Articles tagged with: competitiveness


Building Smarter Teams - Thomas Malone

Building Smarter Teams - Thomas Malone

Very interesting article on the latest research into group intelligence.......
"We had expected that the group intelligence would correlate with the average or maximum intelligence of individual group members. But we were surprised to find that the correlation was not very strong. In other words, just having a bunch of smart people in a group doesn't necessarily make a smart group"


Posted in Project Management


Creating a safe space for innovation

Understanding how your measures affect employee behaviour

Clayton M. Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. In the business consulting field he is a “rock star.” He is the author of best selling business books and consults on the subject to many global companies.

In his book “The Innovator’s DNA” Christensen prescribes what it takes to be more innovative and to be successful at innovation. Perhaps it is stating the obvious (as far as I am concerned but then again I do understand a little about human behaviour being a psychologist), but one of the keys to success is to create a space for innovation to occur.  What that means is that employees should be able to experiment and trial new ideas without fear of negative consequences if things don’t work out.

“Establishing an Innovation is everyone’s job philosophy requires creating a safe space for others to take on the status quo. Researchers call this psychological safety, in which team members willingly express opinions, take risks, run experiments, and acknowledge mistakes without punishment”.

Another key is to give people time to innovate, obvious once again since how will you be able to experiment with out the time to do so? But when you hear, as I did, employees told to increase their utilization rate to 95% (utilization rate is the percentage of billable time) the only time they have left is the time for toilet and lunch breaks. There is no space for innovation.

Many years ago I consulted to an organization that was serious about innovation. The senior management team created a budget code so that employees could allocate hours to innovation and reduced the utilisation rate down to 80% so that employees could allocate 20% of their work hours towards innovation.  The result was that innovation happened.

The Innovator’s DNA provides a great resource for anyone wanting to create an environment for innovation to flourish, but in order to do so stumbling blocks like the requirement for high utilization rates must be dealt with first.

Posted in Innovation


You Can't Shrink Your Way To Greatness

You Can't Shrink Your Way To Greatness

Unfortunately troubled economic times seem to bring a narrow-minded response from many businesses. Common initiatives appear to be driven by short-termism and the need to be seen to be doing something rather than really adapting to the challenges of the new economic environment.

Initially the response is often denial, hoping that a recovery will come along and that things can get back to normal. When the realisation sets in that an early recovery is not forthcoming then it is agreed that something must be done and as it has now been left late, then that something must be radical.   Usually this means cost cutting and cost cutting means that heads must roll.

Posted in Business Management


Lean Management Tip

The easiest and quickest improvement you will ever make.

Lean Management Tip

One of the principles of Lean Management is the removal of waste. Waste can be defined as any activity or output that is non value adding; to the company, to the customer, to the process.

An easy and simple way to get started is to ask of any activity (and perhaps the person employed to do such an activity!) is “Would a reasonable customer pay for it?”
If the answer is yes, then all efforts should be directed into performing the activity as efficiently and effectively as possible.

If no then there are 2 alternatives. If you believe that the activity must happen then you have a value perception problem with the customer and you need to enlighten them as to why it is a value adding activity and more importantly the benefits it will bring them.

The second alternative is that you have identified waste in the form of doing something a customer does not want, fixing up an error, doing something twice or simply waiting. Stop doing the activity, identify and fix the things that caused the error or the delay.  Simply ceasing and desisting non value adding activities is the easiest process improvement you will ever do.


Team Development

The often overlooked ingredient for success

Team Development

Many of you will be familair with the Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing model of team development. But do you know it's origins and how to utilise it?

Dr Bruce Tuckman published his Forming Storming Norming Performing model in 1965 while doing research work for the United States Navy where he and other social psychologists were studying small group behaviour. As well as investigating actual groups he also conducted a meta anlysis of literature in the area of group development.

Posted in Business Management


Managing Know How

Fix the processes before you try managing by objectives

Managing Know How

When Rudy is not changing the world of business for the better, he is busy changing the world of junior football for the better. Rudy is the president of “the most progressive junior football club in Australia”; I know the club is, because he told me!  Seriously Rudy is not given to hyperbole and relies on measurable data to support his claim. Over 600 boys and girls have directly benefitted from the dedication and commitment he has shown over the past three years.

Posted in Change Management


If you build it they will come - the affect that beliefs have on performance

People who believe intelligence can be developed perform better

If you build it they will come - the affect that beliefs have on performance


Research on how high school students' beliefs about intelligence affect their math grades found that those who believed that intelligence can be developed performed better than those who believed intelligence is fixed.

The findings come from two studies conducted by researchers at Columbia University and Stanford University, and were published in the journal Child Development. Vol. 78, Issue 1 in 2007.

One study looked at 373 12-year-olds over two years of high school. All students began the study with equivalent achievement levels in math but the students who believed that their intelligence could be developed outperformed those who believed their intelligence was fixed. Furthermore, the researchers found, the gap between these two groups widened over the two-year period.

Researchers concluded that the difference between the two sets of students stems from the fact that students who believed their intelligence could be developed placed a higher premium on learning, believed more in the power of effort, and had more positive and constructive reactions to setbacks in school.

A second study looked at 91 12-year-olds in two groups, both of whom had shown declines in their math grades. One group was taught the expandable theory of intelligence as part of an eight-session workshop on study skills. Another group participated in the same workshop, but did not receive information on the expandable intelligence qualities of the brain. The students who learned about the intelligence theory reversed their decline and showed significantly higher math grades than their peers in the other group, whose grades continued to decline.

"These findings highlight the importance of students' beliefs for their academic progress," said Carol Dweck, one of the researchers and professor of psychology at Stanford University. "They also show how these beliefs can be changed to maximize students' motivation and achievement."

Perhaps one of the greatest gifts that teachers and parents alike can provide students and their children is the belief that they can achieve what they set out to do.

Posted in Change Management

[12  >>