I recently had the privilege to hear Gary Hamel speak at a conference. Apart from being an enthusiastic, dynamic speaker his views on current business practices are revolutionary and refreshing. In an era of fast moving change and innovation we appear to globally still be stuck in archaic styles of management designed to deal with the issues of the industrial revolution. But modern day responses to challenges appear to be even more and more measurement, streamlining and structuring resulting in what Gary refers to as ‘core incompetencies’!
He argues that management structure is built for conformity not for innovation and asks ‘When were you trained as an innovator? How would you get funding for your idea? How is your innovation performance measured? What if you had a Steve Jobs or a Mark Zuckerberg working in your organisation - would you want to harness their creativity and reward them handsomely for it or pay them a salary, tie them up in rules and process and have them leave to do their own thing? In a world where innovation is so high on the agenda (way above satisfying basic needs) we are constantly stifling innovation.
Innovation does occasionally show its head - often brought in from the outside to rebirth an organisation when the share price is slipping into oblivion and desperate measures are needed - Nokia is an example. So what if organisations were set up for innovation? What would KPI’s look like if innovation was high on the agenda and reward systems reflected this? What if everyone in the organisation was asked to think strategically not just the top few? How would our organisations look if we developed a more co-operative environment with consesus being the guiding line rather than a top down pyramid?
What if we introduced new words to our value sets - joy, truth, justice, beauty, love honour, equality. What if we started to employ people who really enjoy what they do, get excited about coming to work because they know they have the mutual respect of their colleagues and their ideas will be given air time? What if we had teams of self-managed professionals, colleague letters of co-operation and understanding, responsibilities not jobs and opportunities not promotions? What about eveyone in the company taking responsibility for finance through joint co-operation?
Innovation takes courage, a prepareness to stand out and be different, sometimes a clean slate and definitely skills to influence and communicate both to individuals and groups. Senior teams everywhere need to wake up to talent stifling that is rife in their organisations and start to actively encourage ideas, innovation and comfort zone exit!
Pat Hutchinson - Quadrant 1 International
Time Management is an Emotional Issue
How one senior executive lost 27 days a year over things that ‘niggle’!
Working with a senior director in a large service organisation we asked her to list the tasks she became involved in during the course of a day, week and month. Whilst doing so we noticed a brief change in demeanour when she wrote down a particular task. When asked what the change meant she simply said ‘I don’t enjoy this because I can never get the information I need from the accounts department – but it’s only a slight niggle – its no big deal’. Further delving revealed that this ‘slight niggle’ caused her to lose 1.5 hours 4 times a month in procrastination, anxiety and frustration. That’s 6 hours a month every month for a year or 72 hours just on one niggle. So what if she had 3 such niggles? That’s 216 hours a year or 27 days – more than a month spent in procrastination, anxiety and frustration.
The issue wasn’t with the accounts department it was with the way she was thinking about the task – such was her frustration she hadn’t visited the accounts department for over 9 months and relied on communicating via e-mail and mobile phone. Her relationships with people within the department had soured and consequently they weren’t giving priority to her requests.
With a simple reframing exercise we were able to help her change the way she was thinking about the task and to evolve a fresh approach involving taking time to rebuild those vital relationships.
If you were to take a look at the time consuming activities in your world what would they be? Does everything you and your team do have a clear purpose behind it? How could you improve the efficiencies in relation to meetings, information dissemination, creating a progressive, creative environment, engaging your workforce, developing and stretching people?
Remember for maximum productivity work should be enjoyable!