Rita McGrath: Why The Sustainable Competitive Advantage Model is Vanishing, Episode #30

For years the idea of maintaining a competitive advantage has dominated the way we do business. The theory is that if we can figure out how to keep our company ahead of the competition and continue to employ the best-practices that got us there, we’ll stay on top. But my guest on this episode, Rita McGrath says that model is no longer viable because of the speed at which change and innovation are happening. In our conversation we discuss why sticking to a competitive advantage model doesn’t work anymore, what questions leaders should be asking themselves to fuel success in their organizations, how stepping stone ideas can lead to more effective innovation, and much more. You’ll be encouraged and equipped by what Rita shares, so be sure to listen.

Why sticking to a competitive advantage model doesn’t work

Trying to out-think and out-gun your competition used to be the way to stay ahead in business. But Rita McGrath points out that it’s no longer a viable model, primarily because the competition businesses are up against is no longer isolated to their own industry. There are many organizations and high-powered companies (Amazon, etc.) that are able to dive into a new product or service offering quickly, taking a significant share of your industry’s market share. Instead of sticking to the sustainable competitive advantage model, Rita suggests a strategy more fitting to the digital age we live in. Her work as a professor at Columbia and her thought-provoking research and case studies show that she’s got the insight needed to help us make this transition. Listen to find out more about Rita’s ideas and learn how to get her new book, “The End of the Competitive Advantage.”

Leaders: Are you truly attuned to your customers?

One of the questions I love to ask my guests is about the types of things today’s leaders should be asking themselves in order to thrive and succeed. Rita’s response echoes an idea I’ve heard from many of my guests. She suggests that leaders need to be very attentive to the true needs of the people they serve – customers and team members. The only way to provide the kind of leadership that is truly needed is to stay in touch with the real needs you’re looking to address. Rita suggests a handful of questions and approaches leaders can use to truly know what their customers are experiencing, which you can hear by listening to this episode.

Information flow within teams is harder than ever before

With the advent of digital forms of communication, organizations and businesses have leveraged technology to make use of contractors, freelancers, and remote team members – cutting costs and allowing team members to live a lifestyle of freedom never before possible. But with those advantages come some problems, one of the most significant being the difficulty of information flow. No longer are team members meeting casually around the copier or coffee pot to discuss projects or issues. Dedicated attention has to be given to making sure proper information and effective collaboration is happening among distributed/remote teams – and it’s the leader’s job to ensure it does. Find out more about how to make it happen, on this episode.

Stepping stone ideas are the key to effective innovation

Rita loves the technological advances being made these days. She believes there are great things on the horizon. But much of the mad rush to develop new technologies is skipping what she calls “stepping stone ideas” – to their own detriment. In this conversation, she uses the example of self-driving cars to show how problems we face could be addressed more effectively and more quickly by rethinking problems from square one rather than building on what has already been done (much along the line of her thinking regarding the competitive advantage model). As you listen you’ll understand a modern-day example of how innovation can happen at a faster pace and in a more effective way. Don’t miss it.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:41] Who is Rita McGrath?
  • [1:47] What is leadership and how does it connect with strategy?
  • [2:20] The reason Rita wrote her most recent book
  • [4:50] Questions leaders should be asking themselves heading forward
  • [8:39] Why absolute candor is vital for companies
  • [9:57] How has strategy been impacted by remote work and teams?
  • [14:50] Advice for middle managers regarding how to thrive and succeed
  • [19:20] How the MOJO model for meetings can improve team effectiveness
  • [22:07] Using stepping-stone ideas to innovate and improve

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Erica

Erica@cotentialgroup.com

Linkedin.com/in/ericadhawan

Twitter.com/edhawan

Facebook.com/ericadhawan

Tweets

On this episode of #MastersOfLeadership with @EDhawan, @RGMcGrath explains why sticking to a competitive advantage model doesn’t work. Listen to learn how to pivot. #GetBigThingsDone #collaboration

Chester Elton: How Caring Leadership Creates Teams That Win, Episode #29

The old-style leadership approach most of us have experienced is not sensitive to caring for the individuals on the team. Chester Elton says those who don’t practice caring leadership are missing the boat in the modern world. In this conversation, you’ll hear my great and entirely practical conversation with Chester as we discuss how leaders can and should create teams that thrive in environments of encouragement, support, and emotional safety. It’s not as hard to pull off as you might think. It’s a matter of proving to team members that they matter and are a vital part of what the organization is doing. You’ll glean an incredible amount of practical advice from Chester on this episode.

