Innovation Tracking has unofficially been one of my career life hobbies. It started years ago when I thought the world should have/create a National Center for Public Sector Innovation (NCPSI). I appreciated the great group of co-workers and work colleagues that joined my hobby from a distance. Interestingly NCPSI development activities went much further than anyone but me expected! However it was one of those concepts that was a little ahead of its time…so it faded.
But today think about how people make it a practice…even a service to follow/track trends. There are society, fiscal, political, medical trends…and the list goes on. Often they reveal interesting economic growth patterns or changes in how people act, vote, etc. So how about we apply this style of activity and begin a special “creativity movement” and have “followers” participate in Innovation Tracking!
We would begin by simply applying Innovation Tracking to individuals. Could they report that they have tried an innovative new practice in their world of work…weekly? How about observing innovative change…large or small in the product/service they offer? Next, how about if people tracked innovation in their community? A new walking path…a new voting process…a new/alternative downtown…or just an alternative cooperative music/performance get together.
Because of what I do and who I am personally…I do Innovation Tracking all the time. I review innovation organizations online, belong to innovation “groups”, and try to initiate some form of innovative practice with those I work with and even in my personal life…everyday…yes EVERYDAY!
Try it. Don’t make Innovation Tracking harder than it is. Do it in an effort to see more positivity and commit to a belief that there is ALWAYS A BETTER WAY!
This weeks TRIPLE III TIME message is my quarterly American Society for Public Administration PA Times article entitled: Public Sector Continuous Improvement… Now or Later? As you can guess, in the article I try to encourage a greater focus on employing a standard of continuous improvement processes to develop quality and efficiency in the public/private non-profit service sectors.
Hopefully everyone reading this article will agree that NOW is the best time to move into a “zone” of public sector product/service continuous improvement. What a great common theme to rally around!
Sometimes in your career-building journey you try-out different actions and attempt to determine the best ways(s) forward. You never know for sure if certain activities are the best… if the timing is right… and/or if your initiative for development even makes good progress sense?
This very special Educationing Your Organization Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast is about my time as an agency leader and my non-traditional design for developing the organization. It was a unique, fun time. I know you will enjoy this podcast discussion.
In the world of consulting, you sometimes get requests for help that are a little bit “off the beaten path”! Maybe a special research assignment on a past president or designing a new/alternative learning opportunity for a challenged group. But a most recent opportunity that was proposed/suggested really has challenged my innovation foundation. A special small professional group has requested my help to answer the question: What is YOUR Niche?…for each of the individuals on the Team and then for the Team itself!
Well after I weakly said “sure I will help”, I did what any good researcher would do: I GOOGLED the term Niche to find the most direct definition. The results of my GOOGLE question offered the following: “Niche-A comfortable or suitable position in life or employment/a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.”
Well the definition started me in a good direction but I realized I need to ask the Team a number of simple but very important questions:
- Why is knowing your Niche important?
- How will knowing your Niche help improve your organization?
- Who really cares about your Niche?
- Does everybody really have a Niche?
Thankfully, our workshop will occur in the near future…but for today I believe there is an important hidden TRIPLE III TIME message in this Niche project. Think about answering the four Niche questions about yourself. If you have a real good picture/idea of your Niche…wouldn’t it naturally help in life and at work? I probably didn’t even realize the times early in my career when I tried to identify co-workers Niches and then blend them together for great product/service results. Likewise, by realizing my Niche and the organizations I work with/for…I know have created high value partnerships that have excelled beyond my/our expectations.
I look forward to helping the group answer the question: What is YOUR Niche? And maybe you take some quality time and find yours!
Yes it is the start-up of a new college semester…and yes I am again teaching a couple classes in American Government & Politics. It is satisfying to know and see all of the students in person and again draw on their real attendance energy when in the classroom.
It is always my practice to spend the first class period as a “get-to-know-you” moment. Of course we cover course expectations but before we end that first class I always try to give them a special word…phrase…or sentence that specializes the learning time that we will share. So this semester I told them we will discuss the need and importance for every professional to begin: “Stretching Flexibility”
What does this mean to the students…why is the combination term “Stretching Flexibility” so major that each student would talk about it after they complete the class?
Well first as I continually stress to every class that American Government & Politics impacts everyone and everything in their daily lives… “Stretching Flexibility” actions must be applied. For example in the area of education, we must continue to learn and teach with more of a non-traditional mindset. Likewise with the speed of medical science…we must be more open to the fact that quality treatments can be developed in shorter time periods (i.e. stretch our capacities to be flexible in trying new medicines).
The class will also regularly talk about the magnitudes of technology in all fields of employment and how only by Stretching YOUR Flexibility will you be able to effectively and efficiently work in the new economy. Additionally during the conduct of every class session we will address the quiet, increased personal/professional value of Stretching and being more Flexible in applying your observation and listening skills.
As we near the end of the course hopefully they will know that “Stretching Flexibility” means that CHANGE will be the most constant occurrence in your life. And finally in my pursuit of theming “Stretching Flexibility” for the class, I will challenge them to look around and see if they can locate a local, regional, state, national and/or international Champion who “Stretches Flexibility” everyday…EVERYDAY.
It will be a good semester. I wish you all could join us!
As you age the challenges of managing your time seem to grow more every day. I guess this should not be a big surprise because the older you get…the more you realize that your “time” is limited. So maybe it’s appropriate for this reason and maybe more for all of us to give TIME MANAGEMENT some special attention this week!
