Collaboration

Surviving the 24/7, High-Intensity Workplace

High Intensity WorkplaceIf all work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy, then some of us are about as boring as we can get.  If she manages a busy executive, a Revolutionary Assistant may have to be available 24/7 even in a low-key workplace.  But in the world of Wall Street or other 24/7, high-intensity businesses, a Revolutionary Assistant can work herself to death if she’s not careful.

I’ve been reading my Harvard Business Review again, and the June 2016 issue talks about the unrealistic expectations being placed on employees in a high-intensity industry.  It can be difficult to “find your place” in a workplace that demands you be available at 3PM and 3AM, and in order to cope, employees must make adjustments in their lives.  In fact, “Managing the High Intensity Workplace” authors Erin Reid and Lakshmi Ramarajan say that they find three employee strategies emerging within those “always available” cultures:  accepting, passing, and revealing.

These three strategies each have their merits, and they emerge based on the employee’s innate tendencies.  There are benefits and pitfalls to each.

Accepting – These are the employees that grit their teeth and do what’s expected of them.  When that call comes in at midnight, the employee not only answers but possibly does a little bit of work to address the issue.  If they manage subordinates, they expect them to take the same approach to their careers.

  • Benefits – They’re blending in well and living up to expectations
  • Pitfalls – They may burn out quickly; they may also have a hard time developing promoteable employees

Passing – These employees make it look as though they are available for work 24/7, but they really aren’t.  They just aren’t letting on.  They might respond to an email right away, but say, “I’m working on it, will be back to you in a few hours” and then go on about their lives until they have a moment when they can address the issue.

  • Benefits – This employee protects his career but still enjoys other aspects of his life.
  • Pitfalls – Not only are they probably not building close relationships at work (for risk of being “found out”) but they also perpetuate the “ideal employee” myth by fulfilling unrealistic expectations

Revealing – The most “rebellious” of the three strategies, the employee simply says, “I will get to this later tonight.  I’m at my daughter’s swim meet.”  They reveal themselves as resisting the norm and may think that the 24/7 culture needs to change

  • Benefits – These employees enjoy open relationships with colleagues, protect their free time and have lives outside of work
  • Pitfalls – They could damage their careers by not “playing along” and may not be credible enough to move the organization away from the high-intensity culture should they try.

The article goes on to recommend changes to each of these employees’ strategies – accepting workers should carve out time for their personal lives and not expect subordinates to behave like they do; passing employees should try to develop relationships with a small group of co-workers and reinforce to the boss that outside activities don’t hurt performance; revealing strategists should focus on results instead of time spent and encourage others to be open about carving out personal times in an effort to change the culture.

But what of the Revolutionary Assistant?  If she supports an executive, it’s pretty likely that executive is one of those “accepting” sorts, and while many of them learn early on that they shouldn’t expect 24/7 from their subordinates, Revolutionary Assistants are often caught in the cross-fire of last-minute travel and off-hour meeting scheduling.  Here are some suggestions that might work:

Revolutionary buddy system – If you know you’re going to be away for a few days or over a weekend, alert your manager and arrange for a member of your admin network to cover for any emergencies that might come up.  Reinforce with your manager your need to detach and recharge your batteries for a few days before you leave.

Carve out time for you and the family – If having dinner with your family is important, then make sure that you’re free during that time.  Turn off your mobile device and enjoy them, and after everyone has gone to bed, check in one more time to see if there are any last-minute needs.  Let your manager know that this will be your daily practice.

Encourage your manager to step away from this kind of culture – Sure, time is money, but well-rested, many-faceted employees make a better company.  S/he should take a few hours away from work each night, a couple of weeks of vacation each year…and set an example for the subordinates.

As a high-powered Revolutionary Assistant, I’ve done the 24/7 thing and burnt myself out plenty of times.  Be a great employee…take time for yourself.

 

Next Post:  Wednesday, August 9

 

 

 

Powerful People and Collaboration

I’ve been reading my Harvard Business Review again – and yes, I’m about a year behind.  But I was thumbing through the May, 2016 issue, and I caught this little tidbit that I thought really applied to the life and work of a Revolutionary Assistant.

The article is called “Collaboration: Powerful People Perform Badly on Teams.”

I could have written that article.  You could have, too.

CollaborationYes, according to the research that produced this five-paragraph passage to enlightenment, authors John Angus D. Hildreth and Cameron Anderson  found that “high-power individuals tend to be overly confident, devalue others’ contributions, take credit for others’ ideas, and interrupt—all negative behaviors when collaborating.”

