Do I Always Have To Negotiate?

This week's blog post appears on Executive Street Blog. Please click this link to view it. Every now and then, I have a conversation with one of the leaders I work with who is frustrated with a lack of compliance and accountability in their company. The leader will say something like this: “I told them exactly what I wanted. I explained the reason we needed to do it that way and I am still not seeing the results I want. What is the problem?” When I point out that perhaps they need to allow folks to weigh in so that they can buy in, I frequently hear a sigh and expressions of more frustration. “Well, that’s just a waste of time,” they might say. Or, “Sometimes I am open to feedback. But sometimes there is a reason I want it done a certain way. I don’t want to waste time in meetings trying to convince everyone to just do it.” At the other...
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Rewarding Innovation: Because Great Ideas Just Don’t Imagine Themselves

This week's blog post appears on Executive Street Blog. Please click this link to view it. An engineer friend of mine works for a large, highly innovative company. You know the type of company I’m talking about: the kind that introduces new products, offers unique services, and establishes effective processes with remarkable consistency. The kind of company whose employees get told over and over again, “You’re so lucky!” But here’s the secret: luck has nothing to do with it. And here’s why: Innovative companies, like my friend’s company, take creativity very seriously. Innovation isn’t an end result (for example, a successful product), it’s a plan of action, a series of concrete activities — including false starts — just enough of which lead to successful products. For example, engineers at my friend’s company must set specific performance targets each quarter. Innovation points are an important element of these targets. Innovation points are earned based on specific actions, including coming up with ideas, testing the concepts,...
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How To Recharge Yourself And Your Strategic Plan

What if we simply accept August as the time to recharge our batteries, then get a jump-start on strategic planning for next year?  This week's blog post appears on Executive Street Blog. Please click this link to view it. To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred in late July, when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun. They referred to those days as the hottest time of the year, a period that could bring fever or even catastrophe. Today we think of dog days as the time of the year marked by lethargy and often inactivity. Here’s another spin: What if we were simply to accept August as the time to recharge? And then once our batteries are charged, get a jump-start on strategic planning for next year? All of us possess an inner reservoir of positive energy. It is this positive energy that enables us to move forward. And the human body, like all other energy-powered machines, needs to be charged regularly. Most...
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