Sunday, June 20, 2004

Life is a Series of Presentations... (Jeary w/ Dower and Fishman)

Personnel Management Association of the Philippines
May 2004 Issue

Favorite Books
By Moje Ramos-Aquino
President, Paradigms & Paradoxes Corporation

Life Is a Series of Presentations: 8 Ways to Punch Up Your People Skills at Work, at Home, Anytime, Anywhere
By Tony Jeary with Kim Dower and JE Fishman
Simon & Schuster

The possibility “to change the contents of another person’s mind at a particular time and place” is, indeed, boundless. On a daily basis, there are numerous opportunities for us to advance our ideas, values, thoughts and feelings at home, at work, anytime, anywhere and influence the choices of our listeners.

What are common presentation opportunities that we take for granted?
• Talking to a an officemate in our or his/her cubicle
• Talking to a client on the telephone
• Participating in a meeting
• Leading a meeting
• Speaking to thousands of graduating students
• Delivering an after-dinner talk at a Rotary meeting
• Discussing the value of eating vegetable with your kids
• Saying no to your son’s request to use your car
• Convincing your spouse to switch the TV channel to CNBC
• And many others

In other words, every time you open your mouth to speak or to make a thumbs ups sign you are making a presentation.

In this book, author Tony Jeary writes that unless you’re a hermit living on a mountaintop, your life largely consists of your interactions with the people around you. He adds that whether you call them presentation skills or people skills, his eight essential practices will allow you to master any interaction, whether it involves a roomful of colleagues, a small group, or just one other person.

This book is a useful and handy reference for making a point and reaching out to our audience. More a skill than a talent, presenting, Mr. Jeary asserts, requires techniques and tactics. Instead of dominating or manipulating others, presenters should simply pursue desired outcomes with confidence.

One reviewer suggested the mnemonic IPRESENT to easily recall these techniques and tactics.

I – Involve your audience
P – Prepare your audience
R – Research your presentation arsenal
E – Explain why
S – State management: Achieve proper mental states
E – Eliminate unknowns and turn them into knowns
N – kNow your audience
T – Tailor your presentation throughout

Let us zero in on eliminating unknowns and turning them into knowns (Chapter 7, Essential 3: Conquer the Sum of All Fears). Mr. Jeary raised these very important points.

• Nervousness with regard to public speaking derives from what Carl Jung concluded was the hard-wired mother of all fears: fear of the unknown. Developing what-ifs scenarios will help turn these unknowns into known quantities and help us overcome some of our anxieties and uncertainties.
• By reducing that surprise element we can have a significant impact on the smoothness of our delivery. As the famous prayer goes, make sure to control that you can control, try not to bother with those you can not control and have the wisdom to know the difference.
• Plan what to say. The effectiveness of any presentation of any presentation depends greatly upon our confidence in the quality and appropriateness of our presentation’s content. Do your homework.
• You may use the technique of political mapping which is assessing the importance of various stakeholders in a meeting and determining the impact they may have on your desired outcomes. This technique involves considering every individual’s degree of potential influence on a decision or direction while also taking into account his or her existing position on the matter. This is especially valuable when you are dealing with emotional or highly controversial issues and need to anticipate specific positions or concerns in advance of the meeting.
• Take into account the environment (setting and physical set-up) and the context of the situation in which you are presenting. Bulletproof your presentation by determining the answers to the who, what, when, why, how, how much and what else questions of your presentation.
• Practice your presentation at every opportunity. Parrying with a mock audience may help appreciate how advanced your skill level is and instill further confidence
• If you have to make a team presentation, one of the ways to take the “unknown” of your partner’s performance to a “known” for you is by instilling confidence in your co-presenter.

Life, indeed, is a series of presentations. And we have these tips from Mr. Jeary and enough practice in our daily activities to prepare us for those big or career-enhancing presentations we make at work. Enjoy your presentations

Monday, June 14, 2004

Business Process Mapping (Jacka and Keller)

By Moje Ramos-Aquino
President, Paradigms & Paradoxes Corporation

In her Talk Asia show at CNN, Lorraine Hahn asked Giorgio Armani how he is now ensuring that his very successful Emporio Armani outlives him. Mr. Armani’s immediate reply was by structuring the company esp. the creative, commercial and financial processes and to manage the cash flow. And since he has no children to succeed him, he added that he is preparing many successors, not just one.

Indeed, how do we keep our high-potential and high-productive employees? How do we help employees be motivated? How do we foster a culture of service excellence for internal and external customers? How do we make sure that what we are doing and offering are what our customers want?

Otherwise, our employees will simply follow existing systems, processes and rules without question. How do we encourage learning & innovation at work when we emphasize strict compliance to policies and procedures. How many times do we get frustrated when we a service provider tells us, “sorry, that’s our policy,” instead of doing something to help us?

In the book, Business Process Mapping: Improving Customer Satisfaction, Authors J. Mike Jacka and Paulette J. Keller wrote about process mapping and evaluation as a powerful tool to ensure that true value is being provided to customers, both internal and external.

The authors cleverly used movie making as example to explain the subject of Process Mapping and made reading the book easy and fun. “At its core, the story of Pinocchio is a process. As all good processes do, it as an input (Geppetto carving a puppet and wishing it were a real boy), it has an output (Pinocchio becoming a real boy), and in between it has a series of events—the actions—that achieve that transformation. Disney’s animators documented that process by the use of story boarding.” Process Mapping is to business what storyboarding is to movies.

Having done these, the benefits derived from Process Mapping are:

1. It is a holistic approach that helps explore the interrelationships of processes in the entire organization.
2. It is accomplished in a way that allows all employees—from executives to line personnel, including janitors—to have buy-in to the finished product.
3. It helps employees understand how their work adds value and instill additional pride in their work.
4. It focuses on the customer, both the next process and the final user of the product, and how that person sees the company.

The book contains lots and lots of examples and easy step-by-step instructions. The four major steps are fully explained. The book jacket described them briefly as:

1. Process identification – attaining a full understanding of all the steps of a process.
2. Information gathering – identifying objectives, risks, and key controls in a process.
3. Interviewing and mapping – understanding the point of view of individuals in the process and designing actual maps.
4. Analysis – utilizing tools and approaches to make the process run more effectively and efficiently.

Included in the book are various specialized tools like questionnaires, process analysis worksheets, hierarchy/ownership maps, and the techniques to be used in developing effective process maps.

The challenge is not only to make it stick, but to glue it, as in the words of the authors, “drill it down.” The authors quote Professor Diane Ravitch of Columbia University Teachers College: “The person who knows “how” will always have a job. The person who knows “why” will always be his boss.

The book is a must for HROD people and others in the management level. It is also for all employees who want to take the initiative of improving their jobs, making it worthwhile to understand how their work makes the world a better place.