Monday, May 18, 2015

This summer my executive development company will celebrate it's 23 year anniversary. As I reflect back I notice today's leader has different challenges than he or she did in 1992. 

 

We live in an ADD world.  With literally billions of bits of information bombarding us every day the new currency is attention and the new survival mechanism is to ignore. If we paid full attention to all the emails, advertisements, billboards, texts, meeting requests, and other demands on our time we'd probably go mad. In order to survive this cacophony of chaos we've become experts at the art of marginal listening by ignoring low priority items and tuning-out a world clamoring for our attention. Today leaders are challenged with the task of engaging their employees while the rest of the world is like a 5th grader, raising its hand for attention: Pick me. Pick me!  Before the internet we left work at 5 or 6 and were able to engage with our families, instead of hopping back on e-mail after the kids are in bed.

 

We are connected but lonely.  Our smart-phones, tablets, and virtual meetings have increased our productivity but reduced our human connection. Gossip and political correctness have gone up while our ability to have face-to-face healthy conflict has gone down. Leaders today struggle to find ways to get their people together and build a team based on trust and healthy debate. Is it just me, but did people take things this personally in the late 90's? Is this also why we are so politically divided? We've gotten scared to trust and soft to confront.

 

We're losing our top talent. As Baby Boomers begin their retirement at an alarming rate the younger generations haven't replaced them fast enough.  The economic and innovative engine that Richard Florida calls the "creative class" is shrinking and migrating to new spawning grounds. Today leaders need to find ways to develop the talent they have while making senior employees mentors to the new and the young.

 

There is, however, good news.  Venetians didn't know they were shaping what later would be called The Renaissance, and I believe the changes in society and leadership are no less dramatic.  The common challenge and opportunity is engagement.    The benefits of a fully engaged leader and his or her team go far beyond the known list of productivity, service and efficiency, and reduced absenteeism, turn-over and healthcare costs.  These people help shape their company, and their industry.  To reach these ideals a leader needs to start with leading themselves: Know your life stories and how they've shaped you; know when to say no and develop your leadership brand by identifying what you really believe in.  As author Simon Sineck says, "People will follow you not for what you do but for why you do it"  Engagement is the key to solving many leadership challenges, and it starts by engaging yourself in a journey of self awareness.

 

Dean Newlund is CEO of Mission Facilitators International, a boutique executive development firm. He can be reached at 623.444.2164 or www.missionfacilitators.com

 

 

 


--
Dean Newlund  
CEO


The next phase in global business. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

We Have an Exciting Announcement! CRM:0005609

Mission Facilitators International is proud to announce our CEO Dean Newlund
has been appointed Board President for Workshops for Youth and Family. Dean
is incredibly excited to serve this organization, which provides mentoring
and support to our future leaders. We invite you to visit our website to
view the press release in its entirety:
http://missionfacilitators.com/about/news/

Best regards,







Traci M. Kincaid

Business Operations Leader




The next phase in global business.

Phone: 602.622.2918

Visit our website: <http://www.missionfacilitators.com/>
www.missionfacilitators.com

Follow us: <http://www.twitter.com/MissionFacIntl>
www.twitter.com/MissionFacIntl and <http://www.twitter.com/deannewlund>
www.twitter.com/deannewlund





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Friday, January 9, 2015

Having a great planning session with Traci

Sent from iPhone
Dean Newlund / Mission Facilitators International Inc,
To request a meeting go to
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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Employees with digital influence have much to offer


Since shifting from a manufacturing to information economy managers and leaders have seen their job descriptions and annual reviews include the phrase “The ability to influence others” – sometimes without authority.  Developing trusting relationships combined with good communication skills and a healthy amount of emotional intelligence has helped manages and leaders sway opinion, gain consensus and collaborate on difficult issues.  
Today our “friends” and contacts have expanded beyond the four walls of our companies, to the world of social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, making the pool of people we can potential influence exponentially larger. We might have a few hundred people to influence within our organizations, and maybe a few hundred more with people we know in professional associations and acquaintances.   But, in cyberspace, the number of people to influence could easily be in the tens of thousands.
According to Thomas H. Davenport and Bala Iyer in their contribution “Wielding Digital Influence”, in the Harvard Business Review article “3 Skills Every 21-Century Manager Needs”,  “As companies become less hierarchical, the effective use of online networks will be crucial to success.”    Savvy digital influencers are adding great value to their careers and their organizations.   Let’s say Dave has an impressive online network, and during a hiring push, he tweets about his company’s need for talented engineers, and quickly receives hundreds of candidates, several of whom he hires. 
Most of us understand how to use online tools to build and expand our digital networks, but few know how to gather information and wield influence.  Davenport and Iyer say we need three things to build an effective online network; reputation, specialization and network position. 
In the virtual world you build your reputation by offering interesting content, drawing attention to your web presence and inspiring others to circulate and act on your ideas.  Services like Klout, Identified, PeerIndex, and Empire Avenue will score you on the basis of how many people you influence and how influential your contacts are. 
Like in the real world it is important to focus on key areas of expertise.  A “Jack of all trades” doesn’t get noticed, but a specialist, does. Overseas supply chain management, hotel revenue manager learning leadership skills and using performing arts to boost innovation in companies are examples of specialization. Demonstrating deep knowledge, establishing links with other experts and offering relevant information and referrals are keys to specialization on the web.
The best online networks build their position by acting as a bridge between unconnected groups.  This can increase your influence, because it gives you a change to identify potential collaborations and to accumulate quality information.  For example, Janet could connect her group of IT outsourcers with an association of young entrepreneurs. 
In the near future, the authors predict, “… organizations will begin to seek out employees with demonstrably strong online connections and a track record of wielding influence through them. The best networkers will become even more highly valued.”  Imagine that at your next job interview you’re asked what kind of digital influence you have?
Dean Newlund is President of Mission Facilitators International, Inc.  He can be reached at www.missionfacilitators.com

