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“You Can’t Build on Broken, But You Can Build on Strengths”
What typically comes to mind when you hear the word “poor”? Crime, gangs, lacks, gaps, needs, wants, broken stuff. Much of the social services sector is taught to assist neighborhoods and families in “need,” to examine what’s missing and how to “fix” them. And when you can’t fix them anymore, you blame the complex system of services (or lack thereof) around them, not to mention the government leaders who probably signed those structures into place.
Megan, your star performer, has just walked into your office and told you that she’s tendering her resignation. You’re shocked. When you ask why, Megan tells you that it’s just time to move on. You’re perplexed. Megan was one of those rare employees – an outstanding performer who is totally reliable. How could you have missed the signals?
... Read more about Stay Interviews in the August 2011 Newsletter
Accelerating Innovation for Better Business Results
“Wicked problems” (that is, problems which have eluded all the normal approaches) give us the opportunity to change the world – one innovation at a time.
Our story begins with an Innovation Studio, a process of collaborative, appreciative, discovery, which led to insights such as “Technology transfer is a body-contact sport.” and “Technology moves best on two feet”. it is also a story of how those insights translated into new behaviors and how those new behaviors led to better results.
... Read more about Better Business Results in the June 2011 Newsletter
To Increase Employee Engagement, Be Engaging
How well does your organization manage employee engagement? Research has demonstrated clear links between engagement, retention and business success indicators. Corporations, hospitals, school systems, governments and organizations large and small spend millions of dollars every year on surveys that measure employees’ motivation and their perception of their organization’s brand, services and work environment. Additional dollars are spent on strategies and programs designed to increase employee engagement.
... Read more about Employee Engagement in the April 2011 Newsletter
A Three Act Play in the Arizona Desert
Our organization design and strategy had worked up to now – but we needed a plan and a framework for growth. Walking into that meeting room in Phoenix, we (IPI’s 10 partners and 8 associates) were hugely unsure of what we would become as a firm. And that was unsettling to say the least.
... Read more about our Plan and framework for growth in the February 2011 Newsletter
Success Cause Analysis
Organizations that work in high-risk environments often use a process called “Root Cause Analysis” to solve challenging problems…and yet in some situations despite all our best efforts, nagging problems continue to occur.
... Read more about how to Resolve those Nagging Problems and increase Commitment in the December 2010 newsletter.
Trust As A Verb
Trust. One tiny but oh so powerful word! A dear friend and colleague, Ravi Pradhan, helped me see that the word Trust is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, trust lives in our vernacular like a bank safe that holds secure our valuable assets. Its meaning is shaped by our lived experience of what creates and sustains trust in life and work. As a verb, however, trust engages us in action with others. When we trust, we are sharing responsibility and placing what we hold dear in the hands of another. The giving and receiving of trust is vital to creating environments in which creativity, innovation, and collaboration can flourish.
... Read more about how Trust can be One tiny but oh so powerful word in the October 2010 newsletter.
Acknowledging the Negative in Leading Lasting Positive Change
Appreciative Inquiry has great tools for strategic change leadership. Before you can start a positive change, you often need to acknowledge problems. In a great example of acknowledging the past, Justice Albie Sachs of the Constitutional Court of South Africa described South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission process to the World Appreciative Inquiry Conference in Nepal.
... Read more about how Effective change leadership includes acknowledging problems in the August 2010 newsletter.
Moonshots, Engagement and The Crowd Sourcing of Innovation
More and more of our leadership challenges seem to be “moonshots”. Incredibly complex and seemingly intractable challenges. What alternatives exist to “problem solving as usual”? Recent history and current experiments may offer suggestions. The last 10 years have shown us the potential of web based social engagement. Our second decade is showing us how that potential can be applied when the challenge requires a “moonshot” – a level of innovation which is beyond the ability of any small group of people acting on their own. “Crowdsourcing” (human engagement at the scale of the whole) may hold some hope.
... Read more about how your potential can be applied when the challenge requires a “moonshot” in the June 2010 newsletter.
