Posts Tagged ‘experimentation’

When I was a young cadet on basic infantry officer training the instructors would give us leadership challenges so we could practise our skills and they could evaluate us. One time I was put in charge of navigation for the platoon. We were on a night patrol and had to advance through relatively open terrain until we came a to a wood line. At that point, I had planned our route to take a different heading toward our objective.

As we walked in single file through the darkness, I could see the wood line approaching ahead. The only problem was that we weren’t supposed to be that close to the wood according to our pace counting, which is how we measured the distance covered (back in the days of map and compass, before GPS). I got more and more anxious as we got closer to the wood line. Finally, I halted the march and told the cadet platoon commander that it looked like I had made a navigation error.

We huddled under an opaque tarp with the flashlight—so as not to signal our presence to the “enemy”—and examined the map closely. No matter how I turned it and recalculated our route, I couldn’t square the fact of seeing the wood line so close with my verified calculations showing we were still at least one kilometer from the wood. I nonetheless concluded that the pace-counters and I had made an error and that we were in fact very close to the wood. I dutifully told this to the platoon commander. He asked me if I was sure and I assured him that we were very close to the wood line. At this point, the NCO who was evaluating me came up and asked what was happening, why we had stopped. I explained my reasoning, he looked at the wood line, and shrugged, saying we should hurry up and not stay out in open terrain without moving.

So the platoon resumed its march toward the wood, which I was sure by now was only 40 or 50 meters away. A few seconds later, we entered a low shrub bush. It was only a few tens of meters deep, and once we were through, there was no wood or wood line. In fact, I could now clearly see in the limited moonlight that the wood line was were it was supposed to be, about 800 or 900 meters distant.

I immediately realized that my error wasn’t in navigation, but rather in perspective. I couldn’t have been more embarrassed if someone had shone a spotlight on me. I felt my face flush and a knot in my stomach. I had mistaken the shrubs a few meters in front the platoon for the wood line one kilometer away. I felt foolish, because I had discounted my calculations and the questioning of the pace-counters and platoon commander in favour of my own faulty impressions, no doubt caused by fatigue, self-doubts about my navigation skills, and anxiety at being responsible for finding our way to the objective. In this particular instant of my young military career, I had detected an obstacle that wasn’t there. To paraphrase the Pogo cartoon of the 1950s, “I had met the enemy, and he was me.”

You’d think that I would have learned a major lesson at that point, but I guess I was too young to generalize it to other areas of my personal and professional life before going through similar processes several more times. How many times did I have to learn that I was often discovering obstacles—enemies even—that simply weren’t there? Over time I realized that most obstacles and enemies in my path were completely illusory.

As I’ve developed my consulting practice over the last eight years I’ve come to the realization that this “enemy is us” phenomenon applies to just about everyone, in at least some areas of their professional and personal lives. When we set out to reach a goal, we often create illusory enemies or obstacles. I’m constantly surprised at how my suggestions for improvement or to try something new are rebuffed with declarations such as: that would never work for me; I’ve tried that once (17 years ago) and it didn’t work; so-and-so try that and it didn’t work; that’s too hard for me; I couldn’t never do that; and, my personal favourite, what if I fail?

I had breakfast with a highly successful businesswoman a few days ago. She was wondering why she could accomplish so much in such a short period of time and get results no matter what happens, while others constantly struggle. I realize now what the “secret of her success” is. She doesn’t doubt herself, or second-guess her approach to reaching her objectives. She just goes out and does it without worrying about trying, or failing, or not doing it the right way. To quote Yoda, that master of enigmatic wisdom, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

What are the imaginary obstacles you put in your personal and professional path? Are there bogeymen that you need to extirpate from your imagination? What enemies lurk in ambush in your mind? What shrubs and bushes are masquerading as trees and woods in your perspective?

© Alcera Consulting Inc. 2014. We encourage the sharing of this information and forwarding of this email with attribution. All other rights reserved.

