Similiarities, Differences and Co-Existence of Kaizen and Innovation

When KaizenBiz community members suggest a post or topic, I listen and find a way to include it in our weekly chat. So, when Bernd Nurnberger (@CoCreatr) suggested a post on how Amazon is using kaizen, it seemed interesting to look at kaizen. Companies of all sizes are often looking for ways to be better, more efficient but there is also a desire to innovate products and services so they can capture more of the market. Where are the similarities and differences between kaizen and innovation? And can they co-exist in the same organization?

Kaizen – quick review

Kaizen is a Japanese concept of continuous and incremental improvement of a process. This process might be a manufacturing process, an accounting process or a customer service and the continuous improvements make the process more effective and efficient. Toyota is the most famous example of a company that uses kaizen although a number of companies also use it.

Innovation

We’ve talked about innovation a few times on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz because it is somewhat elusive and much desired by nearly every company that exists. In “What’s All the Fuss About Innovation?“, I used this definition, “the process of translating an idea or invention to a good or service that creates value for which customers will pay.” Curiously, for this framing post, I ran across another definition from an Australian govemment initiative which described innovation as “…renewing, changing or creating more effective processes, products or ways of doing things.” With the Australian government’s definition, it might seem that there is little difference between kaizen and innovation.

Other overlaps

Here are some other overlaps that spring to mind:

  • Both kaizen and innovation rely on someone identifying that there is another (and better) way to do something.
  • Organizational leaders must be sponsors and/or supporters for the changes to be explored and implemented
  • They both depend on ideas
  • Iteration is often part of the process
  • Use creativity in problem solving

However there are differences

Even with a number of overlaps, there are ways that kaizen and innovation are not the same:

  • Kaizen is a continous process that uses incremental steps and can be rigorous in its application across the organization
  • Innovation can range from being small adjustments or changes or radical new things
  • Innovation can seem chaotic or without structure due to the creative process
  • Kaizen is typically anyone’s job in an organization while innovation tends to be assigned to a particular group of people
  • Kaizen focuses on what is and how it can better and more efficient
  • Innovation focuses on what could be and how it is new and/or disruptive

 But can they co-exist?

There are a few dynamics swirling around organizations. One is the memory of the experience of the Great Recession is still very fresh so there are policies, business goals and expectations created in response. This is certainly prudent as companies are rebuilding and adjusting to the current circumstances. Another dynamic is the rapid progression of technological advancements. One of the other dynamics is this mindset that unless a company is innovative, it is unsustainable and will fail. In a Forbes post, Vijay Govindarajan is quoted saying,

“The more you hardwire a company on total quality management, [the more] it is going to hurt breakthrough innovation. The mindset that is needed, the capabilities that are needed, the metrics that are needed, the whole culture that is needed for discontinuous innovation, are fundamentally different.”

That seems to indicate that they cannot co-exist. This opens a number of questions. Not all organizations are designed to pursue radical changes. There may even be a lack of understanding of both kaizen and innovation.

What do you think? Is there a place for kaizen alongside innovation? What similarities and differences do you believe exist?  Join us Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT to look at this more closely on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz

Is there any chance that something is missing or missed as systems are tweaked and refined?

What is the difference between change and improvement?

In what ways could kaizen prevent innovation in an organization?

How could kaizen could co-exist with innovation? Are any adaptations necessary?

 

 

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Is Branding Going Through Another Evolution Or More of the Same?

Branding is always an interesting topic. In many ways, successful branding is a bit like catching lightning in a bottle as it is hard to know just how a consumer sees a particular company.. Paula Lawlor of the Beacon Initiative describes “…branding is what you are.” From your logo to how you are represented in your communications, branding is meant to illustrate who a company is in the world and what sort of person buys from said company.

Coca-Cola is an easy example

It is easy to identify the red and white and particular font used by Coca-Cola. Coke is meant to signify happiness and community. From the recent American ad to the bottles with names printed on them in 32 countries in Europe, Coca Cola has been clear about who they are and why they want the consumer to pick their carbonated beverage over another. They are speaking to lifestyle and values, not thirst.

But is branding really changing or is it more of the same?

