Friday, 19 June 2009

Individualism v Teamwork

As you travel around corporate America these days, you hear a lot about "teams";that groups, departments or whole divisions are trying to behave more as a teamas opposed to a group of individuals. Its the latest catch phrase du jour. I guess someone finally figured out the power of teamwork. But just how much of this represents sincere efforts? My corporate contacts tell me its mostly facade. They contend they get some nifty new corporate shirts and some great pep talks, but aside from this, little else. As much as corporations tout the need for teamwork, most still encourage rugged individualism.

There is more to creating a team than simply saying you are one. New shirts and axiomsare nice, but in order for this to work, people have to think and act as a team. In otherwords, success hinges on it becoming a natural part of the corporate culture.

Teachers, coaches, and drill instructors have long understood the value of teamwork. The intent is to turn a heterogeneous working environment into a homogeneous environment whereby everyone is working in a concerted effort towards common goals. But do corporate managers truly understand teamwork? Not necessarily. Many still create competitive environments in the hope that the strongest will rise to the surface. Teamwork is more about cooperation than it is about competition.

This brings up an important point: Teamwork is taught. It means developing a disciplinedwork environment where the participants must conform to a specific set of rules. Inevitably,it means breaking some work habits and creating new ones. This can be painful, yetnecessary if you want to achieve the desired results. Basically, you are teachingpeople how to live and work together as opposed to apart.

In the United States there is more of a natural inclination to teach individualismas opposed to teamwork; perhaps this is because we are a nation based onfreedoms. For example, our public school systems have minimal dress and hair codes; each student is allowed to look and dress as they personally see fit, many with some very questionable taste. This is permitted as it is believed the individual must be allowed to freely express him/herself. This may be fine, but it certainly does not promote a spirit of teamwork. Compare it to other countries, such as Japan, where students are required to where school uniforms and are given group assignments, such as the preparation andcleanup of their daily lunch. In Japan, students are taught the value of cooperationat an early age which has the added benefit of improving their socialization skills.
As mentioned, teamwork requires the establishment of a working environment conducive to teamwork. It doesn't happen simply by making some platitudinous statements. A managermust do more, much more; some suggestions:

First and foremost: Lead. All teams need a leader who can articulate goals and give direction. The team must trust and believe in its leader. Without such confidence, the team will not likely follow the leader, particularly in times of difficulty. The leader should also be wary of leading by democratic rule. Soliciting input is one thing, as ishaving assistants, but there can only be one ultimate leader to guide the team.

Institute uniform operating practices that everyone will be expected to conform to,such as operating hours of work, dress code, office appearance, speech and conduct, etc. Such uniformity stresses the equality of the workers. As another suggestion,downplay job titles and put more emphasis on work assignments instead. Job titles tend to emphasize a person's stature in a company and can be disruptive in terms ofequality.

Establish standard practices for executing work assignments, thereby everyone isfollowing the same methods, and using the same tools and techniques in their workeffort. This improves communications, provides for the interchangeability of workers,and promotes the development of quality work products.

Make sure everyone knows their responsibilities and assignments and understandstheir importance. Nobody wants to be regarded as the weakest link and, as such,the manager must be able to communicate their importance and carefully balancethe workload. Yes, there will be those workers who will undoubtedly excel over others, but teamwork is a group effort. If a weaker worker needs additional training, either give it to him or replace him.

Routinely check progress. Whenever applicable, keep statistics on both team andindividual performance. However, it is not important to publish such stats. It isimportant for the leader to know the team's strengths and weaknesses, but it isnobody else's business.

Be on the lookout for conflicts in working relationships. Some people will simply notget along and it is up to the manager to referee such conflicts. Either have the peoplework out their differences, keep them apart, or rid yourself of them. You want harmony,not contention, on your team.

Allow time for the team to meet and discuss issues as a group. This keeps everyonein tune with common goals, problems, and the team's general progress. It also allows the team to socialize and form a camaraderie (a bonding of unity).

