Monday, January 28, 2013

The Secret to Innovation

Part 1 of 3




Liquid Leadership, page 123, Isn't Creativity Just For Artistic Types?

To find creative cultures in today’s world of business, we need to look no further than start-ups. Start-ups are great resources for innovation because, in their pursuit to make their brand a household name, they take risks and chances that may make established companies cringe. Startups thrive on rejecting assumptions that a market is this way or that. They simply try as many models as possible, keeping what works and refining it while dumping the rest.

This is the big difference between an entrepreneur and an executive, especially when it comes to methodologies and thought. Executives thrive on systems and processes, whereas entrepreneurs attempt to disrupt the status quo and create new markets. If you have ever walked into a start-up, you know what I mean—there is electricity in the air.

Yes, a lot of start-ups go out of business, but every once in a while a start-up survives because the founder straddles both worlds of leadership—entrepreneur and executive—and creates such a dynamic company that we stop and go, “Wow.” Even while running a big, established organization, such leaders find ways to cultivate the hunger, drive, passion, and talent of a start-up, while destroying established models that otherwise would get in the way. Every product from a company managed like this catapults the organization into consistent market leadership and the role of industry innovator.

And here’s the key: Such companies engage every individual personally in the drive for success. Every contribution is taken into consideration and rewarded. The excitement in these organizations is contagious.

But don’t take my word for it. As cited by Daniel Pink in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, studies done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the London School of Economics discovered that when a simple set of rules, goals, and tasks was laid out to for people to follow—as long as each task involved rudimentary mechanical skills with a basic set of achievable tasks—bonuses worked as expected. There’s nothing new there. But when a task required more developed cognitive skills, out-of-the-box thinking, or creative breakthroughs, a larger reward actually led to poorer performance!

The studies reached the conclusion that when the task gets more complex and requires more conceptual, inventive thinking, traditional motivators do not work. Now, this flies in the face of every assumption common in management circles!

But here is the “Aha!” moment that both studies revealed: When they removed the issue of money—by paying people really well in the first place—smart people started thinking about the work instead of competing for bonuses. They started using their free time to do things that “made no sense” from the corporate perspective. They would hang out together, write poetry, take guitar lessons, or enroll in cooking or art classes. But what was even more surprising? Productivity in the work environment went up!

Through these studies, behavioral scientists discovered that three factors (discussed below) lead to better performance and personal satisfaction in creative working environments.

The Intuitive Desire to Be Self-directed


Traditional management works great if you want people to simply obey and follow the rules.
This is especially important when the tasks are simple and achievable, such as “We need to bag three hundred thousand loaves of bread per day.” Not so easy, but achievable.

But when it comes to higher complexity and creative work, such as overseeing the design of a new green energy system, giving people the freedom of choice to give their time over to the company changes their output levels. They become completely engaged in their work and the mission of the company. Remember when your parents would say, “You know, if I made you do it, you wouldn’t want to do it?” Well, as it turns out, that’s true.

When we offer people the autonomy to self-direct
their work, they start giving over more than
their time; they give their heart, mind, and spirit.


With people doing more complicated and sophisticated work these days, the sensible model—the one that provides rewards to all involved—involves self-direction.

Click here for The Secret to Innovation: Part 2

Thank you for reading...


Brad Szollose
Award-winning author, business consultant and keynote speaker


PS: If you are interested in one of our white papers entitled... 

What Every Business Needs
to Know About Generation Y:

Understanding How Technology Transforms Culture and Behavior,
and Impacts Management, Interaction
and Expectations
 

email us with your name, title and email address.
Your information is confidential.


Ask me how I can help your company evolve into the 21st Century of Management.


Brad Szollose is a management consultant and keynote speaker who helps smart companies understand just how much technology has transformed corporate culture and behavior…and how that impacts management, interaction and expectations in The Information Age.



But this is not based on management theory: With a 30 career as an entrepreneur he knows firsthand what it’s like to grow a company from a simple idea in a coffee shop to an internationally recognized brand.


Brad is a former C-Level Internet Executive who went from entrepreneur to IPO in 3 yrs—co-founding K2 Design, the very first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company experienced 425% hyper-growth for 5 straight years, expanded from 2 business partners to 4 with 60+ employees and offices worldwide. At its height, K2 was valuated at over $26 million. 

