admin

iMBA 2012 Spring Workshop on Innovation

“Big doesn’t beat small anymore; fast beats slow.”

That’s what iMBA Cohort 3 student, Jeremy Vogan, took away from 2012 Spring Workshop on Innovation.

Jim Carroll, speaker, futurist, innovation expert and author of Ready, Set, Done! posed this question and others to students in Cohort 3 of the Innovation MBA Program at the 2012 Spring Workshop on March 24. Carroll spoke about the latest trends on innovation, using provocative data points like “65% of preschoolers today will work in jobs that don’t exist today.” Jim Carroll placed control of innovation squarely in the hands of Silicon Valley technologists citing the example of how cell phones will be the next credit card and technology is driving the design of new vehicle dashboards (think OnStar and GPS!)

In response to questions about how companies could put innovation into action, Carroll’s roadmap was simple, but certainly, not easy:

• What your company can do better?
• What you can do to grow your company?
• How you can transform your company?

During the afternoon, Mark House and Maureen Blackwell, of empoweringLEADERS LLC and adjunct instructors in the iMBA program, helped students put these key innovation concepts in play as they formed “Innovation Teams” to help them improve their Leadership Development Portfolio – that record of mentoring and leadership experiences – which is the core of the iMBA program leadership experience. Students were asked to consider how they displayed key innovation skills demonstrated by the top CEO innovators and then apply them in a team situation to their own work.

What did students take away?

Andreas Knab thought Jim Carroll’s thoughts on innovation “ were right on – upper management sets the tone for innovation throughout the organization, and creating a dedicated “innovation team” will not work.” Andreas went on to say that “the afternoon session that followed was the first “team building” activity where I felt like a team was actually built. The methodology and team performance model Mark House and Maureen Blackwell introduced us to made it clear to me why so many teams I am part of perform rather poorly and how to improve future team efforts. Saturday’s events in combination with the communication class are incredibly helpful, my suggestion to the iMBA program will be to offer them even earlier in the program.”

Jeremy Vogan appreciated the teamwork displayed during the Innovation Team Workshop: “ I felt like we got a lot closer to each other and made real progress toward our dreams and goals”. Another student, Craig Honeycutt, added that the workshop was “a fun, enlightening and humbling process. Even those of us who think we are great communicators have a lot to learn about the true art of real communication.”

empoweringLEADERS™ LLC focuses on leadership development for technical professionals. Our partners came from many years as senior technology leader at software/hardware product companies and small/medium IT consulting companies. They helped those firms to not only deliver outstanding solutions but to build outstanding teams in partnership with their business and HR partners. Their passion is using these proven processes to help clients develop high performance technology teams that deliver outstanding business results. They have certifications from the International Coaching Federation along with others. You can find more information at www.empoweringleaders.com.

Read More

What’s in your Virtual Team Toolkit?

What’s in your Virtual Team Toolkit?

The world of work is changing.  New technologies make working anytime from anywhere a reality. Are you already one of the 17.2 million who occasionally telecommute for work in the U.S.?  If not, read on and improve your virtual team toolkit, because this is one trend that is here to stay.

Many employees now consider a flexible work schedule and the ability to work from home a key requirement when searching for a new job. They know that working virtually can improve their work/life balance. Many companies know that providing flexible work benefits is an important competitive advantage in hiring and retaining the best skilled individuals. A 2008 Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index, a survey of 1,400 CFOs, indicated that 13% consider telework the best recruiting incentive today for accounting professionals. In earlier surveys, 33% considered telework the best recruiting incentive, and half considered it second best. Companies see immediate financial benefits to a virtual work environment with the ability to reduce physical space and reduce their company’s impact on the environment.  As more work becomes globalized and we shift from a manufacturing to a services and knowledge work economy, the virtual work environment will continue to have a profound impact on the workplace.

Read More

Discovering your team’s story can make all the difference….

Discovering your team’s story can make all the difference….

It’s not unusual for teams to start working on a project without formally forming a team.  In some cases, team members may think they know enough about each other to just jump in and get going.   Teams can often begin my focusing on “what” and “how” before really understanding the “who” and the “why” of the team.  My experience indicates that teams will eventually need to stop, go back and “re-form” in order to become more productive.

I recently coached Adam, a team leader in a software development organization, who was managing a virtual team.   Some of his team resided with him at headquarters in the United States, but he also had a small team located in India.  When we talked, he was concerned that he didn’t have the same close working relationship with his team in India as he did with his stateside colleagues.  He thought he could improve the productivity of the whole team if he knew more about the team members in India. When I asked what he had done to develop a relationship with them, he had to stop and think about the question.  I knew, as a coach, that I had hit a nerve.

Read More