Caring for your team is the most important aspect of effective leadership

Leaders who build thriving and effective teams are the ones who know how to care for the members of their teams on an individual level. In this conversation, Chester tells an “out of this world” story about one team of astronauts who were amazingly more productive than set of astronaughts that ever served on the International Space Station. The reason? Their leader took the time to know each of them individually and invest in them in unique ways. That effort multiplied itself as all the team members bought-in to caring for each other in extraordinary ways. Learn a handful of simple things you can do to care for your team and bring out their best work, on this episode.

Leaders must take the time to have aspirational conversations with their teams

Do you know what is meant by the term “aspirational conversation?” Chester Elton says that good leaders learn how to converse with their team members about the things they dream about, the things they hope for, and the goals they have for their lives and careers. It’s a way the leader can express interest in their team members and do their part to set them on the road to achieving their personal and professional goals. One result is that team members bring their best effort to work because they know someone in leadership is rooting for them. Listen to this episode to learn how to support and encourage your team toward their life goals and increase productivity at the same time, on this episode of Masters of Leadership.

“Managing to the one” and “speed to productivity” are key skills for leaders to learn

Chester Elton often refers to two practices he’s discovered that are essential for leaders: managing to the one – and speed to productivity. The first has to do with knowing team members individually and leading them in light of that knowledge. It’s a position of caring concern that has earned the right to lead. Speed to productivity refers to the need to get team members plugged in and operating as a productive part of the team as soon as possible. When that practice is coupled with positive feedback, team members thrive.

Teams where it is safe to challenge everything are the teams that win

We’ve all been part of an organizational culture where we felt beaten down, unappreciated, or taken advantage of. In those environments, nobody is willing to speak up when things are wrong or broken for fear of being marginalized. Chester Elton says that teams where there is safety to challenge everything, are much more productive and actually accomplish their organizational goals faster. If you’re in a position of leadership you need to know how to create that kind of environment. Chester has practical advice for you, so listen to this episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:40] Why the best leaders have the best soft skills
  • [2:42] The story behind Chester’s new book, “The Best Team Wins”
  • [5:00] The differences in leading teams in a digital workplace
  • [6:45] An out-of-this-world story to illustrate what makes for the best teams
  • [10:01] How to cultivate a caring, engaged climate among your team
  • [12:12] Great ways to speed up the trust-building process
  • [16:18] The customer experience will never exceed the employee experience
  • [19:40] We celebrate what we value – so we must celebrate our people
  • [22:45] The positive to negative ratio in positive workplaces is 5 to 1
  • [24:01] Immediate advice for those managing teams

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Erica

Erica@cotentialgroup.com

Linkedin.com/in/ericadhawan

Twitter.com/edhawan

Facebook.com/ericadhawan

Tweets

Shane Snow: How Leaders Can Build Dream Teams, Episode #28

Every leader faces the challenge of putting diverse people into the same room to work on a project together. It can be a very exhilarating and enriching experience or it can be a situation that sucks the life out of everyone. In his new book, “Dream Teams” Shane Snow reveals his discoveries about what makes teams work, what keeps them from becoming cohesive and cooperative, and what leaders need to do in order to increase the odds of creating a dream team in their own organization. Some of the things Shane shares are a bit counterintuitive, so be sure you listen to get the full story.

The things that make us great as humans also threaten us the most

Human beings are creative, intelligent, and innovative, each one of us bringing special skills, abilities, and perspectives to the table. But those very things are exactly what causes us to fight amongst ourselves and disrupt cooperation. Shane Snow has discovered that at the heart of most failures at teambuilding is lack of cultural fit. He sees leaders as the ones who are primarily tasked with being aware of cultural issues, addressing issues as they arise, and facilitating the best environment for everyone on a team to thrive and contribute. On this episode of Masters of Leadership, you’ll hear Shane describe what his research has taught him about building dream teams and how leaders can take proactive steps to enhance the culture in their organization and get better results from their teams.

What is it that makes a dream team, a dream team?