What Managers can do to Increase Employee Engagement
When I was in business school my leadership class professor had us complete an activity that’s really stuck with me. The exercise goes like this: take out a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper, place it horizontally on the table, create a timeline starting with the year of your first job and ending in the present. Write in your positions along the timeline then draw a line graph creating peaks at your career highpoints and valleys where you were less satisfied. Step back, look at the peaks and identify what it was about those jobs that made them high points.
... Read more about how to Increase Employee Engagement in the April 2010 newsletter.
Six Challenges Shaping Our Work and Our World: What’s Possible in Turbulent Times
In this mid-winter newsletter we reflect on our work with organizations and communities over the last year, and highlight six challenges that are shaping our work and our world. In response to requests from our readers for “real life stories from the field”, we share in this issue inspiring client cases that demonstrate what’s possible during turbulent times.
... Read more about how organizations change to meet economic challenges in the February 2010 newsletter.
Ever leave a work meeting, conference, or retreat with a surge of energy and ideas around “what” to do to innovate and improve, yet soon afterward revert to familiar habits, unclear about how to sustain the innovation and momentum? Does your team’s follow-through require the cooperation of others to build on innovative ideas and implement them? No matter how enlightening the retreat, or how sophisticated our processes for staying informed and connected thereafter, we’re often challenged to find more meaningful ways to stay engaged. On top of a busy work schedule, we need relevant, productive ways to share knowledge and to create lasting new solutions together – in integrated, sustainable, everyday ways.
… Read more about sustaining momentum in your group or team in our December 2009 Newsletter!
From Innovation To Inspired Action: The Business Innovation Factory Summit
All nine IPI partners recently participated in the 5th annual Business Innovation Factory “Collaborative Innovation Summit”. This intimate two day event featured an impressive mix of storytellers - artists and scientists, designers and entrepreneurs, social and political boundary busters, technology wizards and well traveled explorers of the human spirit, from around the world. Each person shared a highly personal experience of innovation in the way value is delivered. The experience has sparked many new conversations among us …What does innovation really mean?
… Read more about leading innovation through collaboration in our November 2009 Newsletter!
Wisdom from the Storm: A story about initiatives in difficult times
An exceptional organization's resilience comes through even in the worst of times. Bernard Mohr, a partner of mine, and I had the privilege of facilitating the creation of a highly participative team-based organization which has outperformed the competition consistently over the last couple of decades. Their very vibrant culture has survived several senior management changes and two buy-outs, yet it still retained its basic team design.
… Read more about how positive team participation drives organizational performance in our October 2009 Newsletter!
Leader and Coach: A Partnership for Turbulent Times
Organizations today are facing unprecedented pressure to change. Change is not new, but success in this environment requires deep change - structural change, cultural change, economic change. We literally need to reinvent our organizations and the way we lead them to get results. The climate inside and outside our organizations challenges leaders to lead from the top, from the bottom and from the middle as well! In these turbulent times, many leaders are turning to one-on-one leadership coaching to support and develop their capacity to lead deep change.
Change leadership sounds like it's about getting others to do things differently, but unless those of us in leadership roles change - how we think, how we speak, how we make decisions - we ourselves will undermine the very best of plans.
… Read more about change leadership in our September 2009 Newsletter!
The Paradox of Innovation and Constraint
I have to admit it. I have arrived at a stage in life where I need a good nights sleep on those long haul flights to overseas clients - and that means a flat bed, not one that feels like a hike up Mount Everest. Of course most business class seats have been designed to maximize airline income vs providing restful sleeping spaces. Until now. Continental Airlines has just announced their new "flat and longer" seats. And how did they do that?
It appears they asked their "innovation team" to freely imagine the possibilities of passenger comfort without reducing airline income. How do both freedom and constraint (and other seeming paradoxes) act as enablers of innovation? Let's explore further.
… Read more about positive change and innovation in constrained circumstances in our August 2009 Newsletter!
Are You Part of the Strengths Revolution?
Do you know how to LEAD from your Strengths?
Do you and your team spend most of your time playing to your strengths?
… Read about how LEAD works to ignite Strength Based Leadership in our July 2009 Newsletter!