Coloured Ideas of Sex

Omphaloskepsis...

There is a saying that innovation occurs when ideas have sex. This might be fine for those free thinking happy go lucky ideas, but it is not acceptable behaviour in the corporate office! You will find quite a few policies and a vast array of T&Cs of employment covering this issue. It is just not the done thing!

But what if there was a way that the ideas of employees could actually interact with each other and ‘have sex’ in a non-physical way that kept the HR policy enforcers content?

So just how could this be achieved?

Just imagine if ideas could be linked to a set of corresponding colours? Employees could then generate a large number of thoughts which would initiate an array of colours that could be captured electronically.

The next step would be to provide a ‘comfortable and relaxed’ meeting place for these ideas to ‘get to know each other’, similar to a date. This might be achieved via the use of a shared public directory on the corporate intranet?

After some interaction, where the respective ideas would get to ‘know each other a little better’, some of the more progressive and risk adverse ideas might establish a mutual attraction which may encourage a closer and more intimate colourful relationship to develop?

With time, these electronic coloured ideas might just combine together to achieve a new and innovative thought creation?

Other ideas that may be a tad bashful or reserved, may observe the progressive nature and associated benefits of those less risk adverse ideas and just let their inhibitions go and strive for new heights in idea colour combination!

The electronic idea colours could also allow for global interaction between business divisions where traditional cultural and social differences may tend to limit interaction?

Taking the concept further, older ideas from previous employees could be mixed with new and current ideas to achieve the benefits derived from previous learnings and experiences.

Yes, it is just a colourful idea concept and I’m not saying that it has any real prospect in developing into corporate reality, but hopefully it has got you thinking that little but differently! The key is to let different ideas mix and combine with others to form something quite innovative and new in the corporate office.

The Chief Corporate Wardrobe Selector

The costume wardrobe room for a theatre production is an amazing and vibrant place. It contains a multitude of various clothing props in a range of sizes, colours, designs, accessories, time-periods and fashions; it is almost like entering a “house of fiction” where the options for selection, combination and use are endless!

If you observe those entering the room, they will look quite normal. They will wear the same traditional casual or work attire that most people would adorn. However, on leaving the room, they will have a completely different appearance. It is almost as if the actor discards their normal appearance and personality in the wardrobe room from which they depart with a tantalising and decidedly new modus operandi for their behaviour. This new profile may be assertive, reserved, allusive or seductive; the key requirement is that it is different; their clothes also complement and support their new character.

This got me thinking about how people behave in the corporate office. If you study your colleagues in your workplace, you will see a high frequency of suits, ties, skirts, shirts and jackets. But how often do you see someone adorning a bow tie, stylish tartan shorts, a bright pink fluoro shirt, a beret, or some other unique clothing item? The answer is most rarely, if ever!

An actor uses a range of clothing costumes to enhance their character and to instil and encourage certain qualities that they want to promote during their theatrical performance. If all of your work colleagues are dressed similarly, this may lead so a standardised thought and minimal opportunity for those creative individuals amongst you to fully express themselves in the corporate office? Some people may also receive that additional “spark of motivation” that accompanies the wearing of a costume to break free from their “reserved person label”?

Why not encourage this opportunity for corporate creativity by having an “office costume room” that all employees must walk through as they arrive at work? Each person would be required to select a different costume each day, under the supervision of the “Chief Corporate Wardrobe Selector”, to inspire a different way of thinking in the office. At the conclusion of the working day, employees would once again pass through the “office costume room” and change into their traditional clothing attire.

Just a thought, but maybe it will help people think that little bit differently?

Serving up the Corporate Communication

dinner

 

Have you ever considered the humble beef steak and the many variations in which it can be prepared and served to meet the varying eating requirements of diners?

Some people like their steak raw, others partially cooked, others with a more highly tuned animalistic appreciation, savor it burnt with a delicate charcoal after taste that lingers just that little longer on the palate.

Others like their steak transformed into another eating format such as mince, a sausage, hamburger or even placed on a metal skewer garnished with an array of coloured complimentary ornamental vegetables to add that certain nutritional balance to the eating diet.

The overall result is that many people will happily eat steak owing to the customized presentation and delivery format that meets the endless variety of fickle needs of the consumer.

Let’s explore this thought with respect to corporate communications. Rather than having one single communiqué to the broader organization, a tailored message for each user group is required (you just can’t serve raw steak to everyone!). The message needs to be crafted to meet the consuming needs of each work group. Some groups will like to hear the message straight (don’t cut the fat off their meat), others will need it to be refined (cut into smaller more palatable pieces), some will need it simplified and reduced (via the use of a food processor), others may want some condiments to compliment the taste of the message.

In all the above message scenarios the origin of the communication is the same (just like the original cut of the steak) the skill is in how the Corporate Communication Director (or should I say chef) dishes up the “meat” to ensure that each employee (diner) eagerly greets the communication and is ready to eat it all up and is fully satisfied without the need for seconds, or a dessert!

So in summary, corporate communication is really just food for thought…..isn’t it?

 

Too Many Cooks do NOT Spoil the Broth

Too Many Chefs

There are many key factors required to achieve a magnificent slow cooked gourmet soup.

First, there is the Chef that coordinates the whole cooking process utilising their wealth of experience based on a proven and never ending method of trial and error leading to the desired soup result. Next are the ingredients that when merged together in the right proportions yield that optimum flavour and texture. Let us also not forget the liquid within which all the ingredients can be distilled, can freely permeate, and then combine to form the necessary soup consistency. Other important requirements are heat, time and a suitable cooking pot to allow the progression of the ultimate soup masterpiece.

A successful Chef will also welcome feedback from their peers and will happily consider their suggestions on other exotic ingredients that may compliment and improve their recipe. Some of these ingredients may provide an immediate taste impact, others may take time to infuse and then add a more complex and subtle addition.