One of the things I was eager to ask Shane is this: What is it that makes dream teams so effective? His answer is a little bit surprising. First, he says dream teams need an element of cognitive diversity, meaning there needs to be a variety of perspectives and approaches to problem solving and creativity. That makes sense. But next, he says that each dream team also has an element of cognitive friction, where the ideas being proposed become at odds with each other and the individuals on each side of the debate have to learn how to work together to overcome the tensions that exist so they can create something better. Finally, every person on the team needs to possess intellectual humility, the ability to allow their ideas and perspectives to be criticized and enhanced by others. As you can see, Shane has a wealth of knowledge about these things, and you’ll hear him share them, on this episode.

What questions should leaders be asking as they create dream teams?

When it comes to assembling the individuals who will make up your dream team, what are the things you should be considering? Naturally, one of the first things to consider is who you are placing on the team. Are they individuals who are not only competent in their area(s) of expertise but also able to handle the tension that will come from a highly charged creative environment? Will they be able to handle the cognitive friction necessary to collaborate and come up with new ideas? Finally, can YOU as a leader, provide an environment where that friction can happen in relational safety? Find out more about how to create your own dream team, on this episode of Masters of Leadership.

Two solutions to help struggling teams become outstanding: play and storytelling

When a team is struggling, there are many factors that contribute to the issues they are experiencing. Shane Snow believes there are two things leaders can integrate into their teams that will help dispel unhelpful tension and get the team back on track. First, he recommends play as a regular part of the team’s interaction. When people can do fun, non-threatening things together they are better able to see each other as human beings rather than competitors or rivals. That fosters a sense of teamwork and mutual enthusiasm. He also suggests that leaders provide contexts where individuals are encouraged to tell their own stories – on both a personal level and in regard to situations they have faced that were similar to the one the team is facing. This enables everyone to get behind the facades and see the real people involved.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:35] Shane’s definition of leadership: Helping others unleash their potential
  • [4:08] The reasons behind Shane’s writing of his new book, “Dream Teams”
  • [8:45] What it is that makes some teams work and others self-destruct
  • [13:23] Shane’s dive into hip-hop as an exploration of dream teams
  • [20:51] Key questions leaders should be asking when trying to build dream teams
  • [28:00] Tips for shifting struggling teams into dream teams
  • [34:22] Sign up for Shane’s newsletter – learn about lateral thinking

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Erica

Erica@cotentialgroup.com

Linkedin.com/in/ericadhawan

Twitter.com/edhawan

Facebook.com/ericadhawan

Tweets

Whitney Johnson: Using Personal Disruption to Build an A-Team, Episode #27

The phrase “personal disruption” doesn’t sound very pleasant, but Whitney Johnson insists that it’s the only way we grow as individuals. We have to be placed outside the normal context of our existence in order to take on new challenges and grow as a person. She also says that disruption is a great tool to help managers and leaders assess potential team members and enable their personal growth and long-term loyalty to the company. I was so pleased with the conversation I had with Whitney on this episode. We dove into the reasons why personal disruption is so powerful, how managers can discover and encourage a “personal learning curve” for each team member, and the wonderful results of doing so – both for the company and for the employee.

Find a problem to solve in your organization instead of chasing the next promotion

The typical way to chart a career path is to apply for promotion after promotion, climbing the ladder in a not-so-pleasant competition with other team members. Whitney Johnson says that instead of chasing the next promotion, team members should get busy solving problems in their organizations. The kind of innovation, initiative, and creative skills that come to the surface in the attempt are exactly what managers are looking for, and will cause the person to stand out like a diamond against a dark backdrop. You can learn more about how personal disruption can be used as a catalyst for personal growth and career advancement by listening to this episode.

Managers: Use personal disruption to give your people Goldilocks assignments

You remember the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” right? The unforgettable line Goldilocks said over and over is, “It’s just right!” Whitney recommends that leaders find what she calls, “Goldilocks assignments” for team members – tasks or challenges that are not too hard and not too easy, but just right to challenge that particular team member toward growth and innovation. The company and the team member both win when a scenario like that plays out successfully. Discover how your team can grow through the utilization of disruptive practices like this, by listening to my conversation with Whitney Johnson.

The idea of a static job description is archaic. Team members need a learning curve plan

We’ve all been handed a job description upon applying for a new position – and it’s good to have an idea of the tasks and responsibilities expected in a particular role. But the idea that jobs remain static is one that needs to die. Instead of holding team members to static job descriptions, today’s leaders need to benchmark the abilities of team members, then in light of the team’s “why” and the team member’s reasons for choosing to work there, set expectations based on that particular team member’s projected learning curve and provide incentives of new opportunities when the current challenges are overcome. It’s an amazing way of challenging team members and moving the company forward that you’ll hear about on this episode.