A recent New Yorker post by James Surowiecki claims we’re in “The Twilight of the Brands.” He uses Lululemon as an example of how brands are fragile. After the debacle with the see-through yoga pants and the fabric pilling, Lululemon’s brand could no longer be associated with the “lifestyle” they branded. And adding to this public crisis is the access consumers have to information about brands and their products. Surowiecki explains that brand loyalty is largely a relic of a time when information was less accessible. A company can make a fabulous or disastrous product and have it discussed and dissected via social media. This coupled with segmentation and that a company’s reputation is based on the most recent product (not its history) could very well make branding even more ephemeral.

This seems to say that branding has to evolve into a “personality” more than a message

Branding does seem to be more about “who you are” rather than historical performance. Just because Sony made a great television in that past doesn’t mean consumers will trust that its current product is equally as good. Which brings us to Tom Asacker’s question, “Does branding matter?” In his post, Asacker writes, “A brilliant idea, even if placed directly in people’s paths, is simply not enough to engage them today.” This seems to agree with Surowiecki’s point that brand loyalty is waning, if not dead. It is not the idea that matters, it is the “impassioned dance.” Branding seems to becoming a mutual storytelling between company and consumers. Perception, context and priorities are more than a message. They embody the personality of the company. Whether an organization sells itself as green, innovative, sustainable or some other sexy concept depends on the consumer participating in creating the message. Brand evangelization, word of mouth and social media posts and shares describe companies as “someone” with whom to do business. If branding is really a mutual act between company and consumer, it may be that branding is evolving.

What do you think? Is branding going through another evolution or is it really more of the same? Join us Friday, February 21, 2014 at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT to look at this more closely on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz

How is branding really an expression of the consumer’s desired lifestyle?

What trends or changes do you see in how companies brand themselves?

 How does access to information from other consumers add to a brand’s story?

How is branding more like a company’s personality than a message?

About the author:  Elli St.George Godfrey, founder of Ability Success Growth, executive coach, trainer and international expansion consultant, is the host of KaizenBiz. I’m passionate about business becoming a more human-centered place so I host this chat to connect business ideas and develop people.This passion shows up in my work with my clients. Whether you are expanding locally or internationally, Ability Success Growth guides established small to mid-sized business owners and executives to unlock the CEO within during times of transition and growth.

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Okay, Managers, How Do You Keep Good Employees?

managers, keep good employees, stay interviews, performance coachingWhile you may be reading news articles reporting how many jobs were created in your region of the world, it is often interesting to see if this is a localized event or something bigger. According to a 2013 Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, global trends point to positive growth but survey after survey of employee engagement still report dismal numbers.

So, what’s a manager to do with the new and existing employees?

We have discussed employee engagement before on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz but we usually look at it from the employee’s perspective. But there are certain challenges for managers. There is plenty of advice to be more authentic and to act as more of a facilitator of people’s talents and personalities. There are many workplace trends that affect the nature of management. And yet, the basics tasks of management haven’t changed. Managers are still expected to plan, organize, coordinate, encourage, provide and monitor their staff. The methods may change over time but not the essential job.

But aren’t the methods really at the nub of finding and keeping good employees?

This is where the 21st workplace is something of a crucible for managers. Leaders may navigate the company as a whole through the turbulence left in the wake of the Great Recession, rapid technological changes and other factors but managers are the ones who are making sure the actual work gets done. There is always a search for more effective or efficient ways to identify the “right” employee or process that support meeting the business goals. It might be stack ranking or some other talent management system. It may even be the never-ending search for the best project management or productivity tools. But all of these tools cannot replace the most basic of managerial skills –the ability to relate and communicate. These skills are what are cited time and again in employee engagement surveys.

Two possible avenues to support managers engaging with their employees better

Keeping top-notch employees is certainly a goal for any manager. One avenue is to conduct “stay interviews.” Rather than waiting for the exit interview to find out what one of your star employees did not like, stay interviews are one-on-one conversations reviewing the employee’s career goals, rating current performance and possible action steps to maintain (or increase) the employee’s engagement.

Another avenue is to adding performance coaching skills. In a previous career, I supervised mental health clinicians and found that facilitating their learning and insight both helped them provide better therapy but it also helped me know where their blind spots were and what kinds of clients they were best suited for. According to Josh Patrick, this process is far superior to performance reviews since performance coaching conversations could be on-going brief meetings and formalizes what managers are already doing when they check in with employees regarding assigned projects.

