Part 1: Starting Corporate Innovation Program

I am writing this in TWO main parts:

  1. PART 1: RECHARGE with 2 phases:
    1. First Wave: Rebuild Engagements
    2. Second Wave: Rethink Business Strategies
  2. PART 2: REWARD with 2 phases:
    1. First Wave: Reimagine Products & Services
    2. Second Wave: Relaunch Success

PART 1: RECHARGE

Purpose of Recharge is to enable the organization to be aware and find some clarity there’s something new coming for them. They need to contribute, be part of and develop this new initiatives together. In other words, their participation is crucial. Often in some discussion from my experiences, I found some of this innovation is only circumvented from a particular department or division. What makes matter worse if innovation is deemed “IT – information technology” department.

The top management should get consented from the Board for strategic innovation initiatives such as Corporate Innovation. The Board should support this and getting them early is going to make your job easier later on. Hiding behind buying tech gadgets and solutions will only make things difficult not too far ahead. Best to come clean with strong and strategic proposals.

First Wave: Rebuild Engagements

  1. Find a department / division that’s willing to engage the people across the organization – collaboration is paramount. Naturally, the HR is positioned to do so, however I have seen in many organizations, the HR tend to be operational-ONLY. They are not interested with people development beyond the usual training, training and training. If this is the case of your HR Head, you will have a lot problems in doing something disruptive and different. Visionary HR head knows they will reap the rewards very soon when they support and open up the floodgate of ideas from the workforce.
  2. Some HODs/HODivs from IT or Corporate Strategy or CEOs office, could be useful in driving Corporate Innovation. Keyword to look for is someone that is “willing to engage across the organization”. I have seen IT heads doing this. Word of caution, some IT heads are too technical and prefer to do remotely – avoid this too. We could help you find out as well using our assessment method – in case you are asking.
  3. Run a 1-2 months “Ideation / Ideathon / Ideanation / Hackathon / Idea Tournament” program – where you collect ideas across the company. You can either open in up to “any ideas” or you can zoom in to few areas such as “People, Process, Product, Services, Technology etc..”. Avoid too much complicated jargon, key is to get as much participation as possible and the soonest possible.
  4. You can ask the workforce to send ideas via email, google form, whatsapp, ideabox or idea management platform (we got this covered).
  5. Ideas start pouring in and you will need to sort them. Here is where you need cross departments committee to help sorting. Again, find people that are willing during this first round. With idea management platform, you will find this sorted in matter of hours instead of days!
  6. Once ideas are sorted, you can rank those ideas and select top 30 ideas (for example) to go to deep dive innovation skills program or innovation lab and tap into all the interesting ideas.
  7. Make sure you give recognition to everyone (yes everyone) that contributed to the ideas pool. Not that difficult to do, automate a simple certification or organize a get together ideators with the top bosses.
  8. Your innovation lab could be a 3-5 days immersive design thinking workshop with emphasis on building empathy, business models and users jobs to be done.
  9. Forget about the technology or ROI or bottomlines or profit rates or cost of developing for now. Let the ideas bloom and let them pitch it as it is.
  10. Evaluate all ideas in a simple pitching competition, let the ideators find their own team members internally to grow those ideas. The management team could become the ideas judge or evaluator to get a sneak peek of what’s available from their workforce. Go there with an open mind.

Ok, now you completed the Part 1: Recharge: First Phase (Rebuild Engagements). Reach out to me for clarification. Meanwhile, I’ll be writing the Part 1 Second Wave: Rethink Business Strategies.

Brickbats please email to donkhairul@gmail.com

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Management – Performance Now

“The management boom is over; the time for management performance has come.”

                                                                       Peter F. Drucker; Management: Tasks, Responsibilities and Practices, 1985

Today’s management is all about performance and results. Management can be found in big corporation to government to non-governmental organization to military and self. Management is an organ that sits inside a body and cannot exist on its own.

Although much has been theorize on management, many institutions including self faced with inability to harness the results from management. To be an effective executive (or manager), it is important to have knowledge, be discipline and focus on action. Those are elements of management. Above all successful executive is determined by its ability to use management as vehicle to achieve its goals – via purpose and mission.

A great business must have clear and definitive idea on how the business should be run. The same goes with executives and managers. They need to crystallize what is their purpose and mission at work place. These later needs to be aligned with the company they work with. However, most executives come to workplace hoping to be told what their purpose and mission are. They thought the organization goals are their goals. While executive must make company goals their goals, it is unlikely they are solely responsible for the business goals of total company. Instead they need to have own plan what contribution they can make. It is with regret the reason why so many executives unable to perform, because they have no goals to work on at first place.  The reality disturbs me greatly. Often when asked what is your plan for the day, many executives have no clear ideas what to do. Some responded referring to work or job they are currently doing. But work and plan is different. Work is a subset of plan. Plan should also include other facets of the executive such as reading, networking, getting fit and so on.