Hire for potential not for proficiency

Too often leaders are looking to fill positions with the person who has everything in hand, completely buttoned-down and ready to go. But when we do that we are missing diamonds in the rough, people who are able to take on the challenges set before us with help, time, and opportunity. Whitney Johnson says that managers and leaders need to hire for potential, looking for the character traits, attitudes, and basic skills that might allow a person to grow into a role rather than looking only for those who appear able to master it from the outset. Doing so enables teams to grow together, building relationships with each other as they build individual competence. It’s an approach that uses personal disruption to provide job satisfaction for team members and long-term stability for the organization. You won’t want to miss Whitney’s insights into the power of personal disruption, so set aside the time to listen to this episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:30] Leaders are willing to walk their talk and engender trust. They enable others to be their best self
  • [2:44] The essence of Whitney’s new book, “Build An A-Team”
  • [4:17] Would you take the job? A scenario from Whitney about the importance of disruption
  • [6:50] The 7 step learning curve: What do employees need to learn to grow?
  • [11:17] Designing jobs to maximize engagement and learning
  • [17:12] Is it possible that we do a better job with team members who are virtual?
  • [18:12] Whitney’s tips for building an A-team

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Erica

Erica@cotentialgroup.com

Linkedin.com/in/ericadhawan

Twitter.com/edhawan

Facebook.com/ericadhawan

Tweets

Roger Martin: How Leaders Facilitate Great Choices, Episode #26

One of the roles great leaders play is the facilitation of great choices across their organizations. That means it’s not just about the leader themselves being skilled at making choices, but also about their ability to transfer that skill to the members of their team. Roger Martin is a pioneer in the realm of integrative thinking, an approach to problem-solving that uses opposing ideas as the basis for innovation. In this conversation, Roger and I speak about his new book, “Creating Great Choices” and how leaders and managers can build amazing teams of people who make the very best choices every time.

We Can Now Code Our Knowledge To Apply It More Efficiently. But Should We?

With so much talk about A.I (artificial intelligence) and the reality of it growing almost daily, it’s easy to think that the day will come when human contributions will be marginalized in favor of more precise, computer learning alternatives. But Roger Martin makes the point that just because some choices can be turned into algorithms, doesn’t mean they should be. There is and will always be a need for a human touch in a number of contexts where the savvy and intuition needed to make great choices simply can’t be applied via computer code. Join me to learn how Roger sees A.I. benefiting mankind and to hear where he has concerns, on this episode.

Modern digital narcissism is of great concern to Roger Martin

In making the point that not all problems should be solved via code or algorithm, Roger points to instances where the implementation of technology that allows for self-driving cars has cost the lives of people. His concern is that in our zeal to make solutions of that kind we will continue to put individuals at risk instead of recognizing that the solutions as they are currently being applied are unacceptable. He calls it modern digital narcissism and cautions against it. Listen to my conversation with Roger to hear what he recommends as a better way forward, on this episode of Masters of Leadership.

There Are No Natural-Born Managers. Greatness Comes Over Time

When it comes to those who are managing people in the workplace, Roger suggests that in order to grow, today’s leaders have to avoid the two pitfalls common to most leaders: #1 – Don’t be so perfectionistic as to think that you can’t try something you don’t know how to do yet. If you fail, that’s not on you, that’s on life. #2 – Use the opportunity to grow by asking key questions: What did you think was going to happen? What really happened? What caused it to happen? Was there bias or preconceived assumptions involved in producing the outcome? Learning to try new things and grow from those attempts is the best way to develop greatness in decision making.

Anybody Can Have Something Unbelievably Expert About Them

It’s important to realize that the contributions needed in order to overcome unacceptable or seemingly insurmountable obstacles hardly ever come through the ingenuity of one person. Collaboration is how great things are accomplished. Roger cautions: Never dismiss someone because of A, B, and C, because D may be spectacular. If you write them off before discovering the areas where they have unbelievable knowledge or expertise, you are robbing the entire collaborative effort of its power. Roger’s insights are valuable for leaders at any level, so be sure you take the time to listen.