His results only management model (ROWE) was applied to the first wave of young Generation Y workers producing great results—winning K2 the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.

Brad Szollose is the *award-winning author of Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia which explores the subject of new leadership styles – mainly how to get the tech-savvy Generation Y and analogue driven Baby Boomers working together. ISBN-13: 978-1608320554

Known for his humorous and thought-provoking presentations, Szollose received the highest testimonial of his career from a C-Level audience member: "I just had my mind blown." Brad’s keynotes and workshops are highly interactive, heart-warming, humorous, and filled with high-content information that challenge assumptions and help leaders and managers create a better work environment for innovation to thrive.


Liquid Leadership has been called "THE guidebook for the 21st Century" and has won the 2011 Axiom Business Book Award silver medal for leadership, The Indie Business Book runner up silver medal as well as becoming a #1 Best-Selling Business Book on Amazon for Organizational Learning. Published in the United States by Greenleaf Book Group, in India by Prolibris and in South Korea by UI Books/Iljinsa Publishing.

Mr. Szollose also writes a monthly column on business and marketing techniques that reach Generation Y for A Captured Mind newsletter and is part of The Mind Capture Group faculty.

Today, Brad helps businesses close the Digital Divide by understanding it as a Cultural Divide – created by the new tech-savvy worker...and customer. 



* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author

"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.

Monday, January 21, 2013

How to Build a CONTAGIOUS Corporate Culture that Gets Results!



© Image courtesy of “twobee” at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

An excerpt from Liquid Leadership, page 10...

"Take a look at the companies that still cling to old methods of controlling information; even when knowledge sharing is integral to their success, they just can’t seem to let go. Centralizing and micromanaging your talent stagnates innovative breakthroughs and creates bottlenecks. Waiting for one person to approve hundreds of ideas will not only destroy a company’s ability to get profitable products to market, it will also repel the very people who come up with these ideas.

The Information Age is about utilizing technology
and people in order to go faster.


Eliminating the bottlenecks opens a floodgate of ideas and speeds up the amount of products and services you get to market.

Speed starts with decentralizing decision making while giving your talent the internal structure for their voice to be heard. It’s about building a creative environment where ideas can flow.

Creativity, however, is not always pretty. If you have ever worked in a creative environment, you know what I am talking about. Sometimes it’s painful, and most of the time it pushes the team to exhaustion. Yet the energy it unleashes is contagious, and at the end of the day, it is also fun. Yes, believe it or not, fun.

Intensely intelligent companies such as Microsoft are like futuristic idea farms, with a very self-managed structure, even if it’s not obvious to an outsider. Trust me on this one: Starting with MIT graduates and then mixing in the freedom to think outside of the box will get you some amazing ideas. Smart people getting creative? Sounds like fun to me.

If you’re following the 2nd Law (A Liquid Leader MUST Create a Truth-Telling Environment), you’ve already enabled an environment in which people can tell the truth without penalty. To that, add the freedom to present even the silliest idea. An environment of safety plus creative freedom is what defines some of the best companies in the world. Many companies are adopting flextime—where an employee is free to choose when and where they work on company projects and personal projects, or when to take time off and make it up later. Self-directed time management seems to work best.

Now, these management ideas may sound silly to a traditional management expert, but people today are doing more complicated and sophisticated problem solving in their work. To get the job done, many companies have encouraged these types of work methods because they’ve discovered that autonomous work environments inspire engagement from their work- force. Groundbreaking ideas don’t always strike when the sun is up. This is how complex high-end work gets done best—when people are given the freedom to work whenever and wherever. As long as they meet their deadlines, what do you care how it gets done?

Whether you like it or not, nine-to-five is over.

 

Remember, Post-it Notes started as a silly idea. And when you think about it, nearly all the greatest inventions in the world were discovered this same way—by accident. X-rays, Play-Doh, VELCRO, penicillin, and Viagra were all accidents that became industries. Creating an environment that lights the creative fire requires you to be encouraging of such happy accidents. Innovation cannot thrive in environments where anxiety is too high; but in environments where anxiety is low, creativity is high. Fragile thoughts need time to survive and thrive.

