Our current COVID-19 situation is accelerating at an enormous speed and we can only wish that the peak will be getting closer and all our families and friends stay healthy. At the same time, it is not all gloom - it is an excellent opportunity to take responsibility for our own excellence.
The article here - How Will things Be Different When It's All Over? - is rightly asking the question: what can we as business leaders do now to prepare for the next three phases: Rebound, Recession and Reimagination.
Rebound: are your teams aligned with a collective dream? Do we all run in the same direction? And did we establish effective collaboration routines that create transparency while avoiding micro-management? When I talk to teams struggling with working from home, I often hear that people lack motivation, trust, efficient tools, etc.
Recession: one way to react is to shut down everything - total cost management. For me another question is more forward-looking: how can we maximise value creation with the existing assets. That might mean, we can find new customer groups that have an interest in utilising our assets. And we can take the economic slow-down and review our operations and make the fit for the rebound.
Reimagination: here we can be creative and see new opportunities unfolding. And a human-centric approach will allow us to go deep in understanding our existing customers how their needs have changed. Where are the new value generation opportunities? How did preferences have changed? How can I react fast to deliver on this value? Everyone in the organisation is part of the customer journey; in my experience we all need to work closely together to create an experience for our stakeholders.
Back to the article, it suggest a few inspiring success factors:
Thank you, Daniel Benes, for sharing!
The year 2020 has started in a weird way. And the current virus situation many companies start to struggle. In this context, I see many leaders react in the same way: push for targets!
Here an example. The productivity team has a target to achieve 4 million savings in production costs. Initially a tough objective. Now, imagine production slumps down 20%. We have reached our target. Do we celebrate? Did we really get more excellent? How will our productivity results look like if production is increased by 20%?
Instead of focusing on lagging indicators and financial targets, I advocate to look at how do we operate. How do our structures support collaboration in cross-functional teams? How well are we aligned and promote transparency? Can I talk about my mistakes? Who is listening to my ideas?
Companies that want to achieve sustainable success, need to look more at how we are doing business, focus more on values and principles. Look at the financial indicators once in a while to see if we are on the right track. And, set targets to operate in an effective way - especially for yourself as a leader.
This week I coincidentally stumbled across this simple explanation of the foundation of agile. A reminder for myself - and for all of us - where does agile come from.
"A set of values and principles that guide the team’s decision making."
For example, the interaction with people is more important the processes and rules; or the collaboration with the customer is more valuable than the contract we negotiated. These will guide a team to make the right thing.
And as a leader? Give your teams a clear direction, remove barriers, motivate intrinsically, stay close with them and join the party as an equal.
What did I miss?
End of last year, we initiated a benchmark survey on how different companies experience their journey to accelerate innovation mindsets. How can we fully exploit our potential to deliver novel products, processes and experiences to our customers. We presented a number of activities and traits and asked two simple questions: are these important for innovation? and are they established in your organisation?
Here are the results of this APAC-focussed survey; they show clear indications on where to put energy and where to start:
Find here the complete survey results: The Current State of Innovation - Report.
Big Thank You to all that have participated in the survey!
The world is getting automated, more mundane processes are taken over by robots and all of us will be confronted to interact with smarter machines. This has an impact on the future-proof skills we require.
This McKinsey report highlights the key skills that we need to focus on for our employees:
Are you ready to solve problems with speed? Are you ready to pick-up the latest trends? How well are you collaborating beyond your silos? In my eyes, this underlies the need for new structures to create deeper understanding of the people we work with and to experiment and execute creative solutions.
Five Fifty - Soft Skills for a Hard World
"The Value of Everything"
Everybody is talking about innovation and yes, it is a critical components for the sustainable success of companies - and entire societies.
This article (long read) shares the experience of successful innovation in a larger scale - how governments can push creativity and successful new solutions for cities, provinces, countries - large scale. And the result:
>> Innovation is driven by a mission <<
In detail this means:
* let's be bold and inspirational
* aim at high ambitions that are risky
* define clear timelines and results
* connect people across silos
* give research teams autonomy and allow them to experiment
How are you applying these points in your team / lab?
This economist has a plan to fix capitalism. It's time we all listened
Linkage has organized a great event earlier this year and shared here their insights.
1) Be authentic
2) Leadership requires intention
3) Collaboration is key
4) Look to your own "Success Circle"
5) Seek out your opposite
6) Never stop learning
Do we need more inspiring people that can give us direction and at the same time provide space to others to grow? I do believe so...
What are your favourite leadership traits?
6 Leadership Truths from Learning Teams at Linkage’s Global Institute for Leadership Development (GILD) 2019
Last week, the community of Design Thinking professionals met in Singapore. On Friday, we discussed how culture can be influenced and how Design Thinking might support transformation - very interesting question...
I have started to use Design Thinking in order to cultivate customer value focus, agility and cross-silo collaboration. With great success.
Another thought we developed is around intrinsic motivation. Design Thinking facilitates:
* a clear definition of challenges that supports purpose;
* autonomy due to the focus on empathy (button up thinking)
* the iterative prototyping allows mastery (getting closer and closer to the customer needs)
How do you see the connection between transformation and design thinking?
During the last two days, the regional Design Thinking community met in Singapore to exchange experiences, thoughts and questions. Here my key take-aways...
"Experience design is about *real people*, real life; let's focus on empathy and ethics."
"Idea creation is *messy and random*; don't kill it with KPIs."