Anybody can have something unbelievably expert about them. Don’t overlook them. @RogerLMartin explains how #collaboration and #leadership utilize the gifts of a team, on episode 26 of #MastersOfLeadership with @EDhawan. ##getbigthingsdone

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:29] Leadership defined from Roger’s perspective
  • [3:15] The most important elements of Roger’s newest book, “Creating Great Choices”
  • [7:12] Why models shape what we see in the world
  • [11:58] How the digital/virtual workplace impacts the questions leaders need to ask
  • [19:11] Actions today’s leaders should be taking

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Erica

Erica@cotentialgroup.com

Linkedin.com/in/ericadhawan

Twitter.com/edhawan

Facebook.com/ericadhawan

Tweets

Stew Friedman: Living An Integrated Life Through Total Leadership, Episode #25

An integrated life sounds like an impossible dream in our fast-paced digital age. But there are outstanding leaders in the field of management and personal development who are helping us navigate the confusing path we face. One of those pioneers and guides is Stewart Friedman. Stew was one of my professors when I attended the Wharton School and he continues to astound me with the relevant and impacting work he’s doing to help us understand what goes into being a true master of leadership. In this episode, we discuss the concepts in his most recent books and get a taste of the tremendous difference the principles of Total Leadership he’s discovered are making in the lives of real leaders in real business environments – and in the lives of those who they lead.

What can you do that creates value for our business, your family, your community, and yourself?

One of the primary questions Stew has learned to ask all of his students – and that he teaches leaders of companies to ask their team members is this: “What can you do that creates value for the business, your family, your community, and yourself?” It may sound like a strange question for business leaders to be asking but Stew has discovered that every person is able to come up with an answer that fulfills all 4 aspects of the question – and when they clearly define their answer and begin applying it, everyone involved benefits in amazing ways. Listen to this episode of Masters of Leadership to hear some of the stories Stew tells, and learn how you can do your own self-assessments related to these areas.

3 principles of an integrated life: be real, be whole, be innovative

Whether you consider yourself a leader or not, it’s important that you learn what it means to live in an integrated way. Stew Friedman has pioneered work that redefines what it means to be a leader in the modern era and is helping leaders and team members all over the world learn to be real, whole, and innovative – all at the same time. In this conversation, Stew and I discuss how those three elements make up an integrated life, the kinds of results that come from doing so, and why he believes that leaders across the globe need to learn how to live out these three qualities more successfully.

MYTH: You have to sacrifice important things to be successful

It’s become a common belief among career-minded individuals that in order to be truly successful there are important things that have to be sacrificed, at least for short periods of time. But Stew Friedman is progressively demonstrating that those kinds of beliefs are more myth than reality. Those who are careful to focus on three primary areas – authenticity, wholeness (body, mind, soul) and innovation actually do better at accomplishing their professional goals than others and are happier in the process. Find out what Stew has seen by listening to this episode, or grab a copy of his latest book, “Total Leadership.”

If a leader lives an integrated life, she builds incredible trust with her team

One of the most powerful aspects of living an integrated life is that it’s done in a transparent way, for everyone to see. That means that leaders of this kind not only talk about living and working in a certain manner, they demonstrate it to those they lead. This builds incredible trust for the leader and enables the team to maintain a level of synergy and collaboration that isn’t typical for business teams – and it all beings with the leader. Stew Friedman has pioneered the work in this area so be sure you listen to my conversation with him and find out how you can do your own self-assessment, both for your personal life and for your leadership, on this episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:48] Who is Stewart Friedman?
  • [2:50] Leadership: Mobilizing people toward a better place
  • [3:45] The importance of creating harmony between the different parts of your life
  • [5:28] The primary lessons from Stew’s most recent books: life integration & success
  • [12:51] What are the new questions leaders must ask in the new digital world?
  • [17:27] How to enable a culture of total leadership in a team?
  • [23:08] One action you can take to build a more integrated life

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Erica

Erica@cotentialgroup.com

Linkedin.com/in/ericadhawan

Twitter.com/edhawan

Facebook.com/ericadhawan

Tweets

Dr. Karen Sobel Lojeski: What is Virtual Distance and How to Reduce it in the Workplace, Episode # 24

Are you familiar with the term “virtual distance?” On this episode of Masters of Leadership I interview special guest Dr. Karen Sovel Lejesky. Together we explore this common challenge of the modern workplace that you’re likely very aware of, but don’t know by that name. With a quarter century of leadership experience at companies such as Chase Manhattan and many more, she now leads her own company, Virtual Distance International. She has written two books on the subject, “Leading the Virtual Workforce” and “Uniting the Virtual Workforce”. In this episode she shares how she discovered virtual distance, its effects on the modern workforce, and her recommendations for how to become a master at reducing virtual distance.

