Are You This Innovative?

Do you need to be?

Change is Good

I have just come across a really good online video, thanks to Phil Gerbyshack, called Change is Good.  It seems to sum up so many of the principles that I try to teach people how to practice in my PMN workshops.  (There are still someplaces left on Giving and Getting Great Feedback on 20th May in Leeds).

The film is only a couple of minutes long but contains so many great hints, tips, reminders and pointers to profound truths that should have immense implications for personal and organisational change.

Why not show it at your next team meeting and see what reactions, suggestions and feedback it elicits.

The video has a soundtrack – but still works if you are not sound enabled!

Change Is Good – The Movie

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Conscious Capitalism

I have been watching a movement develop over recent years called ‘conscious capitalism’ or ‘conscious business’.  It provides a different take on what it means to be a ‘social enterprise’.  The idea is being pioneered by amongst others, John Mackey, CEO of Wholefoods Supermarket.  In a recent speech he says:

A Conscious Business is one which has two major attributes that define it:

  1. It has a deeper purpose beyond only making profits. Just like individual people by following their hearts can discover their own sense of deeper purpose, so can the business enterprise. I believe that great businesses have great purposes that inspire them to higher levels of success. Think for a moment about some of the greatest businesses in the world and ask yourself whether they exist to fulfill a greater purpose beyond only maximizing profits. Certainly Apple does, driven by its intense desire to create “insanely great” technology which transforms our lives in positive ways. Clearly Google does too with its passion for discovery and desire to operate an ethical company. One of the best examples in the world is Grameen Bank in Bangladesh founded by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammed Yunus, which exists to end poverty in Bangladesh and throughout the world. Every business has the potential to discover and actualize its higher purpose—it has the potential to become more conscious.
  2. The Conscious Business also understands the interdependency of all of the major stakeholder groups—customers, employees, investors, suppliers, communities, and the environment—and the business is managed to consciously create value for all of these major stakeholders. Instead of viewing the stakeholders in terms of win-lose relationships with conflicts of interest dominating their interactions, the Conscious Business understands that there is a harmony of interests between the stakeholder groups and that by working together greater value can be created for all of them. At Whole Foods we understand that management’s most important job is to make sure the team members are well trained and happy at their work. The team members in turn understand that their job is to satisfy and delight the customers and happy customers result in happy investors through the prosperity of the business. A virtuous circle is created with all of the stakeholders flourishing together.

Who will create the Conscious Businesses of the 21st century—businesses that have deeper purpose and are managed consciously to create value on behalf of all of the stakeholders?

John Mackey, May 2008

This feels to me like a much more coherent, honest and powerful approach to making business work for the planet than cleaving it along  ‘social enterprise = good; for profit = bad’ divide.

Of course words are relatively easy (although John Mackey has found that words have got him into lots of how water in the past.  We have to judge the movement by its achievements.  But I am hopeful.

You can read a much fuller paper by John Mackey called ‘Conscious Capitalism’ here.

PMN BOGOF

Just a gentle reminder that we have some ‘buy one get one free‘ offers coming up on PMN workshops.  This means that when you book a place at one of the BOGOF workshops you get another place free.

I have also developed 2 new workshops which have proven very successful.  The first is on effective partnership working – giving you the skills and knowledge you need to make the most of your partnerships at work. Whether you have to work in a local strategic partnership (LSP), a sub-regional partnership or a purely private partnership this workshop will give you the tools you need to become much more effective.  Dates for this workshop will be published shortly.

The second is on Managing Underperformers and looks in detail at practical and effective ways to  make sure that underperformers don’t drag down the performance of the team.

BOGOF workshops:

April

22nd (pm) Stop Hate UK/Unity Business Centre – Brilliant 121sBOGOF

May

20th (pm) Stop Hate UK/Unity Business Centre –  Giving and Getting Great Feedback – BOGOF

You can see the full schedule of PMN workshops here, and book places here.  If you have done these sessions and found them useful then please do recommend them to others.

