From the monthly archives: February 2017

The experience accumulated throughout our lives is often a lever for meaningful leaps in problem solving, be it personal and family challenges or professional challenges when we are part of an organization.

In any of these environments there are always moments to learn and moments to unlearn.

This accumulation of experiences is a wealth that cannot be ignored or underestimated without first consciously realizing its greater or lesser importance in solving problems.

For years, in a cyclical way, we learn and reserve our wisdom, but there are two types of experiences that we should reconcile and use in our day-to-day lives:

– One, experience based on experimentation that provides fun and learning,

– and another, the experience accumulated and translated into tacit knowledge that we must share, interacting with other sources of knowledge.

According to Heidegger, “to set up an experiment means that something happens to us … to set up an experiment means, therefore, to allow ourselves to be addressed by what is in our hands, by entering and submitting to it.

We can thus be transformed by such experiences, from one day to the next or in the course of time.”

Today, when we think about the performance of organizations, we find that even after some rapid, processes of restructuring to cut costs, it is in the success of innovation that organizations put their hopes to recover acceptable levels of profitability.

But then what are the conditions or adequate environment to make emerge the success?

Some authors emphasize the role of tacit knowledge as the key to achieving innovation success.

Tacit knowledge is that which the individual has acquired throughout life, through experience, as opposed to explicit knowledge, that is, knowledge that has already been or may be articulated, encoded and stored in some way.

If on the one hand we can learn quickly in a changing world and share knowledge to create new knowledge and new things or to experience new emotions, on the other hand sharing the accumulated knowledge when we are part of a team, may not be an easy task.

Teamwork based on a Design Thinking approach is a creative and innovative process that combines a wide variety of interdisciplinary contributions from its members and fuels the emergence of emotional memories.

It is easy to see that much of these contributions come from tacit knowledge.

It is a personal knowledge that is applied in thought and action, through a design thinking / design doing, without definitions and no elaborate recitals, but which clearly promotes a collaborative interaction.

Not all portions of tacit knowledge are emotional memories, but much implicit information is stored in us playing a key role in our decision-making and in the way, we link points of view and diverse knowledge about the context, dimension or subject.

Tacit knowledge is not easily recognized or acknowledged, but it can be a key factor in enhancing the quality of strategic decisions made by the top management team.”

Deciding when working as a team is a time of surgical precision and it is a time when having creativity as an ally is helpful. It is an action that must be developed with the participation of the specialized knowledge in the matter in question, but which also calls for the collaboration of other people.

Thus, the way we deal with this information, over many clashes with a vast amount of data, can facilitate the creation of new knowledge.

Moreover, if we are skilled in managing how people share and apply that information, we can provide interesting creative leaps. This is because the tacit knowledge that every individual possesses and that is unique, once unlocked, can be a great creative contribution in an organization.

“We know more than what we are able to say” (Michael Polanyi), and so we are able to pick up on that more specialized knowledge that is often tacit and through sharing draw our way towards creativity. This implies an understanding of the antecedents of the participants in these exchanges, something that we can only acquire through empathy.

Combining experiences and sharing interdisciplinary knowledge leads to the best of strategic decision making in organizational innovation.

 

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People want to feel as if their work matters, and that their contributions help to achieve something really important. And except for those at the tippy top, shareholder value isn’t a meaningful goal that excites and engages them. They want to know that they — and their organizations — are doing something big that matters to other people.”

This is a warning to all those involved with Human Resources, who for a long time have filled their professional life, and not only, with the images of discouragement produced by a culture that always privileged the reward for those who do well what is requested and never rewarded creativity, that is, what could be done.

Human Resources as an integral part of organizations have been looked (and has allowed) as weak elements in the organizational value chain despite the good work of some HR Business Partners.

Many of the people involved in traditional HR departments feel lonely when they are confronted with more agile business environments and with various future alternatives in management and HR development strategies.

This loneliness is occasionally interrupted by initiatives of great boldness and courage as happened recently in Coworklisboa with Employee’s Experience Design Workshop: Innovating in Human Resources – by Busigners.

