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What can business learn about silos from octopus traps?

What can business learn about silos from octopus traps?

In the wheat growing areas of the world, grain is stored in large towers known as silos. Each silo rises high into the sky, independent of the other silos. Multiple silos are usually required. This colorful metaphor that has become commonplace to describe separation and lack of coordination in organizations and in society which is not necessarily understood across the entire world. Silos are not to be found in rice based economies. When in 2005 the newly appointed CEO to Sony – Howard Stringer (an Englishman who had led Sony’s North American operations) – made his first strategy speech in [...]

Peer-to-Peer Learning is an innovative approach to employee development The use of Peer-to-Peer Learning (P2P) enhances a company’s development programs in a myriad of ways. At the same time it also improves  organizational effectiveness.  Any business or organization can achieve the following goals through the use of Peer-to-Peer Learning by:  1. Providing development opportunities where none (or few) existed before 2. Enhancing existing development programs 3. Supporting the effectiveness of existing competency models  4. Promoting inter-organizational networking  5. Bolstering change initiatives and  6. Turbo-charging internal communications Your employees can use Peer-to-Peer Learning to work towards these goals either face-to-face on-site [...]

Value through Alignment

Value through Alignment

The influence of over 300 years of traditional thinking patterns is being swept out faster than we think. It’s happening right now, step-by-step…Our blog The Ensemble Enabler aspires to explore this shift in thinking and what its means for all of us – both in the world of business and our daily lives. Each blog post of the The Ensemble Enabler will explore the “shifting sands” of our challenging and complex world by sharing stories and insights about systemic alignment, how it can be achieved and how it creates value. Our aim is to have each of our blog posts [...]

We have encountered the enemy and the enemy is us A four year research project conducted by the MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte has just come to an end.  For a period of over four years, more than 16.000 people were surveyed about their experience with digital disruption and the adequacy of their organization's response. The results are in. The true challenge of mastering digital disruption (and a major part of the solution) is enabling people.   Companies can effectively navigate the challenges of digital disruption by undertaking initiatives which are far more organizational and managerial than technical. Source: [...]

Getting started with Peer-to-Peer Learning

Getting started with Peer-to-Peer Learning

The Peer-to-Peer learning process combines state of the art management content with the benefits of social learning. This approach provides a cost effective way to develop people and is easy to implement.  Employees can either have a face-to-face experience in your organization's meeting rooms or participate in a Peer-to-Peer Learning module virtually with other colleagues online. Your business can take the following three steps to introduce this process into your organization: 1. Test it with a team   If you are intrigued by the concept of the Coaching Ourselves approach by Henry Mintzberg - try it out.  Select a team for a 90 minute [...]

Focus on Culture! In his initial run for President, Bill Clinton is famous for reducing his campaign message to campaign staff to one simple sentence: "It's the economy stupid!"  During his presidential campaign, there were many competing issues to engage with such as foreign affairs (the first Iraq war had just ended and the Soviet Union had just been dissolved), healthcare, trade policy, attacks on his character - to name only a few.  However, he told his campaign staff that the only issue which really mattered was the economy. With the support of this fixated focus , he was able [...]

A unique process to foster individual, team and organizational learning Coaching Ourselves is a Peer-to-Peer learning process which enables employees to learn from and with each other. It provides a framework through which employees are able increase both their knowledge and skills in specific business areas either digitally or on-site at their business location. By expanding their skill-set and know-how, employees are empowered to personally contribute to creating a more agile organization. (Take a look at the following introduction for a detailed overview to Enable Enabler's approach to peer-to-peer learning: The Value of Peer-to-Peer Learning for your Organization Recognizing the [...]

In today’s digital world there is an increasing spectrum of ways to connect with each other digitally: virtual groups and teams, communities of practice, webinar meetings to name just a few. As a result, it is difficult to imagine work getting done without harnessing the power of networks in our organizations. However, when it comes to organizational culture, companies have a tendency to under utilize the power of their networks. The abstract nature of culture may be one reason why this dynamic component of culture is underestimated. Renewing a culture is a difficult enough challenge for CEOs and leaders in [...]

