Author Archives: Inspiring Innovations, Inc.

LEARNING MOMENTS: Innovation Motivates

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Every organization/business is always in search of new and different ways to motivate their employees and often even the customers they serve. There are books, articles, and workshops which all offer ideas and actions to help get everyone motivated… right?  But today I ask, “What about using INNOVATION to be your motivator?

This month’s Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast: Innovation Motivates is all about using new creative innovation practices as your organization’s motivation “driver”.  The progressive outcomes from Innovation Motivates are labeled in the podcast as the Fantastic Five! Each describes the multiple personnel benefits and future considerations that may come forth.

Enjoy the listening.

 

TRIPLE III TIME: Leadership Decision-Making (The Little Bit Strategy)

The task of Leadership Decision-Making for any business or organization is NOT designed to be easy.  Whether it is deciding on a financial investment, down-sizing strategy, personnel matter…whatever, every issue has different challenges and mandates appropriate time and deliberation.

Think about it.

In almost every decision area the issue of profit or loss or cost versus benefits come up for assessment.  Or maybe with regard to personnel, a certain decision may result in someone being laid-off or transferred to another town, state or even country!  SO many considerations have to be reviewed and it is challenging because there is not a PERFECTION IN DECISION-MAKING Guidebook?!

Little BitWell this TRIPLE III TIME message is intended to offer a Leadership Decision-Making idea I have benefited from over the years that I call:  The “Little-Bit” Strategy.  The basic principle of the The “Little-Bit” Strategy is simple…try and make sure your decision on anything helps EVERYONE involved to come away a little bit better and happier.  Whether it is awarding separate contracts to two different organizations and thereby sharing the income and responsibility, or assigning a job to a team instead of a single individual and thereby growing diverse project input.  The benefits far out-weigh the challenges.

The “Little-Bit” Decision-Making Strategy does not prioritize attempting to please one single individual or group.  The “Little-Bit” Strategy also doesn’t cater to the biggest whiner or loudest voice.  Its goal is leading by inclusion and shared responsibility.

It’s worked well for me.

TRIPLE III TIME: Simply Speaking or Speaking Simply

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One of the most common “critiques” my III partners have regarding the preparation of these weekly messages is that “I have too many messages in one message!”  And although I can argue…99% of the time they are absolutely correct.  Because as I reread and proofread my drafts…I too can feel the multiple messages, confusion and questions regarding “what is he really trying to say!”

In these growing times of information and messaging overload, it is critical that we assess whether we are Simply Speaking or Speaking Simply.  Do we take appropriate steps to make sure our communications convey an accurate, non-wordy, straight-forward message?  Do we understand the need for political correctness, but not at the expense of promoting a greater number of issues that cloud our purpose and communication intent?  Or do we try to be efficient in our number of messages we send and thereby “say” too much in one which then causes confusion on what is most important?

Speaking Simply is a “cause” that will serve everyone well at home and at the job.  If you find yourself Simply Speaking…those reading or listening will get lost in the backlog of words and essentially quit hearing and the most direct meaning of your message is gone.

Ok D.S., J.B., and J.L. I know I’ve said enough.

TRIPLE III TIME: TEAMING Beyond the Norm

There is not a week that goes by that I am contacted by an organization that I work with…or one in need of help that talks about/requests some form of TEAMING training.  In most instances the requests come as the result of the addition of a number of new employees joining their workforce or the assignment of a new/different project that requires both individuals or groups to work more together.  Every team training opportunity is high value for them and for me…and the results are positive.  And yes I could go on and on about the critical need for a quality team environment, but for this TRIPLE III TIME moment I want to share some thoughts about TEAMING Beyond The Norm.

blog pictureThink about the times when someone in your group randomly brings donuts for everyone.  Or the satisfaction you feel when you ask a co-worker: “How’s your dad doing as a result of his surgery?”…and they offer an enthusiastic response that confirms he is doing AOK!  Or the two-way camaraderie felt when you simply ask a company team member:  “How are you?”…because you know they had to deal with a difficult staff person issue a day earlier.

