Lend me your mind's ear — communications and portals

Posts Tagged ‘innovation

How to achieve transcendence in business: Believe in others

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What motivates people at work?

TransHow to boost the bottom line

In a post-recession environment where employee engagement plays a major role in organizational success — up to a 250 per cent boost to the bottom line — attention to motivation and engagement demonstrate greater loyalty from employees. A focus on innovation sets organizations apart. (See below infographic.)

What does innovation look like with respect to employees?

Feel valued. Feel engaged.

From the employees point of view:

  • Believe in me
  • Believe in others

Recent data from a Dale Carnegie engagement study, which focused in part on “belief in senior leadership”, found:

Organizations that believe people are intelligent, self-motivated individuals that do good work outperform. Collaborative work, like many things, thrives when management prioritizes it. Minimizing employees’ knowledge and efforts is counterintuitive.

Brilliant work comes from treating people like they’re brilliant. But how do you get those diamonds to shine?

Creating a culture where employees are underappreciated, creates an environment where employees:

  • Give less
  • Find another way to feel appreciated
  • Move on

Invest in relationships

Business is about relationships. Relationships need investment just like anything else you want to grow. That’s as important internally as it is externally.

Every company is trying to get the best out of its employees. Because every company faces the costs inherent in employee turnover.

Disengaging from employees is disengaging from operating margin

Towers Watson studied 50 global companies and  found:

  • Companies with low engagement scores had an average operating margin just under 10 per cent
  • High traditional engagement had a higher margin of 14 per cent
  • Companies with what Towers defines as the highest “sustainable engagement” scores had an average one-year operating margin of 27 per cent

The Carnegie study found companies lose $350 billion a year because of employee disengagement. One-third of a trillion dollars lost to employee disengagement.

What do companies want to achieve? Three things they don’t want is less productivity, increasing turnover or gifting employees to competitors.

Engage to innovate, innovate to engage

Employees of companies that outperform when it comes to innovation said in a Hay Group survey (see infographic below):

  • A majority of executives intend to create employee incentives to encourage collaboration across functions (79 per cent)
  • My company evaluates or rewards leaders based on their ability to build excellent relationships with peers (95 per cent)
  • 91 per cent of best-in-class companies regularly reach out to employees for ideas on creating efficiencies

Watching a former employee later excel with a competitor is painful. Long-term strategy regarding employee engagement and innovation should embrace the strengths of employees.

Forgetting to invest in meaningful work for employees comes with its own negatives. How do we know?

Because according to 95 per cent of employees at top companies, leaders work hard to connect people with projects that are personally meaningful to their employees.

Believe in your employees. Transcend the mean and shine. dia

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This work and all work on this blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Images: Flickr NostalgicHaze/Vermin Inc.

Written by johnrondina

June 17, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Creators, travelling at the speed of light

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optoCommunications continue to hurtle forward.

At least, we’ve developed the capability to send data at 99.7% the speed of light, flying through previous speed and latency records.

In Digital at the speed of light: Who’s afraid of social media?, Social Media: A universe expanding at an incredible rate, and Social cosmology: Social media is creating its own multiverse, I blogged about how social is propelling us into the future. Social media, like any nascent technology, will have its successes and failures, but criticism sometimes misses the evolution in communication:


It’s one big thing (there are others) that’s changed profoundly since the creation of the printing press.

Some criticize speed and new technologies. It’s good to consider where we’re going.

Will technology ever create us?

The way we live has always been impacted by disruptive technologies. Criticism of disruptive technologies is valid in that the pace of technological change is rampant and accelerating so fast that it’s almost impossible to know which tools will dominate in the long-term.

The long-term, the future, becomes the present. Social tools have already had tremendous impact. The future becomes the present faster and faster.

Some platforms will last and evolve even as they stake their claim for superiority, usefulness and usability. Criticizing technological change in communications is like criticizing the printing press. Necessary, but if we could jump hundreds of years into the future, the point might be moot.

The printing press was revolutionary. We know that. Every time I read a book, some kind of unconscious thanks travels from me to the ghost of Gutenburg and the ghosts of the Renaissance.

And men go about to wonder at the heights of the mountains, and the mighty waves of the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers, and the circuit of the ocean, and the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not.

— Petrarch

Will a David ever sculpt itself?

