Communicating in an Increasingly Virtual Work World
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June 21, 2012
Effective communications is the crux of many work challenges, especially in today’s virtual work world. Emails are often written quickly and can be misinterpreted. Ever get caught trying to read between the lines to find the “real” message? And those conference calls seem to stretch on forever. Do you ever try to multi-task only to find you missed key points?
As a professional, you need to be credible, believable and effective when you communicate. You need to be authentic. Your written and spoken messages must be understood and understood correctly. When you are authentic in your communications, others are as well. This is especially vital in work teams and collaborative programs. Authentic communications empowers everyone to play to their strengths and maximize your collective potential.
Collaboration tools are constantly improving, making it easier for people to bond even though they are not face-to-face. But it’s hard to be authentic if you aren’t aware of your genuine communication style.
This workshop will help you understand your communication style across four key spectrums:
- Thought process: Are you an analytical or conceptual thinker?
- Information organization: Do you take a deductive or inductive approach?
- Expression: Are you more introverted or extraverted?
- Discussion structure: Are you a linear or non-linear storyteller?
Listen and learn about your style—and those of others—and you’ll communicate more effectively, reach agreement faster and work better together.
Monster would like to thank both Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese for presenting this webinar.
Vice President of Corporate Positioning, Cisco
As the vice president of corporate positioning, Ron has spent the last decade helping Cisco develop and nurture a culture of sharing and collaborative processes. In addition, he has spent countless hours with hundreds of different organizations discussing the impact of collaboration. He is also the co-author of the business best-seller Momentum: How Companies Become Unstoppable Market Forces (Harvard Business School Press, 2002).
Senior Vice President, Global Collaboration Sales, Cisco
Carl Wiese is senior vice president of Cisco’s collaboration sales—a multi-billion global business. He has presented on the importance of collaboration to business audiences in dozens of countries, including Australia, China, Dubai, India, Mexico and all across Europe and the United States. With more than 25 years of sales, marketing, services and product-management experience with Cisco, Apple, Lucent, Avaya and Texas Instruments, Wiese has spent his career working with companies worldwide to advance their business goals with technology.
Webinar Transcript: Communicating in an Increasingly Virtual Work World
Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Randi Alterman, a marketing director at Monster. I'd like to thank you for joining us today for this exclusive webinar, hosted by Monster Intelligence. Today's webinar title is "Communicating in an Increasingly Virtual Work World."
Today we're joined by Mr. Ron Ricci, vice president of Corporate Positioning for Cisco, and Carl Wiese, senior vice president of Global Collaboration Sales for Cisco. And, ladies and gentleman, we'll discuss how you can communicate more effectively, reach agreements faster, and work better together.
Before we get started, I just have a few housekeeping items I'd like to mention. We are recorded in this session, and the presentation and a copy of today's recording will be posted, on hiring.monster.com, within two to three days. Just click on the Resources tab, and go to HR Events. All participants will receive an email with a direct link to today's materials. Monster Intelligence provides insight to help HR professionals improve their recruiting success, accelerate worker performance, and retain top talent. We analyze and collect data from more than four million unique job searches that are performed each and every day, on monster.com. We invite you to visit hiring.monster.com and read some of our other in-depth reports and analyses, all located under the Resources tab.
Time will be available after today's presentation for questions and answers, and our meeting manager will help facilitate that Q&A. Please feel free at any time to type your questions into the available space during the event, and we'll try to include them in the Q&A session. Additionally, if you aren't getting your audio through the telephone, you will be placed on mute until the Q&A session begins.
All right, I'd now like to introduce today's speakers. Mr. Ron Ricci is vice president of Corporate Positioning for Cisco. In his role, Mr. Ricci has spent the last decade helping Cisco develop and nurture a culture of sharing and collaborative processes. In addition, he has spent countless hours with hundreds of different organizations, discussing the impact of collaboration. He is also the co-author of the business bestseller "Momentum: How Companies Become Unstoppable Market Forces", produced by the Harvard Business School Press.
In addition, we are joined by Carl Wiese, who's the senior vice president of Cisco's Global Collaboration Sales, a multi-billion-dollar global business. He has presented on the importance of collaboration to business audiences in dozens of countries, including Australia, China, India, Mexico, and all across Europe, and the United States. With more than 25 years of sales, marketing, services, and production management experience with: Cisco, Apple, Lucian, and Texas Instruments – Mr. Wiese has spent his career working with companies worldwide to advance their business goals with technology.
Gentlemen, I turn the webinar over to you.
Great, Randi. Thank you very much. This is Carl Wiese, and I'm joined by Ron. Randi, I want to thank you for that great introduction. What it really tells me is that I'm getting older, I think, in terms of all the things that Ron and I have done. So, I want to welcome all the attendees today. It's our pleasure to spend some time with you. And I like to say, good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, depending where you are. In this virtual world, we just never know where people are joining from, and that's one of the great things about the technology. So, Ron and I will go back and forth during this session today, and we hope you find it, very, very, beneficial.
