From the monthly archives: January 2017

As we develop Design Thinking in areas such as Human Resources we become able to imagine a future, to test ideas and to put them into practice as employees of an organization and make it impact our lives in a very positive way.

Recruitment and the discovery or creation of talents

We used to look into the past to ensure the future and we naturally do this when we want to hire someone asking for the Curriculum Vitae, that is, we check the previous experience or the qualification obtained at the school and try to see if it fits into a certain “role” that exists in the organization.

All this has its value and works in some circumstances, but not in most situations.

Let’s see! On the one hand we know that qualification is not competence and the fact that we were able to run 100 meters in n seconds with age x does not mean that we do the same after twenty years. On the other hand we know that the speed of change in the environment that surrounds us is extremely high and the range of skills that are capable of producing results changes frequently accompanied by the change around us.

This means that most of our decisions are a bet!

Training and new skills

On the contrary, if, instead of asking questions, we provoke the immersion of the people in their lives, we can observe and conclude something about their behavior. I saw in  Braga-Portugal this example:

“The Skills Lab is an immersive context of self-learning where its participants are organized into teams and encouraged to develop new skills by getting their hands on the ground and solving real problems whether they are solving the challenges of launching a new business whether they are responding to customer challenges.”

This initiative with the participation of Alexandre Mendes  was an excellent demonstration of how people-centered change is built and the future is built and is a good source of inspiration for organizations’ HR departments.

We know that, in organizations, HR managers are today increasingly concerned with updating skills linked to user experience and behavioral economics.

It is important, therefore, to overcome other barriers, and discover new ways that Design Thinking can lead.

Employee-centered productivity

In general, there is a useless complexity and bureaucracy that prevents the agilization of work methodologies and a consequent improvement in quality and performance.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo Da Vinci

Developing simple solutions for tasks and processes, desired for those who work and friendly in performance is one of the possibilities that Design Thinking offers. In the background, the aim is to create new tools and solutions, centered on employees which at the same time improve productivity motivate people and energize teams.

This is in fact a trend for 2017 according to Accenture:

“Technology design decisions are being made by humans, for humans. Technology adapts to how we behave and learns from us to enhance our lives, making them richer and more fulfilling. Eighty percent of executives surveyed agree that organizations need to understand not only where people are today, but also where they want to be — and to shape technology to act as their guide to realize desired outcomes.”

Knowing that Human Resources departments are traditionally called to act to train people, develop performance assessment plans, build career plans, document good work practices, and so on, and knowing that innovation also knocks at the door of people management, it may be good to start thinking about managing employees’ experiences.

Employee’s experience manager

Now, with the sponsorship of Design Thinking, the new HR manager or Experience Manager should start reimagining the work as a whole, including the employees’ journey and their mobility, environment, employees’ interactions, time distribution , training, performance, recognition and rewards, this is:

How can we improve learning?

What is the total experience of a collaborator?

How can we make faster decision making?

How can we facilitate collaboration?

What motivates people?

What do they value?

How do employees express their values ​​in the organizational environment?

And so on…

The answers to these and other questions will be found when we develop ideas quickly, test prototypes that were previously built based on those ideas and that facilitate the generation of more ideas giving rise to new tools and solutions.

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Power can disrupt our ability to understand others and this can be terrible for an organization.

The rational / legal power according to Max Weber is what is based on the rules and legal order recognized as valid by a determined community and is also what is observed most in organizations or companies.

Empathy, the ability to perceive and share another person’s emotional state, has been described by philosophers and psychologists for centuries… This most recent study, however, firmly establishes that the anterior insular cortex is where the feeling of empathy originates.”

Some experiments seem to show that people in positions of power exhibit patterns of behavior usually associated with failures in the zones of the cerebral cortex that control empathy, that is,  the ability to imagine the world from the point of view of others. Is it true?

Power destroys the ability to understand that there are other perspectives beyond the hierarchy in organizations and we know that the hierarchy functions as a cascade.

It is an evil for which there is no easy cure or treatment!

The most common leadership failures don’t involve fraud, the embezzlement of funds, or even sex scandals.  It’s more common to see leaders fail in the area of every day self-management — and the use power in a way that is motivated by ego and self-interest… They reach a choke point, where they cross over from being generous with their power to using their power for their own benefit.”

It seems to be true that the best treatment for abuse of power is transparency, and it also seems that the worst abuses of power can be prevented when people know they are being watched.

There is, however, another side of the coin that assumes that power can be refined by other means and become a lever for success.

So how can integrative thinking help managers or leaders in organizations looking at people as an important part of their decisions?

When we are in the presence of two opposing models that create tension, if we choose a creative resolution (new model) that contains elements of both models, but it is superior to each of them we are using integrative thinking in a constructive way.

What usually happens in organizations with traditional hierarchical models when it comes to using the power to make decisions is the elimination of some factors that should be appreciated and thus relieve the tension that decision-making carries.

The relevance of factors

On the contrary, if who uses decision-making power to consider all relevant factors, then embraces complexity and needs to feel what is relevant. However, these factors have relative importance, that is, through their ability to perceive (this includes putting on the shoes of others – empathy) and comparing and analyzing contrasts, the decision maker can recognize the truly critical factors.

