LATEST BLOG ENTRY

Build Your Team & Communicate Reflection Questions Reflection Questions Part 1 – Eric’s Story

August 1, 2014

Taking responsibility for lifeI’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. In the last post, we talked about how to effectively communicate and interact with different members of your support team based on their roles. In this post, we will answer a series of reflection questions to strengthen our understanding of the development and communication of our support teams. I have broken the reflection questions into two posts so the next one will contain the second half of the questions.

Eric Part 1 Communication reflection questions

The next post will focus on reflection questions relating to the culture and systems.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com chua

Communication Planning, Asking for Support – Eric’s Story

July 30, 2014

Goal without plan I’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. In the last post, we established criteria, determined support team members, and their roles based on our specific development goals. In this post, we will manage our communication, timing, and expectations for different types of support team relationships. We will also discuss how to effectively reach out to potential team members who you don’t already know, and emphasize the value of an internship as a formal mentorship.

Communication Planning

Complete the Communication Planning Worksheet below, using the Support Team Worksheet you completed in the last post.

Communication Worksheet - Eric

Reaching out to Potential Supporters

Carefully read the criteria and do the exercises. In the both the support team and communication planning worksheets, make an extra column on the side for specific people who would be ideal for each goal. Right now it may say “a family member” or “someone in my dorm”, but get more specific. For each type of goal, write down as many specific people you know who would fit that role, even if you do have not introduced yourself to that person yet. Think of family, friends, classmates, people in your dorm and co-workers. If you are looking for mentorship for a professional goal, consider professionals in a related field, or even professors who teach that. If you don’t know many professionals, then consider an internship.

After completing this, prepare to approach these people. If you already know them well, kindly contact them how you normally would; however, if you have not introduced yourself, be a bit more careful. Look for an opportunity where you will run into them, contact them via social media or email, or have a mutual friend introduce each other if possible.

Internships – Ideal Professional Mentorship

If you’re having difficulty finding a professional mentor, an internship is one of the best ways to do this, plus there are countless other benefits that an internship brings. Ideally, you do work for a company that aligns with your professional goals, while receiving feedback and mentorship from someone within the company. Other benefits may include financial rewards, valuable experience, additions to resume, letters of recommendation, networking and so much more. Before you start an internship, communicate your mentorship goals to your superiors/co-workers. Obtaining an internship may seem difficult and competitive, but it doesn’t have to be if you take certain approaches.

While career fairs and job listing websites are a great way to get an internship at a “big name” company, they are the most competitive way. Consider this: for every “big name” company you see at a career fair, there may be a dozen small and local companies in your area that do the same thing. These smaller companies don’t have the time or resources to recruit at a career fair or job website, and many of these companies don’t even realize they need an intern. Do a search of companies in your area that do what you want to do, look on their website for an email address, and don’t be afraid to politely reach out to them. Smaller companies can benefit from your help more, which increases their likelihood to accept you as well as give you more responsibility and hands-on experience, thus you learn more. Another perk is that the owner of the company may have worked at a big name company in the industry for a long time, and is extremely skilled, experienced and connected, which is why they are confident enough to start their own company. In summary, getting in internship in your desired industry is one of the best things you can possibly do while in college. Go get one!

Now you have a great understanding of how to select and communicate with your ideal support team. In the next post, we will answer reflection questions to further refine our understanding of building and communicating with our support team.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Celestine Chua

Implementing Big Data Programs/Analytics – Analyze Situation & Strengths

July 27, 2014

Anayze strength and situationIn this blog series James Brenza has been talking about implementing big data and analytics programs using a composite case study to illustrate the process. Each week James focuses on one of the seven steps giving specific examples to help illustrate how the tools can be used in a very practical manner. This is the third in the series that corresponds with the seven stage implementation model (shown below). More information on that robust model is available in the Innovative Leaders Workbook for Implementing Analytics Programs by Maureen Metcalf and James Brenza (scheduled for release in August 2014).

Leading Organizational Transformation

The vision has been set… desired outcome defined… success measures established… stakeholders aligned… team members selected. Does this mean it’s time to start digging through data and building models?  While many organizations jump to that step, you’ll be a more effective leader if you first analyze the situation and team strengths.

