indeed show up and follow through could outperform over half the working population.

2. The Learner: When acquiring knowledge and skills needed to perform the basic and building tasks, learners must be willing to observe, ask for and receive feedback, and practice until they can accomplish those tasks on their own. They have to be coachable.

3. The Expert: As they accomplish tasks with expertise, employees build confidence and increase their level of engagement. They deliver high-quality results with a sense of pride and ownership.

4. The Coach: Expert employees naturally have the opportunity to become coaches by training, mentoring, guiding, and developing others. Highly engaged employees make deliberate plans to do so and set these goals as personal priorities. Thus, they multiply the scale of their influence and magnify the impact they make to the organization. They unselfishly seek to help the motivation and development of others.

5. The Visionary: Highly engaged employees choose to become visionaries, seeking opportunities and solutions to build the future. They understand that success is never final and that continuous improvement is a way of life. They want to make a difference and contribute to the progress and direction of an organization. They anticipate trends, network with others inside and outside the organization, and bring people together to solve problems.

As employees progress through the different levels, they spend more time behaving in ways that increases their contribution and value to the organization, as well as their level of engagement.

Leadership and Organisation Effectiveness

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I presented my research work in International Conference, describes the Leadership Style and Organisational Effectiveness in Delhi NCR. Attempt was made to determine if there is a significant relationship between leadership styles in relation to Organisation Effectiveness. A total of 67 randomly selected leaders from the Delhi NCR completed leadership style and Organisational Effectiveness questionnaires. The data indicates that in Delhi NCR: (a) leadership styles included directive, supportive, participated and action oriented leadership. The most common leadership style among is directive leadership style. (b) there is no relationship between directive leadership styles and organisation effectiveness. (c) There is no relationship between action oriented leadership style and organisation effectiveness.

Keywords: Leadership style, Organisation effectiveness

1. Introduction : Success or failure of organisations, is a result of both the leaders and followers’ roles (Avolio & Reichard, 2008). In management and organisational behaviour literature, the focus is largely on the concept of leadership (Shondrick & Lord, 2010). Dixon and Westbrook’s (2003) findings validated Kelley’s idea of the existence of leadership in all organisational levels. It is believed that a focus on leadership will enhance our understanding of the leadership process because the operation of each is dependent on the other (Henry, 2012).Paper focus on 4 style of Leadership

Directive leadership is task-oriented and includes setting performance goals and reviews, facilitation, discipline and rewards.Supportive leadership is people-oriented and describes a friendly and approachable leader who creates a pleasant work environment based on mutual respect, no hierarchy, and employee satisfaction. Participative leadership involves employees in decision making and encourages employee suggestions and involvement. Achievement-oriented leadership involves employee performance reviews, including goals, efficiency, improvement, responsibility and accomplishment. In this model, the relationship between style and effectiveness, relates to employee characteristics and the employees work environment.

 Anubha Walia is an International Trainer, Facilitator and OD Specialist is a founder of PrisScreen Shot 2015-01-11 at 4.14.00 pmm Trainings & Consultancy, specialises in Human Process Facilitation carries  rich experience  in Trainings & Quality. Her expertise includes Human Process intervention, Followership & Leadership, Team building and Quality Change Agent specialist. She is actively engaged in research work on Followership (first lady from INDIA) and associated with prestigious international clients in various Human Process Intervention programs  specifically to improve the business performance, team building & workplace transformation, acquired proficiency on creativity and uses her potential to nurture clan and generation. https://sites.google.com/site/anubhawalia   about.me/anubhawalia

If you want to read full paper, please mail me at anubha@prism-global.org. visit http://www.prism-global.org

LEARN HOW TO COMMUNICATE

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People are often defined by how they communicate. There are three main communication styles:

1. Aggressive. This type of communication discourages collaboration and conversations, and focuses on placing blame if mistakes are made and taking credit for other’s successes.

2. Passive. This type of communication is reluctant to offer feedback, hates confrontation, and is unable to convey the full picture of a project or situation.

3. Assertive. This communication is objective and conversational. Such communicators think before responding to issues and see the big picture.

When problem-solving in the office, people need to use facts to back up their positions, avoid raising their voices, acknowledge other people’s stances, and learn to compromise. Additionally, understanding when to chime in and when to wait will take time to fully embrace, but can be very helpful once learned.

