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Blog Posts (8)

  • A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

    A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink is a book that describes the specific competencies (he refers to them as “senses”) that the author claims workers in the United States will need in the “Conceptual Age”. In his definition, “Conceptual Age” is the timeframe starting now and will continue for the foreseeable future. These competencies, or senses, are in essence the characteristics that businesses will need to ensure are present in their workers, their organizational cultures and their products and services. Pink describes each of these senses in detail, each in a separate chapter of the book: Artistic/design sense – will be needed to move beyond the function of a product in order to fully engage the senses of the consumer Empathy – will be needed to move beyond simple logic and instead draw on intuition and feelings when developing and/or marketing products to consumers Ability to create a narrative or tell a story – will be needed to move beyond making an argument in favor of product or service to creating a story in which the consumer can feel involved Ability to synthesize – will be needed to move beyond the details and fully understand product or services fits within the “big picture” Ability to derive meaning – will be needed to communicate the purpose and meaning of product or service Playfulness – will be needed to bring humor and fun to products and services. In addition to describing the above senses that will be needed in the Conceptual age, Pink reiterates and expands on points made by Thomas Friedman and others concerning technical jobs moving to Asia, automation of work and the increasing abundance of consumer choices. He claims that these changes are the key indicator that the Conceptual Age is beginning now. In this book he was able to explain clearly and support what “thinking differently” may mean for Americans going forward. In addition, he provides a useful list of resources and advice to hone your skills in each of the Conceptual Age “senses.” We recommend this book because we believe it was well-written and logical, and it challenged us to think about our own opportunities to develop in these areas. We have analytical personalities, which are not known for having excessive amounts of the particular attributes that may be more important in the future – artistic/design sense, empathy, ability to create a narrative/story-telling, synthesis/big picture thinking, ability to derive meaning/purpose and playfulness. We will continue to discuss how we might further develop in these areas. Click here to see more recommended books. About the author: Paul Gillard, PhD Paul fancies himself as an author but has never quite found the time and focus to write the book he knows is within. Instead, he periodically creates short Organizational Realities Blog postings about the things that strike his interest. He hopes that you find the ideas, concepts, and options he shares both insightful and helpful.

