Good Morning Pioneers, I'm in the Great State of Kansas today educating a group of senior Executives with the Innovation Engineering Executive program. I just returned from Singapore where I helped executives from Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Singapore think about their future - I'll write on my learnings from that experience in a future blog.
This morning I want to talk about what's in it for Executives when they pursue Innovation Engineering.
Since the mid 1990's we've been running tracking research on the state of mind of executives. Today - executive stress is at an all time high. There is an agreement and urgency that innovation is important among senior executives. However there is no courage or confidence that the company can execute it.
Amazingly, since the 2008 recession national survey's indicate that even among manufacturers innovation and product development is their #1 need - exceeding even cost cutting and efficiency improvements.
However, taking action is lagging behind the need. I believe that a major reason for the lag is a lack of understanding of what the new world of Innovation - as a Reliable System - instead of as a Random Gamble provides for Executives.
To help EDUCATE on what the new world is like I've complied from my notebook a list of top 10 things that Senior Executives have told me they're finding happens when they make the flip. Leaders report a chain reaction of benefits including....
1. Our new ALIGNMENT —- “STRATEGY TO TACTICS” has transformed effectiveness and energy. There is a new energy and vitality from the top to the bottom of our organization. The energy comes from our singular focus linking strategy to tactics. Every employee knows how the company intends to win in the future and how what what they do impacts the growth strategy. The day’s of strategic plans being created but not activated are done. Strategy is activated every day and on a quarterly basis adapted and adjusted based on what we’ve learned front line from customers, the market, new technology and trends.
2. A “victim” mentality has been replaced with a healthy CULTURAL CONFIDENCE. The confidence is built from a belief that the company has a system - a real system for increasing innovation speed while at the same time decreasing risk. Every employee has the training, tools and techniques to create new ideas and to problem solve when challenges occur.
3. CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT is Up and that it has driven Risk Down. We listen and learn from our customers - adapt, listen again and repeat with a cycle time that is mind blowing. Fail FAST Fail CHEAP research is our way of life. Where before we made 90% of our decisions based on solely on judgement - today customer feedback helps us make smarter decisions.
4. Stress is going down - we’ve moved from reactive ‘fire fighting” to PROACTIVE change. Leadership and employees anticipate the future. Where in the past we primarily reacted to challenges today we proactively take action before they happen.
5. Our employees LOVE LEARNING & that has built our CULTURAL COURAGE. Quite simply we know more about our customers, our customers customers, our competitors, the latest technology and trends then our competition.
6. With our new training, systems & tools WE BELIVE WE CAN - and that means less whining! As we have moved to a learning culture the fear of the unknown and fear of trying new things have diminished. Rather than debate to death our cultural focus is on how can we learn. Plan, Do, Study, Act has become the norm - and we do it very, very fast.
7. Our Upgraded Gate Development System is LOVED & ACTUALLY FOLLOWED. Historically our Gate system was a subject of endless debates and frustration. Today, as we’ve updated with the latest methods we have collectively come to love it. And it is delivering on what we hoped - increased speed and decreased risk.
8. NET PROFIT MARGIN is GROWING as we break free of our price discounting drug habit Our offerings are becoming more and more meaningfully unique. We have a ways to go - but we can see the impact on our bottom line of being as they say “Meaningfully Unique instead of simply cheap.”
9. Our company’s valuation is growing as we grow Profit Margin, Employee Leadership & Patent Portfolio! With our growing profit margin our valuation grows. With our employees taking on more leadership of growth our valuation grows. And, for the first time we are transforming our employees ideas into tangible intellectual property. There is a very real chance that in the future - give the engagement of our employees - patents will become a profit center by themselves.
10. I have less stress on my shoulders - as I have more confidence in my team’s capabilities. The engagement of employees, alignment between strategy and tactics, the mindset of “we can” instead of “we can’t” makes the leadership job a ton more fun.
Rock and Roll!