Many thanks.

Mike

Web 2.0 – What’s the Fuss About?

Great piece by McKinsey that does a top job of explaining why Web 2.0 is getting so much attention.

In essence – its quick, cheap, extends your reach and provides you with insight and feedback.  It can definitely give you an edge.

It is not all up-side – there are issues of time management and the digital divide – but that’s life!  Nothing’s perfect.

I have been blogging for a couple of years now as well as twittering (a lot) Facebooking (a little), using wikis for collaborative writing and product development and forums for community building.  My interest started a bout 10 years ago when we took on a post grad student studying knowledge management for a year.  That got me into the theory of and practice of knowledge management – especially communities of interest and practice and the facilitation of large groups – both online and face to face.

Read the McKinsey piece here.

Also happy to share what I know.

If you want more than the occasional blog post from me you can follow on twitter at www.twitter.com/mikechitty

Finding Feedback Difficult? Try Feedforward!

Great and very simple exercise from Marshall Goldsmith designed to help you get seriously useful ideas for your professional development.

Name the area in which you wish to improve. – e.g. I want to be a better leader.

Tell someone, almost anyone  ‘I want to be a better leader‘.

Ask them for two ideas for things to do that would help you become a better leader.

After they have offered their suggestions – simply say ‘Thank you‘.  No discussions, no debate, no analysis – just ‘Thank you‘.

This should work brilliantly in 121s as a way of getting information on how you can improve.

Pluck up the courage to try it.  It works.

The Advantage of Social Enterprise

Rob Greenland over at The Social Business has written a piece about how the ‘table’ that social enterprise has fought so hard to get a place at has collapsed.  I am assuming Rob means the table where policy is thrashed out and funds are allocated.

The high political table.

The table of the bureaucrats and the planners.

Rob’s analysis is that this table has collapsed.  They have no cash to spend since the bankers have grabbed it all.  So “What is a social entrepreneur meant to do now?” Rob asks.

Well I think the collapse of this table could be just the tonic that the social enterprise sector needs.

The sectors’ advantage is not in being a cheaper route to market for bureaucrats  – implementing their policies and plans (although this may be a legitimate benefit it CAN offer).  Its’ advantage lies in the ability of social entrepreneurs to tell stories of social change, social injustice and progress. In being able to attract, retain and develop talented and committed people who share in the vision and have the potential to manifest it.  In harnessing the potential of those affected by injustice and using it to drive progress.

So instead of trying to manoeuvre to catch the crumbs from the top table perhaps the sector should focus on sharpening vision, improving stories, and building a movement that people will want to join and work in because of its autonomy, independence and creativity; its ability to provide fulfillment and a decent wage – not because of the funding streams that it can secure (along with KPIs, evaluation frameworks and other game playing  inducements attendant with the mainstream).

When we are sat at the top table we have our backs to the real social enterprise marketplace.

Of course the sector needs to maintain good relationships with the ‘top table’.  It needs to influence, lobby, advise and occasionally disrupt.  If it can secure investment on its terms than so much the better.  But it needs to ensure that the money and power available does not corrupt – as it so often has.  That the pull of the cash does not lure us away from core purpose and beliefs.  That it does not allow us to kid ourselves that the latest funding stream to ‘do things to people’ might just work – this time – if we can only get our hands on the cash.  The social enteprise sector has to have the guts to be uncompromising on vision, values and beliefs.  It has to maintain integrity.

This requires the sector to develop an entreprenurial management and leadership culture.  A progressive mindset.  Progressive management.  Not Political.

The social entrepreneur needs to be comfortable and competent at managing and leading through vision, values, social goals and objectives and then relying on creativity and innovation to secure sustainable investments.  They must be obsessed with the social change they are trying to deliver and the recruitment and retention of a tribe of professionals and volunteers who can help.  Not with reading the political runes.  They need to promote change, not maintenance, autonomy not dependence (on the top or any other table), courage not conventionality.

