Tips for Leading Excellence and Innovation

Here are two excellent resources that when woven together, create a powerful primer for leading excellence and innovation.  The first is a video by Daniel Pink about motivation, (thanks to Peter D. for sharing this with me!) and the second is an article from the New York Times about the extensive and thorough internal work Google did to determine how to create better managers.  

In short, Pink believes that flourishing organizations have a purpose model:  they empower their team, and combine challenge and mastery with making a contribution.  These organizations understand that to motivate employees beyond  basic tasks, autonomy is required.  In his video, Pink sums it up with, “They treat people like people”. 

According to the New York Time’s article, Google’s research found that what employees valued most were even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers.  (Hmm, sounds to me  like reinforcement of Pink’s thesis to treat people like people.)  

Furthermore, Google  found that people typically leave a company for one of three reasons, or a combination of them. The first is that they don’t feel a connection to the mission of the company, or sense that their work matters. The second is that they don’t really like or respect their co-workers. The third is they have a terrible boss. In fact, Google found that a manager’s impact on employee performance and how they felt about their job was greater than any other factor. 

So, if you want to understand  more about  motivation and leading innovation, check out Daniel Pink’s fun and informative video.  To learn how to implement some of these concepts in your supervisory role, check out Google’s list for eight good managerial behaviors, which I copied from the NYT’s article and listed below in the order of importance.   Enjoy and happy leading!

Google’s Rules

1)      Be a good coach

  • Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing the negative and the positive.

2)      Empower your team and don’t micromanage

  • Balance giving freedom to your employees, while still being available for advice.  Make “stretch” assignments to help the team tackle big problems.

3)      Express interest in team member’s success and personal well-being.

4)      Don’t be a sissy: Be productive and results-oriented

  • Focus on what employees want the team to achieve and how they can help achieve it.
  • Help the team prioritize and use seniority to remove road blocks

5)      Be a good communicator and listen to your team

  • Communication is two-way: you both listen and share information
  • Hold all hands meetings and be straightforward about the messages and goals of the team
  • Encourage open dialogue and listen to the issues and concerns of your employees.

6)      Help your employees with career development

7)      Have a clear vision and strategy for the team

  • Even in the midst of turmoil, keep the team focused on goals and strategy.
  • Involve the team in setting and evolving the team’s vision and making progress toward it.

8)      Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team

  • Roll up your sleeves and conduct work side by side with the team, when needed.
  • Understand the specific challenges of the work.

Here’s the link to the full New York Times Article: for your reading pleasure.

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Date: Friday, 18. March 2011 14:40
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