To determine this, they ran a series of experiments, the first of which was a team of two people (a leader and a follower), building a tower of toothpicks and candy.  The first group was evaluated and decisions made from the results of that to do a second experiment.  The second was a team of three that was assigned a project involving creativity.  The teams of three, when made up of all high-powered individuals, were less creative, less focused, shared less information and had fewer interactions.

When your high-powered executive, that executive with the short attention span who’s oblivious to detail, is in a collaborative situation, there are roles he or she should be playing.  Being equal to the rest of the group probably isn’t one of them.  But a great leader puts collaboration in motion (both in meeting situations and in work environments) by affecting some of the things that can bring it to a standstill.

“Everyone is equal here” – That’s never true, but the executive can certainly make everyone a little more equal than they were when they walked in.  Help your manager level the playing field by giving all team members a voice and making sure they’re treated with equal respect.

Communication is key – Creating a collaborative environment means making sure all your employees are aware of the others and have opportunities to talk to one another throughout the day.  Being collaborative when you’re in a room together means that everyone is heard.  Help your manager seek input from the quiet team members and make sure the loud ones take a break so that others can contribute.

Even out the assignments – Team members can’t contribute or collaborate when they’re so buried in work they don’t have time for anything else.  Whether in a meeting situation or in a work environment situation, help your manager make sure that work is being distributed evenly, that Joe has the time and energy to contribute.

 

High-powered leaders have a place in the collaboration scheme, but usually they’re far better at orchestrating it.  Like you would in any other group, play each person to their strengths.  Your executive’s strength is creating music from the noise his team spews, so let the collaboration sing while he holds the director’s baton!

Next Post:  Wednesday, May 17

The Administrative Network (and Why It’s Important)

While we are constantly reminded with memes on Facebook that “one voice can start a revolution,” the importance of working with your team and understanding your collective strength is huge when you’re a Revolutionary Assistant.  The message of this article is a simple one: network with your fellow assistants.

Why network with the other assistants?  Well there are plenty of reasons to get to know them, have regular con-fabs and lean on each other:

Establishing a relationship with another exec’s admin is good for your manager – Your manager is on a team with other managers, and there’s a boss above that expecting it all to hum like a well-oiled machine.  Reaching out to the other executive assistants ensures another level of that machine is humming.  Break down the silos between departments and start talking.

Useful information comes from other assistants – If your manager needs a report from another department, your relationship with that department’s assistant helps speed that request along.  Not only that, but it’s a task off your manager’s plate AND the plate of the manager whose assistant you’re working with.  Here’s to enhancing that manager/assistant relationship!

Learn more about your company – When you’re sitting in human resources or finance and surrounded by the work that those departments do, you often don’t see the whole picture.  Networking with another admin helps complete the picture of what your company does and how it does it.  Understanding what others are looking for when they receive information from your department helps you produce useful, efficient work.

Get new assistants up to speed faster – When I started with a new company (one I ended up loving), I was taken under the wings of two other senior assistants who showed me the ropes, introduced me around and made me feel less alone.  They guided me in how the company worked, helped me when I ran into roadblocks or didn’t know where to go, and in the end paved the way for me to get more done for my manager.  Helping a new assistant get acclimated ensures that she knows the way the company operates, and that means less work for you when you don’t have to correct work!

A union of assistants corrects system-wide issues – When one assistant doesn’t like a process or a system, it’s just a small voice complaining.  When a group of people get together and say, “This isn’t working for us,” suddenly people are listening.  In one of my roles, our purchasing department decided to terminate our relationship with a very hands-on travel company and take up with one that was nearly 100% automated.  The assistants who supported execs at the top of the ladder found themselves waiting on the phone for 30 minutes to get their managers changed to flights that left 10 minutes before anyone answered their call.  Needless to say, the assistants got together and demanded the purchasing department take another look at the relationship, and things were changed.

Ensure help is just around the corner – Company-wide charitable causes and other similar initiatives suddenly have a group of champions around the building!  Use your network of admins to help you raise money for charity during events, and assist with company-wide picnics and other events.

