1. To invent your organization’s future, experiment, question, sometimes fail

    April 14, 2017 by ahmed

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    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Marie Bailey

    Create an innovation advantage for your organization by letting go of industrial-age principles, embracing imagination, and experimenting even if you might fail, said Polly LaBarre, co-founder and director of Management Lab (MLab) and co-founder of MIX (Management Innovation eXchange). LaBarre, who delivered the 29th Annual Quest for Excellence Conference keynote presentation, said, “You cannot have some big opportunities without having some big misses. . . . Mistakes should be shared and picked apart for every last tidbit of insight.”LaBarre asked the conference audience, “How do you build the capacity for innovation and the adaptability that keeps your organization growing and thriving?” and “Are you capable of changing as fast as the world is changing? . . . The next game changer probably will come out of nowhere. Your customers, patients, stakeholders have more information, more choice, higher expectations than ever before. . . . In that context, are you constitutionally adaptable?”

    The modern industrial-age organization was not built for adaptability and innovation, she said. Instead, the assembly-line plants from years ago were designed “to maximize standardization, specialization, predictability, and control,” said LaBarre, adding that the business model was to “get flesh and blood human beings to become widget-producing robots.”

    “All of the practices and systems that we have built and embedded in our organizations [including] budgeting, performance review, ROI calculations, inventory. . . . All of those things were invented over a century ago to routinize the nonroutine,” said LaBarre; “When [today’s] challenge is for every organization to become ever-more adaptable, ever-more innovative, ever-more inspiring and engaging, those principles don’t serve us well. There’s no competitive advantage left. . . . We can’t solve the new problems with the old principles.”

    Innovation

    LaBarre said that innovation in today’s organizations tends to get compartmentalized if it is not embedded in every activity, every function. “As a result, the 90% of people who do not have a formal innovation role, think of innovation as someone else’s job. And those companies then end up commercializing and capturing just a tiny potential of their people and their organizations,” she said.

    The efficiency principles of the industrial age are still critical and necessary, LaBarre said, but to “transcend the inevitable tradeoffs of discipline without the cost and the drag on agility . . . and the crushing of human initiatives,” organizations should also consider pro-innovation principles such as aspiration, experimentation, diversity, freedom, and openness. She illustrated several real organizations who have embedded such principles and asked the audience to consider, “What kind of sustaining advantage can innovation bring?”

    The first tip for our organizations, LaBarre said, is to expand autonomy. “Control [of people, information, deviation from the norm] is the wrong design when you want to unleash people’s best imagination, initiative, passion–the human gifts that are in so much demand today but which cannot be commanded or controlled into existence.”

    Freedom

    LaBarre pointed out that we’ve all experience a huge expansion of freedom in our personal lives, especially with our ability to connect with anyone, anywhere in the world. “We can challenge, speak up, have a voice in the world, but the workplace lags so far behind,” she said, adding that in their personal lives, people can buy houses, cars, etc., but in the workplace, they may not have the authority to purchase a desk chair.

    She asked the audience to consider, in their organizations, “Who does the thinking and who does the doing?” She described freedom as giving employees more opportunities and more channels to have meaningful roles.

    She shared with the audience that she has traveled around the world looking for organizations that have reinvented their management models, “swapping out industrial bureaucratic DNA for pro-innovation and pro-adaptability.” In some of these companies, LaBarre said she found employees with total autonomy, which is balanced by extensive accountability, especially by coworkers who, for example, conduct each other’s performance reviews. These organizations are growing their leadership capacity, she said.

    LaBarre spoke of the “latent creative potential” of employees and cultures of collaboration. Invite everyone to be part of the strategic and creative realm, she suggested. In one organization she visited, LaBarre said she found hundreds of “communities of passion” that work on strategic priorities and local problems, and resolve issues must faster than they could under a standard corporate model.

    “Design systems and practices for more headroom and elbow room,” she said, “so people can operate outside of their spheres. . . . People can find natural collaborators, pursue their passions, [find] the slack [they] need for trying new things, for experimenting, and for taking risks.”

    Experimentation

    “If you want to build innovative, adaptive capacity, there is no more powerful leverage than experimentation,” said LaBarre.

    How life itself has flourished is a perfect example of experimentation, according to LaBarre. “Life has become ever more capable and complex in the process without a CEO, SVP, or strategic plan at the helm,” she said. “Evolutionary progress . . . is a product of rampant experimentation. Mutations are mistakes. Let me put it another way, if life was run by Six Sigma, we would all still be slime.”