Leader, know thyself: As the leader, it’s vital to understand your own perspective, strengths, and weaknesses.  Through keen awareness of your personal style, you’ll be able to adapt your actions and responses to optimize the team’s performance.  Many leaders focus only on leveraging their strengths.  While completing an analytics initiative, it’s critical to ensure the team is balanced across many dimensions.  The most successful leaders are aware of—and address—their weak areas and focus on how to bolster those gaps.

The enneagram is a very effective tool to help leaders understand their personality type, while the Maturity Assessment Profile (MAP) helps them to understand their developmental perspective.  Both tools will give tremendous insight into their leadership style. For example, it is vital for leaders to be aware of their natural tendency to excel at tasks or demonstrate expertise. If this is a natural tendency and “comfort zone,” a leader can be more effective by ensuring that the task detail aligns other team members to develop the vision and enterprise framework. While many organizations would prefer the leader personally assume that role, a fully aware leader can cover all of the necessary perspectives with thoughtful teamwork. It’s also important for the entire team to assess their personal styles. As team members increase personal awareness, they can adapt their behaviors to bolster everyone’s success.

Understand the organization’s culture: As a group, the team should assess the organization’s culture and the ability to absorb the changes that will result from the transformation. This is also where they can identify gaps between the current culture and goals of the project. It is important to proactively address these gaps. A great starting point is the stakeholder analysis that was previously completed. By assessing each area impacted by the changes and focusing on the specific measures, the team can identify barriers to the transformation. A well-established change accelerator will involve the impacted parties in the change process. By completing this assessment with the entire team before creating the work plan, the team has the opportunity to incorporate the adopted changes into the initiative work stream.

As the team completes the organization assessment, the leader should also review the team structure. A candid review of the organization challenges, team structure, and team strengths may reveal skill weaknesses. Due to the daunting nature of analytic initiatives, gaps should not be mitigated simply with hope for a strong outcome. Skill and resource gaps must be explicitly identified and purposefully mitigated. The use of external experts must be considered to help ensure the team’s success. If some team members feel offended or threatened by including supplemental resources, the leader can reassure them of the learning opportunity external resources can provide through new methods and perspectives. Additionally, the leader should ensure that contracts with external experts include activities so that learning and knowledge are transferred to the team.

Reassess stakeholder management plan: This is a perfect opportunity to refresh the previously completed stakeholder analysis. The team needs to think of it as a living document rather than as a one-off assessment. By expanding it to include the broader organization responsible for the transformation, the team can create a plan that addresses barriers “top down” as well as “bottom up.”  The leader can help ensure long-term success by driving messages in both directions. For an analytics initiative, data owners must maintain their confidence in the use of the data as well as modeling team to ensure the models can be operationally aligned.

How is leading a big data/analytics initiative different than other projects? Let’s take a moment to focus on what’s unique about data and analytic initiatives.

  • The organization assessment to encompass the changes has more dimensions and complexity than typical initiatives.
  • The concurrent leveraging of data (which may trigger ownership battles), the use of new quantitative methods to mine the data for insights, adapting business processes to incorporate operational metrics and exposure of operational statistics to executives in near real time can be extremely disruptive.
  • This highly dynamic environment requires a higher level of innovative leadership to succeed. The team will need to be more aware of their complementary skills and gaps to ensure complete coverage.
  • Finally, due to the uncertain use of data and new analytic models, the team will need to have a greater focus on stakeholder management.

Now that the full breadth of the change and the implementation has been revealed, the team can start building the implementation plan.  We’ll look at the nuances of that plan in the next section.

If you are interested in reading more by James, you may want to read:  Evaluating Big Data Projects – Success and Failure Using an Integral Lens, Integral Leadership Review August – November 2013. You can also listen to the NPR interview that accompanies this paper including a dialogue between James Brenza, Maureen Metcalf, and the host Doug Dangler.

We also invite you to join the LinkedIn group Innovative Leadership for Analytics Programs on LinkedIn curated by James.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving James’ seven part blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Ollver Tacke

Build Your Team & Communicate, Part One – Eric’s Story

July 25, 2014

Everyone teachesI’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. In this step, you will create a strong support group to provide insight and feedback as you pursue short-term and/or long-term goals. In this post (part of the overall step), we will review selection criteria for your support team and do a worksheet to help connect goals with potential support team members.

