Category: Culture & Alignment

Why Humility is a Prerequisite for Managers in Idea-Driven Organizations thumbnail

We recently asked the leaders of two idea-driven companies what was the most important characteristic they looked for when hiring or promoting managers. Their surprising answer: Humility. Inditex, best known for its Zara brand of “fast-fashion” stores, is headquartered in A Coruna, Spain, and is the world’s largest clothing company with over 6,000 stores in 70 countries. Zara’s business model is built around  »  Read More

Want to Improve Your Organization? Start by Knowing What You are Doing thumbnail

About fifteen years ago, I helped a medium sized residential homebuilder with development training for his management team. It was still relatively early in the lean movement era, and we met for two hours every Wednesday afternoon to discuss how lean philosophy and standard lean tools might apply to the company. The first topic in one of the early sessions was the importance of documenting work processes in order to  »  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

Capturing Employee Ideas in a Project-Based Environment thumbnail

Not long ago, the owner of a medium sized software development firm asked me a very good question. “How does a high performance idea system work in a project environment where every project is different?” We discussed that in a project-based company like his there were lots of processes that could be improved, but his question made a good point. A project environment does have unique challenges for a high  »  Read More

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