Your company has a shadow organization, whether you realize it or not.

That doesn’t mean that your company is running a spy collective worthy of the CIA. It means that your business has an unofficial set of relationships that influences how things are done in your organization.

Navigating these shadow organizations can be the difference between surviving and succeeding in the workplace. Here’s how you can find your way through:

1. Reframe “office politics.” Workplace surveys show that the majority of employees reluctantly engage in office politics, and nearly half of them believe it detracts from productivity. So how can you boost your career without engaging in dog-eat-dog politics? Start by reorienting your assumptions about what the term “office politics” means.

  • Replace the word “politics” with “awareness.”
  • Recognize that organizational awareness is all about communication and relationships.
  • Commit to using organizational awareness in a way that benefits everyone, not just you.
  • (read more…)

Todd VanderVen is President of BSI Group America Inc. Todd joined BSI in 2008 from SGS where he was Senior Vice President responsible for global strategy and development for all SGS divisions. Prior to this he held several senior positions at Eastman Kodak including COO for Kodak’s Healthcare business outside the U.S. and Chief Marketing Officer for their Healthcare Division. In this blog post sponsored by BSI, Todd talks about the changing aerospace industry and how he plans to navigate the new trends.

Question: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the aerospace industry this year? Over the next 10 years?

Answer: The aerospace industry will continue to be challenged to manage many aspects of risk. Examples of these risk areas include information security, sustainability, counterfeiting, business continuity, and conflict minerals. Instituting proper oversight and robust risk controls enterprise-wide will become more and more necessary to be competitive. (read more…)

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“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” — Jack Welch

The message didn’t really fit directly with the lesson that the professor was delivering. Perhaps that’s why I remember it most clearly from everything that he taught during that entire course.

In the late 1990s, I was taking a methodology class for teaching Social Studies at Roosevelt University in Schaumberg, Ill. The instructor did a wonderful job in helping his class understand the importance of making history come alive for students. We learned about engaging lessons with clear themes and plenty of opportunity for students’ creativity.

But where he really helped me as an educator was with a message that he shared following a conversation that he had with an executive at nearby Motorola. The topic of education had come up between the two men and the exec really laid into his professor friend. (read more…)

According to Bersin by Deloitte, U.S.-based companies invested more the $15 billion in 2013 to develop their leaders.

The dollars were spent on a variety of activities designed to build leadership competencies and skills. These activities included external educational programs, partnerships and internally developed face-to-face workshops, webinars and e-learning. They include development experiences, stretch assignments, 360-degree surveys, one-on-one coaching, action learning teams and communities of practice, simulations and assessment centers, job rotations and strategic mentorships.

No expense has been spared in many organizations to surround leaders with the activities, resources, and tools necessary to elevate their capacity to guide, inspire, and influence individuals and business results. Yet other organizations are shifting their focus in a profound way. Rather than dishing up external experiences to build leadership capacity, they’re beginning to explore a new — internal — frontier.

For the average leader, life is filled with an kaleidoscope of challenges that offer tremendous opportunity for learning and growth. (read more…)

Michael Small serves as president and chief executive officer of Gogo, which provides in-flight internet to passengers on more than 8,500 commercial and business aircraft. Small brings more than 30 years of experience in the communications industry to his role and is focused on preparing the company for the next wave of innovation.

Small offers his insight on the industry and where it’s heading in this post sponsored by Gogo.

Question: What is one of the most significant changes we’ll see in the in-flight connectivity market in the next 10 years?

Answer: One of the most significant changes within the next few years will be an increase in bandwidth. Gogo’s newest technologies – 2Ku and GTO – are truly game changing in terms of the amount of capacity they will bring to an aircraft, opening many new opportunities for us. While we are in the beginning stages of this evolution, more bandwidth will unlock a number of new services that will enhance airline operations and consumer experiences. (read more…)