What is Virtual Distance and how it is Affecting Your Team

Karen was working in corporate America as technology made its way into the work place in the early 2000’s. She recognized that this shift came with unintended consequences that were causing social disfunction between those working together on teams. She left corporate America to Study this phenomenon and discovered the measurable effects of Virtual Distance. You’re going to hear her experience and expertise shine through as she shares what Virtual Distance is, the impact it has, and how we can combat it, on this episode.

Virtual Distance: What is lost when human beings communicate through machines

Virtual Distance effects can show up in any workplace whether a team is physically in the same space or working together from remote locations around the globe. The resulting disunity effects financial performance, innovation, problem solving, and team productivity. In one example, Karen shares how her company Virtual Distance International helped to increase the overall stock value of a merger company by decreasing virtual distance in one specific department. The process was simple and has immediate value for how to improve the productivity of your team.

How Virtual Distance Applies to Your Cross Cultural and International Teams

Research is being done to look at how virtual distance uniquely effects genders, generations and cultures. However right now much of that research contradicts itself. In our conversation, Karen shares how she is hesitant to look too much into cultural groups because it increases our reliance on stereotypes. Instead she recommends putting everyone into the same category: human beings. She says…

“We are all human beings who spend most of our days at work we need to understand each other as human beings first.”

Practical Tips for Reducing Virtual Distance and Increasing Your Teams Productivity

During this conversation, I asked Karen for her key recommendations for you and your teams. Her answers were surprisingly counterintuitive. She covers in detail these tips and many more – as well as very practical steps for implementation.

  1. Make extra effort to create shared context
  2. Practice techno-dexterity to keep communication clear
  3. As a leader, regularly share about yourself

What’s the main idea behind solving virtual distance to maximize top and bottom line impact? Again, Karen shares…

“If there is one thing to walk away with it is that people are not just brains on a stick. They are a full human being just like you.”

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:40] Karen’s surprising definition of leadership
  • [3:44] When Karen become interested in and discovered virtual distance
  • [8:30] What one company did to increased stock value by decreasing virtual distance
  • [12:00] How to reduce virtual distance by restoring shared context
  • [15:48] The effects of virtual distance on gender, generations, and cultural groups
  • [21:10] Tips on how to become a master of reducing virtual distance

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Erica

Erica@cotentialgroup.com

Linkedin.com/in/ericadhawan

Twitter.com/edhawan

Facebook.com/ericadhawan

Tweets

Rachel Botsman: Building Trust In An Age of Distrust, Episode #23

The ability to build trust is a vital skill in our day in age. Institutions are viewed with skepticism and mistrust by the majority of people, and that is not only talking about banks and educational establishments. Facebook, Google, and many other large corporations are viewed with the same kind of pessimism. My guest today is Rachel Botsman, an accomplished author who has studied the issue of trust in depth and has some incredibly valuable advice for those who are seeking to build trust in an age of distrust. Listen to this episode to hear what she has to share. You will find that trust is at the bottom of every good or successful relationship.

Is technology helping us to place our trust in worthy places and people?

A casual look at the way people sign up for social media platforms and software packages these days might convince you that people are very trusting. For example, when is the last time you read every word of the terms of service on one of those websites? Probably never. But does that mean that you inherently trust those who own and operate the website? Rachel Botsman says that much more is going on than simple trust and distrust. There is a myriad of complicated emotion and thought that governs the way we give and receive trust. On this episode, she unpacks some of the detail behind those things to help us understand how those of us who are leading companies and organizations can build trust instead of destroying it.

Building trust is a skill every leader must have

Leadership is built on trust. It’s hard to be at the forefront of any movement or cause and expect people to follow you without it. Rachel Botsman says that leaders especially need to learn how to foster trust within their organizations or companies. A company culture that is powerful is a company culture where individuals have learned how to trust each other. Listen to this conversation as Rachel explains practical steps leaders can take to improve their ability to build trust with those they lead and those they serve alongside. These are powerful principles every leader must know.

Is there a difference between building trust internally within a company and externally with customers?

