Links for January 16 2011

Technology Consultant - Eric D. Brown | Image for link posts

Links for June 28 2009

Why Your Corporate Message Isn’t Being Heard by Jason Falls on Social Media Explorer

The 7 Sins of Customer Service by Valeria Maltoni on Conversation Agent

Productivity gains in software engineering are powering innovation by Auren Hoffman on Summation

Boosting Engagement While Cutting Costs by Jeannie Ruhlman and Cheryl Siegman on Gallup’s Organizational Performance Blog

The context for 2010 planning will be challenging by Mark McDonald on Gartner’s Blog Network

Actionable Business-IT Alignment by Tod McKenna on Tod means Fox

Social Media is Rife with Experts but Starved of Authorities by Brian Solis on PR2.0

The Art of Enabling Others to Act by Cheri Baker on The Enlightened Manager

Getting Back to Leadership Wins Back the Trust by Ted Mininni on Marketing Profs Daily Fix

Why Is Your Organization Not Human? by Jamie Notter on Get Me Jamie Notter

Leadership Philosophy – CIO to CIO by Arun Manansingh on A CIO’s Voice

Learning from How Designers Think and Work by Becky Bermont on HarvardBusiness.org

Top 10 Reasons Why Employees Leave in IT by Dave Schinkel on Code Zest

Why Trust is Asymmetrical, and What that Means for Trust Strategies by Charles H. Green on Trust Matters

What IT Needs To Give Up by Mike Schaffner on Beyond Blinking Lights and Acronyms

The role of architect by George Dinwiddie on George Dinwiddie’s blog

Why use cases should drive technology design by Tom Grant on The Heretech

Is Execution More Important than Vision? by Sarah Lacy on TechCrunch

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Meetings & Trust: Do they go together?

Carmine Coyote had a great post over on Slow Leadership today titled “The More Meetings, The Less Trust“. The introductory paragraph sums it up nicely (emphasis mine):

In the list of activities that waste time and cause worthless frustration at work, meetings rank very near the top. Not only do many meetings fail to result in any clear decision, leaving you wondering why people came together in the first place, others have no discernible purpose at all. Worst of all, holding too many meetings passes a strong message: the boss doesn’t trust the team to function without his or her constant interference; and colleagues don’t trust one another not to undermine them in some way.

How many of you have experienced this in your career?  How many have experienced this within the last week?  I know I have.

I actually got to see the ultimate no-trust meeting request…a meeting to prepare for a meeting. If your boss wants to prepare for the meeting with his boss with a pre-meeting, you know you are in trouble.

There are very few times that having a meeting to prepare for a meeting makes sense.  If you’re preparing to present a solution to a client or something similar…you should be prepared and a meeting might be called for.  But…if you are calling a meeting of your staff to have them tell you what they will tell your boss in the upcoming meeting, something is very very wrong.

Why does this occur?  Why would a seemingly intelligent individual have to gather their staff together for a ‘pre-meeting’?  Well…I think it has to do with trust.  If you trust your staff, why would you call them in to debrief you on what they will discuss in the ‘official’ meeting?   You might as well as just scream “I don’t trust you” to your entire staff.

Even worse than just having a pre-meeting is having a pre-meeting and forcing people to change their commentary/report to match what the ‘boss’ wants to hear.  I recently saw this occur and was amazed that everyone went along so readily.  It seems that the ‘boss’ only wants to hear what he expects to hear so that’s what everyone tells him.

This type of attitude does nothing for morale.  It destroys what little faith employee’s have left in the organization and in their manager.

So how do we get out of death by meeting?

Simple…trust your employees to do their job.  Give them the freedom to get things done.  Make sure they know that you are available to help at any time but that you expect them to make the decisions that they need to make to do their job.  Make them feel trusted.

Carmine Coyote has this to say about bring trust back into the workplace:

What does it feel like to be trusted? You’re allowed to make decisions without constantly checking with others; to get on with your job and use your commonsense about whom you need to speak with to ensure success. You’re expected to ask for help when you need it, and not otherwise; and not to call others together until you have something really important to say. Add these up and you have a water-tight case for removing upwards of 75% of the meetings that disfigure people’s calendars. Think how much time and money that would save.

Yes..think how much time, money, energy you could save by just letting your people do their jobs.

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Networking is more than technology

The last few years has seen the rise of Internet based social networking. Web sites like Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn and others have done a lot for networking but it seems like a lot of people think that networking stops as soon as you ‘connect’ with someone.

Charles Green at the Trust Matters Blog had a great post on the topic titled “Larry David, Seinfeld and Social Networking“, with some excellent and insightful comments about social networking.

For example:

The technology of social networking is overrated. You still have to be able to communicate

Great advice…and that’s just the first two sentences of his post! The rest of the post is outstanding…to be able to weave the antics of Larry David (the co-creator of Seinfeld) and the Seinfeld show with social networking is genius.

My spin on Charles’ post is that in order to ‘do’ networking, you have to actually get out there and meet people face to face and even fall a few times. You won’t really gain the most value from your network unless you truly try to understand the other person and how you can really help them.

Oh yeah…you have to understand that networking isn’t about “how can they help me”….when you approach networking the right way, it’s about “how can I help them

You have to see the human side of your ‘network’….regardless of how many times you email or call someone, the face to face meeting is still the best way to get to know your network.

If you want to take a look at other topics on networking you should check out Thom Singer’s “Some Assembly Required” blog, especially his “Tips for Better Networking“.

“Cube Rules” on Networking

Scott Herrick has a very good post on his Cube Rules blog titled “Networking for Shy People” that is definitely worth the read whether you are shy or not.

One of the clearest descriptions Ive ever read of networking is provided by Scott when he writes (emphasis is mine):

First, learning that “networking” isn’t something you do, like going out and painting a picture by number. Instead, networking is simply knowing and helping other people. The more people you help, the more people you know, and the larger your network gets.

I wish more people understood this. Most people think that networking is a bunch of people standing in a room exchanging business cards and talking. Of course, that can be a method that a person can use to network, but networking is about helping others.

Thanks for the blog post Scot.