Recently, an acquaintance of mine posed the question, do small businesses need strategy? My answer is that ALL organizations need strategy, whether they are big or small, in the private sector or public sector, profit or not for profit. Whether it’s in the military, business, government, or social sector, strategy is about asking and answering fundamental questions about the nature of the organization’s purpose and mission. What are its goals, its purpose, its character, and what resources can and should be allocated to these ends? What are the organization’s key advantages and strengths, its competitors and stakeholders, and how should these all be exploited and leveraged in order to prevail and achieve the mission and vision?

Last year Facebook acquired Instagram, the service that allows users to upload and share photographs. The only problem is that the company up to then was essentially without a strategy or even a business model. Not surprisingly, it didn’t generate any revenue, and had little prospect of doing so until a basic strategy could be worked out. Facebook has since forced Instagram to get its act together and to start generating revenue. The process started simply enough: to find the company’s mission. That apparently took two whole weeks! I tend to get exasperated when that process takes longer than an hour when I facilitate strategy. But you have to take the time needed to get that part straight, because how do you know what your strategy can and should be if you don’t even know what your purpose and main objective is? This doesn’t create the strategy automatically, but it’s the start of the process of formulation, planning, experimentation, learning and refinement that leads to effective and implementable strategy.

Whether you’re big or small, you need strategy.

Food for Thought
What is our purpose? What are our fundamental values — what do we stand for? What are our goals? What are our key advantages and strengths and how can we exploit these to dominate the competition and secure our future? These are just some of the questions all organizations need to ask and answer to start the process of creating and implementing successful strategy.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

One of the most effective infantry tactics is infiltration. For instance, during the First World War, the Germans and the Western allies learned the importance of sending in small groups of fighters to scout out enemy positions ahead of a battle, or simply to conduct short, sharp raids. Infiltration could be deadly in both material and psychological terms, as it caused a steady drip drip of casualties while also undermining the morale of those being infiltrated. This continued throughout the Second World War, Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan.

Companies often fail to appreciate the indidious undermining of their once-solid positions by a steady stream of competitors and their slightly “improved” or differentiated products. Competition usually comes as infiltration, slowly but inexorably working its way into the market. One day, the leadership of a once-dominant company wakes up to find itself surrounded by competitive offerings and it all happened so slowly that they can’t pinpoint the specific time it happened. But they are nonetheless surrounded and in danger. This is what has happened to Blackberry, Microsoft, and others.

Food for Thought
Are you susceptible to infiltration by competitors and non-business stakeholders who can undermine your strong positions? Can you use infiltration against your competitors?

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Brilliant Manoeuvre

Sometimes you need to withdraw in order to come back stronger and fight another day.

Discussion
One of the things I learned in the military and from my study of history is that you sometimes have to withdraw from a position of weakness where you can’t win in order to come back stronger with a better chance of dominating the field of battle. The Roman legions were expert at doing this, as were the British during the building of their empire in the 18th and 19th centuries. In business we sometimes insist on throwing good money after bad in a losing situation. It’s okay to be persistent, but when you’ve been trying for years to, say, break into a market without much success and it’s burning up huge amounts of capital, it may be time to withdraw in order to fight another day on another battlefield, with different weapons and from a position of strength.

Food for Thought

  • Have you been failing repeatedly with a new product or market despite sustained effort and huge investment in resources? What would be the effect of withdrawing from this approach?
  • Are you maintaining products or staying in markets because of pigheadedness, or because you can truly win with them?
  • Do you have raging successes that you have ignored because they didn’t fit your ideas of the business or strategy? What about more obscure successes within your business?
  • What would it take to elevate these unexpected successes to replace the repeated failures? Can you transfer resources from the latter to the former?
  • Do you have a systematic approach to experimenting with new products, markets, processes, and business models? Are you open to change or do you stick to your approaches in the face of contrary evidence?

NEW!

Join me for my first ever monthly teleconference series on Brilliant Manoeuvres: How to Use Military Wisdom to Win Business Battles . I will be introducing new content and techniques to complement those in the book. The series starts on Friday 20 September 2013 with a monthly call on the 3rd Friday of every month until June 2014. The cost is $100.00 if you register before 14 September 2013. There will be a MP3 download within 48 hours of each call so you can (re)listen at your own leisure.

Register now!