It is good to remember that all this is only possible if people are not subject to the limitations of a hierarchy that uses prejudice as a factor picker to practice the confirmation bias.

This relevance of factors is the first task of a set of four which form integrative thinking.

An integrative thinker after determining the relevance of factors has now to understand the relationships that link these factors or variables and to do so he will deal with ambiguity and create causal maps while developing alternative theories.

The causal interrelationships

Traditionally a decision maker abuses power by taking refuge in its status and by ignoring alternatives. On the contrary, says Roger Martin, the integrative thinker will embrace mysterious elements instead of excluding them because he has the ability to maintain a clear purpose in this case, through the difficult step of drawing the complex causal interrelationships, while maintaining the flexibility to review judgments about patterns of causality, even on the map causal relevance that develops.

The sequence

Creating a sequence of variables is a complex problem and the tendency is to eliminate variables to make the path more accessible.

In essence, the integrative thinker creates a causality map that groups the variables considered most important in the first step, but retains thought in the global image of the causal map, while exploring the various options to focus on where and how to address the problem.

Resolution

The ability to select the point of incision in the problem is crucial for the integrative thinker who along with his ability to utilize his experiences allows him to reach the fourth point of the cascade, the resolution.

In order for decision-makers to find the right path, the attitude when facing obstacles or adversities is fundamental. Not an attitude of power without dialogue, but an attitude that sees the challenges as something transposable and friendly management.

Instead of deciding for A or B the integrative thinker chooses the continuous improvement path to find the creative solution that the organization and its clients need.

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This article was inspired by Integrative Thinking

 

Curiosity is a key ingredient for the development of a team that seeks to manage change, create value and develop a culture of innovation.

If we stop a little to think we easily can verify that we know people who are regularly explorers but are not intellectually curious. That is, in these circumstances prevails an exploration and a contemplative observation without the intention of aggregating and integrating information.

On the other hand we can observe people who search endlessly for the meaning of things, but with some fear they risk exploring the unknown. The risk factor here has an important weight.

A leader who possesses this characteristic easily infects with enthusiasm his group because, coupled with an attitude of constant observation, curiosity allows the registration and communication of the critical aspects inherent to the ongoing projects, and thus inspire trust.

When someone is building a team, it is with critical thinking and without fear of taking risks that a leader selects his or her collaborators. Collaboration will become a key factor in finding success through the strategy outlined to achieve the goals.

More than working on ideas it is important to ensure competence.

To think about:

Horses can recognize simple patterns of predictability and take confidence in them, but when anything out of the ordinary happens, their nameless dread springs to the forefront. This is because the horse does not possess the ability to apply known facts to new situations…

We must understand that all horses respond differently. Some are very sensitive and respond quickly, and some are more lethargic. Whether wild or domestic, one major difference in their behavior is caution. All horses are curious by nature, but the wild horse differs in his curiosity from the domestic.

CURIOSITY IN THE WILD

Out west on a wild horse sanctuary, I see the wild horses off at a distance. As they became aware of my presence, the whole herd looks up and stares at me. Remember, these horses have never been touched by a human. I am patient and just wait. Eventually they all start to walk toward me.  When they are about 300 yards away, they stop and look at me. Because of their curiosity they are waiting for my next move. If I get aggressive, they will flee. If I try to get close to them in a gentle way, they will still leave, but not so aggressively.


DOMESTIC CURIOSITY

At a breeding farm where five to six hundred horses are out in the pastures, I watch a herd of about one hundred off at a distance. When they look up and see me, the entire herd actually gallops toward me and surrounds me. There is one stallion, many mares and a bunch of babies. They are friendly. I can touch them. The babies come over so I can pat them and the stallion puts his head right on my shoulder. Even though they are cautious, they are more curious and trustworthy.”

We know that any challenge placed on a leader is easily transformed into a game when the whole team knows well the environment in which their activities unfold.

Self-control and resilience are fundamental to facing obstacles and adversities that many challenges pose. Team members should be prepared to face them and so a high level of intrinsic motivation is a lever to move forward.

Knowing how to listen and communicate with each other, another piece for the game, are two sides of the same coin that the leader and his collaborators should use in the exchange of knowledge and experiences. It is with a collaborative attitude that ideas develop and materialize.

Today with the ease and availability of communication tools there is no place to knowledge in a “drawer” and collaboration enriches the work to be done and leads to amazing results.

There is, however, more and more a real need to create defenses to avoid misinformation and the construction of new ignorance produced by false data and without context. It is good to remember that the ability of the environment to shape our attitudes and knowledge is often responsible for the direction or focus of our curiosity.

Hence, the question is often asked:

Am I developing my exploratory curiosity or will I be thirsty for knowledge and consequently develop my intellectual curiosity?

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Note: This text was adapted from my text published on July 29, 2010 in Cavalinova and aims to remind and correct points of view.

 

We can say that a business process is a set of structured and interrelated activities that, when well implemented, will achieve an organizational goal.

