Author Archives: Inspiring Innovations, Inc.
This week I am happy to report that I experienced lessons in having patience but also receiving immediate gratification regarding one of my favorite career topics/passions: Public Sector Entrepreneurship! Building public sector entrepreneurship in all fields of public service is not only professionally valuable…but necessary as government and politics evolve. Whenever I receive a message from those who strongly or quietly share my passion…it is always a great experience. So for this week, I thought it would be insightful to share my recent Entrepreneurship: Patience & Immediate Gratification moments!
First I received a message from a MBA student, (1) from another country, (2) who is an entrepreneur and (3) had just read my ASPA article: “Is Public Sector Entrepreneurship the Way to the Future?” …from over four (4) years ago! His message was one of excitement, support and “fascination” concerning my thoughts and promotion of Public Sector Entrepreneurship. Well as you can guess my reaction was one of appreciation for the recognition…but even more a reminder that patience is a very necessary professional requirement when promoting entrepreneurial advancement.
Then almost at the same time, I began to receive emails from a group of public service professionals I have been working with over the last few months. I challenged them to produce “Just 1 Thing” that would improve their world-of-work and their IDEAS were/are great. They all contain a high element of Public Sector Entrepreneurship and independent thought on how to raise their service “bar”. These responses were an excellent form of Immediate Gratification and return-on-investment for the time I spent preaching continuous improvement.
Bottomline: You will never know the value of encouraging Public Sector (or Private Sector) Entrepreneurship. Patience and Immediate Gratification are both impactors for those who chase the innovation and creativity of entrepreneurship everyday…EVERYDAY! But regardless of when you receive positive feedback…Don’t take it for granted…: Don’t waste it…Learn from it…and Be sure to smile inside and outside knowing you made a difference.
One of my regular targets for “change-action” is applying imagination to the traditional standards of measuring success and considering a Return-On-Investment. It is always easier to take out the OLD performance standards and/or fiscal “cost-per” measurements and declare a program, service or product a success or failure. But what about measuring a continuous improvement action/training? Is it a standard business procedure to re-gather affected staff to determine the minimum or maximum effectiveness of a continuous improvement initiative? Or is just offering the initiative and having everyone attend the measure of success?
Well because change, innovation and dollars all deserve “equal time” as progress and quality factors, consider these TOP 10 “What Aren’t We Seeing?” EVAL-CULATIONS! (Yes it’s a new word!) as you consider the value of your continuous improvement efforts:
- Did organizational leadership revisit the trainees and ask them “What’s the 1 THING you learned?”
- How many other colleagues did you share your positive learning experience with?
- Did the organization’s action/training prompt you to meet one-on-one with co-workers to consider a more progressive change?
- How many attendees expressed a “Something To Look Forward To!” attitude following the continuous improvement action/training?
- Was it possible to calculate the number of “spin-off” ideas that resulted?
- In follow-up discussions…did attendees appear to improve their ability to prioritize?
- Did the organization’s action/training generate increased/quality internal/external communication?
- How many attendees “stepped-up” to be more involved in future actions?
- Is it possible to witness personnel re-looking at past evaluation approaches and considering new, innovation-based designs?
- If our goal is to be better and special…as organizations, businesses, and workers…shouldn’t we try to use unique 21st Century EVAL-CULATIONS as new criteria?
Don’t ever be afraid of or limit the way you look at the value of initiatives. Better and Special deserve an always changing, always innovative measuring stick…plus it often causes FUN to be infused into your daily work.
My Grandpa Nick was an excellent carpenter. It was always a fun and learning moment to be “assigned” to help him build or repair some wooden project. And just like so many great woodworkers…one of the regular sayings/words of advice were: “Measure Twice…Then Cut Once.” This meant that before you cut a valuable piece of lumber, it was more than appropriate to take extra time and measure at least a couple of times before you grabbed the saw and cut. Why? Accuracy, no waste, efficient use of time and quality were all of the points that answer the WHY question.
Well, I think this approach to quality is an excellent way to ensure your COMMUNICATION practices are the very best they could be. Think about it. If you make it a professional habit to: “Listen or Read Twice…Then Speak/Email/Text ONCE!”, how clear, accurate, efficient and effective your messaging would be. I do not believe it would take a great deal of more time and effort. Instead by practicing to: “Listen or Read Twice…Then Speak/Email/Text ONCE!” you may find that you have avoided confusion, controversy and having to put together a ton of “re-do” messages to fix a poor piece of communication.
The “Listen or Read Twice…Then Speak/Email/Text ONCE!” strategy seems like an easy habit to employ. But can we really do it?
Creating an entrepreneurial spirit in yourself and in your workplace is a challenge for everyone. This month’s Inspiring Innovations – LEARNING MOMENTS podcast tries to get to the core of how, what, when, where and why an entrepreneurial spirit can become real. Take a close listen and tell me what you think.
During my American Government & Politics course, there is always a time when we discuss the “goods” or “bads” of the US adopting an “Isolationist Foreign Policy” with regard to working progressively with other countries. And as a good Instructor, we check our textbook and note that Isolationist Foreign Policy is defined as: “A policy of abstaining from an active role in international affairs or alliance.” Then it is always interesting to hear and debate the multiple views taken by students who are influenced by their age, rural or urbane upbringing, religion, etc. But wait…how does a discussion of an Isolationist Foreign Policy contribute to the writing of a cool TRIPLE III TIME message?