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Precision-Strike Strategy

My most popular interventions over the years have been my high-intensity strategy and planning sessions with organizational leadership teams. Using my 26 years of military command and leadership experience, I guide my clients from vague wishes and objectives to specific, concrete, and actionable plans, complete with measurable outcomes, mission, milestones, resource estimations, responsibilities, coordination measures, and supporting plans.

I want more businesses and organizations to access this timely, precision-strike strategy and planning so they can seize and maintain the initiative against competitors in highly volatile conditions. This is why I’ve created Precision-Strike Strategy, a special high intensity strategy and planning process involving 2 days of focused work with an executive team that produces outstanding value quickly for a very reasonable investment. I use military techniques that have been honed in the heat of battle to create outstanding strategy and tactics and the plans to execute them effectively and efficiently.

Precision-Strike Strategy is perfect for teams:

  • Formulating new strategy and plans quickly and effectively
  • Tweaking and adjusting existing strategy and plans
  • Validating current strategy and tactics
  • Considering various change scenarios and their effect on your business or mandate

“Richard facilitated a two-day strategy and planning session with me and my SVPs. Richard helped us to create a clear vision for the company and a realistic plan for achieving it. His ability to integrate his military leadership and strategic planning experience were key in keeping us all on track and identifying the results that each of us must achieve. …The disciplined approach that Richard learned in the army was critical in getting us to focus and work as a team. We finished the session pumped and ready to work together to implement our strategic plan and to grow the business the way it needs to be grown.”
Sylvain Thauvette, President and CEO, Business & Decision, North America
 
“Richard was instrumental in guiding us, from the president to the team itself, not only to create a new business model, but also to shape it. He helped us focus on the important, mould the new, and leave the rest. Richard has a keen sense to first hear what is important and matters to us, then to construct the appropriate road and finally to lead us all down that newly built path. Thanks Richard!”
Laure Gazalé, Director of Sales, JPdL Montreal
 
“Richard worked with us to create a clear mission, vision, and values for Kingston Transit. He helped us confirm that more than ever the driving force of our business is our ability to move people effectively and efficiently within a high quality network. This confirmation is already providing dividends as we implement network upgrades and new routes and invest in our infrastructure.”
Denis Léger, Commissioner of Corporate Services, City of Kingston, Ontario
 
“Your disciplined a  pproach and keen sense of organization allowed us to brainstorm freely within a structured framework while staying focused on the main objective.”
Linda Daoust, Chief Executive Officer, Mutuelle des municipalités du Québec

Fee
$8,500 for a 2-day Precision-Strike Strategy session with an executive/management/operational team

Laser Guided Coaching

My military leadership experience taught me the importance of honest and concrete feedback to improve performance. I’ve also realized as  a management consultant and executive coach that we all need the perspective and insight of a thoughtful and incisive advisor, someone who can provide unbiased council and reflective observations with laser focus and accuracy.

I’m getting more a nd more requests for exactly this type of focused and timely advice. This is why I have created the Laser Guided Coaching process. In only one half-day or full-day session I can guide any executive, manager, entrepreneur, or professional through a rigorous and enlightening process of personal development, strategy, tactics, and planning.

Laser Guided Coaching is perfect for executives wishing to:

  • Improve leadership skills and style
  • Critique or set personal strategy and plans
  • Explore solutions to specific problems
  • Set objectives and priorities
  • Examine basic assumptions
  • Assess strengths and areas for growth

The goal is to gain insight quickly with minimal fuss and disruption to organizational or team activities. I use my military and coaching expertise to help individuals focus in on problems, solutions, and decisions quickly and effectively. Where else can you get such Laser Guided Coaching for such a reasonable and predictable investment?

“As CEO I usually spend a lot more time working on current problems than planning for the future. By working with Richard, I was able to get from a vague idea of what I wanted for the company to a very definite strategy and plan. Initially, we spent a day together covering all aspects of the business, including my objectives, the market and competition, previous results and the current situation. Richard asked all the right questions, forcing me to think about issues I hadn’t previously considered, or to see them differently. His recommendations were spot on and I was able to start implementing changes right after a single day spent together.”
Sylvain Thauvette, President and CEO, Business & Decision, North America
 
“I’ve known and have worked with Richard for several years. He is smart, creative and talented and is devoted to constantly improving his clients’ condition. If you are looking for a thought leader, with great experience, who can help you and your organization, Richard is the one I highly recommend.”
Chad Barr, President, CB Software Systems, Inc.
 
