Monday, December 16, 2013

Stifling Innovation: The Why vs. How Mindset

Michael Roberto blog

Fast Company's Eric Jaffe reports on some terrific new research by University of San Diego Professor Jennifer Mueller.   The creativity scholar has examined how a person's mindset affects the way that they perceive and evaluate a new idea.  Her work helps explain why large companies often dismiss or reject innovative proposals.   


5 Ways Leaders Win People Over


Take a moment to reflect upon those people that you lead and  serve.   Is there a department head  you feel awkward around?  A client that doesn’t seem to like being around you?  To help you reassess how you can engage more effectively with people, here are five ways that leaders win people over.

1.      Search for Shared Experiences

2.      Understand One’s Values and Intentions

3.      The Head and the Heart

4.      Get Your Hands Dirty

5.      Increase Your Engagement


What Ethical Leaders Believe: The Leading in Context Manifesto

ChangeThis  ß Recommended

“Aristotle said ‘We are what we repeatedly do.’


He was right. Our daily choices define us. They show just how far beyond ourselves we’re thinking, how broadly we imagine our constituents, and how we see ourselves in the world.

As we navigate the turbulence of today’s workplace, there is power in asking ourselves, ‘What is it that I repeatedly do?’ […]

We would like to think that we are making the most responsible choices that we can under the circumstances. But then, in a typical challenging, chaotic day, what really determines what we do?”

A “Virtuous Mix” Allows Innovation to Thrive: The right mixture balances conventionality, novelty, and collaboration

Kellogg Insight

On the one hand is the trope of the great scientist: a loner in a rumpled lab coat, content to spend every waking hour chasing the extraordinary from the recesses of his own considerable mind. On the other is the truth about how science actually gets made.

In an influential 2007 paper, Kellogg School professors Brian Uzzi and Benjamin Jones, along with a colleague, analyzed the nearly twenty million research articles in the Web of Science (WOS) database to determine how the production of research has changed over time. “What we saw was that from the fifties up until today, there had been a shift to teams,” explains Uzzi, a professor of management and organizations and the faculty director of the Kellogg Architectures of Collaboration Initiative. “Teams were not only becoming more prominent, but they were becoming bigger each year.”  Teams were also, across a majority of disciplines, increasingly producing the most impactful papers—those capable of setting, or resetting, the research agenda of an entire field. It became clear to us, says Uzzi, that “science had made a fundamental change.”

There are many reasons why the best science may have shifted to teams. Perhaps team research is simply favored by funding agencies, or maybe it plays well at tenure time. But one reason that struck Uzzi and Jones as both plausible and fascinating is the idea that collaborations might foster more creative or novel research.


Six Simple Ways to Build a Strong Culture

Leadership Freak

People in strong cultures smile and laugh.

The idea that it takes fewer muscles to smile than frown is silly. If you don’t want to smile, it doesn’t matter how easy it is. You may think you’re smiling, but does your face know?

Six ways to smile more and build a strong culture:

1.      Be with people when you are with people.

2.      Become “one of” not “one above.” Partner rather than supervise or fix.

3.      Celebrate strengths more than fixing weaknesses. Seeing strength in others makes you attractive.

4.      Let your face – lips and eyes – express what’s in your heart.

5.      Trust.

6.      Think in private. Public smiling requires private thinking.


Creativity and the Aging Brain

The Artists Road

“Don’t imagine you’ll have it forever. Use it while you’ve got it because it’ll go; it’s sliding away like water down a plug hole.”

So said Nobel Prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing of creativity. The author of The Golden Notebook, who passed away recently at the age of 94, said this five years ago when describing a creative slump. But as Tara Bahrampour notes in The Washington Post, in many ways creative thinking can stay with you well into your final years, and perhaps even be stronger and more dynamic.

I put forward as Exhibit One the estimable Dr. Francine Toder, author of The Vintage Years: Finding Your Inner Artist (Writer, Musician, Visual Artist) after Sixty. In her guest post for The Artist’s Road in May, she profiles creatives who started a new creative passion later in life. Francine herself took up the cello at age 70.


