Behavioral Assessments; HBR’s 10 Most Common Failures of Bad Leaders

Introspection leads to growth.  Scientifically validated behavioral assessments are key to effective introspection.  I recently completed the Predictive Index® [PI] survey, an assessment tool that provides insight into the natural workplace behaviors.  I have to agree with the statement, “it appears to be a simple adjective checklist, however the results are uncannily accurate.”
Harvard Business Publishing
Let the introspection begin with Harvard Business Review’s June 2009 article, Ten Fatal Flaws That Derail Leaders:

After scrutinizing 360-degree feedback data on over 11,000 leaders and evaluating the 10% considered the least effective, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman found the 10 most common leadership shortcomings. These are ranked according to the size of the difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders’ scores; successful and failed leaders differed most significantly in their energy and enthusiasm.

  1. Lack energy and enthusiasm. They see new initiatives as a burden, rarely volunteer, and fear being overwhelmed. One such leader was described as having the ability to “suck all the energy out of any room.”
  2. Accept their own mediocre performance. They overstate the difficulty of reaching targets so that they look good when they achieve them. They live by the mantra “Underpromise and overdeliver.”
  3. Lack clear vision and direction. They believe their only job is to execute. Like a hiker who sticks close to the trail, they’re fine until they come to a fork.
  4. Have poor judgment. They make decisions that colleagues and subordinates consider to be not in the organization’s best interests.
  5. Don’t collaborate. They avoid peers, act independently, and view other leaders as competitors. As a result, they are set adrift by the very people whose insights and support they need.
  6. Continue reading ‘Behavioral Assessments; HBR’s 10 Most Common Failures of Bad Leaders’

Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Healthcare Innovation

Roswell Park Cancer InstituteOn April 30th, a cool, rainy spring afternoon, I had the opportunity to visit the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus [BNMC]. The tour, arranged by Buffalo Niagara 360, was intended to expose business executives and professionals to the medical innovation taking place in the Buffalo/Niagara region.

The event participants gathered in Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s [RPCI] Zebro Conference Center. Ann Mestrovich, the tour organizer welcomed the group. There were a total of three “tour guides”, including Pat Whalen, the COO of the BNMC, Karen Utz of the NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, and Lisa Damiani, the Executive Director of Government Affairs at RPCI.

Check out the video where Pat Whalen and Michael Ball talk about the BNMC:


Buffalo Niagara 360: Featured Members – BNMC, Buffalo BioSciences, Kinex Pharmaceuticals

The RPCI Tour

We broke off into three groups. I joined Lisa Damiani’s group to tour RPCI. As we made our way through various corridors, Lisa provided an overview of RPCI. The group shuffled into the Photodynamic Therapy [PDT] Lab. Here, Dr. Sandra Gollnick explained the origins and applications of this innovative therapy, including effectively treating lung, skin, and breast cancer, to name a few.

We returned to RPCI’s Center for Genetics and Pharmacology, the distinctive five-floor building with the textured and sculptural exterior. As we walked, Lisa explained the architecture incorporated bends in corridors and open spaces to emphasize the nature of science and discovery. We learned the building uses 30% less energy by separating the large, noisy, heat-producing equipment from the “wet” labs, the modular benches where the scientists conduct experiments. I really felt the design of the building encouraged an open, collaborative environment—a place where you know great things are happening.

To see for yourself how much fun we had, check out the tour recap video by Full Circle Studios:


Buffalo Niagara 360: BNMC Tour Recap

The Takeaway

Here are a few interesting facts I picked up:
Continue reading ‘Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Healthcare Innovation’

Social Computing in the Enterprise: Social Software Considerations

BarCampBuffalo_logoOn Monday, May 4, the Buffalo Technology Community held the third BarCamp unconference. This BarCampBuffalo had a theme: Social Media (aka Social Computing, Social Networking). This was a great opportunity to discuss the topic which has been on my mind: Social Computing in the Enterprise.

Though we wouldn’t think twice about it, social computing has been around since the beginning of enterprise computing. Some examples of social software include: email, blogs, wikis, instant messaging & presence awareness, media sharing, social bookmarking & search, social networking, and web conferencing. The latest wave of social computing applications and standards are often dubbed Web 2.0 or Collaborative Software.

My objectives for this open discussion were to:

  • Define Social Computing and contrast it with Social Networking
  • Highlight prevalent Web 2.0 themes
  • Discuss why we’re increasingly seeing “Everything” 2.0
  • Share the Business Drivers and Challenges of using Social Software in the Enterprise
  • Share an Enterprise 2.0 Implementation Framework
  • Cover the Value Proposition of Social Software
  • Highlight the intersection of Marketing 2.0 and Social Software

The presentation I delivered:

Social Computing In The Enterprise BarCampBuffalo Open Discussion

View my SlideShare.net presentations.

Continue reading ‘Social Computing in the Enterprise: Social Software Considerations’

Aneesh Chopra Named Federal CTO

Aneesh Chopra, Federal CTO

Aneesh Chopra, Federal CTO

After high expectations, much anticipation and speculation, on April 18, 2009, President Obama named Aneesh Paul Chopra the first-ever Federal Chief Technology Officer.

I’m sure many of us are thinking, “Déjà vu? Didn’t President Obama already appoint an IT chief in March?” Yes, Vivek Kundra is the nation’s CIO whereas Aneesh Chorpa will serve as the nation’s CTO. Here’s what the White House said:

As Chief Technology Officer, Chopra will promote technological innovation to help the country meet its goals from job creation, to reducing health care costs, to protecting the homeland. Together with Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, they will help give all Americans a government that is effective, efficient, and transparent.