“As a professional coach, I really appreciated your comparison of coaching and mentoring. You showed us the nuances and differences of both methods and this helps to dispel much of the confusion over these two concepts in the business community. Your discussion of supporting concepts such as the learning curve, progression by leaps, and the principles of information and feedback contributed greatly to our understanding and knowledge and synthesized much of the discussion. You also encouraged a free exchange of ideas in a relaxed atmosphere through your interactive approach and your open-mindedness.”
Sylvie Boisvert, FIAC, Professional Coach
 
“Rich Martin has an insightful, counter-intuitive Weltanschauung that I highly recommend to anyone who seeks analysis that goes far beyond the mere assertions of recycled media reports, suspect think-tank assertions, and the mundane.”
Sean M. Maloney, PhD, Royal Military College of Canada

Fee
$2,000 for a half-day or $3,500 for a full-day Laser Guided Coaching session

1-514-453-3993
1-888-453-3993 (toll free)
richard.martin@alcera.ca

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his
military and business leadership and management experience to bear for exe-
cutives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

Richard Martin est consultant, conférencier et coach. Il met son expérience de leadership militaire et d’affaires à profit pour les cadres et organisations qui veulent exploiter le changement, maximiser les opportunités et minimiser les risques.

The economist Joseph Schumpeter is famous for saying that capitalism is a process of creative destruction. Actually I think the concept goes back to Karl Marx. The point is essentially that in a free society, human ingenuity will lead to new products, services, and ideas. Many, if not most, of these novelties will die, but many won’t, and eventually they overtake the products, services, and ideas of existing companies and organizations.

Just last week, Publicis and Omnicom, two of the largest advertising firms in the world, decided to merge in order to fight off the aggressive inroads of Google, Facebook, and other tech companies that provide highly variegated yet precision information to advertisers. The ability to gather detailed data on the habits and preferences of individuals can be transformed into precision-strike ads for their screens. The same process is occurring in digital cameras. According to the Wall Street Journal, sales of low-end point-and-click digital cameras by Japanese manufacturers are down about 45% in the last year. This is obviously due to the inclusion of still and video camera capabilities in smart phones, along with the ability to upload and transfer the images immediately.

But it’s not just new products and services that can be disruptive to incumbents. One of my clients has been facing a downturn in purchasing in its industry for close to five years now, with little end in sight to the belt-tightening. An acquaintance of mine in a completely unrelated industry is facing lengthening timelines on payment, with very large clients squeezing their suppliers and forcing them to finance their cash flow. A former client is in the financial industry. She works for a very profitable and growing company that is cutting budgets in order to increase profits and hoard cash. Finally, several insurance executives have told me that continued low interest rates have a major impact on the profitability of their business. All of these phenomena impact on business just as much as new competitors, substitute products, or new technologies.

We have to be constantly ready to recreate and reinvent ourselves whether things are going well or going poorly. Obviously, it’s best to make our own products, processes, and services obsolete before others do, especially when we have the wherewithal to do so. But it’s all the more important when in difficulty. IBM is one of the most successful at this process of reinvention over the decades. Throughout this evolution, IBM always built on its existing businesses and expertise in order to transition to new capabilities and markets. Meanwhile, companies like Dell and HP, while making significant gains in IT services, are struggling with their large dependence on hardware, particularly desktop computers.

