Wednesday, September 20, 2006

For All You Bloggers Out There

Every once in a while, I'll come across some useful bit of information that makes me want to post up on my own blog. This is one of them. Neil Patel describes how bloggers can leverage Digg and Netscape to their advantage...and drive traffic to their sites as a result.

Very cool information.

Now if I could only find out how to increase my 24 hours in a day to a nice round 30 in order to do some of this stuff I keep reading about...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

From Vision to Great Groups

You started with a vision to create an innovative culture within your recruiting function, HR department, or entire organization.

You decided to leap with it.

Now what?

You need a Great Group, as Warren Bennis calls them.

Hopefully you're not one of those individuals who believes that one person can always out-innovate a group of people. Remember that old saying you learned as a kid? "Two heads are better than one?" They created that saying for a reason. If you think about nearly every great innovation that changed the rules, a group of people were behind it. Not a single person.

Enter the Great Group. Great groups are often the difference between an idea...and an idea that's actually executed. A group of committed, aligned, and passionate people is a very powerful thing. When groups like this get together, cool things happen. Cool things like:

1) The Disney team that created "Snow White," the first full length animated film.
2) Apple and its vision of toppling Big Blue (IBM)...which ultimately led to the creation of many things, least of which is the iPod.
3) Google's team that created Adwords, one of the most successful advertising inventions in the Internet era.
4) The invention of the personal computer by Xerox PARC.
5) The formation of General Electric, perhaps the most valuable organization in the world, from Thomas Edison's original group of 14 scientists.

You get the idea. All these things (and many, many more) were created through the efforts of Great Groups.

So this begs the question: how can I go about creating this Great Group? And what if you're literally the department within an organization? What then? In my next post, I'll talk about these things.

Until then, I'll leave you with this quote from Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

As far as I can tell, Margaret Mead was talking about Great Groups. ;)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Visioneering: The Who

After a long hiatus from my last post on creating an innovative culture within your organization, I'm back. I'm beginning to discover the challenge in having a full-time job and also blogging every day. :) So without further ado, let's continue the discussion around the first step of my innovation framework (The "IF").

With every revolution...every movement...every change...a champion is needed. The "who," in other words.

Typically, a vision (remember...visions are solutions to problems) originates within an individual as a concern for something. In my experience...those individuals who begin to listen to this concern more and more...begin to feel like the vision is some sort of moral imperative to do. And as a result, this imperative compels them to action. This is the power behind vision.

And guess what? If the vision starts with you...well, don't look around for anyone else to lead the charge. You ARE the charge. The spark plug. The catalyst for your organization for this particular vision.

If you can come to believe that you have the time, the talent, and the skills to go through with this vision, then all you have to do is jump. As one of my professors at school used to say, "leap and the net will appear."

This is where most people stumble. They don't leap. In other words, they don't leap because they don't believe in themselves. I've seen people hesitate to make this initial jump for various reasons. According to Seth Godin, two of the most prevalent reasons are: 1) you don't know how to get your organization to actually do what you think should be done, or 2) you don't think you have any worthwhile ideas that people will follow.

Here's a thought. Every true vision that originates within individuals or organizations seems impossible at first. But this is precisely why visions are so powerful: they force individuals and organizations to align against a common cause...and when that cause is achieved, there is no better feeling in the world.

So don't let doubts derail your original passion. Don't let unanswerable questions quell your fire. Become the champion...and leap. The worst you can do is fail (failure is good for innovation).

What happens if you DO make that leap? What happens next?

That's what I'll write about in my next post. And this time, I'll try not to let a week go by in between posts. ;)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The End of the Job Interview? Seth Godin's Thoughts

Before I get back to writing about innovation, I wanted to comment on something Seth Godin wrote yesterday. According to Mr. Godin, organizations should destroy the way they do interviews. According to him we should:

1) Admit that we've got this whole interviewing process backwards.
2) Re-examine the "why" behind most hiring decisions.
3) Have a "guided tour" of our organizations and the opportunity in question ready to go for any candidates who apply or are recruited directly.
4) Abolish one-on-one interviews and instead place candidates in situations where they would actually be doing the work they're being interviewed for.
5) Like the person so far? Hire them for a weekend for 20 hours and see how they perform with regards to both outcome and process.

I like the idea. But like what many people have already said, I have to say that I don't think Seth Godin's suggestions are practical. Mostly, I think the business world as we know it isn't ready for something like this. I also think the landscape is changing in such a way that tactic 5 would be a HUGE road block for attracting top talent.

The process that Seth Godin wants to put into place would work...IF and only if the interviewing process within an organization was already pretty good to begin with. For instance, how many organizations have dived deep into their positions? How many of these have figured out what makes someone successful for that particular role vs. someone who is just an average performer? Have they learned how to identify these success factors? And can you design an interview that shows managers these success factors within the people they interview? Most organizations that I've interacted with don't even keep track of the types of questions their hiring managers are asking. Related to this is the fact that many organizations don't look to see that hiring managers are being consistent from one interview to the next (like asking the same questions to be as objective as possible).

The second thing is...I truly believe the business landscape that we're operating in is changing towards a talent economy. In other words, an economy where organizations can only survive by "getting" the whole talent thing. As more and more organizations realize this (and as more and more Baby Boomers retire), I think we'll see an increasingly competitive environment for talent of all varieties. So the question becomes, can you realistically make candidates work for free for 20 hours over the weekend when they're getting hounded by a handful of your direct competitors? My answer is: no.

However, you have to hand it to Seth Godin for at least trying. And trying in a fresh way. So before you're so quick to criticize (me included), just know that revolutionary ideas often stir up emotions (angry or otherwise) precisely because they are...revolutionary.

Sometimes it just takes a while for these ideas to "stick."