Worldview: how I see some aspects of modern business

April 19, 2018

The way I see it, in the modern business world there are 14 key factors regarding the way work in a company is performed that are crucial to that company’s success (worldview)

The way I see it, in the modern business world there are 14 key factors regarding the way work in a company is performed that are crucial to that company’s success (worldview). These factors represent my personal theses and you will find almost all of them reflected in my current and future posts, in which I explain in detail why I believe in their validity. But even more important, you can see them put to use in the way I behave and work.

Work needs to be efficient – that’s the primary goal of every entrepreneur, CEO, Managing Director, Secretary General, or leader within a firm. We often forget this key goal. Inefficiencies are ubiquitous in the modern workplace environment and can be found in inefficient meetings, wasted time in unsuccessful projects, ignored conflicts, and so forth. The problem is not just that companies waste a lot of resources, but that doing so costs a lot of money. Furthermore, instead of working on the major inhibitors of efficiency in day-to-day work, management often tries to ‘pamper’ its people – effecting absolutely no benefit to the company’s success.

Leadership and management are two fundamentally different things. Companies need both to be healthy. But I posit that today in our companies there is a critical lack of leaders. And most companies still look after managers. Leadership has a big emotional component. But the role of emotions in business is still severely underestimated, despite the fact that they can play a major role in negotiations or projects — to name but a few examples — i.e. in virtually every interaction between people.

Strength- and interest-based leadership is the only way of leading. Let’s assume you lead a business development unit and one of your employees is not good at Excel. However, he’s a passionate visualizer and a PowerPoint power user. In today’s logic of many companies, you would send him immediately to Excel training. Of course! He has to get rid of that weakness. But even if you were to send him directly to Bill Gates, it is unlikely that the guy will ever enjoy working with the software. By contrast, with a strength-based approach you would ask him what his interests are and in which fields he would like to improve. Maybe he’d tell you that he wants training in the visualization programme Prezi. And perhaps there is someone else in your team who would like to have Excel training. It’s important to listen to peoples’ needs and desires when deciding on how to develop their skills, even if they are not directly linked to their job – at least not at first glance. Then you will have an intrinsically motivated team, with everyone giving his/her best. And building on their strengths, thereby leveraging their talent.

The ability to change, to deal with dynamics, to question things that “have always been done that way” and flexibility in thinking and (!) acting are core qualities in today’s business world. Companies need motivated people with a lot of drive and willingness to change traditional behaviours. Experience and seniority are no longer a matter of age but rather of how someone adheres to these core qualities.

The Assessment Centre is dead! Actually it was never alive ;) Finding the right people with the aforementioned qualities is impossible with ACs. Unfortunately, there are not many companies that try to find the right talent by means of project work, whereby candidates work on things that are actually relevant to the company. But they should, as doing so would allow them to get in touch with a huge number of employees, managers, and so forth, and that over a longer period than just two or three days. After the project ends, the employees your candidate worked with can provide their feedback.

In big companies these days there is a huge gap between “understanding a problem and recognising the necessary action” and “really acting" in accordance with strategies, tactics, and measures that are carried out to their conclusion. Furthermore, strategy is becoming a buzzword. A lot of companies don’t develop strategies, despite having entire departments tasked with doing so. What they call ‘strategy’ is in fact often a ‘reaction plan’ – that is developed in a mad rush after a problem has already arisen.

If in a company the overall work conditions are alright, this indicates that the leaders see their duties in creating the best working environment for their experts to perform, and thus you don’t need to talk, to think or to implement measures to motivate your employees. You don’t even need an “HR development” department. Your people will be self-motivated. Every day. With no ‘help’.

Work doesn’t have to make someone happy, but it is mandatory that it shouldn’t make someone unhappy and/or sick. The environment at work has to be designed in such a way that everyone is able to perform efficiently. At the same time, this means that you as a leader have to eliminate all the obstacles to efficiency. And you should keep a vigilant eye out for anything that could disturb your team.

Conflicts are characteristic of human society. In every place where two or more people interact there will be friction. This has been the case since the rise of homosapiens and will remain so until the ‘fully technologised future’. And the bigger the company, the bigger the conflicts. More people mean more interaction between people. And this interaction leads to misunderstandings, miscommunication, and resentment/indignation, the latter being a major cause of conflicts.

Companies don’t take conflicts in their firms seriously and thereby waste a lot of money – even without being aware of it. Managers spend less time dealing with the problems of their people, on things that disturb them or that make a company inefficient, and rely too often on the notion that “they can solve their problems on their own”. But in the most cases they can’t.

The way we work in companies has changed dramatically and will change even more in future.

There is a huge need for conflict-competencies in politics. And there are some past examples that show how effective these can be: i.e. Israel/Egypt conflict, Alvise Contarini in the Thirty Years War, etc. And there are other examples like the current crisis in Greece and the war in Ukraine that show how ‘negotiations’ dramatically fail without these competencies.

It is crucial to tell a good story. From childhood onward we are programmed to listen to stories. Indeed, in early times this was the only way to impart information from generation to generation. You need to tell a good story in business if you want your audience to understand and remember the things you tell them! But don’t forget to act after you’ve told the story ;)

Thinking is awfully exhausting! Most people aren’t aware of (basic) psychological pitfalls. They don’t question how our brain works, how we take decisions, and how we sometimes react unconsciously.

The ideal client

My ideal clients are decision makers in companies of different sizes. They are aware of the fact that they have some efficiency inhibitors in their company. These can include inefficient meetings and workshops, conflict situations, team performance issues, and so forth.

The people I work with are open to suggestions and willing to consequently work on the issue until a lasting solution is reached. They believe that there are different ways of approaching a problem. And they know that ignoring these issues in a company costs money, energy, and health.

I can help my clients by providing numerous, individually-tailored options for solving these issues. And I always put the client’s value first. With my passion for conflict resolution and facilitation, I can work with them on stopping waste and improving performance.

Work with me at least once on a small project and you will experience first-hand the value-added that I can bring about. I combine well-founded experience with persistence, and careful listening to your needs with a high degree of goal orientation.

ISMAN & Partner
ISMAN & Partner ist eine Unternehmensberatung, die nationale und internationale Konzerne, mittelständische Betriebe und Start-ups, Organisationen und Institutionen bei komplexen Verhandlungs- und Konfliktlösungsprozessen begleitet. 2015 von Calin-Mihai Isman gegründet, unterstützen die Experten für Negotiation & Mediation Manager und Mitarbeiter aus den Bereichen Sales, Einkauf, M&A, Contracting, HR oder IT.


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