    LaBarre said experimentation is about cycling through ideas, testing assumptions, getting feedback, discarding what isn’t working, and building on what is. “It’s a strategy for measuring your insights,” she said.

    Organizations should develop the facility to fail in order to learn, because in the words of Pixar Animation Studios, according to LaBarre, “Pain is temporary. Suck is forever.” Or, in other words, she said, Pixar understands that “if you are going to try new things, you’re going to have errors” and that’s how you learn.

    Questions

    To truly build an innovation capability at your organization, “Ask more questions than you give answers,” she said. “If you’re open, curious, you can surface more possibilities. As a leader, craft stretch questions. . . . Invest as much in what could be as what is. . . . Walk in stupid. . . . Practice the innocence of children to gain fresh eyes to innovation.”

    She encouraged the audience to question every orthodoxy in their industries and to hack every process to imbue it with innovation principles. “Questions that no one has asked before spawn innovative answers that no one has sought before,” LaBarre said, adding “invite the subversive in.”

    Innovation Panel

    To further explore innovation, senior leaders from the four 2016 Baldrige Award recipients joined LaBarre on stage. They talked about how they define innovation and how they equip people to handle it.

    Roger Arciniega, CEO of Momentum, said, “Culture is most important. You need a structure for innovations to break through. A big barrier is employees not wanting to be associated with failure,” adding the importance of not having a “gotcha” mentality.

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    The health care senior leaders on stage, Maryruth Butler, executive director of Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation Center – Mountain Valley, and Malisha Patel, vice president of operations at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land, discussed how to stimulate innovation and still ensure patient safety.

    Don Chalmers Ford’s Andy Strebe, director of fixed operations, said innovation sometimes means being open to ideas that make you uncomfortable. The leaders also talked about getting out of the way of employees’ ideas, integrating work processes with action plans, looking for innovation in the supply chain, simplifying innovation, trusting employees, and putting down your “pivot foot” (i.e., practicing values-based innovation).


  2. Summer School on Quality and Organizational Excellence 2017

    April 2, 2017 by ahmed

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    Welcome to the Summer School on Quality and Organizational Excellence 2017, at the University of Minho, Portugal.

    This Program is a unique opportunity to learn, share experiences and know new colleagues that together have the same passion – the passion for Quality.

    By attending to the Summer School on Quality and Organizational Excellence you have the chance to learn from some of the most important worldwide Quality Leaders – Pedro Saraiva, Hiroshi Osada, Lars Sörqvist and Mohamed Zairi, about the link of Quality and New Products Development, Total Quality Management, Quality Improvement Programs and the Future of Quality.

    The courses will take place during all the full week, with daily classes and several industrial visits, balancing theoretical and practical examples of the best practices in the field of Quality and Organizational Excellence. The program is composed of lectures, team work, workshops and presentations. The goal is to bring people together from across the globe, sharing experiences and discussing the present and future of Quality. The Summer School is based on 39 hours of contact.

    You are invited to apply!

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    Important Dates:
    Application deadline: April 7, 2017
    Acceptance notification: April 17, 2017
    Registration fee payment deadline: May 13, 2017
    Summer School: July 16-22, 2017


  3. Being remarkable from the boardroom to the bedside

    March 31, 2017 by ahmed

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    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Marie Bailey

    “Remarkable” means extraordinary, uncommon, worthy of notice or attention, unusual.

    Would you use that word to describe your place of work? How about your hospital? Now imagine how much more confidence you would have in your health care provider if it had proven itself to be extraordinary or remarkable.

    Baldrige Award recipient Hill Country Memorial continues to work toward being remarkable every day, with continuous improvements in the care it provides and in all areas of its operations.

    At the upcoming 29th Annual Quest for Excellence® Conference, Dr. James R. Partin, chief medical officer at Hill Country Memorial, will be presenting on the hospital’s “journey from good to remarkable” and on how other organizations might learn to make their operations remarkable, too.

    In a virtual interview, Partin shared with me Hill Country Memorial’s journey.

    What makes Hill Country’s journey remarkable?

    I think what makes Hill Country’s journey remarkable is the focus on improvement at all levels of the organization; from the boardroom to the bedside, each individual is committed to providing the highest quality of care and service to our patients and community. Another key has been our ability to integrate Baldrige into our day-to-day operations. We don’t “do Baldrige,” but rather we look at our processes and determine how we can revise/improve them to meet the Baldrige Criteria [found within the Baldrige Excellence Framework] and improve performance.

