Friday, 4 May 2007

Newsletter Issue 131, May 2007

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 131, May 2007
Hi guys,
Strategic partnerships can create awesome synergies. Read more in Creating Effective Teams by 'Co-optition' below.
How do you find out if ISPs are delivering promised broadband speeds? Read Internet Speed Test
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Creating Effective Teams by 'Co-optition'

Sue Dyer is president of OrgMetrics, a consulting firm specializing in non-adversarial approaches to preventing and resolving disputes. She has kindly allowed me to reproduce an article she wrote for the American Management Association here for all of you to enjoy. 
A growing trend in business is “co-opetition”—a buzzword coined to describe cooperative competition, where even companies who are fierce competitors learn how to work together. Two well-known examples of co-opetition are cartels and trade associations. But we see the principle in practice elsewhere: Microsoft and Apple are building closer ties on software development; Peugeot and Toyota are creating a new city car for the European market.
Basically, companies work in partnership with each other to enhance both businesses and to create a competitive advantage. I've been calling this phenomenon "strategic partnering” for over 20 years. I've come to realize that most people, teams, and organizations settle for a very low level of cooperation when they develop strategic partnerships. They could significantly improve their results by pushing the envelope of what's possible.
Let’s explore how this works. Over the hundreds of times I've done the following exercise with teams: I ask people to arm wrestle. The objective is to get as many points as possible. One point is scored for each touch to the table, no talking allowed. We have 20 seconds. Most pairs don't get any points, but the highest any pair has scored is 200 points.
How can there be such a huge difference? Our objective, remember, was to get as many points as possible. In order to maximize the number of points we would need to cooperate (as the high scorers did).
So why doesn't everyone do just that? Because we all know how to arm wrestle. And when we arm wrestle we are adversaries. We are supposed to try to win, or at least not lose. Because we see ourselves as adversaries we fail to see what might be possible.
Here are the three levels of co-opetition:
  • Level One: Cooperation Here you realize that you can optimize the number of points you can earn by cooperating. You begin to cooperate. It is one point for you and one point for your partner, alternating back and forth to make sure the points are evenly distributed.
  • Level Two: Collaboration You have a breakthrough; you realize that if you touch just your arm (or just your partner’s arm) you can earn even more points. So the two of you begin to collaborate. You move your arms up and down together and double the number of points you earn.
  • Level Three: Co-creation This is working well, so you decide to really put your muscles into it and see how many points the two of you can rack up. So you begin to co-create points by jointly moving your arms very rapidly up and down (just barely off the table each time).
The result? You quadruple the number of points that you earn. The three levels of cooperation are available to all teams.
Here are five tips for pushing cooperation to the next level:
  1. Clarify roles and responsibilities. You must be very clear on what you are trying to achieve by working together. Clearly identify each party’s roles and responsibilities for contributing to the achievement of those objectives. Strategic partnerships break down when expectations become misaligned or either party doesn't know what to expect. When people truly work as a team, the lines between departments or organizations become blurred.
  2. Commit to being fair. The foundation of trust in a strategic partnership is a commitment to fairness. If you know that no matter what issues pop up you will always be fair with one another, then trust will grow. When one side feels it has been treated unfairly trust begins to erode. When all team members have confidence that they will be treated fairly, there is nothing they cannot explore and accomplish.
  3. Get off your “buts.” Judgments impair our ability to communicate. They often sound like "Yes, but that's not what I want", or, "Yes, but that will never work!" When you hear "yes, but" in your head you have stopped listening. Worse yet, you are mentally working on your "rebuttal". So in an instant, in your head, you've just became an adversary. Instead of judging, listen to the other people closely and try to understand where they are coming from and what they need.
  4. Create accountability. It is important to ascertain whether or not the parties feel the strategy is working. Make sure the partners have the ability to tell each other the truth in a manner that does not damage relationships. A monthly scorecard can offer anonymous feedback that allows team members to see where they stand with each other and on the objectives.
  5. Plan for Disagreements. Nothing happens exactly according to plan. There will no doubt be disagreements along the way. What is important is how the team deals with those disagreements. Do members work together to find new ways of doing things? Or, do they damage engage in finger-pointing, damaging the relationship so that team members no longer want to work together? Creating a conflict resolution process before problems occur will provide a process for team members to work things out before the situation becomes untenable.
Try talking with your team about the three levels of cooperation. I’m sure you’ll find that no activity that can provide you with a better return on your investment.
Sue Dyer is author of the award-winning book Partner Your Project and is the first woman in the US to head a major collective bargaining unit for the construction industry. For more information, visit
Internet Speed Test