TEAMING Beyond The Norm is NOT about becoming part of a co-workers challenges/problems…but rather an action to confirm team building is something that is part of everyone…everyday!  Likewise it doesn’t have to be about a special circumstance or event, instead it can be about greater, more meaningful communication.  I guess in a way TEAMING Beyond The Norm has a “family” feel to it and even a community-building purpose.

Think hard about this TEAMING Beyond The Norm message…it has a lot of great life application areas.

TRIPLE III TIME: In Search of a GREAT REPUTATION!

Some of my favorite movies are the Indiana Jones series starring Harrison Ford.  You know which ones I am talking about:  Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade!  Each told a story about a dedicated college instructor and archeologist who was in search of a special historical treasure that somehow was lost with the times.  Was Indiana Jones always successful…yes and no?  Often through creative challenging endeavors he did locate his treasure, but someway, somehow it always faded from his possession.

But wait, what does my favorite movies have to do with this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message?

Well, I believe in some unique way when one goes In Search of a GREAT REPUTATION, just like Indiana Jones creative challenging endeavors will need to be employed.  Consider these everyday TOP 10 efforts:

  1. Take mistake responsibility with grace.
  2. Appreciate the contributions of the old and encourage the input of the new.
  3. Ask relevant questions.
  4. Maintain a solid dress code (you know what I mean).
  5. Avoid and disregard all gossip.
  6. Give help whenever you can…without being asked.
  7. Share acknowledgment and appreciation.
  8. Keep your workplace business appropriate.
  9. Use social media with class.
  10. Practice an everyday BEFORE & AFTER policy (Arrive early BEFORE work starts and stay AFTER if necessary).

Unlike the treasures sought by Indiana Jones which needed to be discovered, treasures obtained while In Search of a GREAT REPUTATION must always be EARNED!

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TRIPLE III TIME: “Way To Go’s” – Should Go Both Ways!

When was the last time you offered a “Way To Go” message to your boss?  Think about it.  Did you ever tell your Board Chair that they handled a troublesome Board member with style, grace and professionalism?  Frontline staff, have you ever offered a statement of praise to your manager about their cool wording in a marketing piece or decision-making memorandum?

I believe in all employee-employer relationships…”Way To Go’s” – Should Go Both Ways!  But unfortunately it is a professional development action area that needs some work.  Too often employer/boss recognition comes to them for who they are in the organization…instead of what they do.  Just to give you an example, recently I asked my co-workers if they thought the latest fiscal status chart from the CFO was great…and did they tell him so?  Responses…not one out of ten sent him a note letting him know that his chart work was the best ever!

Triple III Time ImageIn all honesty I can report that during my career I did not do a good job in practicing the “Way To Go’s” – Should Go Both Ways principle.  Additionally I can’t think of a time when I really expected some of kind of “you really were beyond excellent in that Committee meeting” compliment during my leader days.  However my consultant role has helped me better see the high value of two-way “Way To Go’s” and the impact it has on building a supportive culture in the workplace.

Give it a try and let me know your return-on-“way to go”!

LEARNING MOMENTS Podcast: Remembering “IDEAS” … For Motivation

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This month’s Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast topic is what some people would call “a flash from the past”! Going back and discussing an IDEAS Guidebook I had prepared for the group several years ago was not at all my planned LEARNING MOMENTS topic for April. However when a group of current American Government & Politics students cornered me and asked if I would review it for them… suddenly its purpose and meaning became real important again.

I believe you will completely understand the title: Remembering “IDEAS” … For Motivation as you listen to the podcast. And I can truthfully report that the class listened, cared, and were motivated by our IDEAS Guidebook revisit. I hope you are too.

 

TRIPLE III TIME: Sharing “Multi-Skill” Qualifications

Worker shortages are a major contributing factor to the supply chain product and service voids felt all around the world.  “HIRING NOW” signs can be seen posted everywhere in business windows large and small.  Those working in the labor exchange systems have been additionally pressed from both the employer and potential employee standpoint to help make the perfect business-personnel selection decision.

