Reflections from Silicon Valley

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I had a real intense week in Silicon Valley with tons of meeting at Google, Stanford, Change Maker Lab and so on and I have noticed a pattern… more or less the questions asked were the same. I guess because are crucial questions for our future and I have decided to share these questions with you:

1) What are the key ingredients for great management?
2) How would you re-imagine management?
3) How does EQ create value in biz?

The energy dedicated to innovation, even innovation in management, is really high here and the focus on the future is outstanding. What about us? How would you answer to the above questions? Did you reflect about the future of management?
Below you can find my answers and I am eager to see yours…

What are the key ingredients for great management?

We have investigated this topic for ten years, asking over 10.000 leaders from all over the World “what are the X-factors for performance?” Let me share three findings:

1) The result of our research says there are 5 factors that explain 60% of the performance of companies, and BTW these 5 factors are cross cultural and cross sector: motivation, Teamwork, Execution, change and trust. We call this the Vital Signs.

2) You can increase the Vital Signs. Last year we had the opportunity to work with one plant of Komatsu, the Japanese company, and in Six months following our Vital Company methodology we have seen scores on these Five factors doubled!

3) And, last but not least, would you like to know the good news? You can have, as a leader, a huge impact on these factors even in your small group. How? Change the way you manage people. Fortunately, new neuroscience gives clear insights to how people work, probably it’s time to use it.

So just to summarize: the Vital Signs explain 60% of the organizational performance. You can increase your Vital Signs – if you manage people better. isn’t it interesting?

How would you re-imagine management?

First of all, let me say we Have To re-imagine management. It’s not a “nice to have,” but the only way to maintain the edge of innovation, productivity and profitability in our companies.

Our research at the Centre for Innovative Management offers insights about what we should do – here are three of our six principles:

1) From extrinsic to intrinsic motivation. If we want employee’s commitment, work is about more than money! Especially in times of uncertainty, people look for purpose, they need to feel they are doing the right thing.

2) From personal to team performance. To solve complex problems you need multiple perspectives; the one wo/man show it’s not enough right now. And let me say that All the reward systems need to be aligned to this idea.

3) From change management to change makers. It’s not enough to obtain one result; we need people to dive into change – to take risks and value failure. To keep learning. If you don’t fail never it means you are too conservative. This takes Trust — trust the real accelerator for growth. How many companies are measuring it?

In just one sentence: people engagement is the real competitive advantage – which means that’s the leader’s #1 job.

How does EQ create value in biz?

Would you agree we’re living in turbulent times? As businesses deal with increased complexity, people experience more pressure and more uncertainty. These business challenges create a huge impact on our emotional side. In this pressure, if people don’t have EQ skills, they react – instead of respond.
It doesn’t mean we have to leave the rational paradigm — but that we have to use it together with the emotional one. Neuroscience research shows us that this is the way the brain works best: when we blend the ration and emotional, we get more insight, more energy, more power. It’s a matter of intentionality and capability to do what we really want to do as individuals and as a company.

And BTW data confirms these considerations. Let me share a very interesting piece of research we did early this year with the Amadori case. Amadori is one of the most important McDonalds’ suppliers in Europe and we had the opportunity to work closely with them to support their Leaders development. We collected lots of data over three years, and generated three very important findings:
EQ predicts performance: more or less half of the managers’ performance was explained by Emotional Intelligence
The higher the EQ – the higher the engagement, or commitment, of people: three quarters of engagement was explained by Emotional Intelligence
Engagement drives productivity: the plants with the higher engagement had the better bottom line.

So – high EQ managers respond instead of reacting. This lets them engage people – and this has serious bottom-line value.

It’s your turn now… 🙂

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Wile Coyote, Optimism and the Corporate World

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I have just read a great post by Julia Boorstin about “Three key reasons to be optimistic like Steve Case” and one of the statement that got my attention was:

In business-speak, the term optimism often connotes a certain naivete

You know what, I am sure that Julia is right and at the same time I feel an unpleasent emotion about how slow is the management development in the Corporate World.
Let me explain in few words. Optimism is one of the key competences of the Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence model (if you want to know more about that click here) and there are an incredible amount of research that show the huge impact of EQ on performance (if you want to explore more, click). Just to keep it simple, consider that some research have found, more or less, a 50% of performance explained by Emotional Intelligence and it seems understandable that half of the performance is linked to the emotional side and the other is the usual (and let me underline, real important!) rational intelligence.
In this scenario, in 2006, not yesterday… considering the speed of the market, we did a research in an high tech company and we have found that 20% of performance is explained by Optimism (NextiraOne Case). This kind of impact was confirmed by others studies all over the World.

So just to summarize:
– we have research about the importance of emotions in the workplace
– we know that optimism is one of the key competences of EQ
– we have shown the impact of Optimism on performance

Could you understand my emotions when I see “optimism often connotes a certain naivete”?
I suppose an affermative answer… And once again, Julia is right!

What is even worse, is that few people know that Optimism is learnable… Dear Corporate World, are you really sure you want to miss this opportunity?

If you want to explore more, I would suggest to read the Martin Seligman’s book Learned Optimism and if you have children don’t miss The Optimistic Child.

Just to conclude: why Wile Coyote? Optimism is the capability to see alternatives. Could you imagine a different Champion of optimism??? And BTW, Wile Coyote remember us that is not enough to be optimistic… 🙂