For more than 30 years, Dr. Janice Presser has been focused on teams — how healthcare teams service those in need, how families “team” with one another and how organizations enable (or inhibit) human synergy in the workplace. All of these pursuits have had, at their core, the desire to understand what really happens among people during group activities; to create a reliable way to structure and support coherent, productive teams; and to measure — qualitatively as well as quantitatively — their business value.
Dr. Janice Presser is CEO of The Gabriel Institute, the originator of Role-Based Assessment (RBA) and thought leader in Coherent Human Infrastructure management concepts. She has authored five books on various aspects of “teaming,” as well as dozens of articles, guest commentaries and other writings. Her next book will focus on the new metrics and methods of building a Coherent Human Infrastructure. Dr. Presser’s speaking engagements include keynote, seminar and workshop presentations and webcasts for numerous business organizations, and other public and private events. She speaks on topics ranging from innovation and entrepreneurship to leadership, coaching and talent management.
A behavioral scientist by training, Dr. Presser has filled various positions in diverse industries, including stints as the human resources director of a sports memorabilia company (where the petite woman was nicknamed “Dr. J”) and as president of a sheet metal manufacturing company. She is a frequent contributor to InnovationDAILY and NASVF NetNews and blogs on WordPress at Ask Dr. Janice, CEO2CEO and Tools4Careers.
She has a colorful history, and a track record of helping entrepreneurs and innovators. Over the course of her career, she has also been:
— president of La Leche League of New York City
— an underground homebirth midwife and biofeminist movement leader
— one of the first Advanced Practice Nurses in the state of New Jersey
— a forensic expert
— an entrepreneurship coach and faculty member at Temple University and other schools
— a keynote speaker
What are you working on right now?
I work most of the time and multitask while I sleep, so this may take a while.
Most important to me is developing the technology that will allow a business leader to view and understand their entire human infrastructure the way they seek to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their business infrastructure, their technology infrastructure or their supply infrastructure. This new technology will allow leaders to immediately see where the “teaming” issues are, and more importantly, how to fix them.
I’m also working on advanced training to teach consultants and coaches how to apply TGI’s human infrastructure management concepts to the problems they are working on.
I have a long list of articles, blogs and rants I want to write.
And yes, when there is time, I am working on a magnum opus that explains the big-picture significance and value of creating a Coherent Human Infrastructure.
Then there is my deep secret long-term list. Very few people are aware that the engine that drives TGI Role-Based Assessment can reveal a lot more about human relationships than what currently appears in RBA reports. Bringing these products to market creates a future for TGI that stretches beyond my personal horizon.
3 Trends that excite you?
Entrepreneurship: Today, there are more, better and faster ways to build and be in a business than ever before. This means that entrepreneurs have more opportunities to hang on to their hard-won successes, instead of turning the lion’s share over to the people who provide funding.
Human Infrastructure: There is an expanding global conversation about the need to value people at work as “infrastructure” instead of as interchangeable parts or units of cost — as in “human resources” or “human capital.” As senior executives begin to recognize that human synergy can be measured, and that a strong human infrastructure will improve quality, increase profitability and build competitive prowess, they will begin to make more intelligent decisions about improving and maintaining the quality of working life.
Agelessness: Despite all the talk about generation gaps, there’s much more tolerance now than there ever was for refusing to act your age.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I dream a lot, try not to forget the details, figure out what they mean and bring them to my team. They do the heavy lifting.
What is one mistake you’ve made that our readers can learn from?
Keeping useless people around way too long out of a misplaced sense of loyalty. I have learned to believe that whatever a Role-Based Assessment report indicates is absolutely what will manifest, because that is exactly what happened.
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
My favorite book is a blank one that I get to write in, but the one I think that is most useful to entrepreneurs is Neil Rackham’s “SPIN Selling.” My software favorites include TextExpander and iPhone apps Evernote and LoseIt!
What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
You can know what kind of team player someone will be — before you hire them.
How do I put together the right team for my startup?
First, figure out what YOU bring to the table, and then consider what needs doing that you don’t enjoy doing or don’t do particularly well. These are things that many people have a pretty clear sense of, but even so, it will be very helpful if you learn more about RBA, and particularly about the way a person’s Role (in RBA) predisposes them to serve the needs of the team.
If you can’t envision the future, you will want to bring on a Founder who can do that. And if you can’t drive that vision into strategic reality, you’ll really need a Vision Mover. No need to duplicate yourself, if you fill one or both of those roles, so go for the right kind of diversity — role diversity. Make sure there are Action Formers as well as Action Movers — those who can shape up ideas and impose some order on the chaos of innovation. As you grow, you’ll need more and more action-oriented people to execute work and follow up on the details. They’ll have to be capable of withstanding the stresses of startup reality, so you’ll need to avoid both Rigid and Diffuse people. Use Role-Based Assessment to make sure you bring on Coherent people only. They are the great team players who are fundamentally oriented to achieving common goals and working through challenges together, to create the best chances for success.
Why did you become an entrepreneur?
In one way or another I failed at almost everything I did – usually in the sense that the situation just wasn’t right for me. No matter how complex the job, eventually I was bored. But finally I found the right team and I “fit” in the right role on the team, and that got me focused on being who I am instead of just doing stuff. Now I want to create the future, even though I won’t be here to see it. Sounds crazy, but that’s a big part of the job description for an entrepreneur in an innovation company.
Special for IdeaMensch readers!
You can try TGI Role-Based Assessment on a business problem, like who to hire or a team issue, at no cost! Download the form here:
E-mail: [email protected]
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.