Simplify Alignment with Framework Thinking

Simplify Alignment with Framework Thinking

Entrepreneurs get started in business with a great idea and the energy to bring it to reality. Then they grow the business based on hard work. Hopefully that hard work translates into a growing team of exceptional team players around them. But at some point the outcomes of raw desire and entrepreneurial energy start to peak. Then the outputs turn downward as the organization grows and coordination becomes more difficult. What created success as a start-up organization was agility, organic collaboration, and energy-driven execution. Those wins start to falter as the number of clients, the scale of the opportunities, and the complexity of the organization rises. (more…)...
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I Am Canadian – Canadian Values

I Am Canadian – Canadian Values

Today, as my neighbours to the south celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day to celebrate the life of one of the greatest spokesmen for Civil Rights we have ever seen, I have found myself bombarded with messages in the news and in social feeds that scare me as a Canadian. This is a unique MLK Day with the looming inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, a man who has pulled no punches in sharing his discriminatory views during (and after) the election campaign and who has filled his cabinet with similarly right wing and discriminatory folks. The words of Martin Luther King Jr are ringing in my ears as I look to the south of Canada: There is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.Martin Luther King Jr. But the language and messaging that has come with the Donald Trump election campaign and media fury has spilt over into Canada, into the country that I am proud...
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ROI Comes From Customer Value Creation

ROI Comes From Customer Value Creation

I read a post the other day looking at the ROI (Return On Investment) in immediate payment systems (banking speak for instant payments) and one particular statement made by the author made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. In fact, the real driver may not be the ROI but just keeping up with customer and regulatory needs. ROI can't come from regulatory needs and cost savings to be successful. It has to come from customer value creation if you want to be sustainable. If the ROI is some sort of fuzzy "feel good" or "customer experience" story without strong numbers most businesses won't invest in these types of problems. In this example, if all of the major banks in a country (such as Britain or Canada) decide that "instant payments" don't have a positive ROI they will all choose to not build that capability since it isn't "worth it". If they do choose to build it it will be...
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Fail Forward

Fail Forward

I was reading today about a number of the biggest product failures of all time (kind of a fun read actually). One of the things that jumped out at me was the number of companies that are known for being really innovative that made the list of failures. Normally if you were to put together a list that included Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Starbucks you would be reviewing the "most innovative brands" or something similar. What does it tell you if some of the best-known innovators are also on the list of the biggest innovation failures of all time? Everybody fails. It's what you do with those failures that Everybody fails. It's what you do with those failures that matters. If you look at these failures you can see how these innovative companies used them to "fail forward". They learned from the failure and turned that learning into future success. Just for fun let's highlight a few of the "big failures" to...
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Curiosity Killed the Cat (But Satisfaction Brought It Back)

Curiosity Killed the Cat (But Satisfaction Brought It Back)

I was doing my morning reading today and I came across a few posts and thoughts the value of opposing ideas, disagreement, and controversy and it reminded me of the value of curiosity when we are going about our daily lives. Increasingly we see leaders just "speaking louder", believing that by talking louder they will convince more people to agree with their position (as radical as it might be). Friends and family get in comment wars on social media and post ideas that are clearly intended to create tension and disagreement. People are shocked by the fact that other's opinions don't align perfectly with their own. We see more people with a false consensus bias which reduces the quality of our social conversation (and makes it challenging to maintain our own curiosity). False Consensus Bias = People have a tendency to overestimate the extent to which other people think the same way that they do. The solution to the challenge is housed in the...
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How Did You Do In 2016?

How Did You Do In 2016?

As we wrap up another year and start to think about our real plans and goals in 2017 I have been doing a lot of reading of year end "best of" lists, looking forward "trendspotting" lists, and a few "remember our goals last year" lists and the last category made me really think... mainly because there have only been a couple of them. So many lists at this time of year celebrating the "best of" what happened in 2016... so many companies and prognosticators talking about "what will happen" in 2017... and almost nobody talking about how the two aligned for the past 12 months. Perhaps it isn't surprising to see that very few people actually take their "plans and goals" from the start of the year and publish their results against those "wishes and dreams" lists that they published a year ago... it would after all require us to show some humility and acknowledgement for those things that didn't go...
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Flawless Execution In Innovation

Flawless Execution In Innovation

I've had many bosses who spoke about the need for "flawless execution" in our organization. They spoke of delivering with excellence, achieving plan, and a relentless pursuit of productivity in our work. Then they spoke about how innovative we were going to be. How we were going to try new things, adapt and increase our pace, and become more agile. And when they were done you could look around the room and see confusion and fear. "How can I take chances, try new things, adapt and increase pace, and be more agile while I am delivering with excellence, making no mistakes, achieving my plan, and delivering productivity?" was the thought going through everyone's mind... "Aren't those the exact opposite approaches?"... And then nothing changed. (more…)...
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Empathy Mapping – A Versatile Tool for your Toolbox

Empathy Mapping – A Versatile Tool for your Toolbox

One of my favourite tools, when I'm working on innovation, strategic planning, marketing, or even just preparing for an important meeting where a key decision is needed, is Empathy Mapping. Empathy Mapping is a way to discover new insights into people, customer segments, or personas you have developed for your new product or marketing campaign. Those insights will help you to position your new product around the value it creates. They provide you with a glimpse into a change in behaviours or approach which hinders your ability to push a project forward. New insights will help you identify new differentiating features which give you an advantage in the market. Ultimately Empathy Mapping is about understanding people better by reflecting on them and attempting to put yourself in their shoes. (more…)...
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Addressing Your Leadership Blind Spots (Yes You Have Them)

Addressing Your Leadership Blind Spots (Yes You Have Them)

We would all like to think that we are completely aware as leaders of what is happening around us and completely self-aware of how we are contributing to it but here is a harsh reality: You probably are missing a lot... you have blind spots. No matter how much time we invest in personal development, leadership development, and improving our skills as managers we all have blind spots in our leadership. We aren't seeing some important things that affect the performance of our organization, our people, and our outcomes. Those blind spots may lead you to make poor choices (as they did recently with Wells Fargo and their "incentives"), they may be contributing to a poor office culture which you as the leader don't see, or they may simply be limiting your employee's engagement in their work which leads to poor productivity, outcomes, and likely loss of some of your talented team members. The reality is that every leader has blind spots... you aren't...
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Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone

Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Neale Donald Walsch Your comfort zone is the behavioural space where your patterns and routines minimize your stress and risk with a situation. It provides you with mental security and provides you with the obvious benefits of basic happiness, reduced anxiety, and lower stress. It is also one of the most important challenges to your success and enjoyment of life. If you stay in your comfort zone you may be less stressed, but you will also be learning less, experiencing less, learning less, and growing less. The idea of "stepping out of your comfort zone" isn't just a great sound bite or quote. It actually stems from the research of Robert M Yerkes and John D Dodson in 1908 where they found that to maximize performance they needed to create a state of "relative anxiety" that they called "Optimal Anxiety". This doesn't mean putting someone into a completely uncomfortable position. It does mean extending...
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