One of the things about trust that I was fascinated by as I spoke with Rachel is that trust in various contexts is built in different ways. For example, I asked her if there is any difference between how a leader would build trust with those internally, within their institution or company, and with those external to the company, such as customers. She says there is definitely a difference and those differences depend on things too numerous to mention in a short paragraph like this. Be sure you listen to this episode to find out how you can increase your leadership and trustworthiness with those you lead and with those you serve.

A trust crisis is occurring and you can be part of the solution

It is ironic when you think about the realities of the world we live in. Millions have lost faith in institutions and leaders but countless other millions of people rent their homes to total strangers, exchange currencies digitally, and even trust artificial intelligence in the form of messenger Bots. It’s what is often called “distributed trust” and is becoming more and more prevalent as technologies increase. By understanding exactly how trust is built, how you can better manage trust, and how trust is broken and repaired in the digital age, you will be better equipped to be part of the solution rather than more of the problem. Listen to this episode to find out more.

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:03] Leadership is when people have the ability to mobilize others
  • [4:24] Rachel’s fascination with “trust” and why she wrote her book
  • [9:08] How the trust shift is impacting institutions and what they should do about it
  • [12:10] Advice for leaders in an age when trust is hard to come by
  • [14:57] Building trust internally in a company VS externally
  • [17:23] Advice for those who are looking for trustworthy people for their team
  • [19:10] Rachel’s definition of trust

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Erica

Erica@cotentialgroup.com

Linkedin.com/in/ericadhawan

Twitter.com/edhawan

Facebook.com/ericadhawan

Tweets

Dr. David Burkus: Understanding And Making The Most of Your Personal Network, Episode #22

Anytime we begin to talk about a personal network, there are people in the conversation who break out in a cold sweat. That’s because they have been given advice about networking and tried to apply it and the results were less than stellar. In fact, many of us have very sour taste in our mouths because of the miserable networking advice we’ve tried to apply. My guest on this episode of the podcast, Dr. David Burkus has written a new book entitled, “Friend of a Friend.” It’s his remarkable attempt to examine the actual research that exists about how networks actually work. It’s not a collection of anecdotes crammed into short chapters of pithy advice, it is actual data that explains how networks operate and debunks the myths about personal networks many of us believe. Listen to this fascinating conversation and you will learn how to make better use of your personal network.

Why you need to understand the network you are actually in and act accordingly

Most of the books you read or advice you hear about the topic of networking are based on first-hand accounts and experiences. My guest today, Dr. David Burkus points out that that is a dataset of one. It’s not a very reliable source of knowing what is normally true in most cases. He suggests that we look at the actual research that’s been done about how personal networks operate to better understand best practices. He says understanding networks is not the issue, but understanding the actual network you are a part of is the real key. In our conversation, he outlines some of the things you need to consider about your personal network in order to make the best decisions about how you should interact with people within it. It’s a valuable conversation you won’t want to miss.

Do you know how to make your personal network work for you AND for others?

We often think of networking from the perspective of what we can get out of it. Surely, there is an aspect in which we want to benefit from the relationships we invest in, but that benefit usually comes from being a giver, not a taker. David Burkus explains that it is important for us to take the time to understand our network in all of its intricacies and nuances so that we can better respond to the people we correspond with and know – in ways that actually benefit them and us at the same time. You’ll find out how David recommends you do that, on this episode.

What are the best-practices to effectively leverage your digital network connections?

One of the promises that social media made in its beginning days was that we would be able to build our personal networks faster and more deeply as a result of using social media. David Burkus says that is only partly true. We are able to carry on conversations and discover things about the people with internet with through social media, but very seldom does that interaction take the place of real, face-to-face relationships. David explains how we can make good use of social media to build existing relationships and why it’s often necessary to organize face-to-face meetings in addition to the social media interactions we have on a day-to-day basis.

Networking tip: Don’t ask a friend for an introduction to one of their friends

One of the things I was curious to receive David’s thoughts about was how he recommends a person should go about asking for an introduction from one of their friends. His answer: Don’t. In David’s view, that approach puts the friend in a position that is uncomfortable for them at the least and potentially dangerous to their relationship with the person you want the introduction to, at the worst. He has a better idea: inquire broadly throughout your network for people who specialize in the areas you’re focused on at that time. The responses you get will be generous, eager, and much more helpful than pursuing the one person you think you really need to meet. David has a great deal of practical advice like this to share, all based on research. You can hear it on this episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:47] What David believes about when a person becomes a leader
  • [2:54] The reasons David wrote his book: a fascination with network science
  • [7:25] Key questions to ask yourself to make your network work for you
  • [11:54] Digital networking: Best-practices to effectively leverage it
  • [14:33] Do stylistic choices we make in digital communication matter to your network?
  • [18:55] The highlights David feels are most important in his book
  • [21:40] Advice for those who want to become smart networkers
  • [25:02] What’s the best way to ask a friend for an introduction to one of their friends?