The administrative network is a valuable part of the company.  Do your part to make connections, and make the network to other, shier assistants.  Make the network formal with quarterly meetings or just do your part to share a lunch or some free time with a fellow admin.  You won’t be sorry you did!

admin network

Next post:  Wednesday, March 22

Women and Collaboration in the Workplace: An Unfair Game

I just finished managing a large event – more than 500 people for three days – and I’m just a puddle I’m so exhausted.  As is always the case with these events, I had with me a few really good collaborators and workers, and the rest of them said, “Please let me know what I can do to help!” and then never answered when I called.

women-collaboratingWhen I got home, I was looking over my Facebook account for the first time in a month and I saw a meme.  It said, “I’d like all the people who ‘helped’ me on my group projects to be pall bearers at my funeral, so they can let me down one more time.”  Many a truth has been spoken in jest.

Surprisingly, many women find themselves feeling the same way after a project is complete.   In fact, according to Harvard Business Review’s January 2016 article, “Collaboration Overload,” women are 66% more likely to roll up their sleeves and dive in to assist co-workers in times of need, while men are 36% more likely to share knowledge and expertise in a more hands-off way.  Tell me, which one do you think costs more time and energy?

I thought about this a lot when I reached out to ask for help at my event.  I sent out calendar invites to people at all levels of the org chart, and while many of the team members responded and came through, more of them were women than men.  And when I needed to staff my registration table?  All women, only one man.

When I wanted to get something done, I asked a female co-worker, and that’s my bad.  I should be considering all the men I have to choose from when a task needs to be completed, but for me women are more reliable and easier to work with.  They’ll get the job done and not change the process (and the outcome), nor will they delegate it to someone else who doesn’t “get” what we need to accomplish.

So, we’ve established that women get unfairly picked on when it comes to collaboration, and women should consider offering and giving their assistance carefully, so they don’t end up emotionally and physically exhausted.  Managers, too, should be careful when it comes to taking his direct reports with assisting on a project, knowing full well that the scales of labor tend to be tipped in the direction of their female employees.

BUT…

Yes, there’s always a “but.”  This is the unfair part.  As HBR wrote:

In an experiment led by the NYU psychologist Madeline Heilman, a man who stayed late to help colleagues earned 14% higher ratings than a woman who did the same.  When neither helped, the woman was rated 12% lower than the man.

The woman is supposed to help.  When the man lends a hand, he’s a good guy.

Such is the ongoing saga of a woman in the workplace…or just life in general.  As Revolutionary Assistants, we often wrangle the troops to get a task done, and help our managers do the same.  It’s imperative that we take into consideration the overburden of collaboration on female team members,  and help our managers do the same.  And when collaboration on a project is complete, we need to make sure that our female team members get equal credit where equal contributions have been made.

Seems like a simple thing, but as we know about women in the workplace, it’s anything but simple most of the time.

Next post:  Wednesday, November 9

Making Team Building Into Something More

I am in the midst of planning a meeting that is roughly four hours each day of meetings, and another four hours of team building.  Now, the “team building” part of the meeting includes going to a sports center, where our insanely competitive field leaders will be turned loose to engage with each other in a variety of competitive sports.

This is a group of people that get along pretty well on their own, so I never mind giving them an opportunity to bond a little bit more.  But if we send them out to bike race against each other, or to see who can climb the rock the fastest, is that really team building?  Or can it be tied back to the business a little more successfully, and mean something a little more than just a game between co-workers?

Team BuildingThe answer is yes, it can mean something more than just a competition.  A Revolutionary Assistant who’s on her game can make their game have a lasting business impression as well.

Tie the aspects of the game to the company’s brand – My own company is, in fact, going through a rebranding effort right now, and this session of team building is running adjacent to that initiative.  The branding initiative includes the idea of removing hassles from our customers’ shopping experiences with us.  So, part of our team building at the sports complex includes an obstacle course where you have to “remove the hassles” in order to succeed.  We can’t think of anything more appropriate considering the circumstances – this will be “hassle” in a very literal fashion!

Use team building to learn how others approach work – Have you ever tried one of those “locked in a room” things, where you have to work together to gain freedom? Try taking a personality assessment like Myers-Briggs or Strengthfinders first.  Review the results of the assessments as a group, and then go get yourselves locked in that room.  Assign duties and responsibilities based on those assessments, and watch each other work.  Once you’re free, review everyone’s contributions and see how they match their personality assessments.

Use team building to understand your company’s products – Separate teams into groups of three or four people, and give them a pile of your company’s products.  Have the teams assemble something with those products that will protect an egg from being broken when dropped from a high height.  If your company’s products aren’t conducive to protecting an egg, think about something else you can do with them.

