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Hearing Every Voice in the Room

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When a meeting is called, there will always be that mix of introverts, extroverts, and know-it-alls. No matter what the mix is, it’s important to get the best work out of your team and having everyone lay out their ideas.

When team members have developed relationships, it’s easy for them to organize themselves. Having that trust and empathy makes it easier to have their ideas be brought to the table, but when your company is in the middle of a transformation, team dynamics can easily get in the way of good ideas, and often the group is silenced by the loudest voice.

The best way to get your team to work together as a group is by focusing on these two things:

1) Allowing everyone to contribute their ideas

2) Letting them be heard

Phil Gilbert of IBM, held a workshop where he assembled teams that span skills, different experience levels and points of view. He presented a question directed towards their new business email tool, IBM Verse, which helps workers find information fast and prioritize tasks. The teams where given very little instructions as well as pen and paper and spend 10 minutes jotting down their thoughts and ideas towards the question. Their ideas were posted on a giant white board, and everyone remained silent which didn’t allow people to judge or cause unnecessary battles. The ideas are then sorted and colleagues are left to reflect and take it all in via face to face, phone, or through a group texting tool. This brainstorming experience called popcorning gets ideas running quickly and allows everyone to speak their mind.

This powerful form of brainstorming makes for better teams and leads to better decisions.

Read the article in it’s entirety here.

It’s Not Always About You When It Comes To Success

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Deborah Bial is the President and Founder of the Posse Foundation. Posse trains students from public high schools with extraordinary academic and leadership potential to help them succeed in college. In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of the New York Times, Bial spoke about what inspired her to start the Posse Foundation and what leadership means to her. Here are some of the key points from the interview:

  • Success isn’t about you: “I didn’t pick Posse; it just happened. My philosophy is that leaders should always remember that it’s not because of them that things are successful.” Sometimes it comes down to the luck of the draw.
  • Being in charge allows for forming a great team: “The advantage of being in charge is that you get to hire people you really like. It’s my philosophy that as president or C.E.O. of a company, you are in this privileged position where you get the accolades for the successes of the organization, and you get to make decisions and people have to listen to you.”
  • You don’t have to be liked by everyone to be a great leader: “I used to care a lot that people liked me. That’s no longer as much the case. Of course, nobody wants not to be liked, but I don’t care as much. I remember feeling liberated when it no longer influenced my decision-making.”
  • Questions are key when hiring students: “In terms of questions, I’ll ask sometimes: “If you get this job, what are you most excited about, in terms of your personal growth? And where will you be challenged the most?” Then I’ll want to get into a discussion about something. What’s in the newspaper that day? I want to know what they think, how they think, how they express what it is they’re thinking, how they ask questions and how they listen.”
  • Students who reach out are the ones who are likely to succeed: “In a crisis, they reach out versus reach in. We look for the person who reaches out, because they will give themselves more options to succeed.”

Click here to view the full article from the New York Times.