Support Team Selection Criteria

 When establishing selection criteria, consider that each goal may call for a different type of team member. You might use someone with lots of experience as a mentorship, or you might use someone with equal experience with whom you work together in a partnership role. Before getting into specific criteria, it is important to keep in mind that some seemingly great candidates are people who always tell you what you want to hear, and are afraid to offer constructive criticism because they think they might offend you somehow. Either avoid choosing them, or, if possible, tell them that you will need constructive criticism to grow, and that you will not be offended if they communicate feedback/criticism in a respectful way. Also consider this list of factors as a starting point to developing your support team:

  • Performance: Consider selecting people who have mastery in concepts, skills or behaviors that you would like to develop. These people may have expertise in your field or a field you would like to explore. On the other hand, these people may have strong internal abilities (EQ/resilience, motivation, etc.) or external abilities (“hard skills” such as health, fitness, productivity, time management skills, etc.). They may also be just overall good, caring and respected people.
  • Friends, Family and Roommates: People very close to you in your personal life are effective candidates because they already know about you and your past, and you have a firmly established sense of trust. You may see them on a fairly regular basis, so communication would not be an issue. They might also help you balance your goal with other commitments, such as academic, professional and family commitments, since they might already have an understanding of these aspects of your life.
  • Professors, Advisors, Consultants or Therapists: These people are independent experts in the processes of development and providing helpful feedback. They lack natural biases that some friends, family and roommates may have. These people exist in any personal and professional field that you can imagine.
  • Willingness and Ability to Commit Time to Your Development: It’s critical to understand the mutual needs of you and your support team members. Consider how a candidate can benefit from helping you and to make time for them to provide the feedback you desire. Prepare to be flexible when making plans with support team candidates. Consider volunteering in an organization that your candidate is in to establish the mutual benefit, or helping them with some task in order to expedite its completion, giving them time to provide the feedback you desire. A good example of this is an internship – you help an experienced professional with some work, and in return you get feedback and knowledge.

Support Team Worksheet

Considering the factors listed above, and your plans and goals from the previous innovative leadership steps, replicate the Support Team Worksheet in Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheet, and then fill in your answers. Save it on a cloud storage program for more convenience. My answers are in italics.

Eric Support Worksheet

Now you have an idea of what type of support you need based on your goals, and criteria to help you select the ideal support team. The next part in the Build Your Team & Communicate process is the communication part. Communication is vital to effective leadership. In the next post, you’ll learn how to effectively communicate with each support team member, no matter how diverse your support team is.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Celestine Chua

Plan Your Career Development Journey Reflection Questions – Eric’s Story

July 23, 2014

I’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. In my last post we did an in-depth analysis on our short-term goals to help reach our next career milestones and discovered effective time management techniques. Now we will fine-tune our short-term goals by answering specific reflection questions. In accordance to the nature of innovative leadership, we not only consider how our personal development goals impact ourselves, but we also consider how they impact our organizations.

Reflection Questions for Plan

We have reached the end of the Plan Your Journey step. This is the third of the six processes of developing innovative leadership – you’re halfway there! As you can see in the graphic below, the next topic is Build Your Team & Communicate, in which we will create a group of mentors and partners to help us before we go all-out in the Take Action step.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Implementing Big Data Programs – Building Your Team

July 21, 2014

Big Data and AnalyticsThis blog series is written by guest blogger and co-author James Brenza. James is the Chief Data Officer for Labor Genome. He is also Vice President, Data and Analytics Practice at Pillar Technology.  He provides over 20 years of technology leadership to drive the use of data and analytics for sustainable competitive advantage.

In this series James has been talking about implementing big data and analytics programs using a composite case study to illustrate the process. Each week he will focus on one of the seven steps giving specific examples to help illustrate how the tools can be used in a very practical manner. This is the second of the series that corresponds with the seven stage implementation model (shown below). More information on that robust model is available in the Innovative Leaders Workbook for  Implementing Analytics Programs by Maureen Metcalf and James Brenza (scheduled for release in August 2014).

Leading Organizational Transformation

Define the teams: When leading an analytic initiative, you can start to build your team after you’ve defined the vision and scope, and gained sponsor and stakeholder support. It’s actually more appropriate to say you can start building your teams (plural). Unlike more definitive initiatives, it’s critical to build teams that include the sponsors, steering committee, project team, extended team members, and subject matter experts. To help identify the necessary teams, you can review the data sources previously identified, the type of analytics to produce, the outcomes to be produced, and the measurements identified.