What do you think? What tools or behaviors can a manager use to keep good employees engaged? Join us Friday, February 14, 2014 at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT to discuss how managers can keep good employees on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz 

What types of skills are most necessary for managing employees well?

To what degree do we act as if planning, organizing, coordinating and monitoring is not connected to the quality of the relationship between managers and direct reports?

What current management trends are getting in the way of facilitating employees’ performance?

Along with stay interviews and performance coaching, what other things can managers do to keep good employees?

About the author:  Elli St.George Godfrey, founder of Ability Success Growth, executive coach, trainer and international expansion consultant, is the host of KaizenBiz. I’m passionate about business becoming a more human-centered place so I host this chat to connect business ideas and develop people.This passion shows up in my work with my clients. Whether you are expanding locally or internationally, Ability Success Growth guides established small to mid-sized business owners and executives to unlock the CEO within during times of transition and growth.

 

 

 

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Useful Procrastination, Satya Nadella and Holacracy

Twitter, Twitter chat, KaizenBizIt is time for “Bring Your Own Headline” on our Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz this coming Friday. It is always fun to see what community members bring for discussion. If you would like to bring something for us to talk about, simply bring the link and a question. Here are three topics, procratination, Satya Nadella and holacracy, to get us started…

Procrastination is good?

Most of us probably squirm a bit when we think of tasks we are avoiding.However, according to a two books reviewed in Fast Company, we would be much better off if we did procrastinate more. There is a catch to this though. If you are just procrastinating without a purpose, the books’ authors agree that this is laziness. Both Frank Partnoy and John Perry recommend “structure procrastination.” Here are their reasons why procrastination can be useful:

  • Structured procrastinators get more done. While they put off one task, they complete others.
  • Procrastinator make better decisions. During the delay, there is more time to think through the options and gather information.
  • Procrastination leads to creativity. A task that is too hard to complete might need a different process.
  • Unnecessary tasks disappear. Busy work is pointless and avoiding it allows for space to take on the important tasks.
  • Procrastination leads to better apologies. Again, time to think is built into the delay and then the best words can be found.
  • Procrastination gives you insight. Sometimes we put things off because we have an unconscious reason driving our behavior. The delay can illuminate this unconscious reason.

When do you see procrastination as being useful?

How is procrastination connected to decision fatigue and difficulty maintaining self-control?

With procrastination, are we really seeking time to think with putting off tasks?

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO

With Steve Ballmer stepping down this month, there is a new CEO for Microsoft. Satya Nadella. Before Ballmer stepped down, he had announced that Microsoft would go in a new direction. Ballmer is certainly noted for his ebullient personality With the choice of Satya Nadella,  Nadella is known as a quiet but business-savvy person with a strong engineering background. Quite a number of people describe Nadella as inclusive and able to get people engaged and excited in their work. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft not only responds to the current market but introduces its own new ideas.

Why do you suppose Microsoft chose to go with Satya Nadella rather than someone similar to Steve Ballmer?

What’s next for Microsoft?

And just what is holacracy?

Just when you thought you had a good grasp of the latest business structure terms, here comes a new one. Holacracy is “a self-governing, purpose-driven business structure that reassigns authority and responsibility based on the task at hand.” Companies that are able to respond positively to the current marketplace need to be agile and use collaboration among other tools.

This business structure has no CEO or managers. Each person is a partner with complete autonomy and authority. On Holacracy One, they write, “Everyone becomes a leader of their roles and a follower of others’, processing tensions with real authority and real responsibility, through dynamic governance and transparent operations.” This is to encourage project ownership and accountability instead of keeping people limited to their departments or skill set. Governance of organizations that use holacracy have a more democratic approach to make decisions, respond to “tension” and design rules to contain certain personalities from dominating the whole. Data is used actively in strategic planning and decision-making.

What size organization could benefit the most from using holacracy as their business structure?

What sorts of advantages do  you see for organizations that do use holacracy?

What could be the disadvantages?

Now it’s your turn

Join us on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz, this Friday, February 7, 2014 at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT with a post that caught your attention this week. Connect with Elli St.George Godfrey (@3keyscoach) jas the chat starts and let her know your link and your question. She will add your topic to the discussion.