Is Trust the Answer to Employee Motivation

2 Degrees Network

Learn about the eight intrinsic drivers to a positive outcome.

Why do we want to increase employee engagement? Perhaps it's to increase output. On the other hand, for some businesses, a positive work environment and 'culture' is of paramount importance: just think about all those smiling faces at your local Apple store!

These reasons both justify the need for employee engagement, but I would suggest that beneath all of this lies one Universal theme: getting the most from staff. Surely an 100% efficient workforce is worth more than any new innovation in a company? Because, at the end of the day, it's the employees that provide the backbone of each and every organisation.

So, what is the key to 100% motivation? In a unique infographic, produced by income protection specialists, Unum, a strong argument is made for the importance (and necessity) of trust. But what do you think? Is employee engagement expert Susanne Jacobs right - is it all about trust?


Transparency Eats Culture for Lunch


Many companies talk about their great culture when trying to lure new employees, and “great culture” has become synonymous with foosball tables, subsidized lunches and lots of parties.

Yet parties, picnics and perq’s are never what truly engages employees over the long-term. New research by TINYpulse, a startup employee survey company, confirms this fact. They found a weak correlation (.35) between company culture and employee happiness, and a surprisingly stronger correlation (.93) between happiness and transparency.

This supports my own work that shows communication is one of the top four drivers of engagement (growth, recognition and trust are the other three). But it’s not just any communication; CEO broadcasts, company newsletters and routine staff meetings are information, not communication.

What employees want is frequent, transparent two-way communication.


Lessons in Leadership from the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster


Three widely cited investigations of the Fukushima disaster — one by the Japanese government, one by an independent team of experts in Japan and a third by The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace — have now concluded that the nuclear disaster of March 2011 was not, as it first seemed, the inevitable result of events no one could have predicted.

In an effort to understand what went wrong and what lessons in leadership the tragedy can offer, leaders directly and indirectly involved in the disaster spoke candidly at the Tokyo panel on Fukushima sponsored by Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL). Based on their presentations in Tokyo and the analyses of others in Japan and elsewhere, three areas emerge as essential to leadership in a crisis: preparation for emergencies, leadership style and communications.

Lesson 1: To prepare for the worst, leaders have to face up to what might actually occur.

Lesson 2: In the midst of chaos, leaders should stop looking for control and start looking for answers.


The 12 Rules of Respect

Leadership Now

Paul Meshanko has highlighted the importance of demonstrating respect in all of our interactions in The Respect Effect. The desired result is that those we interact with will feel valued in some way. He offers 12 Ways of thinking and behaving around others:

1. Be Aware of Your Nonverbal and Extra-verbal Cues.

2. Develop Curiosity About the Perspectives of Others.

3. Assume that Everyone is Smart About Something.

4. Become a Better Listener by Shaking Your “But.”

5. Look for Opportunities to Connect with and Support Others.

6. When You Disagree, Explain Why.

7. Look for Opportunities to Grow, Stretch, and Change.

8. Learn to Be Wrong on Occasion.

9. Never Hesitate to Say You Are Sorry.

10. Intentionally Engage Others in Ways that Build Their Self-Esteem.

11. Be Respectful of Time When Making Comments.

12. Smile!


Transcending the trade off between freedom and control


Watch MIX co-founder Gary Hamel make the case for renegotiating the trade off between freedom and control at work. Can you imagine a future where you can not only bring your own device to work but also design your own job and choose your own boss?



Are We Really “All Connected”?

Random Acts of Leadership

We are all connected.  We seem to be hearing that more and more these days.

Yet do we really act like we believe it?

We have been trained to think in a paradigm that has us focus on what separates us.  Today’s world, for the most part, has been framed in a mechanistic model based on Newton’s laws of the physical universe.  Of course this model continues to be both valid and useful.  In fact, this model of thought gave rise to the tremendous breakthroughs in the industrial age.

Yet could it be this mechanistic model is now getting in the way of our ability to actually work together?