What it Takes to Make Good Decisions in the New World of Work

With many companies taking employee education and training into their own hands employers must be properly prepared for the changing future. Check out this great article from SHRM about what employers must do to keep pace in the ever evolving workplace by Ross Smith and Madhukar Yarra

We live in a world where phenomena such as the internet, globalization, social media, and mobility are accelerating change faster than ever before. Today’s digital age fed by big data is manifested in new businesses disrupting existing business models, which are remnants of the industrial era. These new models, typified by the Ubers, Amazons, Teslas, Airbnb’s and Facebooks of the world, are fossilizing the older generation of companies.

It is difficult for the education system to keep pace with this kind of change. The education system is a behemoth whose design is evolving to address the need for agility and speed. They change after the fact and therefore almost always take refuge in ‘best practices’. The MBA as we know it, has also fallen prey to this.

The MBA has been designed to provide a pool of mid-level managers for large corporations and questions arise about the future. Armed with an MBA, new hires walk into a large corporation with a desire to prove their worth through a strong knowledge of historical best practices. They may miss the value of ‘first principles’ thinking, and more often than not, face challenges to make an impact. Over time, this can create a disconnected or disillusioned workforce.

The question then becomes – if emerging and disruptive business models no longer subscribe to historical best practices, and by extension, to business schools, as their source for leadership, where should they look? What is that institution or model that allows individuals to build decision making capabilities in today’s world?

The reliance on irrelevant frameworks, outdated textbooks, and a historical belief in “best practices” all run counter to how a leader needs to be thinking in today’s fast paced digital world.  There are no established best practices for marketing in a sharing economy or creating a brand in a digital world. The best practices might have been established last week. The world is moving fast, and leaders need to be more agile. Today, Millennials are leading teams, calling the shots in many corporations, which means that the energy created is one that leaves little time for rules and structures to effectuate and/or create impact. Making good decisions in today’s business world requires a new and different kind of thinking, and there are tactics that can help grow these new types of leaders.

Importance of questions: most leadership and business programs today evaluate and assess students based on answers, not the ability to ask good questions. Thoughtful and incisive questions lead to innovation and as business problems become more granular and interconnected, this skill will help leaders arrive at better decisions.

Experimentation over experts: Students are encouraged to seek “expert advice” rather than formulating their own hypotheses that can be tested as low cost experiments. While consulting with those who have walked the same path has its benefits, relying on the experiences of others may hinder growth, particularly when change is accelerating. The shift to globalization, digitization, social, and agile are changing rapidly, there is no “right answer”, so experimentation is a crucial skill.

Interdisciplinary perspective: Disciplines and industry sector models are glorified at a time when discipline barriers are being broken to create new ideas. A conscious intermingling of disciplines creates more fertile minds for innovative thoughts to occur.

In today’s management programs, outdated content and old-school delivery mechanisms are limiting  students and businesses alike. There is a dire need to help business and young talent alike embrace a new art of problem solving, essential for the realities of today.

Many companies are starting to take education and employee training into their own hands. The advent of online courses, MOOCs, and other innovative programs in employee education are supplementing traditional education.

HR professionals can learn from companies who have set up their own deep technical training programs. With the work they do to augment decision science skills, Mu Sigma University is a great example of a modern day tech company, building skills across technology, business, analytics, and design. The workforce is changing. Many traditional jobs are being replaced with automation, robots, cloud-based machine learning services, and artificial intelligence – while at the same time, the demand for high end engineering, analytics, business intelligence, data and decision science is booming. Many companies, such as Mu Sigma, are spinning up advanced technical training investments to ensure their employees are equipped for a rapidly evolving future.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Smith R. &  Yarra M. (2017 March 15). What it takes to make good decisions in the new world of work [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address https://blog.shrm.org/blog/what-it-takes-to-make-good-decisions-in-the-new-world-of-work


The Evolving HR Leader

Article from the Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM), by Steve Watson

Leadership dynamics in Corporate America are undergoing major changes, and if todays’ leaders want to impact organizations tomorrow, they must adapt strategies, recognize and accept change, and boldly move forward with a new leadership style.

