Labrys Leadership: Communication and Perspective

Some time ago I witnessed an interesting discussion by two former close colleagues. Both had worked as technical specialists in an IT-department of a large organisation. One of them was still working there in this same role, the other one had moved on in the organisation and was now working as an HR Advisor.

They discussed the IT-department’s performance levels. The technical specialist looked concerned when he said that performance levels had gone down the last years, mainly due to the departure of many experienced senior technical specialists.
The HR advisor laughed and told his former coworker that he did not need to be concerned: client satisfaction was at the required level, nobody ever heard of any complaints.

The technical expert was not really relieved by this statement. He continued that a complex incident which had taken maybe two hours to solve in the old times, now took fourteen hours at least. Besides, the department often had to search for external expertise because they did not longer have the required knowledge in their team.
The HR Advisor laughed again and told the technical expert there was really no need to worry at all. As long as the customer was happy, why would they bother? Incidents were always being solved in the end weren’t they?

The technical specialist could no longer hide his frustration. Once again he tried to convince his former colleague of the seriousness of the situation. How was it possible that his former teammate did not understand him? One day they had been proud members of the same team, proud of their ability to solve incidents and problems in short timeframes, causing as little outage time as possible? How could it be that his colleague had lost this pride, this view of their performance?

The situation I witnessed we can see quite often. Roles and positions in organisations are the basis for our individual professional perspective. In different roles, we see different worlds. We see what is important to our role, we value what we see according our goals and responsibilities. Besides, these individual perspectives are influenced by other factors as well, like being a pessimist or an optimist, by cultural backgrounds, or events which occurred earlier that same day, like a not-so-nice discussion with your partner at breakfast… And what’s more, we tend to perceive our perspective of the world as the one and only reality –

In the above discussion the two former colleagues were not able to bridge, to connect their points of view, to recognize each other’s perspective. Consequently, neither of them felt appreciated nor able to influence the other person’s perspective.

As a manager quite often you will have a perspective which significantly differs from the perspective of your employees. If you really want to influence their perspective, for instance in a change project, first take the time to understand how they look at things.
Tip: ask – and then simply keep quiet, however hard it is, just listen. Work with Labrys! Once your coworkers will feel heard, they might start to listen to you as well.

I wish you lots of fun, success, new insights and good results!

Labrys Leadership: Does your Management…

…. make your organisation “tick” – and deliver great results on time?

….deliver the goals you’ve set together – and keep your customers happy?

…. keep up the spirit in the teams – thus creating a great place to work every day?

…. resolve conflicts in and around their teams – saving you the cost of burnouts and employee replacement?

….work with less motivated employees to increase their performance –and take the difficult decision to let someone go if necessary?

….work with development cycles for their team-members, keeping your organisation connected to developments in your areas of expertise?

Does Your Management deliver up to Their Potential?

If you would want to discuss and see if your management could Work with Labrys! learn how to do better, please contact

Jacqueline Mulders
Labrys Training,
or +31 (0)6 123 78 311

Labrys Leadership: It’s a System’s World!

It started with a tiny, almost neglectable pain in the throat the evening before.
The next morning, a Sunday, I felt I should better cancel my dinner with friends. I was due to meet with an important potential customer on Monday, and I did not want to run the risk of falling seriously ill.
Monday morning I woke up and found that my voice had basically gone. For the first time in years a virus had been able to break through my health defence of several 6kms runs every week.

The customer meeting was scheduled at 2, so I decided I had the time for a quick fix. The entire morning when I prepared for the meeting, I drank hot tea with honey to soothe the pain, and, in order to regain my voice, I sucked on a whole lot of black, Swedish licorice pastilles. And definitely, on my way to the meeting I was able to produce some sound.

The meeting was fine, it is never really bad if you are not the one talking most. Having returned home that evening though I found that not only my throat was hurting even more than before, now my stomach was experiencing the consequences of all the licorice I had processed. For several days it remained painfully swollen. The only thing left to digest now was my defeat: I went to bed and stayed there for the next days, without the possibility to support my healing with proper food.

Similar stories can be told about quick fixes in organisations, causing situations which can not be cured in a couple of days.
The trouble with quick fixes is that they almost never only influence the small problem you want to solve. Like the body, an organisation is a whole of interconnected elements, closely interacting with and influencing each other. If you influence one of its parts, unwillingly and unawarely you might cause a chain reaction in another part of the organisation you did not even think of.

Let’s look at a hypothetical cost cutting scenario of sending away one of your organisation’s warehouse guys. The margins have been low and very often you see the team just hanging around without a task to fulfil. The next time though business will go up and you will have a need for high volume fast delivery, warehouse staff will need to run and work too long hours, causing higher cost in overtime and running the risk of serious accidents. In case of late deliveries, customers will start to complain and cause more workload at the customer service desk, which was already overloaded. They might even walk out of you, bringing the revenue and margin down even further.

If you look at not only the problem itself but also at the bigger picture the problem is part of, you might discover other means of optimisation. In the above scenario, you could for instance decide to suggest the most motivated warehouse employee to support the customer service desk when his workload is low.

Many books and articles have been written about System’s Thinking. Work with Labrys! If you want to read more and have a good introduction, I highly recommend Peter Senge’s “Fifth Discipline”.
I wish you lots of fun reading, and many good System’s practices in your organisation!

Labrys Leadership: Celebrate!

Dear friend and former colleague Kees last week sent me this picture. Immediately my thoughts returned to one of the most impressive projects I have been part of: the transition of more than a thousand bank employees to the technology organisation we were working at.

Being part of the HR Transition Team we worked really hard back then, often literally day and night. On the eve of the official transfer date we had managed to complete the main challenges, and the atmosphere in the teams was better than we could have hoped for at the beginning of the project.
So we decided to celebrate!
Dressed up in our party clothes we spent the evening at the office, formally handing over badges and documentation to all our new colleagues. At midnight bottles of champagne were opened and we toasted with our newly joined teams.

This of course was a great happening and definitely a reason to celebrate. Yet, do we always have to wait for such occasion? What about the smaller events, how do we celebrate them if they go well? Do we celebrate?

Celebrations can be held and felt in individuals as well. Let me ask you: what was the last time somebody gave you a compliment? Think back to that occasion and remember the emotion it gave you. How did the world look and feel the rest of the day?
Actually when someone gives me a compliment for a job I worked hard for, I feel on-top-of-the-world. And the funny thing is, I start to look for ways to do my job even better!

So if you are a manager, Work with Labrys! you have the power to initiate this in your team, in your colleagues. If you are able to distinguish and mark the moments people really do a good job, you can make them work even better and have them celebrate their day!

Best wishes for now and enjoy your celebrations!

Labrys Leadership: Leadership Development

It is often stated that our world is in need of better leadership.
Yet, what do we talk about when we talk about leadership?
What is leadership in your organisation about?
Are we looking for leaders who are able to change the course of the world? Visionaries, strategists?
Sometimes we do.
And sometimes, we want leader-managers who understand reality.
Managers who are capable to set goals and support their teams in delivering these goals.
Labrys Training supports both.
Development of individual leadership and development of management.
Besides, Labrys Training facilitates team building and international collaboration.
Based upon solid experience and development models, integrating theory and practice.
Tailored to your specific situation.Work with Labrys!
Contact Jacqueline Mulders at +31 (0)20 699 7418 or +31 (0)6 123 78 311 and find your way to effective training in English, Dutch or Russian.