Sunday, September 21, 2014


Why your team should appoint a "meta-knowledge" champion - one person who's aware of everyone else's area of expertise

BPS Research

Being on top of "who knows what" is crucial for any team. If I were scheduled to meet a new client from an unfamiliar industry, it would be handy to know that my office-mate had worked in that area for years and could offer me some tips. But how is this team meta-knowledge (knowledge of who knows what) best handled? New research suggests teams, especially those composed of specialists, gain an advantage when they concentrate this information in the hands of one person instead of spreading it thinly.

Julija Mell and her collaborators asked 112 teams, each comprising three students, to rank the commercial prospects of five different drink products from best to worst. Each member read some unique information themed by specialism: for example, one it was research and development (R&D) data about the five products; for another, information about legal and marketing aspects. The task had an ideal answer, and good performance required seeing interdependencies – for example, a chemical used to manufacture one product (R&D data) was at risk of being outlawed (legal).

In half of these teams, one member was given a written overview of the specialties held by the various members. In the remaining teams, this information was divided across members, so A might know B possesses legal info (but not that they also possess marketing info), B knows what C possesses, and so on. The take-home result? After their 15 minutes of team discussion, those with one member "in the know" about member specialities produced better rankings compared to teams with divided metaknowledge. Why?

Previously, this research group from the Rotterdam School of Management has found that people are most ready to share information and spark debate when their attention is drawn to how we each possess very different knowledge and experiences, meaning that any single perspective is bound to be partial and incomplete.


How to Lead with Purpose

Eric Jacobsen

“Purpose is the why behind everything within an organization,” says author John Baldoni, of the book, Lead With Purpose.

Baldoni also believes that it is up to leaders to make certain that organizational purpose is understood and acted upon. And, to harness the talents of their employees, leaders must recognize their responsibility to instill purpose in the workplace.

Other recommendations include:

·         Make purpose a central focus

·         Instill purpose in others

·         Make employees comfortable with ambiguity

·         Turn good intentions into great results

·         Make it safe to fail (as well as prevail)

·         Develop the next generation

According to Baldoni, purpose forms the backbone of what an organization exists to do; upon which you can build vision and mission.


The 7 Magic Roles for Creating Sustainable Innovation Culture


the following 7 Magic Roles that proved effective in creating a sustainable innovation culture and then executing upon it. Culture, supported and sustained by those roles, is providing the guiding rails for the rest of the business to innovate within - and feel good about it:

1)     The Puppeteer

2)     The Evangelist

3)     The Curator

4)     The Muezzin

5)     The Zookeeper

6)     The MC ("master of ceremony")

7)     The Laminator


IX Reasons STEM Needs Title IX: Lessons From Center Court

Huffington Post

On the 40th anniversary of Title IX's passing, a White House press release stated that the number of female college athletes has increased from 30,000 to 190,000, and, not coincidentally, the proportion of female professors in science and mathematics has more than doubled. A study by the National Bureau of Economic Statistics found that women's increased participation in sports leads to increased participation in the workforce and, particularly, in high-skill, high-wage fields.

In the same way Title IX completely changed the landscape for girls in sports -- it's time for a full-court press on Girls in STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math. Past myths and stereotypes surrounding girls' participation in sports are still applied to STEM today.


Seven questions to make sure your company is built around customers

London Business Strategy Review

1. Why - precisely - should anyone give us their money?

2. Are we offering the very best in our chosen segment?

3. Are we making buying from us as easy as possible?

4. Are they telling all their friends great things about us?

5. Are some within our organisation pushing customers away?

6. Are we asking them what else we could do for them?

7. Are we asking customers to help us innovate?


Leading from the Shadows

Skip Richard

Richard Hytner is deputy chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, responsible for global strategy and innovation. His recent book, Consiglieri: Leading from the Shadows, is a celebration of the No. 2 role. This book made an impression on me because I am dependent on the “No. 2’s” and now better understand the role and the motivations. I also feel better equipped to coach people who are either not looking for the “No. 1” role or are best suited for the supportive jobs.

Richard was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about his journey.


Richard, becoming No. 1, you argue, is not always the key to success. Why not?

Success is best defined by yourself, not by others. So, if becoming the No. 1 is really important to you, give it a go, see how happy it makes you feel and assess – candidly – how others respond to your leadership from a position of ultimate accountability. You can, however, be enormously successful on your own terms leading from positions other than the overall No. 1, achieving great things and deriving deep personal satisfaction. Get rid of the No. 1 and No. 2 in your head and simply weigh each job as an opportunity to test every leadership muscle, not only the one that makes the final decision.


Celebrate Your Organization’s Culture Through a Blog

Michael Lee Stallard

Create a blog or intranet site where colleagues can post positive examples of people who live out the core values of your organization.  This provides employee recognition, encourages everyone to bring the values to life, and spreads positive examples and practices.  For example, see the “Nuts About Southwest” blog at

This is the fiftieth post in our series entitled “100 Ways to Connect.” The series highlights language, attitudes and behaviors that help you connect with others. Although the language, attitudes and behaviors focus on application in the workplace, you will see that they also apply to your relationships at home and in the community.


What You Communicate Without Saying a Word

Patti Wood and Job Scholar

Our experts say a well prepared candidate will not only say the right thing in an interview, but will also communicate through their body language that they are the right fit for the position.

·         Body Language Matters

·         Sit Up Straight

·         Maintain Eye Contact – Without Giving the “Death Stare”

·         Keep Arms Uncrossed

·         Understand You’re Being Watched


Personal SWOT Analysis


Chance favors the prepared mind.  – Louis Pasteur

You are most likely to succeed in life if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you'll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are, and if you manage these weaknesses so that they don't matter in the work you do. So how you go about identifying these strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them? SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps you do this.

What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward.


Remembering Warren Bennis

Strategy + Leadership

Warren Gamaliel Bennis passed away on July 31. For those of us who personally knew this influential writer and commentator on leadership and organizations, one of his most notable attributes was his understanding of the paradox of human nature: our ability to simultaneously drag ourselves down and rise to great heights. His famous aphorism—that while managers know how to do things right, leaders know how to do the right thing —is one of his many legacies; it’s a guiding principle for anyone with influence. Risk-averse decision makers, Warren said, don’t become effective leaders, because excessive caution keeps them from doing anything important.

While managers know how to do things right, leaders know how to do the right thing.