Corporate Contractors - Spring 2020 Newsletter

Five Ways to Turn Your Company Into a Learning Organization Does your organization know how to learn? In a world dominated by the ability to process information, the ability to learn as an organization is crucial. Here are five ways you can create a learning organization: 1. Encourage self-directed learning for employees. Don’t tell anyone what to learn, but give permission for people to explore what they think is important. Provide resources, too: access to information, the internet, time off, and tuition reimbursement, if possible. 2. Promote cross-fertilization of ideas. Bring together members of teams from different departments, and let them share ideas and strategies. Teach people to respect different opinions and points of view, so that group meetings produce thoughtful, innovative results. 3. Use open-ended language. In your meetings and discussions, ask questions that stimulate creative thought and learning without simply focusing on finding “correct” answers. If you can say, “Let’s explore that further,” you’ll show everyone on your team that you consider striving for improvement more important than arriving at a single “right” answer. 4. Treat mistakes as learning opportunities. Hold honest, straightforward conversations when something doesn’t work as anticipated. Look for lessons that might improve the process next time, as well as ideas for new processes that might result in an innovative product. 5. Review the learning process. On a regular basis, ask team members what’s working and what isn’t. With this information, get to work on fixing what doesn’t work and enhancing what’s going well. Four Steps to Building a Great Team Teamwork doesn’t come naturally to all groups. As a leader, you sometimes have to show people how to work together on a team and why it will be to their advantage. Bringing employees together during the team creation process will also help with group buy-in. Here’s a four-step process to building a great team: • Ask the group to create a model of ideal team player behaviors. This can start with a simple question: “Think of a time when you observed a team— or were part of a team yourself—that practiced teamwork well. What did the team members do?” • Select the most important behaviors. Once you’ve completed your list, ask the group to narrow its responses to a half- dozen behaviors it considers essential. • Identify examples. You and the group should think of powerful, easy-to- remember illustrations of the behaviors you’ve spotlighted. This ensures that team members know what kind of behavior is expected from them. • Pull it all together. Combine your list of ideal team behaviors with your list of examples of those behaviors. Now you’ve got a model for team members to follow—one that your team helped to create. Chocolate May Be the Perfect Cough Medicine Good news if you’ve got a cough you can’t get rid of—especially if you’re a chocolate lover. The Shape Magazine website reports that an influential authority on respiratory medicine believes chocolate can do a great job of soothing coughs because it forms a protective coating inside your throat that shields the nerve endings that make you cough. Melted chocolate’s viscosity permits a natural ingredient to defend those nerve endings and help them calm down. The expert notes that drinking hot chocolate won’t have the same cough- soothing effect because it’s too diluted to have a long-lasting effect on throat nerves. You’re better off sucking on a piece of chocolate and letting it melt down slowly to coat your throat. Mammoth Traps Uncovered in Mexico Ancient humans dug pits to trap and kill giant mammoths some 15,000 years ago, according to an article on the Weather Channel website. Archeologists in Mexico have unearthed two large pits and discovered hundreds of bones from the giant beasts at the bottom. The pits were discovered during at dig at Tultepec, a town north of Mexico City. The pits are five to six feet deep and 80 feet long, and archeologists have excavated more than 800 bones from 14 individual mammoths. The haul includes eight skulls, five jaws, and hundreds of other assorted remains. Previously, scientists believed that ancient humans chased mammoths off cliffs or led them into swamps to get stuck and die. The find is the first evidence that humans that long ago directly hunted and attacked mammoths for food, fur, and other uses. SPEED BUMP Dave Coverly