Virtual Peer-to-Peer-Learning connects employees

Virtual Peer-to-Peer-Learning connects employees

In times of crisis and rapid change, exploring new ways to foster group learning is fundamental. Research has determined that o ne of the most effective ways to promote learning takes place in small groups.  A  study from Eastern Michigan University  confirms this assertion. It investigated different learning methods for students who were learning statistics.  The study determined that students improved their scores through collaborative learning (learning in small groups) by up to 23 points on tests based on a scoring system from 0 to 100 as compared with with traditional lecture learning. Collaborative learning is acknowledged to work extremely well [...]

Understanding Emotions

Understanding Emotions

Emotions and Leadership As we prepare tomorrow's business leaders, not enough is being invested in teaching them the basics of what it means to be human.  Their preparation typically consists of an on-going accumulation of factual knowledge combined with the acquisition of a spectrum of business skills.  It is apparent when looking at this kind of work preparation, that the focus is on the content and the process of the work to be done. Much less is invested in the ability to relate to whom they are actually leading: human beings.  Learning to work with and lead people is for the most part often left to be learned on the [...]

Focusing on the future Feedback is an essential element of good leadership and high performance teams.  Individuals cannot function in a vacuum.  They need to know what they are doing well and what they need to improve. Dr. Marshall Goldsmith - a well known management educator and coach notes that feedback has a fundamental limitation.  Feedback by its very nature looks at the past instead of looking ahead towards the future.  This makes feedback potentially static and undynamic.  The past cannot be changed. It is in the future that possibilities for development reside. To address this fundamental flaw in feedback [...]

Holocracy - an organic approach to organizing work

Holocracy - an organic approach to organizing work

Encountering Holocracy I became aware of Holocracy in 2016 when I read an article in the German language newspaper Handelsblatt on the recent work of the distinguished Professor Gary Hamel who is known for introducing the concept of c ore competencies in the 1990s. This theory suggests that companies can build a sustainable competitive advantage by identifying and investing in the core processes that drive their business.  In more recent years, Hamel's work has taken a very different direction. He is concerned with the future of management. He believes that in many ways hierarchical management is actually impeding the generation of value.  Somewhere in the footnotes of [...]

A shift in Leadership for a Digital World

A shift in Leadership for a Digital World

The challenges of the digital revolution are compelling us to review our understanding of what comprises good leadership.  In the not too distant past, one of middle managers’ main responsibilities was the transfer of information throughout the organization.  Today much of that information is available at a click of a button.  In the not too distant past, most of the information was to be found at the top of the organization.  Today it is everywhere throughout the organization and it is quite likely that key strategic information does not necessarily reside in the C-Suite.  As a matter of fact, in [...]

A Fish Out of Water

A Fish Out of Water

PMG is a medium size company specializing in the manufacturing of automotive parts.  New management was recently hired to lead the organization into the next phase of the company's development.  After a review of the business, the leadership embarked on several strategic change initiatives. How could the management be better prepared to guide these initiatives in an effective manner? Taking the Fish out of the Water A fish does not know what water is until it is taken out of the water.   Similarly, leaders and managers in organizations often do not see the water around them either – until [...]

Companies are utilizing novel approaches to deal with complex issues:  such as an energy company aspiring to improve internal communications, an organization dealing with an aging workforce or a pharmaceutical company targeting to create a learning environment within its marketing department. All of the above mentioned issues are multifacetted. Communication within a company includes top-down and cross-functional communication, bottom-up and inter-departmental communication, performance reviews and feedback, etc. – not to mention the myriad of instruments available to support this communication. Most attempts to deal with such issues revolve around tried and true methods of analysis. A team is given the [...]