Posts Categorized: Innovation

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Meet our Modern Manager Panelists | Pansy Lee

Join us on Wed. Sep. 27 for a lively conversation about how to motivate employees in the modern workplace. Learn more and RSVP here

This week we’ve been profiling the panelists for our next Modern Manager meetup. Next up, Pansy Lee! Head over to our blog to meet the rest of the panelists, and our moderator.

Pansy’s natural curiosity has led to some pretty diverse passions. Tech, design, complex spreadsheets, restoring furniture, women in tech and the list goes on. It has also led to a diverse career path. Over the past 15 years, she has held marketing and sales positions at Microsoft, IBM, Deloitte and was the Director of Product at RL Solutions, a patient safety software company. She is currently a Principal Product Designer at Intuit working hard to help people live financially well.
Favourite 1:1 Question: How are things (at home, with your partner, with your kids, etc)?

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How Pansy Learned from the Burn 🔥

Modern Managers learn by doing. And sometimes that means we get burned. I sat down with Pansy to hear about a time she got burned, what she learned and how she avoids making the same mistake again: 

Tell me about a time you were burned in the past. I had a person on my team who was consistently producing low quality work. I tried to treat the “symptom” of low performance with skills based exercises to try and boost performance. For months I kept trying to keep them on this improvement track with little success. When I finally sat down to understand what was going on, I realized that they weren’t performing because they weren’t motivated by what they were doing and so they weren’t putting in the effort to do a good job. In the end it was because they didn’t understand how what they were doing mattered in the grand scheme of the project. 

What did you take away from that experience? Low performance is sometimes linked to lack of motivation and it’s easy to think that putting someone on a performance improvement plan will solve the problem. Everyone wants to do meaningful work. No matter how menial the task people need to understand why it’s important.

How do you avoid making the same mistake again? I rarely start a 1:1 meeting talking about work these days. I take the time to ask about their personal life and how they’re feeling about work in general. Taking the time to care about them as a whole person helps to uncover why they have been unmotivated. Sometimes it’s work related, sometimes it’s something going on in their personal life.

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Meet our Modern Manager Panel Moderator | Bryan Rusche

Join us on Wed. Sep. 27 for a lively conversation about how to motivate employees in the modern workplace. Learn more and RSVP here

Now that you’ve had a chance to meet some of our panelists, Ivayla Tzvetkova, Pansy Lee, and Sam Brennand, it’s time to meet our fearless moderator – Bryan Rusche!

Bryan is the Director of Marketing at SoapBox. 

Over the last fifteen years, Bryan has held positions in sales, business development and marketing within the technology industry. Prior to SoapBox, Bryan worked at Softchoice, Microsoft and Dell where he led several major campaigns and product launches.

Favourite one-on-one question: “What’s the thing that made you happiest this week and the thing that frustrated you the most this week?”

 

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How Bryan Learned from the Burn 🔥

Modern Managers learn by doing. And sometimes that means we get burned. I sat down with Bryan to hear about a time he got burned, what he learned and how he avoids making the same mistake again: 

Tell me about a time you were burned in the past. My mind goes to dealing with compensation challenges in my old job. It was just a messy situation that wouldn’t go away. It was a cluster because of corporate policies and the makeup of my team. Some came from sales and others from marketing, some from outside. So there was quite a big range of salaries. There were ceilings and policies on giving raises. Then there was a decision to move to a bonus structure on a metric no one liked. It was a lot of headaches and super demotivating for the team, but I was quite limited with what I could adjust. There was what I thought was fair, what the individuals on my team thought they deserved and then there was reality…

What did you take away from that experience? I learned that transparency and open, honest communication goes a long way. And the reality that old habits die really hard was reinforced. Sometimes smart people do dumb things just because that’s the way it was done before.

How do you avoid making the same mistake again? There’s not a lot I could have done differently to fix that situation. I think I learned that my approach to tackle problems head on with honest, open conversations does work. It builds trust and when people are frustrated, you need trust. I would say that if I owned my own company, I think one of the things I’d try to reinvent is compensation models and policies. Despite so many studies that variable comp. is not motivating, we still use it. I get that sometimes it’s needed to de-risk a P&L. But then call it out. Don’t call it performance based pay. There is no fair way to pay for performance and it causes more problems than benefits in my opinion. Pay people what they’re worth on the market and motivate them with purpose and growth, not with money and incentives.

 

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Meet our Modern Manager Panelists | Sam Brennand

Join us on Wed. Sep. 27 for a lively conversation about how to motivate employees in the modern workplace. Learn more and RSVP here

In this series of posts, we’ll be shining the spotlight on our expert panelists for the event. Next up, Sam Brennand! Head over to our blog to meet the rest of the panelists, and our moderator.

Sam is VP Strategic Partnerships at Uberflip, the world’s #1 content experience platform for B2B marketers. In his four years at Uberflip, Sam has led fast-growing teams in Customer Success and Partnerships that are focused on delivering world class outcomes for Uberflip’s 1,200+ customers.

