Archive for the ‘innovation’ Category

Evolution of the Web, and You.

HMTL gave us a way to structure forms and content. XML gives us a way to mash content from any two different sites together, in a way that disregards structure and gives us what we want, when we want.

You’d better know, it’s changing your life.

Most of us travel through the web through series of links, like lilly pads across a pond. We link, we watch video, we read, we learn, we investigate, we meet people, we stalk old acquaintances, we tweet, etc.

Were you doing this stuff 1 year ago? 2 years ago?  Did you do all this 5 years ago?

Our lives have rapidly changed with the speed of Web 2.0, and there’s much more to come. But think, for a minute, about the impact this has on workplace culture.

Specifically, think about your the Millennial generation co-workers. If you don’t have any yet, you will. Their worlds center around the rapid explosion of XML.  Go to any college campus and ask them how often they check email. You’ll be shocked when you hear their take on “such archaic communication.”

Millennials don’t email. They don’t place phone calls. They text. They Tweet. They Blog. They Microblog (ie Tweet). They Videoblog. They update status messages. They Digg it.

It won’t be long before you’re working side-by-side with some Millenials, if you aren’t already. How will you communicate with them? Will you expect them to use your familiar, comfortable forms like email, phone calls, meetings, memos, or one-off conversations? Do you think they’ll attempt any of these? Will they attepmt to speak your language?  Or will you attempt to speak their language?

If you aren’t already thinking along these lines, I suggest you do.  Success of you, your team, your department, your company, and your industry is heavily reliant upon the creativity, innovation and freshness that incoming Millenials will bring to the workplace over the next 10 years.

The world is changing faster than ever before, and if you think you’re “with it”…. think again. You’ve already missed the next development, just in the time you spent reading this post.



Do You Know the New Rules?

We live in a world of dramatic, tumultuous, and unpredictable change—change that is wiping out time-honored businesses and long-standing institutions and ushering in unprecedented opportunities for creative individuals and entrepreneurial organizations. So pervasive is change today that it has redefined our first task: The job is no longer figuring out how to win at the game of work and life; the job is figuring out the new rules of the game.

Rules of Thumb, Alan M. Webber (co-founder of Fast Company)

Rules of Thumb, featuring 52 “rules,”is a guide for individuals in every walk of life who want to make sense out of these confusing, challenging, and compelling times. The book is practical, philosophical, and fun. And, it is ever so wise. Here is a sampling of a few of the new rules we should all be getting familiar with:

#10 A good question beats a good answer.
#14 You don’t know if you don’t go.
#16 Facts are facts; Stories are how we learn.
#26 The soft stuff is the hard stuff.
#29 Words matter.
#45 Failure isn’t failing. Failure is failing to try.
#50 On the way up, pay attention to your strengths; They’ll be your weaknesses on the way down.
#52 Stay Alert! There are teachers everywhere.

If It Can Happen to Pluto…

OK, I’m going to show a little of my nerdiness here, but do you remember 2 years ago when the International Astronomical Union striped Pluto of its “planet” status? Most of you probably heard about it, many of you probably didn’t really care… but I urge you to consider this:

If change can happen to something as certain as a PLANET, it can certainly happen to us. And it does. Everyday.

Pluto’s reclassification changed the rules of the game, and organizational change can be like that too. There you were confident and comfortable with your boss, and now you must readjust and reorient to a new one with a different style, focus, and rules. Like it. Don’t like it. Regardless, get on board!

“Change is good. Everybody is doing it… Get on board!” — Will Anderson, Channel Marketing Manager, Double-Take Software

There there 3 things to know when change is afoot. First, when the rules change, it’s uncomfortable… but then you get used to it. Second, your future depends on letting go of the unease and moving forward with the times. Third, this is your growth spurt!

It might not be the growth you’d choose nor the timing you’d prefer, but it’s the perfect opportunity for you to use your talent to reinvent yourself, expand the boundaries of your comfort zone and contribute in new ways.

It’s challenging, unnerving… but exciting!


January 9, 2009 1 comment

People commonly tell me, “We need leadership training.” After digging deeper into what they call “leadership training”, I find what they’re typically looking for is management skill development.

The terms “leadership” and “management” are quite often used interchangeably, but there is a profound difference and both are important to your job today.

I’ve made my distinction between the two simple:

While management may be what you do, leadership is the way you think.

