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Meet the World’s Most Virtual Manager

January 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm PST

Three lessons from the next frontier of managing

Thomas Winter works from a village of 3,000 people outside Zurich, Switzerland.  Not a single member of his 100-person team works in the country.  He conducts weekly meetings and delivers performance reviews virtually using video conferencing.  He’s accountable to business leaders in Cisco’s San Jose, Calif., headquarters and others in cities across the globe.  Oh, did I mention his team is responsible for driving adoption of a new commerce platform for $40 billion in Cisco product revenue through 1,000 partner organizations and 20,000 Cisco sellers?

What’s interesting talking to him is how normal all this seems to him.  Jack Welch recently said, “The Jack Welch of the future cannot be like me.”  Talking to Thomas, I’m pretty sure I’m getting a glimpse of one of those “jobs of the future.”  A new frontier of managing from anywhere using virtual technologies is emerging.  So what does it take?   If new opportunities present themselves but require – or allow – us to lead virtually, how ready are you?

Here are three take-aways from my conversation with the person I’m dubbing, the “world’s most virtual manager”: Read More »

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Summary: A Balanced Approach to Mobile Security

For the benefits of collaboration to be better realized, IT leaders must take a balanced and strategic approach to mobile security that focuses more on protecting the network and proprietary data and less on implementing overly broad restrictions.

Gartner recently made three interesting predictions about mobility in the workplace. And while each of these predictions are compelling – they only offer one-side of the story and the solution:

  1. Twenty percent of BYOD projects will fail by 2016 due to IT’s “heavy hand.”
  2. Strict mobility policies will drive employees to want to isolate personal data from business data.
  3. Mobile browsers will gain market share for app delivery for multiple platforms, and the role of HTML5 in solving issues that arise with the multiple platform problem.

Instead, IT leaders should encourage employees to use secure solutions on devices connected to the network. Managing belief and behaviors of users and deploying a flexible infrastructure that can support an open BYOD policy and mitigate advanced security threats, can have tremendous impact on creating an immersive collaborative environment.

Learn more about how Gartner’s mobility and security predictions can affect the future of collaboration by reading the full blog: A Balanced Approach to Mobile Security.

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Employee Engagement Goal: Encourage Laughter

January 22, 2014 at 7:27 am PST

I like to laugh. I find humor in all sorts of places and situations. Often unlikely ones. I’ve laughed in the most appropriate of situations and some of the most awkward. And I laugh at work. A lot.

Frankly, I think the Food and Drug Administration should have a recommended daily allowance for laughter along the lines of those identified for Vitamin C, Iron, and Riboflavin.

Peter Bregman recently had a great post on Harvard Business Review blog network. In “Why You Should Treat Laughter as a Metric,” Bregman writes about the lack of laughter as a symptom of a problem within organizations. And he suggests that increasing the opportunity for laughter should be a leadership priority. Read More »

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Running a Collaboration Program is More than just the Technology

“We already have program management,” is a typical statement I hear when speaking with a customer about collaboration program management.  The unfortunate truth is, most organizations do not have formal program management or know how to effectively manage a Collaboration specific Program.

Instead, when talking about program management you should ask “Why is a collaboration program different and what should I consider?”  Here are a few explanations:

There are many misconceptions about Collaboration Programs, but one of the biggest, and potentially most impactful, is that you only need to focus on the technology design and build.  I can tell you from my experience in running many programs; a successful collaboration program requires a lot more than a successful technology implementation.

I’m not going to bore you with the formal definition of a program and how it differs from a project, but I will tell you that a successful collaboration program typically includes several non-technology projects (component projects) that must be planned and managed in order for the collaboration technology to be deemed a success.  Examples include operational readiness, organizational change management, migration readiness, and more.  Many times, programs fail to identify and manage these component projects.  As a result, the collaboration program slows, business cases fail, ROI isn’t realized, adoption lags, issues arise, and satisfaction declines.

On the other hand, I have personally managed programs where these component projects were properly managed at many large enterprise, commercial, service provider, and government customers.  The positive impacts of following the Collaboration Program Management best practices were obvious and tangible.  The below metrics are some of the major documented impacts.

Steven harriett collab blog _ program management 1_17_14

The impact of “doing it right” Read More »

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Finding More Time through Better Collaboration

January 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm PST

“Time is an illusion.”

―Albert Einstein

Time is an illusion. And an obsession. And apparently time is endangered because everyone is trying to save time, find more time, use time more wisely, or just plain stop time.

Time is of the essence, after all. And in the wonderful world of business, it always seems that we’re trying to find ways that let us move faster. We want to reduce the time it takes us to do what we do, whether it’s responding to customers, making decisions, adjusting to market trends, or getting the latest-greatest whatever-it-is to market.

You can’t reduce an illusion, but you can find ways to be more effective and make better use of the time you have.

Executives and managers consistently believe they need at least 20% higher performance from employees to meet their business goals, according The Corporate Executive Board, in its report “The Future of Corporate IT, 2013–2017.”

That’s a tough number to hear from the employee side of that equation. Maybe I spend time with the wrong crowd, but I don’t know too many people who consider their performance to be only 80% of their potential. So where does that additional 20% come from? Is it an illusion too? Read More »

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