The different teams identified will serve very distinct purposes. The sponsors will be required to meet monthly to help ensure you remain aligned with the organization mission and the initiative vision. They will also be very effective at breaking down high-level barriers. The steering committee should be prepared to meet on, at least, a biweekly basis. Steering committee members that meet frequently will be uniquely positioned to more deeply understand your progress as well as help remove barriers. Another key role for the steering committee members is to provide ongoing communications and updates to sponsors and stakeholders.

The core project team must absolutely embrace all of the core functions necessary to implement the initiative.  This will include ingesting large volumes of data, integrating data, establishing data quality, formalizing data definitions, building analytic models, assessing the strength of the models, tuning the models, training the models, and creating the new business processes so the business value can be realized.  To be successful, the core team will also need to have extended team members. The extended team members will need to include subject matter experts for the data, the IT infrastructure, the statistical models, and the business processes.

Select team members: When selecting your team members, it will help significantly to create a selection matrix. The rows of the matrix should list specifically identified team member candidates, and the columns represent key selection criteria that the members must exhibit. The selection criteria can include areas of expertise, communication, teamwork, credibility, trust, culture, commitment and developmental perspective. As you assess each team member across the selection criteria, it’s important to make sure you have adequate coverage over all columns. If a candidate has many gaps across the columns, it’s appropriate to select a different team member, or find a second representative to help augment that team member.  For any gaps in the coverage for either team members or columns, the leader should consider adding or substituting team members to ensure complete coverage.

For analytic initiatives, the selection of the data scientist is critical. You need to make sure you’re embracing strategic focus, data management, quantitative analysis, business acumen, communication, and problem-solving skills. Attempting to find all of these skills in one individual can be nearly impossible. So rather than hunt for unicorns, the leader can be more successful by focusing on building a small, highly cohesive team—of at least three individuals—to cover all of these areas.

Define the sponsor management plan: After the core project team has been assembled, they can create the sponsor management plan. The sponsor management plan will augment the detailed implementation plan with a list of activities for every sponsor and stakeholder, when an activity should occur, the outcome expected from that activity, and the specific messages that need to be delivered. This will be a precursor to the communication plan that will be developed in subsequent steps. After the plan has been drafted it can be compared to the original list of data sources, analytics, desired outcomes and measures to ensure all aspects of the initiative have been addressed.

How is leading a big data/analytics initiative different than other projects? So let’s take a moment to focus on what’s unique about data and analytic initiatives.

  • Due to the analytic nature of the initiative, the team requires extensive balance far beyond traditional teams. These dynamic elements can include:
    • Broad diversity of talents that must incorporate technology, analytics and business acumen
    • Flexibility to collaborate and respond rapidly to opportunities and challenges
    • Ability to simultaneously manage and be managed by multiple organizations.
  • That balance needs to include the vision, technical and business acumen, communication, and extensive subject matter expert involvement. Many other initiatives do not need to encompass this many dimensions.
  • This will create a unique challenge for the leader to make sure they’re keeping this in mind at all times and ensuring all team members stay fully engaged throughout the initiative.

Defining the team is one of the first challenges. In our next section, we’ll discuss how to assess the situation and strengths to help the team succeed throughout implementation.

If you are interested in reading more by James, you may want to read:  Evaluating Big Data Projects – Success and Failure Using an Integral Lens, Integral Leadership Review August – November 2013. You can also listen to the NPR interview that accompanies this paper including a dialogue between James Brenza, Maureen Metcalf, and the host Doug Dangler.

We also invite you to join the LinkedIn group Innovative Leadership for Analytics Programs on LinkedIn curated by James.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving James’ seven part blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com by Mike Pluta

Plan Your Career Development Journey Part 2 – Eric’s Story

July 18, 2014

IGoals’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. In the last post we discussed identifying a skill/behavior that you would like to improve in order to help you reach your next career milestone, with the understanding that our long-term life goals are made up of a series of short-term goals. In this post, you’ll clearly identify the skill/behavior you’d like to improve upon, and then create a plan outlining how the current state of that skill, future goal, daily routine/actions, deadline for completion and a way to measure progress.

Your goal should be S.M.A.R.T.

We recommend that your goal be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (S.M.A.R.T.).