How do you know if your ISP is delivering the speed of broadband that they are promising you? With a modem, you can see by hovering your mouse over the system tray icon. But with Broadband, you are trusting your ISP to deliver what they say they deliver.
However, there are free tests available online that you can run to see if - say - Xtra are actually delivering what they say they are delivering.
  • If you go to, you can do a free test. Simply select a server to test from a list in the US, and watch the screen for your result.
  • Also a free test, you can do a global test at Same deal but select the server you want to test from/to on a map.
Despite being on Xtras fast service, my NZ download speed was a slow 2156 kbps (269 KB/sec transfer rate) and my upload speed an absolute crawl at 67 kbps (8 KB/sec transfer rate). A dialup modem will give you 56 kbps!
Ah, don't you love Telecom's excellent service record...

Blogging for Beginners

Blogging is a trend which appears to be getting trendier by the day with millions apparently launching their own blog sites, while at the other end, many people have no idea how to even get started.
Window's Secret's newsletter recently published a short blogging DIY:
"A blog is basically a Web site that uses some sort of pre-designed interface that lets you quickly and easily enter new content without any need to learn HTML programming or Web-site design. The content you enter is typically either text or links to files, such as a podcast. There are two basic ways to start your own blog: Install blogging software into your own Web hosting system, or sign up for a free blog at one of the many sites that offer free blog hosting.
"[Hosted blog sites are] the easiest route for those who are new to blogging and for those who aren't comfortable installing Web-based applications. [Useful sites] are Wordpress (, Blogsome (, LiveJournal ( and Blogger ( [These] sites let you pick a ready-made layout for your blog... let you customize the layout and content to some extent.
"Before making your final choice, consider signing up for a blog at each of the sites to test-drive their interfaces. Be sure to review their features as well as their add-on and customization offerings to see which one best suits your needs."
Have fun. But just remember that life is for living, not just for blogging :-)

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you:
  • S/PDIF, Sony/Philips Digital Interface. This is a standard audio transfer file format. It is usually found on digital audio equipment such as a Digital Audio Tape (DAT) machine or audio processing device. It allows the transfer of audio from one file to another without the conversion to and from an analog format, which could degrade the signal quality.
  • DAT, Digital Audio Tape

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
In this newsletter, we are going to look at all you can do with arrow keys in PowerPoint:
  • PowerPoint "Open a selected drop-down list box or see more Help topics" Alt & Down Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Go to the previous Help topic" Alt & Left Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Go to the next Help topic" Alt & Right Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Move selected paragraphs down" Alt & Shift & Down Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Promote a paragraph" Alt & Shift & Left Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Demote a paragraph" Alt & Shift & Right Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Move selected paragraphs up" Alt & Shift & Up Arrow
  • PowerPoint "See previous Help topics" Alt & Up Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Move the window pane split in a presentation window that is not maximized" Alt & - (minus), P To Select The Splits, Arrow Keys To Position The Split, Then Enter
  • PowerPoint "Down one paragraph" Ctrl & Down Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Move one word to the left" Ctrl & Left Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Move one word to the right" Ctrl & Right Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Select or cancel the selection one word to the left" Ctrl & Shift & Left Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Select or cancel the selection one word to the right" Ctrl & Shift & Right Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Up one paragraph" Ctrl & Up Arrow PowerPoint "One line down" Shift & Down Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Select or cancel the selection one character to the left" Shift & Left Arrow
  • PowerPoint "Select or cancel the selection one character to the right" Shift & Right Arrow
  • PowerPoint "One line up" Shift & Up Arrow

Hot Linx
For online uploading, editing and sharing of your images with photo-sharing websites such as flickr, go to and have a play
Titanic's passenger lists have gone online at Find My Past. If you sign up, you can view them at
If you need a set of 'True Random Numbers' that can't be repeated (except by chance), go to
Calculate your eco footprint on TV3s Wa$ted website. You may be quite surprised at how many or few  resources you consume at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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