Among the forces influencing leadership changes:

Technology. We already know that technology has revolutionized work and enabled new ways of doing things. It has given rise to widespread global connectivity, provided instant access to data and information, from anywhere, anytime, and has led to the creation of collaboration tools, giving new competitors lower barriers to enter the competitive marketplace.

Organizational design. Mid-management layers have been eliminated so top management today is closer to individual contributors. Leaders must evolve with four different generations in the workforce with real diversity, multiple and different motivations, and mixed demographics. This brings challenges in attracting, developing, and retaining talent.

Further, some leadership practices have become, or on their way to becoming, obsolete, including:

  • Top down management
  • Doing it my way or the company way; being directive and controlling
  • Rigid management/micromanaging
  • Decisions made only at the top
  • Defined work with individual work units
  • More time in the office and in inner circles
  • Expected loyalty
  • Annual performance reviews and raises

A little over a decade ago, we didn’t have smartphones, Facebook, Chatter, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media that have significantly altered the way people connect, communicate, and build relationships.

Leadership today must change and evolve with the times, and this means being able to relate to younger generations. Millennials, with numbers at around 86 million, now represent the largest generation in the workforce. Consider the following vis-à-vis Millennials and employers:

1. They are far less loyal to an employer than generations before them have been. No psychological contract exists between them and their employer. They have a different way of viewing work, and it includes incorporate other activities into their time (travel, leisure time, and community service, for example) that might have otherwise been reserved for “usual” work hours.

2. They are team- and group-oriented. Their work style is collaborative.

3. They want to hear from senior management via feedback, open communication, and recognition.

4. They want even more flexible hours and greater work–life balance.

5. They are creative and inquisitive. Knowing “why” is important to this generation. They are unafraid to challenge ideas, methods, processes, and the status quo.

6. They want to improve and grow professionally through training and mentoring.

7. They are service-oriented, care about the environment, and rely heavily on social media.

8. They want to make a difference in the world.

At the core of all of these changes is technology. It allows people to work remotely, collect information immediately, collaborate effectively, and gain access to global markets and information. Employees also can seek out new job functions, making talent retention more challenging today than ever before. So a workforce with technology at their fingertips presents daunting challenges for today’s leaders. In this world, it’s change or die.

Successful evolved leaders constantly adapt to the changing times. They tend to:

  • Be strategic thinkers
  • Lead by example and build relationships
  • Communicate the mission, vision, and goals clearly
  • Build high-performing teams
  • Serve as a coach and mentor
  • Be servant leaders
  • Look for ways to knock down barriers
  • Set ego aside
  • Be collaborative
  • Listen with empathy
  • Get input from diverse views, gain consensus, and get alignment
  • Embrace diversity
  • Be flexible and agile (and can deal with ambiguity)
  • Have exceptional communication skills
  • Be accepting of failure (and uses it as an opportunity to learn)
  • Move the needle, drives results, and gets things done
  • Exhibit resilience

Evolved leaders are front-and-center and welcome scrutiny from both employees and the public. They understand the need to leverage technological tools and harness cross-generational work styles, and they are astutely aware of the importance and influence of social networks.

See the original article Here.

Source:

Watson, S. (2016 November 14 ). The evolving hr leader [Web blog post]. Retrieved from address http://blog.shrm.org/blog/the-evolving-hr-leader


Is your culture keeping up with your growth?

Found a great read on the shift in culture within organizations by Ranjit Jose.

Original Post from SHRM.org on July 5, 2016

The other day, I grabbed coffee and caught up with a friend who is Founder & CEO of a fast growing startup here in San Francisco. The last time we had spoken, his company had around twenty employees. But over the last year, they have been growing at a torrid pace and are now at more than a hundred employees. While this has been an amazing ride for him, the growth has come with its own special brand of challenges. And according to him, the top one has been the question of how to maintain the great culture they have built through the tough first few years of the company.

His story reflects one of the key challenges most growing companies face: ensuring that the original corporate culture develops at the same speed as the business. Corporate culture is defined as “the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions.” A corporation’s ideologies and actions are not explicit but rather become clear over time.

