Guest post: Brad Palmer, CEO and co-founder of Jostle Corporation
Catch Brad's Navigation podcast on IIRW's iTunes Channel
Navigation is not as simple as picking a destination and following your compass from A to B. Conditions change and dangers lurk. Everyone on the ship needs to work as a team in order to maintain a keen watch and ensure a successful journey.
I’ve spent my career leading diverse teams to places they have not been. Helping them coalesce as a team and reach rewarding destinations that were not always known when we departed. Through this experience I learned that the awareness, connectedness and commitment of the team are actually much more important than the designated “navigator”.
It was actually this realization that led to me founding Jostle Corporation, which has developed an elegant navigation platform. Jostle’s People Engagement® platform
provides a simple and elegant way to connect employees and align teams, so they are better equipped to execute innovative businesses in an ever-changing world.Navigation
requires good information, keen awareness and careful analysis. In today’s complex world this is no longer the job of a single, all-wise leader. Rather it involves aligning and enabling extended teams that collectively provide the necessary awareness and analytical skills. In today’s complex world it is foolish to rely on a single “navigator” – rather organizations need to take teamwork to a level where navigation become a collective instinct.
Today we are going to focus on three essential elements for enabling and aligning teams so that they can collectively navigate the unknowns to anticipate market shifts, react quickly to competitive threats and efficiently deliver innovative systems. These three elements are:
is critical. To make steady progress in a chaotic world, your organization must have a grand goal in clear view. Destinations should be a statement of intent, rather than a precise definition of the end result.
Conditions will change and you do not exactly understand the nature of your destination before you depart. Better to head for “find cool spices and get rich” than “get to longitude X and latitude Y”. A good destination provides purpose. It encourages innovation and adaptation along the way.
The destination needs to be understood and internalized by everyone. It needs to be simple, clear and all encompassing. Once the destination is understood everyone on the team is equipped to make the decisions relating to their own day-to-day tasks that will get you to the destination in a safer, faster way. They will also be much better at spotting dangers along the way.Call to Action #1: What is Your Destination?
So here is your first activity for this week – what is your destination? Is it shared by all? If not, how do you know where you are going?CONNECTEDNESS
is all about teamwork. It has several important elements:
Call to Action #2: Connecting to Distant Teams
- Culture - a healthy culture provides a vibrant sense of who you are as an extended team, as you strive towards your destination together.
- Values - provide a clear understanding of how individuals should act as part of the team. What are you prepared to do (and not do) to get you to your destination?
- Structure - clarity on who is doing what. Who is on which teams? What are those teams trying to accomplish? How do they fit together into the greater quest? Once this clarity has been provided, individuals are enabled to do their own local navigation. They can spot the “white space” between their role and those surrounding them.
- Communication - all of this, destination, culture, values and organizational structure, needs to be clearly communicated in real time. This includes frequent reports of progress and successes along the way.
This brings us to our second activity of the week. Do you feel connected to distant teams that are heading to the same destination as you? If not, why not? And what can you do to better connect and align?
Photo by Left Hand
Guest post: David Seregow, founder and president of Attaine Performance Corporation.
A carefully developed set of values is an important contributor to an organization’s strategic success – much more important than most people realize. Aligning an organization’s vision with its values strengthens both. And when the organization’s values and vision align with those of its personnel, a dynamic interaction develops that becomes a powerful competitive advantage.
As a strategic advisor having engaged with more than fifty companies in Silicon Valley, I find that most companies have value statements posted on their building walls and pride-fully pointed to in their employee handbook and leadership presentations.
But few companies weave these values into their organization’s DNA – those that do significantly outperform those that don’t on a variety of measures!A value is a belief that is consistently acted upon. A belief only rises to the level of a value when it becomes a defining characteristic of everything the organization does.
This is true of you and I as well – our beliefs only become values when they consistently define who we are and what we do.If you want to know what a person or an organization really values, watch what they do. People and organizations do what they value. And in the case of an organization, action trumps anything hanging on the wall and in the senior leader’s presentation.
Many people and organizations believe continuous innovation and invention are essential to their ongoing success. The critical question is whether or not that belief rises to the level of a value – is that belief clearly and consistently reflected in who they are and what they do?
A vision defines what an organization aspires to become and achieve at some point in the future. This vision becomes a powerful tool for change when it aligns with its organizational values. If an organization truly believes innovation and invention are key to its continuing success, that belief should be evident in both its values statements and its vision – to realize the greatest strategic impact, there must be alignment between the two.
