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Innovation Is a 10,000 Foot Free Fall

I hear so much lately about innovation with virtually every company claiming that they are innovative. Is that really true, or is it yet another over used buzz word that has no substance?  I personally see little true innovation, just claims of being innovative (who would say otherwise, right?).  One way to determine if innovative is actually taking place is to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Are you scared (just a bit)?
  2. Do you have more skeptics than advocates?
  3. If you fail, are there repercussions?
  4. How do you define failure?
  5. How much permission did you need to execute?

I especially like the skeptics vs. advocates question. It directly correlates to a safe zone that is easy to fall into. It’s where little innovation can take place – a black hole. Some of the best outcomes have occurred when there were few supporters (until it succeeded). Read More »

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Ken Blanchard Free Live Event: A Closer Look at the New Science of Motivation

Please join us for a live webinar where we will discover what the new science of motivation has to offer. Susan Fowler, best-selling author and motivation expert from The Ken Blanchard Companies, will not let you walk away closed minded when it comes to motivating yourself.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to choose a higher quality of motivational experience
  • How motivation is a skill that can be taught, learned, nurtured, and sustained
  • The three ways you can apply motivation skills – at an individual level, as a leader, or from an organizational perspective

Register now! Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to shift from a quantity of motivation to a quality of motivation experience.

Details: Wednesday, October 3, 2012| 9 am PDT  |  Noon ET  | 

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Discover Your Collaboration Persona: How do you “show up” in an increasingly visual, mobile, social and virtual world?

I was lucky enough to meet GE CEO Jeff Immelt at a Cisco event some years ago and interview him on the topic of leadership.  My biggest takeaway from listening to him:  leadership is about how you “show up.”  In other words, it’s how we act and behave in everyday situations that define our leadership persona.  I’m pretty sure he meant it literally, as in how we “show up” in the physical world.

But how do we “show up” as leaders in a world where work is increasingly done on a mobile phone or tablet, or using a video chat, web conference or Telepresence?  This is one of the great leadership challenges of this hyper-connected world: as a leader you will need to know what I like to call your “Collaboration Persona” – that way in which your leadership style shows up when you’re not in the physical world.

How should you approach building your Collaboration Persona?  Here are three steps:

1)      Know yourself:  Whether it is in the physical world or virtual, how we show up should authentically represent who we are.  Click here to take a quick online assessment to discover your authentic communication style (Click on the green “Take Survey” button). This confidential assessment is a bit like the Myers-Briggs test and provides you with a customized profile of your unique communication style; it reveals how you naturally process information, and how you prefer to deliver that information to others. Most importantly, the assessment provides a simple vocabulary to communicate your style to others. Are you conceptual or analytical?  An introvert or an extrovert?

My co-author Carl Wiese and I cover this topic extensively in the third chapter of our book, The Collaboration Imperative, entitled “Get Real about Communications. Click here to learn more about The Collaboration Imperative.

2)      Know where you excel as a “Virtual Star”: Just as you play to your strengths in the real world, play to your strengths in the virtual world.  Here are some examples:

  • If you are a conceptual thinker, you will excel when the team needs someone to explain the aspirations of a decision, such as a vision. These thinkers will be good on video presentations during virtual meetings. It’s not that conceptual people aren’t good in online discussion forums where the medium calls for more precise language; it’s more about playing to the strength of conceptual thinkers – they love talking about ideas and tapping into that passion on video is a great way to play to one’s strengths.
  • If you are an analytical thinker, you will excel at “making it real” when communicating a decision to your team.  These thinkers are outstanding in virtual mediums where precision communicates best – such as online question and answer sessions and discussion forums.  Again, it’s not that analytical thinkers aren’t outstanding on video, where the communication is sometimes more free-flow; it’s that online Q&A and discussions forums play to the strong logical nature of analytical thinkers – they love communicating the steps taken, the process used, and the supporting facts of a decision.

3)      Get out there and practice on your medium:  When you align your communication style to these new forms of communication, you’ll find it easy to participate in the increasingly virtual, mobile, social and visual work environment that your teams leverage to get better, more productive results every day. You can’t underestimate how your team will appreciate your unique efforts at participation in the world they live in.

Follow me on Twitter: @RonRicciCisco

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Free Blanchard Event – Manager’s Guide to the Emotional Workplace

“Life is not a straight line — there will always be ups and downs along the way.

“We cannot always sail on the crest of a wave. Situations do not always work out; our vision does not always become a reality and too often, we don’t come home with the gold, or even the bronze!” says Carol Spiers in Managing Pressure at Work: the Crying Games.

She goes on to offer six suggestions for finding ways to move on when the feelings are getting in the way at work. But what if you are the manager in this situation and you need to provide guidance to a member of your team? This webinar can help.

Register Now or after Aug 22, Watch On-Demand

A challenging economic cycle, increased expectations, and an accelerated pace are all combining to create an environment where managers need to be at their absolute best to successfully deal with the different issues that people bring to work. Providing feedback, dealing with conflict, and addressing performance issues are just some of the situations that can challenge even the most experienced managers.

In this webinar hosted by the Ken Blanchard Companies, Read More »

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Productivity Gains Through Culture, Visuality, and Collaboration (Part 2): The Importance of Organizational Culture and Leadership

In my previous post, I described the challenges senior management faces in scaling collaboration capabilities to address business needs and the way work is done today.

Electronic and whiteboard displays, lean practices, and collaboration tools by themselves are clearly not enough. Management needs to take a holistic approach to develop and integrate capabilities in three areas to address the challenge of capturing the next wave of productivity gains: culture and leadership, extended workplace visuality, and pervasive collaboration.

Organizational culture and leadership are probably the single most important factors in enabling gains in employee productivity and innovation that result from knowledge work. Morten Hansen, in his book Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results, provides an excellent perspective on what management can do to identify barriers to collaboration and design solutions to overcome them. Most of these barriers are cultural and particularly severe in large global corporations with multiple business units, complex matrix organizational structures, and operations that span multiple countries. Read More »

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