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Do You Generate Employee Creativity and Innovation?

| On 01, Jan 2010

Message: 167
Posted by: Ben Simonton
Posted on: Thursday, 18th January 2007

Or do you cause your employees to refuse to use their natural creativity and innovation?

This is a simple test of 10 questions. Rank yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 for each question, 10 being the best or almost always, 1 being the worst or almost never. Add up your points.

If you get close to 100 I would expect that your employees will be over 3 times more creative, innovative and productive than if your score was 30 or less.

DOES THE MANAGER

-provide regular and frequent opportunities for employees to voice complaints, suggestions and questions, provide reasonable and timely responses, and give employees what they say they need to do a better job?

-elicit answers/responses from the team and get them to use their brainpower to solve problems?

-listen to employees with 100% attention without distraction, without trying to figure out a response and with the use of follow-up questions to obtain missing details and suggested fixes?

-refrain from giving orders since by their nature they demeaning and disrespectful and destroy innovation and commitment?

-treat members better in terms of humility, respect, timely and high quality responses, forthrightness, trust, admission of error, etc than they are expected to treat customers and each other?

-publicly recognize employees for their contributions and high performance and never take credit him/herself?

-openly provide all company info to employees to the extent they need/desire?

-use values and high standards of them in order to explain why certain actions are better than others?

-use smiles and good humor with subordinates, not frowns or a blank face?

-generate in employees a sense of ownership? How?

Best regards, BenAuthor “Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed”http://www.bensimonton.com


Message: 168
Posted by: Art
Posted on: Friday, 19th January 2007


So…. What are we supposed to do with this? If I take this and score a good 95 then what?

This is just basic be a good manager stuff. Doesn't seem to really have much to do about innovation. 

Unless I'm missing something?

– Art


Message: 169
Posted by: Ben Simonton
Posted on: Friday, 19th January 2007


Poorly motivated people will not unleash their natural creativity and innovation at work. These come from brainpower and poorly motivated people use their brainpower to complain and rarely on their work because they are too filled with anxiety and apathy from the way their bosses treat them.

Highly motivated people unleash all of their natural creativity and innovation on their work because they feel a strong sense of ownership of their work and want to be the best at whatever they do. They use 100% of their brainpower on their work when they are at work and often when away from work.

If your employees are not highly innovative, not giving their all, they are not being managed properly.

You said, Art, that you got a 95 on the test but I don't believe you since you state that you don't know what that has to do with innovation.

It took me years of effort to finally arrive at 95. At one of my subsequent jobs, the innovation of my 1300 people absolutely amazed outsiders and myself. We had it coming out of our pores. It was very obvious and employees loved it, loved coming to work for the excitement of new things and new achievements.

After my first 18 months in that position, a union steward known to be anti-management came into my office and told me that he did not know what I did in my job and did not want to know. What he wanted was for me to continue to do whatever it was I was doing. He said that he had hated coming to work for 15 years, but since I had taken charge of the organization he now loved coming to work. He then shook my hand and left.

In a four year period in that organization, measured productivity per person rose about 300%. You don't get that without large doses of innovation.

I hope that the above explains what being an exceptional manager of people has to do with innovation.

Best regards, BenAuthor “Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed”http://www.bensimonton.com


Message: 170
Posted by: Art
Posted on: Friday, 19th January 2007


To be clear – I didn't say that I got a 95, I said let's say I got a 95. It was an example.

But OK. You have a 95. Motivated people.  Idon't think anyone would argeu that motivated people are a bad thing for innovation. but that doesn't seem to have much to do with creating systematic innovation.

If the company isn't setup for moving ideas then does the motivation matter?

Playing devils advocate…

– Art


Message: 171
Posted by: Ben Simonton
Posted on: Friday, 19th January 2007


Art,

I apologize for misinterpreting what you said.

You said “If the company isn't setup for moving ideas then does the motivation matter?”

People do not become motivated, to innovate or create, if their innovations and creations won't be used.

