Posts By:  Alan

The Continuous Improvement (CI) Equation thumbnail

Recently, just as the senior management team at a midsize Midwestern company was nearing a decision to set up and launch a high-performance idea system, the CEO expressed some last minute second thoughts. The company had contacted me because its idea system (an online suggestion-box process) was getting less than an idea per person per year. The manager of continuous improvement knew the company could do much  »  Read More

The Idea System Comes Before the Culture Change thumbnail

Sometimes, as a consultant, your client does not follow your advice. When setting up and launching a high-performing idea system, many leaders want to work on their organization’s culture first, before launching their idea system. They want to lead with the culture – that is, make the idea process voluntary and encouraged, and not part of the required work – in the hopes that when the culture “takes”, the  »  Read More

Why J.P. Morgan Would Approve of How Idea-Driven Organizations Handle Pay, Perks and Privileges for Management thumbnail

Peter Drucker once told us about an interesting investment rule that the financier J.P. Morgan had developed more than a century ago. Morgan had observed an interesting pattern in his client companies. Those having excessive pay differences between levels in their hierarchies did not perform as well. Consequently, he would not invest in a company if pay differences from level to level were more than thirty  »  Read More

Layoffs and Employee Ideas thumbnail

Perhaps the biggest fear expressed by employees when they hear that their company is planning a high-performing idea system, is that it will cause them or their colleagues to be laid off. Their fear is not unreasonable – we see it realized all the time. For me, the most shocking instance remains the first time it happened to me. I was asked to help a local company of about 600 people that was in serious trouble. A  »  Read More

How To Tell If A Hotel Has A Good Employee Idea System in 20 minutes thumbnail

I used to play a game with my daughters when they were younger. Whenever we stayed in a hotel or motel, we tried to see who could figure out the quickest if it had a good idea system. It usually didn’t take longer than 15 to 20 minutes. Most often, it would be because we found an obvious problem that front-line employees were all aware of, but had been unaddressed. One time, for example, we drove up to Montreal  »  Read More

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