Here are three actions you can take to become a catalyst for change in your organization – helping ensure that innovation and invention rise to level of a value and that your organization’s vision aligns with its values.
Call to Action #1: Review your organization’s values statements and its vision.
You may be fortunate enough to be associated with an organization that clearly and visibly promotes innovation and invention in its values and vision. Often, though, innovation and invention are inherent or assumed but not clearly articulated.
Step 1: Locate and review your organization’s values statements and vision. Everything your organization does should link back up to its values and vision and this information should be readily available.
Step 2: Uncover those values, and elements of the vision that either explicitly or inherently require innovation and invention in order to be successfully executed and achieved – in other words, doing business as usual is not enough. And determine if and where there is alignment between values and vision.
Step 3: Make notes of the results of your review and keep these notes handy when completing Actions two and three.
to our Call to Action podcast on iTunes
In sports, the sweet spot of a racquet, baseball bat or golf club is where the cleanest shots are made. In economic terms, the sweet spot is an indicator or policy that offers the best costs and benefits. I define an organization’s reinvention sweet spot and its moment of transformation when three fundamental things are in place.
The 1st Fundamental Thing:
The environment must be conducive for innovation. The organization’s leaders have the capacity to innovate—they possess the vision to do so without losing site of operating the business on a daily basis. Managers are capable of modeling and supporting creativity and risktaking and treat these elements as core components of both personal and business success.The 2nd Fundamental Thing:
The organization’s leaders are reinvention ready—they are capable of thinking and acting as entrepreneurs within the company. Ask yourself, could you thrive within a start-up environment? If the answer is “No”, then you’ll want to learn the basics and apply them in your daily environment. The 3rd Fundamental Thing:
The organization has the capacity to get out of its own way. It possesses an infrastructure capable of truly transforming itself. In other words, its policies, procedures, and processes have enough built-in flexibility to support and effectively operate the business without stifling required change.
By knowing its Reinvention Sweet Spot
a company increases its capacity for innovating ahead of the competition--reaching its full potential while achieving the biggest payout. Start-up companies are often the best positioned to design a reinvention ready organization from the get-go. Larger companies will typically reinvent one fundamental area at a time due to size alone and the greater number of moving parts that must be managed.
The speed which your organization moves to become reinvention ready depends on what’s driving the transformation. Is the business looking to reposition itself in its industry as a first mover? Or is the business being forced to reinvent itself as part of a survival strategy?
Regardless of motivation you’ll need to determine whether you have the required resources and the full support of the leadership team, as well as an adaptable workforce. The faster the reinvention, the more capable your workforce will need to be. Of course, this becomes less of an issue if the business has to act fast or risk closing its doors.Call to Action #1: Clarify your Personal Objectives
Document your strengths and areas of expertise that you could fully leverage during your organization’s reinvention, both as a way to differentiate you as well as to advance the business. Is there a "fundamental" area that you’re most passionate about—the first area would the organization’s environment, its culture and its innovation heritage or would it be the second fundamental area of focusing on leadership or, perhaps, reinventing the organization’s infrastructure hums your heart more.
If you’re planning to reinvent your career alongside, or in parallel with the business, be sure to account for the time commitment and support network that you’ll want to have in place for a successful implementation. Call to Action #2: How Engaged Do You Want to Be?
Do you care enough about your company’s reinvention to remain with them through the disruption? Are you prepared to self-disrupt and propose innovations within your own department or business unit if this means that you (and possibly others) might be forced to discover new business opportunities within the company?
Capture your thoughts in your “reinvention journal”. Being honest with yourself about what type of swimmer you are before jumping in to the deep end of the pool ensures that you don’t drown.Call to Action #3: Step up to the Challenge
Does your organization’s present you with new opportunities, such as showing your leadership potential by helping guide and navigate others through unknown waters?
Craft a one-page proposal why you are the right person, at the right time, and with the right skills to _________ . Describe the role that you see yourself playing and the benefits of selecting you for this opportunity.
Ask your colleagues for input and when it’s complete, place your hat in the ring--submit your proposal to the decision-maker or committee. If possible, ask someone of influence within the organization, or from the business unit, to champion your cause.
Remember to check out our complimentary webinars—the practical side of innovation—our upcoming webinar on Friday, March 16, 2012 is titled Succession Strategies for a Reinvented World
. Succession strategies are not only for executives. Learn how you can move your career forward by preparing for your next opportunity.