How does a company make the transition from current business to future business? This is not an easy process, but there are a few principles that can guide in the evolution:

•    Build on successes and strengths. This is what IBM has done well over the years. Google is also masterful at offering new products and services that build on dominance, for example, the Android operating system, which incorporates features and usability that exploit its dominance in search and precision-strike advertising.
•    Proceed by trial and error. Google exemplifies this principle, with its constant experimentation, innovation, and extension of existing concepts and services. Most of the company’s innovation is generated as a result of private initiatives that compete internally for investment and reinforcement.
•    Reward and reinforce individual initiative. Revolution and evolution from above rarely if ever work. They are inherently unpredictable and percolate from the bottom up.
•    Stop what isn’t working. Obviously, we have to be persistent when something doesn’t work at first, but there comes a time when we have to ask ourselves if further investment in time, energy, and money will lead to growth of the initiative. A rule of thumb I use is that an initiative has to show at least some level of success when it is first mooted. For instance, if I introduce a new service as a consultant and nothing happens, then that is a good indication that it won’t work, no matter how much energy and resources I pour into it. On the other hand, any interest, no matter how small, shows at least some potential that can be built upon.
•    Revive and resuscitate. The Newton was Apple’s first attempt at a handheld computer, but it never really took off. Despite that, the company learned a lot from the experience. When technology evolved to the point that the concept could be explored anew, it led eventually to the iPad.
•    Offer new products and services to existing customers. This may be obvious, but I find that companies often put themselves through agonies to develop completely new products for markets that they’ve never touched before. This is very risky, as there is not only the risk associated with new products and everything that can entail in terms of suppliers, operations, distribution channels, marketing and advertising, but then you have to enter a market that you have very little knowledge of. You’re doubling the risk but no necessarily the reward potential.

I could go on with this list, but the point is to be willing to explore new possibilities. This entails accepting that your best successes and strengths of the past and present may not continue on into the future. We should all be constantly questioning our assumptions. This is something that I learned in my 26-year military career, and as a student of military and business history. All successes eventually become the source of a downfall, unless they are used as a springboard to continuous evolution and revolution.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© Alcera Consulting Inc. 2013. We encourage the sharing of this information and forwarding of this email with attribution. All other rights reserved.

I was interviewed by marketing expert Linda Popky, president of Leverage to Market Associates. Linda’s website is www.leverage2market.com.

The podcast is titled ‘From Battlefield to the Business World: What Marketers Can Learn From the Military.’ You can access it by clicking on the title link I’ve provided to Linda’s blog.

The interview is based on my book, Brilliant Manoeuvres: How to Use Military Wisdom to Win Business Battles. Duration is about 20 minutes, but I’m sure you will find the information very useful in winning your own business battles, whether in marketing or any other field of endeavour.

Brilliant Manoeuvre
Conduct rigorous after action reviews consistently and institutionalize lessons learned.

Discussion
Just like military forces, companies and other types of organization should be disciplined about conducting after action reviews. Historically, this type of organizational learning started during the First World War. The image of swarms of soldiers going over the top to be slaughtered in ranks while in no man’s land is mainly a myth. The belligerents soon realized the folly of frontal assaults against dug in positions, and started immediately to experiment with new tactics to maximize their efficiency while minimizing their casualties. This culminated with the German Army’s invention of storm-trooper tactics. The same thing happened in other armies.

Companies must do the same thing. For instance, after a sales campaign everyone involved should be consulted to determine what went well and what went poorly. The lessons must then assessed for relevance and institutionalized to improve chances of success in the future. It is only when they are implemented as part of the system that the lessons learned become ‘lessons learned.’

Tip
Formulate and implement a rigorous and disciplined process of after action review and lessons learned. Ensure that valid lessons are institutionalized so that the entire organization can benefit from the trials, errors, and successes of others.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Brilliant Manoeuvre
A key role for every leader is mentoring and coaching his or her subordinates so they develop to their full potential.

Discussion
One of my clients is a long-time entrepreneur. He knows how to sell and promote his business; he’s not afraid to experiment and try new things; he’s approachable and helpful; and he provides inspiration and leadership to everyone in his company. However, I’ve been getting him to develop his own leadership capabilities so he recognizes that he has a major role in developing the leadership and managerial capabilities of his direct reports. For instance, we recently discussed how to work on developing better industry understanding in a relatively new executive. My client brought in this individual because of his extensive management experience in larger companies. However, he needs to develop certain other skills and knowledge so that he can be the most effective leader possible within the organization. It’s not enough to assume that newly hired employees already know everything they need to function within the company. They too must be developed through coaching and mentoring. This can be done with outside coaches, but executives, managers, and supervisors must also play a critical part in this process.

