Case Study: Co-creation in Developing Innovation Culture

“Tough”. That was my reply to a client.

It is common in many organizations to have multi-generational challenge. Today’s speed of change force everyone to move out from their comfort zones. Here I wish to share a short case study from an organization uses co-creation as a facilitative tool in building Innovation Culture.

PROBLEM

The senior managers felt the younger executives didn’t put enough effort to get things done more effectively. There was a perception that the younger executives lack innovation and creativity skills during execution with the clients. Because of that there has been delays in clients delivery and the Board has recommended action to be taken to remedy this situation. The clients impacted is seeking explanation and it may cause financial compensation if it is not resolved.

The Human Resource Division (HRD) has been tasked to come up with action plan and fix this amicably and in lightning speed.

DIRECTION

The HRD hatched a plan that the younger executives need training on innovation and creative problem solving. After all it has been years they did not have any development on these skills.

After our discussion, we think training programs will not be effective, yet. We helped devise three key strategies to approach the Problem. There are:

  1. Both parties need to have a mutual session to air grievances.
  2. Generate ideas to make it work, no escape.
  3. Use the company shared values as our guiding principles. Nothing else.

We convinced our client to run ideation labs to together with the senior managers and young executives to build scaffolding to achieve those objectives. To our surprise, the labs generated hundreds of ideas and close to 50% ideas generated are something they could do together. They are still bonded when we brought in the shared values discussion. Great!

FIVE IDEAS TO BE IMPLEMENTED

  1. The champions of culture are anyone from the organization. From non-executive to senior leaders. It used to be the champions were only Heads and senior leaders.
  2. The champions role are rotated and on 6 months role appointment. As the attendance requirement as champion is at least 80%, the role shouldn’t be a burden to anyone. Rotation allows others to participate and be inspired.
  3. Recognition of ANY contribution is direct from CEO. Recognition is in certificate of contribution signed by the CEO and little get together quarterly.
  4. Internal managers conference where best practices in the company are shared. What works in other company might not work in your company. Sharing them build trust and stronger cadreship.
  5. Open innovation program for everyone to contribute ideas from all levels. Trending internal ideas will be discussed together with strategic business focus.

Brickbats please email to donkhairul@gmail.com

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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