Monthly Archives: April 2016

New Research from 300 BC: Management is a Social Process

the 3-fold path icon

Last week I wrote about Glassdoor and the ongoing comments from employees regarding how their experience depended on the manager. This is not new information, along with employee comments this is a subject that goes back thousands of years.
Mencius (372 – 289 BC) of Management, often referred to as China’s Second Sage, Mencius maintained and strengthened the Confucian tradition and added his own views on topics that are relevant to modern day managers. Mencius made managerial recommendations in such diverse areas as corporate governance, interpersonal relations, economic development, and human resources. The focus of this paper will be on Mencius’ management and leadership advice.
In 1937, Roethlisberger and William John Dickson published the first comprehensive findings of the Hawthorne experiments. He also authored Management and the Worker in 1939. The book was voted the tenth most influential management book of the 20th century in a poll of the Fellows of the Academy of Management.
The question that is still outstanding is how can we do better. Trina Hoefling, author of Working Virtually: Managing People for Successful Virtual Teams and Organizations, (new edition coming out this fall!) and co-founder of The Smart Workplace developed the three-fold path for creating and maintaining systems, protocols, and processes that support expanded emotional bandwidth to both traditional and distributed teams without geographical or functional limitations.

Today I am going to share information on the 2nd Path; engaging and supporting people. This is the social process of management and I believe the most important.
This is an excerpt from WORKING VIRTUALLY: Leading Your Team, Career and Organization in a Mobile Work World 2nd edition, available Fall 2016: We know that people are more willing to help each other when they know one another. They want to help people they like. Facilitating relationships as well as meetings, projects and performance; will help the team develop bonds and direct feedback to one another.
If managers and teammates display confidence in each other, workers feel trusted and valued, and are more likely to hold their own work to higher standards. If every team member has confidence in his or her work, knows they are valued, the team will synergize. When everyone can relate to one another, they are better able to collaborate virtually.
People also tend to attach to people with whom they share common ground. A team certainly

qualifies as common work ground, but commitment is deepened when the team actually feels that it is a “community” with shared purpose, responsibilities, rituals and habits, successes and challenges, stories, symbols, brand, history. It’s easy to jump into teamwork without first taking precious time for team development sessions.
Managers have to facilitate the team’s talk, at least at first. Conversations are an irreplaceable way that relationships develop, trust grows or declines, and collaboration happens. Small talk actually improves social intelligence, especially as people get to know each other. Chitchat gives everyone a chance to get familiar with each other’s style. Some people are more naturally animated or reactive. To know that helps the team recognize when something is off, when behavior is out of the ordinary for that person.
High performance teams talk, a lot. Much informal learning occurs through conversation. Getting people talking about something they care about gives conversations passion and opens a path for easy sharing. A good conversation is a gestalt – it creates something bigger than the sum of its parts. “Talking” explores new territory and creates new understandings, especially if the team gets past the download and debate-style communication so common at work.
People hanging around talking isn’t a distraction. It’s the work of collaboration.
Pointers for A Conversation-Rich Team
• A team leader does not need to be aware of all conversations going on. For one thing, you don’t have time.
• If you have team members working together on an aspect of the project, when you speak with them, ask about each other’s perspective on the project.
• Invite responses to a question or issue in an online team conversation.
• Get a discussion going simply for exploration, not decision.
• Remind people to speak directly to one another. Especially if there is tension between team members, encourage them to “send the mail to the right address.”
• Assume the team is communicating, and expect people to be aware of each other’s contributions when asking about the project. Verify with simple questions in your one-on-ones, such as “When you spoke to Carol last, did she have any insight?”
Realize each meeting, email, phone call, IM becomes a stream of interrelated business conversations that impact team relationships. Conversation is part of the team’s work – Encourage it. People are more shy virtually. As one coaching client shared, “It’s more difficult for me when I don’t know the other members or don’t know them very well. I often feel like I’m not participating enough for fear of being too pushy or overbearing. I sometimes don’t contribute to the discussion because I often feel like an outsider.”
– Kathy Kacher
To learn more about the three-fold path, download Chapter 3 – The Handbook of High Performance Virtual Teams. And stay tuned for our free The Smart Workplace Manager Kickoff course! Sign up for our community to keep up to date on new resources to help your workplace get smarter!

