Strategic Teams Achieving Results

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Using Parallel Process for a Successful Transformation

Posted on October 22nd, by Marita Fridjhon in 2013, Blog, Team Building. No Comments

Wikipedia states the following: “Parallel processing is the ability to carry out multiple operations or tasks simultaneously. The term is used in the contexts of both human cognition, particularly in the ability of the brain to simultaneously process incoming stimuli, and in parallel computing by machines.” In my mind, this is not to be confused with mere multi-tasking. While we indeed leverage parallel processing in best practices for task forces and other team efforts, there is another, messier way in which it shows up in human relationships that I believe to be a good mine for systemic transformation. It happens when we are in a parallel process without realizing it!

You must have had the experience in client work or in your life, where you worked with or in a company and the very problem they were addressing for their customers, … Read More »



Don’t Forget About the Forest

Posted on October 21st, by Edward Gagnon in 2013, Blog. 2 comments

People learn what they’re made of when they are presented with adversity. Difficult situations expose all the warts. In a business, adversity magnifies where internal communication breakdowns exist. Where poor relationships exist. Where production quality issues occur. Where overpromising to get the sale is rampant. Where systems aren’t integrated. Where leadership is poor.

With adversity comes opportunity as well. It’s the opportunity to get the organization to rally around some reason to change. It’s the opportunity to transition toward a new direction. It’s the opportunity to get everyone to work more as a team. It’s the opportunity to create a common focus on what’s most important. But before that opportunity can be realized, the adversity must first be recognized.

Don’t Focus Too Much on the Individual Trees

Organizations, their customer service functions, and their service personnel are often seeing the symptoms of problems … Read More »



The Dangers of Assumptions

Posted on October 7th, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in Ask Your Team and Leadership Coach, Blog. No Comments

We are unique, complicated creatures, aren’t we? That’s something I was reminded of when reading this very short and to-the-point post by Seth Godin. He reminds us of 3 assumptions that we shouldn’t make:

1) That people are rational.

2) That people desire change.

3) That once on the same page, other’s views will align to your own.

Here’s an idea – go into every human interaction (well, those that you desire to be productive, profitable and pleasant) without holding onto assumptions and be prepared to be curious about the other person’s perspective. This way you won’t be blind-sided when things don’t go “your way.” Two people with very different views of the world can come to mutual decisions and form very solid partnerships – this very dynamic is what makes some of the most creative, innovative and productive teams in the world.

Remember that … Read More »



All Aboard! Keeping Life on Track

Posted on September 26th, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in Blog. 2 comments

Don’t let another year slip by. Start making changes in your life now. Just think how much better you’ll feel at the end of 2014 by pursuing your dreams now.

First, you have to build your “dream” team of like-minded individuals of women and men who are willing to support you with structure. You’re like the “The Little Engine That Could” and you need a team of toys and other engines to help push you over the mountain top.

Your team should include individuals with the following five traits:

Is organized and knows how to create a functional time line

Has contacts and connections that can help you find the resources you need to achieve your dream
Sees the value of your dream and is willing to call you to task to accomplish it
Won’t let you “slide” because you are too tired or distracted
Is willing … Read More »



What is Your Post-Exit Strategy?

Posted on September 13th, by Edward Gagnon in Blog. No Comments

Every year, every company loses customers.  These customers exit the organization because of a myriad of reasons.  Maybe it’s the bad economy, it could be a competitor, maybe it’s your pricing, or possibly your customer experience is declining.

So if your business is like others, you may respond to a loss in business by ramping up advertising and marketing efforts.  Or if the pain of loss isn’t too great because you’re adding new customers at the same time, it’s easy to assume that you had no control over why customers left; but if you make that assumption, you’re costing yourself time and dollars.

Instead, when customers have left, ask yourself this question:  What is my post-exit strategy?

Some of the best sales prospects your organization can have are former customers. You already have a great deal of intelligence on your former customers. You … Read More »



Communication…Think You Have This Covered?

