Monday, August 20, 2012

What George Washington Can Teach Us About 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! 

George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior

The rules of behavior that George Washington followed that earned him the respect and love of all who served him in the Revolution and his presidency. By age sixteen, George Washington had copied out by hand, 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. They are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. The first English translation of the French rules appeared in 1640, and are ascribed to Francis Hawkins the twelve-year-old son of a doctor.

These were the rules that governed Washington’s behavior and helped to mould the man who attracted the love, loyalty and respect of all who served with him during the American Revolution and his Presidency. It would be easy to dismiss them as outdated and appropriate to a time of powdered wigs and quills, but they reflect a focus that is increasingly difficult to find in our political leaders these days. The rules have in common a focus on other people rather than the narrow focus of their own self-interests that we find so prevalent with our politicians. They represent more than just manners. They are the small sacrifices that we should all be willing to make for the good of all and the sake of living together. These rules proclaim our respect for others and in turn give us the gift of self-respect and heightened self-esteem.

How To Foster Outrageously Awesome Employee Engagement

In “Contented Cows Still Give Better Milk,” coauthors Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden argue that your people are your biggest competitive advantage. 

At its very core, the whole notion of people being a distinct source of competitive advantage hinges on the way organizations and individual leaders perceive their workforces and the nature of the employment relationship. Do you see people on the asset or the liability side of the balance sheet? Are employees an opportunity--that is, a source of strategic advantage--or a cost to be reckoned with and minimized whenever possible? Are they viewed as little more than plug-and-play cogs in the operating process? Or do you see them as real, pulsating, thinking, idea-generating, responsibility-taking assets?

Inside Stanford's creativity factory

After spending decades training executives and design professionals, David Kelley conceived of a school that could produce a generation of design innovators. What leader doesn't want his or her organization to be more resilient, inventive, and inspiring? What leader hasn't called for the full ingenuity, passion, and initiative of every person in their organization? Yet how many organizations are designed to unleash and mobilize the full potential of the people who work inside them?

Those were the questions on the table when David Kelley, the founder and chairman of design and innovation firm IDEO, joined Stanford professor Bob Sutton onstage at the recent MIX Mashup, our first-ever gathering of management innovators earlier this summer. According to Kelley, so many of us opt out of thinking of ourselves as creative because we fear failure and judgment.

Which USA do you work in?

Every smart company wants to become smarter and the way to do that is not by asking their employees to communicate  orally or in writing to management, its by automating everything.
When Starbucks introduces Square, its not to make their in store employees do more, its to simplify the process involved in serving customers and to allow them to spend more time on improving the customer experience. Everything of intelligence is being moved into the cloud. There is not one business process that you can think of that makes sense to put in the cloud that hasn’t been written as an app. I get dozens of proposals for these types of apps every WEEK.

The explosion is due to the fact that digital entrepreneurship is experiencing a renaissance. Why ? Because with a Laptop, a SmartPhone, a broadband connection and an account on Amazon Web Services or one of their competitors, if you understand technology and are willing to work your ass off, you have everything you need to start a cloud based company. Everything.

The end of performance management (as we know it)

Traditional performance management has run its course. It does not make us the agile and human organizations we need to be. Can we learn something from traffic? Chew on those two words [performance management] put together. ”If I don’t manage you, there will be no performance”, is what I hear. I have had many managers throughout my career, many great ones but also a few of more mixed quality. But none of them ever told me that they wanted to “manage my performance”.   I don’t want to be “managed”. I want something else. I want a definition of performance that makes me tick. I want to understand and be ignited about direction. I want to contribute. I want support and learning, and I want to have fun. I want to perform at my very best, but I don’t want to be “managed”.
Peter Drucker put it like this “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”
Roundabouts are generally more efficient than traffic lights, because traffic authorities are not “managing performance”. Instead, they create conditions for performance to take place. They establish a framework that is more values- than rules based. They provide authority for those closest to the situation to make the right decisions, based on fresh, real-time information (right level, right time). The model is not chosen because it is the easiest, but because it is the best.

Helen Gurley Brown's lessons: How to manage

"Retirement passed me by," the late great Helen Gurley Brown told Cathie Black back when the two worked together at Hearst. Black headed Hearst Magazines for 14 years until 2010, while Brown, into her 80s, was the ever-present grand dame of Cosmopolitan. Cathie Black offers three of the best lessons she learned from Helen Gurley Brown:
  • Care passionately about what you do—and do it the best you possibly can.
  • Treat everyone the same.

Be personal and specific.Four Practical Ways for Leaders to Make the Future

Institute for the Future ß Recommended
Bob Johansen recently published the second edition of Leaders Make the Future. In the book, Bob presents an expansive ten-year forecast about the key future forces that will impact our world in the decade ahead, pointing to the shift towards the global well-being economy, the growing impact of digital natives, and the emergence of cloud-served supercomputing. Bob reminds us that we live in an increasingly VUCA world, characterized byVolatilityUncertaintyComplexity, and Ambiguity, and that the VUCA World presents both danger and opportunity.

Leaders who make the future will make sense of the VUCA world and transform Volatility into Vision, Uncertainty into Understanding, Complexity into Clarity, and Ambiguity into Agility.

Why Thinking of Others Improves Our Creativity

David Burkus, Professor at Oral Roberts University, has written a terrific blog post about some new research on creativity.   Burkus describes the work of NYU's Evan Polman and Cornell's Kyle Emich.   These scholars found that we tend to be more creative when we think of others facing a challenging situation, rather than thinking of ourselves caught in that predicament.  In one experiment, Polman and Emich found that subjects could solve a tough riddle only 48% of the time when they imagined themselves facing that challenging situation.  Meanwhile, two-thirds of the subjects actually solved the riddle when asked to imagine someone else facing the same predicament.