Tag Archive: viewpoint

Global Consultants & The Value of Diversity

December 23rd, 2018

 

When I was in Australia recently week for a meeting with my global consulting strategy group, it hit home that there is power in diversity.  We represent 4 countries (Australia, Japan, U.S. and Canada), a diverse group of company types (from tiny to Fortune 100 businesses ranging from manufacturing to healthcare to nonprofit/government), a diverse group of specialties (strategy, innovation, organizational change, financial performance etc.) and more.  Diverse viewpoints definitely add value!

I joined the group around 3 years ago. At the time, I was the only woman (although another joined shortly after), and our mentor said he thought I’d add a unique value for that reason in addition to others.  I didn’t see his point until I was the only woman for a brief period of time, and it turned out he was right! I also have received significant value from the group members who have the least in common with me – a fresh perspective can go a long way!  Along the way, I’ve noticed that some of the best feedback comes from unlikely sources. Have you sought out diversity, even when it isn’t comfortable?

One tip to implement this week:
Let’s start by thinking about the groups and people we interact with on a monthly basis.  Are we hanging out with people who are just like us? For example, there is a member of my group who does practically the same thing as I do, just in Australia.  He is easy to talk to (of course), and he adds a unique value because he understands my questions/ concerns but if the group was full of these people, I imagine I would have received only 20% of the value to date.  

It is easy for us to become comfortable with people like us and not seek out diverse, sometimes scary opinions from others.  For example, I remember when one group member pushed back on my comments, and I truly didn’t agree at the time but when I listened to the session again in the car a few months later, I realized he was right.  I just wasn’t understanding and/or ready to think about it at the time. How many of these have you ignored, thinking you were right?

Although I see great value in the global nature of my group, it isn’t because I focus on having a global practice (although part of my practice focuses on international global corporations).  Instead, it simply brings a diverse viewpoint – even if I worked 100% in my hometown and never strayed (as one of our members does in a small Australian town), I’d get huge value from thinking differently.  He has no desire to move beyond his hometown yet he said our group is one of his most important priorities.

Don’t think about diversity in the light they talk about on the news. How many Fox News and CNN people listen to both programs?  Actually, I’ve heard more Australians who tell me they listen to both to understand than I’ve heard Americans. Instead, why not embrace that next person you think “on, no!  I don’t want him/her in my group” and see what happens and whether you gain a diverse perspective. I’ll bet 80% of the time, you’ll feel better off in the long run. And, remember, one bad apple (the 20%) doesn’t make a trend.

 



Hawaii and Strategic Thinking

July 25th, 2018

 

I met my global consulting group in Hawaii to talk strategy.  Have you thought about where you are going lately? More importantly, have you thought about why you are going there?  

It is quite easy to get caught up in doing whatever you set out to do a year or two prior when you set your strategy.  But don’t things change?  Certainly, the world stage continues to evolve.

Put dedicated thought into your strategy, set aside time to think and consider different viewpoints. In my case, gaining input from some of the best consultants from different countries and specialties while putting aside time to think surrounded by amazing views (see a few below) is bound to stir strategic thought.

One tip to implement this week:
Have you dedicated time to strategic thought lately?  Or are you too busy to even think, let alone dedicate time to strategic thought?  Perhaps you need to drive to the beach, mountains, or your favorite nearby setting and take 30 minutes to empty your mind.  Or, stay closer to work.

Deliberately put yourself in a work group of people with different ideas and viewpoints. Usually when I groan because I’m not sure I want to be in a group with someone.  Many times, it turns out he/she spurs me to new heights with new ideas.  

You don’t have to fly to Hawaii to broaden your view.  Take a look around regardless of your setting. There are countless amazing views we encounter on a daily basis.  Whether it is the local nursery, your neighbor’s yard, the hustle and bustle at the train station, an artist painting in the park or your dog jumping in excitement at your return home after a long day, you have interesting views to spur strategic thought.  

The key is to relate these views and put yourself in different situations that might spur strategic thought. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

 



New York Scenes & the Importance of Your Viewpoint

April 2nd, 2018

The importance of viewpoint has arisen frequently in the last few weeks.  I spent the past weekend in an APICS (leading trade association for supply chain and operations professionals) train-the-trainer class. Certainly, your viewpoint as a trainer is quite different than as an audience member which was also quite different from the master instructor of the trainers.  Also, about a week ago, I was in New York in a professional development session, and the importance of different viewpoints arose during the seminar as well as with the surroundings….

 

 

 

 

 

The view from the seminar was within 24 hours of the view from our restaurant in Chinatown – notice a bit of a difference not only in the obvious weather difference but also in the frame of reference? Are you paying attention to your frame of reference (view) into your work issues?

One tip to implement this week:
I’ve heard many employees of my clients complain about colleagues – and a few sing their praises. More often than not, when I talk with and/or observe the work of the object of the conversation, I find that it is completely related to the frame of reference. Are they talking with angry customers?  Are they dealing with a manager with a different priority? Did they have a fender bender on their way to work? Are they looking at it from a strategy point-of-view (like the skyscraper picture) or from the trenches (Chinatown). What is their frame of reference?

Being aware of your frame of reference is a great place to start. Once you keep your own frame of reference in mind, start thinking about your colleague’s frame of reference.  It could put you into an entirely different conversation. In the train-the-trainer class, we filled out a survey on how we would help people by giving directions to a restaurant, how we would communicate a new recipe, etc. The idea was that we’d better understand our style.  In my case – and another participant who works with clients on a daily basis – our conclusion came out the opposite of what we’d prefer.  Because?  The question that was asked was what we would do for the person requesting directions. We put ourselves in their frame of reference (and so didn’t get the intended results from the exercise).  

Being aware of your frame of reference and start from there.