Posts Tagged ‘trust’


It’s About Trust, Stupid!

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Ever since Bill Clinton used the phrase ‘It’s the economy, stupid’ in his successful 1992 campaign for the US Presidency, it has been almost an article of faith that voters will, at the end of the day, elect leaders on the basis of economic self-interest.

Whether or not that was every completely true, recent events in Australian politics point to a new catch-phrase: ‘It’s about Trust, stupid.’ (more…)

Keys to High Performing Teams part 8 – Workplace Conflict Resolution

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Businessman yelling.This is the eighth in a series of Ten Keys to High Performing Teams. This article looks at the role that conflict resolution plays in workplace performance.

Conflict, like change, is inevitable. But it does not have to be destructive. Handled well, conflict can be a driver of innovation leading to better outcomes for everyone. The good news is that if you implement the other Keys to High Performing Teams in this series, you are already avoiding some of the drivers which can make conflict damaging and costly.

But because conflict is usually seen as something negative, painful and destructive, many people and organisations try to live in denial, seeking to avoid open conflict at all costs. This is not a good idea! It leads to even more pain over time as the conflict goes underground spreading its toxic fruits without being given a chance for a positive resolution.  (more…)

Keys to high performing teams part 4 – Good relationships

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

This is the fourth article in a series on 10 keys to high performing teams. You can see the original post here.

The links between productivity and workplace relationships are so obvious they hardly need spelling out. You are much more likely to work hard and go the extra mile for people you care about. You are much more likely to let down people you don’t care about.

Not only that, good relationships are the number one reason for people to remain in their current jobs. A recent poll conducted by the Australian Institute of Management found that ‘good relationships with co-workers’ topped the list of reasons to stay. It was ahead of job satisfaction, flexible working arrangements, great work/life balance, feeling valued by the organisation, or job security. Salary came behind all of these other reasons.

And supportive colleagues can also help prevent lost work time due to stress-related illness. A major survey of 24,000 Canadians found that lack of social support at work more than doubles an employee’s risk of depression—the leading cause of disability worldwide.

So how to you get your team from being colleagues to being friends? Here are a few pointers: (more…)

Gandhi and the politics of blame

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Gandhi's room

Gandhi’s room in Mani Bhavan, Mumbai

The birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, October 2, is a good time to reflect on the theme of leadership and how politics can be a great force for good.

I write as a bitterly divided US congress has led to the first Government shut-down in 17 years with both Democrats and Republicans hoping that the public will blame the other side more than it hurts their own.  And here in Australia we have just had an election which both major parties said would be fought on the question of trust. The result is that the public’s trust in politicians is at an all-time low.

Last February I took part in a Dialogue on Democracy in Panchgani, India. It was the second such conference. Participants came from several countries struggling – often painfully – towards greater participation by citizens in how their countries are run.  We heard people from Syria, Egypt, Burma/Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Tibet express how it sometimes seemed that for every step forward there were two steps back. (more…)

Keys to high performing teams part 3 – Align personal and organisational goals

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Align personal and organisational goals.This is the third in a series of posts exploring 10 keys to getting high performing teams. This one looks at the third key: aligning personal goals with organisational goals.

A recent article in Fast Company magazine made some interesting points about the “onboarding” (orientation for new employees) process and challenged the conventional practice. Currently the emphasis is helping the newcomer understanding the organisation’s practices, values and people, so that they can quickly learn to fit in.

However, drawing on Positive Psychology research, the authors of an academic paper titled Breaking Them In or Eliciting Their Best? found that current practice leads to people performing less than optimally in the job. (more…)

The Daring Greatly Leadership Manifesto

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

From my own learning and observations, one of the biggest barriers to trust in the workplace, and by extension to productivity, is the habits of blame and shame that manifest into toxic blaming and low-trust cultures.

Brené Brown has been doing some pioneering work on understanding the role that shame plays. As well as her excellent TED talk, do yourself a favour and spend an hour looking at an interview she did with Oprah Winfrey.

There is pure gold in that interview.

There is also a link to download several Daring Greatly manifestos, including the Leadershp Manifesto.

This is so in-tune with my work that I share it here. (Click the image to download it as a PDF from Brené Brown’s website)

Daring Greatly Leadership Manifesto

Mike Lowe
Helping individuals and teams get into flow

Keys to high performing teams part 1 – have the right people in the right roles

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Am I the Right Person?This is the first of a promised series of posts exploring 10 keys to getting high performing teams.

This one looks at having the right people in the right jobs.

A key part of this comes at the recruiting stage. Don’t make the mistake that many businesses do and focus on skills and experience. Skills can be easily taught and experience can be gained. It is more important to look things like personality, strengths and values.

Get this right and you will find people who have an intrinsic motivation to work in that role. In other words they will enjoy what they do. That is a powerful drive, and will mean that they are not so dependent on extrinsic motivators – the carrots and sticks of traditional performance management.

I use the Talent Dynamics test to find out in what roles a person is most likely to find their flow. There are other personality profile type tests, such as Myers Briggs (MBTI) DISC and various derivatives of them with different names. Personally I find Talent Dynamics more suited than the others for reasons I go into here. What it will help you find is the person who is most likely to thrive in the role you want them to fill. It’s no use having someone who is a creative big-picture person trying to do repetitive detail-orientated work. Likewise it’s no use having someone who is systems and numbers focused in role where they routinely need to engage with people’s emotions and irrational behaviour. (more…)

Join me for a Candid Conversation

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Join me on 27th August at 9am for a Candid Conversation webinar with Ian Berry on Google Hangouts. We’ll be talking about the relationship between community, good relationships and high performance. You can find more details here.

While you are checking out this page, watch the recording of the last Candid Conversation with Paul Dunn and Paul Lange.

Gandhi and leadership

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
Rajmohan Gandhi (left)

Mike with Rajmohan Gandhi (left)

Back in February I travelled to India to participate in an international conference, Dialogue on Democracy, in Panchgani, Maharashtra. I was last there 27 years ago so it was interesting to reconnect with familiar places and faces and also to see how much had changed.  It was also a chance to reconnect with Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson and biographer of Mahatma Gandhi, and I was fortunate to share a 5-hour taxi ride with him back to Mumbai after the conference finished.

A while back I purchased and started reading Rajmohan’s mammoth biography of his grandfather, but it was only after this visit to India that I was inspired to read it properly.  And after reading it, it was several more months before I felt I had digested it enough to write a review.  Well I have now done that. The review is on Amazon.com, but I also include it below. (more…)

Discover the Other, Discover yourself

Monday, July 1st, 2013
Image: 'Dialogue' by Viennese artist Oskar Kokoshka

‘Dialogues’ by Viennese artist Oskar Kokoschka. From his book ‘The Dreaming Youths’

Discovering the Other goes hand in hand with Discovering Yourself. You cannot have one without the other.

On the one hand, you cannot discover your own identity except, as J Krishnamurti puts it, ‘through the mirror of relationships’. All of us have a self-image which is different from the way other people see us. You might think you are smart while other people see you as a fool – or vice-versa. You might think you are good looking, while others see you as ugly (again, or vice-versa). You might think you are fair and honest while others see you as a selfish schemer. Only by listening to the perspectives of others can we correct the distorted picture we have of ourselves. I’m not saying that other people’s perspectives are any less distorted than your own. But by allowing your own self-image to be challenged by others you can gradually come to a deeper understanding of yourself. (more…)