Archive for December, 2009

Reward Achievement; not failure.

The only criteria you can measure your employees by are results. Are they bringing in more money than it is costing you to have them on your staff? The best incentive is to reward achievement—publicly. If you give people rewards for just showing up, they will learn that they don’t have to do anything to get rewarded.

Bailouts don’t make people produce better either. They simply reward failure.

Penny Lane and Sgt. Peppers

In the reinvention process, you may find that you need to produce something to show the world what you are doing and the progress you are making.

In February 1967, the Beatles were working hard on a new concept album (one of the world’s first and probably the most famous).  The concept was a band playing as another band.  The music and styles would all be different.  The name: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

But the record company was starved for a hit. At one point the previous year, the Beatles had literally owned the pop charts.  Four of the top five songs on the American Hot 100 charts were Beatles songs.  Now they were spending their time in the studio to make a world-changing album.

But in early 1967 there were no new Beatles songs on the charts.  So to appease the recording company and the anxious fans, the Beatles released a single with two songs that were intended for the new “Sgt. Pepper’s” album: “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields.”  “Penny Lane” was the first to hit the charts and it soared to the Number One spot.

What did we learn?  Let a little out while your are working on your reinvention.  Give everyone a hint, or taste of what is to come.  It is a great barometer for your success.  If successful, you will know you are headed in the right direction.

Write a tweet.  Then make it into a blog post.  Turn that into an article.  The next thing you know, you will be writing a book.

What will be your “Penny Lane?”

Dare to be Different

Dare to be different. Don’t bother with the criticism you will receive.
Albert Einstein said, “Great spirits have always encountered violent
opposition from mediocre minds.” The reason things haven’t changed in your organization lately might be that no one wants to challenge the norm. Learn to see what others refuse to see.

Rent the movie “Patch Adams” starring Robin Williams. His character is advised by a friend to see the world anew each day. He is criticized and almost forced out of school but he persists with his dream of practicing medicine for the common person. You will persist, too!

Free your young/new workers to innovate.

Most businesses relegate the newbies to the lowest position in the organization. Yet the younger the worker, the more imaginative. They believe they can conquer the world. Put them in a position where they can do just that.

Frank Lloyd Wright always put the newest apprentices closest to his own desk so they could learn from him and vice-versa. He went against the tradition of placing them at the far end of the chain of command.

Why Don’t Your People Work Together?

In almost every organization I worked in there were people who for one reason or another didn’t want to work with everyone else. They looked out for themselves and no one else. I resented it.

In fact, the word “sabotage” dates from the Industrial Revolution. It is said that powered looms could be damaged by angry or disgruntled workers throwing their wooden shoes or clogs (known in French as sabots, hence the term Sabotage) into the machinery, effectively clogging the machinery. In a Business Week article from August 2009, it was reported that less than 30% of corporate workers really care about their jobs — and nearly 20% actually want to undermine their co-workers, according to a Gallup study.

Jonathan Littman & Marc Hershon say in their book I Hate People, “Teamwork suffocates creativity and has its own limitations.” They describe the Ringlemann effect, named for a French agricultural engineer who experimented with groups of workers nearly a century ago. He noticed that a person works harder alone than as part of a group. Ringelmann dubbed the phenomenon “social loafing.” What it means in the real world say Messrs. Littman and Hershon, is “the more people you throw at a problem, the less each contributes.”

That doesn’t diminish my desire to create great teams for discussing ideas or short-term projects.  JC Penney said, ” The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison.”

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December 2009


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