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Teams and their leaders may have conflicting networking goals. That needn't be a problem, but often is.
When it comes to teamwork, the role of team leaders is not only about setting goals and allocating resources, but also organising the work of their team members and forming networks among them, such as who works with whom, where and when. To get their work done, one team might need a leader to coordinate otherwise unconnected team members (for example, with separate, specialised sub-teams such as task forces), while another team might need to be more cohesive, tightly knit group collaboration.
People have been justifiably upset with the Samsung debacle involving their Galaxy Note 7. The last thing in the world that a mobile phone user would expect is a hot hand that turns into a mini fire. Yikes!
Are there lessons to learn from this debacle? Yes, there are. I offer four lessons.
1. The first lesson has to do with the decades-old belief that being first to the market with a new product or service gives you a distinct advantage. Thus, everyone races to get the product or service out there. This can mean not enough research for what we will be putting out in the market place. Our enthusiasm for newness overtakes sound operational practices. Remember the insurance company that sold a new policy and went bankrupt because they had to start paying customers unprecedented amounts that no one had bothered to project? Look at Samsung and you see another example of moving too fast for the good of the company. Organizations must value both creativity and efficiency, but not at the expense of good business sense.
2. The second lesson has to do with problem solving. There are many different ways to successfully problem solve. First and foremost: People responsible for solving problems need to be trained in how to solve problems. How many organizations teach their people how to solve problem? Ask your colleagues at other organizations if they have ever been to problem-solving training. Chances are that they have not. This was apparently the case at Samsung. Properly trained people would have known that the problem was actually not solved.
3. Another lesson that is closely related to problem solving that can be learned from Samsung is the need for critical thinking. “Critical thinking” is a defined process to follow that will get you to the right problem or situation to begin with. Again, organizations do not invest in training. In this case, though, they claim that people already know how to do critical thinking because they learned it somewhere in K-12. I have not seen every K-1 curriculum in US schools, but I have found no one who is an educator in K-12 who can verify that critical thinking is learned in our schools. People have not learned critical thinking protocols. Most folks can’t even compose a litmus test for critical thinking. Business school professors believe that teaching with case studies teaches critical thinking. Even if that were totally true, I do know it’s true that most workers do not have business degrees.
4. A fourth lesson has to do with controlling operational variables. All organizational activity can be bundled into a wide array of processes, such as operational, accounting, hiring and promoting, etc. Many processes are put in place by experienced professionals, top-tier vendors, highly educated consultants, and folks who've successfully followed those processes for years. However, the deal with processes is that unless you review them fairly often to ensure they are still viable, you may be risking a “car wreck.” When I worked in a not-for-profit, we performed what was called a program evaluation every year. We looked at every process and procedure from every angle to make sure that all was moving in strict conformance to a set code of activity that achieved the desired results. Needed changes became obvious immediately. Perhaps this technology giant needs to review some of their process.
These four lessons were learned by the people in many great organizations in the last year, the last decade as well as the last century. The only thing that pops up missing from time to time is vigilance. We have to pay more attention to critical variables on an ongoing basis. Less scrutiny can be deadly to an organization.
WERE THERE OTHER LESSONS TO BE LEARNED?
P.S. – I am the happy owner of a Samsung Galaxy S5
Robert C. Preziosi, D.P.A., is Professor of Management in the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
In an Army infantry unit packed with tough combat veterans, our sergeant major was the toughest. Built like a slab of concrete, he had completed multiple deployments with the elite 75th Ranger Regiment. As officers, my colleagues and I technically outranked him. But if he had told us to jump, we would not have hesitated to ask how high — and how soft we should land.
The most impressive thing about this tough leader was how much he cared.
When he first came to our battalion, he gathered all the officers together for a leadership development session. Then he played a video of the classic children's story The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. The Giving Tree describes an enduring relationship of unconditional and self-sacrificing love between a tree and a little boy. In the silence after the video ended, he uttered a simple command before dismissing us: "Be the Giving Tree for your soldiers."
Hindsight is 20/20, right? It's easy to find ourselves in situations where if we had just taken the time to be more thoughtful about what we said or how we said it, things could've turned out a lot differently. We've all had our fair share of regrets and fair share of thinking we were in the right. So we talked to seven WeWork members about their biggest takeaway from communication mishaps and how to approach conversations with wisdom and tact.
Question: What's the biggest lesson you've learned from a communication mishap?
Everyone makes mistakes
The funny thing is no matter what processes and systems you have in place, there are always going to be mistakes. The best thing you can do is learn from it and own it. Being genuine is how you build trust for the next conversation.
Don't bottle up your feelings
I've learned throughout my life that bottling in your feelings can eat away at you. Know your truth. Speak your truth. Find a support system that can encourage and motivate you to fight for your dream.
Acknowledge your own faults
People will always remember what you didn't say. Be willing to forgive and forget what you do because people naturally want to forgive and forget—but it's hard to forgive someone who hasn't acknowledged their own faults. We're naturally empathetic to those who show remorse. Same goes for companies. Silence is deadly.
Set clear expectations
When I was just getting started, I was working with a client where I purchased a considerable amount of sample material. The project didn't pan out, which was fine, but I had considerable costs, and we didn't have an agreement to deal with it. We worked it out, but I knew moving forward I needed to lay out the expectations from day one.
Get the big picture right
As CEO, you have to over-communicate, repeat mantras, and regularly talk through positioning and focus—typically team members need to hear it 20 times before it sinks in and it makes sense. Also, get the big picture right and the secondary messaging will follow.
Be mindful of different cultures
Language is not always a barrier, but when it comes to culture, that's something important to consider when you are doing business with different countries. Things are perceived differently sometimes.
Put everything in writing
When I am communicating verbally with clients and we agree on something, I always follow up later with an email documenting what we agreed upon. It is a great way to verify that my client and I are on the same page, and saves me from costly errors due to miscommunication and bad feelings towards my clients.