Another thing to remember is that creativity is not just for artists. Great ideas come from software developers, executives, IT professionals, administrative assistants, production managers, analysts, and programmers. Your job is to create a supportive environment for all of these persons. How many times has your human resources department hired an incredibly talented individual only to have them get lost in your organization? Supporting and integrating new talent into an organization is the hallmark of a cutting-edge company. Get your team members to bring new hires into the fold, and encourage them to contribute.

 

The primary job for leadership is to see a bigger picture—where new creative ideas can invent dynamic new industries or make the organization an explosive leader in an already existing one.

 

It’s easy to imagine the creative environments inside companies like Pixar, Herman Miller, Four Seasons Hotels, or Adobe Systems—after all, they do “creative” for a living. But how about companies like Genentech, Devon Energy, or Whole Foods Market? It might not be that easy to see how creative those companies are, yet creativity is exactly why they lead their markets.

Again, how do you build not just a safe and trusting workplace but also a creative workplace? Look at how NASA was able to build their unmanned Mars probes—now that is an intensely creative work environment. Intense people from multiple disciplines can and do create the impossible every day, thanks to strong leadership, best practices, and a deliberately amorphous structure for sharing knowledge. It’s not easy, and sometimes it may be downright ugly—but the quality of the work becomes the center of a great work environment. In these environments, each and every member respects one another’s contributions—no matter what their background may be—and the results are consistently groundbreaking advances and innovative ideas.

The right chemistry between people cannot be planned, any more than you can predict the success of a TV series such as Sex and the City, Lost, or Glee or books such as the Harry Potter and Twilight series. Runaway ideas that capture our hearts and our imagination need room to take root . . . and for the target audience to fall in love with the idea. Just look at the Chuck Norris Internet phenomenon. Who could have planned that? Even Chuck himself is surprised by it all.

And that is Job One for you: Create an intense culture where raw, exciting, innovative ideas have a chance to incubate. When such an environment is nurtured, it becomes easier for accidental innovation to take place—and to carry through to the bottom line."

If you don't understand your corporate culture, don't be surprised when your strategy fails. As Peter Drucker said..."Culture eats strategy for breakfast."

Thank you for reading...


Brad Szollose
Award-winning author, business consultant and keynote speaker


PS: If you are interested in one of our white papers entitled... 

What Every Business Needs
to Know About Generation Y:

Understanding How Technology Transforms Culture and Behavior,
and Impacts Management, Interaction
and Expectations
 

email us with your name, title and email address.
Your information is confidential.


Ask me how I can help your company evolve into the 21st Century of Management.


Brad Szollose is a management consultant and keynote speaker who helps smart companies understand just how much technology has transformed corporate culture and behavior…and how that impacts management, interaction and expectations in The Information Age.



But this is not based on management theory: With a 30 career as an entrepreneur he knows firsthand what it’s like to grow a company from a simple idea in a coffee shop to an internationally recognized brand.


Brad is a former C-Level Internet Executive who went from entrepreneur to IPO in 3 yrs—co-founding K2 Design, the very first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company experienced 425% hyper-growth for 5 straight years, expanded from 2 business partners to 4 with 60+ employees and offices worldwide. At its height, K2 was valuated at over $26 million. 

His results only management model (ROWE) was applied to the first wave of young Generation Y workers producing great results—winning K2 the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.

Brad Szollose is the *award-winning author of Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia which explores the subject of new leadership styles – mainly how to get the tech-savvy Generation Y and analogue driven Baby Boomers working together. ISBN-13: 978-1608320554

Known for his humorous and thought-provoking presentations, Szollose received the highest testimonial of his career from a C-Level audience member: "I just had my mind blown." Brad’s keynotes and workshops are highly interactive, heart-warming, humorous, and filled with high-content information that challenge assumptions and help leaders and managers create a better work environment for innovation to thrive.


Liquid Leadership has been called "THE guidebook for the 21st Century" and has won the 2011 Axiom Business Book Award silver medal for leadership, The Indie Business Book runner up silver medal as well as becoming a #1 Best-Selling Business Book on Amazon for Organizational Learning. Published in the United States by Greenleaf Book Group, in India by Prolibris and in South Korea by UI Books/Iljinsa Publishing.

Mr. Szollose also writes a monthly column on business and marketing techniques that reach Generation Y for A Captured Mind newsletter and is part of The Mind Capture Group faculty.

