‘Organizational Results’ Category


Organizational Results: Innovation and Employee Engagement

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

Leaders want employees to spend their time at work doing their jobs.  Taking time to innovate away from work time may decrease productivity and efficiency.  As with any leadership topic, there are conflicting thoughts about innovation. While some believe that only leaders should focus on innovation, others believe that employees are imperative for successful innovation.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Front line employees often see things that leaders don’t.  They can offer a unique perspective from being involved in the process or service daily.  When employees believe that their perspectives matter and their ideas are incorporated when possible, an innovation culture begins to flourish.  Innovative cultures result in innovative organizations and innovative organizations produce results.

How can you do it?

  1. Include front line employees’ perspectives when looking at opportunities in the organization.
  2. Incorporate employees’ thoughts and ideas into your multidisciplinary team meetings and give them credit.
  3. Follow up with employees on why their ideas could or could not work as a solution.
  4. Recognize employees when ideas result in innovative solutions.
  5. Continually encourage employees to question when processes don’t make sense, speak up when there are failures, and share their ideas openly. 
  6. Remember that building an innovative culture starts with YOU.

How do your stakeholders participate in innovation at your organization?

Organizational Results: Don’t Underestimate Small Innovations

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

When thinking about innovation, it is easy to believe that only big ideas count. Think about innovation right now.  Do big, corporate businesses come to mind?  When we think about innovation in businesses, we often think about technology and other costly ideas that have contributed millions to the bottom line.  Big ideas are great, but it is easy for us to underestimate the value of small innovative ideas that pay off big for the organization’s bottom line. 

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Not every problem needs a big idea to solve it.  Some problems are just small problems that need novel ideas that result in an innovative solution.  If we start with small ideas, we can begin to build a culture of innovation that leads to the big ideas we so often hear about.   Just remember that small innovative solutions can work just as well, can be easier to implement, and can improve your results.      

How can you do it?

  1. Look at your areas of responsibility critically to spot inconsistencies or small problems.
  2. Set aside time to study the problem or inconsistency.
  3. Take the problem to a multidisciplinary team.
  4. Brainstorm with the team to develop more ideas, a list of pros and cons of the potential innovative ideas and any implementation issues.
  5. Implement the solution and measure your results to show how small ideas can pay off big.

What are some small innovative ideas that resulted in big outcomes at your organization?

Organizational Results: Innovation and Collaboration

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

It is often difficult to get a regular meeting scheduled where a team of individuals come together from different specialties.  It is even harder to make sure there is regular attendance at the meeting and that representatives from key areas are present in the room.  Some leaders do not see the value that collaborating with other specialties brings to the organization until they are placed into a meeting with others that results in an innovative idea.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Collaboration utilizing a multidisciplinary team approach is key to making innovation a successful part of the organization’s culture.  Having members present from different areas of the organization helps introduce new information, different perspectives, and helps spark insights that lead to innovative ideas.  A multidisciplinary team can also assess the pros and cons of the potential solution and determine if the idea is a reasonable and feasible solution to the organizational problem.  If key members are not present, the team could spend time working through a problem with what they believe is an innovative solution, only to find out it is not possible.  Collaborating with members of the organization who innovate regularly and who represent key areas is instrumental to building your organization’s innovative culture.

How can you do it?

  1. Find key leaders at your organization who are creative and innovative.
  2. Make sure you have representation from key areas throughout the organization, but not so many representatives that the group cannot think and brainstorm freely.
  3. Select a time to meet every week and make it a standing meeting on your calendar.
  4. Select one person to present an organizational problem to the group each week.
  5. Spend time brainstorming and talking through the problem and the potential solutions.  The multidisciplinary team approach will trigger insights in members of your team that will ultimately lead to innovative solutions, if they are needed.

How has an innovative idea led to an improved result at your organization?

 

Organizational Results: Giving Time to Innovation

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

Many of us have lengthy task lists and reprioritize daily.  We check one thing off of our list and start on the next, while our list is constantly growing.  Setting aside time for one more thing isn’t appealing, especially when there isn’t a guarantee of success or complete evidentiary support to give you confidence in giving your time to this activity.   