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Smart Simplicity-6 Rules For Over-Complicated Organizations

Six Simple Rules, Yves Morieux, complexity, managementYves Morieux has an intriguing idea….6 simple rules for managing complex organizations. Morieux is a senior partner and managing director in the Boston Consulting Group and so has studied organizations and how they stumble. In his TED talk, he explains that it all started with a question regarding why productivity levels are disappointing and workers are so disengaged. Morieux points out that these conditions persist despite all the programs, events and training that is provided to employees at all levels of the organization.

Some background information

According to Morieux, there are “two pillars of management” and they are obsolete.

  • Hard: structure, process, systems, matrices
  • Soft: feelings, interpersonal relationships, traits

Morieux explains that the more complexity a business encounters, the more it creates “complicatedness in the organization.” Simply put, a new “rule”  or requirement is encountered in the business environment adding to the existing complexity. The organization responds by creating a new person who then creates a new system. Thus, everyone is more removed from see how the organization might respond more effectively in the future.

 “Cooperation”

The answer put forth by Morieux is that people within organizations should cooperate more. In a 2011 Harvard Business Review article, he wrote,…

it entails creating an environment in which employees can work with one another to develop creative solutions to complex challenges. This approach leads to organizations that ably address numerous fluid and contradictory requirements without structural and procedural complicatedness.

To reduce or eliminate disengagement, there must be more cooperation

Morieux states that the hard approach (adding more matrices, systems and employees to respond to changes) creates more problems than it solves. He also places a greater emphasis on why the soft approach to management fails to engage workers. He states the “more we like each other, the more we avoid cooperation” so we don’t have to deal with uncomfortable “trade-offs.” These trade-offs might be having one set of resources rather than duplicate resources, requiring different sections of the organization to swap personnel and tolerating poor performance or mistakes.

 6 Simple Rules

Morieux derived these rules from game theory and organizational sociology. He advocates that we stop over-complicating our companies and still respond skillfully to the complex business environment.

  1. Understand what others do – Take the time to find out what is the real work, not the job description
  2. Reinforce integrators – Give managers (these are the integrators) discretionary power and interest to make others cooperate
  3. Increase total quantity of power – Empower everyone to use their judgement, intelligence and skills
  4. Extend the shadow of the future – Create a feedback loop for people to directly experience the consequences of their actions; how my real work affects customers and the company
  5. Increase reciprocity by removing buffers of self-sufficiency – Eliminate systems and processes that support and maintain silos
  6. Reward those who cooperate and blame those who don’t – Morieux quotes Jorgen Vig Knudstorp of The Lego Group as saying blame is for failing to help or for not asking for help; not for failing

Using these rules will reduce creating redundant systems which prevent cross-disciplinary communication and positive effect both financial and human resource policies. Basically, these rules create improved performance, more work satisfaction and lower costs.

Are these rules that different than in other management theories?

Much of what goes on in today’s organizations seems to echo an early 20th century management philosophy put forth by F.W. Taylor (and even has been revived as neo-Taylorism) We may have gussied up the terms but there is still a pervasive idea that workers are supposed to be the “best and the brightest,” fit into a mold, stick with linear processes and systems and be motivated by reward and punishment (there is more in this fascinating critique of Taylorism and neo-Taylorism). Morieux’ simple rules seem to step away from Taylorism in any form and offer a different way of viewing both management, development and management of systems and how employees both interact and perform.

In past discussions, Morieux has acknowledged that pieces of the rules resemble Six Sigma, Lean and other management theories. It certainly seems like it could incorporate the concept of kaizen (continuous and incremental improvement). Curiously, he has not gotten more specific about what type of leader or management style would complement his rules.

What do you think about these rules? A new way of thinking? A rehash of current ideas? Join us this Friday, January 31, 2014 on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz, at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT and share your thoughts and insights. 

Would  you say that today’s larger organizations are complex or over-complicated? Why?

As you read through the Morieux’ rules, what did you find most intriguing?

How practical are these rules in the day-to-day operation?

Although Morieux claims the 2 pillars of managment are obsolete, how do his rules use them?

What management style would best support execution of these rules?

