Tag Archives: Innovation

5 Additional Ways Social Business Can Unleash Outrageous and Innovative Power (3/4)

Some days ago, I started on what will end up being a four-part series on innovative power, one of the fruits of Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business.  You are more than welcome to check part one and part two if you have not yet had the chance to do so.

Most company leaders would agree that a happy customer is more likely to become a returning customer, but how can a company expect a happy customer to become a brand evangelist if the company has not first understood the real value of its own employee experience (EX)?

1. Create employee experience (EX) first and customer experience (CX) will follow.

Some time ago I called Zappos’ Customer Service in Nevada.  I asked the person on the phone if she was happy to work for Zappos.  An enthusiastic and enchanted voice answered:  “… Oh …. thank God I am working here…!”  Let’s stop for a second.  Would your employees say the same thing about your enterprise?  If they were to be asked the same question, would they answer with the same positive attitude and with such a gregarious outburst of enthusiasm?

2. Improve your company reputation and internal set of values 

Ask a few friends to run a quick “popularity check” on your business around town and find out what locals are saying about you.  Pick up some outgoing and outspoken testers.  Let them go to bars and places where the locals meet and find out directly from them what the real deal is.  Who knows, the outcome might surprise you, and such an experiment could be an eye-opening attempt, right?  Employee experience (EX) is serious food for profound business evaluation since customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) will never precede employee experience (EX).  CX and UX will only kick in if an enthusiastic crowd of co-workers and employees are passionately standing behind your company’s products or services.  Remember Martin Luther King?  He did not say: I have a “to do list”, but “I have a dream”, which was his personal call for rallying people’s emotions and passions thus creating a relentless support for his cause.  Do your employees know your company values and dreams?  Can your workforce regularly see the ratified vision of your enterprise?  Is your company vision straightforward and inspiring enough for everyone to see and understand?  Are you moving the passion and emotions of your workforce for your cause the same way Dr. Martin Luther King did?

3. Grant your employees the right to make decisions that are right for your customers

It is often a leitmotiv (repeated theme) here in Europe, to have a shop attendant tell you:  “I am sorry Sir/Madam, but I am not authorized to make such a call!”  Why?  Why on earth isn’t she authorized to make such a decision?  For crying out loud, is she not the one dealing with customers on a day-to-day basis?  Why does it so often fall to the hierarchical manager, sitting behind his desk all day long (and mostly cut off from day-to-day sales reality) to make that particular call?

4. Focus on your employees and their needs

Many businesses focus primarily on Customer Experience/Service and this is absolutely mandatory if companies expect to raise their service level, and positively influence customer satisfaction and customer retention.  However, find out first about the working conditions and environment of your own workforce such as sitting comfort, IT equipment satisfaction, dining facilities and amenities. If you do not know, genuinely ask them in a personal way.

The unsung heroes employees at Disneyland are the folks carrying the brooms!  “Sweepers are actually frontline customer representative with brooms in their hands”.  “Scholar John Boudreau and Peter Ramstad have shown that the sweepers who continually tidy up the park and often answer guest questions are vital to Disney.  The caliber of these workers and their ability to solve problems are crucial to the holistic ‘magic’ Disney aims to create for visitors.”  Is your management striving to transform every single employee into a self-declared brand ambassador and evangelist?  Tony Hsieh and the Zappos folks certainly do.  How about you?

5. Create and build a company culture that inspires and unleashes creative power

Study companies like Zappos and Starbucks.  This will give your management lots of valuable ideas on how to create a culture that is right for your business and workforce.  Pass on your vision to your employees, share with them proper business confidentiality.  Be transparent and give! To expect any kick backs would not be a genuine altruistic way of shaping your business gospel, would it?  Your workforce needs a business dream, the drive and passion to reach for the stars, while management humbly keeps ts feet on the reality grounds of modesty.  Leadership should inspire, motivate and consistently foster initiative, engagement and creativity.  In Jacob Morgan’s wonderful book: The Collaborative Organization, there is a quote from Carl Frappaolo (a leading practitioner of emergent collaborating strategy):  “Culture is the single greatest potential asset or detriment.  A culture conducive to collaboration will compensate to some degree for awkward processes and inadequate technology.  In contrast a culture not conducive to collaboration will ignore or in the worst case sabotage, even the most advanced technology and process approaches to open transparent sharing.”

What are the ways your company fosters creativity and innovation?  How do you define your business culture? Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.

