filed under Innovation

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Manufacturing Creativity: Good Ideas on Demand

Research shows that there is a difference between people who are creative and people who aren’t. However, the good news is that creativity is something that can be learned and improved on. All you need is a little awareness of key ingredients necessary  to develop processes, habits and a culture that fosters creativity. Read more

filed under Engagement

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Engaging and Motivating Employees: Reward vs Recognition

The challenge of motivating employees to perform to their full potential is one that every workplace faces. Managers can feel that their staff would be more productive if they were more committed, while employees typically feel overworked and undervalued. So what are the best methods to increase employee engagement and encourage them to bring their full selves to work every day? Looking specifically at rewards or recognition, which is better? The answer of course is that it depends.

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filed under Innovation

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What Innovation Actually Means

When was the last time you saw the word innovation? Ten minutes ago? The fact is, there are many different types of innovation but they’ve all been bucketed into one big category. In other words, many people struggle with what innovation means.

We’re here to help.

We believe that ideas fall on a scale that looks like this: Read more

filed under Engagement

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10 Ways to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work

With companies like Google and Facebook raising the bar in terms of being “cool” places to work, other organizations are placing more of an emphasis on making their workplace a great one. But to really have a great workplace that employees look forward to coming into every day, you need to go beyond cool offices, perks and unique benefits.

Here are ten of the best practices we recommend.

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filed under Engagement

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Why Your Employees May Not Trust You

If you’re in a leadership position, ask yourself: Do your employees trust you? How confident are you? Several recent studies point to a widening trust gap between employees and leadership. These studies show that as leaders, we may be overconfident in how much trust we’ve earned with our employees. And of course, this is alarming news because trust at work is so closely linked to engagement, collaboration, and ultimately, an organization’s ability to achieve its goals. So let this be a wake-up call to re-examine trust at work for your team and your organization and what it takes to improve trust. There are several factors that underpin building trust, but perhaps most important is transparent communications between leaders and employees. Read more

filed under Engagement

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Quantifying the Impact of Employee Engagement With the Service Profit Chain

The Service Profit Chain is a theory and business model evolved by a group of researchers from Harvard University in the nineties. The main conclusion is that loyal customers are the result of loyal, engaged employees. Furthermore, leading service organizations are using the model to quantify the impact that loyal, engaged employees have on the bottom line. They’re accomplishing this by looking closely at each step of how their organization creates value for customers.  Read more

filed under Vertical Collaboration

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Why Your Paradigm for Collaboration is Wrong

Every company wants its people to work together towards the company’s goals. In an earlier post, we suggested that it’s very difficult to create high performance teams by dissecting attributes of great teams because teams and organizations are complex systems. The solution is to not just try to recreate the characteristics of high performing teams, but also to look at the big picture and leverage something called systems thinking. One of these big picture things is that our concept of working together is part of the problem. We tend to think of collaboration as a horizontal phenomenon. While this is true, it is incomplete. What is missing is the concept of working together vertically throughout the company, which requires a new way of thinking. But before we dive into collaboration, let’s take a step back and talk about teamwork. Read more

filed under Innovation

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Stop Innovating, Start Getting Stuff Done

We believe that organizations are on the cusp of an era of enlightenment when it comes to being innovative. At the core of of this enlightenment is the fact that we should probably stop calling progress innovation. Using the word innovation conjures the wrong associations, which leads to the wrong activities for reliably creating value. We believe that most organizations would significantly benefit from decreasing the focus on finding brilliant ideas and increasing the focus on effective collaboration that drives progress and real value for customers and stakeholders. Here’s the basis on which we believe these things. Read more

filed under Engagement

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The Inverted Org Chart: Putting Employees at the Top

The traditional hierarchical view of organizational structure lends itself to a style of leadership where division of labor, chain of command and top-down communication dominates. While an org chart with the CEO/President at the top may still have its place, we believe that the way organizations should increasingly operate is with empowered employees playing a more prominent role in taking ownership of success. Employees should have the clarity and autonomy to decide which work will deliver the best results. They should be enabled to collaborate across hierarchical levels to get the support they need to be successful. And employees should be able to assume leadership as much as the management team. We believe this is a key new paradigm for a more agile and engaged organization. Read more

filed under Vertical Collaboration

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To Build a Great Team, Look at the Big Picture

Being part of a high-performing team is an amazing experience. Many incredibly smart people have dissected the best teams to understand what are the key attributes that lead to superlative performances. Yet, despite knowing so much, it’s still frustratingly hard to recreate the magic that just makes some teams click. Why is it so hard to create high-performing teams? Part of the problem lies in the fact that we try to dissect team performance. It helps if you also approach high-performance teams by taking a look at the whole, thinking bigger picture and applying what’s called systems thinking. Read more