Category Archives: Collaboration

Don’t let anyone fall through the cracks… including you!

How many times have you heard someone say, “It’s all about who you know.” Or who knows you. Or who remembers you.

In business, large and small, you have to be in the top layers of the minds of the people you do business with, whether it’s B2B or B2C.

It’s about your network. But more importantly, it’s about how you take care of your network. You need to nurture it. Like plants… you need to water them, give them the right amount of light, enrich the soil, and even talk to them according to some.   🙂

People are the same. Look at the illustrations above. Imagine the names you see there are the names of people in your network. The bigger the name, the more you interact with them: meet in person, talk on the phone, exchange emails, follow each other’s social media, etc.

But what about those little names? Those you do not keep in touch with? Those who do not know about what you’re doing? Who knows what they are doing right now? Who knows what they are planning?

And that also means THEY do not know what YOU ARE DOING!!!!!

Imagine your cloud of names with no bid difference in size. Some will always be bigger, of course. These people you deal with regularly because things are good between you and them. But you have to wonder what you, or them, are missing by not being in touch.

Just a thought…

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How to Deal with STRESSED OUT Customers

Thanks Tim!   Another great perspective on understanding and dealing with people. Especially the importance of having a clear enough picture of your own needs and objectives so you know when to… get away.     🙂

Tim Ohai

Next week, I am stoked to be joining my friends Jim Keenan (@keenan) and Anthony Iannarino (@iannarino) for a “jolt of Sales 411.” Our topic is going to be people who drive us nutshow to deal with a pain in the a$$ prospect/customer. Knowing these guys the way that I do, it’s going to be a GREAT conversation. One that you definitely won’t want to miss.

Since I typically obsess think about things way too deeply before doing these kinds of events, and I have been focused on the concept of stress this past year, I wanted to cover stress as ONE of the ways that a client can become an absolute terror.

High thermometerIn case you missed my last post on dealing with stress (and since it was months ago that I posted it!), let me give you a brief summary. I find that stress is generally…

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Good bye acute meetingitis! Plan your day-to-day meetings as a true KMer…

Thanks Ewen! Can’ talk enough about useless meetings, especially those which benefit only a few, if not just one of the attendees. Like the idea of Open Space Technology, and I very well may use the Meeting ticker. 🙂

Agile KM for me... and you?

On this blog I talk a lot about (large) events, how they’re designed, facilitated, useful, successful, impactful… or not. There is a related, mundane, day-to-day topic: the case of everyday meetings. We spend sometimes so much time that we might want to think about how to make them as useful.

And in this post, I just want to stop and consider how to plan your time in these day-to-day meetings in the best possible way, from a KMer perspective (also because good KMers are innovation conveners – and good practice-shapers).

So many (bad) reasons to hold a meeting - time to reverse the trend (Credits: Axbom) So many (bad) reasons to hold a meeting – time to reverse the trend (Credits: Axbom)

So here are some principles to get your started in planning your (attendance at) meetings:

Come prepared

Long preparation, short war so… If you’re not prepared, you’re likely going to be wasting your time and others’. And as I keep referring to meeting cost calculators (such as Meeting Ticker

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Le codéveloppement comme outil d’apprentissage

Voici un billet très intéressant sur le codéveloppement professionnel. Ça me penser demander: est-ce un entre-deux entre l’apprentissage formel (structuré) et l’apprentissage informel (par osmose, décidé par l’apprenant) ? À suivre…

A comme Apprentissage

Aujourd’hui, j’ai eu l’opportunité dans le cadre de ma pratique d’assister à une «histoire de codév», une activité de l’Association Québécoise du Codéveloppement Professionnel (AQCP). Si comme tel je connais en surface les notions relatives aux groupes de codéveloppement  (il y a des professionnels bien plus ferrés que moi en la matière!), ce qui m’a incitée à participer à cet atelier était le cas vécu qui y a été présenté.

nuage-codev

Qui dit cas vécu dit possibilité de faire des liens avec sa propre expérience, qu’elle soit passée, actuelle ou envisagée dans un futur plus ou moins rapproché. C’est pour cela que j’aime beaucoup le partage de cas vécus dans les ateliers 🙂 : ma machine à faire des liens s’emballe, et cet atelier ne fut pas une exception!

Définition: le codéveloppement professionnel

Avant d’aller plus loin, je veux prendre le temps camper ce qu’est un groupe de codéveloppement professionnel. Payette et Champagne (1997)…

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Innovation: Learn from failing to succeed???

This past week we had a chance to hear Jason Della Rocca talk about the idea of failing to succeed. This was organized by ISPI Montreal and held @ KnowledgeOne offices downtown Montreal.

Jason reminded us that for every success we see, chances are many failures preceded it… In Jason’s gaming world, it’s that big blockbuster nobody could anticipate. They refer to it as a black swan. Of course no one wants to have failures on purpose. One hopes that the next try will succeed. Maybe not record-breaking success, but success nonetheless.

So what does that mean for us as learning and performance professionals?  How can we think of failing as we are being paid to succeed? As we are pressured to come up with the right, creative and even innovative solution …on the first try!