Tim O’Reilly, in his excellent article Why Aneesh Chopra is a Great Choice for Federal CTO, dug a little deeper to learn from the White House that:

The responsibilities of the CIO are to use information technology to transform the ways in which the government does business. The CTO will develop national strategies for using advanced technologies to transform our economy and our society, such as fostering private sector innovation, reducing administrative costs and medical errors using health IT, and using technology to change the way teachers teach and students learn.

Continue reading ‘Aneesh Chopra Named Federal CTO’

Google Apps Achilles’ Heel – ‘on behalf of’ messaging

Google Apps for Business - software-as-a-service for business email, information sharing and securityHaving architected, deployed, and managed enterprise Microsoft Exchange environments, I know Microsoft Exchange Server is a solid, scalable, and feature-rich product which leverages Microsoft’s LDAP directory services, Active Directory. However, the caveats to implementing this system include a commitment to the Microsoft platform and in-house expertise to manage the infrastructure. What if your business needs to reduce costs yesterday, or is seeking alternatives to Microsoft?

Google has a brilliant, Cloud-based answer to Microsoft: Google Apps. The solution includes Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs (documents, spreadsheets and presentations), Google Sites, Google Talk–all using your own domain name–for FREE. Yes, for businesses or groups of up to 50 users, the advertising-supported Google Apps Standard Edition is free. Here’s what Google got right:

  • Significantly reduced the cost of messaging/collaboration for small businesses
  • Designed an easy-to-manage, functional, intuitive interface
  • Generously allocated storage–7GB/user!
  • Provided secure, encrypted access using SSL
  • Tightly integrated the Apps Suite, including Mail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, and browser-based Chat

‘Google Messaging’ is simply Gmail branded @your-company.com. It is robust, feature-rich, and fast, including great features such as “plus addressing”.

The Achilles’ heel: email aliases

Email aliases, or ‘Nicknames’ as Google refers to them, are a key component for most business email systems. For instance, email aliases such as customer.service@your-company.com or support@your-company.com, typically forward to email distribution groups or individual mailboxes. The benefits of email aliases/forwarders include:

  • providing a standardized, professional method for customer communications,
  • addresses which are independent of employees,
  • protecting the domain username from disclosure, and
  • protecting individual email accounts from spam.

Google allows you to add nicknames relatively easily. See the video overview:

The problem arises when using a desktop email client (read: Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, et cetera) configured to send from your email alias. The result is the disclosure of your primary email address, your account username, and the presentation of the email message in a less-than-professional manner to the recipient. Continue reading ‘Google Apps Achilles’ Heel – ‘on behalf of’ messaging’

Leadership & The Workplace: What Do We Expect?

BarCampBuffalo_logoOn March 31, I attended the second BarCampBuffalo. Like the first-ever event, this event was a success with a very good turnout. This time around, I chose to lead a discussion on Leadership & Management.

In one way or another, the topic of workplace leadership/management affects us all, yet we rarely discuss it in an open forum. My objectives for this open discussion were to:

  • differentiate leadership from management,
  • highlight characteristics shared by great leaders,
  • highlight responsibilities of great managers,
  • allow for an honest organizational- and self-assessment of workplace engagement.

The presentation I delivered:

Leadership & The Workplace BarCampBuffalo Open Discussion

View my SlideShare.net presentations.

Continue reading ‘Leadership & The Workplace: What Do We Expect?’

Twitter Best Practices by Gartner

Gartner, an IT research and advisory firm, released new research predicting that “by 2011, enterprise microblogging will be a standard feature of 80 percent of social software platforms”.

Twitter is primarily aimed at individuals, so it is not imperative for every corporation to be actively participating at an official level. However, the popular impact of microblogging is leading many companies to explore how they could use it. In addition to the individual use of Twitter, Gartner has identified four different ways in which companies are making use of the Twitter application: direct, indirect, internal, and signaling. Continue reading ‘Twitter Best Practices by Gartner’

Vivek Kundra’s Federal IT Revolution

Vivek Kundra, Federal CIO

Vivek Kundra, Federal CIO

On March 5th, 2009, President Obama named Vivek Kundra the first-ever Federal Chief Information Officer.  Vivek has built a reputation for challenging the status quo, championing transparency and accountability in government, making government accessible to the masses via social networking, and leveraging cloud computing to lower the cost of government.  Vivek Kundra is an innovator and game changer.   Continue reading ‘Vivek Kundra’s Federal IT Revolution’

‘Interaction Assurance': Options for Strong Authentication in World 2.0?

BarCampBuffalo_logoOn March 3, 2009, Buffalo held its first-ever BarCamp–appropriately called BarCampBuffalo. :-D   I saw this as a great opportunity to have the Buffalo Technology Community come together and learn from one another. Mike Brennan, Steve Poland, Chris Smith, and Chris Van Patten deserve a lot of credit for organizing this successful event. We had a great turnout–100+ Buffalo IT folks, business leaders, and other professionals.

According to the rules, all attendees are encouraged to present or facilitate a session. I chose to lead a discussion on ‘Interaction Assurance’. As we increase our online presence, we want to interact knowing our communications are secure, unaltered, and trustworthy. As I don’t have a great answer for this pain point, I wanted to learn how others have tackled this problem.

The presentation I delivered:

‘Interaction Assurance': Options for Strong Authentication in World 2.0? BarCampBuffalo Open Discussion

View my SlideShare.net presentations.

Continue reading ‘‘Interaction Assurance': Options for Strong Authentication in World 2.0?’