Tag Archives: business

Rise of the Robots

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, Martin Ford, 2015.

This is an eye-opening book that is the recent winner of the Business Book of the Year 2015. It’s hard to put down for any of us working in the areas of career transition, leadership and economic growth.

Ford is an author and founder of a Silicon Valley-based software development firm committed to helping us see the tsunami of a “perfect storm” of accelerated technology, long-term unemployment and income disparity. He begins by taking us back in history to WWII and the impact automation technology had on individual employees – short-term losses with long-term benefits.

But it is very different now. Technology is accelerating so fast that humans have already been left behind. The surge in “information technology” or artificial intelligence in the form of robots, computers, iPhones, etc. is rapidly replacing highly skilled workers in all industries. Ford speaks directly to the impact of this on our college graduates and gives us a disturbing prediction on the future of their careers. Pick up the book and let me know what you think.

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Figuring Out the Health of Your Organization

How healthy is your organization? … That’s a good question. Your company may be business “smart” in how it handles its finances, marketing, technology etc. but is it equally focused on maximizing the strengths, expertise and emotional intelligence of its employees?

And how can you tell that? Intuitively, people know if their organization is genuinely healthy in ways that really matter most to them. It’s actually pretty simple. Here are my favorite 5 ways to assess your own company’s health (or team). Many additional ways are described by Patrick Lencioni in his book, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business; he gives us a wealth of insights into this fascinating idea of organization health.

5 Things Easy to Observe:

  1. Relatively low employee turnover. People want to work for you!
  2. Employees genuinely speak well of you and the company out of your hearing.
  3. There is a positive energy in the air – very little drama or unproductive complaining.
  4. People show up and are engaged beyond their basic job descriptions.
  5. Leaders are involved and available at every level.

What rating would you give your own company? Your own team? Challenge yourself to improve!

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The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, Patrick Lencioni, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, CA, 2012.

This is a great book filled with powerful insights into the power of investing in your people. A coaching colleague recommended it as a “must read” and he was right. I haven’t finished it completely because there is so much there and it is that good!

Lencioni has a great style – it’s an easy read. And he backs up the common sense of investing in organization health with solid research and business examples. I found myself also thinking about various teams or work groups that I serve on – these concepts are equally valuable for smaller groups. In the rush of everyday work, are we missing out on a wealth of untapped resources in our people? Lencioni convinces me that there is a lot more out there than what we are paying attention to. Pick up the book and tell me what you think!

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Consulting with Your Colleagues

As I was driving into my office this morning, I found myself appreciating my network of professional colleagues here in the Northern Nevada area.  They feed my soul; create synergy for new ideas, support me when life is in a whirlwind and challenge me to stretch and grow.  And I do the same for them.

Easy to Get Isolated

It’s easy to get isolated when you own your own business.  This is especially true when you are a sole proprietor and are in the human services field – coaching, training, consulting, counseling etc.  If you have your own office or are working from home it’s easy to not see or even talk to your colleagues for several days.  And interestingly, this isolation often increases the longer you are in business.  We can get complacent – taking relationships for granted. 

It Takes Work

It takes work . . . to reach out and connect regularly with your colleagues when times are both busy and when it’s a bit slower.  And it also takes a commitment of time, energy and money.

I have owned my own training & coaching business for over ten years and have a wonderful multi-disciplinary network in this Northern Nevada community.  I’ve worked hard to build these relationships and it’s often involved taking a leadership role in the organization.  Leadership is a great way to meet the “movers & shakers” and to become known.

For now, this is what is working for me. I am an active member in my two professional associations (ASTD training & NPCA coaching); belong to two business organizations (Chamber of Commerce & WIN) and one volunteer community organization (that feeds the passion).

I also try to bring colleagues together often – usually over coffee – to just talk and share ideas on how we can help each other succeed in our own professional businesses.   The exchange of wisdom, experience and expertise creates a wonderful synergy.   I always feel energized and inspired afterwards!

 Set Time Aside Each Week

So here’s an idea . . . set aside some time each week (yes, weekly!) to stay connected to your professional network.  Friday mornings are the best for me.  Pick up the telephone and call one or two colleagues. Find out what’s new with them and always be thinking how you could help them achieve what they are working on.

Let them hear your voice – and you hear them.  It’s good for your business and for you personally as well.  So now I’m off to meet a favorite colleague for a quick lunch.  What a great way to end the work week!

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