The point is apply what we think sooner than later. Prototype it, with simple and modest means (pencil and paper cutouts…), test, observe, and… likely fail, at least the first times. Each time learning from it, moving forward in refining our concepts, our designs.

One really important point was made during the evening about our profession: we are trained to analyze and plan thoroughly, BEFORE we do anything concrete. Of course we need to analyze and plan but the point here is that we should always be wary of going too quickly to the tried-and-true solutions. We should always question, at least minimally, why this or that solution really applies to this particular case. Is the context really the same as the other one we did before?

In learning, we are more and more pressured to come up with creative, innovative, ENGAGING solutions. ENGAGING is the key word here. We don’t want the page-turner they say! We want interactivity they say! So how do we know what will REALLY work… By trying and failing and trying again, until we get to the right place.

In gaming, the audience need is essentially to be engaged and entertained, not necessarily, at least not on purpose, to learn or change a behaviour or an attitude. That’s how a game like Angry Birds can appeal to such a massively broad audience. Knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours are very context-specific and with smaller specific audiences. Which makes gaining attention, motivating and engaging them even more important – maybe that’s where we can best apply lessons from gaming, and we should remember to keep digging and digging til we hit the engagement goldmine.

Activity time!

Back to the point of trying sooner than later, less analyzing and planning, more testing and refining ideas… Jason got the participants to do a simple yet fun activity to dive the point home: in teams of 4 to 7 people, build the highest possible tower that would hold one marshmallow at the top, in 18 minutes, using 9 strands of spaghetti, one 1 meter-long string, and one 1 meter-long piece of masking tape.

That was fun, and stressful for some.  🙂

The result: only one of 9 teams succeeded, meaning that the marshmallow did NOT end up on the table. Almost did mind you.

The point: most teams only did ONE design and stuck with it all the way to the end. Some teams maybe changed their minds once, and changed their design.

Jason showed us some stats (which I regretfully cannot remember) about different groups of people success in building the tallest towers. One group always stands out: KIDS!  They have no barriers, they just DO. Try it… oops it failed. Let’s do it again! Failed again? Let’s keep going! Other groups have succeeded like architects and engineers of course.

But I think that the main point to make for us, learning and performance professionals, at least the crowd we had last wednesday, is that we need to loosen up, don’t expect ourselves to come up with the right idea right off the bat.  Let’s give ourselves some leeway (and ask for it), to test our ideas a bit before going too far down the road.

Makes sense?

Building Business Partnerships: a never-ending process.

The inner workings of a business partnership
The inner workings of a business partnership: a machine that needs caring.

Isn’t it great the moment you realize that you have a great working relationship with your client, or your vendor? The moment you can say that you are partners? That you are both gaining from working together? This happens when you realize how well you work together, how well you understand each other, how well you work out the kinks.

No matter how big or how small the business connexion, getting to that level facilitates and optimizes processes, allows all to work efficiently and reach goals faster, be more productive.

Partnerships start with building trust, the foundation of any relationship. With trust we get more efficient, more agile, more responsive. As we build trust, we learn more about each other, we refine our communication, we open up, we anticipate each others needs.

We build up history to get better at what we both do. We define and refine our mutual expectations. Over time we reduce bureaucracy to increase efficiency. We all get stronger and accomplish more.

It’s a two-way street where we learn, adapt, contribute, collaborate, and adapt some more.

We grow together.

Like any relationship, it’s an ongoing thing: it needs to be maintained and nurtured. You cannot loose sight of this.

WARNING: Complacensy is enemy #1! 

In business, people come and go, but the organizations remain. Organizations evolve, and so must partnerships. When a partner’s context changes, others should be able to step up to the plate and do their best to help or adjust, as needed. That is the beauty of partnerships. It might not be easy, even pleasant (which may be a sign that complaisance snuck in…), but the goal is to find a solution together.

Partnerships are not guaranteed. They are continuously evolving. If you don’t want to loose your investment, do what you need to maintain them and don’t let your partnerships break down.

Make sense?

I’ve thought about it so much… I must be right. Right?

Am i right?

How many times have you been  involved in a situation where you had to deal with someone pushing their position or ideas on you?

How many times was it YOU doing the pushing?

The way we approach things and the way we make decisions, comes from our knowledge and experience and the more we have, the more assertive we become. This can be good, especially when we’re in a lead position: someone needs to take charge, while others need to be directed. But it doesn’t mean we’re always right! We have to be careful not to become a bully!

Side note: It’s not because we’ve done it a certain way before that we shouldn’t look at finding a better way to do it. There is always room for improvement, right?

Side note #2: It’s not because we dreamed up a way to doing something (meaning we never actually tried it) that it is the right way of doing it!

When we’re looking at doing something different, whether it’s completely new, or bigger in scope, or working with people we have never worked with before, or tackling a type of activity we have never done before, we always need to step back and consider alternatives, especially when people around you are TRYING to tell you so. At the very least, we need to keep an open mind. And this means listening and understanding what others are trying to say: not just humoring them!

Side note #3: I remember something like this on Linkedin recently… “Listen to understand, not to prepare your reply.”

Makes sense?

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