How to Learn Something Important You Never Knew

What is more important to your personal success, knowing HOW to do what it takes to succeed, or WHY you want to succeed? Is it the skill-set or your motivation?

Are we talking about opinions or scientific research?

Does This Help

The LEFT frontal region of your brain is directly involved in experiencing POSITIVE emotions like laughter and happiness, while the RIGHT frontal region of your brain causes you to experience NEGATIVE emotions like fear and blame.

Don’t say, So What – yet.

Motivation Direction

The LEFT frontal region of your brain allows you to experience emotions related to CLOSENESS to other folks. Your RIGHT frontal region is linked to emotions that cause WITHDRAWAL from folks.

Happiness and joy are linked to the motivation of closeness, while fear and blame are associated with the motivation of withdrawal. There is an exception to these rules – anger.

Anger

The emotion of anger is experienced as negative, but it searches for CLOSENESS, not distancing. Anger causes a greater activation of your LEFT (logic and language) hemisphere. Maybe Anger saw Godfather I – Always keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Symptoms of Anger

During anger our heart races, arterial tension rises, along with a testosterone increase. Get this – cortisol the stress hormone – decreases. Your left hemisphere (brain) gets over-simulated in anger.

Inducing emotions create powerful modifications in our autonomic nervous system. Anger excites our brain activity, especially in our frontal and temporal lobes. Your entire 3-pound coconut goes wild in anger.

It activates your Sympathetic nervous system, and in particular the Flight-or-Fight syndrome causing adrenaline (epinephrine) to flow. 1

Remember This

Your motivation WHY you want to lose 10 pounds is the key to weight loss success. Tell yourself enough WHYs, and you will stick to any weird diet. If you are going to your twentieth class reunion, and you want to dazzle those who mocked you back then – excellent and very sticky motivation.

If you are job interviewing and want to impress the Human Resources department, or if you are going to your sisters wedding or preparing for a trip to Australia – you are highly motivated to stick to less eating and drinking, and doing more exercise.

The time spent in a class to learn a specific system of how-to lose ten pounds of ugly fat – is less effective than WHY (motivation) because it does not engage your right-hemisphere (brain) and your emotions (limbic system).

School And Your Career

Does a powerful motivation to learn, take precedence over a list of how-to rules in school? How about motivation vs. how-to in your career? Motivation wins hands-down, according to Professor Julia Bayuk, University of Delaware, 12.04.2010.

Google: Journal of Consumer Research: Ask Why, not How. Focus on WHY you want to reach your goals, not how to do it step-by-step plan of attack.

Planning may often close your mind to other ideas to succeed. We miss out on other opportunities if we are locked into only one exclusive way.

Often there are numerous routes to your objective; how important the goal is to you – is the essential element.

Motivation excites both your left and right hemispheres to work in harmony and cooperation. In your career – motivation is paramount. Promotions often come to those who want it the most, and are willing to do almost anything to make it happen.

Abstract or Concrete Mindsets

Abstract mindsets focus on WHY they MUST achieve the goal, while Concrete mindsets think they have all the brains and ignore motivation. The Concrete makers worry exclusively about How-To make their goals a reality.

Concrete thinkers who planned every detail – fared the worse.

Google: the journal Hormones And Behavior, 2010, 57 (3) 276, lead author Neus Herrero, University of Valencia. Anger.

Six BAD Habits

Read these six lousy habits and see where they apply in your life and career.

  1. You are trying to influence, persuade and convince folks, but you are ashamed of what you are doing, you feel embarrassed and uncomfortable in asking others to do things. Get out of selling.
  2. You aim your arguments and reasoning of Why to do it – based on selling to yourself. You aint the customer – what benefits are they looking for?
  3. You believe in your feelings and emotions (intuition) and ignore the facts. This makes you use too many glittering generalities. Our Knowledge Economy believes in specific details.
  4. Decisions are best based on knowledge, not FEAR of what may happen in the future. The fear emotion screws up your ability to analyze, and produces weak decisions.
  5. Tired of the OLD, and desire for Change. The public take years to get comfortable with slogans and advertising. Change often occurs because the insiders are tired and bored with the promotion – not plain folks. Leave well enough alone, mostly.
  6. Fear of Change: nothing lasts forever because your market changes their needs and desires. Do you love the same stuff as your father and mother? Mostly we see their hot-stuff as old-fashioned and out-of-style. Review and consider change annually.

See ya,
Copyright 2011 H. Bernard Wechsler

Do you have a need to read and learn three-times faster than your competitors? Contact us for our special free; no strings attached speed reading report. hbw@speedlearning.org

Author of Speed Learning for Professionals, published by Barron’s; partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading, graduating two million, including the White House staffs of four U.S. Presidents: Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon-Carter.

Interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and fortune Magazine for major articles.

http://www.speedlearning.org
hbw@speedlearning.org

Author: H. Bernard Wechsler
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Implement Your Strategy Successfully

Too many managers wait far too long before thinking about implementing their strategy. They finish their strategy sessions, and only then consider the question of implementation. This is a mistake. By waiting until after their strategy sessions, they miss earlier opportunities to encourage successful implementation. Don’t follow their mistake. To encourage successful implementation of your strategy, you should take specific steps before, during and after your strategy sessions

BEFORE YOUR STRATEGY SESSIONS…

Prior to your strategy sessions, you have the opportunity to lay the groundwork for successful strategy implementation. Here are your specific steps…

o Demonstrate Senior Management Commitment. If senior management isn’t committed to the strategic planning process, neither will anyone else be. Senior managers must demonstrate their commitment, not just by word, but by deed as well. They must devote their own time to the planning process. And also demonstrate readiness to allocate the necessary resources to the resultant strategies.

o Select the “right” planning team members. The members of your planning team will come from the ranks of top management – likely your key functional managers. This brings the expertise necessary to develop the plan and also allows the necessary immediate strategic decisions. And just as important, it builds ownership among the key managers who will later direct implementation of the resultant strategies.

o Gather the “right” pre-planning information. Gather not just the obvious financial data. Also gather information about your customers and the benefits they seek in purchasing your products and services. Why they buy. Why they don’t. And information about your competition. Their strengths and weaknesses. And how their offering compares to yours. Successful strategies follow from your management team’s full appreciation of your enterprise and its relationship to its marketplace. You need to go well beyond the data. Gather information to build and maintain your planning team’s knowledge and to encourage strategic thought.

o Solicit input from your employees. Get your employees involved in the planning process. Use a survey to “flush up” issues important to them. Their participation will build their commitment. Employees having the opportunity to participate in their company’s strategic plan feel “a part” of that plan. They’re committed to the success of the plan; and the successful implementation of the strategies within the plan. At his company’s strategic planning retreat, the Vice- President of Marketing for one of our client companies remarked, “The managers in our marketing department are eager to see this plan. They’ve provided much of the initial input for this session, so they’re looking forward to learning of, and implementing, the resultant strategies.”

DURING YOUR STRATEGY SESSIONS…

At your strategy sessions, you and your planning team will develop each of the elements of your strategic plan. During those sessions, you’ll again find opportunities to encourage successful strategy implementation. Specific steps for doing so include…

o Encourage participation. Work toward rich, lively discussion on all issues. Solicit input from the more hesitant, and, if necessary, temper the more domineering individuals. To do so, you must be sure the facilitator of your sessions has not only expertise in the planning process, but also, skill in handling the planning team’s interpersonal dynamics.

o Develop objectives which you can track with your current reporting system. You’ll be busy enough implementing your plan; you don’t want to pioneer a new reporting system at the same time. Yes, once in a while – particularly for an “outside the box” strategy – you’ll need to “invent” some new measurement. But try to keep such inventions to a minimum.

o Develop a “balanced” list of objectives. Resist the tendency to set all of your objectives in the areas of finance and marketing. Make sure that at least one of your objectives is in the area of human resources. Far more of your employees care about human resource issues than about profit or sales volume. Having one or two human resource objectives, you can successfully respond when an employee asks “What’s in it for me?”

o Develop strategies built on your company’s strengths. If you’re strong in marketing, you’ll do best by promoting your way to success. If you’re good at product development, you’d best invent your way to growth. Don’t select a strategy just because it’s currently popular or because it worked well for another firm. For a strategy to work well for you, it must be based on your company’s strengths.

o Consider available resources. You’ll need to estimate the resources required to implement each strategy. Be especially careful about over-committing those resources – particularly peoples’ time. There’s a fine line between challenge, which encourages implementation; and over-commitment, which discourages implementation. Be careful.

o Develop a built-in monitoring system. Have a key manager accept responsibility for implementing each strategy. That manager’s name, along with a due date for completion, then becomes a part of your strategy statement. Including a name and a due date along with the strategy aids in monitoring the strategy’s implementation. It also assures that a key manager “owns” each strategy.

AFTER YOUR STRATEGY SESSIONS…

Following development of your strategies, you’ll have additional opportunities to encourage implementation…

o Communicate your strategy. Tell your employees of your strategy. Especially those employees who will help with your strategy’s implementation. As you conclude your strategy sessions, ask this closing question of your planning team: “Now that we’ve developed our strategic plan, how should we communicate it to our employees?”

o Link your strategic plan to your operational plan. Ask each manager responsible for a specific strategy to take that strategy back to his or her department. And there, ask those employees who will implement the strategy to develop detailed tactics. Ask them to assign responsibility for each tactic; to set due dates; to project required resources. Peter Drucker wisely said, “Nothing happens until we reduce strategy to work.” Implementing strategy is work. You’ll do well to manage it as such.

o Monitor your progress quarterly. You’ve perhaps heard the saying, “If you don’t measure it, it won’t happen.” This certainly applies to implementing strategy. With a quarterly monitoring system, you’ll be well aware of your implementation progress and any associated problems. And during your quarterly monitoring meetings, you can consider your options for getting a wayward strategy back on track.

o Fine tune the process. Watch for opportunities to improve your planning process. This will help with implementation of your strategies in later years. At the third quarterly review of your strategic plan, take a little extra time to discuss the planning process. To look back on your strategy sessions. Ask, “What went well?” and “What didn’t go so well?” and “What changes might we make to improve the process next time around?” Explore any and all suggestions to fine tune your planning process – so it brings continuous improvement to both your strategy development and your strategy implementation.

Bill Birnbaum, CMC, is President of Birnbaum Associates, business strategy consultants. He helps clients develop a shared strategic vision, and then turn that vision into a sound business strategy.

Bill has served on the board of directors for three high growth corporations. He’s taught strategy courses for the American Management Association and authored “Strategic Thinking: A Four Piece Puzzle” (Douglas Mountain Publishing, 2004). His book is available through book stores and on-line book sellers.

