172 How to Make Better Team Decisions

by | Sep 3, 2014 | Collaborate, Facilitate meetings, Innovate, Tools

YES! AND… #172  How might your team make better decisions?  “When we hear all voices, we make better decisions.” Headline on Loomio website. Four years ago we had to make a decision to buy a bigger house or extend our own. That was a hard enough decision for two people to make. How much more difficult is it to make a decision when there is a group of people involved? Last week, I completed an Inn8 Workshop programme with twelve senior managers, using the Inn8 Model and Tools, to help them innovate. They developed two excellent new service propositions for their company and to achieve this had to decide on the opportunity to exploit, the solutions to implement and whether to proceed. To have twelve people agree on a decision requires them to understand the situation fully (in our case, the opportunity and the solution). This requires a willingness to listen to all voices, a structure and thinking tools. How can you gain that agreement, efficiently and effectively, so that people don’t leave the meeting thinking, “That’s what we agreed, but this is what I will do.” True, if you have enough power, you can force through decisions unilaterally. Strange though how difficult it can be to implement such decisions! So Here are some ideas and links to descriptive articles of tools that should help you to build sustainable decisions in your organisation, in the context of facilitating people to innovate. Most should help in other contexts too. Create Understanding Good decisions are informed decisions. Therefore, you need to create understanding amongst the decision makers (the group). This entails processing...

170 How to Coach People to Be More Creative

YES! AND… Collaborate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla #170  How to Coach People to Be More Creative  “The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.” Oscar Wilde Recently, someone asked me how I might coach someone to be more creative when they think they are not creative? The question provoked a lot of thinking on my part and I would like to share my response with you as leaders so that you can deal with such a situation. Everyone can be creative In my career as a business leader and as a tutor with the Open University, I met a few people who told me they were not creative and I observed quite a few who were not being creative. You probably have too.  However, that does not mean they are not creative, it means we have different ways of approaching it. Dr. M. J. Kirton, creator of the Kirton Adapter Innovator (KAI) style profile, says: “Those who are adaptive in style are characterised by precision, reliability, efficiency; seen as methodical, prudent, disciplined. Those more innovative in style are seen as thinking tangentially, approaching tasks from unsuspected angles; undisciplined, unpredictable.” From this description, do you agree that adaptive people are more likely to say they are uncreative? In my experience it is true, but as Kirton explains, “One must remember that adaptors and innovators can have equal capacity, insight and creativity.” So, if someone tells you they are not creative, reassure them that we can all be creative, though we have different ways of contributing to creative outcomes. Four issues that inhibit creativity Having reassured them they can be...

167 How to innovate better in organisations

YES! AND… Collaborate. Innovate. Transform – Creative Gorilla #167 How might your organisation innovate better?  “Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” William Pollard American Business Leader Why do large organisations have issues with innovation and what might they do to resolve them? Recently, a company asked me to help them be more innovative. I asked to tour their operations facilities with a colleague, to understand their business and obtain a feel for their current capability. Far from finding an organisation adverse to change, sloth like and bureaucratic, we witnessed a dynamic company with engaged employees that encourages people to create solutions and is willing to take the risk to implement good propositions. They had innovated to reduce costs, to improve process efficiency and to respond to the changing needs of their clients. After the tour I asked the CEO why they needed our help! He responded: When staff innovate, they focus mainly on operational efficiency A major trend in the industry is for clients to favour suppliers who can help them innovate There are innovation hot spots in the organisation; it is not consistent There is no standard approach that all employees can use to innovate. This was a worthwhile visit and discussion and revealed some of the key factors and issues that leadership teams in large organisations must wrestle with when they want to innovate. Let’s look at those factors and key issues now and consider a way to overcome them. SO Key Innovation Factors and Issues[1] Each heading below is a...

Create Ideas Systematically [Yes! And Blog #142]

“What if we: Divide; Reduce; Enlarge; Adapt (use and form); Mix; Exclude; Replace; Switch?” John Brooker   DREAMERS create ideas systematically When I was a student on my Masters of Business Administration (MBA) course, I regarded as sacrosanct the theories, tools and techniques we were taught. The gurus of strategy, marketing, innovation et al were demi gods and we should bow to them reverentially. This was easy to do because as a student doing a full time job and a part time MBA, I was often short of time to think. Having gained my qualification, I became a tutor. With time to think, I was able to cast a more appraising eye over the materials and realised the gurus were as human as me. I really started to learn the materials and began to question the theories, tools and techniques. This was a revelation to me and I urge students to challenge the theories and bend the tools and techniques to their own ends. Whether it works or fails, they will have learned something by doing their own thinking. SO This week, I was reviewing Robert Eberle’s classic mnemonic “SCAMPER”: Substitute; Combine; Adapt; Magnify / Minify; Put to other uses; Eliminate / Elaborate; Rearrange / Reverse (please see Yes! And blog 136 for a short review). You can use this tool with “What If” questions to generate ideas by challenging various aspects of a situation, service or product. It makes the process very systematic. This works very well, however, this week I was in a curious mood and thought, “Put to other uses” is not that elegant (the “Put” on its...

How to Influence Innovation Better [Yes! And. Blog # 139]

How might you influence to innovate? “If you are going to influence the future you have to master four ways of perceiving things: as they were; as they are; as they might become; as they ought to be.” Dee Hock. Founder of the Visa organisation. Recently I was bag packing in a supermarket with a group of young Scouts to raise funds for the Scout troop. When I first asked people if we could help pack their bags, I was often refused and I learned quickly that it was best to have the children ask them. It seems the sight and sound of a seven year old with a cherubic face melts the heart and influences most shoppers to accept. Influence is as relevant to implementing innovations as it is to fundraising. I read One From Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization by Dee Hock, the founder of the innovative Visa organisation, in which he describes its conception, the issues he had and how he overcame them. It struck me how well Hock influenced people when he had little or no authority. In their book, The Leader’s Guide to Influence, Mike Brent and Fiona Dent provide a very useful model on two axes which I summarise here (see illustration above): On the axis of emotion you influence through Logic or Inspiration On the axis of involvement you influence through being Assertive or Participative I will describe four examples from Hock’s story to illustrate this but first some background. Background Visa emerged from the original BankAmericard credit card programme. Back in the Sixties, Bank of America (B of...

How to Innovate to Maximise Opportunities [Yes! And. Blog #138]

How to avoid common mistakes when you innovate to maximise opportunities. “Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.” A. A. Milne. Do you have any obscure rituals you carry out in secret? I confess I perform one every week, the ceremonial “wheelie bin stomp”. This is not a dark practice overlooked in Harry Potter novels, but a practical solution to the problem that there is too much bulky waste packaging and too little dustbin. So I step on the garden wall, climb in the bin and begin stomping so we can push another week’s worth in the bin. Too much waste and too little bin – when someone has a problem, it means there is an opportunity to exploit with a sound proposition. Having admitted my secret and defined an opportunity, let’s move on to the core of this article. All leaders in organisations have opportunities. They may be in areas requiring new policy, meeting a need in a new market, or dealing with waste packaging, etc. Some people exploit them well and some do not. SO Here are my thoughts on how you can maximise opportunities more effectively at lower cost and with less effort. Use a structured approach to think it through This will ensure that you create a proposition that is acceptable to a wider range of people, meets...