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Are We Too Cowardly Or Too Nice To Give Negative Feedback?

negative feedback, corrective feedback, managersYou have probably heard or witnessed colleagues who don’t seem to meet deadlines or are just unpleasant to work with. They might complain about how bad the company is, often have a reason why they just couldn’t get the job done, spend more time doing personal stuff than working, engage in bullying or a variety of other obnoxious behaviours.  On the other hand, sometimes a person just underperforms. This can be due to personal distractions, a lack of understanding, workload overwhelm, a skill mismatch.or some other issue.

Things do need to be said

Performance reviews are often when feedback, positive and negative, are expressed. While this seems like a logical time to discuss an employee’s performance, it might be too late to be of real help. As Josh Leibner writes in Entrepreneur.com, “being direct and open should originate from a desire to improve each other and the organization as a whole.”

We say we want to hear how to improve

Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman have been collecting responses from 889 individuals (49% from US and 51% from outside the US) who report they do want to hear negative feedback. Interestingly, they have not used the term “negative feedback” in the work but are using “corrective feedback.” They define this as “suggestions for improvement, explorations of new and better ways to do things, or pointing out something that was done in a less that optimal way.” Some of their other findings include:
  • People prefer to avoid giving negative feedback
  • 52% preferred corrective feedback
  • 72% reported that their performance would improve if their managers provided corrective feedback
  • 92% agreed “Negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.”

That seems like a good practice so what gets in the way?

Many organizations use some sort of warning or disciplinary system when employees are underperforming. Despite this, many managers are not getting the job done adequately. This leaves the potential for dishonesty, nice-ness or cowardice to limit or even eliminate the conversations entirely.

Cowardice

Accusing someone of cowardice seems old-fashioned but we still think in those terms more often than you may imagine. When we talk about someone having the guts to do something or “man up,” we are talking about avoiding cowardice.. Yet, certain scenarios happen everyday in which managers do not provide negative or corrective feedback.
  • Employee X should already know what to do, even with little to no direction or resources
  • Firing and hiring are a hassle
  • Employee X might get defensive or emotional
  • The work is getting done so no need to make waves

Nice-ness

Some managers want to be liked by their employees more than making sure the work gets done. With all of the leadership thought recently about being more empathetic and relational, it may be tempting to not tell a struggling employee they are underperforming. Some possible signs of this are:

  • Employee X is having personal issues and I don’t want to burden him/her
  • Employee X is still new so he/she will learn
  • I don’t want to ruin his/her career
  • I don’t want to hurt Employee X’s feelings

Whether the situation is a mistake or a downward pattern, managers demonstrate how a bad performance is tolerated or rectified. Looking to be liked more than encouraging and facilitating that everyone gets the work done is going to backfire.

People don’t always perform well

It happens and it is uncomfortable to tell someone that he/she is performing poorly. It raises fears about job security and the sense of belonging in the workplace. Are we more invested in being too nice or too cowardly rather than helping someone improve? Join us on Friday, January 24, 2014 on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT

Who is most responsible for giving negative feedback in the workplace?

How does reframing “negative feedback” into positive feedback or corrective feedback enable others to listen?

How does reframing “negative feedback” into a positive dilute it?

How can we avoid being too “nice” or too “cowardly” when giving negative feedback?

How could working with a diverse team or across cultures affect how negative feedback is delivered?

About the author:  Elli St.George Godfrey, founder of Ability Success Growth, executive coach and international expansion consultant, is the host of KaizenBiz. I’m passionate about business becoming a more human-centered place so I host this chat to connect business ideas and develop people.This passion shows up in my work with my clients. Whether you are expanding locally or internationally, Ability Success Growth guides established small to mid-sized business owners and executives to unlock the CEO within during times of transition and growth.

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Transparency Is More Than a Policy; It’s a Value

Transparency, value, businessIn the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz, we often take a look at ideas that have become the idée du jour. Transparency has been gaining steam for the last couple of years due to the influence of social platforms.It is so easy for information to get out publicly about nearly everything and everyone. But transparency seems to be more than simply a way for a business or organization to appear ethical and engaging. There is a quality to it that makes it akin to a value, much like honesty or freedom. With this lens, it is deeper than a set of policies or even a practice.

Please join us Friday, January 17, at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT for the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz as we discuss “Goal Setting.” Not sure how to participate? Please click here for tips and advice.

