Monday, April 30, 2012

Innovative Management and Instagram's Buyout

Every week, we publish an exciting summary of the best articles, videos, events, and posts that relate to innovative management. This week, check out these 9 articles that inspire better management. Enjoy! 

Growing People: The Heart of the Organizational Transformation 

Every year companies spend billions of dollars on training and development, trying to help their people become more engaged, more innovative, and better leaders. Training programs excel in introducing new ideas and perspectives, delivering feedback and assessment data, and teaching basic skills. Yet today's tools and programs leave so much human potential on the table. What is needed to inspire learning and development that is truly transformational and lasting?

This was the question asked and answered in the creation of the Personal Excellence Program (PEP), first inside Genentech's IT department and now spreading within the company and beyond. This is the surprising story of what happened by radically rethinking an organization's responsibility to its people and creating a genuine culture of human development.

For People to Trust You, Reveal your true intentions

… if you want to lead and influence others, you must reveal your intentions. People won't believe you will do the right thing unless they're convinced you genuinely want to do it. 

That requires more conscious effort than most bosses understand. We all more or less assume that others will see our positive motives or at least give us the benefit of the doubt. But it often doesn't work that way. As a leader and manager, you must often make tradeoffs among the competing interests of your own group, other groups, the organization as a whole, important outsiders, and the individuals who work for you. That obviously creates many opportunities for people to misinterpret your intentions.

They Ain’t Making Any More of Them: The Great Engineering Shortage of 2012 

Corner any up-and-coming Kevin Systrom wanna-be and have a heart-to-heart about the challenges of building a successful company and at some point you’ll likely wander into the territory of bemoaning how tough it is to hire people with technical skills. At a party recently a startup founder told me “If you could find me five great engineers in the next 90 days I’d pay you $400,000.” Which is crazy talk. Unless you stop to consider that Instagram’s team (mostly engineers) was valued at almost $80 million per employee or that corporate development heads often value engineers at startups they are acquiring at a half-million to million dollars per person. $400,000 actually might not be so crazy for a basketball lineup’s worth of guys who can sling Ruby or Scala code.

So with all this widespread talk about the value of hiring great engineers and the apparent dearth of technical talent in the market, college students must be signing up to computer science classes in droves. This is the next California Gold Rush is it not? The era in which a self-taught programmer can emerge from relative obscurity and land a mid-nine figure payday. Engineering enrollments surely must be at an all-time high? Au contraire, mon frère.

Read Valve’s Employee Company Handbook * 

Check out the employee handbook from Valve (Bellevue based game company founded by two former Microsoft employees). Not only is it a beautiful example of great design, as employee on boarding experiences go, it’s pretty innovative and a fascinating insight!

Behavior Change as Value Proposition 

Adaptive Path 
There's a lot of academic research around the areas of persuasive technology and design for behavior change. It's getting more exposure as technology has allowed products and services to have an increasingly pervasive role in people's lives. But where does persuasion live? How do we recognize these products in the wild? And what has caused the tipping point for the growth of these products and services?

Engagement Isn’t Enough 

As leaders, we often miss critical indicators that can improve the likelihood of organizational and personal success. Consider the ubiquitous employee satisfaction survey, which is usually administered once a year and, as long as the scores are respectable, crossed off the corporate must-do list. Typically, these surveys measure employee engagement levels. But as Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton explain in the excerpt below, that’s not enough. They rightly contend that employee energy and enablement are as essential to high levels of performance as engagement.

The Power of Small Wins 

The Talent Code 
Most of us instinctively spend a lot of time and energy seeking the big breakthrough: that magical moment when, after a lot of effort, everything finally clicks: when you play the song perfectly, ace the test, win the big game. Those moments are incredibly satisfying. But they’re also a problem. Here’s why: focusing on the big breakthrough can cause you to overreach. It can create a steady diet of disappointment (after all, breakthroughs are rare, by definition). Worse, you stop focusing on the smaller, incremental things that really matter. The best performers and teachers I’ve seen don’t get caught up in seeking big breakthrough moments. Instead, they hunt the little breakthroughs — the small, seemingly insignificant progressions that create steady daily progress. In short, they love baby steps.

What Creates a High Performing Organization 

HR BartenderSharing
That’s right – Sharing. Not sharing staplers or a filing cabinet drawer. I’m talking about sharing information. I was reading the ASTD research study “The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity Across Generations” for a presentation I’m putting together on social learning. The report talked about the primary uses of social media in the workplace and it really focused on collaboration as the “thing” social media does exceptionally well.

Basically high-performing companies share more knowledge. Having more knowledge makes the company smarter and therefore, perform better. When you add social media tools enhancing the sharing of information…well, everything seems to just fall into place.

Inspiring the Future of Work By Unlocking Innovation Through Chaos, Creativity and Collaboration 

Gangplank is revolutionizing the world of work. By providing a collaborative workspace to encourage creation instead of consumption for creators. The unique model is working with local government and business to provide a public private partnership that boosts civic engagement, sets community vision and collaborates to unlock innovation. The model is rapidly growing in Arizona and changing how cities view relationships with the creative workforce. The challenges are listed in our manifesto competition, agendas, observation, saying, formality, assurance, expertise and personalities. We find these items to be the status quo and what prevent community building and innovation. Examples of disrupting the status quo.
Collaboration over Competition Community over Agendas Participation over Observation Doing over Saying Friendship over Formality Boldness over Assurance Learning over Expertise People over Personalities 

Lessons I Learned Reading Over 200 Books 

I recently realized that I’d been reading a book every week now for about 5 years straight. It kind of made me wonder: what did I really learn? Am I smarter than I used to be? I started to wonder, and this is what happened. 140 characters per book, for 200 books… 200 things you may not know. Are you curious? I sure was when I started.
The Millionaire Next Door: Those that are wealthy are not those who ACT wealthy. Those that look wealthy are usually in just debt, while the rich tend to act broke.
Blink:  “Sometimes we’re right about things– especially when we’re experts. Other times we’re wrong.” With a bunch of examples.
How To Succeed in Anything by Really Trying: The three A’s of careers are Ability, Ambition, and Attitude. If you have those three down, you’re good.
The No BS Ruthless Management of People and Profits: If your employees suck, nobody is happy. So fire them– fast. Stop being so bleeding-hearted about it.
The Dip: The real rewards come to those who can outlast the competition. If you can do that while staying unique, you win.