At young companies like my friend’s, the founders and early employees are the ones that create the culture and company values. As long as the company is small, it is very easy to ensure that the culture is well sustained. However, as soon as the company starts expanding, and as new employees start filling the ranks, most businesses witness a dissipation of the workplace methods and beliefs previously practiced if the culture is not intentionally managed.

Here are a few chief signs that your flourishing company’s culture is in danger.

Lack of openness

As a company expands, it becomes challenging for the employers to keep in continuous and thorough contact with their employees. It is far easier to get feedback from a small team; when newer employees expand these original teams, the culture of open communication and direct feedback begins to dissolve.

This is often in part due to the previous workers’ unfamiliarity with the newly hired staff. Dr. Keith Denton, from Missouri State University, explains that when this lack of confidence exists, employees “are more likely to be evasive, competitive, devious, defensive or uncertain in their actions with one another.”

With the absence of openness between team members, the initial trust that is developed at the foundation of a startup slowly dissipates. Make sure that you have mechanisms and tools in place to ensure that a thriving open environment is maintained.

Isolated Employees

Your employees should all be working together for the common goals of the company. Employees can reach common goals through department collaboration, regular team and general discussions, socializing, and consistent motivation.

When a company expands, contact between employees from different departments start becoming less frequent, and workers may feel as though their opinions and feedback are not heard. The Catalyst Research Center for Advancing Leader Effectiveness surveyed 1,500 people from six different countries and discovered that workers feel important when they “ feel that they both belong…[and] are unique.” Understandably, when the number of workers grows, employees may witness a decrease in attention and feel as though their opinions are drowned in the monotone of their many colleagues.

When this happens, they do not feel like a valued team member and may begin to isolate themselves to just get their job done. To prevent this, ensure that you have structures in place to encourage and promote interaction between employees across departments and seniority levels.

Cliques

Another sign that your corporation’s culture is not growing at the same speed as your workforce is the formation of cliques. Cliques form when employers are not in touch with all employees; workers with similar beliefs and behaviors begin to group together instead of maintaining the corporation’s previously overarching culture.

David Parnell, for instance, a communication coach, legal recruiter, and author of In-House explains that forming groups is innately human: “minimal group paradigm studies have shown us to form groups within minutes in a novel situation, and if there are no salient reasons for doing so, groups will even form based on irrelevant criteria such as shirt colors.” To illustrate this, one CareerBuilder survey found that 43% of surveyed employees admitted to having a “work clique.”

More often than not, these subdivisions start with staff who have previously worked together. When the new staff enter the workplace, due to the differences in experience, familiarity, and opinions, the workforce divides further into varying groups, and a uniform employee culture begins to break down.

To ensure that the overall corporate culture is not compromised by the beliefs and actions of smaller groups, it is important that companies have methods of hearing from both experienced and newer employees so that a uniform intra-corporate culture is better circulated.

How to strengthen company culture alongside growth

A big part of safe-guarding your culture is ensuring your people are engaged across the whole organization. And in order to keep employees engaged, growing corporations must first strengthen their internal communications by giving their workforce a channel to consistently give their opinions and feedback. If employees know that their input is heard and respected by their company, they will invest more into the relationships with their co-workers. They will also feel heard and valued engendering a deeper connection with the organization, resulting in higher loyalty and retention.

Once you have opened up the ability to conveniently hear back from employees, it is important to track problems that arise, monitor engagement, and respond to any issues in a timely and strategic way. This will not only continuously improve your company, but show employees that their participation and feedback really matters, because it truly does!

All of this eventually serve to ensure that as you grow, your newer employees feel valued and as much a part of the team as the founding members. Recognizing any sense of disconnect with your people and acting to re-engage employees can ensure that, even as you grow, your culture grows with you.

Read the original article here: http://blog.shrm.org/blog/is-your-culture-keeping-up-with-your-growth

Source:

Jose, R (2016, July 5). Is your culture keeping up with your growth? [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://blog.shrm.org/blog/is-your-culture-keeping-up-with-your-growth


Bridging the Gap: What HR Managers Wish Their Front Line Mangers Knew About Effective Leadership

Original Post from SHRM.org

By: Paul Falcone

John is a successful manager, but he’s concerned about potential staff turnover in light of today’s hot job market. He’s wondering what he could do to proactively avoid employee resignations and is taking an objective, introspective look at his leadership style. So John reaches out to the vice president of human resources at his company for advice, and learns a lot more than he bargained for.