Why waste time thinking through problems and designing solutions if no one will adopt them or even listen? People are not stupid.

So without a management which will appropriately respond to employees, those employees will never ever be highly motivated.

The only reason my people became highly motivated and thus highly innovative was because I allowed them to innovate and supported whatever they wanted to do. We would discuss which ideas had more merit and precisely why so as to ensure that we, the group, did not run down the wrong road. But that was done with everyone knowledgeable every step of the way.

Best regards, Ben


Message: 172
Posted by: Mike Carnell
Posted on: Friday, 19th January 2007


You have data and a model that validate this?


Message: 173
Posted by: Ben Simonton
Posted on: Friday, 19th January 2007


No, Mike, no data.

As concerns proving that my methods are effective, I successfully conducted four turnarounds of management disasters including a nuclear-powered cruiser and a 1300 person unionized group in New York City. In each case, I taught my methods to subordinate managers and learned that they were able to assimilate and effectively just as I did.

I published every method that I proved successful, all the whats, why and how tos I taught to managers, in my book. In the process of developing the whats and how tos, I had to develop coherent whys in order to convince manager of the veracity of my methods.

I am not a researcher, Mike, just a practitioner who found very little help in books and had to develop his own methods in order to create true excellence. The level of excellence achieved actually exceeded my wildest dreams.

Best regards, BenAuthor “Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed”http://www.bensimonton.com


Message: 174
Posted by: Art
Posted on: Friday, 19th January 2007


Im more interested in hearing about the system then that was able to let these people/ideas generate innovation. Do you have some information on that you can share?

— Art


Message: 175
Posted by: Ben Simonton
Posted on: Friday, 19th January 2007


Art,

The system is to be 95 or better on the test. If the boss supports employees and provides very high quality support (his/her responsibility), together they decide on how to proceed on everything including new business.

My best new business people were a few mechanics who had their own businesses on the side. As VP, all I had to do was support them and their leaders in what they wanted to do.

This is the reverse of the top down, command and control system you might envision.

The system is the people. What more do you need than them? Giving them full ownership through well-supported control of their workplace is the source of all good things including customer satisfaction, profits, extremely high workplace morale and tons of innovation.

I admit that there are a fair number of details to all of this and that is why I wrote the book.

Best regards, Ben
Author “Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed”http://www.bensimonton.com


Message: 178
Posted by: Art
Posted on: Friday, 19th January 2007


I don't see how your first post has anything to do with a system. I can see that your not shutting off creativity with a high score on that test but that doesn't make the staff innovative. Maybe inventive–if your lucky. PEople aren't just setup to be innovative–at leasat thtat seems to be what we're learning on this site.

Also, how is this possible on a grand scale? Do you only hire people who all achieve scores of 100? If not, then it wouldn't work in anything other than a small business would it?

Just trying to understand.

-Art


Message: 179
Posted by: Mike Carnell
Posted on: Friday, 19th January 2007


I am not a reseacher either. If I start using numbers around something it is always nice to know how hard or soft the numbers are.

You have done this 4 times which makes it repeatable (you can do it more than once). Has anyone else used the methodology without your involvement and gotten the same results?

Regards


Message: 180
Posted by: Ben Simonton
Posted on: Saturday, 20th January 2007


Art,

I admit that it is hard to accept that the people are the system. Without having seen it in action, I would have a hard time as well, especially given your false assumption.

Your false assumption is that people aren't just setup to be innovative. If innovation doesn't come from people, then from whence does it come?

Fortunately, God made everyone creative and innovative. The difference between us is that some of us are way more creative than others and some of us are way more innovative than others. And creating an idea is quite different from taking an idea and turning it into something tangible, i.e. being able to innovate.

But every person has by nature some ability to create and some to innovate. That is the nature of humanity.

The next most important fact is that all of a person's creativity and innovation resides in their brain along with all of their intrinsic motivations. If a person's brain is applied to something other than their work while they are at work, then the workplace never gets the benefit of their natural humanity, i.e. their creativity, innovation and motivation.

