Tag Archives: Higher performance

What leaders can learn from burnt toast

What leaders can learn from burnt toast
This is a story of burnt toast. Burnt toast you say! Yes I was having breakfast the other day at one of my favourite cafes and I asked for another slice of toast with my scrambled eggs. The friendly staff brought out the toast but it was burnt. Now I should have sent it back or said something. But like most other consumers or customers I did not make a fuss at the time but rather have decided to write a blog about my experience. You see, a slice of toast is a small thing. The cafe is ... Read more

The key to innovation – small steps

The key to innovation – small steps
We like to think of creativity and innovation as a breakthrough moment made by a special individual with amazing gifts. This may be true with artistic creativity. But in the world of organisations and business the truth is somewhat different. For a start, increasingly innovation is a team game. A new product is rarely the result of a lone individual working in a corner. More often it is the result of a team of diverse individuals that have harnessed their talents in pursuit of a collective ... Read more

The secret to innovative organisations

The secret to innovative organisations
Everyone wants to know the secret of innovative organisations. These organisations seem to be able to produce breakthrough new ideas and products — on demand. But how do these innovative organisations do it? My observation is this. They have more people innovating, more often. It’s that simple. Yet so hard. Think of a gym. What makes a vibrant gym? It’s the friendliness of the staff, the quality of the instructors and the gym equipment. But it’s also the number of ... Read more

Speed Thinking in Action

Speed Thinking in Action
I gave a talk yesterday at a conference on *Speed Thinking and it’s tool Ideas Blitz. Speed Thinking is an accelerated way of generating ideas and solving problems that can be used by individuals or small groups or teams. I developed this thinking system based on an insight. My observation working with managers and leaders was: ‘What stopped many people from being as creative or innovative as they could be was their own internal judging or self-limiting voice.’ I found ... Read more

How to learn to innovate

How to learn to innovate
If you were trying to learn to surf for example you might go to a surf school to start with. Assuming you have a surfboard and can swim. You would start on the beach practicing how to get up on the board. You might also sit down with the instructor and look at the beach, the waves and places to avoid. Then you venture forth just off shore to the small waves. After many mishaps and accidents and a great deal of fun you might go out a little bit further. My point is this — you are ... Read more

Managers are running out of excuses not to innovate

Managers are running out of excuses not to innovate
Managers and leaders know innovation is vital. But they often don’t practice it. It reminds me of exercise. We know it is important yet we never seem to get around to it. We always want to start next week! It seems it’s the same with innovation. – Too tired – Too busy – Not enough people – Not enough time – It’s too big I will start next week! But next week rarely comes around. I think the best time to start to innovate is right now. Select ... Read more

The disruption alternative

The disruption alternative
Disruption is important. It is a powerful force to overturn monopolies and tired, out-dated brands and industries. Disruptive business models can also provide a huge benefit to consumers and customers like Uber for example. But following a disruption strategy if you are a manager or leader in a medium to large size organisations is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it can renew and revitalise an existing business. But it is also expensive, risky and time-consuming. There is another ... Read more

How to become an awesome leader

How to become an awesome leader
I think we need a new language to talk about leadership. One that talks to all current and future leaders. Here is my suggestion. Lets try and develop awesome leaders! Here’s how to do this by using the word AWESOME: Achieve results. There are many leadership models which stress various competencies and attributes but sometimes they forget that leadership is primarily about achieving results through and with people. Results count. And so does how the outcomes are achieved but there ... Read more

The Small Wins Way vs Business Improvement

The Small Wins Way vs Business Improvement
I was just asked by a leader of a large financial organisation: How does The Small Wins way compare to Business Improvement? This is what I said (although in fewer words): How the 2 approaches are similar: Both: - Adopt a continuous journey mindset - Have a formal, semi-structuredprocess¬† - Are important to an organisation’s ability to adapt, change and grow - Value measurement and learning But there are important differences: The Small Wins Way is: - Aimed at developing a higher ... Read more

How to make a small difference – everyday

How to make a small difference – everyday
I recently gave a presentation to a MBA class on the Small Wins Way approach to innovation, change and leadership. I started the conversation by asking them: Could they recall a small change in their life that led to a big difference? Here are some of their reflections: - I started having breakfast each day which that I had more energy throughout the day and I stopped snacking. - I now don’t look at my email for the first hour of my working day. This means that I can do my best ... Read more