"Use Design Thinking as a *pull* to a new way of working."
"Continuous improvement brings detractors to passives; experience design brings passives to promoters."
"Good design is about an integrated view of the entire business and brings alignment across all stakeholders; that is where the value comes from."
"Design thinking transforms to drive value creation, better collaboration, a culture of experimentation and a common purpose."
A big thanks to the organisers, speakers and participants! I enjoyed the event a lot.
This is where diversity meets innovation. Do you want to through the ball very far? Then you will get more crazy ideas when you connect with people that are different from you: different departments, different regions, and why not with your customers and suppliers?
Diversity for me means to absorb insights and opinions from any person you interact with; irrespective from their gender, race, education, hair colour, social status, etc. This is the start of deep learning.
Pull intrinsic transformation! Instead of pushing change to people.
This week, me and my colleague had a very insightful conversation about how to lead people through change. The question is, how can we prepare people for upcoming change.
Can we really get people ready for change? Or will they always fear it?
I suggest a different path of thought. Let the people discover and design their own transformation journey. Create motivation and excitement for a new strategy and then allow them to run towards these goals. As a leader you might only focus on removing the barriers.
In this sense, I believe that true success can be reached by creating a meaningful purpose, facilitating cross-silo collaboration and cultivating a willingness to experiment.
Where do you see the leading indicators for success?
When looking at the key drivers for innovation in general, we identified three main elements to focus on:
* Value creation: create a good understanding of the needs and insights of our customers and then focus on delivering value to the customers
* Taking risk: create an environment where people are encouraged to experiment and instil entrepreneurship
* Leadership: guide people with purpose and be mindful to be a role model in the journey to create an innovation culture
Other elements that have highly scored as well are setting the right targets, focus on speed, learn from diversity and facilitate collaboration across silos.
Where do you see the key drivers for innovation?
"Imagine your phone is in your ear. And you can make the screen fold open in front of your eyes and then we call each other, see each other. And I can share photos with you as well..."
What a brilliant idea! Who's intelligent mind is behind that? My six-and-a-half year old daughter.
This is a great reminder that creativity is where we don't expect it and hidden in all of us. We need to focus on letting it come out.
That's the mindset we will need for the upcoming Innovation Hack Days in Bangkok this week.
IMD Alumni invited us to a speech by Diana Wu David sharing her experiences and thoughts about how we can make ourselves Future Proof! Globalisation, Automation, Longevity all creating the need to look differently at the 'world of work'.
The future will bring lifelong learning, demands flexibility and soft skills, and requires us to be enabled by technology.
How can we get there? And her thoughts really resonate with my experiences and believes:
These behaviours and routines will lead to creating a more satisfying life for us as leaders and family members.
The still open question is: how do we convert our top leaders to stop looking at the past (lagging indicators) and start embracing the future. Any thoughts from your side?
And that's when I find myself working in a coworking space in Taipei city. What is my experience? Yes, tech today is enabling this... More important, I feel a surge of new energy and focus on my work tasks. The change in scene helps to keep distractions low (that's a surprise) and discipline on the defined tasks high.
In the context of people excellence this is an example to let people choose where and when to work - autonomy is a great driver for motivation. For sure the purpose and objectives need to be clear. We learn every day...
Oh, and yes, it helps to pay a bit of money to get a professional workplace - for me, it doesn't work well in a coffee place.
It is always exciting to start something new. This week in Thailand, we launched an Innovation Program to drive Operational Excellence for the production site here.
Inception of a new way of thinking: accelerating results with focus and structure. We defined six opportunity areas which we will work on over the next 12 months.
What I have learned? Build on existing activities and explain based on examples - keep this in mind.
This week, I spend one and a half days with the diverse BPO team in Singapore. We discussed how to lead with positivity, define meaningful and actionable objectives and tried ourselves in creative solution finding.
What did I learn? Yes, people like crazy ideas and they are important as inspiration to start things in a new way.
“If we keep doing the same thing,
we keep getting the same results.
In order to grow, we all need to start
doing things differently!”
Last week we have reflected on the innovation program for our R&D team in China.
a) a structure to regularly interact, be creative and execute these ideas is leading to success
b) we need to focus on two type of innovation: one driven by market needs; another driven by cutting-edge technology
c) we need to cross more silos; engaging with more people in other functions, other regions, etc.
Thank you very much for your continued support!
Today's 'Quick Share' is about Objectives & Key Results (OKRs). Many heard about them, many use them - totally independent of region or industry. So, I am not going to explain how this works...
Here are three reasons, why I advocate them:
1 - pushing people to think about what they want to achieve in three months makes these results pretty concrete; plus, it creates more dynamic (or agility?)
2 - leaders get the opportunity to provide autonomy to a team and let them define their own goals together; under the leaders guidance
3 - in the end, the success is not done with defining the OKRs; they success comes in the weeks and months achieving results; this happens via frequent conversations; conversations about prioritisation, actions, collaboration
What do you learn from implementing OKRs?
Culture is identified as the major enabler of mastering the digital age - how to drive this cultural change?
a - delegate decision-making and enable all levels in the organisation take managed risks
b - customer focus across the entire organisation; understand and design the entire customer journey (and this starts at the initial research when identifying the need for a new purchase)
c - connecting people across silos to drive innovation and enable systematic problem solving
What do you add to this list? How do you drive your teams into the digital age?
Tim is a change practitioner in the area of innovation and excellence. He is working with teams to accelerate innovation, collaboration and agility.