Tip
Do you know every one of your team members by name? Do you know their backgrounds? Where they are from, their goals and aspirations, their particular strengths and limitations? If you can’t answer these most basic questions about your people then you don’t really know them well enough to develop them to their full potential.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

In his book, Ignorance: How it drives science, biochemist Stuart Firestein starts by quoting an old proverb, “It is very difficult to find a black cat in a dark room,” and adds “especially when there is no cat.”

Firestein notes that the pursuit of science appears to non-scientists as a very rational and systematic approach to discovery. In actuality, it’s much more like that old proverb than walking down a well-lighted path. The truth is that scientists have to explore many false paths and grope around in the dark room, hoping to find that black cat. But the dark room can be huge, and even endless, and there is no guarantee that there is even a cat in there.

I find that many things about business are very similar. We don’t know ahead of time if our new product ideas will work. Will customers respond the way we anticipate? Will competitors beat us to the punch? Will we be able to deliver on our promises? We can make assumptions about all of this, but that is just what they are, assumptions.

As I pointed out in my book, Brilliant Manoeuvres, assumptions must be validated and tested. Military strategy and tactics provide one model of the application of trial and error to discovery and success. But science also provides a useful model and template. As pointed out by philosopher Karl Popper, science is really a series of conjectures and refutations about the nature of the world and how it works. For instance, in physics, theorists propose new models of the world and experimentalists test them. Theories and hypotheses that have little or no empirical validation are cast aside in favour of those with experimental evidence. This process continues over and over until progress is achieved in understanding reality.

The same process applies in business. Innovation, whether new products and services, new markets, or new internal processes, is nothing but a form of conjecture about what will work in the real world of business. The marketplace is the crucible of experimentation that seeks empirical evidence to demonstrate that the conjecture is correct. Correct business models and innovations are successful to the extent that customers accept them.

Call it a form of un-natural selection. Companies and entrepreneurs put forth ideas based on their understanding of the market and competition, and then they are proved by the test of business success.

To carry this analogy further, businesses must apply the basic principles of innovation and trial and error experimentation.

•    A mechanism to generate new ideas. These can be innovative products and services, or they can also be new ways of viewing the market. For instance, before Henry Ford imagined the Model T, he was driven by the vision of automobiles for every average American family. Prior to the Model T, cars were hand-made toys for the rich. Henry Ford’s innovations explored new manufacturing techniques in order to make his car available to a market that up to then had been essentially ignored.

•    This generation mechanism must be wide-ranging and non-censoring. The perfect model for this is of course brainstorming, where you simply throw out ideas without initial regard for their apparent reasonability or feasibility. In fact, the more ideas appear initially irrational or unfeasible, the better they might be at disrupting the status quo, both internally and externally.

•    Good ideas can (and should) come from all levels and areas of the business. As an example, customer service agents and field service representatives often know more about customer concerns and suggestions for improvements than anyone else in the company. Sales people usually know what the competition is doing. Suppliers and distributors can often provide advance warning of changes in the marketplace and competition. These sources of ideas must be nurtured, encouraged and exploited.

•    Innovations can be external and internal. By this I mean that good ideas don’t just translate directly into new or improved products, services, or markets. It can be someone suggesting a new internal procedure that saves time and money. Or a production manager who finds a potential new supplier at lower cost for equivalent quality. In other words, everything is subject to innovation.

•    Selection should be reality based. Too often ideas are rejected or put out of bounds because ‘that’s not how we do things around here,’ or ‘that’s never worked before,’ or even, ‘because I said so.’ The latter is probably the worst one, but I’ve observed this type of innovation selection by fiat and nothing is more stultifying of growth and continuous improvement. The only truly effective selection mechanism is successful implementation in the external and internal competitive and organizational marketplace.

This is why I advocate trial and error in innovation and change management. No one can predict the future, what will work or not, before it is actually tried. For this reason, we need to find ways to try different ideas and approaches while managing the associated risk. What have you tried lately that is new and innovative?

© Alcera Consulting Inc. 2013. We encourage the sharing of this information and forwarding of this email with attribution. All other rights reserved.