Monday, February 3, 2014

How to Work Intelligently

Information and Skills You Need to Get Ahead

Be Partnership Intelligent

Partnering Intelligence is a measure of your ability to succeed in partnership situations, Stephen M. Dent explains in Partnering Intelligence: Creating Value for Your Business by Building Strong Alliances

It is a measure, specifically, of how well you are able to create and sustain healthy and mutually beneficial partnerships - both at work and in your private life.

The first step to developing your partnership intelligence is self-awareness. You must know and understand your own needs before you can expect to meet someone else's needs. Once both partners' needs are recognized, you become dedicated to success for the enterprise, while at the same time you maintain separate identities.

Before you can attain long-lasting relationships based on mutual trust, benefit and respect, you will move through four distinct stages of relationship development. This can happen quickly, or it can take many months, depending on the group. The four stages of relationship development are forming, storming, norming and performing.

Forming. When the relationship is in the forming stage, people are generally polite to each other and a bit reserved. Typically a group leader dominates activities. Others may sit back and take a wait-and-see attitude. This stage is the best time to clarify the issues that will need to be resolved. It is the time to establish trust within the group. Don't be too anxious to rush through this stage. It takes time to learn to trust each other.

Storming. In the storming stage, a clash of ideas and behavior creates conditions ripe for conflict. Politeness gives way to aggressive behavior. The group leader finds himself or herself challenged. Group members test the limits of the relationship and see what they can get away with. In short order, the participants learn where the boundaries are and learn that they can trust each other as they express their needs.

Norming. Once group members have identified their needs and aligned them to the needs of the group, they are ready to collaborate to solve conflicts. The level of trust they have developed allows them to take risks and try new experiments.

Performing. Finally the group reaches the performing stage. Now, creative energies surface, increase and flow abundantly as partners generate synergy. The partnership can expect to achieve goals that far exceed their expectations at the outset.

Partnerships come in two varieties: external and internal. External partnerships can best be described as alliances between businesses. Strategic alliances will continue to dominate business as companies learn to seek out opportunities for partnerships that capitalize on strengths and overcome weaknesses without the need for fundamental changes in company structure. It is the ultimate win-win situation for both business partners. 
Internal partnerships are found within companies and include the relationship between management and labor or the cooperative relationships necessary between departments and divisions.

For a partnership to work, both parties must be accountable to each other. Assure this by creating an appropriate partnership agreement. The agreement must cover the following areas:
  • Definition of the areas of interest for the initial activity, whether that will be marketing, sales or product development. Brainstorm a list of joint activities, and agree on one to start the relationship.
  • Document the start and stop of the activity, and set the boundaries. There may be things the partnership should not try to accomplish yet.
  • Decide who will do what among the partners.
  • Agree on what style decision-making will take.
  • Gain consensus on the strategy for resolving conflicts that arise.
  • Allocate resources, contributions and commitments in writing.
  • Create evaluation criteria for both the initial project and relationship development.
  • Define the expected outcome of the initial activity.
To make a partnership work, take the time to get to know the partners. Building a partnership always takes longer than people anticipate.

Be Emotionally Intelligent

Under the guidance of an emotionally intelligent (EI) leader, people feel a mutual comfort level. They share ideas, learn from one another, make decisions collaboratively, and get things done. Perhaps most important, connecting with others at an emotional level makes work more meaningful, according to Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatis and Annie McKee in Primal Leadership.

The authors identify four domains of Emotional Intelligence and their competencies:
1.       Self-awareness.
o    Emotional self-awareness: Reading one's own emotions and recognizing their impact and using "gut sense" to guide decisions.
o    Accurate self-assessment: Knowing one's strengths and limits.
o    Self-confidence: A sound sense of one's self-worth and capabilities.
2.       Self-management.
o    Emotional self-control: Keeping disruptive emotions and impulses under control.
o    Transparency: Displaying honesty, integrity and trustworthiness.
o    Adaptability: Flexibility in adapting to changing situations or overcoming obstacles.
o    Achievement: The drive to improve performance to meet inner standards of excellence.
o    Initiative: Readiness to act and seize opportunities.
o    Optimism: Seeing the upside in events.
3.       Social Awareness.
o    Empathy: Sensing others' emotions, understanding their perspective, and taking active interest in their concerns.
o    Organizational awareness: Reading the currents, decision networks and politics at the organizational level.
o    Service: Recognizing and meeting follower, client or customer needs.
4.       Relationship Management.
o    Inspirational leadership: Guiding and motivating with a compelling vision.
o    Influence: Wielding a range of tactics for persuasion.
o    Developing others: Bolstering others' abilities through feedback and guidance.
o    Change catalyst: Initiating, managing and leading in new directions.
o    Building bonds: Cultivating and maintaining relationship webs.
o    Teamwork and collaboration: Cooperation and team-building.