Posted on August 27th, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in Blog. No Comments

Want to improve your company’s bottom line?
What to improve company morale?
Want to give employees the same sense of urgency you have?
Want to get your employees, from the shop to the office, pulling from the same end of the rope?

Most of us know that when we are experiencing problems with our staff, there’s some underlying communication issue that got messed up.

In other words,

Something that should have been said, wasn’t.

Someone said something that wasn’t true.

Someone made something up because they didn’t know the truth.

Something didn’t get communicated fast enough, to the right person.

Here’s a suggested solution to this Communication Quagmire that we, as leaders, find ourselves in more times than we’d care to admit:

Implement a 10 Step Company Communication Plan.

#1:  Determine what information needs to be communicated.

For your company’s current stage of growth, what are your top 5 challenges?
Who are your top … Read More »



It’s Tough to Please Everybody

Posted on August 12th, by Edward Gagnon in Blog. 1 Comment

Are you a people pleaser – you know, one of those individuals who tries to make everyone happy?  On a personal level, it can often be frustrating; you’re trying to do what will make Fred happy and make Mary smile and make Jenny like you, and you get worn out in the process.  You’re doing too many different things for too many different people and for maybe not the right reasons.  You want people to like you, but in the end you’re not as happy as you probably ought to be.

In business, many of us find ourselves in similar roles whether we want to be there or not.

Conflicting Goals

It often happens when there are different teams or divisions within a company with conflicting goals.  Operations wants to cut $15 million this year.  Retention wants a 94% client … Read More »



Being an Effective Leader by Building Trust

Posted on August 6th, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in Blog. No Comments

In the workplace, we as workers, managers, and supervisors interact in more than just a business sense. In order to work together, we need to brew a good chemistry; in order for that to occur, we have to know each other. We spend time getting to know each other’s thought patterns, speech patterns, work and play habits, interests and pet peeves. This is especially true for managers and supervisors – the leaders of the workplace.

How do we get to know these things? After all, it’s never as simple as merely spending time around a person; after all, hundreds of couples get divorced every year, saying after it’s all over, “I was married to Jane for twenty-five years and never knew she loved Frankie Valli!”

No, we can’t simply absorb these pieces of knowledge through osmosis. Our co-workers must allow us to … Read More »



Wash, Rinse, Repeat – Driving Continuous Improvement

Posted on July 19th, by Edward Gagnon in 2013, Blog. No Comments

When organizations talk about Strategic Planning, they usually talk about some kind of a long-range plan that will be implemented over 3 to 5 years. While it’s important to know where you’re going long-term and have plans to accomplish the goals, it’s equally important to make sure that you create an organization that is focused on continuous improvement.  In order to develop an organization that is focused on accepting, wanting, and planning for change, create an efficient 90-day planning process.

Set the Target; Approach it Quickly

If you have a customer retention goal, create a plan to design and implement activities over a 90-day period to increase renewal rates.  If you’re trying to improve customer service, identify some of the key tactics you can implement impacting processes or education or people that will drive up customer satisfaction over the next 90 days.  … Read More »



“Team Building”

Posted on June 24th, by Sue Hansen in 2013, Blog, Team Building. No Comments

Team Building. These words immediately conjure up cynical images of icebreaker and bonding exercises, interpersonal and sometimes intimate (and risky) disclosure, highly paid management consultants, group hugs and heartfelt commitments to be a cohesive team. Sure it’s beneficial and if done well, can lead to euphoria. Problem is that “feeling” is short lived.

Truth is, when it comes to people working well together, it is a miracle that it happens as well as it does. The simple act of putting people together without proper tools can lead to disharmony. The cause of the conflict could be a difference in methodology, objectives, lack of clear direction or even personality. Most of the time, we manage these disagreements by crossing our fingers and hoping that despite the clash, the team will be productive, solve problems, get along and be nice to each other.  … Read More »