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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Think Outside the Box - Good Luck...

One of the most popular Workshops we deliver is on Creativity and Entrepreneurship; principles that if you own your own company, you'll take for granted...

In larger companies they are intrigued by the behaviour of entrepreneurs, their ability to take risks, win at all costs and think creatively under pressure; work for 102 hours per week, have a happy family life and still keep smiling...
In the USA, I was approached by a company who wanted such a workshop, so I met with the CEO and the CFO to discuss what they wanted from the event..
we want our people to think outside the box, take ownership and responsibility and deliver an awesome customer experience...
Great - I have never met a CEO that didn't want that..
So I asked her..
have you read "Maverick" by Ricardo Semler...?
She hadn't, but the CFO had, and he woke up immediately...
We can't have people running off and doing whatever they like, we have rules, regulations and standards to maintain - that simply won't work in our company...

Really...!

And here is the challenge - of course we want creativity and innovation, we want to define our company through service excellence and deliver competitive advantage through positive differentiation...

But...

We are not prepared to take the risk associated with actually achieving it - so to insulate us from this, we create;
  1. Rules - things that constrain behaviour to a fixed set of agreed standards.If you don't follow the Rules you will be censured and brought to account at your appraisal...
  2. Culture - patterns of communication and behaviour that are simply "how we do things round here" break the culture and expect to be excluded from the group...
  3. Standards - what is it OK to do and what can we get away with. A top Salesperson who breaks with tradition and doubles her target will not be popular with the rest - Tall Poppy syndrome prevails...
  4. Targets - we want creativity and yet we don't reward it, we reward financially not behaviorally, we reward for profit but not for innovation and creativity - people tend to follow their incentive package...

And then..

We expect them to..

Think outside of the Box...

Good luck with that..
The way to enable creativity and entrepreneurship is simple - stop building Boxes for people to work within...
Create a culture of innovation, relax all rules possible, give them freedom to create and reward for ideas not just profits...
You may find that you have an amazing team of gifted, talented, creative entrepreneurs working for you already - or at least they are until they clock in to start work...
Then they become compliant worker bees - ever wondered why people go travelling, painting and bungee jumping at weekend...?

Because naturally we are a creative species; it's the constraints placed on them professionally that hold them back; this tension shows up as sickness, lateness, poor attention, motivation and spirit...

So if you want your people to Think Outside the Box - simply remove the Box you have put them in...

AND - contact me for the Workshop so I can show you how it's done..
Have great week..
Dave

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