Beyond good ethics

In a recent post on Entrepreneur.com, Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market is quoted as saying, “customers want transparency.” (Whole Foods Market is a grocery store that focuses on organic, sustainable and ethical food and health products). For a company like Whole Foods Market, transparency can be a selling point for customers. This goes beyond simply ethics as companies have to pay attention to revenue and profits. When a company appears consistent in its behavior and message, customers want to do business with it.

Support for being more than ethics

Transparency has to be more than being an open book. Customers want to know that their information is protected. In “Privacy in the Age of Transparency,” Jeffrey Rothfeder writes, “the companies that are open and honest in their communications, adopt privacy policies, and are very clear about how they use collected data discreetly to further corporate growth, efficiency, and performance will benefit from wider consumer acceptance in international markets. This…is what leads to increased revenue, less litigation from the aggrieved, enhanced reputations for their brands, and more prospective partners willing to enter into lucrative cooperative ventures that require a deep well of trust.”

But it isn’t just consumers who are wary…

In a 2013 study by Tiny Pulse, it was noted that employees are have higher happiness levels with greater levels of management transparency. This points to organizational culture requiring real adherence to the stated mission, values and management practices. This includes managers clearly stating expectations and duties of employees, there are abundant conversations about the company’s mission and values and even day to day interactions support the authenticity and commitment to transparency.

Combination of relationships with consumers and employees

The digital age has made it easier for people find all kinds of information. Glen Llopis writes that “We are all living during a time when people want and expect their leaders to be more human, less perfect and at times a bit vulnerable – regardless of hierarchy or rank.” This affects both the way a business conducts itself which, as you know, is actually people. Consumers and employees want their companies to be transparent. This requires the people of the company to not view transparency as a policy but as a way of being; the same way we live by our other values.

What do you think? Has transparency become a value? Join us Friday, January 17, 2014 on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT

What benefits do you see when a company embraces policy of transparency?

How does transparency get articulated as part of a value system?

Can “true transparency” ever be a realistic objective or are there acceptable limits?

When does transparency go too far for a business?

What types of behaviors demonstrate transparency?

About the author:  Elli St.George Godfrey, founder of Ability Success Growth, executive coach, trainer and international expansion consultant, is the host of KaizenBiz. I’m passionate about business becoming a more human-centered place so I host this chat to connect business ideas and develop people.This passion shows up in my work with my clients. Whether you are expanding locally or internationally, Ability Success Growth guides established small to mid-sized business owners and executives to unlock the CEO within during times of transition and growth.

 

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Goal Setting, Goal Achievement and the Influence of Emotions

The curious thing about goals is that they are both easy and hard to set. On one hand, you goals, goal setting, goal achievement, emotionsknow you want something more, different, better or inspirational. On the other hand, there is the day-in, day-out dedication that sometimes seems to bear little fruit or seems futile in the face of obstacles. Emotions do play a role in what goals we set and what motivates us to achieve them.

Please join us Friday, January 10, at 5pm BST/12pm ET/9am PT for the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz as we discuss “Goal Setting.” Not sure how to participate? Please click here for tips and advice.

Quick review of popular models

Anyone who has spent any time with goal setting is probably familiar with the SMART model. This goal model was first mentioned by George T. Doran in 1981 so it has been around for some time. If you need a quick refresher:

S: specific

M: measurable

A: attainable

R: relevant

T: time-bound

In 2010, another model was presented by Mark Murphy in his book, HARD Goals: The Secret to Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want To Be. Murphy contends that people don’t succeed with their goals because most goal setting systems lack an emotional component which brings investment and commitment. In his model, the elements include:

Heartfelt:  purpose, meaning and emotional investment

Animated: spark imagination and images of what the goal looks like

Required: there is a need to meet the goal

Difficult: brings you out of your comfort zone and requires significant effort

Do you remember when all goals were supposed to be BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals)? Murphy’s model and Jim Collins’ model both invoke an emotional aspect. In each model, there is the underlying question of “what is most important to you and why?.”