Written communication is important now that most offices use email, PDAs, and smartphones for daily communications. People in the corporate world are pressed for time and have a short attention span. Clear and concise emails, text messages, and memos are imperative for the busy professional. Levit stresses that proofreading is important, and that even the most basic email should be error free.

Listening is more than simply hearing words. It is important to understand the type and how much information is actually being heard. The best listeners do not interrupt, stay focused, and can read between the lines. However, it is important to understand the filters people face when attempting to take in information through listening. The four basic filters are:

1. Predilection filter. Hearing what is wanted instead of what is being said.

2. Who filter. Focusing on the person speaking rather than message.

3. Facts filter. Obliviousness to emotional or non-verbal cues.

4. Distracting thoughts filter. Allowing personal thoughts or emotions to become distracting.

Further, in-person communication involves nonverbal cues like appropriate eye contact, altering tone, appearing intelligent but not pretentious, and coming across as sincere. It is important to take advantage of quick conversations, such as in the elevator or in the kitchen, and volunteer to deliver formal or informal presentations. Practice makes perfect when developing communication skills in the corporate world.

VUCA to VACINE

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Most organizations build models to understand how things work and to develop better business strategies; however, it is impossible to predict every possible outcome and incorporate them into a model. The world can change instantly, and organizations must be ready to respond. To describe today’s business environment, Hinssen uses the acronym VUCA:
• Volatility: The world is changing faster than ever and when stability occurs, it is short-lived.
• Uncertainty: In a volatile world, uncertainty is the norm.
• Complexity: Business is more complex than ever before, and even small changes can have a major effect.
• Ambiguity: Many things that occur in the business environment can be interpreted in multiple ways.
In light of these factors, business strategies must become more fluid. This is essential if companies are going to respond more rapidly to situations and be more agile than ever before. The “antidote” to VUCA is another acronym—
VACINE:
• Velocity: Companies must move swiftly.
• Agility: Companies must be able to transform in response to changes in the market.
• Creativity: Organizations that do not cultivate creativity will fail.
• Innovation: Solving problems in new ways is the key to differentiation.
• Network: As markets become networks of information, companies must become networks of innovation.
• Experimentation: In order to succeed, companies must be willing to try new and different approaches to the ways they have done business in the past.

TRUST AND CREDIBILITY

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When communicating with people who are angry or worried, four factors govern the perception of trust and credibility:

  1. Caring and empathy
  2. Openness and honesty
  3. Dedication and commitment
  4. Expertise and competence

Under normal circumstances, people assume anyone they meet has these qualities, or they are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. When they are angry or worried, however, they examine everything the speaker does and assign a negative meaning to it. For example, if the speaker is sweating, under ordinary circumstances the audience would assume he is nervous. If the speaker is addressing a worried audience, they are likely to assume he is sweating because he is lying or does not want to be there.

Greenberger gives each of the four trust factors a numerical value, and together the four add up to a “CODE” score that adds up to 100. When dealing with someone who is angry or suspicious, speakers want to come as close to that perfect score as possible. Anything lower can mean an audience will not trust them and, therefore, will not accept their messages. Speakers can work toward maximizing their CODE scores in a variety of ways.

Caring and empathy is by far the biggest factor in the CODE score, worth up to 50 points. The audience decides within 30 seconds if the speaker is caring, and the best way to prove understanding and empathy is for the speaker to relate a personal story. When firing a worker, for example, bosses might show empathy by relating the story of being let go early in their careers and how they bounced back and found a job that suited them better. Not everyone has such a personal story to tell, so it helps to be prepared by gleaning pertinent anecdotes from friends and relatives.

To show openness and honesty — 15 to 20 points on the CODE score — speakers should tell the truth, admitting what happened and why. If the company is still trying to figure out why something such as a leak occurred, the speaker needs to admit that and promise to let the community know the details as soon as possible. The speaker should outline what steps the company will take to prevent future mishaps as well.

Speakers can prove their dedication and commitment to helping the audience — worth 15 to 20 points — by showing that they want to be at the meeting and are willing to answer questions. Instead of setting a time limit on questions, the speaker should let the audience decide how long questions will go on and stay after the meeting to talk to anyone who wants to ask a question in private.

Expertise and competence — also worth 15 to 20 points — is the easiest area to gain points in. The audience is likely to accept that a company executive knows the subject. However, the executive can quickly lose points by using a lot of jargon or saying “I don’t know” too often.