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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Build a Strong Foundation for Innovation

Build a Strong Foundation for Innovation

Those of you who know me won't be shocked by the fact that I have a serious passion for innovation. I believe you always need to be constantly pushing your organization (and your life) forward. You need to focus on reinventing what you do and how you do it as often as possible to drive new value for your customers and your organization. To succeed, you need to build a strong foundation for innovation.Companies like GE or IBM who have consistently changed their business sold off core components, reinvented their primary revenue base, and evolved how they execute based on the demands of an evolving market. These are great examples of companies that innovate very well.But their innovative success isn't based solely on a mindset, fancy frameworks, or crazy wild innovators (although that helps). To earn the right to be innovative they first had to be exceptional companies. (more…)...
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Connecting Strategy and Execution

Connecting Strategy and Execution

I will be speaking next week at the Bank-IT Conference on the topic of "Building a Full Stack Strategy: Integrating Strategy from Business Vision to Tech Execution" so I felt that I would share some of my thinking more broadly here. While my discussion next week is focused on the Technology area, connecting strategy to execution is critical across the organization. Integrated strategy drives execution excellence.Too many organizations build their strategy in a silo. The strategy is separate from the business lines and supporting organizations required to execute. In many organizations, you'll find "Strategic Management" offices or "CEO Strategy Board" functions. These teams operate at the highest level of the organization and focus on the macro issue and strategy. They then pass their plans and white papers off to the supporting teams on the assumption that will result in the execution of those plans.(more…)...
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Who’s Driving Your Innovation Bus?

Who’s Driving Your Innovation Bus?

Innovation has become the buzzword of the decade with every CEO, Senior Manager, and CTO beating the drum for "Innovation" in their companies. While I don't disagree with them on the need for innovation, I do have a major issue with the way that many of them are driving that innovation agenda.When tech leaders or business leaders drive an innovation agenda within their own areas of speciality without integrating that agenda with the core value creating areas of the business the agenda is doomed to mediocrity. In addition, in most cases these leaders are not differentiating between "Innovating" (solving problems in new ways) and "Implementing Innovations" (the application of other's innovations within your business).(more…)...
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Are You Running in Circles?

Are You Running in Circles?

Over the past few weeks I've been involved in a number of situations where urgent requests have been made of people and teams, and they have diligently run off at pace to deliver an appropriate response only to discover (days and weeks later) that their interpretation of the request wasn't correct, or worse yet to come back together as a team to discover that big pieces of the request have been missed completely.Time and effort were lost because:People failed to clarify the request and ensure that everyone (requestor and requestee) were on the same page in terms of what needed to be delivered; and Teams failed to review the request, identify the deliverables clearly, and assign clear ownership and timelines to each piece of the puzzle to ensure that things got done.A colleague likened it to a firework - a senior executive makes a high level request and expresses urgency but may not provide the level of clarity the team needs...
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Packaging Matters

Packaging Matters

As I noted in my last entry, platform thinking is a problem when you try to communicate the value of your product or service offering to a potential client.  The problem is that I have been struggling with the same issue for the past couple of months and only now have been able to put together the compelling story for my own business.  (Something that several in my network have been pointing out to me for a while now).Putting together the compelling story that will sell your product or services can feel like either finding a needle in a haystack (if you are unsure of who your target market is) or limiting your potential (if you are guilty of platform thinking).  I have always been sure that my target market is the Entrepreneurs who run new and small businesses in Halton and Hamilton so I didn't have the problem of the haystack, but I come from a generalist background so colour me guilty...
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It’s All In The Follow Through

It’s All In The Follow Through

It's been said many times that follow up is key to success, but I would suggest that it goes deeper than just a simple follow-up if you want to dominate in your field.Just like a good golf swing, the best hitters in baseball, and a great slapshot, the key to exceeding the expectations of your clients and colleagues is the follow through.Following up is a simple one time activity that anyone can do.  Leaving a meeting with an expected 'follow-up' date or meeting is easy (provided the meeting went well), but committing to something of real value during a meeting that would require you to 'follow through' is much less common.I had a meeting at the end of last week with a new network connection in which we both spent some time going over the types of services we provide to our customers and the types of customers we are most interested in being introduced to, and I was surprised and...
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