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Talent Dynamics RSS Feed Blog Archive: February 2010

Jan’s Corner: business as a game

Isn’t it strange how many people take business or work so very seriously? Yet business can be the best playground there is — just watch Richard Branson and Warren Buffet.It’s not about the billions of pounds of wealth they have created over time: that’s just the score. It’s about the fascination with what they do every day and how they do it, not just for themselves, but for others.

Even if you are not a billionaire, you can greatly increase your level of enjoyment, learning and performance in the workplace — if you play business as a game of collaboration with, and contribution to, others in your team or organisation.

The two following questions could help you:

1) What would be missing, or would not happen, if I were not at work for a year or longer (and nobody replaced me)?

2) How can I help to make my boss, colleagues, customers or suppliers more successful?

If you ‘play’ with these questions you may surprise yourself with the answers. If you are managing a business or a team, consider how much easier it would be if everyone had a chance to use their unique talents at work and their primary purpose was to be there to make others successful.

You would all have much more fun and it would seem like a game. And productivity would shoot up.

Much like the results Talent Dynamics achieves.

Jan Polak

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When was the last time you got naked with your team?

Why is getting naked good for business?

So this blog might not be quite what you expected it to be…but it’s a serious question for leaders and I’ve been giving it a lot of thought as we launch the Talent Dynamics Super Flow Roundtable this week, helping leaders achieve the results they desire with their businesses, by getting naked and really working together on solutions.

Now what I mean by getting naked with the team is this — sharing the business results honestly, looking at business performance, warts and all – an opportunity to air the dirty and clean washing with utter transparency. Comparing estimates against actuals. Combing through the P&L, sales targets, productivity of individuals, customer complaints, systems and processes, what the competition is doing etc…

If you want to make a difference, solve that sales issue, work out why the latest promotion hasn’t had the results you expected, you are going to need to take a closer look at it, maybe take it apart and put it back together again and the best way to do this, is with someone else, who can give you an expert opinion but they are going to need to look at the whole picture to be able to help. That’s the whole point of getting naked in the first place.

A workplace goes naked for the day

Design and marketing company Onebestway, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, goes naked for the day

But I don’t want the team to see how it looks naked!

If you had a problem with your car, you would of course take it to the mechanic and say “it’s got a juddering problem” or whatever the problem is: you wouldn’t then stop the mechanic looking under the bonnet because you know the engines a mess and you are embarrassed…how can he fix the car?

If you were feeling sick and you went to your GP and said, “I’ve got this really itchy rash and I want some cream to clear it up please” and the doctor asked you to take your clothes off so he could take a look, you wouldn’t say: “Oh no, it looks too nasty, can you just give me a solution without looking at it please?” How can she possibly know what prescription to write?

It’s the same with your business. Getting seriously naked is the best way to view the problem and then figure out the solution! Its when you involve the team with the whole picture and allow them to add value in the way that comes most naturally to them, that you will find their commitment to the business increases and the quality of the solutions roll in so much faster!

Once you have seen it all…you can start to focus on solutions!

It’s like this: those of you that know me, know that I’m a big fan of transparency in business and leadership. Its my experience that when you share with the team what’s really going on, they have an opportunity to step up and take some action.

I worked with a business recently that was under performing quite seriously and it wasn’t their normal policy to involve the operating team in all the detail, in fact they felt that keeping the information from them was the best course of action and that the leadership team would figure it all out: it wasn’t the best course of action of course. The team knew things weren’t going well and as no one involved them, they made up what they didn’t know; gossip was rife! Once the leadership shared the issues, the team were more confident and able to step up, as they knew the whole picture. They were now able to contribute ideas and more importantly solutions that really made a difference to the business performance.

Best of all they really owned both the problems and the solutions together.

So why not strip off?

I urge you in the next few weeks to try it – get naked – and see what new ideas and fresh inspiration you can come up with together in your business!

Getting naked with the team, doesn’t necessitate taking off your clothes, although I’ve heard some training organisations employ this method!

That’s perhaps a future Talent Dynamics programme…*makes note*

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