His website contains informative articles on strategic thinking, on business strategy and on economic trends affecting business: http://www.BirnbaumAssociates.com/

Author: Bill Birnbaum
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Leadership and Organizational Change – A Team-Based Approach

Change is never easy; it is in our human nature to resist change – whatever the cause. However, despite this fact, many organizations have managed to overcome the barriers to change and have adopted new models for not only leadership styles, but many other organizational processes as well (Nahavandi, 2003). As you might have already identified, one of the most difficult models to change is moving from a typical hierarchical or autocratic style of management to a more democratic or team-oriented style of leadership. However, the key to effective organizational change is a sound change management process (Dudink & Berge, 2006). Part of that change management process, is also preparing your business for a new shift in leadership methods and requires that the organization build a team-oriented culture – starting from the top and communicating down (Rosenburg, 2001). Managers at all levels must identify and leverage each person’s top skills, and create sound value-based communications between team members (Dudink & Berge, 2006).

Change can be the ultimate test of a leader. As the leader of an organization, you should implement a solid change management strategy in order to effectively manage not only your people, but the business dimensions of the organization as well (Dudink & Berge, 2006). According to John Kotter (2007) a leading expert in change management, leaders often make several key mistakes – those of which Kotter has specifically narrowed down to eight key steps. As the leader of the organization, you should consider taking these eight steps into considering in order to develop a solid approach and framework for transforming your organizational leadership methods.

The first step in dealing with change is to establish a sense of urgency. Most change begins when leaders look at the firm’s current situation, performance and customer satisfaction (Kotter, 2007). Is customer satisfaction being affected because of a slow decision making process? Are there “too many cooks in the kitchen” so to speak? This is perhaps the most important step in the process and requires involvement and “aggressive cooperation” by everyone in the organization.

The second step is to create a powerful “guiding coalition”. But what does this mean? Not only must the department or divisional leader become a key stakeholder and supporter, but so must the top-levels of the organization: the Chief Executive Officer and other senior executives. If the most important people in the company do not buy in, the rest will not either (Kotter, 2007). In a small company, this guiding team may only be three or four people, however in a larger organization, this could be a wide range; twenty to fifty people.

The remaining steps include:

1. Defining a long-term vision;

2. Communicating that vision aggressively (i.e., ten times more than you initially think);

3. Removing obstacles that do not support the new vision and empowering others to support that vision;

4. Planning for, creating, and celebrating short-term “wins”

5. Consolidating improvements and preparing for more change (i.e., do not declare victory too soon), and;

6. Institutionalizing the new approaches.

But, how do you effectively persuade others to buy-in to organizational change; specifically from an autocratic to a democratic style of leadership? The first question that should be posed to each and every individual in your guiding coalition should be, “What is leadership?” Carefully listen to each person’s definition: one will typically find many different versions of what each person believes leadership is. However, despite these differences Nahavandi (2003) points out that leadership contains three similar elements: (1) leadership is a group phenomenon; there can be no leaders without followers and therefore is already a team environment, (2) leadership is goal directed, meaning leaders always influence or guide teams to a specific course of action to achieve a specific goals, and (3) in the presence of a leader, one assumes some form of hierarchy or autocratic leadership. However, while this may be the case, it can also be informal, flexible and with mostly equal power.

By addressing these three similar elements, Nahavandi (2003) continues to show that by joining them, we define a leader as any person who guides or influences teams and helps them in establishing and reaching goals and objectives in an efficient manner; in a non-autocratic fashion. This shows that to be an effective leader, one does not have to use a top-down approach, and the responsibilities and accountability of the decisions can be shared amongst the team.

But, the next question is, “How do you get them to change their style of leadership?” In order to sustain a revolutionary change in an organization, you need to first motivate those in your guiding collation or transformational leadership team. Nahvandi (2003) believes transformational leadership is best achieved through inspiration of your followers, which enables them to “enact revolutionary change”. Transformational leadership ultimately includes three primary factors: charisma and inspiration (i.e., creating emotional bonds), intellectual stimulation (i.e., challenging followers to solve problems instead of you), and individual consideration (i.e., developing personal relationships with each follower). When these three factors are combined, they allow a vehicle for change in not only the organization, but in the individuals themselves.

By following these types of steps an organization will consequently produces better ideas while forcing shared accountability of decisions. The greatest implication of these actions will be to change the way in which people think, act and share ideas; consequently changing the very culture of the company and how it does business.

In the words of Kotter (2007), “guiding change may be the ultimate test of a leader.” Human nature is to resist change, and an aggressive and sustained change management process for the organization must be implemented as the framework for leading a significant transformation in organizational culture. Once this framework has been implemented you as the business leader will have efficiently and effectively persuaded your followers, and the rest of the organization into a new way of thinking. Thus, allowing for better, faster and higher quality decisions that in turn provide your customers with what they need: satisfaction.

References:

Dudink, G., & Berge, Z. (2006). Balancing Top-Down, Bottom-Up, and Peer-to-Peer Approaches to Sustaining Distance Training. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education , 7 (3), 144-152.

Kotter, J. (2007). Leading Change. Harvard Business Review , 85 (1), 96-103.

Nahavandi, A. (2006). The art and science of leadership. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Rosenberg, M. (2001). E-Learning: Strategies for Delivering Knowledge in the Digital Age. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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Ryan Strayer has been a successful business executive for over 13 years consulting for some of the largest companies in America such as JPMorgan-Chase, BlockBuster, Boeing and IBM. With an MBA in Operations Management, his experise and experiences range from total quality management methodologies, information technology and process re-engineering to theories in management, leadership and motivation.

