What does your personality suggest about your approach to innovation?

The is the second of two blogs about innovation.  This concentrates on the connection between human personality, behaviour and innovation which, as we saw in part 1, is not only about massive, new initiatives but encompasses a broad sweep of smaller, gradual steps of improvement to processes used by an organisation, the approaches used to lead and manage its people who may no longer be working co-locatedly as they were pre-pandemic, and to product specification and service experience. Processes encompass systems, both technological ones and organisational practices. 

If you are running a SME, what can you do to learn more about your natural style? How does this aid and abet innovation or raise stumbling blocks that can slow progress and burn-up scarce resources like money, time and people’s health and well-being? 

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What is innovation?

This is the first of two blogs about innovation.  This first one considers the broad theme of innovation and sets out that it isn’t all about making major leaps forward.  It identifies how innovation is reliant on people.  The second essay will explore that aspect more deeply. 

The theme of innovation is now such an over-used buzzword that the approach to doing it effectively has drifted out of sight. Theory drowns out the practical. People look at innovation as something big organisations do and, perhaps, not do especially well. Innovation relates to massive, scene-shifting developments.  One reads about innovation causing the tectonic plates of business to shudder. 

Such magnitude 8 earthquakes occur far less frequently than most people recognise.  Most innovation comprises far smaller tremors. These should occur consistently and constantly. Without them organisations’, big and small, may see their viability and relevance to their end users diminish?

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Climate change – what needs to be done: part 2?

In the second part of my blog about Climate Change, having considered as extensively as I could the real scale and impact of the threat to our planet’s health, I want to move on and consider some of the people dynamics.  Who should do what and how? Who do we need to lead us, men or women, the private or state sector?  What are the views of young people who will be far more impacted than people like myself by the consequences of Climate Change.

Mark Goyder, whom I mentioned in part 1, often uses this Native American phrase, “We do not inherit the world from our forebears, we hold it in trust for those that follow.” We have not fulfilled our fiduciary duties as trustees especially well, have we? Looking forward to what needs doing, the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederary sets the fundamental principle, “Make your decisions based on their impact seven generations out from today.” Not seven quarters as some of Bill Gates’ remarks in his book indicate to be the expectation of the investment and finance community.

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Climate change – what needs to be done: part 1?

In August 19, I posted a blog entitled, “What if Greta is correct?”, see https://www.tsp-uk.co.uk/general-leadership/what-if-greta-is-correct/.  I want to come back to the topic of Climate Change. During my recent holiday I read Bill Gates’ book, “How to avoid a climate disaster”, as well as the Economist’s special report on Climate Change published to coincide with COP26 in Glasgow.

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Nothing new under the sun

I realised a couple of weeks ago that I haven’t had a proper break from my work for two years.  Suddenly, I felt wearied.  Accordingly, I furled in my sails and allowed myself to float about on the waves of content concerning leadership, organisational design and development, culture, purpose, values, and finance that flood into my Inbox. 

All the big consultancies and individual practitioner experts like myself issue so much stuff from articles to webinars to videos to memes to animations to… well, nothing new.  In writing my essay, I’m conscious I risk adding to the cacophony. 

However, my aim is to identify some “crotchets of note” that will scythe through the noise. Hopefully, these will provide a clear tempo for healthy organisations to create the conditions that raise rather than harm the well-being of the individuals who work there.

I’m old enough to remember the Irish entertainer Val Doonican singing about O’Rafferty’s motor car, “… used to be as black as me father’s hat, now it’s forty shades of green”.  This seems to fit with all I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to.  Material is cited as being distinct, discrete, and differential in its hue, yet so much appears to be another Pantone shade of grey (rather than green).  

All this got me thinking about whether the principles of leadership that I first encountered in a book from 1968 called “Motivation and Organisational Climate” written by George Litwin and Robert Stringer contain the golden threads on which we should not lose our cognitive and physical grasp.  Their work was informed and influenced by that of David McClelland, Kurt Lewin, and Robert Blake and Jane Mouton amongst many. 

