Even if you’re not a sports fan – it’s hard not to know about Jeremy Lin. The New York Knicks point guard has spawned a fanatical following dubbed “Linsanity” that has taken over The Big Apple, the country and points well beyond.
Lin’s on-the-court performance this month has been insanely stellar. In less than a week, he sealed a Knicks Valentine’s Day-victory with a last-second (actually, .5 second) three-pointer. Twenty-four hours later, he helped the Knicks’ winning streak climb to seven games. Over the weekend, a disappointing February 17 loss against New Orleans proved to be a small bump in the road—because Lin rebounded with a 28-point performance against the Mavericks two days later and moved the victory needle another notch. The Knicks have won eight of their last nine games—and Lin has netted 20 or more points in all but one of those games.
I had a call with a business leader last week to talk about the business horizon for 2012.
It was the first time I had spoken with this leader, who heads manufacturing operations at a major global company. One of the things I wanted to know about was his business plan for the new year. He immediately started talking about safety, quality and some other operational goals, which was expected. After a few minutes, I asked him where communications fit into the business plan and he responded that it didn’t.
It was just assumed.
The truth is, it was absent. And, the leader’s company is headed for a 2012 of dramatic upheavals in workflow and workforce reductions. Visible, painful changes will hit just about every department and level. And yet, missing in action is a game plan for openly, regularly and consistently talking about what’s happening, why it’s happening and what people need to do to stay focused and work together.
If you’re a sports fan like me, chances are you’re gearing up for this weekend’s Super Bowl showdown between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. The rematch between these two rivals is expected to draw a record global audience and advertising frenzy.
One of the biggest players in the game, however, won’t be doning a helmut or shoulder pads. He’s Roger Goodell, the NFL’s Commissioner.
Recently, “60 Minutes” aired an interview with Goodell, an extremely likeable guy whose love of the football spans his lifetime. Goodell makes $10 million a year to oversee the NFL’s 32-franchise, business machine that generates $10 billion in annual revenues. He’s a highly-respected CEO with a proven success record honed by some fundamental communication skills.
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All the hustle and pressure from holiday shopping, cooking, entertaining and over-indulging reigns supreme. As a result, most of us enter the New Year feeling utterly exhausted and, often times, go back to work with a post-holiday hangover.
That’s not exactly the ideal mental or physical state for re-engaging employees when they return to work in January. That’s why it’s so important to make the time and have a game plan to get your team back on track and restore the momentum you had before the holiday frenzy.
You need to move quickly – don’t procrastinate on this action. Of course everyone needs a little ramp-up time after a few days away from the office, but in this economic climate, losing ground can mean the difference between having an edge – or losing it.
So make sure you use January to get team members into the groove of seeing and seizing 2012 goals.
Here are five ways to get your team moving forward:
With only two weeks left to go before ringing in 2012, I have been thinking a lot about the past year–about the milestones my company set forth back in January and the opportunities that team members need to seize to make 2012 successful.
Goals grab people. Yet few companies nail them succinctly.
Just last week, I lead a focus group at a client business. During the session, I asked a group of front-line employees two specific questions: What’s the No. 1 goal the business had to achieve in 2011? What’s the vision this goal supports?
People really struggled to answer the questions, and this reaction is far from unusual. The thing is – these two questions should trigger an instant and consistent response from any company’s employees. If they can’t, it’s an indicator the company’s goals are too complicated, too obscure, or, worse – unknown.
Going back to my GE days, I recall the raised eyebrows when we started reverse mentoring. There were a lot of 40-somethings who had never had a one-on-one conversation with top leaders, and meanwhile some ‘new kids on the block, fresh out of college, were having coffee and conversation with them.
And that same phenomenon holds true today. So, if you’re thinking about starting up a reverse mentoring program in your company or department, work it from an aspect of inclusion rather than exclusion. Some people are going to feel like they’ve been left out—and generally, these are the 40-somethings and the 30-somethings. Which is why everyone needs to understand the greater benefits of the program for the entire organization, rather than the dozen or so who will actually be participating. And, it needs to operate with some process discipline.
Reverse mentoring unites 20-something employees with senior executives for a skills and knowledge swap. These days, the Gen Ys teach their Boomer big bosses how to maneuver around iPads, Facebook, and social media trends. In exchange, the junior employee gets face-time with their firm’s top brass and a view from the top (location of many C-suites).
I was in the aerospace division of GE back in the early 90s when Jack Welch introduced reverse mentoring – and it was brilliant. Top execs were assigned 20-something coaches – which gave these newly-minted professionals real access! They could dial them directly – dodging the secretary interference, they could walk into their offices, they had regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings, and they even had lunch together. Rarely had this happened before.
No one likes meetings. Or, perhaps more accurately, no one likes meetings that have no apparent value or purpose. Over the years we’ve shared many ideas for making your meetings more effective and recently we ran across another method for getting real value from meetings: make them shorter.