Brain research shows that the neural systems responsible for the intellect and for the emotions are separate but have intimately interwoven connections. This brain circuitry provides the neural basis of primal leadership. Although our business culture often places great value in an intellect devoid of emotion, our emotions are more powerful than our intellect. In emergencies, the limbic brain - our emotional center - commandeers the rest of our brain.

There is good reason for this. Emotions are crucial for survival, being the brain's way of alerting us to something urgent and offering an immediate plan for action - fight, flee, freeze. The thinking brain evolved from the limbic brain and continues to take orders from it when it perceives a threat.

Today we face complex social realities with a brain designed for surviving physical emergencies. And so we find ourselves hijacked -- swept away by anxiety or anger better suited for handling bodily threats than office politics.

Fortunately, emotional impulses pass through other parts of the brain, from the amygdala through the prefrontal area. There, an emotional impulse can be vetoed. The dialogue between neurons in the emotional center and the prefrontal area operate through a neurological superhighway. The emotional intelligence competencies hinge on the smooth operation of this circuitry. Biologically speaking, then, the art of primal leadership interweaves our intellect and emotions.

Be Successfully Intelligent

What is success intelligence? Simply put, it is about applying wisdom to success, we learn from Robert Holden, Ph.D. in Success Intelligence.

We live in a "Success Culture." Many people pursue success as a primary goal in life and are often obsessed with it. They judge their entire lives on whether or not they are a success. They secretly attack themselves for not being successful enough. But how much success is enough? People crave success because they hope it will deliver salvation from the ego's self-attack.

The pace of life for many of us has accelerated past fast to manic. We speed ahead on fast-forward, and the danger is that we leave behind the truth. Winston Churchill said, "Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."

In the Manic Society, we are changing faster, succeeding faster and failing faster. The challenge is to make sure we do not blur the vision, blur the goals, blur what's important.

Permanent busyness is not intelligent. It is often a major block to success in work, relationships and life. 
Permanent busyness is mainly compensation for a lack of clarity about true success.

Success intelligence begins with an awareness of and respect for the vast potential inside us all. Realizing our potential and using it in intelligent ways is our purpose and our salvation.

Self-knowledge is a primary key to success intelligence. The better you know yourself - what you value, what inspires you, what you are made of - the more effectively you will live, work and relate to others. Self-knowledge enables you to be inner-directed, self-referring and true to yourself. Without self-knowledge there can be no authentic success, no authentic happiness and no authentic living.

The most important conversations you hold in life are the ones you hold with yourself. Your own dialogue is an important key to success. Set aside some time to listen to your inner dialogue. See if you can discern between "learned thoughts," "everyday chatter" and inner wisdom. What are your wisest thoughts about success? What is your wisdom trying to teach you? Let yourself be inspired.

Too often, people throw success ahead of them, into the future, and hope to bump into it someday. In the meantime, their lives are full of destination goals and no present-time goals.

Success intelligence is about allowing your inner wisdom to teach you what success is today. It is the ability to live life well now. A successful life can only ever be the one you are living now.

Success is not about driving yourself harder; it is about letting go of what blocks your heart. Think deeply about what you most want to say "yes" to. Be willing to let go of old heartbreaks and wounds to which you still cling. You have gifts to share and a contribution to make.

Be Creatively Intelligent

When society is safe and stable, what we need most are the tools to make things a bit better, more efficient. When technological, political and environmental shifts threaten the status quo, what we need most are the tools to make things sharply different, radically new. We need to be less incremental and much more creative, Bruce Nussbaum points out in Creative Intelligence.

And yet, the prevailing view on creativity is psychological, mental, brain-centered and individualistic. We tend to believe that creativity comes through the individual and is expressed only by the individual.

We need to go further, Nussbaum says. We need to stop searching for some magical place in the brain where creativity resides. We need to believe in our own abilities to create and to improve upon our creative skills by teaming up with the right people. We need to stop studying creativity just in labs -- and recognize that it's all around us.

We need to prepare ourselves for jobs that don't yet exist using technologies that haven't been invented to solve problems that we haven't recognized.

The five competencies of Creative Intelligence aren't simply best practices for organizations to transform themselves; they are tools that can help you plot or change a career path.

Knowledge mining. Today's most creative entrepreneurs, thinkers and artists use their own experiences and aspirations as a starting point for dreaming up new companies and technologies. They go straight to the source and partner with people who are more embedded in the culture than they are. They are skilled at connecting information from various sources in new and surprising ways.