We know what the printing press enabled. Tools aren’t what we are as creators. Tools are what enable us to realize our ideas. But the ideas are ours. Michelangelo may have said that his sculptures were imprisoned in marble, but the hammer didn’t pick itself up and begin to do the David on its own.

The printing press was revolutionary. The exchange of information it enabled, equally revolutionary. Education, for the literate, was changed forever. Literacy continues to be of prime importance today. Literacy separated what people could achieve. Often, it still does.

Tools aren’t what we are as creators. Despite how much we sometimes grow to love them. We are still the creators of  ideas and content. Even if we are conduits, as some describe the experience of creation, even if the sculpture is there, imprisoned in marble, we, like Michelangelo, hold and guide the tools. We wield the tools and they enable us to work in different media, in different contexts.

We are the creators. Tools are an extension of us.

Like a paintbrush. Like a hammer. Like a keyboard.

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Written by johnrondina

March 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

If everyone’s thinking the same thing, give me a contrarian

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We need to learn how to listen to the contrarians. The ones who don’t feel it.

They won’t always be right. But they will help challenge beliefs we see as self-evident.

No as affirmation

People who challenge us to challenge our own beliefs are worth their weight in gold.

Sadly, contrarians are often labelled as “difficult” or “disruptive” — just like creative kids in school. They don’t swim with the majority.  This is their strength.

We all have biases.

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

— F. Scott Fitzgerald

It’s largely the contrarians who force you to analyze the greatest dangers to a popular idea, company or product. Part of leadership is having the confidence to listen. Listening is too often the forgotten communication skill.

Whether dialogue begins as scribbled notes on paper or a conversation in a cafe — dialogue is communication. Communication is at the heart of all innovation.

Diverse communication, voices with differing opinions, offers the best framework for generating/evaluating new ideas and alerting an organization to:

  • Illusions of invulnerability
  • A pervasive belief in the moral goodness/rightness of the group or the group’s ideas
  • An often self-imposed inability to think critically

Sometimes no is the no we should’ve said yes to

Rarely is the short-term gain of a less-than-honest tactic effective in the long-term. Flouting best practices can work for awhile, but, ultimately, less-than-best practices will fail.

When the consumer sees what she deems to be corruption, poor customer service, bad labour practices or other corporate failings, she tends to react. She exercises the freedom she has:


Maybe not immediately but eventually.

Social media, highly mobile, has amplified the ability to react with great impact.

When a company, product or idea reaches a certain mass, it becomes its own worst enemy. Some stakeholders can become inculcated. Perhaps this is one of the most vital times to challenge biases, beliefs and assumptions.

Momentum carries forward, but eventually reality strikes like the force of gravity. In crisis, leadership may exert more control and listen less. Can success cause a similar phenomenon?

A company, product or idea has hit (or is very close to hitting) its zenith at the point of maximum group think. It’s different this time is the tolling of a bell. The point of critical mass often exerts itself in a mania, and depends on people thinking the same and buying the same products or consuming the same products or beliefs.

Success breeds failure: Failure breeds success

There’s an irony in that success can breed failure.

Often, the ones we should’ve listened to go unheard.

Eventually, you’re expending most of your energy trying to convince consumers that your product or ideas are still the best or the coolest rather than coming up with the products or ideas that truly are the best or the coolest.

Maybe you forget to develop the relationships that fulfill the need that needs fulfilling.

In all creative thinking, the really new looks ugly at first. It’s threatening. And it threatens the adherents of the current popular idea, product or company most.

Do we just want our lives to be easy? Do we resist being pushed to think? None of us think so.

If the majority of people are consuming the same product or idea, are they thinking differently or thinking the same? And what will this lead to?

A complicated question.

Rare is the product or idea that is perpetual. Our digitized world has shrunk space and time. We are accelerating. Even the speed of light no longer seems beyond us.

The challenge of challengers

Challengers are generating ideas, products and services. Forming relationships. They’re innovating. Somewhere amongst those challengers is the next monster product or idea, waiting to be born.

Partnerships create value. Considering biases is part of the value partnerships create.

Think or be out-thought.

We need to continue to listen to those who criticize the present – not because they are difficult, but for the potential to see the unseen, to hear the unheard. We need to listen to those who are looking toward the future rather than fixating on the present, or worse, the past.

Will we?

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