So let's start in terms of why collaboration? Why is this a topic that's becoming kind of a first order of priorities, for governments and countries around the world? And at Cisco, Ron and I are very fortunate in the fact that we get the opportunity to speak to literally hundreds of customers, on an annual basis, to really understand what is top of mind for them. We hear that the need for collaboration is really being driven by three key things.
First and foremost, competition comes from anywhere, and everywhere. When you think about it, the basest entries are lower than ever before. You cannot predict where the next market entry will come from. It could be a start-up in Asia. It could be somebody in the Middle East, in Europe. Or it could be somebody from a completely different market, disrupting your industry like you've never seen before.
Second, companies have to focus on their core competencies, and partner to do everything else. When you think about it, it wasn't that long ago, that mantra of philosophy was, "vertically integrated is good." However, I think we're starting to take a different lens in terms of this principle. And today what I'm hearing more and more from clients I talk to, is they really need to focus, on what their unique differentiation is, and partner for the rest. This whole notion of core versus context is really coming back into vogue. Narrow your focus on what you do best. Drive operational excellence with your partners to do everything else. And third, open systems change the game like never before.
When you think about it, we take the Internet for granted, and it really wasn't that long ago that it didn't exist. In my mind, the Internet is the most disruptive force in the history of business. Just think about a decade ago. We had things like: e-commerce, online financial services, supply chains, self-automation. We take all these for granted that exist today, but literally, they're just slightly more than a decade old. And I would suggest to you that we're in the very early stages of the next technology evolution, if not a revolution. And that's how collaboration could differentiate you in the marketplace.
When we think about it, the technology is really the next step of this. In our minds, there are four mega-trends that are going to alter everything we do, and those are the ones around video, virtual, mobile, and social. You might be thinking today, "Aren't we already collaborating?" I would say we're certainly spending a lot of time communicating; but you can argue, we're not collaborating. You see when you think about it, true collaboration is much more than sending emails, SMS text messages, and joining audio conferences. Increasingly, when you think about collaboration, it's about bringing various contributors together, what I would call in a broader flash kind of community. Small groups of people coming together, to start a task, and they just abandon it as fast as they start it. When we think about it, these people come from various different geographies, different social backgrounds, and have different communication styles and accountabilities, and we have to account for that more and more every day.
One of the trends we're starting to see a lot … it used to be this collaboration was just inside our organization, inside the firewall, if you will. More and more today we're starting to communicate with our customers, our suppliers, and our partners, and bringing them into this overall collaboration event. With effective collaboration, people are empowered by this new organization of culture, and they promote sharing ideas and resources like never before. When we think about the real power of collaboration, there are three things that have to be in harmony: culture, technology, and process. Only when you get those three things working together do you get the true value of collaboration. I'll spend just a minute or two on each one of the things in terms of, as Ron and I see it, culture, technology, and process.
Culture is something Ron is very familiar with, and he'll talk a lot about that in his session. But really, first, the people within the organization, and the norms in which they operate, when we think about it, it's about how employees trust each other to share information. Do they do that openly, or do they hoard information? Do they communicate often, and openly? Or silently, in the back door? Do they tap all the specialized knowledge in the organization? Do they even know where that organization knowledge resides in most companies? Are they aligned for shared goals or individual goals? All those things come together to create the culture, and more importantly are very powerful in terms of the positive or negative impacts of collaboration.
When we think about process, that really refers to how we get work done. When it comes to collaboration, the most important processes are those that involve interactions between people. In real time, when I need to make a decision, I need to communicate and collaborate to make a decision. That's really where collaboration and process meet, and finally technology. Most people in this call are probably thinking, "Why are two guys at Cisco talking about culture and process?" It's because when you combine with technology, magic happens. The technology refers to tools that connect distributed and global teams. When we think about this space, the pace of innovation has never been faster. It's remarkable in terms of the tools we have at our disposal today, but technology alone will not get the job done. You must link it to your business objectives, and in line with culture and technology. When you do that, and only when you do that, you really see the power and the benefit of collaboration.
Now I mentioned earlier, we see four major trends that are going to form the new face of communication and collaboration in going forward. It's how we really divide in terms of this conversation. I'll touch base on these four things, briefly.
First is video. When you look around you, video solutions are popping up everywhere. It is really becoming, very rarely we have a conversation without video. From the boardroom, to the desktop, to the home, to mobile devices, Rich media experiences collapse time and space. They allow you to build trust in your colleagues, like never before; colleagues oceans apart can now become very virtually connected.
The second one of these is virtual. The virtual experience provides the ultimate in flexibility. I like to say, "Work is no longer what you do, or where you go." In fact, now where you work is irrelevant at this point in time. An office today is really not meaningful for most employees, when you think about it. The virtualized technology enables remote order experience to deliver collaboration transparently, to any user, any device. And I would suggest today, we probably had people join using: PCs, Macintoshes, and iPads, and other mobile devices around the world in different environments – from their home office, from their work office, from a hotel room, on the road. My guess, we have all those today on the broadcast.