This workshop underscored the need to create a sustained approach to problem solving rather than adaptations of best practices or models linked to organizational management trends.

Those challenges arise from the search for the satisfaction of hidden needs, not articulated needs or only known but not satisfied needs.

Now HR must assume its true role, which is to lead resources, human resources that feel, have will, are capable, are creative and want to grow. These people are potential internal entrepreneurs and are also a new challenge and a new perspective of management and leadership.

Therefore, Human Resources (HR people) should innovate in the communication processes, in the ways of promoting well-being, in the perspectives and personal growth models of each employee and in different contexts.

In this sense, they should for example:

– Watch, listen and ask questions. Yes! Ask questions!

– Avoid distractions and be completely present when they are with other people.

– Avoid thinking that multitasking is good and that your problem is bigger than others. Empathy with all employees of the organization is crucial as it is the only way to understand the true needs of all employees including leadership and management.

– They should attach meaning to collaboration and connectivity, managing combinations of talents and innovating in recognition and reward plans.

-They must learn to work with constraints. Constraints can be a good source of creativity in solving problems.

– They should be part of the right and left brains of organizations because they are heralds of norms and freedoms, discipline and creativity, success and recovery.

Today’s Human Resources can be the leadership of a process of cultural transformation, which involves reducing the excessive weight of analytical thinking in organizations and balancing it with intuitive and creative thinking.

This is achieved (my interpretation) per Roger Martin in Design of Business:

1 – Selecting, more creative people over analytical.

2 – Not rewarding traditionally and exuberantly those who promote what is trustworthy, but rewarding also those who promote what is valid.

3 – Including in the processes of evaluation criteria that aim at creativity, work with restrictions, empathy, holistic thinking, collaboration and experimentation.

Human Resources should no longer have as fundamental concern to maximize the profitability of what they have today and begin to explore new paths, analyzing the experience of employees to predict the future and to create solutions for tomorrow!

Innovation for HR managers is to create a new dimension of purpose, more inclusive and open to the whole, respecting the magic inherent to each employee.

 

“Meaning, Autonomy, Growth, Impact and Connection – (MAGIC)”

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The concern of an organization’s management is to treat business results and processes in ways that create sustainability and achieve a long and healthy life for the organization.

We can call this “doing things right”!

In fact the process may seem sustainable, but when we speak of innovation, any new idea that moves through a process has little chance of success. On the one hand, we know that executives are comfortable with process management and are not very involved with creative projects and initiatives within those processes.

On the other hand it is good not to forget that leadership is about people, about purposes and expectations, that is, about the “right things”.

Leaders of a company must use the same practices and tools to define what is right for each business process as they do for each function. We’re comfortable with leaders organizing the business around functions (i.e., IT, Finance, HR, Manufacturing, etc.)and paying functional managers  for compliance with agreed to criteria for success – usually defined by  a combination of behaviors within  their job description and organizational  policies with metrics/expectations around  resources, finances,  capital, sales, revenues, market share, new products development and/or operations, etc. …  This takes great vision, persistence, motivation, synthesis, and analysis – which is clearly the work of the leaders, not managers.”

The key to good leadership is the passion, the urgency to tackle and solve the complex problems that all organizations face, such as:

The culture of indifference – The most talented and innovative, those whose abilities are too necessary to help set the business on course, are no longer present or have become so disenchanted that they have nothing to give.

Exile or isolation – New ideas are almost always rude and poorly formed when they are first presented. This may lead people to isolation in organizational silos, which is one of the biggest obstacles to innovation.

The emergence of hostility – Others show their initial reaction to any new idea in a negative, if not completely hostile, way. This is particularly true if the idea or project comes from someone outside our own organization.

A possible analogy to reflect:

By observing herd behavior and the dominance games that go on you’ll probably be shocked at how rough horses can be. They chase after each other, tear off pieces of skin and then they settle down and graze and scratch each other’s backs. The key is that they have a strong relationship to begin with because they are members of the same herd, they play together and they spend a lot of time together — undemanding time.