Recognize individual achievement but reward on a team basis as opposed to an individual basis.

Are we really trying to promote teamwork or is this nothing more than the latest corporate fad that is being implemented more for public relations than anything else? Let's hope for the former and not the latter. Teamwork is a powerful concept, particularly when there is anything of substance to be done.

Shrewd managers intuitively understand the need for teamwork. Let me give you an example from the world of entertainment. Jack Benny, the famous comedian of yesteryear had a great appreciation for teamwork. His radio and television shows wereconsistently at the top of the rating charts for a number of years. When asked what his secret to success was, Benny simply said teamwork. To Jack, it wasn't important that he personally got the best lines and laughs week after week. In fact, he was often the butt of many of the jokes. Instead, he made sure his cast, guests, and writers all received the accolades they deserved. It was more important to Benny that people said they had tuned into "The Show" as opposed to tuning in to see "Jack Benny." He was right.

I realize there are instances in business when it becomes necessary to exerciseindividualism, but these are becoming a rarity. Instead companies can find greaterglory as a team as opposed to a group of individuals.

"Individual glory is insignificant when compared to achieving victory as a team."- Dot Richardson, M.D.U.S. Olympic Softball Team Two time Gold Medal Champions

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has 30 years of experience in the field. Heis available for training and consulting on an international basis. He can be contacted at:

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

US Army Leadership Principles

An internet search for the title of this article comes up with several hits for the US Army's Eleven Leadership Principles. These are as follows:

- Be tactically and technically proficient
- Know yourself and seek self-improvement
- Know your soldiers and look out for their welfare
- Keep your soldiers informed
- Set the example
- Ensure the task is understood, supervised and accomplished
- Train your soldiers as a team
- Make sound and timely decisions
- Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates
- Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities
- Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions

It seems to me that with a little adaptation, these principles are largely applicable to leadership in the civilian environment as much as the military.

With thanks to David McCallum for bringing these principles to my attention.

Simon Cooper heads up ELC Training Solutions and is author of the best selling leadership development book, Brilliant Leader.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Managing Talent

Attract and retain the most talented employees by managing talent and save your organization time, money and resources. This article will provide you with talent management strategies and solutions that help companies succeed. Whether you're an executive, a manager or a team leader, the following information will be beneficial to you.

Talent management strategies have evolved significantly in the last few years as technological advancement becomes a calculated, competitive edge for businesses. Progressive companies use talent management solutions to interface, or even integrate the multiple solutions they employ, empowering them to recruit, hire, develop, retain, engage and promote top talent seamlessly.
Since the widespread recognition of the importance of human capital in organizations, enterprise companies are creating talent management strategies that align people with business objectives to conquer challenges and create a competitive advantage. By investing in new technology and ongoing research, your organization can proactively eliminate hiring, on-boarding, employee development, talent retention and career planning issues before they begin and address challenges that already exist.

There are many talent management strategies that can help your organization cope with the many employee issues you currently face. Here are some examples:

Applicant Tracking
Businesses employing large numbers of workers face unique hiring challenges. Taking applications, screening, interviewing, hiring, and on-boarding dozens, hundreds or even thousands of new hires can lead to confusion, missed opportunities, lost time and wasted resources, including money. Application tracking gives managers the ability to review and hire the right applicants quickly and efficiently. Applicant tracking solutions are easy to use, require little training and do not require expensive hardware of software. By automating your hiring process, you can reduce your organization's recruiting costs by 40% or more.

Every job or position has requirements that go beyond the customary job description. When an employee's job duties conflict with their natural talent and skills, they suffer from tension and stress that can lead to organizational conflict and employee behavioral problems. Assessments will help you make the right hiring decisions and put the right people in the right positions, which will result in increased productivity, reduced stress, less tension, decreased conflict and a positive impact on your bottom line.