Prior to joining Uberflip, Sam worked in marketing and sales roles at Microsoft, Telus, and Venture Accelerator Partners.

 

 

Favourite one-on-one question: “What else can I do to help you this week?”

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How Sam Learned from the Burn 🔥

Modern Managers learn by doing. And sometimes that means we get burned. I sat down with Sam to hear about a time he got burned, what he learned and how he avoids making the same mistake again: 

Tell me about a time you were burned in the past. Like most managers, I’ve been burned by the loss of a talented employee. This particular employee was the very definition of a high performer: creative, passionate, innovative, a strong leader, and hard working. Ultimately, they ended up leaving Uberflip to pursue another opportunity they perceived to offer better career trajectory. 

What did you take away from that experience? You can’t spend too much time thinking about, planning, and facilitating career path progression for the people on your team. 

How do you avoid making the same mistake again? Constant vigilance! Most managers are incredibly busy and constantly juggling priorities. While it’s tough to do, it’s incredibly important carve out time to focus on career development planning.

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Meet our Modern Manager Panelists | Ivayla Tzvetkova

Join us on Wed. Sep. 27 for a lively conversation about how to motivate employees in the modern workplace. Learn more and RSVP here

In this series of posts, we’ll be shining the spotlight on our expert panelists for the event. Next up, Ivayla Tzvetkova! Head over to our blog to meet the rest of the panelists, and our moderator.

Ivayla has worked with some of the biggest names in banking, IT and tourism – HSCB, CGI, BMO and Expedia, to name a few. After getting her MBA, she went on to manage sales teams around the world – most recently in Italy and New Zealand with Expedia. She’s back home in Toronto and is excited to discover the latest unique design shops and eat the city’s best poke bowls.

Favourite One-on-one question: “How can I help you get to where you want to be?”

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How Ivayla Learned from the Burn 🔥

Modern Managers learn by doing. And sometimes that means we get burned. I sat down with Ivayla to hear about a time she got burned, what she learned and how she avoids making the same mistake again: 

Tell me about a time you were burned in the past. I was brought over from Italy to cover a mat leave and manage a Sales team in NZ. One employee was particularly difficult to manage – her ego outpaced her experience and, although she was super smart, her attitude was toxic. Her and her old manager got along really well, so I figured she’d let up a bit when she’d had time to adjust. Two months went by and nothing changed, so I decided to confront her. By then, her negative feelings toward me had had a chance to fester and we ended up requiring a mediated discussion to sort out our communications issues. Turns out there was a cultural divide in terms of our styles – I tend toward straight-forward exchanges, preferring to create an open environment for my team, but she was more guarded and wanted to keep the relationship at an arm’s length. In the end we worked it out, but the burn was waiting so long to confront the issue. Had we been able to have a transparent conversation about our styles at the first sign of friction, we could have saved a lot of time and frustration.

What did you take away from that experience? After our mediated conversation, and in working with my Director, I realized I was the one who had to adjust my style, and not the other way around. Motivation isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing – even though my style works with a lot of people, it won’t resonate with everyone. It’s my job as the manager to understand what motivates each individual employee, and adjust my style accordingly. This employee didn’t want to build a relationship with me – she needed a task manager. Once that became clear, it was a lot easier to get results.

How do you avoid making the same mistake again? Whenever I start working with a new team, the first thing I do is ask, “How do you like to communicate with your manager?” and “Are there any negative experiences you’ve had with managers in the past you’d like to avoid?” By confronting any points of friction right away, we’re able to quickly work through any differences and move right to getting results! 

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Why Your Innovation Program is Failing

Innovation is critically important to success in today’s business world, and leaders across industries are recognizing this. Some companies built their success on innovation — it is the foundation of their mission. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) does an annual report on the most innovative companies and has compiled several great research papers based on surveys to innovation leaders. One of those papers included the most common barriers to successful innovation. Risk aversion, long development cycles, difficulty selecting the best ideas and difficulty measuring performance topped the list. However, there are things you can do to address these challenges.

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Best Strategies for Managing Innovation in a Big Company

We’re in a unique position as a company. From our beginnings at the incubation center at the Ryerson DMZ, we’ve been very involved in the startup community. The software we build helps some the largest global brands dissolve hierarchy and tap into the insights of their employees. So, when it comes to innovation process and culture, we’re close to how it works at companies large and small.

For sure, managing innovation at a big company is different. While this may be a bit of an over-simplification, we often see three approaches that are successful when they are well executed.

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Brainstorming Best Practices

This post highlights some of the research and best practices you’ll want to incorporate into your own brainstorming sessions to get the most out of them. A few minutes spent understanding some of the common mistakes and hacks for getting the best ideas out of a group can have a big impact on the end result.

A well facilitated brainstorming session can produce up to 30 times as many unique ideas.
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