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Archive for June, 2014

Building Effective Teams: It Starts with Team Purpose

Engaging teams in the workplace to deal with cross-functional issues needing attention is a very popular approach. But what % of all teams are organized in a way to accomplish the assignment?

First of all: Is there a clear assignment? Are all members clear on what needs to be accomplished and when it should be completed?

Second: Who is the team reporting or responsible to? Is it one senior staff member? Leadership of a department?

Third: Are the roles of all members of this team clearly defined? Does each member of the team have a specific task to complete? Clear assignments to accomplish between team meetings?

When there is clarity around these issues, the likelihood of success improves.

I’m looking forward to teaching the Northeastern University class on Leading Teams in Ho Chi Minh City starting in late-July. I’m most interested in exploring how cultural and international differences influence how teams can work, and special challenges they face.

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Coaching From the Inside

As I get ready to head to Ho Chi Minh City (which most folks continue to call “Saigon”) I’m getting acquainted with thought leaders who have something to teach us about Coaching from the inside.
I’m sure most of us are aware of Coaching from the outside.
Some of us have had the benefit of consultants who come in to help us through a sticky wicket. This can be very helpful. But does it serve the organization’s long-term purpose?
In the book The Extraordinary Coach by John Zenger and Kathleen Stinnett (McGraw Hill, 2010) we get some helpful detail on how to introduce and sustain leadership through coaching.
It’s much less about giving those who report to us good advice. Or direction. It’s more about talking through how the person is thinking about resolving the sticky wicket. Being supportive in that way.
In a way, it’s akin to teaching a person to fish vs. handing over the fish.
For the recipient, what s/he learns and does following their own thinking tastes better. And the learning lingers.

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Teaching Leadership in Ho Chi Minh City

Looking forward to four weeks in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) Vietnam July – August 2014. Northeastern University has formed a partnership with International University and is offering a graduate program which got underway late 2013/early 2014. I will be teaching two six weeks classes, with two weeks from each class “on ground” in downtown Saigon. The first class will be on Leading Teams, drawing on the Daniel Levi text Group Dynamics for Teams.
The second class will be Building Bench Strength built around texts by John E Zenger, including The Extraordinary Leader co-written with Joseph R Folkman. I will be Skype-ing in people with interesting perspective/expertise to contribute. You can send me an email at ste.smith@neu.edu.

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