Through management, purpose and mission will be broken down into work and processes. The central to this is customer. Without customer the business (or executive) has no reason to exist; at all. Management needs to ask four main questions. What is our business, who is our customer, what value is to the customer and what will our business be. The rest of the work and process revolves around these questions. It cuts across strategy, financial, talent, logistic, administration, marketing, innovation and so on. Only then the management become useful and productive. In other words, when management has answered all these questions, the rest of the departments must throw its weight to this goal.

The development of managers must take into consideration all these. Only then the manager will be able to acquire today’s skills for him to be effective tomorrow. “What brought you here won’t get you there.” , said Marshall Goldsmith. Effective managers must learn how to become execution specialist. Because only results count, not efforts. Manager development is the responsibility of the individual, though company and superior have an important part to play.

The aim of it is excellence. The development of a manager is to enable him or her develop abilities and strengths to the fullest extent so the goals can be attained. Ultimately the manager himself must be able to control his own performance by understanding his strengths and weaknesses. Many times when i interview executives and managers, they stunned by “what are your weaknesses” question.

Majority said no one has ever asked them, of course they grumbled and took some time to answer. People that answered “what is your strengths” on the other hand got the answer wrong. They usually say, “my strengths are i am a good communicator, honest, punctual and hardworking”. My reply is, “that’s my basic needs”. they startled by that respond. Organization really need to deal with this urgently, otherwise people come to work with all those qualities that are not strengths but basic needs.

Organization can use this as a good start to develop managers to become more effective, but more importantly becoming execution specialist. By getting more things done, organization will become productive and growth is imminent. Consequently it will be able to take more risk to go to new markets in search for business expansion beyond boundaries. New jobs can be created as well as customers and innovations. Ultimately through management the organization will have itself sustainable business strategy and all prepared for future succession.

p/s: Management is going to be the tool to boost organization productivity. We don’t talk about management as in cost cutting, downsizing, penalizing people and other negative connotations; but management is a good model to get more things done.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com

Leadership Code

The last 15 years the center of the economy has been shifting towards Asia. This trend will continue. In fact it is eminent that the standard of Asia will become the de facto standard of the world. These exciting opportunities pose a big challenge for Asian because we will need to have global business skills to be able to serve both domestic and international markets. We need unique and high quality leaders to make better choices to respond more rapidly to change. We need effective leaders.

Leadership theories are around us. When you Google “leader” you will get 571 million hits in 0.11 seconds. Effective leaders must be able to renew and reinvent themselves together with the organization they lead. What succeeded in the past decades may not work in the following decade. Leaders must also be able to draw learning from their past experiences; successes and failures. Leaders that never fail cannot be trusted, because it means they are always in the comfort zone. They will fail the entire organization without realizing it. So, how to create leaders that are adaptive to change, push the boundaries and yet has net success rate?

In a recent leadership study conducted by Dave Ulrich, Norm Smallwood and Kate Sweetman titled Leadership Code found that effective leaders shared around 50-85 percent of the same characteristics. This study later concluded that there are five rules of leadership that embody leadership DNA.

Rule 1: Strategist (Shape the future)

This rule suggests that effective leader answers the question “Where are we going?” and make sure that those around them understand the direction as well. They envision as well as create the future for the organization.

Rule 2: Executor (Make things happen)

This rule suggests that effective leader knows exactly how to ensure things get done. They translate strategy into action. They know how to make change happy, to assign accountability, to know which decisions to take and which to delegate and to make sure that teams work well together.

Rule 3: Talent Manager (Engage today’s talent)

This rule suggests effective leader optimizes business by drawing talent to their organizations, engage them, communicate extensively and ensure talents turn in their best efforts. They generate intense personal, professional and organizational loyalty. They also help talents to commit and find meaning at their work.

Rule 4: Human capital developer (Build the next generation)

This rule suggests effective leader builds a workforce plan focused on the future talent and know how to help them see their future careers. They prepare talents for future challenges and manage succession so they readier to lead when the time comes.

Rule 5: Personal proficiency (Invest in yourself)

This rule suggests effective leader learns from success, failure, assignments, books, classes, people and life itself. They are passionate about beliefs and interests, they expend an enormous personal energy and attention to whatever matters to them. Proficient leaders have strong moral code that connects values to actions.

At the end of the day, effective leaders need to have balance when performing all the five rules. Since rules are just rules, the inaction of a leader will violate the entire leadership code and other leadership theories. Leader who can’t walk the talk is not effective leader. Talk is cheap way to show you know a lot (but do too little). Therefore he or she must be able to self-manage and self-lead to be successful effective leader.

This article is based on the my view on leadership and Leadership Code by Dave Ulrich and team, which he found refreshing and easily connected with. By no means, this article a representation of Leadership Code itself. For more on Leadership Code book, please click here.

Brickbats please send to donkhairul@gmail.com