    Can you share an example of your success along the journey?

    One of our biggest successes along the journey was in the deployment of our strategic plan. We integrated this deployment into our cascade of strategic goals through department goals to support the strategic targets and individual employee quarterly coaching plans; these plans address how each employee implements action plans to help his/her department achieve departmental goals that roll back up to achievement of strategic goals.

    Another success is our implementation of the Strategic Breakthrough Improvement (SBI) Process. This process includes 90-day, interdisciplinary, organizational-level improvement teams that work on strategic action plans. Through the SBI and cascading goal processes, we have improved achievement of strategic targets from approximately 50% annually to 85% annually.

    What are your top tips for using Baldrige resources to support such a journey?

    • Don’t make Baldrige another thing you are doing. Rather, look at your processes and determine how you can improve them to address the Baldrige Criteria.
    • Share results with all stakeholders. Let people know how the work they are doing is helping the organization achieve its goals.
    • Involve physicians in improving key processes within the organization.

    What else might participants learn at your conference session?

    The most striking example of how Hill Country Memorial has continued to use the Baldrige Excellence Framework is in the Strategic Development Deployment Process. We continue to use the process and timeline to define our strategy annually for managing our strengths and improving our weaknesses to meet the changing health care environment, increasing competition, and the ever-changing payment models.

    What are a few key reasons that organizations in your sector can benefit from using the Baldrige Excellence Framework?

    The Baldrige framework

    • provides an organizational approach to improvement that is balanced;
    • helps an organization focus on key results and the processes that support those results, really honing in on important improvement opportunities; and
    • uncovers gaps/opportunities that staff may not know existed in the organization.

  4. 5th International Best Practice Competition – 3rd & Final Call for Entries

    March 22, 2017 by ahmed

    The Best Practice Competition, will be held in Mumbai, India, 25/26th April 2017 courtesy of BestPrax Club. The competition serves as a unique opportunity to share and learn best practices from around the globe.

    Have a think about what systems, processes and practices your organisation does well and submit an entry by the 27th of March 2017 at the latest. This is the 3rd and Final Call with many best practices already selected.

    If successful you will be asked to share your best practice in an 8 minute presentation on the 25/26th April 2017, Mumbai, India.

    The winners of the International Best Practice Competition in 2015 were Al Jazeera International Catering LLC, UAE with a best practice titled ‘Our Planet – Our Responsibility‘. and Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services (DCAS), UAE, with a best practice titled ‘Cultural Sensitivity Gives Birth to a Maternity Care‘.


  5. An exploration of innovation: An organization’s only insurance against irrelevance

    March 17, 2017 by ahmed

     

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Marie Bailey

    Prepare for an inspiring journey is the message for audience members of the upcoming 29th Annual Quest for Excellence Conference, as they listen to keynote presenter Polly LaBarre, co-founder and director of Management Lab (MLab) and co-founder of MIX (Management Innovation eXchange).Addressing some probing questions-such as “How do you create a DNA-deep, sustaining capacity for innovation?” “What does it mean to be a leader in a creative, connected, disruptive world?” and “How do you create organizations that unleash rather than squash human potential?”-LaBarre will reveal practical, high-impact ways to innovate, adapt, and succeed, redefining how leadership, change, innovation, collaboration, employee engagement, organizational culture, accountability, and disruptive strategy are done.

    Through a virtual interview, I asked some of my own questions of LaBarre, who is also co-author of Mavericks at Work and founding member of Fast Company.

    Your website says you have a passion for “framing the big questions that will rule the future of business.” Can you provide some of those questions?

    The first big question is How do you create a DNA-deep, sustaining capacity for innovation?

    You’d be hard pressed to meet a CEO or a leader today who doesn’t put innovation at the top of the agenda. And yet, how many organizations have devoted the energy and resources it takes to systematically build innovation into the values, processes, and practices that rule everyday activity and behavior? Not many. According to a recent McKinsey & Co. study, just 6 percent of leaders are satisfied with their company’s innovation performance. What gives?

    That disconnect isn’t due to lack of human ingenuity or resources. It’s a product of organizational DNA. Productivity, predictability, and alignment are embedded in the marrow of our management systems. Experimentation, risk-taking, and variety are the enemy of the efficiency machine that is the “modern” corporation. Of course, it’s variety (and the daring to be different) that produces game-changing innovation. If you want to develop a sustaining capacity for innovation, think about how do we make our management systems and practices enablers and catalysts of innovation (rather than impediments to it)? Put another way, how do we plan and prioritize, define roles and structures, allocate resources, measure and evaluate, equip and reward people, and develop new products to support innovation?

