Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Collaboration for Innovative Management

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 summaries of 8 GREAT articles that inspire better management. Enjoy! 

Collaboration Will Drive the Next Wave of Productivity Gains 

Technology adoption only improves productivity if it is accompanied by concurrent changes in the way work is done. For example, there was a substantial increase in productivity during the twenty-year stretch from 1980 to 2000, fueled by companies' investments in enterprise-wide information technology. However, research on the returns generated by these investments found that productivity growth occurred only when the technology was accompanied by thoughtful business process innovations tailored to sector- and company-specific business processes. In fact, technology adoption alone, without the accompanying changes in work practices, had little or even a negative impact on productivity.

Today, a new wave of technologies — collaborative or social technologies, most of which appeared only within the last decade — is entering the workplace. But as with the technology of the 1980s and 1990s, the ability of these technologies to drive real productivity growth will depend on whether or not they are accompanied by thoughtful changes in the way work is done.


If you want to be a leader…. 
Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts, And the world will govern itself.

The more prohibitions you have, the less virtuous people will be. 
The more weapons you have, the less secure people will be. 
The more subsidies you have, the less self-reliant people will be. 

Therefore the Master says: I let go of the law, and people become honest. 
I let go of economics, and people become prosperous. 
I let go of religion, and people become serene. 
I let go of all desire for the common good, and the good becomes common as grass.
~ from the Tao Te Ching, 600 B.C. China As translated by Stephen Mitchell

4 Keys to Collaborative Leadership

The world of work is a complicated place. Technology, globalization and the great recession have accelerated the pace of change and brought about category disruption, new competition and what can feel like never ending chaos. 4 keys to developing a more collaborative leadership style.

  1. Lead to Inspire 
  2. Lead to Influence 
  3. Lead to Innovate 
  4. Lead for Impact 

7 signs of a dysfunctional boss 

…a composite of all those wacky and colorful executives: 7 signs of a dysfunctional boss.

  1. The game has rules, but the rules keep changing 
  2. Major focus on minutiae. 
  3. A "man of the people." 
  4. Hypersensitive and vindictive when rejected. 
  5. Failure is not an option. 
  6. Loves distraction, hates surprises. 
  7. Sees conspiracy everywhere. 

Clay Christensen's Life Lessons 

At the turn of the century, The Innovator’s Dilemma became a surprise best-seller and a holy book for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, where Christensen’s theory arrived ready-made to explain what Internet companies were going to do to established businesses. Andy Grove swore by it. Steve Jobs admired it, although Jobs’s biographer, Walter Isaacson, points out that Christensen predicted that if Apple (AAPL) kept on using only its own software, the iPod would likely remain a “niche product.”

Pointedly, Christensen demonstrated that it wasn’t because of obsolescence or ineptitude that top companies falter. In conversation, Christensen puts it this way: “There is no single right answer or path forward, but there is one right way to frame the problem.” As to whether his advice in How Will You Measure Your Life? will save ambitious careerists from themselves, he’s circumspect. In his experience, when something isn’t going well—when, despite outward success, one’s life falls apart—“the vast majority of times it’s because someone hasn’t gotten causality right.” They aren’t necessarily bad people, they simply aren’t enacting a strategy for the life they really want. He has great faith in the capacity of overachievers “to change in ways that previously were unthinkable.”

Barriers to Change: The Real Reason Behind the Kodak Downfall

Kodak has recently declared bankruptcy. Usually, when this hits the news it is analyzed by the numbers people who, looking at five years’ worth of financial data, give their quantitative and financial explanation of the failure. More qualitative types will go back 10 years sometimes, and even go beyond finances to talk about strategy, CEOs, competition, and the like. Recent well-done Financial Times articles (here and here) go back even further for Kodak. And yet people still fail to see Kodak’s real problem. Great CEO, people buried in the hierarchy who had all sorts of good ideas, and still poor strategic decisions. Why?
Answer: The organization overflowed with complacency. With the complacency so rock-solid, and no one at the top even devoting their priorities toward turning that problem into a huge urgency around a huge opportunity, of course they went nowhere. Of course strategy sessions with the BIG CEO went nowhere. Of course all the people buried in the hierarchy who saw the oncoming problems and had ideas for solutions made no progress. Their bosses and peers ignored them. 

Why Ask, Who Cares? 

Have you ever heard a well-placed question light up a table? Or have you seen young people beam from questions that invite their talents to sparkle in ways that benefit all? While just about anybody can learn to ask questions, it takes practice to wield them well. In other words, not all questions are equal. Great questions tend to have two feet – one foot steps up ideas and one foot steps up people’s capabilities. Two-footed questions engage both sides of the brain. Questions are often more talked about than engaged well, as stated at John Hopkins University.

Do You Use Verbal White Space? 

Graphic designers know how to focus your attention. They frequently communicate through the use of white space. Less is more. The message is clear. There's no clutter.

Use Verbal Whitespace.

You can increase your verbal impact the same way. How many times have you wished that someone would just "say what they mean?"