Please follow me on Twitter at: 
http://Twitter/BrunoGebarski
 
Five Additional Ways Social Business Can unleash Outrageous and Innovative Power (2/4)
– Five Ways Social Business Can Unleash Outrageous and Innovative Power (1/4)
– Three Fundamental Macro Trends Transforming Our Society, the Way We Live and How We Work
– The Evolution of Big Data: From Descriptive via Predictive to Prescriptive Business Intelligence (BI)
 
Advertisements

Five Ways Social Business Can Unleash Outrageous, Divergent and Innovative Power (1/4)

 
How do we get creative, divergent and provocative?  How do we forsake our day-to-day fire extinguishing duties (and we all have them), and force ourselves to get physically out of our office buildings, companies, towns, states or countries?  How about forsaking our limited human thinking and consider “bigger” things?  How about thinking out of our continent or our planet earth placed in the cul-de-sac of the Milky Way, one of the universe’s billions or trillions of galaxies?  I often ask myself:  Why does the speed of light travel only 300,000 km per hour?  Why not faster?
 
Stop and meditate on the fact that some studies suggest our universe could have more than 500 billion galaxies, each having 200-300 billion or trillion stars!  How does this equate to our narrow, limited, shallow view of our day-to-day responsibilities?  Don’t you think that the most powerful human computer ever manufactured, pales into insignificance compared to the creation of such a mind boggling space spectacle?  Astronomers in Australia say there are 10 times more stars in the visible universe than all the grains of sand on the world’s beaches and deserts!  Australian astronomers used some of the world’s most powerful instruments to suggest those figures, and reckon that the figures presented to the International Astronomical Union conference in Sydney, is the kind that really can be called astronomical: 70 sextillions, or seven followed by 22 zeroes!
 
Let’s redirect ourselves towards planet earth and make a final stop at the magnificent Sombrero Galaxy, part of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies.  The Sombrero Galaxy, also known as M104, spans about 50,000 light years across and lies 28 million light years away.  M104 can be seen with a small telescope in the direction of the constellation Virgo.
 
Sombrero Galaxy
The Sombrero Galaxy in Infrared  Credit: R. Kennicutt (Steward Obs.et al.SSCJPLCaltechNASA
 
I hope by now we should all feel energized with an extra portion of motivation, wanting to get out of our building, forget our routines and consider new divergent and creative ways of thinking.
 
How could we do this? 
 
1. Leave your working premises and environment for an unknown destination or activity.
 
Inside-the-building thinking is the hallmark of establishments whose structures inhibit innovation.  Forget your office, your secretary, your assistants, your products and your services!  Ignore your self-centered approach and forget your day-to-day business responsibilities for 48 hours!  Get your creative juices flowing!  Go bungee jumping, if you wish, or scuba diving.  Go fishing but please turn off your smartphones, iPads, phablets or whatever electronic devices you carry with you all the time. Breathe, think, meditate and come to a full stop!
 

2. Bring along outspoken and extroverted co-workers who you mostly disagree with, or might not feel comfortable with.

Overcome your pride, put your ego away and get out of your comfort zone.  Ignore the uneasiness of being with square pegs and strive to make the first step as a leader to break the ice and reach out! Remember, you are the cultural flagship of your enterprise.

3. Do not put yourself under pressure by forcing yourself and your team to expect anything other than letting your thinking wander around and start the creative process.

Putting yourself and your group under the pressure of “delivering” will more than likely destroy any potential creativity you or your group might have!  Remember, creativity kicks in when least expected… walking around, resting, sipping on your favorite coffee specialty, or even day-dreaming.

4. Be humble, personal, vulnerable and real with your  people.

Wirearchy ought to replace antiquated hierarchy and thus establish horizontal points of connection instead of the old vertical leadership lines of authority, which is now completely outdated!  Invite your team to a morning of horse riding lessons and then surprise them with an afternoon of an inter-team polo match.  You will end up laughing your head off as likely most of them may not have ever been on a horse before!  A guaranteed story which will be talked about for days, weeks and years to come.

20121101_John.Husband_From.Hierarchy.2.Wirearchy

5. Promote employee trust by opening the doors to communication and disagreement.

Allow people to vent and complain! Allow trivia, irrelevant things, silly and out-of-reach ideas! The more divergent those are, the more your company will benefit from the event; maybe not right away, but eventually an open co-worker culture will gamify work without expensive gamification software acquisition!  Give employees “the right to bitch” as ING Direct CEO did in Canada!

What is your take on outrageous communication? Will you consider a new format for your next meeting or get together? Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.

Follow Bruno Gebarski on Twitter at:

http://twitter.com/BrunoGebarski
http://linkedin.com/BrunoGebarski