As John soon realizes, retention of key employees comes from both leadership offense and defense practices. More importantly, it stems from exercising leadership wisdom that allows team members to motivate themselves, find new and creative ways of solving problems and finding solutions, and, when necessary, removing roadblocks that may impede team growth. Minimizing the effects of unwanted turnover and building a team with solid tenure comes from each leader’s ability to foster motivation in teams and instill a strong sense of accountability. Therefore, as unnerving as it sounds, John realizes that he needs to reassess his own strengths and shortcomings in order to reinvent his relationship with his team.

Leadership Offense

Getting all your company’s managers on the same page in terms of motivation, employee satisfaction and engagement is no easy feat.

“But first get one thing straight:  Your job as a leader is not to motivate your employees; motivation is internal, and you can’t motivate them any more than they can motivate you,” said Jo-Anne Smith, outplacement executive, career coach and equity owner with Career Partners International in Southern California. “Your job as a successful leader, however, is to create an environment where your workers can motivate themselves.”

It may sound like a fine distinction, but it’s an important one. For example, try delegating what you enjoy most and are particularly good at as a means of professional development for the employee taking on the task (not of offloading work). Monitor what you’ve delegated by asking your employee how she’ll follow up with you and what the concrete and measurable outcomes will be throughout the delegation exercise. Then be sure to celebrate successes along the way.

Further, conduct “stay interviews” by asking your top performers what motivates them, what suggestions they have for improving the work flow and how you can help them prepare for their next career move.

“This is your chance to recognize and acknowledge their contributions, and employees will always feel engaged and excited when they’re making a positive difference at work while building their resumes,” Smith said. After all, top performers will always be resume builders, and learning is the glue that binds an individual to a company, despite offers from headhunters or competitor organizations. You’re always better off conducting proactive stay interviews rather than needing to make reactive counteroffers once a top performer has tendered notice.

While stay interviews are a smart longer-term strategy, you may have a turnover crisis that’s suddenly thrust upon you, and under certain circumstances, extending a counteroffer may make sense. Just make sure that if you’re going to make such an offer, you do it the right way.

According to Smith, “Counteroffers should always remain the exception, not the rule, because of their potential to backfire. After all, most employees [think], ’Why should it take my resigning to trigger a salary increase or promotion?’ ”

But if your strategy is to openly address what’s been plaguing the individual beyond money and identify ways where you can help the individual reconnect and regain a sense of value, the counteroffer may make sense.

Invite the individual to consider a counteroffer like this: “Even though I can’t promise anything at this point, I hope that you’ll allow us to explore some new avenues with you. If we can’t develop an overall career development strategy and growth trajectory that would motivate you to remain with us, then we’ll certainly support your transition to the new company. But we want to keep you, Sarah, and we appreciate your contributions every day. Would you be willing to engage in those kinds of discussions with us?”

Leadership Defense

One key reason for employee dissatisfaction that drives top performers to pursue greener pastures is a perception of unfairness or a leader’s inability to hold everyone accountable to the same performance standards.

John realizes he needs to develop some critical muscle around addressing subpar performance and certain poor behaviors that have calcified in his team over time. The wise vice president of HR counsels him, however, that suddenly addressing substandard performance and conduct issues can shock employees and potentially open up the organization and John personally to employment-related liability. Therefore, in a spirit of full transparency, John will announce to his team that he’s committed to reinventing himself as a leader in this critical area of accountability and setting high and consistent expectations for everyone.

Taking precautions to avoid litigation land mines protects the individual supervisor and the organization as a whole.

“While 1 in 4 managers will likely be involved in employment-related litigation at some point in his or her career, it’s important that leaders like John remain aware of potential pitfalls that might blindside an otherwise unsuspecting supervisor,” said Sharon Bauman, partner in the employment and labor practice group at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP in San Francisco.