Use team building to give back to the community – Most companies are somehow involved with a charity or a cause.  Help teach your company’s mission and values by donating time as a team to working at a charity.  Or, if your company isn’t currently affiliated with a particular cause, get your teams together with a local bike shop and build bikes for children in need.  Building bikes can be complicated and require team work on its own!

Team building is never a waste of time, but you can definitely make it mean more than just a couple of hours of fun.  Drive home important information about fellow team members, company mission, company products or giving back to the community at the same time, and the lessons will be twice as rewarding!

Next Post:  Wednesday, July 20

More About Working with Those Creative Types

Okay, so not too long ago, I did a quick blog entry about how to work with your graphic department. If you give them the right kind of direction, you’ll get back something that’s close to what you’re looking for. And, boy, it helps if you speak the right language, otherwise the art in front of you might be light-years away from your concept.

Well, it just so happens that I was reading my Harvard Business Reviews again, and in one of the magazines was an article about how to work with a creative person. Lo and behold, even more great information I could share with you!

The article talked about a scenario where the creative department of a toy company was presenting their latest concept, a car-and-racetrack game. One of the people in the marketing department pointed out that he thought the car needed a monster. The comment was disregarded by the creative department, but later it was determined that a monster was indeed what the game called for. But at this point, deadlines were missed and more production costs incurred.

Creative peopleSo, how could that feedback have been given so that the artist in this equation didn’t ignore it, wasn’t annoyed by it? The authors of “Collaborating with Creative Peers” offered these suggestions:

Offer suggestions that are broad, unfinished ideas – By proposing a broad, not-totally-thought-through suggestion, you leave the idea open for an artistic person to explore. Conversely, if you propose a very complete and well thought through concept, a creative person might think that you’re putting your creative stamp on it, and be less likely to offer suggestions of his own.

Don’t get too excited – As a creative person, I tend to like it when people get excited about something I proposed, but authors Kimberly Elsbach, Brook Brown-Saracino and Francis J. Flynn suggest that you could be sending messages that you’re going to take the idea over. That could cause the creative person to withdraw, thinking he’s not needed anymore or that things won’t be done his way.

Give them time to think it over – Artistic team members like the opportunity to walk away with feedback, chew on it a bit, and figure out how to incorporate it into their work without losing their own artistic stamp.

These suggestions might make it sound like a creative person is very controlling, and that’s certainly not what this is meant to imply. The left-brained assistant wants to organize and arrange and isn’t necessarily tuned in to the creative mind, but the more effort that’s made, the better the relationship will go. The artist wants to keep some level of control over his ideas, see it come to fruition. If he sees that (a) you understand this, (b) that you don’t want to take over the idea and own it, and (c) give him time to digest feedback and suggestions so he can make them his own, then he’s going to be more willing to work with you!

Next Post:  Wednesday, April 13

Open Workspaces – Couldn’t They Be a Little More Closed?

My office is in the midst of a remodel right now, and the plans are to take away my 72” cubicle walls and make them 48” so I can see all 45 of the co-workers sitting around me. I’m so thrilled about the new layout that I’m wondering how many days I’m going to have to work at home in order to get something done.

Now, I have some of the world’s best co-workers and we’re not likely to go around interrupting each other throughout the day just because our walls a little bit lower. But when a recent Gallup survey shows us that only 11% of workers consider themselves truly “engaged,” and noise and lack of privacy are workers’ chief complaints, why do we keep pushing for the “open, collaborative environment”?

Open office spaceThe words alone make me shiver.

It’s not just about the noise, though the noise in an office with no cubicles to absorb and block is bad enough. Back in 2010, author Patrick Skerrett (HBR, November, 2010) analyzed fifteen different noise studies and concluded that noise disrupts concentration, decreases productivity, and increases stress. It also isn’t good for blood pressure and your cardiovascular system.

My coworkers default to earbuds, and sometimes full-on headphones, to beat the distracting noise and ward off would-be intruders. Often, they aren’t even listening to any music, they’re just blocking out the cacophony of phone calls and copy machine conversations going on around them. Our HR person retreats to a closet with a phone in order to have private conversations with company employees. That’s a nice option for her, but if my husband calls to let me know the dog had an accident on the carpet, the whole office knows about it.