Third is mobile, and this is probably the one that's adapting fastest in terms of change. Gartner predicts that by 2013, PCs and smartphones will actually be overtaken, in terms of the new face of how people access technology and information. Expect mobile application as the critical component for your collaboration strategy going forward. You cannot assume people will be desk-bound, in this collaborative environment, in today's world. And the last one is social. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms have changed the way we interact, both in our professional and personal lives, forever. Social media is shifting how we communicate and collaborate, both inside and outside the workforce.
Now that I said the context in terms of why these things are important in the enterprise, I'll turn it over to Ron to talk about the next stage of the conversation. Ron?
Thank you Carl, and let me add my welcome and thanks to all of you who are joining us here for today's session.
We're excited to have the opportunity to have this conversation with you, and we look forward to your comments and questions later. Carl, thank you for that great set-up. I think you really established the trends that are affecting virtually all the organizations in the world and how they have to compete and embattle for success in the marketplace. We know that when you look at this new face of communication that you described, one of the most important things is to ask ourselves the question, how do we help these flash teams be successful?
We know teams are now coming together rapidly to attack market opportunities. Often those teams come together, and we don't even know who's on the team. They're brand new to us. We may never have met them before in our organization. And in fact, maybe they don't even work for our organization. They may be part of our partner ecosystem, or some consultants, or other aspects of how we bring together our value proposition as organizations. And again, it's an environment where maybe you don't know everybody, you've never seen them, and now you're getting to know them for the first time. The question is, in this virtual world, how do you build trust rapidly?
Now, in the book Carl and I have just published, "The Collaboration Imperative," there are multiple techniques we've given that we've experienced, in how you build trust on teams. But perhaps nothing is more important than how the leaders show up during these new video, virtual, mobile, and social-based ways of working together. What we want to do today is to share with you our experiences about how to be successful in showing up as leaders in this increasingly virtual work world. To us, this is already seen and experienced in the world as a challenge.
Just a couple of quick statistics. An economist intelligence unit study has shown that business leaders believe overwhelmingly that misunderstandings between and among people is what keeps their organizations from moving fast. This was the highest-rated on Datapoint, about what keeps organizations from moving fast, in this study. And I think it really punctuates the opportunity, to find better and more effective ways to communicate, in these virtual opportunities. Not only are misunderstandings creating challenges for organizations, they're also leaving a lot on the table. Again in the same study, 90 percent of those who were surveyed said improvements to cross border communication, would drive profit, revenue, and market share, for their organizations. So the question would be, to all of us here is, well, how do you do that? How do you more effectively communicate in an increasingly virtual world? We want to share with you today, our view about how to do that.
The center of gravity for this conversation is all about being authentic. And how do you create authentic communication in order to create effective collaboration? In order to do that, the most important lesson that we've learned about being an authentic communicator is to be self-aware of who you are as a communicator. In looking at the research and the experiences we've had, authenticity come from being self-aware of the two dimensions that make up how you communicate, the way your brain is wired, and how your thought process works. The second is how you like to express yourself. What is the nature through which you are comfortable at communicating about yourself? If you are self-aware of your thought process, and the way you like to express yourself, you can use that as a powerful strength, to both better communicate who you are in your point of view – but also to bridge to different styles, in how you may be working with other people. And so today, we want to give everyone here, if we can, three homework assignments, to help you be the most authentic communicator in this increasingly virtual world.
The first homework assignment is to know yourself. Now inside Cisco, we have built this model, and we have released it over the last year to the public marketplace. This is the model that we built with Oregon State University, and I want to let you know that more than 20,000 people to date have taken the self-assessment underlying this model. More than 98 percent of them believe it's accurate to who they are. And it not only provides science to the way with which you may be able to look at yourself as a communicator. But I always believe that, most importantly, it provides a simple common vocabulary for you to communicate to your team, and those virtual team members, about who you are and how you like to communicate.
Now what I want to do is to walk through this model. First, everyone has a thought process. That thought process starts with how your mind processes information. If you talk to people who study human brains, they'll tell you about 50 percent of the people on this call are conceptual, and the other 50 percent are analytical. When I go through later how to take advantage of understanding this self-awareness, you'll see these two personality styles could not be more different. If you look at moving from conceptual and analytical, each of us not only processes information, but also organizes information in our mind in a certain way. Some of us on this call are very deductive; we like to start with the answer. Others on this call are very inductive; they like to know the process that drove the answer. Again, if you're very self-aware of your style, you can maximize the potential to play to your strengths but also recognize the differences in the people across the table from you. So the first homework assignment is know yourself and how your mind processes information. The self-assessment will help you understand, who you are.
In addition to knowing the way you're wired and the way your brain works, it's also critical to know how you like to communicate, how you like to express yourself. Some of you in this virtual room are extroverted. Some of you are introverted. If you're introverted, I'd like to ask you to raise your hand right now. I did that on purpose because all those extroverts out there need to give the introverts a round of applause for having the courage to declare who they are. But imagine just how important that is in the real world if you didn't know it. And then finally, some of you on this call are linear. You connect the dots in a very prescriptive way. Others of you are very non-linear, and you often get about a story in a roundabout way. But if you look at these, each one of these eight attributes really represents ways to understand yourself and to help you bridge and communicate to teams, where you might not always know who they are, or where they're from.
