Teambuilding in A Free Agent World

Every business owner and manager wants a cohesive team. As your high school coaches probably taught you, a unified team can be greater than the sum of its parts.

Cohesive groups generally are more efficient because they share common practices and collaborate to solve problems. They tend to have higher morale, which is good for recruiting and retention, and are logically more united behind the company mission. However, creating cohesion isn’t so easy in today’s gig economy.

At M-Squared Consulting, we believe the best free agents work to assimilate into a team; they don’t perform as lone wolves, but rather immerse themselves into an organization and work towards the higher purpose of helping the organization succeed.

Thriving in the New World of Work

Leaders and executives work in a complex, constantly changing landscape. There are many different aspects of managing a business that require significant attention. Throughout our engagements the challenge we witness most executives experience is the built-in uncertainty in much of what they are charged with managing.

In 2014 five key aspects of business will require vigilance. We like to think of these key aspects as the “gears” of a business; an interlocking system of issues that must move separately, yet in tandem, in order to achieve business success.

The gears our clients will most actively be engaging with are:

Unified Communications & Collaboration

In our last post, we introduced the concept of unified communications and collaboration, and how technology can help businesses meet the intense pace of today’s work world. Today, we dig deeper into three key aspects of unified communications and collaboration – mobile, virtual and social collaboration.

Embracing the Mobility Imperative

It’s no secret that there is now a mobility imperative for businesses. Workers are so attached to mobile technology that they now expect to be able to create and consume information anywhere, at any time. This is an opportunity for business to fuel greater worker productivity. To do so requires companies to utilize unified communications tools that seamlessly integrate phone calls, voicemail, data, email and other communications platforms.

The New Way Business Communication Works

Faster, faster… faster.

That’s how we communicate today in business – at dizzying speeds our grandparents never could have imagined when they were living in the world of work. You could even argue that business moves too fast sometimes, but all businesses must acclimate to the pace of communication in order to succeed.

At M Squared Consulting, we believe embracing unified communications technology and social collaboration tools arm businesses with the right formula for success; setting parameters for employees, establishing communication methodologies, flows and rules, and giving teams the authority to communicate freely. The rapid adoption of cloud-based communications systems has enabled companies to be smarter about collaboration. Information can be shared easily and quickly across multiple platforms and multiple locations.

December 18: Snapshot – The New World of Work

We continue to keep an eye on the ever-evolving workforce, especially as it relates to the flexible workforce and the “new world of work” and are always on the lookout for current news stories, interesting tidbits and thoughtful commentary to pass along to you.

This week, we feature:

December 2: Snapshot – The New World of Work

With 2013 nearly coming to a close, we continue to take a fresh look at jobs, the workforce and big picture economic issues that are top-of-mind with individuals and business leaders alike. Of course, we keep an eye on the ever-evolving workforce, especially as it relates to the flexible workforce and the “new world of work” and are always on the lookout for current news stories, interesting tidbits and thoughtful commentary to pass along to you.

This week, we feature:

November 25: Snapshot – Begin with the End in Mind

While top-tier independent consultants tend to focus on a specific area of expertise, they also bring an impressive depth of knowledge about a wide variety of business models, successful initiatives and best practices that are often transferable across industries. Today’s most successful independent consultants are adept at pivoting from one project to another and have proven capabilities that add value every step of the way, often incorporating universal best practices that make every project more effective. After successfully completing thousands of business-critical initiatives since M Squared was founded in 1988, we’ve found the one unifying best practice — across virtually any industry or initiative — is to clearly define goals at the beginning of a project that can be measured and evaluated at its conclusion.

November 4: Snapshot – The New World of Work

With 2013 moving along at a fast pace, we continue to take a fresh look at jobs, the workforce and big picture economic issues that are top-of-mind with individuals and business leaders alike. Of course, we keep an eye on the ever-evolving workforce, especially as it relates to the flexible workforce and the “new world of work” and are always on the lookout for current news stories, interesting tidbits and thoughtful commentary to pass along to you.

This week, we feature:

October 28: Make Way for the Mobile Workforce

Fotolia 41594634 biz 150x150 October 28: Make Way for the Mobile Workforce

Technology has paved the way for what’s known today as a “mobile workforce” and certainly the ever-growing contingent workforce is at the forefront of the shift. A mobile workforce challenges conventional wisdom by seeking to integrate the structure and security of the traditional work environment with the increased productivity, accessibility and flexibility of contingent teams. External consumers are demanding more accessibility and responsiveness from companies, and internal consumers are demanding more flexibility in the way in which work is executed and delivered. This tension has birthed a new approach in the form of a mobile workforce. It begins to address both stakeholder concerns; more accessibility for external consumers and more flexibility for internal team members. There appears to be a new definition of ‘work’ on the horizon.

Innovation and Design Thinking

Fotolia 41594634 biz 150x150 Innovation and Design ThinkingThe term innovation can be defined as something original and new that “breaks in to” the market or into society. But, what is the secret sauce for innovation?  According to some experts, the answer is design thinking.

The origins of design thinking can be traced to the late 60s and early 70s, when books on visual thinking and the science of design were first published. Later, during the 80s and 90s, Professor Ralf Faste, an American designer, started teaching design thinking to students of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University’s School of Product Design, becoming responsible for defining and popularizing the idea of design thinking as a way of creative action. It was then adapted for business purposes by Palo Alto’s renowned innovation and global design consulting firm IDEO. Today, design thinking is being embraced by all industries, including technology, engineering, education, health care, industrial design, and consulting, to name a few.