Monday, April 16, 2012

Unless You Lead...

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 7 articles that inspire better management. Enjoy! 

Can Creativity Save the Business World? 

The Guardian 
The key questions: is creativity really more sought after now than ever, and if so, why? How does the corporate sector value creativity and vice versa? What are the pros and cons of government intervention in cultivating creativity?

Academics such as professor Clive Holtham from Cass Business School argue that …creativity might be encouraged in the middle, or indeed recruited for in the lower echelons of a company, but when push comes to shove, the driver for decision making at board level is all about the bottom line. The finance men rule. If graduates have been recruited on criteria that require creative input how long they will last in a company which does not nurture it?

The creative industries know that it takes fresh thinking and innovation to stay ahead of the game in an international market place and increasingly, the government seems to be looking to the creative industries to drive the UK economy out of recession. How then is creativity best managed, and what does creativity in leadership look like?

The Arts as a Management Tool (from The pARTnership Movement) 

When we think about creativity, we need to think of it as something we do every day—like thinking. We cannot avoid thinking and creativity is the same. We cannot avoid being creative.

Organizations need the arts. They need culture in their business. We are living in a transition time and this time calls for new models, a new management mindset, and new management tools. 21st century organizations are managed and organized for the 20th century business landscape.

But we are in a completely new landscape. Today’s organizations need new competencies because they are dealing with new challenges, and these challenges I summarize in what I call the five E’s:

  1. Experience. 
  2. Emotion. 
  3. Energy. 
  4. Ethics. 
  5. Environment. 

The Resonant Team Leader 

Teams need leaders, both formal and informal. They need leaders within the team to create purpose and excitement, and provide social glue, what Harvard professor Richard Hackman calls "bracketing." Resonant leaders are able to build trusting, engaged, and energizing relationships with others around them.

To illustrate, let's look at the world of sports. Fans become strongly connected to a favorite team. They derive a social identity from that team — but often miss the multiple layers of leadership needed for any team to develop and sustain performance. Sustained performance requires a resonant leader within the team — the "real" team captain (not necessarily the formal one), who provides the emotional glue and fosters attachments. The coach is the person who links the team and organization. The team owner or general manager has to move between the organization and the community, managing public relations, fans, and the political community.

Unless You Lead… 

Leadership. Life. Legacy.
Most of us typically think about what –if… We can let our imagination and dreams run wild with what-if scenarios. These times can fuel our creativity and help us to innovate, challenge ourselves and even better prepare for what may lie ahead.

What-if thinking can help us ponder so many possibilities. It’s interesting, though, to consider a different perspective. The Lorax’s challenge: unless. In addition to dreaming about the what-if we do scenarios, should we also be thinking about the consequences of what if we don’t? What if we don’t do what’s right? What if we don’t do our best? What if we don’t help others? What if we don’t care? What if we don’t stand up and lead?

5 ways you can help younger managers view older workers differently 

There is an explosion happening all around us. We are getting grayer as a society - much grayer. As a result, organizations are faced with a diversity-related challenge. Younger managers, on a much broader level than ever before, are finding themselves in the position of having to supervise older subordinates. Here are five ways you can help younger managers view older workers differently:
  1. It's not about the process, it's about the outcome.
  2. Communicate and then communicate some more.
  3. Let them share their knowledge.
  4. You don't have to be the boss.
  5. Train them. 

How to Set Your Employees Free: Reed Hastings 

Business Week
We call Netflix’s corporate culture the “freedom and responsibility culture.” We want responsible people who are self-motivating and self-disciplined, and we reward them with freedom. The best example is our vacation policy. It’s simple and understandable: We don’t have one. We focus on what people get done, not on how many days they worked. Prior to 2004 we had the standard vacation model, until we realized no one was tracking how many hours in a day they worked. Why were we tracking whether someone takes two weeks or four weeks of vacation? It was an industrial era habit. I make sure to take lots of vacation to set a good example, and I do some of my creative thinking on vacation.

How to Manage Creative Talent: Angela Ahrendts 

We’ve learned that EQ is often more important than experience and IQ when working with creative thinkers. Watch how people speak to your assistant when visiting your office, or take a candidate to lunch and see how they treat the restaurant staff. Both will give you insights into someone’s character. It’s important to build the right atmosphere for creativity to flourish. To encourage creativity, we value feeling as much as knowing. Of course, we try to confuse ourselves with relevant facts, but we always lead with intuition. After all, you can’t prove something will be successful if it’s never been done before.