Now think about how humans usually interact with horses. We decide today is when we’re going to ride, we only have a certain amount of time so things get pretty direct line. Catch the horse, saddle up, head to the arena to practice something… with a pretty unwilling horse. It’s interesting how quickly horses forget who feeds them; they start to feel like we only want one thing. So where you have to start is with the thought process. Think about what might be important to your horse.”

What might be importante to teams?

In organizations, a collaborative approach to innovation helps provide the emotional energy and support that new ideas need in the early stages. For such a state of mind to manifest itself, it must become an integral part of the company’s culture.

Each organization has a unique culture that directs the form, degree and speed of its responsiveness, adaptability and innovation.

The culture of an organization, which consists of deeply rooted values, beliefs, philosophies, attitudes, and operational norms, condenses the way “how things are done”.

And in this sense we should think of:

Create a healthy environment where innovation can flourish.

Observe obstruction behaviours and clarify objectives.

Promote the recognition of positive attitudes.

Break the silos and encourage communication and collaboration in and out of the organization.

Encourage the dialogue shuttle that is fundamental to help shape the idea into something more concrete, understandable and achievable.

“It is a mistake always to contemplate the good and ignore the evil, because by making people neglectful it lets in disaster. There is a dangerous optimism of ignorance and indifference.” – Helen Keller

 

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Note: This text has been adapted from my text published in  Cavalinova and aims to recall and correct points of view.

 

 

Some of the big companies that operate in the global market consider that the most important skills to be developed in their employees to promote their growth in the next five years (according to Flux Report by Right Management) are Leadership, Management, Interpersonal, Innovation and Creativity, Resilience, Techniques, IT, Sales / Marketing and Customer Management.

When we verify that the HR of these organizations establishes as desirable to ensure results at these levels, we cannot stop thinking about how this path will be done from the hiring or through the inventory of the existing skills in their employees at a given moment, and their consequent development.

Reconciling organizational desires with employee needs may not be an easy marriage, but there are promising engagements!

Developing skills implies somehow inspiring the commitment. This means that HR must seek to improve people’s lives and remove obstacles by building environments and tools to facilitate and improve the performance of their work.

Providing magical experiences to the organization’s employees means getting them to find meaning in what they do and to have the autonomy to do the best. It also means making them feel that they can grow, show that their actions impact the organization and that they are in connection with the world around them.

This is MAGIC “Meaning, Autonomy, Growth, Impact and Connection”

Looking beyond efficiency and focusing on the employee involves understanding their needs, whatever their physical, cognitive or emotional nature. In this way it is possible to develop “personas” that guide the delivery of services and / or products successfully.

Organizations use the “persona” of their employees to discover their unique needs. This can mean defining the employee’s functional identities (for example, a manager, a senior specialist, or a T, etc.) by identifying the most important moments for these employees and creating journey maps of their work experience.

The experience of the collaborator is not a single thing; it is actually a set of experiences gathered in a continuous movement that arises in three distinct environments, namely: Physical, Technological and Cultural.

Employees respond to the stimuli of these environments and their responses must be analyzed by the organization.

How is seen publicly the organization or the team?

Do employees feel comfortable to talk and share their experiences? If they talk, the employees feel that something will be done?

How is the employee’s commitment inspired?

Do employees want more autonomy and responsibility? How to turn this will into reality?

Do employees feel that hierarchy is jamming decision making? How do you solve this problem?

What does the organization give the employee in return for his or her work?

What has the organization learned from these responses?

Now is the time to act and make changes based on the ideas the organization has captured.

Using transparency, the organization has to define what to do and also what should not be done in order to move to its implementation of change. It is crucial not to forget that it is a process of change and in this sense everything must be taken care of from clear and universal communication to the achievement of a healthy commitment. For example:

“In order to drive employee self-service and enhance the employee experience, the Telstra HR innovation team has introduced multiple new digital channels and apps over a short period of time. Over a year or so they’ve launched or updated an HR knowledge portal, a digital ticketing system, an on boarding app, an employee benefits site, and a general HR app.

