Today's economic power is no longer weighed by how much steel or coal one has but rather the intellectual capital that resides within its employees.
Because intellectual capital has replaced hard assets as the most valuable resource, it is therefore imperative that managers in today's organisations spend time developing brainpower in its offices, and then harness it for growth.Strike a balance
In order to cultivate brainpower, companies must understand their employees. Research has shown that many top executives, managers and supervisors tend to have preferences that are strongly left-oriented – that is, people who are logical, analytical, fact-based, organised, detailed. Often right-brained activities that are holistic, intuitive, feeling-based, emotional are avoided and people who tend towards the right-brain are often undervalued and underused. Companies that focus on left-brain activities tend to be more bureaucratic and run the risk of having their operational activities disconnecting from the big picture.
Quite obviously therefore, companies need to seek a balance between the two. To begin, companies should take an inventory of their employees' preferences and avoidance areas. Then focus on key behaviours associated with obtaining desired results, says consultant Joan Cassidy. "Develop strategies to help them engage in those key behaviours, measure how well they are performing and take appropriate actions to reward or improve less than desirable behaviours." The right hat for the right person
Upon taking inventory, some employees might come to the realisation that they are not suited for their current roles. It can be said that in most organisations, managers do not take time to analyse what specific skills are required to perform various tasks, and as a result run the risk of putting the wrong people on the wrong job and achieving less than desirable results.
Cassidy has developed four "hats" that are necessary for different tasks. Employees and their managers would need to figure out which hat best fits them. Of course, some employees will be called upon (and able) to wear different hats to do different tasks. The Analytical Scholar Hat
This is useful for tasks that need concentrated thinking time alone, or for precision. It is also useful for the following activities: analysing data, explaining things, clarifying issues, logical problem solving, dealing with financial data, focusing on bottom line. The Experimental, Risk-taking Hat
This hat is commonly worn by people who are the first to try out new ideas. These people are usually looking for ways that are better, cheaper, and/or faster. They are good at seeing the "big picture" and engage in out-of-the-box thinking. Activities that require this hat: inventing new solutions, bringing about change, designing a new approach, selling a new idea, developing a vision, forecasting future activities.The Interpersonal Team Hat
Managers and supervisors should wear this hat more often as many have been faulted for not doing so. Activities for this hat: working together effectively as a team, engaging in active listening, reading body language, negotiating win-win outcomes and mediating disagreements, being helpful, being customer-oriented, teaching or training, coaching or counselling. People who are compassionate and understanding are often good for these activities.The Organised, Conservative Hat
This hat is best for activities that require sequencing or structuring, attention to detail, and consistency. People who prefer this hat are usually conservative, realistic, and dependable. Activities that require this hat: operational planning, getting things done on schedule, establishing order, developing procedures and work instructions, administrative tasks, organising the physical environment, bookkeeping, data entry, filing, mainting quality control.
With this as a guideline, take an inventory of your employees' styles and put appropriate hats on the right people. You'll find that once you harness employees' brainpower correctly and efficiently, you will get desired results in quicker time, and you will probably also have happier employees all around. 2006 Copyright @ Abacus International. All Rights ReservedSingapore-based Abacus International is the Asia-Pacific's leading travel facilitator with around 11,000 travel agency locations in 22 markets. With 17 years of experience in fusing international best practices and local expertise with global and local partnerships, Abacus provides travel information and reservations specifically tailored to the Asia-Pacific region.
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