“Harnessing the strength of diversity in businesses involves valuing the perspectives of all your team members, especially those on the front lines of your operations.” – Dr. Andrew Temte
In this episode, I interviewed Dr. Andrew Temte, CFA, former CEO of Kaplan Professional, author of “Balancing Act: Teach, Coach, Mentor, Inspire,” and host of The Balancing Act Podcast, and we talked about enhancing leadership and organizational development in today’s dynamic business landscape. He will reveal key strategies from his book, such as strategies for building trust and accountability within teams, the importance of continuous improvement and customer focus, and the integration of emotional intelligence with technical leadership skills.
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About How Emotional Intelligence Drives Organizational Development:
- The book, “Balanced Business,” provides a step-by-step guide for building successful and sustainable businesses. It’s split into two parts: the first covers strategic essentials and the second dives into practical tools like goal setting and organizational health. It’s a go-to manual for anyone wanting to create and maintain a thriving business in the long run.
- Whether you’re just starting on your own or you are a large company, the book, “Balanced Business,” is tailored to tackle challenges that go beyond the startup phase. It provides valuable insights for businesses with around a hundred employees or those ranging from $25 million to $1.5 billion in scale. The advice is versatile, guiding you through sustained growth and organizational hurdles.
- We are stronger together than alone. Diversity is crucial in business, especially listening to frontline voices often ignored by distant leaders. Being close to the actual work and embracing diverse perspectives leads to better business performance compared to a narrow approach.
- Success in business comes from working together and embracing diversity. It’s crucial to listen to the frontline workers who often get overlooked by top leadership. The real action happens where the work is getting done. Even though it might seem tough to have people who don’t look or talk like you on the team, diverse perspectives lead to greater success. Research backs this up — businesses that welcome diversity and inclusion perform better than those with a narrow focus. So, choose progress over comfort for long-lasting success.
- Smart decision-making is vital in business. Connect decision-making with storytelling, stressing data, and critical thinking. Balance diverse voices and critical thinking for optimal outcomes in group decisions. The approach involves a clear purpose, vision, culture, and focus on learning, forming a foundation for effective decision-making and avoiding chaos.
- In the world of engineering, it’s important to embrace a “seek to understand” mindset. When goals aren’t clearly communicated between departments, it’s easy to misinterpret colleagues’ intentions. Instead of assuming the worst, approach discussions with an open mind. Try to grasp how things work on their side of the business. This approach promotes collaboration and helps improve processes, ultimately benefiting the end goal.
- In the rapid growth phases of a business, challenges crop up, like things naturally breaking down over time (think entropy for engineers). As growth slows, teams might clash, trust erodes, and workflows get messy. The remedy? Embrace clarity and transparency. Standardize goals and processes, fostering a culture where teams trust each other, feel safe to challenge, and focus on continuous improvement. Smooth workflows and clear communication rebuild trust as a business evolves.
- In business, hidden problems and unspoken rules can be stumbling blocks. When a leader points fingers at others, claiming there are no issues in their department, it’s often a sign of internal problems. The reminder here is simple. Pointing a finger means more issues internally. It’s about self-awareness and addressing challenges within before blaming external factors.
- Continuous improvement encounters two common challenges. Firstly, leaders resist adopting these principles, creating a divide within the team. To set an example, leaders must embrace standard work and continuous improvement. Secondly, complexity hampers adoption. Continuous improvement is about cutting waste, respecting people, and focusing on the customer. The key link is respecting people and promoting organizational health through clear communication, transparency, and authentic leadership.
- The traditional approach of learning in college and expecting immediate job readiness is outdated, especially in fast-paced fields like engineering. The key is integrating learning into daily work for continuous skill development. Assuming employees will learn everything off the job is a misconception in today’s dynamic environment. Leaders, especially in engineering, should establish internal mentoring and coaching networks for knowledge transfer and connectivity, boosting retention and cultivating smarter, more productive teams.
- Engineering, like finance, is mostly white and male, creating a diversity problem. The typical four-year college route isn’t accessible to everyone, limiting diversity. We need alternative paths, like apprenticeships straight out of high school, for on-the-job learning. The current system won’t sustain the talent we need in critical fields like engineering, so we must rethink these traditional paths.
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