Rosie’s Story – How I Transformed My Career Using Social Media

Last week Charlie talked about Making Your NetWork. I’m a hard core advocate, teacher and practitioner of digital and local networking. My commitment to my network goes deep and long. When Charlie and I were talking about how much more critical our professional networks are today than they were 20 years ago. (He and I met online in one of the very first conferences hosted 100% online.) Our conversation reminded me of my professional friendship with Rosie Aguilar that I celebrate each year on May 6. It is our “meet up anniversary.”
I talk about expanding emotional bandwidth in relationships, which always reminds me of my friendship with Rosie. She and I navigated some exciting, challenging, high risk waters for awhile. We were part of a company co-launch, co-facilitated 100% virtual strategic planning with global clients, fed our passion for art and fine crafts by participating together in a local arts district. I’ve worked for Rosie as a trainer for her volunteer organization, and she’s worked for me as a research assistant and co-facilitator.
We can count on our fingers and toes the numbers of times we’ve been in each other’s physical presence. That distance has created no boundary to our deeply trusting and respectful professional friendship, however.
My friend successfully transitioned her life and her career, and has been on the fast career track ever since. Rosie’s happier today than I’ve ever known her, so I asked if she would share her story. It brings to life how powerful (and fun) Making Your Net-Work can be for professionals who make the commitment to better leverage their networks.

Trina Hoefling, Transformational Facilitator and Trainer, Co-Founder, The Smart Workplace
Here’s Rosie’s Story, In Her Words….
In September 2009, I was taking the last two of my graduate classes at Walden University, a 100% online graduate program. My course, Dynamics of Contemporary, International, and Virtual Organizations, required Trina’s 2000 book release, Working Virtually: Managing Organizations and People for Virtual Success.
BAM!  I was hooked on everything and anything having to do with virtual work, technology, social media, virtual management, virtual organizations – you get the idea. I do not do any type of work without accessing social media and the internet. To work without the collaboration technology tools would be like working without electricity for me.
Back to my story.
Using collaboration technologies, I found Trina on and found more information about her professional accomplishments. I also looked at her connections and discovered that she lived in Denver at the time, and that we were both members of the same local business group, TiE Rockies. I invited her to connect. Since then, we have worked together virtually and F2F, played together, and remained friends through numerous changes in both our lives, all thanks to our ability to connect virtually.
Where am I going with this story, you ask?
How did I transition to a new field of work in a new state while working nights and going to school full-time as a wife and mother of three?
I successfully transformed my career through using social media to learn and to make quality connections, like the one I have with Trina. I graduated from an online graduate program while still raising rambunctious children and supporting a veteran husband having transitions of his own.  I knew I needed to move my family’s life forward, but was limited in how I could learn and get the real life experience I needed.
Collaboration technologies and social media platforms were my enablers.
I used social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to make working with and learning from Trina possible. Well that’s not the whole how-you-do-it part, but collaborating and connecting virtually through social media was still key. It was key then and it is key now. I was able to connect with Trina, learning what was pertinent at that time. And I still learn and connect this way today, through Google search and its child, social media champion, YouTube. There is nothing that can not be learned there.
Virtual work and virtual teams aren’t just for telecommuting anymore. Trina and her expert colleagues are hosting this blog as a place for you to expand your virtual competencies for a more successful work world and life. Take her up on the invitation.
Rosie Aguilar
Tech Ops Project Manager, NGL Energy Partners

Trina’s Parting Advice This Week – Make Your Net-Work
Remember to include your social network in your development plan. You can thoughtfully design, develop and manage your network authentically when you
Commit to the people in your network.
Look for ways to support them.
Keep up with them and their careers, asking for wisdom to broaden yours.

Your network is an asset to leverage, and a soul nourishing part of your professional life. It’s a critical part of a SMART career.

If you are curious about how your own personal social network is working to help you accomplish your goals, here are a few easy questions to get you started.
In the past six months, how many times have you called on your network to:

______ Find or follow a lead
______ Give or ask for emotional support
______ Help another friend access a resource
______ Access information you need
______ Get an opinion about a product or service

How often do your friends reach out to you for help?

______ Often
______ Once in awhile
______ Occasionally

Do your colleagues you have added to your network come from inside and outside your organization? Your profession?

What percentage of your active professional relationships are fulfilling?

Do you have a balance loose and tight relationships – people who know you well, and some you admire or have met, but don’t know well enough to call colleagues?

What do people in your professional network say about you?

If you want to learn more,
Start by  going to The SMART WorkplaceScreen Shot 2016-04-08 at 2.41.02 PM and sign up to join our SMART community.
Check out our knowledge resources while you’re on our site.
Or reach out to Trina, Charlie and Kathy at The Smart Workplace or join us for open Happy Hour Chats, facilitated online Lunch Discussions and learning webinars. Let us know what you’re interested in so we can schedule your topic! Want to know more about how to Make Your NetWork?