Author: Ryan Strayer
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Organizational Culture – Trust is the Payoff and You’ll Be As Calm As a Sleeping Puppy

If you believe in people and their creative energies… command and control organizations are like the military. Which is cool if you want procedures and discipline to trump creativity? And there is no doubt we have a great military… made of superb honorable and inspired men and women.

But for businesses and for the clue less… command and control snuffs out the inspirational light…and guarantees a gnome like life of servitude.

I’ve wondered how the discussion would evolve if consolidation and merging were the answers to fix government….What would happen if the townships in America were eliminated? Can you feel the shuddering and citizens revolt like crazed bulldogs? Or, if County governments were eliminated to become more efficient?

Why not make the ultimate plunge into the blood thirsty world of efficiency….merge the small states into one or two. How do you think the folks in Rhode Island, Delaware, Massachusetts and Connecticut will react? Why not Wisconsin?

Heck why not merge all the Small States?

Here’s the point…

…mergers work for business…why not for states?

…because business nearly singular focus is profits and government’s nearly singular focus is people…or controlling people….and both are crippled with imbalance.

Imagine the perfect business and political organization which balances fiscal discipline and people.

…Break out in a cold sweat folks…we’d have successful people driven businesses and fiscally sound government.

Don’t you think…some poor suckers were sitting in merger meetings and surrendered their cores? Because…they lacked the courage to speak from their souls…and they were terrified of not being politically correct.

…but rather than perform the brutal Reality Check…they “settled”.

Politically correct people and don’t yet realize they are under prepared and under equipped to move the organizational culture forward….for the purpose of truth.

….if you don’t know how to engage in honest dialog. No shame in that. Get going and get honest with mastering the skills.

Know where you are at on the scale. If you’re stuck, the only first step is honest dialog. And if you don’t have the courage for an honest “reality check”, you’ll suffer the fate in the ash heap of organizations who surrendered.

Imagine helping your organization with absolute honesty which is fun, engaging and easy, even when the current culture is shackled by fear and hierarchy.

…Trust is the huge payoff…Try honesty and you’ll be as calm as a sleeping puppy.

If you’d like more information about Organizational Culture download your free book Organizational Culture

Jodi and Mike specialize in business succession with a focus on organizational culture. http://lighthouse-leadership.com

Author: Mike Krutza
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Define Leadership and Exercise it – The Missing Key Success Factor in Change Management

How you define and exercise leadership in the present climate will be a significant determinant in your organisation’s fortunes – and especially in the context of change management.

Let’s define leadership: Leadership is the process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective. Leaders have a vision that they share with others. It is the leader who binds the organisation together with beliefs, values and knowledge… and who makes it more cohesive and coherent.

Leadership is also defined as a process that…motivates people to excel in the field in which they are working.

Is this you? Is this your direct up-line report?

So can leadership be taught?

Many would say that leadership qualities are not inborn but can be developed gradually through education and self-study. Personally I am not so sure about that.

The current assumption is that leadership can be taught. There are very many many courses, seminars and books on leadership and a big demand for training to develop leadership skills.

On the basis of my life experience and as I define leadership – it is my view that you can only teach leadership skills to someone who has the latent [and maybe unrecognised and unacknowledged] potential to be a leader.

Management skills can be taught to just about anyone of at least average intelligence and education [and in saying that I am not denigrating management]. However, a brief review of the differences between leadership and management suggests that leadership owes as least as much to “nature” as it does to “nurture”.

It may not be a popular thing to say but in my experience – most people would rather be led than lead. In my experience – the vast majority of people are followers and not leaders and very happy to remain so. Leaders are a very small percentage of the population maybe less than 1% and really strong leaders with the potential to really change things [for better or worse] probably less than 0.1%.

Leadership versus management – some useful points of comparison

– Leaders are apparent – Managers are appointed
– Leaders cope with change – Managers cope with complexity
– Leaders set direction – Managers plan
– Leaders press for change – Managers promote stability
– Leaders are visionary, inspirational and have eye to the future -Managers are operational, hands on, and based in the ‘now’
– Leading is concerned with future direction – Managing is concerned with uncertain conditions: implementation, order, efficiency and effectiveness
– Leadership is strategic – Management is operational
– Leaders set the direction – Managers develop the capacity to achieve the plan
– Leaders motivate and inspire – Managers control and problem solve
– Leaders need to ‘get on the balcony’ to spot operational and strategic patterns within the organisation – Managers get caught up on the field of action.
– Leadership defines the culture of the organisation – Management instills the culture in the organisation

Leadership in change management

Clearly both sets of skills are needed.

But so often in change management situations the emphasis is on the process and the management of the situation and not the leadership.

The leadership characteristics outline above are crucial for the fulfillment of a change programme director / leader role – leading [and being seen to lead and own] the whole change initiative.

How we define leadership, how we understand it and how we exercise it, is of paramount importance in the current economic and business climate as the quality of your leadership could be a major factor in determining your company’s fortunes – and especially in a change management situation. And this is where the properly applied leadership skills are exercised to best effect when employing the holistic and wide view perspective of a programme based approach to change management.

For more on this: “Define and exercise leadership

Equip yourself to avoid the 70% failure rate of all change initiatives with the “Practitioners’ Masterclass – Leading your people through change, putting it all together and managing the whole messy business.”

Stephen Warrilow, based in Bristol, works with companies across the UK providing specialist support to directors delivery significant change initiatives. Stephen has 25 years cross sector experience with 100+ companies in mid range corporate, larger SME and corporate environments.