Now I want to say two things about the science behind this before I move on. The first is, it's not good or bad to be any of these. It's actually most important to know which one you are. Analytical is not better than conceptual. Extrovert is not better than introvert. What's most important is to know who you are. So, it's just like a Myers-Briggs self-assessment. Don't try to game the answer to what you'd like to be. Take the answers that are most likely to be genuinely who you are. The second thing that I'll say about these attributes; they're not binary. It's not like you only have one, and none of the other. I'll share in a bit my assessment; I'm very conceptual, but it doesn't mean I don't know how to act. We all have a little bit of both of these in us, and the folks who study brains will tell you; it's that you have a bias toward one or the other. And if you know that bias, that's what sets up the opportunity, to take that step to help others understand who you are.
Now when you take this, the self-assessment is at this link, here. You'll have an opportunity to click through this later, of course. But here's what happens when you get that self-assessment. It helps you understand, really, at a profile level, who you are. And here's the assessment of both Carl and myself. You can see with the exception of being introverts, we're quite different from each other. Carl, it's a miracle that you've been able to hang with me this long. But I wonder. Carl, as you go through this, you not only get this profile, but you also get a tool to help you understand how to play, and maximize your strengths. I guess, Carl, I'd ask you: Do you think this is an accurate representation of who you are?
Absolutely, no question. I think the others around me would concur. And I wonder —
Now that you know this about yourself, how has it changed the way you work with your teammates? Have you done anything differently? How has it helped your teammates understand how to be more effective at working with you? Now that they know you're: analytical, inductive, introverted, and linear?
I think, Ron, there's really two parts, and one's kind of for me, when I'm communicating. And the other is, in terms of, in other settings. Let me explain. In the first one, knowing that this is how I operate, and knowing these other people are different, like you, for example, in terms of your style, I need to be aware, in terms of how I'm communicating, in terms of what my style is. So I cannot just be worried about my style. I need to be worried about others, and how they're receiving what I'm talking about. So it's not just about you, it's about with others. The second part of this, Ron, that I think is very interesting is when you start really thinking through this — if you think of one or two questions when you start to get an audience — you can try to determine what people you're speaking to, what style they are. Why that's important is, you can try to tailor the message, based upon the style, to what they want to hear. How much detail, how much higher level, how linear, how much storytelling? And it's helped me understand a little bit in terms of who I'm communicating to, and how I should twist the message or tweak the message a little bit, just for them.
I think that Carl, as a linear storyteller, I want to give you credit for showing a lot of flexibility in how you look at the way you go and attack the market. But I think if you didn't have this self-awareness, you probably wouldn't be able to do that, and so my hat's off to you for being flexible. This is the value of this model team. It helps you understand who you are, and it gives you a very simple vocabulary that allows you to manage not only your story, but the way that you connect with others through that story. So thank you, Carl, for sharing a little bit about yourself there. Very much appreciate it.
So the first homework assignment for everyone on this call is take the self-assessment. Have an understanding of who you are, just the way Carl articulated that. Because it's the basis of the second assignment that we want to make sure that each of you does. And that next assignment really is to tell people how you make decisions. I am convinced that 90 percent of conflict in business is actually not intentional. It happens because people don't understand their difference, and the way in which they make decisions. If you want to energize your team and eliminate conflict, maybe even eliminate passive-aggressive behaviors, I believe the most important thing you can do is to tell people how you make decisions. In the era of business that we're just coming out of — -pre-Internet, as Carl said earlier – in a command and control world, information was power. People kept information to themselves. In this new world where adaptability and speed of execution through these flash teams has to happen, the best way to provide lubrication to make those experiences work, is to do the opposite of information is power. Tell people who you are and how you make decisions. So let's walk through this model, so we can see how you can put it to work in your teams.
So, if you're conceptual, it's very important to tell people that you make decisions on the basis of ideas. You should tell people that you like ideas, as a decision-making style. If you're analytical, it's very important to tell your team mates that you like facts, that you make decisions on the basis of, logic, and facts, and numbers. Think about how important it is for Carl and me to know these differences between us, so we know how to get things done affectively. Carl knows that sometimes I go off the reservation with ideas. And what he typically does with me, it brings it back to what's the result we're trying to get done. Our ability to understand each other and work together that way has allowed us to bridge our styles and make one plus one actually be more like five. If we didn't know that about each other, we might actually start working at cross purposes.
So the first and most important thing is, tell people whether you like ideas, or whether you like facts, and the ways with which you make decisions. In addition to that, if you're deductive, it's super important to tell people that you need to know the answer first, before you can begin to process how people got to that answer. I will just say that typically the more senior someone is in an organization, the more deductive you have to be. Someone who's inductive like the chief operating officer of Cisco, they want to know what the process is that got to that answer. So if you're the type of person who's inductive, you don't want to just accept the answer. You need to know how that answer was created. So tell people that you want them to share the process, as you go through any situation where you're trying to make a decision. When you're looking at your thought process, here are four ideas to help you more effectively communicate your decision-making style to other people.