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The New Normal


There are times in history when conditions come together to create a large shift in economic, social and technological landscapes: The end of the Civil and second World Wars; the equal rights movement in the ’60’s the birth of the .com boom of the late ‘90s; and more recently the shift in the US political base come to mind. Although not always seen, what happens outside the walls of a business affects what goes on inside. To survive and thrive during these great times of change, leaders and their companies need to have their eyes and ears wide open to the trends affecting their businesses. 

Today, we are experiencing several large shifts at the same time.   For the next 19 years, 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach retirement age every day, turning most of them into savers instead of spenders.  Since 70% of our GNP is the result of consumer spending, this will most likely dampen economic growth over this period.  It is anticipated that this will put greater pressure on companies to grow their revenues and/or reduce their expenses to maintain profit growth – basically forcing them to do more with less.  Additionally, a growing minority population, concerns over the environment, and a shift away from conservative to liberal views is changing what customers want and how they decide to express their brand and company loyalty.  Further, digital influence is opening up new markets and new ways to hire and develop employees as well as engage customers.  This new chapter in the story of the US marketplace is expected to last for at least the next decade, if not longer.  

This “New Normal” is defined by five major challenges affecting leaders and their companies today: Maintaining worker productivity; adjusting to the changed economic environment; maintaining and increasing profit margins; adjusting to shifts in the culture; building tomorrow’s workforce.  (To get the full white paper go to www.mfiblog.blogspot.com). 

Many organizations typically falter and fail when there is such a significant seismic shift on how things get done.  Those that understand the changes and adapt can thrive (such as the story of Google and Microsoft), while those that don’t can fail.

We can look to the past and see examples of leaders and their companies undergoing great transformation through adversity. 

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 to rescue it from near bankruptcy the company was producing a random array of computers and peripherals including a dozen different versions of the Macintosh.  Microsoft, Dell, IBM and others flooded the market, making consumers hungry for something new and exciting. Biographer Walter Isaacson shares the time when Jobs told his team to focus on only four products, and to cancel the rest.  “… by getting Apple to focus on making just four computers, he saved the company”, said Isaacson.

With heightened awareness and a disciplined approach to setting and implementing strategies, leaders can address how their organizations can successfully adapt to the changed marketplace, and maintain high levels of engagement with both their employees and customers.  

Dean Newlund is president of Mission Facilitators International, Inc., and can be reached at www.missionfacilitators.com

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Successfully Managing the Relationship with the Boss

Even with all the assessments, scorecards and performance reviews there appears to be a growing chasm between performance and perception.  Why just yesterday a coaching client of mine  - we’ll call him Tom - scratched his head when saying, “I thought my work would speak for itself. Now it appears, that in addition to my other roles, I need to be my own PR agency.”
He’s right.  Since most of us will change jobs 11 times in our lifetime, the employee has become, what Daniel Pink calls in his book by the same title, a member of the Free Agent Nation.  In such a world the employee / employer relationship is based less on loyalty and more on projects that begin and end; much like how temporary workers and small businesses operate with their clients.  Add to that, virtual meetings, email-addiction and the increasing speed of work, you get a growing distance between the value people create and the perceptions others have of that work.
In some distant fantasyland called the Good Old Days, business leaders had more time to understand and appreciate the full value of their employees.  Sure the employee / employer relationship had its own challenges back then, but chaos, uncertainty and the speed of change didn’t create a super-race of multi-taskers who can’t sit still and take full notice of those around them.  Today, we’re in what Thomas H. Davenport, expert in business process innovation, calls the ‘attention economy”.  Get noticed; good for you. Don’t; good luck.
Which brings up the question Tom asked: “How do I ‘manage up’ when I’m so focused on keeping my head down on my work? 
Treat your work like you would a small business owner.  In addition to your external customers, get to know the needs, whims and concerns of your internal customers, namely, your employees, peers, and most importantly, your boss.  What goals do your boss have for her department?  How are those goals measured? What expectations does he have of you? I asked Tom to ask his boss two additional questions: “What three things should I do that will provide great value to the department and to our working relationship? What three things would I do that would severely damage your impression of me?
Next, no news is not always good news.  In a communication-vacuum your boss will fill the void. Your job is to fill those voids with stories and impressions that accurately paint the picture of your performance and the value you provide to the organization.  So, shift your work priorities to match those of your boss, schedule regular meetings to provide updates, send emails, consistently, sharing your latest successes and setbacks.  Why share setbacks?  No one likes surprises.  Sooner or later mistakes will be known. Be up front with your setback, and share how you will remedy the issue.  No one expects perfection.  But pro-active problem solves are well respected. Lastly, you’re allowed to brag if you give credit to others. 
Dean Newlund is President of Mission Facilitators International.  He can be reached at www.missionfacilitators.com