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Erica

Erica@cotentialgroup.com

Linkedin.com/in/ericadhawan

Twitter.com/edhawan

Facebook.com/ericadhawan

Tweets

Dr. Naomi Baron: Maximizing and Using Digital Communication Skills In Leadership, Episode #21

Digital communication skills are something every leader in this day and age need to not only learn but master. The digital nature of the way we communicate has brought a number of challenges with it that we need to understand and address effectively. Dr. Naomi Baron was invited to be my guest on this episode simply because her expertise in the realm of communication makes her a wonderful person to educate leaders about the new forms of communication that exist, how they are being used, and how the relationship between language and leadership can be maximized in the digital age. Dr. Baron is a former Guggenheim Fellow, Fulbright Fellow, and Visiting Scholar at the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and has published eight books.

Leadership is about how we use language

Leadership is definitely about influence, but how does that influence primarily take place? The only way influence can really take place is through communication, either verbal or non-verbal. That is one of the things Dr. Baron intimates when she says that leadership is really about how we use language. Influence cannot be effectively exerted without skill at communicating things like vision, processes, strategies, and more. Join me for this conversation with Dr. Baron as she shares extensively from her own research and the research of others about how communication in the digital age is changing the way leaders need to relate to the people they lead.

Leaders of digital teams should remember this maxim: “Less haste = more speed”

The rapid pace at which communication happens via digital means pushes all of us into a mindset where immediate responses and multitasking seem to be mandatory. But Dr. Baron points out that when we don’t take the time to proofread what we key into a device, which often happens with texting and messaging, we actually make more work for ourselves and waste energy and time in the communication. She advises that leaders of digital teams develop the digital communication skill of patient and careful responses. This will enable them to avoid the re-dos necessary to make up for mistakes that were made through haste. Insights like this are one of the reasons I was eager to have Dr. Baron on the show. Please take the time to listen to this episode. You will learn a great deal about the need for better digital communication skills and how to develop them.

Leaders of teams need to set communication standards and model them

For the sake of effectiveness and efficiency in the workplace, it is imperative that leaders of teams clearly set expectations around the use of digital communication. Team members need to know what forms of communication are important and accepted, and what time frames are expected in relation to communication with team members and customers or clients. But in addition, Dr. Baron points out that leaders need to model those standards just as much as they need to create them. Demonstration of good practices is one of the key ways that anyone in a position of authority is able to communicate the importance and practicality of the standard that has been set forth. If you are a leader, have you established standards for your team’s digital communication practices? If so, are you demonstrating them in your own behavior?

There is incredible power in a prompt digital thank you

As Dr. Baron and I wrapped up our conversation she shared one of the most powerful lessons she has learned about the use of digital communication. Anyone can send an email to say thank you, but the speed with which a person is able to do it communicates volumes about their intentionality in the relationship. Dr. Baron shares a few examples where she was thanked via email or text for something she had done, within hours of having done it. The immediacy of the gesture is what impressed her most and gave her a very positive and favorable impression of the person on the other end of the communication. She points out that if the thank you had come weeks later, it would not have meant so much to her and she would not have the same impression of the person. This is a lesson leaders can apply immediately. The mindfulness to be quick with thanks or appreciation can go a long way toward building relationships that last and fuel our success.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:22] Dr. Baron’s idea of what leadership really is and how communication figures into it
  • [3:50] Is there a difference between onscreen and offscreen reading?
  • [8:32] Do newfound forms of communication impact HOW we communicate?
  • [13:36] The most common communication challenges, including in digital communication
  • [19:50] Dr. Baron’s view of the similarities and differences between how genders communicate
  • [28:15] What has changed in communication because of devices?
  • [38:55] What questions should leaders be asking to better lead digital teams?
  • [42:20] Does digital communication differ depending on work hierarchy?
  • [47:30] The incredible power of a prompt digital thank-you

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Erica

Erica@cotentialgroup.com

Linkedin.com/in/ericadhawan

Twitter.com/edhawan

Facebook.com/ericadhawan

Tweets