In addition to your thought process, many of you have to tell people how you like to express yourself. If you're an extrovert, let people know that your decision-making style is probably about getting the team together so that you can take your extroverted nature — where you get your energy from being around people — and help that become part of the process for driving a good decision-making process for your team. If you're introverted, or you work with introverted people, understand that with people like Carl and I, who are both introverted, many times in order to feel good about a decision, we have to go off and do some thinking. We have to process the information in our own inner imagination and brain, because that's what introverts do.
But what if you didn't know that about us? You might think we're being selfish, or trying to do things just by ourselves. We're not. Introverts need to process on their own, and when they do it that way, they feel much more effective about why and how they're getting work done. Then finally, if you're linear, tell people that you like to follow steps, that you're prescriptive, that you want a very succinct agenda, versus someone who's non-linear, who might be interested in taking a journey with the people they're around. Each one of these simple statements, imagine how powerful they could be if the teams you're working on in this virtual world that Carl described — with teammates you don't know, maybe from people around the world with different cultures and different ways of making decisions — how powerful it would be if everybody knew how you made decisions. These are some things to think about. In the self-assessment, you get some more robust materials that cover how to imagine the way with which you share your decision-making style with other people.
So we said there would be three homework assignments for all of you. The first would be to know yourself. The second would be to tell people how you make decisions. And the third would be to know when and how to bridge styles, for people who are different from you. What we have found is that the two most important dimensions on this model to pay attention to in order to very, very rapidly understand who somebody else is when you're interacting with them, usually someone is either analytical or conceptual, the dominant way in which their brain is wired – and their expressive self tends to be extroverted or introverted. And in each one of these, there's a style.
An extroverted analytical individual likes to be in charge. If you were thinking about a CEO who's like this, someone who I've known and worked with, this would be a Jack Welch type of leader, someone who likes to be in charge of the situation. Someone who is a conceptual extrovert, that's John Chambers. These are people who like to get things done. If you are introverted and conceptual; this is someone who likes to influence behind the scenes. This is someone like Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google. And then, someone who is analytical and introverted, who likes to chart the course from behind the scenes, this is our very own chief operating officer at Cisco, Gary Moore.
And the question is how can you rapidly understand who these people are? Understand and recognize through those cues, their styles, so that you can bridge to them? And what I want to share with you is some of the material that you can find in the Collaboration Imperative book, that allow you to both take your understanding of yourself, and match it, and marry it, and bridge it to styles that might be different from yours. In each one of these styles, and in the book, you can find very specific role-playing exercises in order to take advantage of this.
But you should understand, and have your sensory perceptions up high, to understand — what is the comfort zone of someone who likes to be in charge? When someone's an extroverted analytical, how do they find their level of comfort? These are people who are very comfortable talking about getting results and getting things done. And you can tell they're this type of person because they have delivery queues, they tend to be very confident, very quick and very forceful, and they have content cues. They tend to have direct, accurate, and factual information, and they have a bias toward action. The question is how do you bridge to this style? If you're an introverted conceptual individual, you're going to have to be self-aware that you need to get to the point quickly. This is the kind of background information and different style information that you'll find in the book to help you make these types of bridge styles, to the extroverted analytical leader.
In addition to that leader, you may find yourself with the extroverted conceptual leader. Carl, this is our very own John Chambers. And you know this — his comfort zone is talking about ideas, vision, and strategy. You know he's an extroverted conceptual person, because his delivery cues are very enthusiastic, very outgoing, and sometimes spontaneous. But the content really tells you that he's conceptual, because he's very focused on the big picture, the big ideas. And this is the type of person who does not want to get bogged down with detail.
So what happens if you're an analytical individual talking to this individual or you need to influence them? It's a quite different conversation to bridge. You have to understand how to keep up with their conversational pace. They're likely to be focused more on the big pictures and less on the details. But again, if you understand the cues, the content, and the delivery cues, you can grasp how you need to bridge to their style and go back and forth to maximize the opportunities, to be able to influence and directly connect with this individual.
If someone is analytical and introverted this is the type of individual who's very comfortable talking about plans, process, and details. You'll see the cues there. They're often reserved. They often speak in very factual, succinct, and specific terms. Their style of how they look at content is very methodical, very organized. They're very well-prepared as individuals, because they tend to be the types who are very focused in on details. But what if you're an extroverted, conceptual person who loves talking about ideas? This individual is not going to get as excited as you are about ideas. They're going to want to know, what are the facts? What are the details? What are the specific ways with which you can understand how to get things done? What's important is that you can't, if you're, say, conceptually extroverted, you can't come at this person at a pace that is so fast that they can't keep up with you. You have to learn to pace yourself to their ability to consume information. It's very important to understand that difference.
