first wave in a series of changes for the organization. The other changes will be structurally
driven: You’ll need to install some mechanisms
that will enable change and that will encourage
employees to begin seeing innovation as integral
to their jobs.
For a pervasive culture of innovation to
emerge, three ingredients are essential: the
ability of the people in the organization to be
innovative, their desire to act in an innovative
manner and an environment that will enable
and empower innovation.
An organization is a collection of dots.
These dots are ideas, activities, people, processes, departments, companies and/or industries.
The interdependencies between the dots are
where innovation emerges. Innovative thinking
comes from making connections—connections
between boxes, ideas, companies, even industries. Focusing on these connections frees an
organization to improve within the guidelines of
the simple structure.
As Apple CEO Steve Jobs once said, “Creativity
is just having enough dots to connect.”
Now you know the secret for outrunning
your competitors. C
YOU NEED TO BE fast and ready to outrun your
competitors and stay ahead of them. Always
remember that when the pace of change outside your organization is greater than the pace
of change within, you will be eaten. Your competitors will eat you alive—and in no time. Watch
for two things: changing customer demands and
Here’s how to stay ahead.
As the CEO, create and nurture a culture
that is based on innovation. By doing so, you will
quickly find out that an organization that is forever reinventing itself does not hold still long
enough to be copied. This isn’t something one
can do overnight. You must implement this process very gradually and carefully.
Start with a top executive who will see an
opportunity for improvement. This will be the
Creating a new
for the right
JACQUES LORRAIN: BUSINESS SKILLS
More in archives
On Costco.ca, enter “Connection.”
At Online Edition, search
Jacques Lorrain is
an executive coach and
He can be reached at
WHEN YOU walk into a meeting,
your posture and other subtle
cues may tell colleagues or clients more than you realize.
“It happens in an instant,”
says Eliot Hoppe, a Calgary-based
author and speaker on non-verbal
com). “People make judgments:
Do I like you? Do I trust you? And
who do you remind me of?”
Hoppe gives these five
cues you can adopt to convey
the right message.
• Walk briskly with your
shoulders back, and give a
bright smile. Slumped shoulders
and slow movements say you
are a follower and lack energy.
• If you’re carrying items
such as a file or a purse, keep
them beside your body. “Carrying
something close to your neck or
across your chest shows you are
vulnerable,” Hoppe says.
• How you say something
is as important as what you say.
“For example, if your voice goes
up at the end of a sentence, it
sounds like you are questioning
yourself or what you said,”
• During a handshake, if
you turn your hand to be on top,
you are pulling a power play.
If you put your hand underneath,
you are being submissive. “This
is OK in some circumstances,
like if you want to close a deal
with a client,” says Hoppe. “In
that case, turn your hand up just
slightly.” To keep things equal,
keep your hand vertical.
• Your feet tell your brain
where your heart wants to go.
“If your feet or knees are facing
the window or door, it looks like
you want to leave,” says Hoppe.
“You should face the person with
Excellent companies, dumb moves
EVEN THE BEST companies and organizations
can get in their own way. Costco member Neil
Smith, chief executive officer of Promontory
Growth and Innovation ( www.promgrowth.
com), focuses on this in his book,
How Excellent Companies Avoid
Dumb Things: Breaking the 8
Hidden Barriers That Plague
Even the Best Businesses
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2012),
written with Patricia O’Connell.
“Companies need to
understand ... what barriers
they have, why they exist, and
how they can be removed,”
Smith writes. Are any of the
following barriers hindering
Humans naturally avoid controversy, so when there is disagreement, decisions are
Poor use of time. People prioritize their
time badly or naturally procrastinate, both of
which leave important things not done.
Reluctance to change. Fear of the
unknown typically drives this barrier and, as a
result, things stay the same.
Organizational silos. Close coordination
and co-operation across silos (units or depart-
ments within an enterprise) are required to
make decisions and implement them.
When information does not flow
freely, or when there are misaligned
priorities, things do not get done.
Some people deliberately avoid deci-
sions or prevent them from being
made because they won’t like the out-
come, they are competing with the per-
son proposing the change or the decision
might reflect badly on them.
Size matters. Companies do not
typically amend processes to account for
small customers or small transaction
sizes, making them unprofitable.
Existing processes. It is difficult, if not
impossible, to change existing processes even if
they become outdated or broken. This is usually
because there is not a process to change the process, and any change involves gaining the attention of too many people. C