Today, Brad helps businesses close the Digital Divide by understanding it as a Cultural Divide – created by the new tech-savvy worker...and customer. 



* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author

"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Reestablishing Trust




If we can learn one thing from today’s headlines, it is that trust is gone. Trust in the system. Trust in government. Trust in our public schools. Trust in corporate America. Trust in Wall Street. And trust in leadership. GONE.

If you are a leader, it is time to face the facts:
everyone feels betrayed.


If you are truly honest, people have plenty of reasons to feel this way. One of my favorite quotes from author, self-hypnosis educator and supporter of alternative approaches to pain relief says it best...

"Just look at us. Everything is backwards. Everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroy information, and religion destroys spirituality." - Michael Ellner 

What is it going to take for things to become fair and balanced in this world? Yes, life is not perfect, but don't you think it is time we expect something better? A better world starts with each of us, standing firm and demanding a better standard.

And by the way...if you choose to stand without integrity, pretending that you do, don't count on many people following you this year. I won't that is for sure. Most people have an automatic BS detector that is on high alert.

If you wish to attract a following, you MUST reestablish trust. Trust that is REAL. Start by trying to understand what we are going through. We've all had enough.

Thank you for reading...



Brad Szollose
Award-winning author, business consultant and keynote speaker


PS: If you are interested in one of our white papers entitled... 

What Every Business Needs
to Know About Generation Y:

Understanding How Technology Transforms Culture and Behavior,
and Impacts Management, Interaction
and Expectations
 

email us with your name, title and email address.
Your information is confidential.


Ask me how I can help your company evolve into the 21st Century of Management.


Web Pioneer Brad Szollose is the *award-winning author of Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia which explores the subject of new leadership styles – mainly how to get the tech-savvy Generation Y and analogue driven Baby Boomers working together. ISBN-13: 978-1608320554

But this is not based on management theory:
Brad is a former C-Level Internet executive who went from entrepreneur to IPO in 3 yrs – co-founding K2 Design, the very first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His Results Only management model was applied to the first wave of Gen Y workers producing great results– 425% profitable growth for 5 straight years and winning K2 the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation among his employees!

Today, through his workshops and keynotes, Brad helps Fortune 500 Companies close the Digital Divide by understanding it as a cultural divide—created by a new tech-savvy worker...and customer.

Mr. Szollose also writes a monthly column on business and marketing techniques that reach Generation Y for A Captured Mind newsletter and is part of The Mind Capture Group faculty.

* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author

"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Making New Years
Goals That STICK!!!




We ALL do it. Every year, after the holidays we vow yet again to change our ways. No more drinking, or I'll lose that last 25 pounds or I will no longer let people walk all over me.

And every year, *92% of us fail!


With those odds, why bother? But each year, despite good intentions, the majority of us seem to give up a month later. What do you think it is that we are doing wrong? Most of us are serious, goal setting adults who know how to achieve some sort of success, after all you are a functioning member of society. Graduated from high school, college or went into the military. We KNOW how to follow rules. So why do so many fail? Let me take a stab at this phenomenon...

Most of us fail at our goal setting because...(drum-roll please)...

We set goals that are not resonating with
what WE REALLY want.


Yes, it's that simple. Think about your choices. I mean, take a few hours to REALLY think about them. Do you want to lose weight, or are you doing it because you know your wife keeps getting on your case about it? Or some relative mentioned your weight over the Holidays? Probably the latter. You are angry at yourself because you know, deep down inside, they are right.

More than 80% of people fail in achieving their goals because they are setting someone elses goals for themselves.

 

When we try to achieve a goal that doesn't engage us emotionally, then chances are, it is just a dream we thought of with our mind. Passion comes from the heart! And if you want to achieve a goal, it must come from your heart, not your head.

Take a look at me. I was gaining weight back in 2007. So, I did what everyone else does, I focused on the "I gotta lose weight" mindset. And guess what happened?  I started gaining even more. Up and down I went, until one day my nephew wanted to know if I wanted to join him in taking karate.

Since I was out of shape I started with cardio kickboxing. After 6 weeks, I started in the adult mixed martial arts class. Pretty soon I forgot about losing weight, and started focusing on getting in shape and enjoying the kicking, punching, grappling and all around fun. My nephew was a black belt and an instructor. Over one year I went from white, yellow, orange and then purple belt. And guess what? I LOST weight.