The advantage of social enterprise is that it can be transformational.  People will join a transformational movement and bring to it their passion, creativity and hard work.  Turn it into another transactional part of the prevailing bureaucracy and this advantage will be lost.

And finally of course any organisation can be a social enterprise regardless of structure.  Many ‘for profits’ have learned how to create social change and a sustainable profit!

Tom Peters: Twenty-seven Practical Ideas That Will Transform Every Organization

I have been following Tom Peters work for over 20 years now and he rarely disappoints. On his blog today he publishes a list of 27 practical ideas that will transform an organisation.
Read, pause, think, do!

The Top 27: Twenty-seven Practical Ideas That Will Transform Every Organization

1. Learn to thrive in unstable times—our lot (and our opportunity) for the foreseeable future.

2. Only putting people first wins in the long haul, good times and especially tough times. (No “cultural differences” on that one! Colombia = Germany = the USA.)

3. MBWA/Managing By Wandering Around. Stay in touch!

4. Call a customer today!

5. Train! Train! Train! (Growing people outperform stagnant people in terms of attitude and output—by a wide margin.)

6. “Putting people first” means making everyone successful at work (and at home).

7. Make “we care” a/the company motto—a moneymaker as well as a source of pride.

8. All around the world, women are an undervalued asset.

9. Diversity is a winning strategy, and not for reasons of social justice: The more different perspectives around the table, the better the thinking.

10. Take a person in another function to lunch; friendships, lots of, are the best antidote to bad cross-functional task accomplishments. (Lousy cross-functional communication stops companies and armies alike.)

11. Transparency in all we do.

12. Create an “Innovation Machine” (even in tough times). (Hint: Trying more stuff than the other guy is Tactic #1.)

13. We always underestimate the Innovation Advantage when 100% of people see themselves as “innovators.” (Hint: They are if only you’d bother to ask “What can we do better?”)

14. Get the darned Basics right—always Competitive Advantage #1. (Be relentless!)

15. Great Execution beats great strategy—99.9% of the time. (Make that 100% of the time.)

16. A “bias for action” is a “bias for success.” (Great hockey player Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”)

17. No mistakes, no progress! (A lot of fast mistakes, a lot of fast progress.) (Australian businessman Phil Daniels: “Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre success.”)

18. Sometimes “little stuff” is more powerful than “big stuff” when it comes to change.

19. Keep it simple! (Making “it” “simple” is hard work! And pays off!)

20. Remember the “eternal truths” of leadership—constants over the centuries. (They say Nelson Mandela’s greatest asset was a great smile—you couldn’t say no to him, even his jailors couldn’t.)

21. Walk the talk. (“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”—Gandhi)

22. When it comes to leadership, character and people skills beat technical skills. (Emotional Intelligence beats, or at least ties, school intelligence.)

23. It’s always “the little things” when it comes to “people stuff.” (Learn to say “thank you” with great regularity. Learn to apologize when you’re wrong. Learn the Big Four words: “What do you think?” Learn to listen—it can be learned with lots and lots of practice.)

24. The “obvious” may be obvious, but “getting the obvious done” is harder said than done.

25. Time management is the only real “control” variable we have.

26. All managers have a professional obligation to their communities and their country as well as to the company and profit and themselves. (Forgetting this got the Americans into deep trouble.)

You can read the original post here.

27. EXCELLENCE. ALWAYS. (What else?)

Are you Getting the Gifts?

Initiative, creativity and passion are gifts.

They are benefactions that employees choose, day by day and moment by moment, to give or withhold.

They cannot be commanded.

Gary Hamel – The Future of Management

Nor can they be bought.

You can’t get these gifts from employees by challenging them to work harder.

Nor by exhorting them to ‘beat the competition’ or ‘care for the customers’.

You will only get these gifts from employees when you give them a purpose that merits their best.