Uncover Hidden Creative Thinking on Your Team

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When the team needs some creative ideas or innovative solutions, who’s the go-to?

Maybe it’s you. Or maybe it’s definitely not you.

When you think about the “creatives” that you know, your mind probably instantly goes to certain people. We all have some preconceived notions about what it takes to be creative and innovative, as well as who should be involved in the process. We pretty much know who’s got it and who doesn’t.

 Sometimes these “things we know” don’t really tell the full story.

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Do Your Team Building Exercises Do More Harm Than Good?

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What could be more fun than a team building exercise? Before you say, “Just about anything,” maybe we should look at some of the reasons why team building activities get such a bad rap.

Let’s start with that loaded word “fun.” Fun activities are a great way to lighten things up and spark new ideas, especially when the team’s been under a lot of pressure or needs a break from some intense work. One study even found that humor and laughter are effective coping strategies for dealing with failure and stress.

Having fun at work is a good thing, and in some cases, the break might be just what the team needs to recharge its thinking and get a fresh outlook on the task at hand. But sometimes these activities don’t really have a point. Either they’re not serving a clear business purpose or they haven’t been designed with a specific goal in mind. In this sense, they’re not really team building exercises; they’re socializing disguised as team building. It’s no wonder then that some team members will end up annoyed, feeling like they’re wasting time that could be better spent working on meeting that critical deadline.

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How to Build a High-Performing Multigenerational Sales Team

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This is a guest post by David Szen. David is an HBDI® Certified Practitioner specializing in sales training design, leadership development and coaching performance management. As a Principal Consultant at Symmetrics Group, David designs and delivers custom training programs for sales leaders and professionals. His book, The Multigenerational Sales Team, co-authored with Symmetrics Group’s founder and managing partner Warren Shiver, focuses on the increasing need for sales organizations to more effectively leverage talent from generational groups who think, sell and buy in vastly different ways.

According to estimates by the US Department of Labor, in less than ten years, Millennials will represent almost 75% of the workforce. But the multigenerational salesforce is already here, and businesses are struggling with how to develop a cohesive, collaborative team that not only manages through that diversity but thrives on it.

We heard about these challenges as we talked to business leaders while we were writing our new book, The Multigenerational Sales Team. Some of the key questions we explored were: How can generations with different perspectives find ways to successfully work together? And how do you recruit, train and deploy different generations of salespeople to build an effective sales team?

They’re issues that every sales leader needs to get a handle on for their organizations to remain competitive in an increasingly competitive selling environment, one where generational differences can have far-reaching impact.

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The Verdict Is In: Performance Reviews Are Out

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Is it time to hop off the performance review train?

More and more companies are moving away from the traditional approach to performance management to one of continuous feedback. It’s partly a response to a growing desire among employees, particularly Millennials, for regular feedback and check-ins about performance. But it’s also due to the general consensus of managers and employees alike that the tried-and-true performance review process hasn’t really done the job it was intended to do.

Along with this shift, a whole host of new tools and systems for managing the feedback process has been introduced. In fact, we’ve been working with North Highland on integrating the HBDI® into a feedback app called Culr, which brings feedback and thinking styles together for an all-in-one approach to real-time development and performance management. 

As helpful as these new tools are, though, technology can’t do all the work for you. Effective feedback and performance review discussions still require the human-to-human connection of manager and employee. Regardless of what else changes, you can’t take the people out of the process.

So what has changed? In many ways, this is a move from performance management as an event and a “verdict” to continuous coaching, which is less about the past and more focused on the future and the necessary adjustments that need to be made along the way.

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How to Build Trust in a Virtual Team

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A little over a decade ago, the remote workforce was dominated by people in outside sales roles. They came into the office on occasion for meetings or, if they were local, to load up on marketing brochures and office supplies. But for the most part, they were out of sight.

They certainly weren’t out of mind.

I can still distinctly remember the comments around the office: Are they really working? He probably spends half the day watching TV and running errands. She’s never there when I call—who knows what she does all day.

Of course, today’s virtual workforce is no longer limited to sales roles. According to the latest research from GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, 3.7 million employees now work from home at least half the time, and since 2005, the regular work-at-home population (not including the self-employed) has grown 103%.

But just because more employees and teams are working virtually, it doesn’t mean we’ve solved those age-old trust issues. In fact, with the rise of virtual teams, we’ve seen new challenges, from miscommunications and conflict to questions about accountability to a feeling of disconnect and detachment from each other and the team’s common purpose.

The news isn’t all bad. When the conditions are right, virtual teams can be more productive and more engaged than those who work together in the same office every day. The key is to make sure you have those right conditions in place.

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These Team Building Exercises Will Prepare Your Team to Dominate in Q1

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This morning, I experienced the annual ritual that reminds me it’s the beginning of a new year: I had trouble finding a parking spot at my gym.

With the holidays behind us and the clean slate of the new year laid out in front of us, fitness is on the minds of many. But this doesn’t have to be just about physical well-being. Now’s the perfect time to redouble your focus on building the health and fitness of your team at work.

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How to Improve Teamwork: The Introversion/Extroversion Variable

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At the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, every writer will give a reading at some point during the week to an auditorium full of people. It will be brand new work that you’ve just written, shaped as much as possible with the help of the participants in your workshop, people you’ve known since Saturday. In between, you’ll sleep in spartan college dorms, eat together in the cafeteria and, occasionally, when you can be inspired no more, throw back a few drinks at the local bar.

In many ways, it’s the introvert’s nightmare. It’s also what makes these conferences so fascinating. A group of writers, many of whom fall somewhere on the introverted side of the scale—ambivert at best—willingly put themselves in what is potentially the most energy-draining situation possible. The entire scenario seems designed to work against their strengths.

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10 Quotes to Open the Lines of Cross-Functional Communications

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More project-focused work, flatter organizations, increasing complexity, the rise of holacracies, evolving management structures…they all add up to more cross-functional teaming in the workplace. But based on the results of a study conducted last year, we may be a little too optimistic when we include the word "functional" in that description.  
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Why World-Class Talent Doesn’t Always Make a World-Class Team

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A number of years ago, an oil company was working on a billion-dollar proposal to design a superior offshore rig and drilling method to optimize the deepwater oil exploration process. They brought together a team of world-class experts in each of the technical phases of offshore drilling—the idea being that they could combine their individual areas of expertise in a synergistic way to come up with the optimum drilling process.

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5 Winning Talent Acquisition Strategies of Championship Teams

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Every championship team runs on player talent, both individual and collective. What are you doing to acquire the talent your team needs to play in the big leagues—and win?

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