Management Success Tip #148: Be Inspired By Big Cities’ Success: Bring The Right Mix Of People To The Table

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Ben Hecht posted a fascinating blog on how big cities think about large-scale change. He described, in considerable detail, the process used by big cities that were successful in implementing complex, large scale change.

Hecht pointed out, in one sentence that caught my attention like no other, that “Much of what weʼve learned is relevant to leaders of any type of organization or partnership that want to catalyze change in the face of complex challenges.”

Indeed. Take but one aspect of the process, what Hecht calls “Get the right players to the table.” He states that “Change happens only when the right mix of partners, with the right experience, knowledge, and power are at the table…Too often, actors that were fundamental to achieving the desired results were not yet involved in existing efforts — thatʼs why the efforts werenʼt working. We asked cities to start from the results that they wanted to achieve, and then to determine who needed to be at the table in order to achieve them. Often, this meant bringing people together who were not used to working together.”

What a powerful lesson that can be applied to any size business! Look at your team, or the people you’ve assembled to work on a project, and ask yourself, “Are these the people who need to be involved given our goals?” Open yourself to bringing people together who do not usually work together: techies with creative types, designers with employees in manufacturing, Boomers with Millenials.

Your employees will be invigorated by the diversity of their team, and you will have greater success.

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Management Success Tip #96: Pick a Good Team Leader: Look For Listening Skills and a Positive Attitude

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A team leader must of course, be competent and confident. You can’t give the position of leader to one who is hesitant, full of doubt and insecure.

Here are some ways Anthony K. Tjan, CEO of the venture capital firm Cue Ball, has found to help him improve his people judgment:

“What is the talk-to-listen ratio? You want people who are self-confident and not afraid to express their views, but if the talk-to-listen ratio is anything north of 60%, you want to ask why. Is it because this person is self-important and not interested in learning from others — or just because he is nervous and rambling?

“Is this an energy-giver or -taker? There is a certain breed of people who just carry with them and unfortunately spread a negative energy. You know who they are. Alternatively, there are those who consistently carry and share a positivity and optimism towards life. There is a Chinese proverb that says that the best way to get energy is to give it. Energy-givers are compassionate, generous and the type of people with whom you immediately want to spend time.”

People who listen, and who are consistently positive and optimistic make good team leaders. People who are full of their own opinion, negative and critical, don’t.