The combined result of all of the above is the achievement of gourmet soup perfection!

However, this soup methodology can also be applied to the process of innovation in the corporate office.

The Chef
There needs to be an owner of the innovation process that coordinates all the idea inputs and directs the progression towards the required end result. The key is to have one Master Chef, but also numerous Apprentice Chefs that can assist and take-over when required so the innovation process doesn’t lose momentum and focus (after-all, without the proper attention from the chef(s), the soup may boil over and be ruined!)

The Pot
Ideas need a receptacle for their collection and development. Suggestions for this could be a corporate internal communication forum where thoughts are shared and discussed in an open environment, a brainstorming session, or other creative methods that meet the cultural needs of the organisation. The pot needs to be of the right size to accommodate all the ideas that might be generated throughout the process. Too small a pot may lead to participant frustration; too large a pot may lead to ideas being lost?

The Ingredients
Ideas need to come from many sources within the corporate organisation. All employees should be invited to participate to allow for greater diversity of thought and enhanced potential creativity. These ideas can then be further refined and combined by the skill of the Chef’s team as appropriate.

The Soup
The business needs to have an overall objective for the output generated from the innovation process. For instance, a Chef will know whether they are planning to make a soup and not a cake! If the objective were deemed to be a cake, then a completely different methodology would be required.

Time, Heat
Ideas need time to develop and mix with others that are placed into the cooking pot. Some ideas need to be broken down further via additional analysis (or heat) following which a new array of exciting and complex ideas may become evident.

You may recall that old saying “Too many cooks will spoil the broth”. Well, in this instance, you need many, many cooks as each cook (or fellow employee) brings with them a wealth of different ideas all based on their own insights and experiences. It is the collection of these ideas that leads to an endless array of innovation and creativity. The secret to innovative success is how these multitudes of ideas are mixed and brought together in a format that reinforces innovation. This is where the role of the Master Chef is so important in blending all these ideas into a soup that meets the requirements and tastes of the organisation.

To conclude, may these ideas help you develop a brilliant soup based on that distinctive taste of your own corporate innovation! Bon appetite!

 

Leading the Troops

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Never has the role of a leader been more critical than when an organisation is undergoing a severe dislocation derived from a Change Management program.

The impact on the business could possibly be likened to how a soldier’s behaviour changed when faced with trench warfare in the First World War. In the trenches the soldiers lived in constant fear of having to go over the trench wall to face a highly risky and unknown future. To an employee, the analogy is unfortunately very similar! Consider the following:

1. Casualties
The soldier was continually seeing many casualties inflicted on their comrades by the enemy (the employee experiences many of their co-workers being made redundant and lives in fear that they too may also lose their job)

2. Lack of Information
Most soldiers were kept in the dark regarding the military mission and only saw short term actions which appeared to be rather foolhardy (employees do not fully understand the end goal of the Change Management, but rather judge the progress being made by how it is impacting themselves and their immediate coworkers)

3. Rumours
A lack of regular communication and dispatches from the military command resulted in many rumours spreading amongst the troops (if there is a lack of communication from management, rumours become rife and spread quickly throughout the organisation leading to poor morale)

4. Environment
The living conditions in the trenches became intolerable and basic hygiene quickly deteriorated resulting in discontentment and potential mutiny (employees will cope with poor work conditions and uncertainty for a limited period of time, however, should this continue many employees will seek employment elsewhere).

5. Recognition
Those soldiers who exhibited extreme courage were awarded decorations of valour, such as the Victoria Cross (employee contribution should be recognised and rewarded).

The military commander needed to have the ability to inspire and motivate the troops to have the mental and physical fortitude to leave the perceived safety of the trench and to risk their lives to fight the enemy to gain a forward position.

Here the manager must also lead their fellow employees along the Change Management journey to ensure the success of the business reorganisation, otherwise the structural change process will undoubtedly fail. Employees need to believe that their individual contribution is significant and will make a purposeful contribution to the long term survival of the business.

So before you raise your “manager’s sword” and utter that famous “charge” command, make sure you have considered all the aspects associated with the life of a soldier struggling in the trenches so you taste victory instead of defeat in your Change Management activity!

Change Management and the Lily Pond

Pond Apocalypse

Have you every considered the humble lily pond?

Looking at the top of the pond you see clear blue water inter-dispersed with a variety of flat circular green lilies bobbing gently in harmony with the movements of the water. Should there be any sudden changes or displacements in the pond, the lilies move accordingly, the larger the change, the greater the movement.

As you explore deeper into the pond, the water becomes more murky with various weeds and algae until you finally reach the bottom where there will be a layer of thick black sludge that entraps any items that may visit.

The view from the bottom of the pond is in extreme contrast with the clear waters that percolate around the green lilies.

This got me thinking….let us now consider the impact of a change management program in the business environment and its correlation with the lily pond.

Those in senior management positions (the lilies on the pond surface) are usually more involved with the change process and have a greater appreciation of the overall business objective. This understanding assists in enabling them to cope with any turbulence during the process.

However, as you go lower down the corporate structure, their knowledge of the business objectives of the change program becomes less apparent. Here these employees have less visibility of the process and are typically focused on survival (keeping their job) as their environment becomes more harsh and tough (in the black pond sludge).

For the change management process to be successful, the “water in the pond needs to be continually in motion” and any detrimental “plant life” should to be removed, diluted, or transformed by the cleansing action of the water currents to avoid black pond sludge. Internal communication within the organisation is the key to keeping the “water in motion” thereby ensuring that everyone in the pond benefits from the continually moving currents.

So, just like in the pond where it is important to keep the water moving, so it is in a change management program to have communications that reach all levels of the organisation.