What is the case for doing it anyway?

If we all devote a little time to innovation, simple ideas can pay off big.  While many ideas will not be as fruitful as we would like, the only way to find the big ideas that are is to set time aside and focus on identifying novel solutions to problems that plague your organization.  When you do give yourself time to really think critically and brainstorm innovation solutions to problems, your confidence and organizational results will both improve. Innovative ideas, big and small, can make a positive difference in your bottom line.

How can you do it?

  1. Make a list of key opportunities for improvement at your organization.
  2. Select one and spend an hour thinking about the problem and potential solutions. 
  3. Read, exercise, or meditate.  Do what you need to do to get your creative juices flowing.  Many ideas and insights are triggered by other activities. 
  4. Create a multidisciplinary team to dissect the problem with you.  This will help you to gain unique perspectives from others and identify innovative solutions you couldn’t see without new information or insight.
  5. Set aside time each week to focus on innovation.  Your innovative ideas will inspire and encourage others to participate.  The culture change starts with you.

How has an innovative idea led to an improved result at your organization?

Organizational Results: Balancing Process Improvement and Innovation

Kara Redoutey, MBA

What are the barriers to doing this?

We have been taught to focus on process improvement and to implement best practices as the primary ways to improve results.  Taking time away from activities that typically result in some positive change for the organization to focus time on potentially risky ventures with less than certain outcomes isn’t always the favorable or cost conscious route.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Innovation continues to transform industries.  Take a look at some of the world’s most innovative companies, and see how well they are performing. When you take time to focus on innovation, you may develop insights that lead to true problem resolution and you may even dream up solutions to problems you didn’t even know existed.  Balancing the focus on process improvement and innovation is the key to long term organizational success.

How can you do it?

  1. Balance your time between process improvement and innovation.  The organizational culture change starts with you, and you don’t want your organization left behind.
  2. Create a group of individuals who are key innovators with knowledge and experience, coupled with young innovative minds.  They can learn from each other.
  3. Embrace reasonable risk taking.
  4. Accept that some innovative ideas will fail.  It is difficult for most driven people, who are laser focused on results, to accept that many ideas will not end up working.  Learn from these failures and remember that the most innovative idea may grow out of the failure of another.

How has an innovative idea led to an improved result at your organization?

Organizational Results: The Importance of an Innovative Culture

Kara Redoutey, MBA

Introduction

Innovation is the process of conceiving and implementing a novel solution to an organizational problem in a way that produces improved organizational results. Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing the importance of building and sustaining an innovative culture.  Focusing on creating a culture of innovation will help to ensure long term growth and improved results.

What are the barriers to doing this?

Focusing on innovation is difficult and the potential results are much more uncertain than simple process improvement strategies.  Not all innovative ideas prove successful in the business setting, and many are disruptive.  We are often taught certain processes and follow such rigid steps that we fail to think creatively.  Most businesses are already trying to operate as lean as possible, while focusing on process improvement.  Allowing more time to focus on innovation can complicate tight timelines and lengthy task lists. 

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Truly innovative ideas lead to improved organizational results. When teams have implemented process improvement ideas and best practices, yet they are still not achieving the desired results, they are forced to look at a problem differently or get comfortable with mediocrity.  There is value to focusing on an innovative solution to a problem up front.  If we continue to do things the way we have always done them, we will continue to get the same results.  Innovation opens the door to options that were never on the table before.

How can you do it?

  1. Create a multidisciplinary team to focus on innovation.
  2. Recognize employees with innovative ideas that ultimately improve processes.
  3. Set aside time to focus on a topic that needs innovation every week.
  4. Accept that some innovative ideas will fail.

How has an innovative idea led to an improved result at your organization?

Organizational Results: Manage Feelings

Kendall L. Stewart, M.D.

Feelings rule. Most of us recognize that they shouldn’t, but they do. If you take the view that people shouldn’t have feelings and proceed to ignore them, you will limit your persuasive effectiveness. If you allow yourself to be held hostage by feelings, you will be paralyzed. The key is to recognize, accept and express everyone’s feelings and then recruit those feelings to your cause.

