Author Archives: Inspiring Innovations, Inc.
One phrase I never like to hear during my consulting opportunities is: “Well I have tried and done everything to improve/fix/advance in this area …so I don’t know what else is left?” I know you have all heard it and I would guess that you too have uttered these words some time in your life/work history! But as you can guess my corrective action approach is and has always been to go through an often-extensive list of alternative possibilities…and not surprisingly there are maybe one or two actions that were untested.
Given these experiences I thought it may be helpful to use a TOP 10 list of lets “Try One More Thing!” fun concepts for this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message.
- Go Back To Go Forward: Got back in time and find the origins of the challenge issue. History may help you see the future.
2. Phone A Friend: Colleagues…a new set of eyes will always add insight to the issue.
3. Draft An Idea Paper: Sometimes just writing down details about a challenge and seeing past ideas in writing…sprouts a new one.
4. GOOGLE IT: In today’s high-tech world…sometimes the problems can be just a click away.
5. Break IT Into Smaller Pieces: Addressing pieces of an issue often assists in identifying brand new opportunities.
6. Assemble A Game-It Group: Break the “I’ve tried everything” mind block and assemble a small group and address the issue in an idea-generation game fashion.
7. Attempt A “Visioning” Exercise: In a creative way try drawing a picture/diagram of a possible solution.
8. News Reporter Interview Technique: If a reporter from the New York Times was interviewing you about solutions…would your “innovative-spirit” fire up?
9. Go To An Inspirational Spot: Location-Location-Location…may be an asset in finding a new option.
10. What Would_________Do?: Think of a LEADER you admire most…and ask yourself What Would _________Do?
Bottomline: So in the future before you shout “I’ve tried everything!”…check out this TOP 10 and “Try One More Thing!”
When you hear or read the terms: Priceless Qualities, what do you think about? Maybe you consider some specific examples and who may have them? But then what? Well this months Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast takes you through a fun thought process involving each of these questions. The discussion highlights the ongoing importance of identifying those individuals you hold in high regard and the Priceless Qualities they retain.
I know you will enjoy this interactive message.
It is not surprising that no one regardless of their area of responsibility enjoys the task of personnel evaluation. Most times the forms utilized are formal, ranking someone as a 1-2-3-4-5 is difficult, the conversations that circle around the process are typically uncomfortable and the relationships people have on a day-to-day basis standardly become challenged based on how good or bad the evaluation results are.
Next think about the priorities contained in the evaluation format. Primarily the focus of any evaluation is on what you have accomplished…old news right? And then for corrective action the discussion is how to improve the bad old news…right again? Given the speed and complexity of change occurring in our business and public service worlds of work…is this design really the best use of one-on-one professional development time??
I believe we need to apply innovation strategies to the function of evaluation. How about if we start by embracing the concept of: Evaluating The “FUTURE YOU!”? Remember employees are a company’s/organization’s greatest asset. So, if you are strategizing for continuous improvement…wouldn’t an Evaluating The “FUTURE YOU!” format be most appropriate/necessary?
This format could consider each employee as a small business. As a result the evaluation would require the employee to create their own skill, product, sales, performance, and creativity plans going forward. The discussion would concentrate on what additional value they would bring to themselves and in so doing improve the company/organization. Placing the main focus on the person and their development plan may feel odd at first…but consider the issue of computer upgrading. Computers need to be tended to and upgraded periodically to be needed and more useful to the agency. Maybe by using an Evaluating The “FUTURE YOU!” component for personnel reviews, you may find a new, unique full-growth organizational strategy for upgrading and adding value to your workers!
As leaders… no matter the leadership role you assume… it is necessary to delegate/assign certain projects or duties to individuals or possibly a group. In this process it is understood that as the leader and delegator… you share your list of expectations of project completion and areas of success. It all sounds so simple… right?
But what happens when those given the assignment take an “innovation turn” and go a non-traditional route for completion? As might be expected… the results are not exactly what was planned but a great deal of learning and project alternative discoveries were reported? Given the unplanned changes, where do your instincts as a leader take you and what form of appropriate “next-step” action(s) do YOU take?
