Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 11th 2014 Contents BG12 COMMENTARY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt SEPTEMBER 2014 • WEEK TWO
Be heard at your
Many people who sit through meetings
struggle to be heard. Here are three things
you can do to conquer your next meeting.
• Master the "pre-meeting." Much of the
work can happen at these "meetings before
the meetings," where people meet early to
connect, throw ideas around, garner support
and clarify the true purpose of the meeting.
Participating in these makes it easier to join
the conversation later.
• Prepare to speak spontaneously. Collab-
oration and decision-making happen through
conversation, not formal PowerPoint presen-
tations. If you re uncomfortable speaking off
the cuff, write down what you want to say
ahead of time.
• Keep an even keel. Use active, authoritative
language that shows you re taking ownership
of your ideas. Don t give in to sarcasm or curt-
ness when you re frustrated.
(Adapted from "Women, Find Your Voice"
by Kathryn Heath, Jill Flynn and Mary Davis
Focus on choices when
When crafting strategy, companies too often
get mired in analysing the problem. But to
compete, a company s leaders must make
choices; about what it will and won t do,
whom it will and won t serve, and where it
will and won t devote resources. If your strategy
process has stalled, stop focusing on the prob-
lem and identify the choices you need to make.
For example, your problem may be that your
manufacturing plant is inefficient and unpro-
ductive, but the choice you have to make is
whether you will invest $500 million to retrofit
it or shut it down.
This makes an abstract conversation more
concrete and focuses on how you might solve
(Adapted from the "Playing to Win Strategy
Don't stop learning
once you hit the C-Suite
How can you thrive in a rapidly changing
market? By continuing to learn and develop
new skills even once you hit the C-suite. Here
are some ways to start:
• Self-assessments. Honest self-scrutiny
can show you where you may be falling short
and what skills you need to develop.
• Feedback and mentoring. Always ask your
team, peers and boss how you can be better.
And don t be afraid to ask someone whose
career you admire for advice or regular men-
• Formal education and developmental
assignments. Executive education gives you
access to new practices and a global network
of contacts. Accepting job assignments outside
your area of expertise can also expose you to
new ideas, new markets and disruptive tech-
(Adapted from "Keep Learning Once You Hit
the C-Suite" by Boris Groysberg.)
Recognise when you're
When was the last time you didn t share
your honest opinion when asked? Or the last
time you got upset with someone and didn t
let the person know why? Or maybe you pro-
crastinated on an assignment because you
didn t see the value in it. It s hard to recognise
our own passive-aggressive behaviour, but if
we don t confront it, it breeds mistrust and
erodes our credibility.
First, identify what drives you to be pas-
sive-aggressive. Understanding the underlying
cause (maybe a fear of failure, or rejection, or
conflict) allows you to address it head-on.
Then be honest with yourself about what you
really want: What do you truly think or really
want to say?
What outcome are you hoping for? Think
about how to express those desires in a direct,
respectful way. And finally, get input from
others to see if you re improving.
(Adapted from "Signs You re Being Passive-
Aggressive" by Muriel Maignan Wilkins.)
Think about inclusion,
not just diversity
Creating diversity at work isn t enough. You
also need to foster inclusion, so all people feel
valued. When employees feel welcome, they re
more likely to be engaged and participate in
decision-making. To promote inclusiveness
in your organisation:
• Don t gravitate toward similarity. Curb
this tendency by asking: Who is getting hired
and promoted? Whose opinions have I left
out? Am I building relationships with people
who are different from me?
• Reduce subtle biases. Minority groups can
often be excluded from important conversations
or judged more harshly. Make sure everyone
has access to training, professional develop-
ment, networks and important committees.
• Encourage difference. Out-group employ-
ees sometimes conform to fit in, negating the
positive impact of diversity. Seek out different
opinions and ask them, "How can we leverage
your unique perspective more effectively?"
• Bring everyone into the conversation.
Don t leave out employees in the majority
group. Explain why change is necessary and
make everyone accountable.
(Adapted from "Diversity Is Useless Without
Inclusivity" by Christine M Riordan.)
TIPS & TALKING POINTS
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