Employees are very sophisticated consumers and often realize that the best way to protect themselves from managers’ complaints about their individual performance is to strike first by filing complaints about their supervisors’ conduct. John learns from the vice president of HR why he should run, not walk, to HR when he needs a partner to address a subordinate’s subpar performance or inappropriate workplace conduct. Leadership is a team sport, and it’s shortsighted to think that he can do it all on his own.

After all, whoever gets to HR first triggers the investigation—either focusing on John’s subordinate’s performance problems (if John gets to HR first) or on allegations regarding his conduct as a supervisor (if the employee gets to HR first). That’s when terms like “hostile work environment,” “harassment” and “retaliation” come into play.

John’s lesson? Don’t allow employees to engage in the pre-emptive strike of “pretaliation” by lodging complaints about him before he has a chance to speak with HR about problems that certain staff members may be causing.

Next, John is advised to avoid the biggest problem facing corporate executives today: grade inflation on the annual performance review. Too many unsuspecting managers take staffers through the progressive discipline process all the way to the final written warning stage, only to issue a “meets expectations” overall score on the annual performance evaluation. John now understands that by doing this, he’ll end up creating a major roadblock if the company wants to terminate the employee in the future.  After all, by giving a “meets expectations” rating, he’ll have validated an entire year’s performance despite the final written warning on file.

In short, it is John’s responsibility to demonstrate consistency between a subordinate’s corrective action history and overall performance review score. When these documents contradict one another, the company will likely have to continue with the documentation process in order to clarify the record. When both are in alignment, the company should have the discretion to terminate the employee upon a clean final incident.

John’s final lesson from the meeting with the vice president of HR: From a practical standpoint, you can’t just terminate, lay off or “give a package” to someone who’s not fitting in or otherwise contributing to your team’s overall success.

“The employment-at-will defense will not guarantee a summary judgment of a wrongful termination claim at the hearing stage, so you’ve always got to assume that a case will make it all the way to the trial stage, and that the jury will be looking for a really good reason to justify the termination decision,” Bauman said. Therefore, John recommits to engaging in those challenging but necessary conversations and to documenting his findings in the form of progressive discipline to reduce or eliminate the possibility of the claim coming back to bite him and his company in litigation. Bauman advises, “Remember, it’s not just the potential dollar cost of being sued; it’s the time and disruption of interrogatories, depositions, hearings, mediations and potentially trials that will zap your team’s energy for six months to a year—or more—after the termination that are the biggest challenges you face.”

As a leader, you can give your company no greater gift than a motivated, energized and engaged workforce. Spikes in turnover may happen from time to time, but what’s critical is your response, the counsel you seek and your willingness to reinvent yourself so that everyone benefits from the crisis. Follow these offensive and defensive leadership practices not only to cultivate your own leadership capabilities but also to foster an environment where motivation, engagement and satisfaction become the hallmarks of your shop. That’s the greatest workplace wisdom of all.

Paul Falcone (www.PaulFalconeHR.com) is an HR executive in San Diego and has held senior leadership roles with Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon and Time Warner. A long-time contributor to HR Magazine, he’s also the author of a number of SHRM best-sellers, including 96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire (Amacom, 2008), 101 Sample Write-Ups for Documenting Employee Performance Problems (Amacom, 2010), 101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees, and 2600 Phrases for Effective Performance Reviews (Amacom, 2005). His newest book, 75 Ways for Managers to Hire, Develop, and Keep Great Employees (Amacom, 2016), will be released this month. 

 


Executive Vice President, Hierl Insurance, Inc., Honored By National Society of CIC for 15-Year Commitment

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, March 10, 2016 –Scott Smeaton, CRM, CIC, Executive Vice President of Hierl Insurance, Inc. of Fond du Lac, was recently recognized for professional leadership and advanced knowledge by the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC), a leading national insurance professional organization.

Mr. Scott Smeaton was awarded a certificate marking more than fifteen years of participation as a designated CIC, which requires annual completion of advanced education and training.

Smeaton’s dedication and leadership brings added value to his clients, associates and the industry as a whole. His ongoing allegiance and support of the CIC Program is a testament to the value he places on “real world” education and customer satisfaction.