1. Recognize your own feelings. This is not as easy as it sounds. Most of us react instinctively to the events in our lives without recognizing the pivotal role our feelings played in those reactions. Most of us who react impulsively are embarrassed to admit that we don’t keep our feelings on a shorter leash.

2. Recognize others’ feelings. This is a lot easier. Most of us are pretty good at divining how others feel; we just don’t think they should feel that way—if they turn out to feel differently than we do.

3. Accept feelings. We all have them. They change. They enrich our lives and torment us. We can do the right things in spite of them.

4. Express them. It’s not enough to just recognize and accept them. We have to put them on the table. Then we can deal with them. Unrecognized and unexpressed feelings will derail the best-laid plans every time.

How do you deal with feelings at work?

Organizational Results: Create Discomfort

Kendall L. Stewart, M.D.

Discomfort is a double-edged prod. Most of us will not change unless we experience some discomfort. Too much of it is paralyzing. Leaders walk this tightrope every day. Effective leaders know that they must feel and create some discomfort, but if they make their colleagues too uncomfortable organizational momentum will stall. It’s not an easy balance and even the best leaders don’t always get it right.

1. Make yourself uncomfortable first. Until you have achieved personal perfection, there are plenty of opportunities. Leaders long for comfort just like every other human being on the planet. If you can find no other personal flaws, feel uncomfortable about feeling too comfortable.

2. Focus on those organizational results that are not hitting the mark. It is counterproductive to create discomfort for discomfort’s sake. It must derive from the failure to achieve meaningful goals to have significant impact. If you are consistently meeting all of your goals, you have set the bar too low.

3. Hold yourself and others accountable. Figure out who has the power to make things happen and then hold them accountable for making them happen. Since the leader is always accountable, you cannot do this successfully without holding yourself accountable.

How do you create just the right amount of discomfort in your workplace?

Organizational Results: Clarify Behavioral Expectations

Kendall L. Stewart, M.D.

It’s not what we say; it’s how we behave. All of us show up wanting to do more of what we feel like doing and less of what we don’t want to do. When leaders say one thing and do another, everyone notices and leadership credibility suffers. The hypocrisy of leaders is the reason that people use most often as an excuse to slack off. “If they don’t do it, why should I?” And they have a point.

1. Clarify your expectations for how you will interact with each other at work. No one is perfect and all of us will slip from time to time, but at least everyone will know what’s expected of them.

2. Confront violators. Ignoring obvious rule transgressions is worse than having no rules at all. Of course, confrontation is hard and no one wants to do it. That’s tough. It’s your job to confront others and to own up to your own shortcomings when your colleagues point them out.

3. Tell stories about changed behavior. If you confront each other, behavior will change. And such stories are among the most effective organizational motivators known. Find them and use them.

How have you clarified your behavioral expectations at work?

Organizational Results: Sustain Exceptional Results

Kendall L. Stewart, M.D.

It’s difficult to achieve exceptional results, but it’s much harder to sustain them. Having achieved the goal, we all tend to congratulate ourselves and move on to the next challenge. We become bored, lose interest and focus, and backslide. We stop doing the things that made the difference, mistakenly thinking that those processes are now stable.  They are not. All organizational processes are naturally unstable.

1. Prepare yourself and others for performance deterioration. Begin talking openly about this danger as a part of your goal achievement celebrations. Remind everyone of examples where you’ve scaled the summit and then fallen off a cliff. There will be plenty of these examples.

2. Keep monitoring all key processes. A performance dashboard is the perfect tool for this. You can see how you are doing at a glance each week or month. Any unraveling will become immediately apparent.

3. Make sure that a leader remains accountable. We all pay more attention when our names are on the board as the responsible leader. Others may become intoxicated with success, but the fear of embarrassment will keep the designated driver focused.

3. Create a crisis at the first sign of performance droop. Become distressed and let it show. People are exquisitely sensitive to how their leaders feel. Use this fact to your advantage.

How do you sustain exceptional performance?