Sometimes seeing the road ahead requires that you pay attention to both sides of the road. But good drivers account for their own blind spots as well as account for the blind spots of others. Even a straight, paved road can offer surprises that require you to make sharp turns or a forced detour. An animal might run across the road, you might have mechanical problems, hit a pothole, or you could even run out of gas.
Preparing for the unexpected is a key aspect of becoming Reinvention Ready
. What is Peripheral Vision?
- Peripheral Vision is having a 360 view of your world—what’s around you, behind you, and in front of you. This means a world view as well. You need to remain informed about your communities—both local to you and local for others who you may be collaborating with today or who you might want to collaborate with in future. Understanding the sandbox of others expands your view of the world.
- Peripheral Vision is also about paying attention to the cues and clues of what’s happening within your organization—the business units and your department. You want to look for the bigger themes within your organization that are often found in the under-currents--issues or problems that lie below the water line that others know about, talk about, but don’t do anything about.
- Peripheral Vision is about connecting the dots of what’s happening in your industry, within the marketplace, and with your customers and strategic partners. This is about finding the common threads between these connected worlds that you can then build upon for innovative ideas, creative problem solving, and new ways of collaborating.
The risk of not paying attention to what’s around you can result in your being blindsided and missing important events or twists and turns that can impact your professional goals and even result in career setbacks.
During this global recession where massive downsizing has occurred (at least here in the U.S.), many professionals fear losing their jobs. But keeping your head down and doing your job—no matter how well you might do that job—still puts you at risk of missing opportunities to collaborate and to innovate with others; actions that differentiate you in an increasingly competitive workplace. This week’s Call to Action
aims to help you widen your view and expand your Peripheral Vision. Call to Action #1: Expand Your View of the WorldStep 1:
Read or listen to 3 informational resources with a different Point of View—something that you’ve been curious to learn more about. This would include print or online magazines, a podcast, an audio, print or e-book, or a blogger’s articles. The objective is to learn about events happening around the world and to consider different opinions and approaches to ideas that you find interesting—it’s not about adopting any of these ideas, but more about flexing your viewpoint
. Step 2:
Write in your “idea journal” what you’ve learned.Call to Action #2: Expand Your View of your OrganizationStep 1:
Walk into work or your place of business with a new perspective. View your surroundings as if for the first time. Pretend that you’ve been asked to document the onboarding experience of a new employee or contingent professional. What would your day-to-day world look like to an outsider?Step 2:
Capture the cues—those situations and behaviors that are evident to you—and clues—underlying messages or informal rules that would not be so evident to an outsider.Step 3:
Validate your discoveries with a colleague. Call to Action #3: Connect the DotsStep 1:
List the top 2 or 3 challenges faced by your industryStep 2:
List the top 2 or 3 pain points experienced by your customers (and their customers)Step 3:
List the top 2 or 3 issues experienced by your strategic partners Step 4:
List a common denominator between these three areas and come up with ONE way that you can make a difference by helping solve a problem.
Feel free to share your discoveries and tips on completing these action steps on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheReinventedWorld
. And remember to check out this month's complimentary webinar—the practical side of innovation—on Friday, February 17 titled Innovating in Front of the Curve
. Learn how to use inflection points to your advantage--disrupting incrementally is the way to go in a reinvented world!
Leading change, whether you’re self-leading or leading others requires vision—both strategic and PERIPHERAL. Training your eyes to see more of what’s going on takes both an awareness of what you need to take in and practice for when, where and how you apply it.
I recorded this week's podcast
as U.S. President Obama was preparing to deliver his annual State of the Union
address. In my book
I reference the President’s 2011 State of the Union address about America needing to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of world if the country hopes to compete on a level playing field.
One year later and it’s evident how the long-term effects of the Great Recession are impacting peoples’ lives. Whether you’re unemployed, work for someone else, or operate your own business there is an underlying currents at play that continues to influence and shape the economic recovery. In fact, this undercurrent may prevent businesses and individuals from reinventing themselves for a new reality.
What is this undercurrent? Malaise.
Malaise (\mə-ˈlāz) is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a vague sense of mental or moral ill-being, cynicism and despair. Just when we need to spur people into action malaise will block creativity, squash the desire for personal risktaking, and can shut down innovation.
It’s a word we won’t hear politicians use leading up to an election year in the U.S. In fact, just the other evening CNN’s Piers Morgan interviewed former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, praising his 1979 speech dubbed “The Malaise Speech
” later attacked by his opponents.