As you answer this question… I suggest the first thing you must do is ask yourself: Am I an EXPECTATION MONITOR? Do I monitor the individual or group and measure them against the way I would have completed the project? Do I evaluate their results solely against MY EXPECTATIONS of positive outcomes?
In response to this question, I need to brag that some of my greatest experiences as a leader came from making wide-open project assignments that had equally wide-open results. Individuals were challenged to be innovative and share creative visions of assignment completion. Most importantly the assigned project no longer was just MY priority… rather it was “owned” by all involved in its development and delivery.
Bottomline: It is critical to consider your priorities and if you truly believe in innovation at all organizational levels… you cannot be an EXPECTATION MONITOR. Why… because an EXPECTATION MONITOR will:
- Crush innovations
- Limit group contributions
- Lessen individual participation
- Lower agency trust
- Confirm a negative “I’ll do it myself” mentality
I guess I am encouraging you to enjoy the privilege of delegating and trust the existence of an innovative spirit!
The year is now 2021. What are you going to do to kick off the new year in an extra special direction? No… this is not a New Years Resolution TRIPLE III TIME message. Rather it is a professional suggestion to begin 2021 with a unique analysis to identify YOUR Source of ENERGY… progressive… positive… innovative ENERGY that will serve as a guide going forward.
I will bet that you have never really completed an analysis of your sources of ENERGY before. But right now, think hard… are your sources:
And don’t take the easy way out when completing your analysis and say, “All of Them!” While that may be true based on specific circumstances… I believe everyone has a select ENERGY “WELL” that they go back to for help.
- New Projects
- What? Who?
Why is completing this YOUR Source of ENERGY analysis so vital right now? Because too often… especially given the challenges of 2020… people seem to get entrenched in a Zone of Dis-Energy…. and their spirit of potential… future thought… personal and professional entrepreneurship goes/remains dormant.
Bottomline: Make a pledge/promise/commitment right now to maximize connectivity with YOUR Source of ENERGY! Daily let the progressive sources of energy surround you. YOU have the power to do this. Build on current solid sources of energy and weekly seek out one or two more. Don’t allow negative sources of dis-energy “control-the-flow”. Remember this process begins with a quality analysis of YOUR Source of ENERGY. Don’t short-change this fun “input” activity… it will lessen the new ENERGY output.
One of my personal Inspiring Innovations, Inc. business priorities is to NEVER deliver service “reruns” to different individuals or organizations. What do I mean? I mean every consultant moment, workshop and/or training must be special and individualized for everyone. However, this week I may be breaking my rule.
Let me explain.
During my Director days I produced a TOP 10 list of Agency work/service priorities for every upcoming week. The TOP 10 could cover new projects, meetings, joint ventures, fiscal reports… anything and everything! It was a great management tool and kept everyone “in the game” of Agency initiatives and always looking toward the future!
Then after 30 years of progressive, creative and fun leadership… I found myself leaving to do Inspiring Innovations, Inc. activities full time… and without being too sentimental I had to put together my last TOP 10 for my co-workers. And only because of sincere requests for a reminder rerun, here it is.
- ACTION: Be leaders everyday… I expect nothing less. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: The road going forward for the Agency is set up to the best of my ability… pave it with good work. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: Follow the visionary quote that says: “The best way to predict the future… is to invent it.” ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: Keep a “family-feel” in the organization… it keeps you grounded. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: When you finally see a USDOL Performance Standard called INNOVATIVITY… be sure we score high. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: Always know I will take ALL of you with me wherever I go and whatever I do… because no one goes it alone. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: When you try a new initiative, don’t do it the way Marv would… DO IT BECAUSE WE WOULD! ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: Remember to always give 100% to the CAUSE. If you don’t… what are you saving the rest for? ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: If you try to hide from change… know that it will be much bigger when it finds you. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: Thirty years is a long time to be lucky… thank you for allowing me to be the lucky one. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
Thanks to everyone for seven (7) years of TRIPLE III TIME blog messaging. Enjoy the holidays.