And finally, it's important to really understand the conceptual introvert. And this is me, in that I'm the type of person who likes to influence behind the scenes. I'm very comfortable talking about theories, and strategies, and concepts — I hope I'm calm, Carl — and have somewhat of a demeanor that is very focused on making sure I'm not putting myself in front of ideas. And my content tends to be about ideas. And I share, and very much, about things that are happening in the future. So my delivery cues suggest that I'm an introvert and I like ideas.
But again, if you're going to bridge to me, as an extrovert, for example, you have to bridge to me in a very different way. I want to first get to know you. I prefer a one-on-one meeting. If you want to influence someone like this, it's unlikely that you're going to build a relationship giving them a presentation. You will bridge to them by building a one-to-one relationship and having an ability to connect with them that way. And one of the most important things you need to do is to give people like this the opportunity to think about the ideas and recommendations that you have. So, bridging is the third key area that I want to encourage everybody to take some time to really understand how they are able to connect with people through this model.
So, Carl, as we get ready to transition to a summary, from my view, the three areas that are critical for everyone on this call to be successful at doing, if they want to communicate in this virtual world is, one, know yourself; two, tell people how you make decisions; and three, know how to bridge the styles from people who are different from you. When you put all those together, I'm convinced that the trends of being, mobile, social, virtual, and video, are going to be able to turbo-charge the way teams work together, and are able to achieve results faster but without that human friction that sometimes comes with it. And so we think this is a critical part of what it means to be successful in communicating in an increasingly virtual world. When you look at all that, it does come down to where you get more insight, and how you can put this to work. So, Carl.
Great. Thank you, Ron. I hope everybody understands now, maybe a little bit more around how to communicate in this virtual world that we live in. And then, really more importantly, how people's styles are really different. One style is not a life for everybody, and then really, as Ron has outlined, it's not only understanding, but adapting to communication. The authentic communicator information that Ron put forward is you're the foundation for one of the chapters in The Collaboration Imperative, the business book Ron and I just released a few months ago.
In that book we also cover other topics around culture, process, and technologies, and then answer questions that come up very frequently. Things like how to establish a common vocabulary across the organization, and how to build team trust; two very important steps to make a collaborative culture come to life in an organization. How do you stop wasting time in meetings? A whole chapter focused on the collaborative process of meetings. How do you find and use the right technology? And where can technology make the biggest impact inside the organization? And, of course, inside the book, one of the best things we have is filled with case studies submitted to customers that Ron and I have spent a lot of time with — leading companies like GE, Duke University, Best Buy, and many, many others.
So if you're interested in learning more, you can certainly find the book Ron and I wrote, at amazon.com, as well on iTunes. And you can certainly check out the webpage as well, which is on the slide that you see in front of you. So that's all for Ron and I. I'll turn it back to Randi now, to handle any Q&As the audience might have.
Gentleman, thank you so much. That was great. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and knowledge with us today. I'm going to ask our operator to give some instructions, in case folks have questions who are on the telephone lines.
Thank you. Ladies and gentleman, if you would like to register a question, please press the "1" followed by the "4" on your telephone. You will hear a three-tone prompt to acknowledge your request. Your line will then be accessed from the conference, to obtain information. If you are using a speakerphone, please lift your handset before entering your request. And while we wait for questions that come over the telephone line, let me also start with some questions that have come in through our WebEx, and through some type chat. The first question talks about, "Does this type of system work with global teams? Or how could I use this type of information, to help bridge international differences?"
Hi, this is Ron. Let me take a first shot at that, and then Carl, if you want to tag onto it, as you've travelled extensively around the world. What I have found in my experience is that we have used this capability globally inside Cisco. And the concepts look relatively universal, in the way in which people's brains are wired, in the way in which they like to express themselves. So certainly, when you look at it, I think in the ways in which individuals are assessing themselves — the feedback we've gotten is that this is globally applicable, in the sense of understanding how people's brains are wired — and how they can take advantage of that understanding, to communicate more effectively.
I will add — and I'm sure, Carl, you have some perspective on this — that there are certain cultures around the world that respect hierarchy in different ways than other cultures. So there are some slight differences I have found in very hierarchical cultures, where even extroverts sometimes have reserved opinions, about how they should communicate. So the only thing that I would say that I've observed is a little bit different in how this works is in places where there's a strong orientation toward hierarchy. In those places, you may find a more reserved setting of people, in how they want to communicate. But generally speaking, we have a global footprint for the 20,000 people who've taken the self-assessment; the trends are pretty consistent around the world between conceptual and analytical, and introvert and extrovert. There's just that small asterisk where sometimes in certain countries around the world, there are a few biases toward hierarchy. Carl, I don't know what you would add to that.
Yeah. Ron, I would just add on a couple things. You're spot on in terms of that it's really more around the cultural norms, and to that extent, here's what I'd say. I don't think the model changes, but what happens is as follows: When I know I'm in those kinds of cultures, that respect the hierarchy and things of that nature, I don't spend a lot of time trying to analyze and do the bridging because while you may try to spend too much time, that may not be how the person wants to hear or understand. You're trying to adapt to something that really is not needed. It's because of a culture issue, not how their brain is wired. What I also found out is, sometimes people in a one-on-one setting in those cultures are different in a group setting. And they're certainly different in a social setting than they are in the office. So just be aware in those terms, in those areas, there may be some differences in terms of the audience. They may actually adapt themselves in those cultural norms, based upon the setting. But you're absolutely right, Ron. I would say the vast majority of the global world, it is spot on, and is very, very useful.
