What’s the secret ingredient to upgrading innovation skills? The answer, to coin the phrase from Kung Fu Panda movie, is “there is no secret”.
Innovation encompasses the basics of upgrading your skills, knowledge with creative thinking underpinning it all. How many employees do you have that don't have the characteristics of creative people? Characteristics being that they possess intelligence, persistence, knowledge and experience and a cluster of personality traits and values, (McShane, Travaglione, & Olekalns, 2009)
Creating an innovative workforce that understands and appreciates the intricacies and benefits of continuous improvement to better the lives of employees, the organisation and ultimately the customer. Not necessarily in that order though, the priority is the customer, their satisfaction their wants their needs. The issue is huge in that through blind ambition or ignorance the employees make poor choices in the decisions they make. The team make-up is still the same with slight variations, but essentially top and bottom five percent of your workforce are the motivated, engaged versus the ‘hate the world with a vengeance” We have the theories and strategies that allow us to manage each group but it’s how we upgrade the innovation skills of every employee.
So, why the importance, why would you bother, don’t you have the majority of the team over the line?
The problem is how do we initiate a direction change, a character change with those employees we currently have, whom have a differing view of the world and is this where the problem ends? I believe this is still a question that requires another solution- maybe untried? So let’s give it a shot.
Every employee requires your time and attention, you can change their world - nothing new here, but can we honestly say, hand on heart, that we actually do this and consistently, so nothing new? So where’s the problem, it’s in the prioritising of time and where and how I allocate this time. How consistent are we, and things happen don’t they.
So what I do is this, depending on how many in the team you must see them collectively at least once a month, and all on an individual basis at least once a year. As we’ll later this is not the solution. The benefits are huge, you see everyone to reinforce the performance of the organisation and the part your people played in its success, and you can review poor performance, and set the expectation for improvement and manage the expectation.
Break it in two parts
Step 1: Put the onus on the employee to see you, because you won’t have the time otherwise. How do you do that? Select two poor performers and 1 top performer (or vice versa) to meet with.
Step 2: Block out time in your calendar, depending on how many you need to have discussions with, give them thee available times and let them choose when to see you but they must choose a time. Get them, to get back to you in a couple of days- Rule first in, first served. Ant tell them it’s just a catch up if your met previously or that you would like to book time with them to cover how they are going.
There is plenty to discuss regarding performance, but I find that being clear and honest (another lesson maybe) about your expectations is paramount. How you record this meeting is up to you but I find a standard format in previous actions, performance indicators , and actions going forward is all that is needed. You can include as many discussion points as you like but I find being succinct is better- the important stuff. Normally takes an average of 10mins.
Benefit: You are accountable to one another; they have a sense that they have initiated the meeting and so automatic buy-in without the high level of anxiety or fear of seeing “the boss”. You can’t get out of it either so it means you have to talk to the most negative, non- productive person on your team. The main benefit is that you have created a touch point- and it makes a lasting impression.
As stated earlier the benefits are far reaching implications. The impact on the team is positive, the team see that you are talking with the performers as well as the non-performers and that’s powerful. You have visibility; the time suits you without the angst on the employee to visit the boss.
You are only a decision away!
Start with what do I want to talk about- the first one can be as easy as "look this is what I would like to do" converstaion.
Check your calendar for the next week and see if you have an hour spare that you can spread out over the week.
Pick names at random for starters and go and say that you have some time available- pick one!
McShane, S. L., Travaglione, A., & Olekalns, M. (2009). Organisational behaviour on the Pacific rim / Steven McShane, Mara Olekalns, Tony Travaglione: North Ryde, N.S.W. : McGraw-Hill, 2010