  • The Takeaway: Tactical Advice For Holding Others Accountable

    In our post What Does It Really Mean To Hold People Accountable, we spent some time explaining the essential elements of accountability: Goals, Authority, Consequences, and Measurement. These are focused mainly on managing the behavior of direct reports by encouraging managers to think through the underlying motivational principles that either promote or inhibit accountability. This article focuses more on the process of holding people accountable, providing an almost color-by-number toolset for managers to manage and track accountability on their teams. Two simple tools we highlight, Accountability Matrix, and RAIL are used successfully by our team and our clients to drive accountability on projects. We hope they can help you as well. Communicate Who is Doing What: Accountability Matrix The Accountability Matrix (or “DRCI”: Driver-Responsible-Consulted-Informed) is a simple tool that a team or manager can use to provide a picture of who is on the hook for which tasks or deliverables. In our introductory project manager training, we present this matrix where tasks (e.g., project tasks, to-do list, decisions) are listed in rows and the various roles (can be team member names, roles, titles, etc.) are listed as column headings. Each person’s expected contribution to each task is noted in each cell. For example, for a basic process improvement project, you might prepare a diagram like the one below. Keep in mind that how the assignments are made is debatable and depends on the project, but the key value of this tool is in communicating with the team and gaining commitment to act. Here, the Sponsor is the driver for setting the high-level goals of the project, the Project Manager is Responsible for most project planning and reporting tasks, while the other roles are either performing other portions of the work, giving input (Consulted) or finding out about it after the fact (Informed). The roles are defined as: Driver (D): The party who compels the action to be taken by establishing the goal, authority, and consequences for the action. He/she has the power of veto. Only one entity can be Driver for any task, activity or decision. Ideally, this is a single person, but can also be a committee, team or other entity with shared decision making authority. Responsible (R): The individual(s) who ensures that the task is completed. If there are components of a task that are delegated to other people, the task should be broken into sub-tasks and assigned appropriately. The fewer R’s for a task, the better. A person who is responsible may also be a Driver. Consulted (C): The individual(s) who need to be consulted prior to a final decision or action being taken. This is TWO-WAY communication. Consulted parties may not have a direct part in the task but are affected by its completion, and their input may be necessary. Informed (I): The individual(s) who need to be kept up-to-date on progress, or informed after a decision or action is taken. This is ONE-WAY communication. Input from the informed party is not necessary. Click below to download our basic Rail template. Holding Accountable Involves Keeping Track: RAIL The RAIL (Rolling Action Item List) is similar to a project plan but is a less structured, simple tool to keep track of tasks, decisions and miscellaneous to-dos that are not part of any organized project or initiative. The main point of a RAIL or any task list is to keep track of “who is doing what and when”. Typically a RAIL includes the following elements: What needs to be done (action/task/decision) How important is the task (priority rating) Who has asked for this task to be done (driver) Who is doing the work (responsible) When is the task due? What is the status (e.g., Not Started, In Progress, On Hold, Completed, Cancelled)? Additional note/comment. A RAIL can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. You can build it on paper, an Excel spreadsheet, Outlook task list, an online system, or a mobile phone app. In our experience, the most important thing is that it is actually used – only the tools that are simple to learn and quick to update are used consistently over time. Click here to download the template. A More Structured Approach Many common project management tools provide a structure for holding people accountable. Some of the more common tools include Microsoft Project and, Basecamp, and Jira. In our office, we use an online project and meeting management tool that we developed in-house to manage our projects, meeting follow-ups and task lists, etc. We developed this tool because at one point when our project load grew beyond what we could keep track of informally. We realized we needed to better organize, standardize and automate our projects and office tasks. We tried a variety of project management software applications, but within a few months, we would be less inclined to go to the trouble of keeping the tool updated, and soon were back where we started (i.e., everyone managing tasks in their own ways). We found that at the heart of the problem was the extra time it took to set up and manage the tool itself and that for the laundry list of office to-dos and our smaller projects, only a few key functions of each tool were ever used anyway. In looking at the “homegrown” methods we were using – most of which were Excel-based lists – we found one of our developers had built a web-based project tracking tool to manage his own projects. When the rest of the team tried it, it was adopted immediately. The fact that it was web-based made it accessible anywhere, and it naturally included only the functions that we used in the majority of our projects (for large-scale projects we still default to Microsoft Project) and have dabbled with That marked the birth of internal preciseTRACKER™. After using it internally for a while, we added the ability to invite clients and share project progress and communications with them, schedule meetings, document decisions, and review accountability through the system. Over the years we have added to the functionality, and use it where appropriate to manage our projects. These are the tools that we use to support accountability in our office. Click on the link below for a more detailed review of commercially available project management tools that might suit your needs. We hope they will be useful to managers in tracking accountability on their own teams. 42 Best Project Management Software and Tools Please contact us if you would like to learn more about the services we offer to help you handle the challenges you face. About the authors: Paul Gillard, PhD and Rachel Radwinsky, PhD Paul and Rachel combine their strengths (or perhaps multiply their weaknesses) to occasionally produce joint blog posts. Because these typically take weeks of mind-numbing debate to produce, they are relatively rare.

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Other Pages (39)

  • News (All) | Transformation_Assoc

    News & Events Mar 8, 2023 SHRM NJ Presentation: Designing Workspaces That “Work And Are Worth The Commute” Designing Workspaces That “Work And Are Worth The Commute” | Presented by Paul Gillard PhD of Transformation Associates, Inc. and Valerie Santanasto/ Lurdes Borges of dancker Read More

  • Management Consulting Solutions | Transformation Associates, Inc.

    CONSULTING SOLUTIONS Transformation Consulting Executives typically follow a standard process when defining their vision, strategy, operational priorities, and organizational structure. The approach is adequate most of the time. However, there are times when transformational change - challenging the very fabric of the business or a functional area - is required to ensure its future viability. Often, these changes are dramatic and can be extremely disruptive if not managed effectively. ​ Our pragmatic, no-nonsense Transformation Advisors skillfully guide executives in understanding and addressing their critical business challenges head-on. ​ Whether focused on business strategy, organizational design, operational planning, capabilities development, workflow design, or process management, we provide the consulting and execution support necessary to realize the benefits of transformational change. Schedule An Introductory Call

  • Training Solutions | Transformation Associates, Inc.

    TRAINING SOLUTIONS Pragmatic Training We offer a suite of focused training and development programs designed to improve on-the-job performance of managers and individual contributors. ​ Our skilled professionals work closely with clients to tailor training programs to deliver concise, relevant, and highly interactive learning experiences. Esoteric and academic topics are avoided in favor of practical, real-life discussions, examples, and tools that are immediately applicable in the workplace. ​ Topics include Leadership, Project Management, Process Improvement, Building High-Performing Teams, Conflict Resolution, and Change Management. ​ Contact us to learn more about our rich and vibrant learning experiences. Schedule An Introductory Call Training Leadership Project Management Process Improvement Conflict Resolution High-Performing Teams Change Management Schedule An Introductory Call

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