The Society of CIC is a not-for-profit organization of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, which is respected throughout the insurance industry for the high standards maintained in the hundreds of institutes conducted annually in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Other programs of The National Alliance include Certified Risk Managers (CRM), Certified Personal Risk Managers (CPRM), James K. Ruble Seminars, the Society of Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CISR), Certified School Risk Managers (CSRM), and the National Alliance Research Academy.

Download the Press Release here.

Contact us to partner with a dedicated expert for your benefits needs. 


President, Hierl Insurance, Inc., Honored By National Society of CIC for 25-Year Commitment

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, March 7, 2016 – Mike Hierl, President of Hierl Insurance, Inc. of Fond du Lac, was recently recognized for professional leadership and advanced knowledge by the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC), a leading national insurance professional organization.

Mr. Mike Hierl was awarded a certificate marking more than twenty-five years of leadership as a designated CIC, which requires annual completion of advanced education and training.

Mike Hierl’s ongoing allegiance and support of the CIC Program is a testament to the value he places on “real world” education and customer satisfaction. “Your clients, associates and the insurance profession as a whole continue to benefit from such dedication,” cited Dr. William T. Hold, CIC, CPCU, CLU, President of the Society of CIC.

The CIC Program is nationally recognized as the premier continuing education program for insurance professionals, with programs offered in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, the Society of CIC is a not-for-profit organization and the founding program of The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research.

Download the Press Release here.

Contact us to partner with a dedicated expert for your benefits needs. 


7 Tips to Get Your Team to Actually Listen to You

Original post entrepreneur.com

Right from the outset, entrepreneurs must pay attention to every communication and opportunity for sharing their passion and vision.  They must communicate effectively, so they can inspire others to come aboard.  They must speak honestly and in ways that reveal their personal character and genuine connection. Yet, this sort of communication style can be difficult and time consuming – especially when demands are huge and time is scarce.

There is far more to being an effective and authentic communicator than most entrepreneurs believe — at least when they are starting out. Even if you think you’re good at speaking to your team and motivating them, there’s always more to learn.

Leadership communication is a discipline and a practice: The more time, effort and heart you put in, the more effective you become.  There really are no shortcuts.

That said, here are seven ideas that can help you focus your attention and improve your leadership communication.

1. Be authentic.

When you speak with your employees you must come across to them as real. This means sharing your beliefs and your struggles. Talking about moments of doubt but also explaining how you overcame them with more conviction and confidence than ever. Or perhaps share a story or two about a failure and disappointment in life.

The most convincing talks are when stories are shared about personal weaknesses and what one was doing to overcome them or disappointments and failures and how they were turned around.

2. Know yourself.

Dig deep.  Know your values and what motivates you.  If you don’t know yourself you cannot share or connect with others. People want to know what makes you tick as a human being not just as a leader. Share this and make yourself real.

3. Rely on a good coach or a trusted advisor.

Developing good communication skills takes time — and in the rush of business, that’s scarce.  Having someone who can push you to examine and reveal your interests and passions is enormously helpful and the value is immeasurable.

4. Read up on leadership communication.

If you can’t hire a coach, read all that you can. This is an inexhaustible resource, and you should never quit learning anyway. Books, articles, the internet; the possibilities are endless.

5. Make values visible.

Effective, empathetic communication and a commitment to culture can provide a solid foundation for your ideas and contribute to making it a reality. Many of today’s most successful companies have gone through dramatic crises.  Their improvements often hinged upon genuine communication from the leaders.

For instance, think of Starbucks and Howard Schultz’s clear and genuine communications about the importance of managers and baristas being personally accountable for future success. Your employees want to know what you and the company stands for. What is the litmus test for everything you do? These are your values. Talk about them but you must always be sure to “walk the talk” and live by them.

6. Engage with stories.

You can’t rely on facts and figures alone. It’s stories that people remember. The personal experiences and stories you share with others create emotional engagement, decrease resistance and give meaning. It is meaning that gets employees’ hearts and fuels discretionary effort, thinking and desire to actively support the business.