Malaise may not always appear obvious to an organization, particularly in an environment where fear permeates the culture. However, the symptoms show up in output, such as quality issues, safety infractions, an increase in costly mistakes year-over-year, a lack of employee engagement, e.g., contribution of new ideas, ability to solve complex problems, and a willingness to step up, accept challenges and take more risks. Employees might try to solve their "malaise problem" by changing jobs, especially as business hiring picks up.
Recognizing potential under-currents of malaise are particularly important if your professional role includes helping others navigate through uncharted territory. If you’re responsible for reinventing your organization or coaching individuals at work, it’s imperative to check-in with yourself to be clear about your motives and true objectives.
Therefore, this week’s CALL to ACTION
begins with a challenge to address malaise in your personal or professional life that could be holding you back from moving forward. Might this be a “hidden agenda” that you haven’t surfaced and corrected; a reminder that what lies below the water line sinks ships. Call to Action #1: Assess your Attitude
On a scale of 1 to 10
with ten being the most satisfied, how do you feel about your job, your career, and your personal life? Rate each area separately. Call to Action #2: What would you Change?
If you could change THREE
things in your life within the next 90 days, where money wasn’t an issue or a barrier, what would they be?Call to Action #3: The Top of your Game
Think back to a time when you felt at the top of your game.
Call to Action #4: Develop a Creative Plan
- Column A List 5 to 10 things that defined this peak time for you. For example, was it the company you worked for, the projects you were engaged in, the people you worked with, your manager, where you lived, your income, your partner?
- Column B List the things that are missing today from Column A.
- Column C Add the areas that you're willing to change in the next 90 days
- Your Creative Plan serves as a roadmap for closing the gaps of where you are today with where you want to be in the next 90 days.
- Include your available resources—mentors, advisors, colleagues, friends and family. Include additional training—formal and informal—that will help you build traction for future
- Include the amount of time that you'll dedicate to moving your life forward—set yourself up to succeed by setting a realistic schedule
Feel free to share your discoveries and tips on completing these action steps on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/TheReinventedWorld
. Remember to check out our complimentary webinars in 2012—the practical side of innovation—with our next interactive webinar scheduled for Friday, February 17 at 11:00am PST and is titled Innovating in Front of the Curve
Why is reinvention capability important? As we (slowly) recover from the global recession, the adaptability of organizations, business leaders, and professionals to strategically reinvent themselves will differentiate them in the coming days, weeks, and months.
In 2012 I'll partner with innovative leaders and professionals ready to wildly differentiate their companies and themselves by implementing smart reinvention strategies. Here are our top five focus areas:
The new world of business requires disciplined disruption and focused dismantling of outworn concepts, products, and processes —embracing the new rules of innovation. Reinventing and transforming the business in front of the curve redefines success for a new reality. Blind-sided companies missing marketplace and industry inflection points will be forced to play catch-up or risk going out of business.
Succession planning and talent strategies.
Passing the baton will become a priority for many Boards and organizations, ensuring that a robust talent pipeline exists from CxOs to front line management. Businesses must prepare for disruptive leadership transitions ranging from declining health and burned out executives to CEOs unable to get behind their Board's strategies
2. Designing a reinventing organization.
The old world of business no longer works in a reinvented world. In 2012 Human Resources will discover its true north via strategic contributions and learning to manage business inflection points; ultimately transforming itself from a purely administrator role to that of innovation catalyst.
3. Inflection point leadership.
Organizations must prepare their leadership teams for innovating in new ways, where "seeing around corners" and learning how to successfully navigate disruptive transitions become part of the company's DNA and cultural norms.
4. Disruptive strategies.
Disruptive technologies--mobile, cloud computing, Big Data analytics--security and privacy issues, medical breakthroughs, and innovative collaborations will redefine governments, businesses, and education in 2012 and impact us well into 2015 and beyond.
5. Responsible Risktaking.
The supply chains of major corporations will go through a metamorphosis where doing the right thing will become the profitable thing. Companies innovating and leading the way in reinventing their supplier relationships and eco-collaborations will find themselves ahead of the profit curve.
What will your business focus on in 2012? Are you planning to reinvent your career in order to take advantage of these areas? Feel free to share your thoughts on our Facebook page
The economic meltdown of 2008 forever changed how organizational leaders and professionals operate in the new world of business. Where once we identified someone's strengths as either big picture--someone who could see the forest for the trees--or someone capable of managing the most granular of details--the blades of grass--massive layoffs associated with the Great Recession now require workers (at least in the U.S.) to combine the strengths of both.
