Imagine you’re a VIP admitted to a hospital with a serious heart condition. You need a lifesaving operation and, because of your wealth and influence, you are given the option of having a world renowned surgeon flown in to operate on you.
In those circumstances we’d all go for the star performer over the resident medical team, right? Maybe not.
Robert Huckman and Gary Pisano from Harvard Business School challenged the status of freelancing experts by empirically measuring the success rates of more than 200 cardiac surgeons working across 43 different hospitals.
They specifically examined the success rates (patient survival rates) of highly experienced freelancers versus more bonded surgical teams.
After analyzing more than 38,000 procedures they found the performance of individual heart specialists did improve significantly with practice and experience (one for the prima donnas).
But it was only at the hospital where they did most of their work.
When the same surgeons left their usual teams to work at different hospitals their success rates returned to baseline.
It seems working with a bonded team of colleagues (doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists) helps to develop interactive routines that harness the unique talents of each team member.
The authors concluded that elite performance is not as portable as previously thought and is more a function of the “familiarity that a surgeon develops with the assets of a given organization”- a nice way of saying stars only shine due to their colleagues.
"In times of darkness and direness, a good question can become a safety rope between you and your own sense of selfhood: A person who asks a question is not wholly undone by events. She is there to face them, to meet them. If you're asking a question, you still believe in a future. And in times that are placid and easy, a good question is a preventive against sleepwalking, a way to keep present the awakening question that's under all other questions: "What else, what more?" Jane Hirshfield, the award-winning poet and author of 'The Beauty,' explains a new way to examine your choices, keep your calm and "carabiner yourself to intimacy."
Many of us spend much of our time in meetings and at conferences. But too often these feel like a waste of time, or fail to make the most of the knowledge and experience of the people present.
Meetings have changed, with much more use of online tools, and a growing range of different meeting formats. But our sense is that meetings could be much better run and achieve better results.
This paper tries to help. It summarises some of what is known about how meetings work well or badly; it makes recommendations about how to make meetings better; and showcases some interesting recent innovations. It forms part of a larger research programme at Nesta on collective intelligence which is investigating how groups and organisations can make the most of their brains, and of the technologies they use.
We hope the paper will be helpful to anyone designing or running meetings of any kind, and that readers will contribute good examples, ideas and evidence which can be added into future versions.
Maybe your business has failed or your venture gone off track.
Maybe you were supposed to be the next Steve Jobs, but it's all gone bad. For whatever reason, you find yourself in a place you never imagined--rock bottom. But failure is not fatal and rock bottom is not forever, unless you make it so. There are very important lessons to learn when you've hit rock bottom. Here are nine of the most important:
How is it that Shackleton managed to provide the leadership to overcome mutiny and save all of his men despite the desperate nature of their predicament?
What can we take from it that would be useful in business today? I believe it came down to trust - the trust that Shackleton’s men had built in him, and the environment of trust that he created in his team.
There is a Trust Equation defined in the book The Trusted Advisor that shows the elements needed for trust to exist.
It’s this: Trust = (Credibility x Reliability x Intimacy)/Self Orientation
Most successful leaders have little difficulty saying no to a losing deal, to a project that’s wasting money, or to a request that doesn’t align with their priorities. But these same leaders can find it very uncomfortable to speak up when their concerns are less cut-and-dried or when their organization is hell-bent on pursuing a plan. In certain situations, it can feel politically risky to hesitate or ask too many questions. Even with their direct reports, many leaders find themselves putting off the difficult conversations needed to address issues such as drifting standards, inappropriate behavior, or emerging bad habits.
But, as difficult as it can be, saying no is often the key to effective leadership. Without the ability to push back when needed, you run the risk of “commitment drift”: promises made to customers or employees, or to promote safety, specific values, financial discipline, or social and environmental responsibility are eroded incrementally, without anyone really stopping to think about the consequences. As Joseph Fuller and Michael C. Jensen pointed out in their 2002 paper “Just Say No to Wall Street: Putting a Stop to the Earnings Game,” saying no to such dysfunctional momentum can be your best strategy for helping your company succeed as well as living your values.
In less than a week we will all be leaning in watching the Olympics. Thousands of athletes who have worked for years with their coach to improve in their sport. Why don't more teachers take advantage of the coaches they have in their buildings?
In a recent article, “10 Principles of Organizational Culture,” strategy+business highlighted how crucial it is to deploy authentic informal leaders (AILs). As the acronym suggests, AILs are not people in your organization who have been endowed with formal authority by title or by memo. Rather, they possess and exhibit certain leadership strengths such as the ability to do something important well and showing others how to do it (exemplars), or they demonstrate the skill of connecting people across the organization (networkers). Some AILs influence behavior by being the first to understand the value of a new trend (early adopters) or by instinctively associating peers’ positive feelings with day-to-day activities (pride builders). These strengths — which my colleagues at the Katzenbach Center and I refer to as “spikes” — can make AILs powerful allies in any transformation effort.
If you ask managers in a large organization to approach a strategic business problem, their focus often quickly narrows to proposing solutions. When asked why, many respond that they don’t have time to think.
How did we arrive in a state where managers do not recognize that thinking is part of their job? The answer reflects a relentless focus on execution in many large companies. A company becomes big by finding a successful business model — and then scaling it massively. This necessitates building a finely tuned system with highly standardized processes. To get promoted in such an environment requires an almost singular focus on execution. In other words, it requires action more than thinking. However, once executives are promoted to a senior level, these new business leaders must be able to think strategically. Ironically, the very skills in execution that led to their promotions often make these executives ill-equipped for their new roles, since their strategy thinking muscles have withered from disuse.
Every Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is "on the stage" the majority of his or her work life but needs pre-performance quiet and confidential time to be creative, bounce their ideas off someone in a safe environment, and explore the unintended consequences of their future actions. Engaging in a personal coaching conversation is a refreshing opportunity where the CEO can be completely open and creative in a confidential and safe place.
When asked what was the best advice he ever received, Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google, recognized it was from John Doerr, who in 2001 said, "My advice to you is to have a coach." Schmidt initially resented the advice, because after all, he was a CEO. He was pretty experienced. Why would he need a coach?
One of the toughest challenges in personal and corporate development is identifying blind spots and figuring out what to do about them. This is as true for coaches and corporate leaders as it is for any of the team members they direct.
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