Employee & Career Development
One of the greatest challenges faced in organizations is the strategic personal development of their human capital in order to ensure effective use of their talent. In order to properly manage this vital resource, companies must identify their challenges and then implement training and employee development curriculum for improvement. Employee & Career Development strategies help manage employees who need improvement, the area in which they need further development and the progress they have made toward improving the necessary skills, retain and empower your employees by allowing them to develop and manage their career paths and align them with organizational strategy, and identify highly talented and productive employees who can become successors to key executives.

Learning Management
Organizations use learning management to have a competitive edge and a measurable impact on employee performance. The value of learning management solutions enables organizations to demonstrate the return on investment they make in training, and in turn they are able to continue improvement processes that drive higher levels of return through enhanced performance over time. Learning management strategies can help organizations manage the administrative aspects of learning such as registration, class enrollment, attendance and performance tracking, making it easier for managers and employees to create, implement and track personalized programs.

Jim Sirbasku is co-founder and CEO of Profiles International, a leading provider of human resource management solutions and employment assessments for businesses worldwide. For more information about talent management solutions, visit our website.

10 Principles of Law of Attraction for Leaders

I believe that everyone is a leader to someone. Leadership is in each one of us. The amount that you utilize this gift to be a leader will all depend on you. Utilizing the principles of the Law of Attraction in a leader role consciously will attract more results and success. These principles can carry on from being a leader in your business to being a leader at home.

Here are the 10 principles of Law of Attraction for leaders:

1. Take responsibility. This is one of the principles many have a hard time dealing with. You create you reality and therefore you must take responsibility for your reality and actions. The sooner you get you control the output by your thoughts, feelings, words and actions the sooner you can create the life and business you want. Lead by example and you will have a great team by your side.

2. Be a partner. You may be a leader but you are also a partner. Do no try to do everything on your own. Ask for feedback, ideas and work together with your team to meet your goals. Cooperation and collaboration are necessary.

3. Be aware of your energy. Pay attention to your energy. If you are in a bad mood, your energy can and will transfer to those around you. Be consciously aware of your energy and choose to make it a positive one and spread positive vibes. The higher your vibration the more connected and grounded you are, the more inspired you are and because of this you will see greater success.

4. Be pleasant. If you are leading by example and utilizing the Law of Attraction, than having an awesome personality will be easy for you to do. When you are focused on abundance, taking action and the possibilities people will be drawn to you.

5. Be understanding. Put yourself in their shoes. Better yet ask them what you can do for them to really understand where they are coming from and how you can better assist them. Do not be judgmental, rather be open minded and concentrate on solutions.

6. Share your visions. Create a plan, a vision of where you want to go with your project, business, product, service, etc. Have a plan for your advertising, marketing and more. Share these plans with those working with you and get their feedback and mastermind on improving the plans. By having a set direction that is agreed on will promote team work, responsibility, confidence and action.

7. Surpass expectations. Whatever you do, do it to the max. Go beyond what people expect of you. Give more value than what is asked. You will be setting the Law in motion to provide you with more than what you expect and be setting a great example.

8. Make passionate choices. When you are passionate and inspired about your choices it comes through in your presentation and implementation. When others see you are passionate about the decisions you are making it will help for those decisions to be embraced and understood.

9. Harness positive self-talk. Do not let doubt, lack or other negative thoughts enter into your self-talk. When you perceive something to be negative, look for the positive or create a positive. Keeping your self-talk positive and focused will make the rest of your day much brighter and easier.

10. Be open to the possibilities. Have an open-mind to the Law of Attraction and what it can do for you as Leader and in your life. Being resistant is a surefire way to get the opposite of what you want. Be open to utilizing these principles in your life so you can create the success and happiness you deserve.

Ruth Sias is a former Commercial Escrow officer, turned Entrepreneur from Sacramento, CA.
Ruth has taken her 23 years as a business professional, combined with her strong people skills to create wealth for her and others online.
To join Ruth's team, visit
Synergy Cash System and request a tour.