Let me ask the operator if we have any questions over the phone lines. We do have a question on the line from Kim Chan. Please go ahead.
Will these slides be available online at a different link, because I was unable to access the webinar?
Hi, this is Randi from Monster. So that one I can answer, gentlemen, and the slides will be available. After this webinar, everyone will receive a direct link in a couple of business days, to these materials. We have recorded the webinar, and the presentation, as well as the recording, will be available. You'll be able to get it from hiring.monster.com, under the Resource center, and go to HR Events. We will send a direct link though to today's material, so you'll be able to get those.
We do not have any other questions registered at this time. But as a reminder, if you would like to register for a question, press the "1" followed by the "4."
I'm going to keep going to some of the questions that have been typed in. We have someone who said, "I'm listening to the webinar from Alaska today. Thank you for giving us your time. Does the Collaborative Imperative assessment cost anything to take? And would you recommend the assessment for all employees? Or mostly just for managers and executives of a firm?"
It does not cost anything. Well, first of all, greetings from Alaska. I just want to say that someday I hope to go salmon fishing there. Having said that, it absolutely doesn't cost anything. It is something that we offer as a free service. There is a link to that assessment that I'll just put up here again so that you can see it, there. If you go to this URL, the assessment will be there, and it is available for you at no charge. I personally believe that that, in my experience, this is something your whole team should do. I think that as leaders and managers, you absolutely must do it so you can declare your decision-making style. But I also believe that if you have an appreciation for the differences across the entire team, it can really allow you to turbo-charge the way you work together.
You know, if I may say this, Randi and Carl, when an entire team knows the styles of everyone on the team, it's not just about working more effectively together. It can also change the dynamic of how you hold meetings together. And if you look at and imagine professionals, we spend perhaps more time in meetings sometimes during the day than we do with our own families. And oftentimes we have meetings where, the content and the presenters need to be aligned and structured. And so, in addition to understanding who you are, and knowing how to declare your style – it's also an opportunity to look across your team and say, "Who should be leading the meetings that we need to put on?" And this is one of the key additional insights you'll find in this URL.
And, Carl mentioned earlier, we also have some meeting styles that allow you to know how to use people's innate strength in certain meetings. For example, if you are a conceptual extrovert, you're probably a really good individual to lead a visioning meeting — a session that's about the brainstorm of the future of an organization. If you are an analytical linear introverted person, you're probably the best person to lead an operation's review on the performance of a particular business or organization. I will say, in addition to the self-assessment, there are also some materials on that same site that help you to understand, what kinds of meetings do teams have? And then, how do you match styles to those types of meetings? I think, frankly, that's a double whammy for productivity. You put the right person in charge of the right meeting.
That's so resonate. I could so picture people I work with, gentlemen, which just fit right into those categories. I'll go back to our questions, though. Here we go. We have one that says, "We've been working globally over five years, but have found that real-time communications have been very difficult to sync ideas, as they're different time zones. Someone is fresh in the morning, but its afternoon in the other time zone, before closing work. So we found that asynchronous communications is sometimes better than real time. What do you think? Is there a way to overcome that time zone gap in communication?"
This is Carl. I'll start, and, Ron, if you want to chime in, that'd be great. First of all, I would confirm that there is a need for both synchronous and asynchronous communication. I don't think it's one or the other; it's both, and you use them for different reasons. Now to address your question in terms of the global nature, because we all live more and more in a global environment, I would suggest two things. Number one is, there is value, and sometimes we have to understand that there are trade-offs to really work in a global environment.
I was just with a customer last week who has offices expanding dramatically in Asia, and they're also headquartered in New York. And he had this concept of 36-hour day. Meaning, once a week, both teams have to actually sacrifice in terms of when they come in, because it's critical for them to work around the clock and have their architectural firm on the same programs. And so, at 10 o'clock at night in New York — typically it's roughly mid-morning somewhere in Asia — they spend an hour transitioning work for the week. So it's once a week they have to go through that process.
The second thing I would say is, you talk about this global fatigue. And this is something we live inside Cisco dramatically, because we're certainly a global company.
You have to not be headquarters-centric. We happen to be based in California. You cannot have all your meetings at 10 o'clock in the morning California time and expect everybody in the world to adapt to your time zone. So what we do quite frequently is we alternate time zones. For example, if we have a bi-monthly meeting, we may actually have one that's California time in the morning. And the next time we'll actually do it in Asia in their morning, and we'll be up at night. So, you have to give and take in that environment, and there's no difference in terms of asynchronous or synchronous. You have to collaborate, and you have to communicate, I believe, face to face via video, and in real time. And we have to kind of trade off in terms of the boundaries, of how we're going to communicate, so just a couple a thoughts from my end.