Once someone was implementing a massive pricing cut. He could have presented reams of data about this change and why it needed to be made. Instead he invited in four clients of the firm who had written letters about why after more than 10 years they had decided to leave due to our pricing being noncompetitive. Everyone was engaged and quite horrified to hear this feedback. Getting the team’s support for the change was much easier after that.

7. Be fully present. 

There is no autopilot for leadership communication. You must be fully present to move people to listen and pay attention, rather than simply be in attendance. Any time you are communicating, you need to be prepared — and to speak from your heart.  Leadership communication is, after all, about how you make others feel. What do you want people to feel, believe and do as a result of your communication?  This absolutely can’t happen if you read a speech. No matter how beautifully it is written, it doesn’t come across as authentic or from your heart if you are reading it. Embrace what you want to say and use notes if you must, but never read a speech if you want to be believable and move people to action. (And yes this requires a ton of preparation).

Your speeches are visible and important components of your role as a leader. Successful entrepreneurs are conscious of that role in every communication, interaction and venue within the organization and beyond. They also know that while today’s world provides a wide range of ways to communicate to your organization — mass email, text, Twitter, instant message and more —connecting is not that simple. Electronic communication is a tool for communicating information — not for inspiring passion.


'Smart' Seat Could Reduce Whiplash Injuries

Originally posted on August 25, 2014 on The Globe and Mall.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) are working to create a car seat system that can mitigate the effect of whiplash enough to significantly reduce the risk of injury from low-speed rear-end collisions. In the United States, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that more than $8.8-billion (U.S.) is paid out annually for whiplash injuries, accounting for 25% of the total spent for all crash injuries.

The economic and social strain caused by these soft tissue injuries was an impetus for Daniel Mang, a kinesiology student at UBC, to develop an active “smart seat” that responds to the pulse created during a collision, and automatically adapts and adjusts the seat on impact to lessen the effect on the head and neck. Mang says that the smart seat has more time to adjust (than an airbag), so it would rely on technology similar to the airbags to sense the collision and adapt the seat in response to accelerometers (that can estimate how much you weigh.)

To see the full article, go to:www.theglobeandmail.com/


NHTSA Promotes Two Connected-Car Technologies to Prevent Crashes

Originally posted on August 18, 2014 on Automotive Fleet.

As part of its quest to mandate vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications capability in light-duty vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a research report analyzing the technology’s feasibility, safety benefits, potential costs and legal issues.

The report projects that just two of many possible V2V communications applications — left turn assist and intersection movement assist — could save as many as 1,083 lives and prevent up to 592,000 crashes annually. Left turn assist warns drivers not to turn left in front of another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction, and intersection movement assist warns them if it’s not safe to enter an intersection because of the likelihood of a collision.

Additional applications could also help drivers avoid imminent danger through forward collision, blind spot, “do not pass,” and stop light/stop sign warnings. V2V systems transmit basic safety information between vehicles via short-range radio communication devices. NHTSA estimates that the V2V equipment and supporting functions would cost about $341 to $350 per vehicle in 2020. That cost might dip to approximately $209 to $227 by 2058, after manufacturers gain experience producing the equipment, according to the report.

To see the full article, go to: www.automotive-fleet.com/


GM Plans to Launch Hands-Free Driving by 2016

Originally posted by  CNET on September 7, 2014.
General Motors has announced it plans to introduce Cadillac models in two years that incorporate hands-free driving and Wi-Fi-enabled vehicle-to-vehicle communications to exchange traffic information with similarly equipped vehicles. GM’s “Super Cruise” semi-automated technology will automatically keep a vehicle in a specific, properly equipped freeway lane, making necessary steering and speed adjustments in bumper-to-bumper traffic or long highway trips.

“With Super Cruise, when there’s a congestion alert on roads like California’s Santa Monica Freeway, you can let the car take over and drive hands-free and feet-free through the worst stop and go traffic around,” said Mary Barra, GM CEO. “And if the mood strikes you on the high-speed road from Barstow, California to Las Vegas, you can take a break from the wheel and pedals and let the car do the work.”

However, unlike the driverless vehicle being tested by Google, GM’s system will require drivers to remain attentive and ready to resume control of the vehicle.

To see the full article, go to: www.cnet.com/