Our box is the place where we live. It’s who we choose to be. It’s our skills, our biases, our judgements, our strengths, our weakness. The kind of music we listen to, the food we eat, our routines - our ruts.
Showing emotion has been given such a bad rap that we’ve learned to keep any displays in check. It’s perceived as weakness. Of not being in control. It’s not professional. Or so we were lead to believe prior to the age of innovation.
In these transitional times the modern workplace seems to be polarising. On the one side are traditional environments still laden in policy, bureaucracy and abysmal engagement scores - and those modern innovative ones where people are happy, engaged and wildly productive.
As we try to understand what the road to innovation looks like we hear a lot about failure as an antecedent to innovative success. How great innovators like Thomas Edison, Leonardo Da Vinci, Steve Jobs…suffered failures before their success. Practically speaking, how do we emulate failure?
Transforming a traditional organisation to a creative one is extremely hard work. But it’s not that complicated to get it right. Just don’t underestimate the amount of work/time - and tough decisions to be made along the way.
So, I finally publish this for my mom to make sure she knows why I do what I do. Why I fight for a solution even when one isn’t obvious. That she taught me spirit, tenacity and creativity. She taught me more than any book, teacher or professor.
Times are changing quickly and along with them are traditional views on management. Being open to seeing opportunity and possibility in change will be the key to prosperity. Business success today is age agnostic.
As more and more people work away from the home base, the more important it is that the home base be awesome. The workplace doesn’t necessarily have to be gourmet lunch and ping pong awesome, but work awesome.
Empowerment is the right thing to do. But it will require skilled managers, time and patience to get everyone on board. And an acceptance that some will look for safe cover in a less enlightened company.
A shortage of great ideas isn't the innovation challenge. It's the closed-mindedness that prevents ideas from coming to life. People get in ruts. And it’s human nature to cling to those ruts for safety. It’s easier to defend against running with an idea, than it is to catch it.
The example is rare that someone starts a new job in a state of apathy. They generally walk in full of energy and enthusiasm. The engagement tank is full. It is whether the employer respects that full tank or whether they poke holes in it over time that determines the current state of engagement.
There must be a bell curve that represents when a person is experience saturated and x years doing the same thing brings diminishing returns. But we keep asking for it as though it’s some predictor of future success.
Many organisations are expressing a desire to create a culture of innovation. For some, the change can be a dramatic shift in how things work day-day. More fundamentally can be the challenge of knowing what an innovative organisation even looks like.
Learn from others. Allow their experiences to enrich your own understanding. But don’t assume they're smarter simply because of title, position, wealth, or any other superficial criteria. Don't be intimidated by stereotypes.
We need to celebrate human qualities that differentiate human from machine: judgement, common sense, and intuition. Those gifts that have been relegated from the boardroom as being soft, intangible and irrelevant.