Of course, to be a good manager one must have many leadership traits. Good leaders are good managers and vice versa. Leadership and management are very much intertwined, so discounting characteristics of one is discounting the importance of the other.

However, they’re more than just intertwined. The combination facilitates your ability to get the resources you need, have the support you need, get the skills you need, build the relationships you need… to get your job done.

Getting an organization “to the next level” or competing in an ever-changing world requires mighty management and enriching leadership… but the true power to make a difference lies with the people that have both: Leadagers.

Let’s all be Leadagers.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on management vs. leadership vs. both.

(I attribute the term “leadager” to Miki Saxon of Leadership Turn, 2008)

Your Cheese Is Moving

December 12, 2008 Leave a comment

Times are changing, folks, and it impacts more than just your 401k and investments. This economic slowdown is more than the failure of our banking system and credit markets. This failure is signaling major changes that will affect all functions of business.

Here’s an excerpt from Thanksgiving, The Economy, and Recruiting by Kevin Wheeler (posted on on Nov. 26, 2008).

The Depression of the 1930s redefined the agriculturally-based banking and finance world and made it competitive and efficient for an industrial age.

We are now in a similar period.

The nature of business and work is rapidly evolving. Organizational structure will become less hierarchical, more nimble, and flexible. Employees will begin to be treated with respect as investors — not assets or human capital. People are the most precious of success factors, and we each choose to invest our time and skills in an organization that respects and listens to us. When we are not respected, we move on. Entrepreneurship has grown rapidly in response to the lack of respect innovative employees have been given.

Look to see the finance system change to reward innovation. Look at small organizations with a global network or loosely allied suppliers and partners to dominate the economic climate of this century. It is the end of GM and other large, hierarchal organizations that were the model of efficiency in an industrial age.

Many of us will miss the familiarity and the rules of the past that gave us a sense of security and certainty. But surely this economic meltdown must signal to the most conservative of believers that times are changing.

Indeed, even our profession [recruiting] is changing fundamentally, although we are just beginning to see and understand those changes. The habits and skills we developed in a slower-moving, more certain 20th century no longer work so well. Our cheese has been moved, as the eponymous book says, and we will miss the familiar world of job boards, resumes, face-to-face recruiting, ringing telephones, cold calls, and classified ads. Technology and the Internet still feel unfamiliar and foreign to many recruiters, but we have entered a technology-dominated, virtual era.

Read More about the implications on recruiting talent.

Categories: change, innovation, recruiting

Generate Innovation

September 16, 2008 Leave a comment

What’s the link between leadership and innovation? How exactly do we put those two together? How do we lead in a way that generates innovation?

Whether companies are huge like Microsoft, small, mid-size, or a multi-national – we are all trying to achieve similar things in our own space, stay ahead or get ahead of the competition, and create growth. We do some pretty innovative things at Double-Take, but how are other companies generating innovation?

  • They’re Listening. In 2005, the CEO of Google (Eric Schmidt) said, “The cleverest ideas don’t come from leaders, but rather from the leaders listening and encouraging and kind of creating a discussion.”
  • They’re Opening Doors. Schmidt also encouraged executives to have an open door policy when it came to technology demonstrations. “You want to see every conceivable demo, no matter how wacky it is,” he told an audience at a 2005 IT expo. “People love that. They get a chance to present to someone important like you. All of a sudden the whole (corporate culture) becomes about leadership and innovation.”
  • They Know Customers’ Needs Before the Customers’ Even Know. MetLife chairman and CEO, C. Robert Henrikson, participated in a panel discussion about the link between leadership and innovation at Wharton School of Business. He said, “All parts of the organization must have a sense of the customers’ business to anticipate their needs and reach out with innovative ideas.”
  • They Have Fun. EMC’s India Center of Excellence holds “Bar Jams.” What is a Bar Jam? It is when you tell everyone to arrive at a bar at a certain time. Then drink and brainstorm ideas. They also have Radio Shows, Social Networks, Tea Times, Softball Tourneys, and Chinese Food at midnight.

These are just a few examples of generating innovation — something that all functions of an organization must do to stay ahead or get ahead of the competition, and create growth.

So here’s the kicker: What does Double-Take do to generate innovation? Use “Comments” to spotlight what makes us an innovative, fun, and COOL place to work.

Categories: innovation