Author: Stephen Warrilow
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Absorb Knowledge Better With Subliminal Learning

How would you like to be a veritable sponge for absorbing information, learning and retaining whole volumes and libraries of information with the ease of a whole host of academics, shocking everyone with your knowledge, winning game shows and sweeping the local pub quiz nights with your quick banter, encyclopaedic brain and almost vast and endless pits of knowledge? Now you can as well with the technology called subliminal learning. What happens is that our minds are quite limited in the learning department, no matter how much we think we can learn. This is because of the cognitive processes that exist in our mind and how we each retain and learn information is different from person to person.

To be truly technical in the matter, it can be safely said that the brain has the capability for almost limitless learning; it has memory banks that seem to have no limit and a memory system that is almost perfect. The only hurdle to accessing this is of course human limitations and the fact that the brain does not function solely as a learning tool for the human being. It also co-ordinates our limbic system, our psychological systems and our human central nervous and emotional processes. Our day-to-day bodily functions also come into the purview of our brain and the cerebral cortex – but all this is not to say that we are incapable of multi tasking. We are, but as the brain concentrates on more than one function at a time, then we might have a diluted experience as our brain capacity is stretched too thin.

Then we must also think about the possible distractions like emotional stress, depression, hyperactivity, learning problems and attention deficit disorders that exist in small quantities throughout people across the world. What needs to be done is to focus the brain into a state that is optimal for both learning new data and information as well as retaining the information as well. We can achieve this through subliminal learning, which is a method that leans the brain into a constant state of learning and absorption. The combination of our vision and our memory system means that the brain has an almost photographic memory, which is available in all of us – the key is in unlocking it.

While ‘remembering’ the information, more and more is absorbed and more is learned at the same time. This can even be done when the individual is asleep, meaning that erudition is a non-stop 24-hour process. Absorbing knowledge better with subliminal learning is indeed possible, as the technology is widely available everywhere you turn. All it takes is logging onto the internet and searching for the right keywords, which is often something along the lines of ‘self improvement’ or ‘subliminal learning’.

Always make sure you do some in-depth research as well when it comes to subliminal CDs and mp3s; go for the ones that have the most rave reviews and third party recommendations. With this, you will have the advantage of topping your class, impressing your friends and be the overall smart guy or girl in your group.

Click Here to get your Free ‘Ultimate Success Unleashed’ CD and achieve success faster. Greg Frost is a self improvement coach and has been helping thousands of people worldwide to achieve their dreams and goals through the use of subliminal cds

Author: Greg Frost
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

8 Tips For Effective Learning

Do you often wish you’d ace those dreaded tests with ease? Do you often wonder why that-certain-someone always gets straight A’s without cheating? If you do, follow these eight tips and in no time you’ll have straight A’s too because most likely that-certain-someone is using some of these tips outlined below.

  1. Figure out your preferred learning style. There are three types of learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Figure out which one of those learning styles match your preference and when learning, use activities that complement your learning style.
  2. Use them muscles. What I really mean is, use muscle memory. There is just something about doing things by yourself that help you remember information for a longer period.
  3. – Practice, practice, practice. In subjects such as Math, practice the questions till you perfect the concept.
    – Write, instead of type. This may be difficult to implement at start but, really it’s because writing helps you store information more efficiently in the form of muscle memory while typing doesn’t. I admit writing is slow and boring but hey, at least your writing will become legible and you’ll learn more effectively. Isn’t that great?

  4. Distract yourself while learning. No seriously, stop fiddling around with your cell phone, it’s hindering your learning. Find yourself a quiet place away from your friends and near the straight A students. Trust me, it works.
  5. Ask your teachers for help. Teachers are your friends! Ok, maybe not; however, teachers do help students who show commitment, effort and hard work. If you sincerely ask your teachers for help, they will help you.
  6. Give yourself a reward for your hard work. I’m sure we’d all love to have the ability to learn and work tirelessly and effortlessly. However, we all need a reward once in a while for all the hard work we’ve put in. These rewards can come in variety of shapes and sizes. You can buy yourself some chocolate (like I do), go outside for a while (this may be too difficult for some of us) and hang around with your friends (yeah…). As an additional bonus, maybe the reward can act as an incentive for learning and working hard!
  7. Motivate yourself. There is no sense in doing something without having interest in it. No interest = no profit (read the last line twice to make sure you understand what it means).
  8. – Find a reason to study subjects such as Math, Chemistry, Physics, English etc. Find out why it’s important to learn these subjects and how they can help you both, personally and professionally. Let’s say you want to learn about girls. You start by having interest in girls. No interest = no reason to learn. Then you realize you don’t know that much about the topic. So, interest > learn > realize how little you know > learn some more and the cycle continues, benefiting you in the process.
    – Discuss intellectual topics with your peers, friends and family. It allows you to talk about geeky topics in an acceptable and honorable way.

  9. Reflect back upon what you’ve learned. So much of learning goes to waste when we don’t stop and think, what worked and what didn’t work. It’s important to reflect upon your performance and figure out how you can improve your learning. Remember, reflective learning is effective learning.
  10. Put your plans to action. Sure, reading these tips may provide you with ways you can learn effectively, however all this information is useless until you actually put your plans to action. Now, use this newly learned knowledge and apply it in your life.

