One of the main discussion points with every attempt at spearheading an innovative initiative is to Check Out The Competition! You know “the drill”. Is someone or another company already doing what you are thinking of trying? Is your proposed new product or service already out there and is it successful? Is there a design or option that is very similar to your innovation and therefore would it be best to just replicate their initiative/product/service?
Well let me be clear that when you are considering an alternative innovative strategy…it is very important to Check Out The Competition. However, for this TRIPLE III TIME message, I want you to also consider INNOVATION TRANSFERABILITY. What do I mean? Let’s say if you work in a public service area…don’t be afraid to transfer your service design to one utilized by the fast-food industry (i.e. Meal-Deal model). Or if a unique customer service approach is successful in a community development situation…why not try it in an auto repair setting. Or if a creative social media advertisement design works well for selling the latest salsa recipe…why not try using it to market customized job training in your area?
During my career of pushing public sector innovation every chance I got, applying INNOVATION TRANSFERABILITY has been a solid tool everyday…every time. When you Check Out The Competition and observe a new successful approach to public or private sector product/service delivery…always…ALWAYS consider the potential of INNOVATION TRANSFERABILITY! Great ideas are often not recognized for their easy application in new areas and non-traditional ways. Only when you appropriately Check Out The Competition and apply INNOVATION TRANSFERABILITY…do you see the new opportunities.
As you can tell from this month’s Inspiring Innovations, LEARNING MOMENTS Podcast title… I have a very personal position on this topic. Today so much has changed with our use of technology and it’s application to our worlds-of-work.
No one wants to be told, “YOU Really Need to Stay Up With the Times”… but doing a “self-techno-assessment” of your status is an important action. So enjoy my discussion on this high value issue as it applies to both your personal and professional life.
Today within this special TRIPLE III TIME message I want to share with everyone the feelings one has when they are asked a unique professional help question that they would NEVER have seen coming! The question: “Dr. Pichla will you help us with a workshop/training session on how to increase ONLINE PARTICIPATION in our organizations activities? Can you picture THE LOOK!? Me…who avoids online anything and lives to be face-to-face for professional positive energy and performance quality!
Well maybe they asked me specifically for the reasons I just wrote (and maybe it would help me too).
No matter the business or service sector you are working in, the need to be involved in online meetings, education, training, sales, performance measurements or planning must include EVERYONE. I think it is also important to point out that regardless of the impacts the COVID pandemic has made regarding this issue, use of advanced technology for all the daily activities identified above…and in a much bigger way…is/was just around the corner.
Given this unavoidable ONLINE PARTICIPATION phenomenon and in response to the NEVER question, I would build my workshop/training session around answering several very direct “onlining” questions:
- Does participating in an online meeting mean you can pay less attention or ask less questions?
- Does conducting an online training mean as long as you get through your slides…all is good?
- Who is responsible for participation quality in an online world?
- How do you eliminate ONLINE PARTICIPATION “hiding places”?
- Does participation…real participation take on an expectation of leadership?
- Should lack of quality personal ONLINE PARTICIPATION have economic impacts?
- How would it feel to NOT be included in an ONLINE PARTICIPATION business growth session?
- Try to describe “all-in” when you think about ONLINE PARTICIPATION?
- How do you get labeled “the best in the business” in the ONLINE PARTICIPATION category?
- Is it appropriate to pick and choose your attention level regarding ONLINE PARTICIPATION?
We would have fun and together learn a lot?
Bottomline: I would remind them that the best answer to QUALITY/GREAT ONLINE PARTICIPATION for anything is found when you look in the mirror.
As an everyday leader inside and outside your world of work, setting and being the best professional example you can be is critical. Yes, I know we have talked about example setting in other TRIPLE III TIME messages…but have we ever discussed the importance of looking back to measure our example setting actions? In other words have we ever asked ourselves directly: “Do YOU Practice What YOU Preach?”
You know what I mean! Example “Do YOU Practice What YOU Preach?” issues are easy to identify. Think about:
- Do you avoid doing personal stuff at/during work hours?
- Do you practice your own version of allowances for “comp-time” or follow Agency policy?
- Do you share company/organization information equally among co-workers?
- Do you advance company gossip or never “go there”?
- Do you engage in professional development training/workshops as you prescribe for others?
- Do you invite communication advice and/or ideas from all?
- Do you maintain your work/office space?
- Do you step-up to help others or with special projects?
- Do you allow yourself “dream-time” to be continually creative?
- Do you show up late…leave early or set a positive attendance practice?
These ten (10) examples of “Do YOU Practice What YOU Preach?” are just a short list of the leadership “preachings” that have appeared in TRIPLE III TIME messages over the years. And although I do not support offering repeat messages, I do support regularly assessing personal professional progress (i.e. measuring do I practice what I preach!).
There are so many critical personnel issues facing those responsible for manpower in businesses and organizations in today’s world of work. Candidate RECRUITMENT is often part of every consulting session I take part in no matter the private or public sector employer raising the issue. Understandably the majority of my ideas and recommendations are customized for every group. However, I have to report that no matter the entity…no matter the size of the company and no matter the service or product they supply, the initial question I raise regarding RECRUITMENT of workers is: “How old is your stuff?”
Specifically, how old are your job postings, the job descriptions, the media your use to get the word out, the recruitment methods used by your competition and finally is the position you are recruiting for really the specific area your organization needs help in? Too often companies or agencies practice RECRUITMENT BY CONVENIENCE! Instead of doing appropriate employee skill need research…those responsible follow traditional RECRUITMENT and hiring practices (i.e. the most convenience option). The end result is that the person hired may be great…but the job expectations may be much different than what was advertised and discussed thereby creating early two-way confusion and the potential loss of a good person.
Today more than ever before every organization should avoid RECRUITMENT BY CONVENIENCE. Everything…YES EVERYTHING has evolved, modernized, gone high tech and become more job task specialized. Therefore, I recommend that before even launching a personnel RECRUITMENT campaign, conduct an employee skill need analysis with the future in mind. It will be more than worth your time.
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.