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Developing Managers? Start With Their Thinking.

“Agility” has become one of the hot buzzwords of the workplace today. As we settle in to a reality of rapid changes, continual uncertainty and new circumstances that have very little precedent and no clear-cut answers, everyone is feeling the pressure to adapt, to flex, to shift on a dime.

In many organizations, it’s the managers and emerging leaders who are on the front lines of this pressure. As Tom Davenport of Towers Watson put it, “Creating a resilient workplace that can deal with trauma and come out engaged on the other end is not a senior executive’s role. It’s a line manager’s job.”

Ultimately, managers are the ones responsible for bridging strategy and performance, for taking the organization from Point A to Point B faster and more effectively, even when it seems as though there’s always too much work and never enough time or resources to get it done.

A recent Forbes article describes agile leaders as those who can “handle any curve ball thrown their way. Leading through this new business environment requires the capability to sense and respond to changes in the business environment with actions that are focused, fast and flexible.”

The question is, are your managers up to the task? Between putting out fires and managing the daily workflow, getting people to bring their best thinking to work while optimizing communication time and managing relationships up, down and across the company, it takes a whole new level of intensity and skill to keep up.

Thinking is the catalyst for greater manager agility.

In essence, where agile managers outshine all the others is in their ability to successfully deconstruct today’s complexities to take advantage of the right resources for the job, and by doing so, get better results faster.

Our research has shown that the way people prefer to think impacts how they approach interactions, decisions, problems and every other aspect of work and management. By understanding and then optimizing their thinking for the situation, managers can increase their agility and overall effectiveness exponentially across the board.

Here are just a few questions to consider as you look at your management development activities in the context of building thinking agility.

  •  Do your managers know how to stretch beyond their thinking preferences when necessary to execute where you need to go?
  • Do they know how to leverage their own brainpower and the brainpower around them in the most efficient, optimal ways?
  • Do they understand how to best manage and allocate the thinking resources on a project or initiative?
  • Do they know how to optimize and shorten communication time, regardless of whom they are interacting with?
  • Can they quickly adapt to the communication needs of others?
  • Much of management’s focus in the past has been on individuals, but effective collaboration is becoming more important for better, faster and more innovative results. Do your managers know how to encourage collaboration, bring together the best cognitive resources for the task at hand, and participate in a collaborative way to make sure objectives are achieved?

To get the “Agile Leader’s Toolbox: 4 Key Areas to Increase Agility Through Better Thinking,” download our new white paper, Navigating in an Unpredictable and Complex World: Why Thinking Agility is Critical to a Manager’s Success.

What about you? Have you seen a need for greater agility in your own role? Is it impacting the way you approach the job?

 

Thinking Agility Webcast Available for On-Demand Viewing

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Ann Herrmann-Nehdi’s July 13th HR.com webcast, Getting More Done With Less: 4 Steps to Building Your Thinking Agility, is now available for on-demand viewing for HR.com members.

Ann reveals how you can apply what we know about thinking and the brain to better “see around corners” and harness the full brainpower available—your own as well as others’—to meet today’s mental demands while maintaining a more strategic mindset. 

Here’s what people are saying about the presentation:

 Best webinar I’ve attended yet – it kept me engaged the whole time!

 She’s an excellent speaker with a captivating voice. She gave a well prepared and skillful presentation.

 Thank you for this information and new ways of trying to use my brain. Information was clear concise but oh so very useful. Additionally the extra tools provided will help me “focus” on ways of using this.

 This was really informative and can be used to help my team also work better moving forward.

Let us know what you think! How will thinking agility play a role in your own or your team’s performance going forward?

NOTE: HR.com membership is free. Sign up or log in to access the full webinar and accompanying resources.

Teaching Culture: The Onboarding Connection

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Most of us have stories of being a new hire or new to the team and having to figure out what the norms are, what the lingo means, and in general, what the culture is really all about. It’s often a process of discovery, and sometimes it can be an eye-opening one at that.

While it’s not unusual for the organizational culture to be revealed in this gradual, informal way, a recent blog post from Talent Management Magazine makes the case for taking the time upfront to teach new hires about the culture.