Carl, the other thing that I'd add to what you said is that I think the question's an outstanding one. Because I think the reality of it is, we live in an asynchronous and synchronous world. And one thing I would just add to that is I think it's important for us to imagine a different workspace for the future. I think in lot of workspaces, we are oriented around email, for example, and that is not a very good synchronous/asynchronous tool in order to bring teams together in a virtual world.
So inside Cisco for example, we really believe enterprise social software is going to create the same kind of environment that you might find in Facebook — that actually is, Facebook is synchronous and asynchronous, irrelevant. It's just there. And we believe that the ability to connect synchronous and asynchronous communication is going to happen through enterprise social software that's going to allow communities to exist around these teams. And through video, and through different forms of communication – whether that be written, or audio, or video – is going to create places and spaces, where the two worlds can exist, but exist in an ongoing virtual way.
We have another question here that talks about skill sets. It says, "When I create a work team, I look at skill sets. What else should I look for to create a team that will work well together?"
Well, you know, I'll take a first shot at that — and Carl, you certainly run and manage a team, so I'm sure you have some perspectives as well. You know, skills, I believe, is only one dimension of building a good diverse team. And I think it's of course, obviously, very critical to have the right technical skills, in whatever areas are going to be important to your business. But I think it's really important to understand these types of dimensions that we've talked about today — about how people think especially, and how people communicate and express themselves — because it's a dimension of diversity that I think makes a team stronger. A team over-rotated on analytical thinkers may have limitations on the imagination of the team. Teams over-rotated on conceptual thinkers, frankly, may not know how to get things done.
I believe that a good team is not just going to look at skills, but look at the way in which people bring their whole self to work and to the teams that they're on, through the diversity of different perspectives and styles. And so I think for me, when I try to build a team, I'm trying to make sure that I not only have the right diversity of thinking on the team. But I want to make sure those skills and diversity are trying to meet the goals I've put in place. So as a manager, for me I think it's very, very, important to make sure that you have that sense of diversity across the team so that you can capture as many of those perspectives as you need to get work done. So for me, I always like to know the diverse make-up of my team against these eight dimensions. And that's one of the most valuable things you can do, I think, as a manager, so that you are always constantly challenging the status quo, and not getting caught up in, "Well, this is the way we've always done it." Sometimes that can happen if you're over-rotated on certain personality types. Carl?
Yeah, Ron. I go back to your example that you gave during the webinar, which is really being transparent about decision-making. I think this is one of the simplest and most effective uses of that technique, Ron. You and I run teams. When you just went through how you put that team together — how often you communicate, why you put those people together — I think it is so important to let the team know transparently: "I made the decision to put Suzie, and John, and Bob together, for this reason. And the reason why I do that is I want to call attention to strengths, and weaknesses, and diversity. So I want them to be thinking, not only in their style, but other styles." So once again, just a small technique in terms of transparence in decision-making. It's not just in terms of really tough decisions, but even simple things like, how I made the decision, who's on this team. That can be a very, very powerful, yet very simple, tool to use.
I just want to ask the operator if there are any questions on the line. If not, I'll continue with the ones that have been typed in.
Just goes to show you, I think people are so used to texting these days, and like to type questions in. The next question is, is there a type or a style of communicator that is most often seen in leadership?
That's a great question, and I think that from my view, having worked with — I know, Carl, you have — many CEOs, CXOs, and leaders of businesses, I don't believe, at least in my mind, that there is any one dominant style from this model. Conceptual or analytical tends not to be in any biased way of – at least my experience – being successful at leading a business. I do believe that one of the things that is often a misnomer, if you will, about organizations and leaders … I'll put a good word in for the introvert. There are as many introverted CEOs that I've met as there are extroverts. So for the introverts out there, hang tight. There are more leaders out there than you realize. Hey listen, here's what the science will tell you: About half the world is conceptual, the other half is analytical. Science will tell you that a slightly greater percentage is extroverted rather than introverted. But in general, it's not far off from being about 50/50. And at least in my experience, that's what I found with leaders of businesses.
Yeah, Brian. The only thing I would say is you went through in terms of the four quadrants, four pretty successful leaders in the global stage today. And it shows you can be a leader no matter what style you are. So you shouldn't have to try to adapt because you think one is better than the other, as you said. Once again, and this is where I go back to Ron – one of the things I've learned from this is, understand where you are, and complement yourself. That's what leaders do. Leaders don't really worry about what style they are. They worry about how they complement their style.
All right gentlemen, we're almost at the very top of the hour, so I think I'm going to conclude our webinar at this time. I'd like to thank Mr. Ron Ricci and Mr. Carl Wiese of Cisco, for sharing their expertise with us today. I'm going to conclude our event. A recording of this event as well as the presentation materials will be available shortly on our hiring site, hiring.monster.com, under the Resource Center tab. Again, everyone who participated today will receive an email with a direct link, to today's materials. Thanks so very much for joining us. Join us again on Thursday, June 28, for a webinar entitled, It's Five O'clock Somewhere. Everyone, have a phenomenal day.