This week I have the semester ending opportunity to assess and score the results of students taking their Final Exam in my American Government & Politics class. As you can guess my exams are a little non-traditional… but a whole lot about “What do YOU think?”. The exam consists of a variety of essay questions and each student has a choice of the required number of questions they must answer. But the question that is most fun and interesting are the answers that come from the last question:
“Ten (10) years from now… what job will you have and what part of this American Government & Politics course impacted you the most and why?”
Right now, I bet you are asking yourself… where is the Inspiring Innovations TRIPLE III TIME message in all this verbiage?
Well, just like students in my class answering that last Final Exam question, reflection… Professional Reflection is the special “test” assignment for this weeks message. What if you were asked:
“Given all of the challenges you faced during calendar year 2020, what action or occurrence professionally impacted you the most and why?”
I am sure the COVID issues would strongly influence your response to this question… but what about you and your world of work? Consider:
- Are you more tech-savvy?
- Can you really do your job without personal contact?
- Have new business products/services been created in your profession?
- What skill-set areas have you “stretched” and which ones have contracted?
- What type of motivational speech could you give to co-workers… today?
- Are you happy because you didn’t have to change at all?
- Did you feel like you wanted to find a new job?
- Is there a training area you wished you had?
- What professional resources or people did you look to for guidance?
- If you knew then what you know now, would you do anything different?
Professional Reflection is an exercise that really should have no specific timetable. Therefore asking yourself pertinent growth questions is something that all professionals need to ask in some way or form… just to observe/determine personal movement.
So how would YOU answer this Final Exam question??
LEARNING MOMENTS Podcast
Prioritize NOW Planning
There has not been a time when quality planning for any organization or business has been more critical. Call it strategic planning or figuring out what we are going to do over the next year or so… getting a progressive plan together for the future is a must!
This Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast offers my version of new era planning I label: Prioritize NOW Planning. It emphasizes the frequency of change… its impact on action based on solid, timely planning… and of course the need to allow space for innovation.
I hope you enjoy the listen.
“Hello is this President Elect Joe Biden? You don’t know me, but my name is Marv Pichla and I am calling to ask you to take a close look at my latest American Society of Public Administration PA TIMES quarterly article about creating a Council of Past Presidents! Why? Because as good American citizens we all need to help the country in the best way we can… and this is my contribution.”
I can’t think of a better way to introduce this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message: Council of Past Presidents. The ASPA article lays out the rationale, purpose and design for maximizing the learnings that can only come from those who have held the office of President of the United States!
I hope you enjoy the article.
Today I believe a leadership group getting together regularly and focusing on: In Search of Customers Lost, would prove to be valuable on so many fronts. Think about it. The group could/should look at an entity’s physical presence, marketing strategies, product/service diversity, regular/online sales, delivery methods, costs and timing issues…to somehow reclaim old and new customers.
Also during the leadership group sessions, it would be appropriate to ask a unique series of: In Search of Customers Lost questions:
- Are we disconnected with those in need of our products/services?
- Is accessibility to our products/services THE issue… or are we just assuming it is?
- Given the times do people really know what our main products/services are?
- Have we decided to just wait for improved times… and thereby really don’t feel the need to act?
- Is it leadership acceptable to have our products/services become less than essential?
- Are potential customers “relabeling” our entity in an inaccurate way?
- Could there be a means to create “strings of compatibility” among our products/sources to make them more special?
- How much work ethic, creativity, and skill personnel equity are we losing/wasting?
- Should we somehow go In Search of Customers Lost … and find out who they are, where they are and why they are a lost customer?
- And lastly, aren’t we all some form of leader in our company/organization… and comprehensively concerned about In Search of Customers Lost ?
Yes, if you counted, these are my TOP 10 In Search of Customers Lost questions. They are not easy, they do not allow for “hiding spots” … but they do ask you to accept some form/level of LEADERSHIP in devising necessary answers.