People’s need for privacy is as instinctive as their need for mixing and conversing with others of the human race. But in a world where information sharing has become so imperative, is team work and collaboration prized above all else? Or can there still be consideration given to the more introverted co-worker who is more productive when she can produce something she’s proud to put her name on?

The answer is a fairly simple one. In a world where every person has a slightly different working style, offices should provide open work spaces and places where people can find some privacy and get work done. “The question is not whether we need privacy in our office spaces,” writes Shane Ferro in his Huffington Post article “To Work, Open Offices Need to be a Little Less Open.” “The question is how to configure the space so that workers can move to the right type of environment for whatever task they happen to be working on.”

Studies have been done by office design firms Coalesse, Steelcase, and Knoll to try to determine the best combinations of space that allow creativity to thrive and workers to keep their sanity. The answer seems to be variety. As Donna Flynn, Director of Workspace Futures at Steelcase, puts it, “A big insight from our research was that the way each person controls distractions is very different.”

When an office remodel is underway, an assistant is often involved and policing the situation. A Revolutionary Assistant can get involved, do her research, and offer suggestions that ensure privacy and open collaboration areas are available for a variety of work styles. After all, the objective is to help elevate productivity!

Next post:  Wednesday, March 30

Managing Successful Global Teams

I’d worked for several “international” companies before, but never was I so integrated with a global team as I was when I worked for Google. I found myself constantly communicating with people in India, Denmark, Holland, Ireland, London…my co-workers were everywhere. But we definitely always felt like a team. I may have had to wait for a few hours to get an answer to my questions, but none of us felt left out in the cold.

Other companies are growing and becoming global, and managing those teams don’t always come easy. But, don’t fear! I’ve been reading my Harvard Business Review again and an article I found in the October, 2015 issue reminded me how my manager got the most out of his global team…and how you can help your manager do the same.

Help your manager create a sense of unity for the team – In my current position, we just purchased a company that’s on the other side of the country. Granted, they’re only a few time zones away and still a part of the United States, but I’m bent on making sure we know each other and become friendly. When you’re dealing with different cultures, this is very important. Set aside a few minutes in every meeting to talk about what’s going on in each others’ worlds, focus on what’s unique about each other’s culture. The idea here is to create balance, so no one feels like someone else has more of the manager’s attention.

Make sure your manager is accessible to the whole team – This might mean your manager taking Internationalcalls during off hours, especially if he has teams in Singapore or India, but all team members should feel they have as much of the manager’s attention as they need. And allow for unstructured conversations here as well – talk about that work commute whether it leads to your door or to a door halfway around the world.

Is everyone understanding and being understood? – In the midst of an exciting conversation, it’s easy for someone who doesn’t speak English as her native tongue to miss some of the conversation. In your duties of taking minutes, this is an excellent opportunity to stop the conversation, summarize, and make sure everyone in the group understands what’s been decided.

Exercise redundant communication – As an assistant, you can assist your manager in making sure that messages are heard. Follow up after meetings and conversations with emails that restate the mandates and decisions the group and your manager arrived at.  This will confirm that everyone in the group understands the direction in which the team is headed.

Being a part of a global team is a very rewarding experience. I remember celebrating Indian holidays on video conference with our team in Dehli, or asking our Australian counterparts what my day was going to be like tomorrow. Learning about the rest of the world is great fun, and working with a diverse set of people to accomplish great things is even better. As a Revolutionary Assistant you can help guide your manager to success with an international group.

Next post:  Wednesday, March 16

Getting What You Want From the Creative Department

Creative people are a different breed, aren’t they? I can say that because I’m one of those creative types, and I can tell you that when my boss says, “I need this to stand out more” or “I want this to really look sleek” he has a very specific idea in his head of what his document/presentation should look like.

artistAnd I don’t have a clue.

I can’t tell you how much easier it would be if he said, “I want the font to be bolder” or “I want it to be blue instead of red.” Those are things I can understand. Sleek? Well, that can be interpreted a variety of ways, and I bet my idea of sleek is different than his is!

If you want sleek and you’re not getting it, here are a couple of tips from me on how you can get fabulous results from your creative department:

Give them time – I’m often asked to write scripts and shoot videos that drive home an operational point to our field staff. When I get these requests, they’re often accompanied by the requisite “I know whatever you do, it’ll be funny/cute/great, and I need it by Friday.” Well, here I have absolutely no specifics to work with, and I have three days to get it done. The creative idea you’re looking for me to provide often does not pop immediately into my head or, if it does, it requires more than three days to execute. The more time I’m given, the better the final product will be.