Citing the book, Successful Onboarding: A Strategy to Unlock Hidden Value Within Your Organization, by Mark A. Stein and Lilith Christiansen, the post explains that teaching culture during onboarding reduces the learning curve and helps people acclimate faster.

We have heard many interesting examples of how companies are using the Whole Brain® framework to develop and ground their culture, and how they’re also using it to create and communicate the vision and values to new and long-time employees alike.

It also gives people a common language to talk about who they are and how they approach work. As the CEO of one IT firm told us, “It’s quite amazing how a lot of people in the organization have got their HBDI® Profile mount­ed on their desk. And people are saying ‘I’m yellow, I like to work in a yellow environment.’”

But do new hires know what “I’m yellow” means?

When they come on board, between the hectic pace of ramping up and previously set course schedules, the timing may not be right for new hires to attend a class in Whole Brain® Thinking. That’s one of the reasons Stein and Christiansen point to interactive technology as a good option for communicating culture quickly and consistently.

With Whole Brain® concepts, many companies use the Thinking Accelerator™ featuring HBDIinteractive™ simulation to quickly bring people up to speed on the language of Whole Brain® Thinking and their own preferred styles of thinking.

What are some of the methods and tools you’re using to teach culture to new employees? Have you used the Whole Brain® Model to organize your onboarding process? We’d love to hear your experiences with onboarding and corporate culture. Share them below in the comments!

How to Get Leadership Buy-In For Your Initiatives

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How do you win senior management’s confidence and commitment when your initiatives are competing for time, attention and budget?

Learn how you can better harness your own thinking preferences and the brainpower of those around you to make your case. Ann Herrmann-Nehdi shows you how in the free HR.com webinar, Getting Buy-in for Your HR Initiatives: Applying C-Level Thinking for Faster and Better Results.

In her signature high-energy, interactive presentation style, Ann demonstrates ways you can adapt your thinking to the circumstances to quickly get the buy-in you need, exploring the distinct thinking styles of C-level leaders and the specific questions they focus on when making key business decisions. Ann will show you how to align your own thinking with theirs to increase your strategic outlook, build your influence and present a compelling business case.

If you’re in Human Resources, Training, Learning & Development, or any role that needs to present a compelling case to senior management, this technique- and tip-filled webinar is a don’t miss, as several participant evaluation comments from the live session attest:

It was very good the first time around and I am going to watch it again because there was so much good information I may have missed something and want to absorb as much as possible. Thanks!

This speaker and her slides were awesome!!!! I want to review the information again and again. This is a tool that will help me develop a roadmap to getting better buy-in with the changes that need to occur in the world of benefits.

Excellent research and timely topic as we are doing more with a whole lot less! I definitely gained more insight for effective communications with senior leaders.

The webinar archive with downloadable handouts is available on demand to HR.com members. If you are not a member, simply sign up for a free HR.com membership.

Leadership in an Age of Information Overload

What does it take to be an effective leader in an age of information overload?

In an HR.com webinar last month, Ann Herrmann-Nehdi showed participants how to develop their leaders’ “mind management skills” so they can successfully navigate in an increasingly noisy and demanding environment. If you missed the session, or if you want to view it again and download the slides, the recording is now available on the HR.com website.

In this webinar, you’ll learn how to align leadership competencies with the type of nimble thinking skills that are critical in an age of smartphones, overflowing email inboxes and continual change. Ann gives you an easy-to-apply approach for helping your leaders get more strategic while getting more done.

Access the recording and handouts here:

From Mind-Full to Mindful: Developing Strategic Leaders in an Age of Information Overload

NOTE: If you are already a member of HR.com, simply log in to access the webinar. If you are not a member, you will need to sign up for a free HR.com membership, which will take only a moment.

Once you have confirmation of your membership, you will be able to access recordings and register for other educational opportunities, including Ann’s upcoming HR.com webinar, Getting Buy-in for Your HR Initiatives: Applying C-Level Thinking for Faster and Better Results.