Sunday, September 22, 2013

Agile, change, leadership and high performing teams where the main themes at PW & WCBA in Orlando

For the last few months I have been preparing for the Project World & World Congress for Business Analysts. Really looked forward to this event - even more exciting for me as that was my first trip to United States, so I did not know what to expect. Although the event is over, it's still in my memory. More than 200 project management and business analysis experts from 20 top industries gathered together in the beautiful and sunny Disney's Contemporary Resort, Orlando, for this 3 day premier conference focused on collaboration through practice.

Whenever I attend an event I try to write at least a short wrap up on what happens there and this time someone did it for me - fantastic, saving a couple of hours of my precious time, so I could enjoy my holidays. Let me just highlight 2 keynote speeches and if you have appetite for more, the summary of all presentations, including mine, can be found on the PW& WCBA blog (go to left and search by subject) .

3 highlights from me - also mentioned in the short interview:
The view on the Magic Kingdom
  1. Co-located and face-to-face teams are like proverbial apples and oranges situations
  2. Show respect and personal interest to other cultures
  3. Do not micromanage but coach the team towards self-management by empowering team members.

These two speakers were two ladies, who really left me thinking. First was Naomi Karten talking on Embracing Change: Transforming Ideas and Challenges into Opportunities. Naomi described the steps of a change we go through: starting from jolt, moving through chaos, bumpy adjustments and ending at the new normal. I really like the Virginia Satir's model she presented and I'm planning to use it myself when taking about change.

Her advise:
  • Chaos is an opportunity, that's life (so true)
  • Think about planning your change - plan enough time for you and your team before kicking off the change
  • Be authentic - consistent between what you say and what you do
  • Be empathetic and listen
  • Look for common things before and after change
  • Do not mollycoddle (overprotect)!
More including the interview with Naomi can be found here (you need to scroll down).

Second one was Carey Lohrenz, #Navy’s First Female F-14 Fighter Pilot who kicked off the last day of the conference taking about leadership! Not sure if you are aware but average age of fighter pilots is 19.5 and when Lohrenz started her career in navy there were no women in the combat but she made it, thanks to her:
  • focus on what matters   
  • winning attitude
  • being  tenacious
  • being resilient

Lessons in leadership by Carey Lohrenz:
Be a catalyst, question the that to says "I'm not ready yet (do you remember "timing tigers"?), find a third way, be brave, take risks and be committed to excellence! Nothing beats experience and there's only ONE thing that makes a DREAM impossible to achieve: The FEAR of FAILURE! And

Trust appeared in every presentation or workshop
Carey left the audience with a question: what are you going to do? I have my plan in place and you? More including the interview with Carey can be found here .

I also made some friends and got some presents. Thanks a lot all of you for taking care of me and creating a fantastic atmosphere:-). I met great people and enjoyed the great event.

My next post will be on mentoring and I will share some more on speed mentoring session which took place during the conference.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Successful Teams Across Borders – PART 5. How to boost team performance?

For the last few months I have been writing on virtual collaboration and leadership.  In this post I will try to wrap up what has been already said on working and leading virtually and give some more advice.

Virtual and Co-located Teams are like proverbial Apples and Oranges
Whenever I start a discussion on the leadership, sharing my view on an ideal leader – spiritual or transformational leader (more on spirituality in one of my previous article), people seem not to understand me. Every time it happens to me I recall Alan Harpham’s, the co-author of “The Spirit of Project Management”, words: “only a few cutting edge leaders are aware of the emerging research and application of spiritual intelligence, particularly for the emerging discipline of managing complex projects “ I agree, you need to move to a higher level of leadership to understand it.

And if you really want to be a leader for the future, a “globe smart” leader, you need to move from the transactional leadership (people are motivated by reward and punishment) to a higher stage of transformational leadership - “a higher level of moral development as a result of life experience that allows the leader to put personal interests aside in favor of satisfying the needs of the followers”. (Avolio, 1994)
Transformational leadership “occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality” and results in transforming effect holistic leader with genuine concerns for others on both leaders and followers” (Burns).

A transformational leader is more concerned with people than with process and serves as a catalyst of change, but never as a controller of change.

4 factors of Transformational Leadership:
  • Charismatic leadership /idealized influence
  • Inspirational leadership / motivation
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Individualized consideration

Even though I’m self motivated I still expect from my leader a kind of intellectual stimulation, creating a trustful and creative environment and treating me as an individual – finding more about me, providing coaching, mentoring, and growth opportunities.

A Roadmap to boost team performance - RAMP Model
      Relationship -
Communication - experiment with different ways of communication! Create a platform for exchanging ideas and sharing personal information!
-        Trust – for me that’s the most critical factor. Trust replaces micromanagement and without trust there’s no virtual collaboration! Spend time learning about team members’ personalities, cultural backgrounds, and work habits!
-       Conflict Resolution- deal with conflict right away! Focus on problem not person!
-       Clarify roles and responsibilities and make sure the team understands them! 
Motivation – high performing teams are more motivated than less performing ones. They work together and help one another to achieve goals.
Brand your team. Create a group identity!
Recognize and celebrate success!
Provide interesting assignments that are outside normal work!
Process and Purpose. The most effective virtual teams establish clear goals, roles and process from the start.
Communication Plan
Team Charter
FB like platform for collaboration
To compensate face-to-face contact, successful virtual teams stress the interpersonal dynamics of virtual collaboration and implement practices for building trust, increasing transparency, and enhancing interpersonal relationships.