  • Specific: clearly defined. When goals are specific, or clearly defined, it is easier to know when they are reached. Specify the goal by clarifying what exactly is expected, why it is important, who is involved and where it will happen.
    • For example: I want to increase my focus/productivity by 200%, independently, each month, during internship/work hours, because I will be able to get twice as much work done and be better prepared for when I enter the workforce upon graduation.
  • Measurable: establish criteria for measuring the progress of each goal. This shows what and how much change we are expecting.
    • Focus/productivity will be measured in how many tasks I accomplish during work hours each day. Let’s say I complete two big tasks each day; I will focus on limiting distractions/overthinking so that I eventually complete four big tasks each day
  • Attainable: identify goals that are truly most important to you, you begin to find ways to make them come true. You develop attitudes, abilities and financial capacity to reach them. You begin to see opportunities you otherwise may not see as you realize the importance of such goals. “Attainable”, in this case, refers to how reasonable the goal is overall, regardless of your personal ability to do it.
    • Doubling daily productivity, or reducing time to accomplish each task, in one month is attainable for many people in my situation. Many interns can do that as they develop knowledge and skill in their work.
  • Realistic: to be realistic, the goal has to be something you are personally willingand able to work toward. You are the one who determines when it is completed, so make sure it is something you can realistically accomplish. “Realistic”, in this case, differs from “attainable” because it specifies whether you have the capacity to accomplish the goal. There may be something unique about you, making you better/worse at accomplishing a task than most people in your situation. If too easy, increase to difficulty or tighten the deadline. If too hard, decrease difficulty or push back the deadline, but only after you’ve actually tried it for a bit – don’t give up too easily!
    • Doubling daily productivity is realistic for me because I am increasing my knowledge and skill of my work at a higher rate than I could have ever anticipated.
  • Timely: goals that lack time frames also lack urgency. When setting the time frame, set an actual number or defined period of time, like “one month” or “one school year”. Don’t just say “soon”, “ASAP”, or “eventually”. Would you rather your professors tell you “You have an exam soon!” or “You have your exam one week from today”?
    • “One month from today” is a defined period of time.

Make sure your goal is written down in a way that meets the S.M.A.R.T. criteria. Next, we will use the Development Planning Worksheet. This chart should be simple enough for you to make in Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheet. Follow my lead:

Eric's development planning worksheet

I highly recommend using a digital calendar with cloud capabilities and managing your time well. This link will help you manage your time during the academic semester: http://howtostudyincollege.com/time/. While the link specifies making time for studying, it is still a great time management strategy and it will help you find time for any goals of yours.

Now you have a great sense of your short-term goals and your strategy to reach them, plus some potentially life-altering time management advice! In the next post, you will be provided reflection questions regarding the entire process of planning your journey. After that, you should have a very firm understanding of how to plan your journey as an innovative leader and outstanding college student.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Plan Your Career Development Journey – Eric’s Story

July 16, 2014

Journey withinI’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. I just completed the reflection questions associated with identifying my strengths and opportunities. It is now time to move to plan our journeys understanding that our overall life goals will be achieved by accomplishing many short-term goals. This is the third step in becoming an innovative leader while you’re young.

Short-term goals may consist of milestones that move you closer to your overall achievement, such as internships, degrees, jobs, or promotions. Other short-term goals, which are equally important, consist of personal development, such as learning new skills/behaviors, building on current strengths and minimizing weaknesses. The goals of personal development are very important because as you make progress through your academic and professional careers, you’ll have greater responsibilities and bigger challenges. That being said, to plan the short-term steps that will lead you to the long-term life goal, we must identify which career milestones we will need to get us there, and then choose which personal development goals to accomplish to help us reach the nearest milestone. For each milestone in your life, you may need to create new personal development goals. To optimize personal development (for short-term and long-term), one must include in his plan all four parts of the human experience: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual/purpose.

Short-term Goals: Career Milestones

As you’ve done for previous posts, research and list the steps it takes to get that “dream job”, or long-term goal. Then identify the nearest goal. For example:

    • My Goal: Marketing/management consultant and founder of a nonprofit
  • My Milestones:
    • Do marketing/consulting internships
    • Graduate with relevant degree and great GPA
    • Get marketing/consulting job upon graduation
    • Go to graduate school for MBA
    • Get a great job in marketing/consulting
    • After sufficient experience, create a highly successful nonprofit organization
  • Nearest goal: Job upon graduation

Short-term Goals: Personal Development

Look at your nearest goal, and think of everything you can possibly learn, strengthen and/or fix to achieve the nearest milestone. This will help you find which personal development goals to set to reach the next milestone. The human experience consists four parts: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual/purpose abilities. Enhancing all four of these types of abilities, you will optimize overall personal growth. We separate these four parts into two categories:

