Leading Through Mistakes | Lead Change Group


Leading Through Mistakes | Lead Change Group.

I love articles like this.  I love that they speak to what we all inherently know and feel and understand to be true and right in the world.  And I love that in this case it provides insights from those in places that do this well, as it gives hope that we can all achieve the same.

I also struggle with them, as not only someone who studies and practices in this field but also as a worker who experiences the alternative.  We read articles and research and the myriad other pieces of information that confirm our core beliefs in the way we should treat others and be treated, but often when that bubble bursts we are standing or sitting in an environment that is exactly the opposite.  So what do we do?

I am a firm believer in demonstrating what we want to see in others.  Admit when you make mistakes, and mean it.  It definitely isn’t always easy and it certainly can make you more vulnerable,  but if all of can continually present our mistakes to others and own them, others may feel more willing to do the same.  This helps remove the stigma and hopefully help to influence the culture around you, no matter whether you are have positional authority or not.

We can also attempt to provide feedback and suggestions to those around us on using the many methods of using mistakes for good, not evil.  We can suggest articles, books, papers, and more that have information and would be “some interesting reading” in a friendly and caring attempt to help others to see some new ways they could do things.  But we cannot always get through, and need to know when to back off.

It can be easy to be positive when we talk about what we should do, or what we know is true, but the reality is that many workplaces out there do not have cultures that support this mentality.  Even worse, there are many organizations that do, but some of the managers do not support the same.  In these cases, if you have exhausted every avenue, there may be no other choice but to leave the team, group, department, or even the company.  Being in an environment that burns you down for mistakes, or having a manager that refuses to admit their own while ensuring that any of your own are glaring, pointed, and clearly spotlighted will suck the very life from you and all work you do.  I firmly believe that change can happen, and that the things we know about the interactions between engagement and motivation, leadership, communication, and behaviors is true and important.  The catch is that we have to know when the environment and/or people are open to that change.

For leaders,  think for a moment on not what your perspective is, but what is the perspective of those that you are in charge of?  Do they feel like you are supportive?  Do they feel like they can make a mistake?  How do you help them?  How would you view or treat your employees differently if they were your friends instead of employees?

What do you think?  Have you been in a situation like this, as an employee and/or as a leader, and what was it?  How did you handle it?  What would your recommend to others?

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Engaged with Gamification!


Many years ago I started to explore the concept of gamification, which is essentially the use of games and game theory to accomplish some other task.  Originally, the research and information I found talked about Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) that provided research on leadership, innovation, and communication skills and gave some indication that there was potential for leadership development and assessment using these methods.  To me, this was an amazing and wonderful prospect!  However, I never quite got the traction behind any initiatives to use these methods (insert sad face here).

Well, not long ago I was contacted by the CEO of an awesome new company called OfficeVibe.  And guess what…they focus on workplace gamification!  Not in the “let’s-get-together-and-hack-and-slash-goblins-and-build-guilds” kind of games, but rather with an ingenious engagement tool that brings multiple activities in one place worth points, and that encourage each of us to be better personally and professionally.  It runs similar to platforms such as Yammer that connect users via business email addresses, or even using their extant Yammer account.  I think it’s brilliant, and wanted to share it with everyone I can, so please check them out at www.officevibe.com.

Now, to make this even better, today I received a fantastic newsletter with a wonderful infographic about employee engagement from OfficeVibe that I also wanted to share.  Enjoy, and please stop by and check them out!  This is an amazing tool to meet many needs that many of us have today related to the engagement issues we all know we have and that the infographic beautifully illustrates!

10 Shocking Stats About Employee EngagementInfographic crafted with love by Officevibe, the corporate team building and employee engagement platform.

Organizational Teams Show Parallels to Facebook


I just finished an interesting article from Twitter called Deric Bownds’ MindBlog: You’ve got to have (150) friends…, and I have to admit that I use my Facebook for personal contact and to stay in touch with people that I can’t otherwise stay in face-to-face contact with.  I can also agree that I have people that at one time I was in close relationships with, but that over time they have become a part of the outside ring of my 150+ friends.  But even further I started to think about the idea that is pointed out in the essay referenced from Robin Dunbar: people can really only have “around 150 close, meaningful relationships both online and off.”  After reading that statement I can’t help thinking to myself that even 150 would be stretching it in most cases; I’m not sure that I’m even close to that number as I sit here right now.  I might have around that on my Facebook, but out of those I really only have a close relationship with about 25 of them.

So what do I propose this has to do with organizational teams?  Let’s look for a moment at the average business unit, division, or team.  How many people belong to that group?  200?  500?  1,500?  Is there any question that with teams and groups this large that there are feelings of being ignored, detached, unheard, or separated by employees, supervisors, and managers alike?  Too often managers and supervisors, and even in many cases employees are expected to build relationships and work together in an environment that is completely counterproductive to that end.  By simply changing the size of teams, I would propose that we could easily improve the functionality and success of teams and groups by simply evaluating the effective size of those groups and teams.  In order for people to develop the sense of closeness and relationship, and even more so caring, about a common cause it must be encouraged through the proper environment.  This is why quick, irregular meetings of regional, national, or international members of teams and groups, or of the leaders of a group or organization are generally ineffective in being productive.  Without regular contact and interaction (and not just by phone and email), you simply can not effectively build relationships and the necessary fight for a shared cause.

I can’t begin to say that this is something that could happen overnight, but I truly believe that this is a concept that needs to be viewed with as much urgency as sales skills and production rates.  Life within business is not so much different than the rest of it elsewhere, so let’s take these lessons and use them to be more productive, successful, and happy.  Along the way, maybe you can make some new close friends…just don’t try to add them all to your Facebook.