If innovators have one thing in common, it is that they love to collect ideas, like kids love to collect Legos. Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling advised that “the best way to get a good idea is to get a lot of ideas.” Thomas Edison kept over thirty-five hundred notebooks of ideas during the course of his lifetime and set regular “idea quotas” to keep the tap open. Billionaire Richard Branson is an equally passionate recorder of ideas, wherever he goes and with whomever he talks. Yet, absolute quantity of ideas does not always translate into highly disruptive ideas. Why? Because “you cannot look in a new direction by looking harder in the same direction,” says Edward de Bono, author of Lateral Thinking. In other words, getting lots of ideas from lots of different sources creates the best of all innovation worlds.
Innovators who frequently engage in questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting become far more capable at associating because they develop experience at understanding, storing, and recategorizing all this new knowledge. (read more…)
What “cool companies” catch your attention? Are you drawn to them because of the unique brand, their cutting-edge products, their inspired workforce or possibly their consistently wowed customers? My colleagues and I at The Ken Blanchard Cos. seek out best-practice organizations based on two primary elements: high performance and values alignment.
In more than 12 years of research and experience with helping clients refine their corporate cultures, we have identified important practices that are common across the high-performance, values-aligned companies we study. As we review a few of these in this post, consider how well your organization does today on these practices.
- Organization members have clarified their personal purpose and values and have shared them with colleagues. Leaders and employees do not leave their personal “reason for being” (purpose) or “life principles” (values) at the door when they come to work. Who they are as people has been reinforced over time and is embedded in their world view.
Craig Fuller has been president and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association since 2009. He is only the fourth person to hold this position since AOPA was founded in 1939. He brings to the job a career that includes senior public-affairs positions in business, association leadership and executive positions in the federal government, including eight years of service in the White House, from 1981 to 1989.
I spoke with him about his leadership philosophy and challenges facing the general-aviation industry. An edited transcript of the conversation follows.
Describe your leadership philosophy.
Today, leaders in any organization must: 1) develop and communicate a clear strategy for the organization; 2) retain and recruit the very best people; and 3) make sure the right people are in the right positions in the organization. Get these things right, and success will follow.
Which leaders in the industry have influenced you?
In the general-aviation community, I have looked to the founders of many of our companies. (read more…)
SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring Jim Quigley, senior partner of Deloitte.
It’s easy to say that your company is committed to developing its talent, but actions still speak louder, said Jim Quigley, the senior partner and former CEO of Deloitte.
As the economy and job forecasts begin to improve, what will keep your top talent from jumping ship? The answer, Quigley said, is what you’ve invested in them — namely in the development of their careers and them as people. Quigley cites Deloitte University, a $350 million leadership and development as one example of actively investing in the company’s employees.
The hardest part about developing your people is maintaining the laser focus and remaining committed for the long haul. But it’s essential to do so if a company wants to succeed in the future, Quigley said. (read more…)
Last week, we asked: How well do your team members understand how their jobs contribute to the bottom line?
- Well — they generally understand their role’s impact on profit: 39.21%
- Somewhat — they know their work is important, but the link to profit is fuzzy: 27.57%
- Extremely well — there’s a direct link between their role and our profit: 27.4%
- Not at all — they have no understanding of how they contribute to our profit: 5.82%
So why am I doing this? We all want to contribute to something larger than ourselves. Giving people that clarity at work as to how their actions drive company performance will improve motivation and performance. If your teams aren’t clear how their actions and activities contribute, they’ll question their work more and be more likely to eventually leave for a more fulfilling role. (read more…)