As I have witnessed this scenario unfold, an interesting “weakness” in the worker recruitment process has arisen.  With the additional usage of technology in the recruitment, screening and worker selection system, the incidence of Sharing “Multi-Skill” Qualifications has strategically declined.

What do I mean?

I believe that due to the fact that many companies and organizations have now gone to an online application process, the opportunity for candidates to offer a more in-depth description of their total skills has been reduced.  Individuals often have skills that may not directly apply to the job they are seeking…however they may be ideal for another project that is “in the hopper!”  And with interview and screening time always at a premium, the likelihood of having a segment for Sharing “Multi-Skill” Qualifications is highly unlikely.

It is my TRIPLE III TIME recommendation that improvement for Sharing “Multi-Skill” Qualifications lies equally on both sides of the desk.  Job applicants must make it a written and verbal priority to strategically share their direct and indirect employment skills. Business/organization leaders must also structure their employee recruitment systems to capture the maximum professional skills information they can on every candidate.

An additional 30 minutes in both areas could prove invaluable for everyone’s future!

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TRIPLE III TIME: The Importance of Presence

GRAPHIC VIRTUAL VS IN PERSONIt is often ironic, interesting and maybe even scary when my choice for a TRIPLE III TIME message somehow connects directly to one of my current day business or personal situations.  However, when you consider topics regarding leadership, communication, professional development and innovation…which are my III discussion priorities…the “connections” make sense!  But I have to report that when I selected The Importance of Presence for this week’s message, it’s “connect-ability” factor to all aspects of my professional career…past, present and future…could not be more critical.

So let’s start this discussion by stressing the importance of physically attending meetings that you are part of.  Personally showing up at a special event/meeting hosted by a colleague, family member, business partner or friend just feels more necessary today more than ever before.  Likewise if you reverse the situation and ask what does The Importance of Presence mean to me as a professional when I am waiting at the door for those invited to attend?  I believe it means caring, interest, support, joint venture consideration, a future opportunity and without a doubt…a special form of respect and friendship.

Does this mean that I do not support virtual involvements?  Does this mean that I am too old-fashioned?  Or does this mean that I have not allowed myself to adjust to a non-face-to-face future?

Well, I think all who know me have a pretty good idea how I may or may not answer these questions.

Regardless, the goal of the TRIPLE III TIME message:  The Importance of Presence is to encourage everyone to go the extra face-to-face participation mile if you can.  Virtual attendance is an acceptable second choice but I believe your personal/in-person connection can and will always make a good…GREAT difference!

TRIPLE III TIME: Recognizing/Identifying Gaps & Weaknesses

This week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is about the importance of periodically going through an evaluation process of Recognizing/Identifying Gaps & Weaknesses in you as a professional and/or the organization/business you work for.  Isn’t this possibly the greatest example of “professional discomfort” you can think of!?

So then I want everyone to think hard about this professional discomfort generating activity…and honestly determine if you can really complete this type of an evaluation thoroughly.

I can report that I go through this type of process at least once a week.  And during my self-assessment steps I think about:

  • Did I cover all topics that seemed necessary in the American Government & Politics classes I teach?
  • Were there gaps in my instruction or weaknesses in my delivery because I wasn’t prepared?
  • Did I interact or follow-up with every consultant customer on their expectations of me…and my assignments to them?
  • Did I reveal gaps or weaknesses in their organizational structure, product line, communication methods, etc.?

As you can see there are multiple approaches and useful results that may come out when Recognizing/Identifying Gaps & Weaknesses.  Often you may find trends, situations that can lead to creativity and innovative alternatives.  And if you extend your assessments to include your team of co-workers, Agency or company, who knows what progress concepts could be suggested.

Finally the Recognizing/Identifying Gaps & Weaknesses activity may help you realize that you may be too close to an issue to see it clearly and/or discover that the problems may not at all be what you thought.

Bottomline:  Do NOT just conduct the Recognizing/Identifying Gaps & Weaknesses activity on a random basis.  It’s value arises from assessment consistency.

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