First think about where time management challenges come from. Are most of them generated by employment…family…personal finance…or unforeseen life issues? Second try and determine if certain circumstances drive more time management issues to you or does your life/work style build the incidence of endless challenges and thereby rob you of quality time.
I believe everyone…EVERYONE should seriously assess and personally redesign their own TIME MANAGEMENT strategy…monthly! Creatively addressing the issue of TIME MANAGEMENT on a “keep it fresh” and pre-planned basis is a professionally strong activity. We talked about it before…the speed of change…advances in technology…and a global economy…all demand a persistent TIME MANAGEMENT effectiveness review.
Ok, ok…I can hear the question: What specific TIME MANAGEMENT considerations do I employ? Well, consider these:
- Prioritize completing tasks that enable co-workers to advance their work.
- Perfection doesn’t exist…so do a good job and move on.
- Take on a leader mindset…and don’t allow for time wasting distractions/discussions.
- If you are unsure of what tasks are most important…ask management.
- Minimize multi-tasking…it often reduces product/service quality.
One last thought: My grandpa used to remind me to not waste or give away your time…”cause it comes to you in a limited amount”.
One of the more challenging professional development areas I frequently become involved in is having discussions about the critical need for everyone to: “Finish The Starts”. What am I talking about? Specifically, the topic of “Finish The Starts” deals with those in the world of work that really enjoy taking on a new project or different area of responsibility…but never seem to totally finish tasks they start. Instead, they work real hard and get an assignment to a solid level of completion…and it is looking good…but then they jump to another new or unfinished work area!
This “Finish The Starts” workplace phenomenon seems to affect all occupational areas. Administration, construction workers, techno-builders, maintenance/custodial people, educators, elected public officials, farmers and the list goes on. And remember individually they are all well intentioned, quality workers…they just need to be encouraged and reminded that they need to “Finish The Starts”!
Therefore, the goal of this week’s TRIPLE III TIME “Finish The Starts” message is to simply offer a special TOP 10 list of thoughts on how to improve addressing this issue:
- Always remember completion of one start allows another new start to better begin.
- Prioritizing finishes sets a good workplace example.
- Too many starts…equals too few finishes.
- It is OK for co-workers and supervisors to promote “Finish The Starts” as a priority to employees.
- Share your Finish versus Starts strategies to ensure everyone understands.
- If appropriate delegate Finish or Start actions to improve progress in both sectors.
- Don’t assume co-workers/supervisors can read your mind and understand/support your Finish/Start work diversity style…JUST SAY IT!
- Asking for “Finish The Starts” advice from colleagues shows leadership.
- Multiple starts with limited finishes may reflect poor time management.
- Remember: HALF DONE is just that…HALF DONE!
Bottomline: I believe everyone gets caught-up in the “Finish The Starts” challenge from time to time. So keep these TOP 10 handy just in case.
Transition and new age expectations are part of all aspects of our work/life activities. And although our August Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast topic about communication options sounds simple: “On Paper or Online?” … in practice it is often confusing on which option would be best.
This month we take a practical common-sense approach to discussing the use of traditional paper communication practices versus the ever improving online, social media options. Shelf-life, age and shareability are all part of this Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS message.
Listen closely… I know it will help!
We have all heard the expression: “YOU Make Your Own GOOD LUCK!” And you have also heard the statements:
*”I have the worst luck…things never go my way!”
*”I tried everything but I am someone where good luck just doesn’t come my way!”
And what if you do a quick self-assessment…which statement best exemplifies your style/position?
I am a total believer in the phrase: YOU Make Your Own Good Luck! Why? Because as you take on certain work/life projects…your attitude/approach will very much dictate the LUCK you feel. Your positive approach/statements will be infectious and will cause others to contribute quality positiveness to your cause.
Also, the progressive energy you generate will cause you to look and research other good opportunities that may be related to your initiative and that too will convey a GOOD LUCK message. Additionally people are naturally attracted to positive people. As a result, the potential for them to bring with them GOOD LUCK opportunities and cool experiences goes way up.
Building and having a “YOU Make Your Own GOOD LUCK! attitude/approach costs you nothing. However, having a “YOU Make Your Own GOOD LUCK!” attitude/approach can result in priceless unseen/unexpected benefits.
This week I had a pretty good plan surrounding the TRIPLE III TIME message I would share. Then I received information regarding a wonderful work colleague who was making a very important life change. My first thought was to send her a fun, thoughtful, supportive email that she could re-read if she wanted to. I could “word-smith” the message so I captured as many important issues that were significant to both of us during the many years we worked together. Then I realized that is NOT what I really wanted to do. And for many, many reasons I decided to…and did Make The Call!
Unfortunately in this age of over-communication via social media…I believe the simple act of making phone calls to hold a real conversation has become “old fashioned”. People believe that texts and emails save valuable time in your work/life day. I understand that they may…but can anyone defend the conversation quality of those types of communications. And yes there are many other forms of social media communication that are high tech, fast and continuous…but do they contain the best elements of sincerity and friendship?
My life/work action recommendation is that when in doubt…Make The Call. Sentences become more than words on paper, smiles develop from hearing the details, memories become legacy building blocks, and the value of a promise of staying in touch becomes real. Making calls does not have to be a “monopolizer” of your time…rather a reinforcement mechanism for maintaining your life/work career-long network of true colleagues.
Thanks to JB and SB for helping create this message and thanks to TR for reminding me what’s important.