    For instance, you might ask yourself:

    • How might we create more slack and support for the pursuit of new things?
    • Could we re-think how we design work to cultivate more entrepreneurial energy?
    • What could we change in the way we evaluate leaders to cultivate more experimentation?
    • Could we open up our product development process to involve more stakeholders?
    • What market-based approach could we imagine to evaluate and fund new ideas?

    The answer to every one of those questions is what I call a “management hack”—an alternative to conventional management practice designed to uproot bureaucracy and cultivate innovation and adaptability.

    A second big question for the future: What does it mean to be a leader in a creative, connected, disruptive world?

    We live in a world where leadership, power, and influence are less about “where you sit” and more about “what you can do.” The most compelling leaders understand that authority is not bestowed by a title but is rather a currency you earn (and must keep earning) from your peers. The most effective individuals are constantly striving to maximize their ratio of accomplishment over authority.

    In that context, what is the work of leadership today? How do you conduct yourself as a leader day in and day out to keep yourself and your team moving with the times? A short course in 21st century leadership would probe the following:

    • Are you learning as fast as the world is changing? The imperative today is to remain open and hungry when it comes to discovering and experimenting with new ideas and new methods—to cultivate a first-person experience with the future.
    • Do you ask more questions than you give answers? This is a good one for anyone in a position of authority—parents and leaders alike. Questions offer up a powerful advantage in a world of expanding complexity and intense change—they help you attract more possibilities, surface more perspectives, and enlist more support to your cause. It’s not easy to get in the habit of asking questions in a world that values knowledge and mastery. If you’re having trouble, take your lead from a toddler and start asking: Why? Why not? What if?
    • Are you unreasonable enough? Turns out that all change is against the rules. Creativity is fundamentally subversive in nature. It’s the leader’s job to develop a contrarian point of view, invite dissent, and take an activist role in questioning and devising alternatives to the status quo. The most productive rebels aren’t out to make trouble—but to make genuine progress in the world.

    A third big question: How do you create organizations that unleash rather than squash human potential?

    One of the most important question for any leader today is How do we create a work environment that inspires exceptional contribution and merits an outpouring of passion, imagination, and initiative? It doesn’t matter if you are part of a giant, global company or a local chapter of a nonprofit, the most important leverage you can get when it comes to building a vibrant and sustainable organization is the human edge. What are you doing to unleash each person’s human gifts—creativity, zeal, resourcefulness?

    The most effective and inspiring leaders today understand that there is no tradeoff between creativity and discipline, between inventing the future and “turning the crank.” Instead, they are relentlessly clever when it comes to creating mechanisms for individuals to express themselves, to contribute, and to hold each other accountable at the same time.

    A final big question to consider: Are you different enough to make a difference?

    More than ever, the value you create is a function of the values you assert as an organization. Organizations animated by a deeply felt and widely shared sense of purpose are breeding grounds for passion—the ultimate multiplier of human effort.

    At a time when customers are contending with a seemingly limitless universe of urgent and compelling alternatives and demands on their time, how do you stand out? This isn’t an exercise in branding so much as a process of excavating, sharpening, and sharing a powerful sense of purpose. What do you stand for? What are you against? How do you draw that line in the sand? How do you keep sharpening the set of ideas in every interaction with your people and your customers?

    Two helpful questions to keep asking yourselves as leaders and as a larger team: What ideas are you fighting for? And, are you really who you say you are?

    Why is the focus on innovation so important to a business? Is that importance still true for a nonprofit, a health care organization, a school?

    Innovation is the only insurance against irrelevance in a world of unrelenting change. It’s the only antidote to the margin-crushing impact of global competition. It’s the only defense against younger, hungrier industry insurgents. It’s the only guarantee of continued customer loyalty.

    And it’s just as crucial for nonprofits, health care organizations, and even schools. Why? Every organization and every leader today is contending with a rapidly changing reality—wave after wave of disruptive technology, increasing interdependence of our institutions, social and environmental challenges, and the escalating demands of a variety of stakeholders. Organizations operate within the toughest constraints, and most need to tap into the full potential of their people to build a sustaining capacity to innovate and adapt. One of the most cost-effective, risk-bound, and fast ways to start to build your innovation muscles is to experiment with experimentation. How many options can you generate, quickly test, and iterate on? How many people can you involve across the organization in creating its future?