Meanwhile, another conversation is going on at the same time

Jim Clear writes in Forget Setting Goals. Focus On This Instead. that goals are messages to ourselves that we are “not good enough”. There may be something to this as people are much more attuned to problems. Goals often focus on how we want to improve, increase or decrease something. This unspoken negative message, according to Clear, reduces our happiness and sets up an “if…then” emotional context for us. As in, “if I had 10% more revenue, then I would be happy with my business.”

But what if the underlying conversation isn’t really about how bad we are?

The underlying conversation in goal setting is often one of values. When you sit down with a strategic plan for your business or a self-development plan for yourself, you are identifying what is most important to you. There may be a value around wealth, power, community, intellectual challenge, competition, health and so much more that you are really trying to manifest in your behavior. The goal is the vehicle for this value and bringing us closer to our own internal alignment.

Goal setting is not goal achievement

It is a fairly straight forward process to set a goal. You identify what you want to be different and that’s it. The goal is probably more clear when it  includes specificity and a time frame. After all, saying you want more customers is a goal but saying you want 15% more customers in 3 months makes that goal much easier to focus your efforts and monitor progress.

Regardless of what model you use when setting a goal, it is really about the work of the goal that brings positive or negative experiences. It is often overlooked that goal setting is really a plan for change and change is uncomfortable. Even if you are someone who seeks new experiences and tolerates change well, there are moments when you realize you don’t know what you are doing or it is more involved than you expected. This moment of tension can slow or interrupt progress.

But it isn’t all about managing your response to crises. Many goals include new ways of behaving which essentially creates new habits. As Art Markman (past guest on #KaizenBiz) reminds us, our brains have preferred pathways that use less energy so we have to “fight our brains” to do new things. This includes our assumptions and cognitive biases. Ways of thinking can be just as much a habit as ways of behaving. The challenge here would be noticing emotional responses like “ugh…I’m too busy to do X today” and noting what thinking pattern is accompanying this. It cannot be denied that people are far more likely to set and achieve a goal that has a deeper meaning and purpose to it. This level of emotional investment could even provide a buffer for any difficulties we might encounter. Perhaps emotions are a tool for successful goal setting and achievement

What do you think? Does the emotional quality of our goals inspire us to achieve? Join us Friday, January 10, 2014 for our annual Goal Setting discussion on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT

What did you achieve in 2013?

What makes one goal more engaging than another?

What role does emotion play in goal setting?

What messages do we send ourselves when we choose certain goals?

How necessary is it to have a system or a process  to maintain focus and/or motivation for goal achievement?

To what degree do you believe that goals must invoke an emotional response to facilitate achievement?

About the author:  Elli St.George Godfrey, founder of Ability Success Growth, small business coach and executive coach, is the host of KaizenBiz. I’m passionate about business becoming a more human-centered place so I host this chat to connect business ideas and develop people.This passion shows up in my work with my clients. Whether you are expanding locally or internationally, Ability Success Growth guides established small to mid-sized business owners and executives to unlock the CEO within during times of transition and growth.

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Global Growth, Emotional Awareness & Productivity

KaizenBiz , Twitter chat, One of the recent introductions to the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz in 2013 has been the “Bring Your Own Headline” discussion. This conversation is usually much more wide ranging and even better when someone from the KaizenBiz community shares something that caught their attention. Have you come across any interesting posts or new stories that make you stop and think? This week, we are going to move from topic to topic and see what big ideas are popping up. So, check out these stories and bring your own this Friday to the live Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am.

Better global economy?

There have been glimmers from regional economies that growth is occurring. Ireland exited the bailout last week and other parts of the Eurozone are showing fractional improvement. The Japanese economy is looking better. While economists are more positive, they are not saying it’s entirely bullish.

What observations have you made regarding the economy where you are located?

How are different sectors responding to the economic news?

What is same/different about this economic recovery?

 Being able to read organization’s emotions can improve odds of success?

There are probably leaders all over the world who just don’t get “it.” In the US, President Obama’s approval rating and the exit of Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft are good examples of how that emotional stuff can interfere with any strategic plan, no matter how well thought out or designed it might be. As Quy Huy, INSEAD Associate Professor of Strategy and Director of the Strategy Execution Programme, wrote in his post,  many executives “fail to…take into account the hidden traps related to soft human factors, including the collective emotions of middle managers and others who influence the process of strategy execution and have a critical impact on the outcomes.”

