Attended excellent talk by Adrian Furnham last night at the TCD Science Gallery.
Interesting discussion about the tendency in the workplace to promote engineers, scientists, accountants out of the role which they enjoy and at which they excel into management roles – demanding a completely different skills set.
In some respects reminded me of Charles Handy‘s The Elephant and the Flea. Explains why many people may be happy to work outside large organisations – focusing on what they like to do (and being more happy).
Enjoyed, as a laymen, the explanation of the different positions on emotional intelligence and how/ whether it can be measured. Furnham is in the personality traits camp.
Also was interested in the quick review of Seligman’s myths about happiness.
His final answer to adivce on being happy was sound:
- Invest HEAVILY in friends/ friendships
- Work at something you enjoy
- Stay fit and healthy.
Practical examples of barriers to effective collaboration within companies
Have just been rereading Morten Hansen’s excellent book: “Collaboration”. Hansen concentrates on collaboration within the enterprise. He draws on significant research across a range of large corporates – including well known companies such as Proctor & Gamble, Apple and HP. I have been reviewing his ‘Barriers to Collaboration’ in the context of my own experience across a range of companies.
Not Invented Here
Particularly struck by Hansen’s reference to ‘insular culture’ and ‘status gap’. An example of this often arises where consultants are introduced to assist in some form of business transformation/ BPR – but there is a tendency within certain groups to hold meetings behind closed doors – excluding the consultants. I actually think the status gap is more serious in terms of junior personnel not wanting to open up with senior personnel – because they have experienced a lack of interest/ responsiveness in the past of their suggestions.
In the current climate of economic pressures, cutbacks, rationalisation Hansen’s reference to ‘Being too busy’ certainly rings true. People who are hard-pressed to get their own job done are less willing/ available to assist others. This is a real challenge for management – to provide the environment and opportunities for effective research and collaboration.
It is disappointing that finding people and information seems to be such a challenge. However from my own background in Business Intelligence I think we all know that it is pointless to expect people to contribute data when they do not understand the ultimate use/ benefit of this data. There is any number of technological solutions available – but these require an understanding upfront and commitment to improved processes and technologies.
There are real challenges in transferring what Hansen describes as ‘tacit knowledge’. All very well to capture basics of relationships in a CRM system – but the valuable information is often difficult to put down in writing and requires genuine collaboration for its effective transfer. Tacit knowledge transfer takes us into the area of emotional intelligence and ability to intereatc and share ideas.