McClelland’s work on motivation identifies people having three main motivational drivers, achievement, affiliation, and power.  The latter has two faces, personalised and social or institutional.  Are we mistakenly celebrating some leaders’ personalised power?  What risks arise from their “must win, me, me, me” drive?  For instance, how much is the pandemic crisis and our world standing on the brink of climate catastrophe due to this self-centred rather than selfless leadership (see later)?  As we combat the global climate challenge, what must be done to nurture and sustain healthy climates in organisations? 

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To improve organisational health and well-being, you need Servant-leadership

“The great leader is seen as a servant first” Robert Greenleaf 1970

In the week after the UK’s May Day public holiday, along with my colleagues Doctors Steve Glowinkowski and Henry Ratter, I spoke at the BakerFish (see www.bakerfish.com) organised conference on servant-leadership.  Our combined aim was to bring a practical contribution to the event.  Together we outlined how Glowinkowski International’s (GIL) diagnostic methodologies can assess the quality of servant-leadership in organisations as well as explaining how this can be developed.

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A baker’s dozen of valid and practical leadership actions – part 2

Following my two earlier articles about Northern Power Women’s excellent report, “Levelling Up by Powering On”, here is the second half of my baker’s dozen of foundational principles that I continuously rely on in my work with leaders across a broad demographic spectrum. 

My first article in this series concludes with a model that highlights the need for concepts to possess rigorous research underpinnings and to be practical. It is vital these can be implemented. It may not necessarily be easy to do this. However, through diligent endeavour they can be learnt, understood, practised, and competence deepened by ongoing coaching.  Combined, rather than any one in isolation, these faculties represent the hallmarks of great leadership. 

When exercised, these principles deliver a humane, compassionate, and purposeful style of leadership.  This imbues organisations, large and small, for and not for profit, with a fit and healthy climate.  Employee engagement and well-being will rise, the customer and citizen experience will improve, the environment will be protected – the triple bottom line is maximised. 

The sustainable outcome is that we won’t just level up, we shall power forward into a new and better community.

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A baker’s dozen of valid and practical leadership actions: part 1, items 1 to 7

Following my last article about Northern Power Women’s excellent report, “Levelling Up by Powering On”, see https://www.tsp-uk.co.uk/general-leadership/northern-power-women-levelling-up-by-powering-on/, here is the first half of my baker’s dozen of foundational principles that I continuously rely on in my work with leaders across a broad demographic spectrum. 

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Northern Power Women – Levelling up by Powering On

Introduction

I commend this excellent report, which I read it between Christmas and New Year.  It is available at https://www.northernpowerwomen.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Levelling-Up-by-Powering-On-Report.pdf.  It is required reading to help us all to sharpen our leadership focus at the start of this new decade (assuming you subscribe to the view the decade starts this year not last).   

Through both fortitude and good fortune – “Diligence is the mother of good luck,” remarked Benjamin Franklin – the paper should be regarded as being like the blue touch paper on a firework.  When lit it should ignite a dazzling blaze of considered and considerate action to change the composition and competence of organisational leadership across the Northern Powerhouse, as well as everywhere else. 

In an article entitled “The pandemic has eroded democracy and respect for human rights” published in mid-October by The Economist, see https://www.economist.com/international/2020/10/17/the-pandemic-has-eroded-democracy-and-respect-for-human-rights, Freedom House, a Washington DC based think tank, says their research exposes growing pressures being imposed by many, male populist leaders around the world to stifle democracy and constrain human rights.  It is on that taut, global canvas that NPW has chosen to paint its brighter, rosier more compassionate picture of the future. 

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How to trust and be trusted – a healthy behavioural vaccine

How to trust and be trusted. What behaviours do you need to deploy consistently and constantly to strengthen trust?

Back in October last year, I wrote a blog about trust, see https://www.tsp-uk.co.uk/general-leadership/trust/. As we embark into a new year, I thought it would be helpful to provide a few observations on how trust can be earned, given and sustained.  

What behaviours do you need to deploy consistently and constantly to strengthen trust and act as a vaccine against its mutated forms of distrust (usually based on experience) and mistrust (a general sense of unease)? 

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