Steve Tobak recommends in his Inc post that we should ignore emotional intelligence because it is a business fad. (Although this fad seems to be going on for decades now) He cites a list of leaders who are not known for being kind or compassionate but their companies are successful. Tobak and many others show an oversimplification in their understanding of emotional intelligence. It still doesn’t answer why leaders ignore the zeigeist of their company while following the strategic plan. Quy Huy’s point about ignoring emotions reminds us that people will express in their behavior their willingness to execute or derail any plan.

What fosters the disconnect between upper management, middle management and the workers?

While models like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are touted as successful examples, why do people continue to fail to execute strategic plans?

Does an emotionally intelligent leader have to seem “nice” or can there be other expressions of awareness?

Productivity

We all have lots to do. As my good friend, Kneale Mann reminds me, we all have the same 24 hours each day as everyone else (including all those famous people). There are always posts telling us what highly successful (read “highly productive”) people do with their day. There are reports that our productivity rises or falls depending on where, when and how we do our work. However, it seems to boil down to our daily choices and habits.

One of these habits has to do with email. In an interesting post on Fast Company, Laura Vanderkam discusses the pros and cons of checking email first thing in the morning. Reading and responding to email can certainly use up time we meant for other activities. MIndset certainly plays a role in this. Seth Godin suggests that we become productive when we are “non-productivity and deciding to do something that matters, right now.”

How is productivity different from efficiency?

What expectations do people have about their workload or daily schedule?

How do we buy into the idea that we are so busy that our productivity is hampered?

Please join us Friday, December 20, 2013 on the Twittter chat, #KaizenBiz at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT as we take a look at these and other topics. Bring your own suggestions and a question.

 

 

 

 

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Where Is Business Going in 2014?

Business trends of 2014, robotics, video, social business, KaizenBizAs one year ends, it is always interesting to see what people anticipate coming in the next year. On LinkedIn, there is an interesting group of posts from business thinkers and leaders giving their suggestions about what we might see. As you might expect, some of the trends are built on technology or ideas started in earlier years while others are potentially new ways of engaging with the world. The interesting thing to discover over 2014 will whether these trends are more like an unfolding or truly transformative.

What is coming next?

On our Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz and elsewhere, there has been so much talk about the uncertainty and rapid change which has made many business owners and executives reluctant to invest, hire or embark on growth projects. There is always that optimism that somehow things will be more understandable or predictable in a new year. It may be that 2014 might be an interesting year as people and companies decide to take action because sitting still will leave them too far behind.

Here are some of the trends and ideas that could gain traction in 2014:

  • 3D Printing- This one seems pretty obvious since there is a great deal of excitement around 3D printing. Mike Michalowicz, CEO of the Provendus Group writes in OPEN Forum that these printers will come down in price and make it easier for companies to produce on demand. There are some thinkers who believe that this will change manufacturing and even allow for greater customizing of products.
  • Robotics- This has been an interesting area over the years and as Verne Harnish writes on CNN Money that more widespread use of robots will reduce headcount in manufacturing and increase productivity.
  • Video- This trend seemed to emerge in 2013 but is becoming more favored. Interesting statistics about how and what people view. Google and search engines appear to be giving more weight to video content
  • Emerging markets- While the BRIC nations and other emerging markets are slowing, an EY report and Barron’s suggest that these might be places of growth later in 2014. In fact, there is some discussion that people should watch Indonesia and Africa.
  • Social business- With the IPO of Twitter in late 2013 and the ongoing public performance of Facebook, social business has shown it can be more than a fad. According to Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay and author of The Facebook Era, social business will cement itself as a tool that all companies use and support the relational trend in marketing and sales.

 Where do you think business is going in 2014?

Whether you agree with the writers of the LinkedIn 2014 predictions or the other posts cited here, it is always interesting to stop and see what is emerging (or even lurking) in the months ahead. And there are lots more predictions about the future of marketing, leadership, the workplace, the global economy and many other aspects of business.

What do you see staying the same? Changing? Or simply being brand new? Join us this Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz as we peer into the future of 2014.

What trends of 2013 surprised you?

What didn’t happen in 2013?

Which 2014 business trends are expanding on ideas or trends from 2013?

What is the most unusual 2014 business trend that you have heard?

What business trends for 2014 do you see gaining traction?

 

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