Thursday, August 27, 2009


In earlier posts I did mention the importance of using your own employees as a valuable source of new ideas. They can for instance come up with ideas for new offerings based upon changed customer needs, and also ideas how to speed up internal processes.

How can you stimulate ideas?
1. In order to create an environment where ideas will flourish, the management needs to build and gain trust..
2. They will only bring their ideas forward when they have the feeling and the experience that their ideas are taken seriously.
3. Never ‘punish ‘people for their ideas, even if they are not appropriate.
4. Give credit for ideas. The most important form of credit is verbal recognition of the valuable contribution.
5. Give support to get the ideas implemented. Support can be sponsorship and/or money and/or resources.
6. Do not force people to give more ideas. If the environment is positive and enthusiastic, people will automatically come up with ideas.
7. Always give feedback.
8. Be honest.
9. Control kills every initiative, so promote coaching.
10. Be vulnerable and let them know that you don’t have all the answers and that you need every set of eyes and ears in the company.
11. Give people access to blogs, video’s, social media.
12. Regularly invite speakers about a wide variety of subjects ( e.g. from gardening, to painting, to anthropology).
13. Let people attend seminars, network meetings, community gatherings.
14. Create spaces where people can brainstorm with each other.

These are just a basic set of conditions that need to be established. The investment is rather low, but the benefit can be substantial!

What are you doing to stimulate ideas?


Please click here to follow me on Twitter

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


It was Anthony Robbins who said that people would only change through pleasure or through pain. Pain is the strongest trigger of these two. This is the case at the personal as well as on the organizational level.
An organization is a collection of human beings who share a common purpose. An organization is nothing without its people. So, what triggers an organization to change is the same as what triggers you and me. The only thing, which causes real change in an organization, is the change of the people (leaders and employees).

Currently there is a lot of pain in organizations. This pain causes stress and stress is a signal that you have to change something in the way you are working/managing etcetera. You might be surprised that I think this is good, this is a moment that you should cherish as it helps you to use these obstacles to really grow you and your organization to the next level.

To get started it is very useful to describe the pain and your feelings associated with it. The description should cover both the pain that you experience as a person and the pain experienced at the organizational level.
Once that is clear you have to detach yourself from the situation and look at the (limiting) beliefs, which are behind those pains. What is really causing those pains?
To get the most out of this exercise it is key to be very open.
It is also extremely useful to write it down.

Once you have written about your pains and beliefs, both at the individual and at the organizational level, your playing field is very clear. You will immediately see which things you would like to change and ideas for innovation will pop up in your mind. Please bear in mind that innovation is not only about new products and services, but also about new processes, business models and management styles.

It is only when you are in the valley that you can see new mountain tops that you would like to conquer.
It is also very motivating for employees as you as a leader share your pains and challenges with them. A leader is a human being just like them. This vulnerability and humility will be the stepping stone for creating new, better, nicer results.

Are you willing to share your pain?


Please click here to follow me on Twitter

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


More and more organizations are looking outside for solutions to some of the challenges that they are facing. That is an excellent way of getting in touch with experts, who are the frontrunners in their particular subject.

According to Wikipedia crowdsourcing is: a neologism for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people or community in the form of an open call. For example, the public may be invited to develop a new technology, carry out a design task, refine or carry out the steps of an algorithm, or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data.

This methodology could also be used internally. This “incrowdsourcing” is perfectly suited to engage employees who are daily in touch with customers, but who are traditionally not involved in the marketing and sales processes.

There are many ‘forgotten’ groups in organizations who know quite well what the customer needs, but they are simply not being asked to express their ideas. When you get them involved in the process they will feel valued and fulfilled. And the implementation of their ideas is effortless, as they were the initiator in the first place.

Here are some of the people in your incrowd:
- Receptionist
- Project managers
- Service engineers
- Maintenance engineers
- Waiters
- Administrators
- Invoice specialists
- Customer services
- Cleaners
- Janitors
- Drivers

You can ask any of them how to improve your services and they will immediately come up with at least five suggestions. If you seriously check their contributions, they will be your eyes and ears in the market.

A great example is what Best Buy is doing with @Twelpforce. Best Buy is encouraging hundreds of employees to handle online customer service and company promotions via Twitter, even airing commercials not mentioning their own website but merely the URL of the profile they created. Best Buy employees can use their company and Twitter ID to register for the service, after which tweets from the lot of them will be displayed in a single stream on the same page.
Once registered, tweeting Best Buy employees from across all operations can send messages from the @Twelpforce account.

So, in what way are you using “incrouwdsourcing” to engage your employees??



Please click here to follow me on Twitter