Sumanyu Sharma is the owner of Learn-Effectively.com, which is a place dedicated for learners. From sciences to sports to dance, this website entertains a wide variety of learners. If you want General Learning Tips [http://www.learn-effectively.com/category/general-learning-tips] or you just want to learn anything else effectively, visit Learn-Effectively [http://www.learn-effectively.com]

Author: Sumanyu Sharma
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Organizational Development Definition

Organization development definition is not very difficult. It is simply a planned effort to increase the organization’s effectiveness and capability. Organizational development brings changes to the attitudes, values and beliefs of organization, so that people can adapt to new technologies and challenges of the business. OD includes both inventions and innovations along with the involvement of major stakeholders and people in the organization in the process of growth and development.

The other definition for organizational development is when two or more people function together to achieve a common goal i.e. success as defined by the key performance indicators of the organization. Organizational development (OD) is the long range effort to solve the problems in the workplace.

According to practical experience, OD can also be defined as the process of working together with organizations, organization leaders and organization groups in bringing systematic change to the root problems and hence increasing productivity and employee satisfaction. OD offers three things: what we do, how we do and the results we get. By properly understanding all three aspects, you can solve critical aspects of the organization. We can say hundreds of definitions for OD but it can be simply summarize as the process for a group to achieve its goals, mission and vision in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

It can also be defined as the process in which the organization develops the capability and capacity of individual workers and managers most effectively and efficiently to provide mission work that can be sustained in the long term. This definition connects OD with the mission and vision dreamed by the founders. It is a complex strategy that brings changes in each and every aspect of the organization. OD is the process which is designed to produce the particular kind of end result.

OD involves following four components: organizational reflection, system improvement, planning and self-analysis.

OD is termed as a growing field that is responsible for many new approaches which includes positive adult development. Does OD bring any effectiveness in organizational profitability? Yes of course. It plays major role in business profit.

Advantages of organizational development

o It improves organizational communication.
o Enhances the intelligence, leadership and managerial ability of the organization.
o OD assists for managerial development, especially for newly appointed managers.
o Sets goals for future and brings new ideas and plans for organizational development.
o Brings effectiveness in terms of business growth and profit.

Given the present situation of businesses at this time, how can you implement this in your organizational setting? How can you deal with problems that arise in organizational change and development?

Visit the Transformational Leadership Blog at http://www.mightyrasing.com to get tips for organizational culture and development. Subscribe to the blog and get FREE LEADERSHIP RESOURCES.

Author: M Rasing
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

How to Audit Your Business Strategy

Why conduct a business strategy audit?

Nearly all the major initiatives undertaken by corporate executives today are called “strategic”. With everything having high strategic importance, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between the many priorities and imperatives that are initiated in organisations. When everything is clearly strategic, often nothing strategic is clear. When everything is designated as a high priority, there are, in reality, no priorities at all.

However, when the overall strategic direction is clearly understood by everyone in your organisation, the following benefits occur:

  • organisational capabilities will be aligned to support the achievement of your strategy
  • resources will be allocated to different business processes in priority order – according to the importance of that process and its contribution to competitive advantage
  • your company or organisation can excel in the market place or in its business/commercial sector.

The purpose of a strategy audit is to arm managers with the tools, information, and commitment to evaluate the degree of advantage and focus provided by their current strategies. An audit produces the data needed to determine whether a change in strategy is necessary and exactly what changes should be made.

Defining a Strategy Audit

A strategy audit involves assessing the actual direction of a business and comparing that course to the direction required to succeed in a changing environment. A company’s actual direction is the sum of what it does and does not do, how well the organisation is internally aligned to support the strategy, and how viable the strategy is when compared to external market, competitor and financial realities. These two categories, the internal assessment and the external or environmental assessment, make up the major elements of a strategy audit.

The outline that follows is derived from The Business Strategy Audit (see References). It’s intended to give you a clear idea of how to set about conducting a self-assessment audit in your own organisation, without the need for any additional training or external consultancy support. But note that this outline does not include the range of Questionnaires and Checklists and the detailed guidance to be found in the full, 124-page Audit.

Part 1 ~ The External Environmental Assessment

A conventional corporate mission is to provide distinct products and services to customers at a value superior to that offered by competitors. Without a strategy, valuable resources will be diluted, the work of employees will be unfocused, and distinctiveness will not be achieved. The external environment assessment provides any business with a critical external link between its competitors, customers, and the products/services it offers.

The fundamental reason for examining an organisation’s environment in the process of clarifying strategy can be summarised thus:

  • Ensure that the company is meeting the needs evident in the environment
  • Prevent others from meeting those needs in a better way
  • Create or identify ways to meet future or emerging needs.

The success or failure of a company often depends on its ability to monitor changes in the environment and meet the needs of its customers and prospective customers.

An organisation’s business environment is never static. What is viewed as uniqueness or distinctiveness today will be viewed as commonplace tomorrow as new competitors enter the industry or change the environment by modifying the rules by which companies compete. Consequently, an effective strategy will do more than help a company to stay in the game. It will help it to establish new rules for the game that favour that company. Successful companies do more than simply understand their environments. They also influence and shape the circumstances around them. Companies that fail to influence their environments automatically concede the opportunity to do so to their competitors.

Steps in conducting an environmental assessment:

Step 1: Understand the external environment at a macro level

The first step in the environmental assessment is to develop a basic understanding of the trends and issues that will significantly change, influence, and affect the industry. The overall industry understanding comes from looking at the elements that influence the environment.
These elements include:

  • Capital markets
  • Industry capacity
  • Technological factors
  • Pressure from substitutes
  • Threat of new entrants
  • Economic factors
  • Political factors
  • Regulatory factors
  • Geographic factors
  • Social factors

A useful framework to understand these issues comes from answering the following questions. They should be posed directly when used in an interview, and indirectly when analysing data:

  • What is the long-term viability of the industry as a whole, and how do capital markets react to new developments?
  • What trends could change the rules of the game?
  • Who are the industry leaders? What are they doing? Why?
  • What are the key success factors in the industry?
  • What developments could allow a company to change the rules of the game?
  • Five years from now, how will winners in the industry look and act?
  • What is the reward (and/or cost) of being a winner/loser within the industry?
  • Where has the industry come from?