  • External abilities (physical and mental):
    • Body: exercise, weight lifting, yoga, relaxation, etc.
    • Mind: reading, studying, attending school/class, etc.
    • Professional skills, learned at school, work, internships, etc.; relevant to your career.
  • Internal abilities (emotional and spiritual/purpose) –
    • Emotional Quotient (EQ): meditation, maintaining strong friendships/relationships, etc.
    • Spirit/purpose: define vision, define values, religious practice, etc.
    • Includes intention, world view, purpose, vision, values, cultural norms, emotional stability, resilience, a sense of being grounded, overall personal well-being, intuition, balanced perspective, and attitude, and serves as the foundation for you to accomplish your deepest aspirations.

According to Ken Wilber, a leading philosopher, one can optimize improvement in one of these areas by “cross training”, or working on an external skill at the same time as an internal skill. For example, people who lift weights (external) and meditate (internal) tend to have more success in both areas than those who only do one or the other.

Planning Personal Development Goals

Choose amongst three developmental focuses: learning a brand new skill/behavior, building on a current strength, or minimizing a weakness. After you pick something to develop in one of those three focus areas, identify whether it is an internal or external ability, and then pick an activity that is the opposite ability for the sake of optimization by cross training. Click here to download the worksheet below (which doesn’t have my answers on it) and fill it out like I did. Feel free to view my answers to maybe better understand the question, or just to get more ideas.

behavior change priorities

Over the next few days, choose a skill and think about how great your life can be if you gain/improve it. In the next post, we’ll make a day-to-day plan for developing that skill to help you reach your next career milestone.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Implementing Big Data Programs – Creating a Vision and Sense of Urgency

July 13, 2014

Big DataThis is the first in a seven part blog series written by guest blogger and co-author James Brenza. James is the Chief Data Officer for Labor Genome. He is also Vice President, Data and Analytics Practice at Pillar Technology.  He provides over 20 years of technology leadership to drive the use of data and analytics for sustainable competitive advantage.  His background includes analytics leadership, business process reengineering, program management and software development. James is also active in the Columbus start-up community as an advisory board member and Chief Data Officer.

This series will focus on big data and analytics projects based on a variety of case studies to illustrate the process. It will contain seven sections that correspond with the seven stage organization transformation implementation model and each week James will focus on one of the seven steps. The series and this week’s blog starts with sharing an example of how an analytics program was implemented using the first part of the organization transformation model: creating a vision and sense of urgency. James gives specific examples to help illustrate how the tools can be used in a very practical manner.

Predictive Analytics, Big Data, Business Intelligence, Analytics Transformation….. they are all big opportunities and potentially big headaches if your leaders aren’t prepared to drive them effectively.  An analytics transformation requires a unique focus and leadership to ensure a positive outcome. The organization transformation process defined in the Innovative Leaders Workbook for Implementing Analytics Programs by Maureen Metcalf and James Brenza (scheduled for an August 2014 release) provides a robust framework for business analytics initiatives.

Leading Organizational Transformation

In step one of the implementation process, creating a vision, I highlight several key actions and illustrate the steps with examples and considerations for you, as the project participant or leader. My intent is for you to see how these steps apply in a real implementation and provide examples that will be valuable to you when you implement your analytics program.

Assess foundation for change: After attending a recent meeting to organize an analytics initiative, the small team of stakeholders and subject matter experts lacked clarity on their problem definition, intended outcome, team structure and available resources. The team was very excited to leverage the current interest in analytics, but lacked clarity on what they could accomplish, or even how to proceed. Have you ever participated in a similar effort? Without a vision, organization and stakeholder alignment, execution and communication plan, and measured outcomes, your success will be challenged. Let’s examine a composite example to see how leaders have ensured successful initiatives in their organizations.

Clarify the vision: The success of analytic initiatives hinges on starting with a strong vision and realistic assessment of the organization’s ability to structure the effort. It also hinges on the leader’s ability to prepare the stakeholders for a journey, rather than just a traditionally structured implementation project.

The transformation vision needs to focus on leveraging data and analytics to provide a business outcome that is not currently available.  That outcome is best described in financial terms or customer centric metrics.  To help clarify your vision, one of the following example statements may help you to clarify your purpose:

  1. We’ll utilize customer and order data to improve annual customer retention by 10 percent in the next twelve months.
  2. We’ll utilize order, competitive analysis and social media feedback to increase annual sales by 15 percent in the next two years.
  3. We’ll utilize physical asset and energy utilization data to reduce annual operating costs by 2 percent in eighteen months.