But processes do not walk alone on any path outlined in a random space and time. Processes are pushed and pulled by people along with their faults and their virtues.

They are above all created by people and for people and require careful management even when they are not run by people.

Business Process Management is a systematic approach that enables the flows of an organization to be more effective and more efficient while ensuring, in an environment of constant change, the adaptability required to achieve some objectives previously established.

These processes should be created or improved with the participation of all parties concerned and involved in the process.

One of the objectives of a business process is to reduce human error and communication failures so the need to promote the focus of all stakeholders on a good performance of their roles is a matter of the utmost importance.

When we talk about performing roles in an organization, we must not forget:

– A role in a business process defines a set of rights and obligations for some people.

– People have different interests according to the position they have in the functional structure of the organization.

– The different actors in the creation of business process have different motivations to engage with the results.

– To keep the focus on excellence performance is a difficult attitude to take on throughout the process.

– People have creative potential but not all are competent in creating value.

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We know that people and their creativity play a key role in business processes as organizations look for high levels of competitiveness through continuous improvement and innovation.

However, often the enthusiasm and impulsiveness of some collaborators may require wisdom in managing creative risks. Being creative is being original and presenting new solutions, which can lead to undesirable consequences for the desired performance of excellence when it comes to business processes.

Maintain control of the process, which is also not losing control of time or losing budgetary control, is only possible if we are aware of the consequences of the creative changes that we intend to implement.

The processes are part of a larger and more complex system within an organization.

The performance of excellent of the organization requires constant attention to the quality of products and services delivered to the customer, which in any way a creative initiative can neglect.

Do not forget that the organizations and the environment where they develop their activity are an inexhaustible source of constraints (financial, technical, procedures, laws, etc.) and that despite being natural engines of creativity must be observed.

In this regard, it is useful to mitigate the creative risks with iterations of process review and at the same time maintain the levels of intrinsic motivation of the employees suitable to obtain results with quality.

Teresa Amabile said, “The intrinsically motivated state is conducive to creativity, whereas the extrinsically motivated state is detrimental.”

So, it is legitimate to think that this way is possible when the understanding of the importance of creativity in the development of processes is a reality, but that we can only live if there is an active flow of information that facilitates good relations and communication between stakeholders.

… ” We can find many examples where enterprises unintentionally reduced or even killed creativity and innovation for the sake of control, performance, and cost reduction. …

Is it true? Do you want to comment?

 

…“A redefined talent program. In the traditional approach to talent development, a company identifies a pool of future leaders, typically by zeroing in on and measuring key traits. Here’s the idea behind it: If you can find people who have these inherent characteristics, you can guide them into leadership roles. But what happens when you assume that everyone has potential, and that talent is neither predetermined nor static? Now what?”…

There are those who have an ability to influence others without having a formal authority, and this is basically a matter of respect from the others and the trust they inspire in others. They are informal leaders who easily emerge as we expand the options of talent development.

But lead what? Who?

A future leader seeks to build and / or rebuild a team in order to overcome challenges, manage change and implement a culture of innovation.

This requires tools and resources that help create great opportunities for team members to share and learn from each other. A team that works together and communicates effectively is a highly valued asset for any organization and interdisciplinary teams are the best option to tackle any threat or to seize the best opportunities.

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For example, a group of specialists from different areas combining skills and resources to provide guidance and information is an interdisciplinary team. A group that does not combine but only contributes with each specialty to the accomplishment of certain objectives, leaving the role of the attribution of meaning to third parties is multidisciplinary and not so effective.

In building a team it is necessary to look for the best ones among the peers and with the skills appropriate to the projects that we want to develop. But to do this, it is necessary to create openness and an environment so that all can manifest their best attributes and that only appear with a climate of betting on growth mindset.

The whole cannot be equal to the sum of the parts and for this we must create innovative processes and methodologies that leverage the energy necessary to transform a dream into a reality. This is the role of a future leader.

In a team based on an approach centered on product and process development, interdisciplinarity leads to a broadening of the roles of its members. Individuals are no longer seen as specialists with strict defined responsibilities, but as generalists with a particular area of expertise.

To think about:

To live successfully as part of a herd, individuals in any herding species have developed a behavioural repertoire designed to reduce tension between individuals and increase cohesion between group members. This bias towards affiliative behaviour rather than aggressive behaviour is crucial if individuals are not going to spend valuable time and energy guarding resources and fighting. To this end, horses are very communicative animals with highly developed social skills and are motivated to cooperate rather than dominate. With its natural environment being open spaces, the horse did not need to develop a complex repertoire of vocal signals, but rather one of visual signals. Many of these may be either very subtle or quite overt for distant signalling or greater effect. Horses are motivated to avoid aggression and, therefore, rather than attack without warning, their signals escalate gradually, from flattening the ears through to lungeing.”

Remember about Leadership…

It’s actually much harder to create an alignment between words, actions, and rewards than it might seem.”

An interdisciplinary team combines skills and knowledge to indicate the path to success and learns along the course it has outlined.

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This text was adapted from a previous text of mine published in 2009 in Cavalinova and aims to recall and correct points of view.