I submit that the environment of the normal workplace today stops people from applying their brainpower to their work. Top-down command and control is demeaning and disrespectful of employees and causes them to become apathetic in order to protect themselves from great stress and anxiety. Why turn on your brain if no one will listen to whatever you think up?

So, the challenge for the boss, whether an executive or a mid-level manager, is to cause subordinates to unleash their brainpower, their natural creativity, innovation and motivation on their work. When employees do this, apply 100% of their brainpower to their work, they become what I call a highly motivated employee. In this state, the business gets the benefit of their entire ability to innovate, some of them much more and some much less.

If you are correct that people aren't setup to be innovative, then from where does innovation come, pray tell? It most certainly does not appear out of the ether. Please explain your position.

You ask how one does this on a grand scale, say with 300 employees or 3,000 or 30,000?

First, we can't hire people who all achieve scores of 100 because society creates continually creates people who are accustomed to and taught to use a top-down command and control model because that is the way society is run. First our parents tell us what to do, then our teachers, our churches, our governments and finally our bosses.

So who is teaching people to use techniques of managing people reflected in my ten questions? The answer is almost no one.

Thus you can't hire 100 percenters as bosses because they don't exist. Fortunately, I have proven that you can train the average “command and control” based manager and then require them to be 80 percenters and better if you can equip them with the precise “how tos” they need. You can't just give them a bunch of whats like “treat your people with respect” or “listen to your employees”. My ten questions give a pretty good glimpse of the “whats”, but there are more details as to exactly how to really be a 100 percenter.

Once the boss gets all subordinate managers and executives carrying out the same script,the boss has accomplished your “on a grand scale”.

One could say that the system you are looking for is the “how tos” of unleashing employee brainpower on their work.

I hope that the above clears away some of the fog surrounding this issue of innovation.

Best regards, BenAuthor “Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed”http://www.bensimonton.com


Message: 181
Posted by: Ben Simonton
Posted on: Saturday, 20th January 2007


The productivity numbers I threw in were real and very accurately measured. They did cost real money so I stopped doing the measuring once productivity per person had risen above 300%.

There have been a few managers who told me that they used my book (without my help) and got similar results, but only on a small scale. Then there is Peter Hunter, author of “Breaking the Mould”. As a consultant to oil drilling contractors, Peter achieved essentially the same results with drilling rig crews in South America and the North Sea. He used his own methods, but they have the same basic tenets as mine and use the same beliefs about how employees react to the various managerial actions.

My book is not widely read, though a few hundreds of them are out there accomplishing I know not what.

Best regards, BenAuthor “Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed”http://www.bensimonton.com


Message: 182
Posted by: Mike Carnell
Posted on: Monday, 22nd January 2007


Ben,

It is difficult to believe that there is a point where it isn't worth while measuring productivity. I would think that at 300% life is good but you would certainly want to know when it begins to slip.

I understand the numbers such as the score from the questions and the productivity measurement. I am struggling with the jump from productivity being a function of creativity and innovation particularly when the innovation discussion about the definition seems to require a commercial side.

Regards


Message: 183
Posted by: Ben Simonton
Posted on: Monday, 22nd January 2007


Mike, You said “I am struggling with the jump from productivity being a function of creativity and innovation particularly when the innovation discussion about the definition seems to require a commercial side.”

Please explain your remark. I am unclear what you mean and am thus unable to respond.

Best regards, Ben


Message: 184
Posted by: Art
Posted on: Monday, 22nd January 2007


I can see that people can be naturally creative and inventive, but not systematically innovative.

Motivation is nice. But if the company isn't set up with processes for shepherding ideas from concept to launch, then the creativity inherent in individuals isn't relevant.

Yes I am looking for how-tos. That's missing in what you're talking about. Your “system” seems to be hoping for that genius in the mix who is going to have the light bulb a-ha moment of discovery, which is really not a good way of promoting innovation.

–Art


Message: 185
Posted by: Ben Simonton