Well as this weeks title: Does An Isolationist Policy At Work…Work? indicates…I believe everyone needs to check their level of involvement in all facets of workplace productivity everyday…EVERYDAY! This means that it is vital for you as a professional and company/agency development contributor to NOT take an “it’s not my job” (Isolationist Policy) position. Too often workers shy away from making suggestions or adding to the discussion on workplace actions and/or products. This Isolationist Policy approach may not only weaken the resulting action/product decisions, but also lessen support for actions that may need to be taken. Sitting back in an Isolationist Policy workplace position also may cause one to be viewed as part of an existing problem…rather than a participant in the decision-making future solution.
Bottomeline: Don’t be an Isolationist. Working with others is a privilege that should never be ignored or taken for granted.
By the time you read this all New Year celebrations will have taken place and the task of getting back into a regular life/work routine is patiently waiting for you. So as promised, I am ready to share my “Something To Look Forward To!” TOP 10 for 2019.
Here we go:
- Keep a weekly “GOOD STUFF” Journal. Each week try to write down maybe 3 short, mini-sentences that recall only 3 good things that occurred during the week. (In December you will enjoy going back!)
- Teach someone…something unique…from you. You will smile every time you realize that it helped them.
- Pick a time or times where you take a stand against “hi-tech-ness”. Read a real book, write a real letter or just go and visit someone.
- Rekindle your internal sense of creativity and imagination. Paint, build, plant, write, sing, play a musical instrument…you know what I mean.
- Draft a simple but relevant new IDEA for your workplace…and share it.
- Ask an older person: “What was the coolest thing you did during your lifetime?” (What would you say?)
- Don’t wait to be assigned a new or different task/responsibility at work…STEP UP.
- Take time to help someone who is struggling to “recycle” themselves in the world-of-work.
- Look forward to the time when friends/colleagues come to you to talk about an issue…because they know you are a good listener.
- During the year take the time to look in the mirror and ask: “WHAT DO I WANT?” (It often is the toughest question to answer.)
I hope this special TOP 10 generates “Something To Look Forward To!’ thoughts…and hopefully many 2019 more.
OK…I understand that the “flow” of business is often “altered” in light of the holiday season. And most of the time I will admit I do NOT adjust well to the resulting change in intensity, momentum and profession-directed energy. You all know what I mean. But this year I have decided to use the Christmas and New Years events to carve out a TRIPLE III TIME message that still pushes that creativity button. So here goes!
How about if we first use the Christmas time as an opportunity to REMEMBER last years “Best-of-the-Best” personal and professional occurrences! Here’s a list of TOP 10 rememberings to help you think about your own:
- Realizing the positive impact you may have by teaching college classes and making your topics “LIVE”!
- Feeling a special smile show up when you know you can still call your greatest mentor and get beautiful advice.
- Understanding that hi-tech isn’t for everyone and sharing your ebook in a fun printed form.
- Using your professional network to potentially help a true friend find a comfortable career trac forward.
- The “positives” that are returned when you are not afraid or embarrassed to proclaim you are still learning too.
- Getting reminded over and over that reconnecting with family (yes work family too) is priceless.
- Witnessing that some of (or parts of) your past principles and professional are being replicated.
- That the practice of making one new business contact each week…does pay you back.
- Always looking at your personal and professional actions and deciding if they would make your Ma & Dad…and Grandparents proud.
- Taking pride in the belief that colleagues still look to you for new ideas everyday…EVERYDAY.
I will toss out my New Year “Something to look forward to!”…TOP 10 next week.
This quarter my American Society for Public Administration guest columnist article discusses what I term: Transition of Age. Specifically, it focuses on the challenges and opportunities that evolve when new, younger workers become a part of the public administration/public service employment sector. A unique form of professional discomfort is also assessed which impacts both the new but also seasoned employees. I hope you enjoy the discussion. patimes.org/transition-of-age
Innovation is and will always be one of my favorite topics. So as I thought about the holidays and a special LEARNING MOMENTS message for this month…I decided to offer my “10 Wishes for Innovation!” This podcast lasts a little longer but I know it will be worth the extra listening time. Thanks for listening.
If you look up the definition of “decision”, my trusty Webster’s Dictionary in partnership with my Roget’s II Thesaurus brings you results like: 1) The report of a conclusion, 2) The art or process of deciding and words like: Determination, Resolution, Firmness and Definite. So as we apply this weeks TRIPLE III TIME message topic: Decision-Making…do the dictionary definitions and thesaurus words sound like you? Does your Decision-Making style mirror the word description expectations? Simply put: Are you good at quality Decision-Making?
Quality Decision-Making is a principle element of being a great leader. People respond, respect, trust, and support someone who is able to effectively/efficiently arrive at a good decision for action. Well, maybe it’s a good time to look in the mirror and ask yourself: Am I a good decision-maker? Have I ever taken the time to ask myself this question? And to better help you find an answer, consider these Decision-Making quiz questions first:
- Do you enjoy being assigned a Decision-Making role?
- Do you whine because “I” never get to be right on an issue? (But do you also understand it may be because you avoid the responsibility of deciding on an issue!)
- Do you have a method/process/system/style for Decision-Making that people can count on?
- Do you have the confidence to be an effective decision-maker or do you prefer/need a co-decider?
- Do you apply a sense of urgency to the Decision-Making process or do you feel relieved when you can delay the outcome?
Back in my Director-days, everyone that worked with me understood that you were always empowered to make a decision everyday…EVERYDAY. Making no decision…non-action was NOT acceptable. Further it was my policy that no matter what there could always be a better decision on any issue…but no decision usually only made the situation worse!
I think if you answered all of the quiz questions honestly…everyone could improve their Decision-Making capacities. So are you ready…or still deciding?