Step 2: Understand the industry/sector components in detail

Industry/sector components are normally broken down as follows: competitors, customers and stakeholders. Questions that should normally be asked of each key competitor include:

BUSINESS REVIEW

Strategy Issues:

  • What is the strategy of each competitor? Where do they appear to be heading?
  • What is their business emphasis?
  • Do they compete on quality, cost, speed or service?
  • Are they niche or global players?

Capabilities:

  • What do they do better than anyone else?
  • Where are they weaker than others?
  • Where are they the same as others?

Business Objectives:

  • Who are their primary customers?
  • What types of business do they not do or say no to?
  • Who are their major partners? Why are they partnering? What do they gain from it?
  • What are they doing that is new or interesting?

FINANCIAL REVIEW

Financial Strength – Internal:

  • How much cash does each competitor generate annually?
  • What are the drivers behind their financial success (from a cash perspective)?
  • How do they allocate resources (funds)?
  • How fast are they growing and in what areas?

Strength as Perceived by Capital Markets:

  • Are competitors resource constrained or do they have strong financial backing?
  • Is this perception consistent with the internal analysis? Why or why not?
  • How has the company performed in the financial markets? Why?
  • What constraints/opportunities do they have with respect to financial markets? Why?

ORGANISATION REVIEW

Top Management:

  • Has management kept the company at the forefront of the industry? Why or why not?
  • Are the key players seen to be moving the company forward?

Organisation:

  • Is the company centralised or decentralised?
  • Does the corporate parent act as a holding company or as an active manager?
  • Is the organisation perceived as being lean and able to get things done?

People:

  • How many people are employed? Is the company over-or under-staffed?
  • Are people managed to achieve mainly business objectives, human objectives or some of both? How does this affect the company?
  • What skills are emphasised during recruitment?

Culture:

  • Is the culture results-oriented?
  • Bureaucratic?
  • Flexible?

Similar lists of questions should be developed for customers and stakeholders (or see the full Audit for ready-made questionnaires).

Step 3: Integrate the components into an environmental picture

Once the findings of the stakeholder analysis, customer analysis and competitor analysis (above) have been collected, audit team members should step back and integrate the data. Integrating the different components will help the team to understand the overall environment in which the business operates.

This integration should take place at two levels: assessing where the industry is heading and the likely impact of that direction on the company, and combining the organisational assessment with the environmental assessment.

The Business Strategy Audit offers a detailed framework for analysing this data. In brief, it should highlight significant changes in the environment, and the impact of those changes on the company’s competitive position within the industry. It should address the fundamental question of how the company can influence its environment in the future, and what the business will need to look like if it is to thrive in the future.

In addition, the analysis should highlight the requirements and capabilities that are needed within the company to meet external demands. These requirements and needs should then be matched up with the current capabilities outlined in the organisation assessment. This will enable the team to determine the overall alignment of the company’s strategy to its environment.

Part 2 ~ The Organisational Assessment

Once the company’s environment has been examined and analyzed, managers should consider the qualities and characteristics of the organisation itself that influence what can be accomplished in terms of strategy. This section is about organisational assessment. The steps shown here will provide insights into the effectiveness of the company’s current strategy, and provide guidelines for increasing strategic effectiveness.

  • Strategy Clarification. Strategy clarification helps the leadership team determine what business they are in, the direction of the business, and framework or criteria for making strategic decisions in the future. If people at any level of a business are unclear about any of these three areas, it is difficult for them to focus their attention, cooperate with other teams, and organise their efforts to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  • Viability and Robustness. Measuring viability and robustness helps a leadership team test strategies and ideas against future world scenarios to determine whether the strategies can be achieved and sustained. By looking at both market and financial viability and robustness in different scenarios, a management team can see what will create advantage in the future and what key measures need to be implemented to monitor changes in business conditions.
  • Business Processes. The term business process refers to the overall work flow within a company and includes elements such as product design, manufacturing, and delivery. A good process analysis will help a leadership team to see what must be done given the company’s strategy, and how those processes can be improved.
  • Capabilities. Capabilities are bundles of separate skills required to deliver the products or services that give a business competitive advantage. There are two parts of a capability assessment. First, the capabilities needed to execute the strategy must be determined. Second, the current level of ability in terms of those capabilities must be assessed. Without knowing what capabilities should be focused on and improved, competitive advantage will be difficult to achieve.
  • Organisation Design and Resourcing. This part of the analysis looks at alignment issues between the environment, the strategy, the skills required to achieve that strategy, and the organisation structure. During this step, a management team can design an organisation that aligns systems in a way that will allow them to execute a strategy. Unless the systems within a business are aligned to improve effectiveness or efficiency, strategy statements are merely plaques on the wall that are seldom realised.
  • Culture. Culture refers to the set of shared values that influence behaviour and direction over time. The style of management and the beliefs and assumptions commonly held by people in the organisation must be determined in order to ensure alignment and execution of the strategy.

Having completed each of these assessments, they must be integrated by the audit team. In this process, audit team members should attempt to answer one fundamental question: Is our strategy in alignment with the external environment?