Set up time to provide feedback often – Presumably, you’ve taken my advice and given your creative person some time. That being the case, set up time to talk with him or her a few days from now to see how the project is going, or to get some preliminary ideas. Maybe even see a few drafts.

Be specific about your feedback (and kind) – I was told once to “get rid of that third-grade font.” Not only did a bristle at the bluntness of the remark, I have no idea what she actually did want. I had to pursue her, and probing led to the discovery that she didn’t like sans-serif fonts, but I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t gone marching into her office asking for more. Never mind that I was offended by the idea that I was trying to appeal to third-graders…

If you can help the process by saying, “I’d like to see a fancier/bolder/more delicate font” that’s something a creative person can act on. If you’re thinking of something in a specific color, say so. If you want to create a feeling with the art, articulate that. Or find some examples that are similar to what you’re looking for, and share them with your creative person. That helps, too!

Remember that they know their job better than you do – Creative people are well schooled on what they can and can’t do with company logos, brand messaging, colors, etc., and they know how to work within those parameters. Marketers get angry when they’re asked to do something outside of those brand parameters. Also, they’re good at making things pretty, and if you give them a little latitude, they’re going to come up with something better than you dreamed it could be.

Being a creative person in a corporate world is a lot of pressure. I, for one, am always worried that I’ve had my last good idea and that I’ll never come up with something original again (it hasn’t happened yet, but there’s always tomorrow!). Don’t make their jobs even harder by being unkind in your opinions and vague in your feedback, or it’ll take even longer to get what you want!

Next Post:  Wednesday, February 17

Groupthink and Your Manager

Being a part of a group that conquers the impossible…it’s a great thing.  Historically speaking, these stories make for some great entertainment: the Manhattan Project scientists that came together to end a war; the NASA employees that worked with a pile of unrelated, random items and formulated a plan to bring Apollo 13 astronauts home.  By learning about these people and their fabulous achievements, we learn that great things can be accomplished when brilliant minds come together.

And yet, I have a Groupthinksign hanging on my desk that says, “None of us is as dumb as all of us.”

The term “groupthink” is often used to describe where a group of people come together to solve a business problem and make decisions that lead to failure.  And while there’s a lot of study devoted to individual decision making failures, there’s precious little out there that talks about why groups fail.  But I was reading my beloved Harvard Business Review last week and came upon an article that talked about exactly that, determining that groups often fail because

  • They respond to informational signals from other individuals that may or may not be correct.  For instance, if a group is undecided if the correct answer is #1 or #2 and one person says, “Oh, it’s definitely #1,” the others may be easily swayed to decide the same
  • They go along with crowds, or with the boss, so as to preserve their reputations

When your manager has been charged with running a task group to solve a particular business problem, you can provide some Revolutionary assistance by keeping these elements in check:

Encourage your manager (or the senior presiding member) to keep his mouth shut for a while – And by that, I mean a while longer than he thinks it might be necessary.  People are often hesitant to provide any kind of opposing viewpoint if the boss speaks his mind first.  And, if the boss is wrong, then the whole group is in danger of going down the wrong solution path.

Do “critical thinking” exercises with the group – I found this an interesting study done by authors Cass Sunstein and Reid Hastie.  Tasks (or ice breakers) that encourage the group to get along also discourages group members from bringing up opposing viewpoints.  A critical thinking exercise, however, does the opposite.

Assign roles – When at a former company, I served on several task teams that pulled from all different disciplines.  One group was charged with bringing in stellar fourth quarter results.  We had experts from operations, human resources, and so on.  Each person who sat at the table brought a different viewpoint, and therefore his ideas were respected by the others.  And we all went in understanding that the others looked at the world differently and would logically argue a different viewpoint as a result.

Appoint a devil’s advocate, or a “red team” – Encourage your manager to appoint someone to argue the opposite point of view, or, in the case of a “red team,” go out and try to prove that the opposite is true.  You’re bound to see both sides of the coin when using that approach.

Other suggestions brought up in the article, like rewarding group success versus individual success, or using the Delphi method, are also viable ideas and can be reviewed with your manager as well.

Groups accomplish terrific things, and as a Revolutionary Assistant I know that you want your manager to lead a group that does exactly that.  Popular opinion isn’t always the right opinion, but if you navigate the potholes you can win wars, save lives and more!

Next post:  Wednesday, September 9