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On the Brink

On the Brink

What Can We Learn From The Mistakes We Make?

On Feb 12, 2019 6:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Culture Change, business change

 
To err is human!

As we have all experienced (sometimes painfully), mistakes are an essential part of life. They're how we learn and grow and accomplish things.

Consider this: When toddlers are learning to walk, they stand, take a step and fall down. Then they get back up and try again, and again. Before long, they've mastered control of their bodies and they're off, rarely crawling again. This is also how we learn mastery as adults—we try something, fail, learn from it and try again. Just like little kids, this is how we grow.

The Mistake-Learn-Grow Relationship Stays With Us Throughout Our Lives.

Everyone makes mistakes, every single one of us. There's a big difference, however, between those who can learn from their mistakes and those who can't. I would even offer that the secret to success is knowing how to treat mistakes as a foundation for future achievements. The sooner you learn to capitalize upon, rather than avoid, your mistakes, the sooner you'll grasp the crucial knowledge that can be gained from them. Then you can move on to new decisions, and probably new mistakes, which is also at the heart of the fast-growing concept fast failure.

Why Do We Make Mistakes?

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When Was the Last Time You Really Looked at Your Business?

On Apr 12, 2018 8:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Andrea Simon, Change Management, Culture Change, business change, business leadership

When was the last time you looked at your business with fresh eyes? Maybe it is ready for some significant changes? How would you know? How would you make them happen? As we often tell our clients "If you want to change, have a crisis or create one." If not, very little gets done. But the pressures to change are accelerating. People really hate to change. What to do?

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The Time is Right for Businesses to Hire Anthropologists

On Apr 3, 2018 7:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Culture Change, Corporate Anthropology, Corporate Culture, anthropology, business change, business leadership

 Anthropologists seem convinced that no one wants to hire them. With very low unemployment and almost 6 million jobs going unfilled in the U.S. today, shouldn’t highly-skilled, well-trained and capable anthropologists be able to find work of some kind that’s related to their education and interests?

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Why Pay Parity Is Good For Business

On Feb 8, 2018 7:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Culture Change, corporate anthropologist, business change

Did you know that in Iceland, it's the law that men and women must earn the same pay? That's right. Iceland just announced (the first country in the world to do so) that public and private companies must pay men and women in the same positions equally or pay a fine. Wow, what if that could happen here in the U.S.!

As a corporate anthropologist and culture change expert, I thought this warranted a closer look. I started digging into the subject and what I've found is that not only is pay parity timely and necessary and the right thing to do, it's also good for business.

I was asked recently by American Express OPEN Forum for my input in this area, along with several other CEOs and business founders. (Read the article here) Interestingly, we all expressed the same belief: that equal pay is important to the health of a business. Consider these eight points, discussed in the AmEx article:

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How to Dramatically Transform Your Company Culture

On Jan 11, 2018 10:51:39 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Andrea Simon, Culture Change, business change



In a recent blog ("4 Great Ways to Become a More Innovative Company"), I wrote about CEO's and other executives who typically have spent much of their leadership time at the head of a successful ship. But when it comes time to adapt to change, they have a hard time keeping their companies afloat when the market winds shift and they need to rethink strategies to change course. Do they just need to add some innovation? Or do they have to change their company culture?

Maybe a little of both. How does that kind of change actually happen?

Let me tell you a story.

At my consulting firm Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), we've been working with a Fortune 500 company whom I'll call “Client X.” The challenge before us is to figure out how to reconcile, on the one hand, a business that has grown to dominate its market by doing things well in one particular way, with on the other hand, changing customers who are demanding new things from their network of retail outlets. 

Additionally, and almost right on cue, new managers from Generation Y are rising in this company's ranks and proposing new, innovative ways of doing things. A big collision is coming. 

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Are You Becoming a More Vulnerable Leader?

On Jan 11, 2018 7:00:00 AM

/ Andrea Simon

, Andrea Simon, Culture Change, business change

 

Here at SAMC, we are watching a situation in which a business leader is trying to transform an organization that has really been allowed to wallow for a long time. Staff has been coming to work and doing a job but not much has been happening to either inspire or frighten them.

But now, with new leadership and a fast-changing market, they are threatened. While trying to mobilize and motivate his employees, the new CEO is finding that they are throwing up the classic four hurdles of those who know intellectually that they have to change but really don’t know how—or even if they want to.

The four hurdles (and you may have seem them yourself) are: 

  1. The cognitive one where they claim they really don’t know what the leader is talking about.
  2. The motivational excuse where they just really don’t want to put any effort into changing.
  3. The resource resistance where they blame the slow pace of change on not having the resources.
  4. The politico hurdle where they are waiting to see what others are going to do before they risk their own necks embracing the leader’s initiatives. 

The new leadership team is responding with a wonderful mix of business acumen, personal strength and at times, softer concerns. They are showing that they are vulnerable, caring and concerned but also strong and determined to help this organization adapt, or die. Watching this careful dance made us realize that the growing body of research and literature about the success of a vulnerable leader was playing out right before us. 

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