To answer this broad question, the following issues should be addressed:

  • Do our capabilities match our customer requirements?
  • Do we offer something required by our customers that is better than the offerings of our competitors?
  • How are customer demands changing?
  • How are competitors changing?
  • How are our internal capabilities evolving to keep pace with those changes?

Depending on the answers to these questions, the team can implement the changes dictated by the audit. In making these changes, three issues should be considered:

Structure follows strategy – This means that current organisational boundaries and structures should not be allowed to determine the selection of a competitive strategy. Rather, the environmental and organisational assessments that you have just conducted should determine and drive strategy selection.

Plans for change must be widely owned – Those people ultimately responsible for implementing strategy (typically front-line employees) should be consulted for their ideas about what changes should be made and how they should be made. Otherwise, very little change is likely to happen.

Implementation should start with what is core to gaining advantage – In other words, start with core business processes, ‘pick the low hanging fruit’ first, make those changes that will make the most visible difference.

In addition, it may be useful to know that the following are the most common mistakes made by teams conducting business strategy audits:

  • Expecting all data to be equally useful
  • Do nothing with the audit findings
  • Failing to link other support systems (rewards, administration, etc.) to strategy
  • Not thinking strategically about what processes and capabilities to keep in-house and what to outsource
  • Failing to prioritise those core processes that must be world-class
  • Failing to match internal capabilities with customer requirements
  • Failing to communicate audit findings and strategy changes to people throughout the organisation is a clear and simple language

Andrew Carey is editor of the full-length Business Strategy Audit referred to in this article. It is published by Cambridge Strategy Publications (http://cambridgestrategy.com). Andrew has worked as a writer, editor, marketing consultant, publisher, team facilitator and business development adviser. He is also a practising psychotherapist.

Author: Andrew T Carey
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Why Doesn’t Leadership Training Produce Leaders?

Great leadership is one of the keys to long-term organisational success; so how come there seems to be such a shortage? In the corridors of political power, and in the boardrooms of large and small organisations, we regularly hear the questions: “Where is the inspired leadership we crave?”, “Where is our next generation of leaders coming from?”, “Where is the flair and inspiration we need to take us to the next level?”

If asked, you could probably say what ‘leadership’ is. Like everyone else, you’ve read the books and seen the leadership competency frameworks. You could clearly describe how it feels to be well and poorly led – you ‘know it when you see it’. But how many current great world leaders can you name off the top of your head? How many great leaders are there in your organisation now?

Why do so many people, knowing what good leadership is, fail to demonstrate it themselves? The first place to look is in the learning environment where leaders are usually developed.

What They Didn’t Teach You about Leadership

1. There is an imbalance in leadership training. There is not enough emphasis on the skills, central to great leadership, of inspiring others with beliefs, vision, values and attitude; and too much emphasis on the importance of systems, planning, measurement, budgets, controls and procedures – in short, on management! Does any great leader ever manage people into following him? No, he inspires them, motivates them, keeps them in touch with the bigger vision – he leads them.

2. As a business leader, you have probably been well trained in logic and analysis. But a key leadership skill is the application of ’emotional intelligence’ – the ability to know when things are ‘true’ or when they are ‘off’, when people are truly inspired, or just paying lip service. As a leader you need emotional intelligence to manage your own and others’ emotions, and you need skills appropriate to this task. Trying to do it by analysis and logic is about as effective as trying to drive a car by studying from a manual how the engine works.

3. People, especially in the business world, tend to avoid emotion – expressing it, dealing with it, looking at where it came from and its role in a situation. The rationale for not dealing with emotion, the very essence of leadership, is that all ‘this emotion stuff’ is ‘not professional’! Not so: it’s only ‘unprofessional’ to suppress emotion or express it inappropriately. When all ‘this emotion stuff’ is not explored and resolved in leadership groups, it always produces long-term tensions and political battles. These cause acute stress in individuals and cripple organisational effectiveness and efficiency. At the same time, they also destroy satisfaction, joy, fun, friendship, health, trust and a good night’s sleep!

4. Leadership skills like vision, inspiration and emotional intelligence can be trained on training courses – but it takes a different kind of course. In most leadership training programmes you will see models of leadership discussed, followed by practical exercises that analyse logically what went right and wrong in a ‘leadership game’. It’s all familiar and fun, but what’s being taught are the elements that underpin leadership, not the essence of leadership.

How Can You Learn to ‘Do’ Great Leadership?

You need to be coached in leadership skills, over time, in real situations – ones that matter to you and where there is a chance of meaningful success or failure – by coaches who themselves demonstrate the skills. A life skill like leadership can’t be learned by numbers; you can’t read a book about it, learn a model or play a game that simulates a real life situation, and say you know anything about leadership. The greater the ‘distance’ your learning experience is from your real world experience, the less likely it is that the learning will be transferred to your everyday performance. You didn’t learn to drive by sitting in a classroom!

So you can only effectively demonstrate the skills of leadership when the situation calling for them is real. Get a coach who has the experience to produce leadership competence, and put yourself in a programme where you are guided through real-time experience to learn leadership skills over time. Only this kind of approach will finally get you to the point where your leadership competence is as natural and instinctive as your driving ability!

At Shine Consulting, we work with leaders who are consciously engaged in designing their organisations to be places where people:
– are consistently passionate, inspired and committed
– produce results well beyond the predictable norm
In short, organisations that really shine!
http://www.shineconsulting.co.uk

Author: Kate Mercer
Article Source: EzineArticles.com