vision

Customer engagement is employee engagement (and vice versa)

Employee engagement is, as they say, a no-brainer. There are stacks of literature showing that companies with committed employees who feel strongly about their organization do better financially than those with indifferent employees. In many cases, too, improvement is actually quite easy to achieve. » Read more

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How to tell if you’re a natural leader

I’ll bet you know a natural leader. Maybe you are one.

Maybe you’re a mom who started a support group for the parents of children with special needs.

Maybe you’re a concerned citizen who mobilized a group of preservation-minded neighbors to halt the destruction of a venerable old building.

Maybe you’re a churchgoer who convinced some of your fellow parishioners to help mentor at-risk kids.

Or maybe you simply organized your company’s first softball league. » Read more

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The strategic divide: Why your employees aren’t delivering what you envision

Brand managers, customer experience executives, and marketing VPs, I need to tell you something. And it might hurt.

Your strategies and innovations may be brilliant, but whether they’ll come to fruition is entirely up to some employees who are quite far down on the corporate totem pole. Most of the time, they aren’t even hearing about the “new direction” the company is going in, and if they are, they’re rolling their eyes at it.

I know, because I’ve been there. And I’m pretty sure it all started with a Beanie Babies calendar. » Read more

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Open source is more than throwing code

Open source has achieved a bit of popularity in the tech world, and has even become a bit mainstream. I sadly think this means that many have and will continue to miss the point of what being open source really means. Open source doesn't just mean showing source code. Many people think that such code drops are the only thing necessary for open source buzz to take over. » Read more

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User-led innovation can't create breakthroughs. Really?

Earlier this week, Fast Company posted an article by Jens Martin Skibsted and Rasmus Bech Hansen (thanks to Gunnar Hellekson for sending it my way) that may be of interest to folks seeing success with their open source and open innovation efforts.

The article is entitled "User-Led Innovation Can't Create Breakthroughs; Just Ask Apple and IKEA" and here's how it starts: » Read more

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Five questions about open source and branding with Alina Wheeler

A few years back, a good friend recommended I pick up a copy of Designing Brand Identity: an essential guide for the whole branding team by Alina Wheeler. Now in its 3rd edition, it's a beautiful book, well designed and easy to read or to use as a reference. » Read more

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Want to reinvent management? Start with the managers.

Maybe some day we'll look back on the role of the manager in our organizations and laugh.

Such a quaint trend. Kind of like having The Clapper in every room of your house, or wearing multiple Swatch watches, or working out to Richard Simmons videos. Each seemed really helpful at the time, but looking back, we kind of wonder what the heck we were thinking. » Read more

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Is your culture made of gold or fool's gold?

When I hear people talk about how awesome their organizational culture is, I often find myself wondering what sort of “great” culture it is.

For me, great cultures fall into two categories: entitlement and mission-driven. Those “best places to work” lists don't usually make a distinction, but I do. Here is the difference:

Entitlement cultures

The surest sign of an entitlement culture? When someone tells you why they like their work, they give you an example of a benefit not related to the work itself. Some examples:
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Three tips for escaping the creativity peloton without giving up on collaboration

If you've ever watched a road bike race like the Tour de France, you know the peloton is the big group of riders that cluster together during the race to reduce drag. It's a great example of collaboration in action. But let's face it: the people in the middle of the peloton may go faster than they would otherwise, but they don't win the race.

When it comes to creating and innovating, most companies (and employees) are in the peloton. They are doing enough to survive, but they are stuck in the pack. And if they stay in the pack too long, they lose. » Read more

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What if politicians innovated the open source way?

In the discussions around some of my previous articles, I've noticed a trend: we seem to be focusing on cultural changes that need to be made for the open source way to be effective in contexts beyond technology. » Read more

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