I have always wanted to take up the martial arts, I just never had the time. So here was a passionate dream I was finally fulfilling, and one of the side effects was weight loss. Another side affect was I grew an inch taller, I was almost never tired and achieved a level of muscular definition I never thought was possible.

If you love the goal you set for yourself, you will do it even after you achieve it! So here are a few rules to help you stick to those New Years Resolutions:

1) Make SURE the goals you want are truly your own

Give it a try. Write down a few things you are passionate about and always wanted to do. Now write down the positive side effects that would come about if you achieved that goal. Now write down what would happen if you DID NOT do it this year.

This requires that you sit down in silence, relax and really get to know yourself. Get other people's voice out of your head and figure out what YOU WANT out of life. (start by getting your parents voice out of your head). Also, sit outside if you can. No music. No Internet. No disturbances of any kind while you do this exercise.

2) Form a Master Mind Group that is supportive

If you are unsure of what a Master Mind Group is, here's a start: Napoleon Hill's definition of a Master Mind.

Then, get a small group of friends who have the same or similar goals. DO NOT TELL ANYONE ELSE about these goals except your super secret Master Mind Group. Be VERY careful of who you invite. This should not be buddies that you like hanging out with but instead choose people in business or life who may have skills and goals you are lacking.

The reason I state that you should be quiet about your goals is because there are always saboteurs around us. You want positive people who are supportive, goal oriented and keep everyone accountable! 

When the goal has been achieved people will ask, "WHAT is she doing different?"

3) Be Adaptable

When I started my 4th company, K2 Design, I had a dream of creating a traditional design & marketing firm that would be the talk of NYC. Unbeknownst to me, we were competing with 4,000 other established design firms in Manhattan.

One day my business partner bursts into our one room office and exclaims "We have to become an Internet Company!" I had NO IDEA what he was talking about (remember, in 1994 only 12% of the population knew what the Internet was).

But I decided to adjust my goal to this newfangled idea. And sales went through the roof! We had unknowingly became one of 10 design firms in the world simply because we shifted our vision.

Joe Calloway mentions this in his book...


Goals are not set in stone. They must live in your heart—learn, adjust and change as the world changes around you. If you stay adaptable, letting go of hard rigid opinions, you WILL be able to get where you are going.

Too many people stay stuck in a rut because they stop upgrading and adapting their resolutions to the changing landscape. Kinda like a group of commandos in the field. If they were trained for desert combat don't you think they would have to adjust for the jungle?

You'll be happier doing what you want, not what you think you should be doing. And don't forget to pat yourself on the back once in a while. Being hard on yourself serves no one.

Here is My 7 Keys to Forming Your Own Productive Master Mind Group.

It will get you started.

Thank you for a GREAT 2012, and an even better 2013...

Email me if you want to discuss your goals for this year. I have some results driven coaching packages for executives as well as individuals.


Brad Szollose

* Special thank you to The University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology Published: 12.13.2012 

PS: If you are interested in one of our white papers entitled... 

What Every Business Needs
to Know About Generation Y:

Understanding How Technology Transforms Culture and Behavior,
and Impacts Management, Interaction
and Expectations
 

email us with your name, title and email address.
Your information is confidential.


Ask me how I can help your company evolve into the 21st Century of Management.


Web Pioneer Brad Szollose is the *award-winning author of Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia which explores the subject of new leadership styles – mainly how to get the tech-savvy Generation Y and analogue driven Baby Boomers working together. ISBN-13: 978-1608320554

But this is not based on management theory:
Brad is a former C-Level Internet executive who went from entrepreneur to IPO in 3 yrs – co-founding K2 Design, the very first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His Results Only management model was applied to the first wave of Gen Y workers producing great results– 425% profitable growth for 5 straight years and winning K2 the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation among his employees!

Today, through his workshops and keynotes, Brad helps Fortune 500 Companies close the Digital Divide by understanding it as a cultural divide—created by a new tech-savvy worker...and customer.

Mr. Szollose also writes a monthly column on business and marketing techniques that reach Generation Y for A Captured Mind newsletter and is part of The Mind Capture Group faculty.

* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author

"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.