On any given project, what gives you more problems, people or technology?

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On any given project, what gives you more problems, people or technology?

Dragos Bratasanu, Lightman Consulting

Modern Tokyo Times

10 Strategic Paradigms for Advanced Corporate Efficiency and Success Intelligence (Part 2)

Part 2: On any given project, what gives you more problems, people or technology?

Is it possible to enhance (www.lightman-consulting.com) performance of a corporation, to increase profits, to skyrocket the sales, and in the same time remain in balance and keep a positive perspective? A large number of corporations believe this is a myth but recent studies show that actually the one cannot go without the other. You can achieve excellence in business as a leader, as a manager or entrepreneur by following one important rule: treat others, as you want to be treated by them. Especially, treat your employees, as you would want your supervisors to treat you. Napoleon Hill in his classic book “How To Sell Your Way Through Life” called it The Golden Rule. According to Hill, it is the only rule that can save companies, governmental organizations and even countries from collapse once they go down this path. It is very important to remember that Napoleon Hill wrote this principle after the economic crisis that hit America in the 1930s and it remained valid until this day, when history seems to be teaching us another powerful lesson.

“Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me, aiming their efforts at a certain goal” – Walt Disney

All business leaders openly recognize the importance of managing people within their organization but few go the extra mile of really understanding the psychological needs of their employees. Financial compensations are a good motivator to attract a person in your company, but are not enough to keep good people stay. Corporations today prefer to invest more into building hard skills, technical knowledge, project management skills rather than in what has become known today as soft-skills, leadership wisdom, proficient communication and team building. Unfortunately, failure to recognize the importance of soft skills leads to severe problems in the organization, high financial losses and devastating effects on personal health and relationships.

Let’s look over a few examples of how important it is for a business to balance the mind intelligence (IQ) with the emotional intelligence (EQ), to find the equilibrium between hard skills and soft skills and what are the consequences that follow when companies and organizations do not find this balance. These examples have been described in detail in Charlie Pellerin’s book, “How NASA Builds Teams”, a masterpiece of leadership wisdom and potential for corporations that want to thrive in the years to come. Dr. Pellerin, former Director of Astrophysics at NASA developed a successful system for measuring and enhancing the performance of teams by improving context management.

1.   During the period 1988-1998, a commercial Asian airliner had a crash rate of 17 times higher than the industry average. Investigators discovered that the root cause was the transference of the social hierarchy to the cockpit. The captain’s social status was so high in the minds of the co-pilots that nobody was able to communicate with him and the captain literally flew the plane by himself. No amount of individual training in flying skills would have helped. Now the company is safe because the relationships and the social environment have changed and there are two or three pilots with equal decision power. A typical plane crash involves seven consecutive human errors and these are rarely errors of knowledge of flying skills. These are errors of teamwork and communication.

2.   In 1986, NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger exploded immediately after launch, taking the lives of seven astronauts right under the eyes of their families and friends. Authorities investigated the technical causes of this tragedy and the conclusions were startling. Stephen Johnson from NASA wrote in 2008: “Frequently we find that failure effects and proximate causes are technical, but the root causes are social and psychological. My sense from experience is that 80-95% of failures are ultimately due to human error and miscommunication”

“Teams do not go physically flat, they go mentally stale” – Vince Lombardi (1913-1970), football coach for the NFL

Remember that the people involved in this project were world-renowned experts, Nobel Prize winners, very smart and talented engineers. They knew how to build a spacecraft, how to send it into orbit and bring it back safely. They’ve done it before. However, the pressures from management, and the leadership styles were so psychologically violent that engineers and scientists decided to launch the spacecraft anyway, although these technical problems were known in advance.

3. The Hubble Telescope is a masterpiece of technology and innovation. This 1.7$ billion satellite was built to take images of universe’s distant objects. After many years of design and engineering, the satellite was sent into orbit with a flawed mirror – an error that could have been committed only by an amateur with no experience. Extended investigations revealed that NASA’s management of its contractor had been so hostile that they would not report technical problems. They were simply worn out due to frustration, anger, threats and beatings.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision…The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie

Deficient leadership skills, combined with deficient communication and ineffectual emotional management leads to important losses. As Dr. John Mather, NASA Scientist and Project Manager said, “Half of the cost of a project is socially determined”.

If these tragedies happen in the most brilliant teams of scientists and engineers in the world, may we imagine how much money, how many projects are lost by corporations due to emotional and psychological factors without even knowing it? The good news is that we now have the tools available to recognize, understand and bring creative solutions to these problems.

Today’s business environments around the world are encountering new problems that can be successfully solved only by using a new way of thinking, a totally unique intelligence. According to Ikujiro Nonaka, Professor Emeritus at Hitotsubashi University of Tokyo and Hirotaka Takeuchi, Professor at Harvard Business School, the corporations in the western culture operate on the philosophy that if a theory is not working, then something must be wrong with reality.

TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More – Unknown

Leaders that will thrive in the near future in our high-tech, fast-paced world will have to reach higher levels of understanding, communication and interpersonal reasoning. The corporations of the future will have to balance hard skills and soft skills, to balance the intelligence of the mind with the intelligence of the heart in order to be successful. Our current and future challenges require the discovery and application of new inner assets that will help leaders develop reliable, sustainable and balanced decisions and actions. As we will learn to develop the intelligence of our hearts and the equilibrium between thoughts and emotions, we will find the power to move beyond anxiety, worry and stress into a leadership style based on mutual respect, appreciation and friendship. We will learn how to deal with today’s business models in a healthy, balanced way, we will create successful leaders that will accelerate performance and will grow the company together with its people, not at the cost of its people.

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it” – H.E. Luccock

Dr. David Pendleton, from the University of Oxford, one of the professors leading Oxford’s High Performance Leadership Program declared that “There is an increasing body of evidence that coherent organization do better than their misaligned counterparts. They outperform the market and bring out the best in their people. We believe they outperform the market because they bring the best in their people”

A recent study at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management that involved interviews with executives at Fortune 1000 companies, found that compassion and building team-work will be two of the most important characteristics business leaders will need for success a decade from now.

The intelligence of your hearts can solve all these problems. Combine the intelligence of your mind with the power of your emotions through your heart and your health will rapidly improve, your performance will increase, your team will work together wonderfully towards fulfilling outstanding, out-of-this-world goals.

Dragos Bratasanu, Lightman Consulting


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http://moderntokyotimes.com/2012/05/08/10-strategic-paradigms-for-advanced-corporate-efficiency-and-success-intelligence/ Part 1 – Lightman Consulting

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