As the employment picture brightens
in 2012--great news for many unemployed and under-employed professionals--employers aren't letting on that job expectations have changed. Workers who struggled with the "forest for the trees" or "blades of grass" skills prior
to layoffs in 2010 may find themselves in for a rude awakening.
Along with learning a new role and job responsibilities, and in many cases new technologies, employees will face the silent expectations of employers looking to innovate ahead of the curve. Businesses that survived this recession will work harder not to be caught off guard the next time around--reinventing their organizations and developing new leadership and employee skill sets to offset potential competitors and market shifts. Companies whose leadership capabilities included "seeing around corners" and an adaptable workforce accustomed to responding to fast-moving shifts in business, further evolved their organizational cultures during the Great Recession.
As hiring ramps up, a sense of chaos and disruption could overwhelm existing employees responsible for integrating new workers into a redefined culture that may still feel new to them. Redrawing the Playing Field
Informal rules, rarely documented by company leaders are even less likely to be shared during employee on-boarding programs. Typically learned while on the job or offered through formal mentoring and "buddy" programs, informal training is designed to help new employees learn the unspoken, but required rules for success.
Wisdom keepers retain institutional knowledge that defines the organization's culture. Their passion for history--company success stories, founder values, and hero exploits--become the norm that defines the company's personality. Wisdom keepers can be found at every level of an organization from leadership roles to informal influencers.
The 2012 challenge for leaders and managers comes at a time when organizations rapidly changed, reinvented, and in some instances transformed their businesses in response to the lingering recession. Due to workforce reductions and tight budgets many companies failed to capture best practices, thus creating barriers for others looking to repeat the process.Fast-Track Best PracticesOne way to fast-track capturing best practices of the last two years is to invite 25 of your company's well-respected Wisdom Keepers to an in-person, multi-day knowledge sharing meeting. If you're unsure who they are, you might ask employees to nominate their favorite Wisdom Keeper and then have them vote for the top twenty-five based on specific criteria.
- Field work prior to the meeting: Ask the invited Wisdom Keepers to capture the top three policies, procedures or processes implemented by their business unit within the last 18 months that they believe had a direct (measurable) impact on moving the company forward. Request the completed field work one to two weeks prior to the multi-day meeting.
- Use a professional facilitator--internal or external--and together with the team leaders review the field work while looking for common denominators.
- Kick-off the multi-day meeting by sharing common denominators with the group.
- Select the top 10-15 best practices. Next steps should include identifying owners for capturing the "how" of each best practice. Consider posting the information in a centralized online location, perhaps, a Wikipedia-type of application that allows others in the company to contribute ongoing best practices and innovative procedures.
Either way you look at it, employees in 2012 will face a new world of business that demands creative problem-solving, taking risks that matter, and providing innovative solutions. If you make capturing best practices a high priority as the year kicks off, your workforce will have a head start on codifying and implementing your organization's top strategies.
You can listen to our podcasts and subscribe to future episodes.
All great visions begin with a clear set of values. Embracing these values helps to drive your vision and continues to fuel your vision when you hit rough patches along the way.Vision and Values
is the first Essential Element in my book and for good reason. This element provides the foundation for building your business, your organization, and your career.
In between the shopping and the hectic holiday parties, use these last days of 2011 to get a jumpstart on your 2012 vision. Your Call to Action
This week’s Call to Action
is to complete the following three activities, which should take you less than 30 minutes to complete, or about the same amount of time you’d spend in line at your favorite coffee bar in a given week. Activity #1: Define Your Top 3 Core Values
Maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve taken time to assess where you are today and what truly inspires and motivates you to take action. Our values can become clearer to us as we mature or when triggered by a life-altering event. This happened for a former client of mine who, after a professional setback, re-discovered a childhood passion of hers for becoming a writer. One of her core values was creativity--something she had buried for years. Activity #2: List Three of Your Proudest Moments in 2011
These can be personal or professional highlights in your life, which may or may not have included recognition or public accolades. Activity #3: Identify the value gaps.
- How aligned is activity #1 with activity #2?
- On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being not at all and 5 being all the time) ask yourself if your proudest moments in 2011 were aligned with your values 100% of the time, 50% of the time or less than this. If your goal in 2012 is to align 100% of the time with your core values, then anything less than this will require additional reflection on your part and a plan of action to alter the situation.
Aligning with your core values helps you to focus on what really
matters in business, in your career, and your personal life.
Keep in mind--it's never too late to reinvent yourself!