An existing personalized dashboard has also been enhanced. The net result is an engaging user experience for HR services.”

We all need our interactions with technologies and other more complex systems to be simple, intuitive and enjoyable.

Design thinking, because it is empathic, is an approach that allows us to understand the needs of an organization’s employees. This understanding arises when we analyze the sum of the various perceptions that these collaborators have about interactions with the organization, that is, their experience as collaborators.

In this way, it is possible to think of reconciling the desired competencies of the organizations with the potential of their employees and to develop a magical organizational environment and mutual growth.

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In the last article of this blog, I stated that “…in organizations, HR managers must increasingly be concerned with updating skills related to user experience and behavioral economics.”

Now we will try to understand to what extent this statement corresponds to a reality felt by organizations and how we can improve those skills.

This reality is already felt, as we can see, for example, through Busigners, which clearly leads us to the implementation of the “employee experience”, highlighting the loyalty of employees, attractiveness of the organization and the motivation of employees and consequent increase of productivity.

But let’s look deeper! A first aspect, which jumps to the desk when we try to follow the experience of each employee, is the need of personalization at the expense of mass treatment.

We must devote an individualized attention to the flows of each employee in order to allow the construction of a robust, agile and learner whole, that is, in order to shape the new skills in the work structure of each employee. It is not possible to adapt the same menu of competencies for all elements of the organization, as if it were a formative offer from a “work school”.

This process may seem expensive and time-consuming, but its application at the organizational level is fast and costs are clearly diluted in the result obtained.

A second aspect to work on is simplification. The useless complexity often supported by the bureaucracy in organizations to justify increased difficulty has to be converted into accessibility and easy integration, with higher levels of execution and learning.

Simple is beautiful and desirable!

There are, however, situations that will always remain complex by nature, but in these cases it is not a useless complexity, rather it is a feature of the system, which will lack a particular ability to become simple and understandable. Complexity is not necessarily complicated.

Transparency is another aspect we must consider to improve skills.

Transparency should be part of the company culture because it contributes to the perception of organizational trust.

Transparency helps build bridges of trust that bring people together and create cohesive nets to get results across the organization.

Of course these aspects show unmet needs within organizations, but those needs will only be satisfied when the organization as a whole is able to respond effectively (quickly and assertively) to the challenges of its purposes.

An organization must function as a living organism and maintain a healthy balance between all its components.

A living organism has a physical environment where it moves and was usually created new or has been adapted in the environment where it is installed. By observing the experience of employees, organizations can contribute to the well-being of their employees, adapting the existing to what they value or want, but also reflecting the organizational culture in that environment.

As we continue to observe employee experience, we can easily see that not everyone is extroverted, introverted, or has thousands of daily interactions. The observation of the existing links between the different employees, as well as the touch points with the outside world, is essential to develop an improvement in the working environment.

An important part of employees’ motivation or discouragement during their work day results from the positive or negative balance of the social connections that they establish in the organization.

To feed this motivation, that is, to provide the energy needed to “the work to be done” is only possible if there is:

– Constant monitoring of data on the employee’s experience and its transformation into useful and accessible information.

– Explanation of each employee’s journey and identification of the different touch points internally and externally, in order to ensure effective communication, flows of creativity and efficiency in the processes’ implementation.

– A clear awareness of the significance of each role in the organization and a deep knowledge of the individual responsibilities as well as of the expectations created for each team or functional part.

– This feeding is part of an iterative process that is intended to exist in the continuous improvement of the organization’s performance and constant adaptation to the environment or environments in which it may be inserted.

Finally remember that:

Journey maps are a powerful tool for diagnosing and fixing interactions. They’re valuable for understanding both customer and employee experiences, which is why customer experience (CX) pros along with their colleagues in human resources (HR) should use the discipline of journey mapping to look at critical journeys like hiring, onboarding, and evaluating performance.”

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