Each of these sample statements clarifies the use of data, specifies the use of analytics, and links to a time bound, measurable outcome.

Scope the change: After clarifying the vision, the team can focus on identifying the scope of the initiative. By focusing on each of the business areas that will be impacted by implementing the change, the team can identify the outcomes that are desired. Those outcomes should ideally be linked to the organization’s mission, purpose, financial statements, or customer outcome. For each outcome identified, the team can focus on individual measures that can quantitatively define the current state as well as progress toward the future state. If a quantitative measure cannot be identified, the team should create a qualitative measure and be prepared to gain stakeholder support for that measure.

Identify Stakeholders and Sponsors: Since the vision and scope specify the data and business value, the stakeholders have been identified implicitly.  While implicit definition is a great starting point, it’s vital to identify specific stakeholders and assess their alignment with the initiative.  The team can brainstorm the list of stakeholders by looking at the data source owners, the type of analytics to be performed, the owner of the outcome, and groups impacted by implementing the change. A stakeholder management plan is an ideal tool to accomplish this. By identifying the stakeholder, linkage to the initiative, current level of support, desired level of support and plan to gain their support, you can initiate a communication plan to gain support.  For executive level stakeholders that require a significant shift in their level of support, it may be necessary to identify other stakeholders who can influence them.  It is vital to structure the stakeholder management plan, work through the communication steps, and continuously revise the plan to monitor progress. While working through the plan, it is critical to take time to understand the stakeholders’ individual needs and what you can do to gain their support by incorporating their concerns into your initiative.

The final task before closing the initiation step is to ensure you have identified an executive sponsor. That individual should be one of the stakeholders who has already been identified and included in the stakeholder analysis. The executive sponsor should not be from the technology organization. He or she should be a key owner of an operational area or outcome metric. If you have not been able to identify an executive sponsor who will firmly endorse the initiative from the onset, it is important to wait until you’ve secured their full engagement before proceeding. You can measure someone’s degree of commitment by their willingness to participate in biweekly meetings, co-host monthly sponsor meetings, and assist with influencing other stakeholders. If your executive sponsor isn’t able to commit to these basics, you will not have the support necessary for your initiative to succeed.

How is leading a big data/analytics initiative different than other projects? Let’s take a moment to focus on what’s unique about data and analytic initiatives.

  • One key thing to remember is that this type of effort is more ambiguous than other efforts most leaders encounter.
  • While the vision and scope may sound declarative, the methods used throughout the implementation will vary based on the data and analysis encountered throughout the initiative.
  • Many sponsors will understand the process being used, but have their faith shaken if the data and analysis doesn’t crystalize quickly. It may also be difficult to maintain support since the vision itself must be far reaching but can’t bind the analytic methods too tightly. It’s very important to remember to let the data guide the team throughout the entire implementation. Patience is vital and transparency from the team will help maintain stakeholder support.

In the next section, we’ll discuss how to build your team to help provide that type of support.

If you are interested in reading more by James, you may want to read:  Evaluating Big Data Projects – Success and Failure Using an Integral Lens, Integral Leadership Review August – November 2013. You can also listen to the NPR interview that accompanies this paper including a dialogue between James Brenza, Maureen Metcalf, and the host Doug Dangler.

We also invite you to join the LinkedIn group Innovative Leadership for Analytics Programs on LinkedIn curated by James.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving James’ seven part blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

photo credit: www.flickr.com Infocux Technologies

Reflecting on Your Strengths and Weaknesses – Eric’s Story

July 9, 2014

I’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. I recently completed a series of assessments and the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis.  As usual, I like to finish each topic with some reflection questions. The “What do I believe” quadrant represents intentions, and “What do I do” represents actual behaviors. The “what do we believe” section refers to what our student organization, community, or major/department believe. And the “How do we do this” section refers to systems or processes of that organization, community, group, etc. In my answers, I am using the context of a competitive student-organization, in which I am an emerging leader among students, and there are hired professionals at top management.

Eric Strength Reflection Questions

Next week, we will cover the third step in becoming successful as a college student and as a leader – planning your journey. Do as many of the assessments as you can, so you have a full understanding of yourself, your strengths, and your situation going into the planning of your journey.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.