Framing. Understanding your frame of reference as it compares with other people's is a key strategy no matter your aspirations or industry. People who understand framing techniques are able to recognize where they stand, when they need to refocus their lens, and who else needs to be in the picture.

Playing. Creativity can be found in many kinds of spaces where people are given permission to play games, make up new rules, and discover different ways of winning. New research is showing that playing can be a superior alternative to a problem-solving approach to innovation. Games are the perfect organizational structure for learning.

Making. After decades of rewarding mental agility, we are experiencing a maker's renaissance. Americans want to make things again. Thanks to a whole host of new technologies and the democratization of the tools of creativity -- from Photoshop to 3-D printers to Behance -- we're doing it.

Pivoting. Pivoting from the inception to the production side of creation is the final competency. Truly creative people don't stop at the idea; they make the pivot into creation. Google, Facebook, Zipcar, Wikipedia and Kickstarter were all founded by individuals, not big corporations. Pivoting often requires charisma and a relationship with the community of people invested in your project: team members, partners and a devoted audience.

Be Ecologically Intelligent

Ecological refers to an understanding of organisms and their ecosystems, and intelligence connotes the capacity to learn from experience and deal effectively with our environment. Ecological Intelligence lets us apply what we learn about how human activity impinges on ecosystems so as to do less harm and once again to live sustainably in our niche, which these days includes the entire planet, as Daniel Goleman explains in Ecological Intelligence.

To tap into this intelligence, we need to get beyond the thinking that puts mankind outside nature; the fact is we live enmeshed in ecological systems and impact them for better or worse -- and they us. All of us need to discover and share among ourselves all the ways this intimate interconnectedness operates, to see the hidden patterns that connect human activity to the larger flow of nature, to understand our true impact on it, and to learn how to do better.

One way to boost our Ecological Intelligence is to become familiar with a wider range of ways to classify and think about impacts from products. Ideally, we want to understand an item's adverse consequences in three interlocking realms:
  1. The geosphere (including soil, air, water and, of course, climate)
  2. The biosphere (our bodies, those of other species and plant life)
  3. The sociosphere (human concerns, such as conditions for workers)
With the advent of methods for radical transparency, what the marketplace offers today may become out of sync with what shoppers will want tomorrow. These new approaches to managing information herald a coming flood of data about the heretofore unnoticed consequences of a host of common ingredients in everyday products. 
Previously successful brands may be in danger of becoming tainted in our minds.

Ecologically intelligent companies will be proactive: businesses will want to be the first to know about epigenetic data (research of which molecules turn what genes on and off), collaborate with suppliers to make shifts, see marketplace feedback as actionable information, and perceive the change as a business opportunity that will bring added value, not just added costs.

Looking at the future, there are literally millions of ways to upgrade our collective ecological footprint. Here, Ecological Intelligence takes the form of rethinking our entire legacy from earlier days, when processes and inventions came online without regard for their impacts. Upgrading this legacy may present the biggest business challenge of the 21st century: We need to reinvent everything, from the most basic platforms in industrial chemistry and manufacturing processes through the entire supply chain and life cycle of products.

Be Gender Intelligent

Women and men may see the same things, but they do so through a completely different set of lenses, very often thinking and talking past each other. This is due to what Barbara Annis and John Grey call "gender blind spots" in Work With Me. These are incorrect assumptions held by both men and women, stereotypic baggage that continues to cause our miscommunications and fuel our misunderstandings.

What we need now is a new level of awareness and attentiveness to each other's needs, a depth of understanding called "Gender Intelligence." Gender Intelligence is an awareness of the intrinsic nature of men and women beyond the physical and cultural. It's an understanding of and appreciation for our differences. It recognizes that gender is a function of both nature and nurture.

Only by understanding the nature of our differences can we then gain the insight into how to nurture, develop and complement our differences instead of denying and suppressing our own uniqueness and that of the other gender.
Men and women often find themselves at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to what they value at work, how they prefer to work, what they expect of others, and what they expect of themselves.

Women most value building alliances, developing relationships, and collaborating toward a common goal while improving processes and people along the way. Women value sharing their leadership and decision making and ensuring everyone is involved. Women place value on improving performance and maximizing productivity.

Men most value achieving results -- from their own efforts and those of others. Men value independent work. 
They're comfortable working in hierarchies and often declare their leadership. Men place value on alignment, momentum and results.

Gender Intelligence is men and women seeing the world through each other's eyes and valuing each other's line of sight.

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