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Friday, October 23, 2015

Innovation on the 101 Freeway

Okay, so where am I?

Well if it were just ten years ago, I would be waiting in line to buy my Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens movie ticket that comes out three months from now. The Internet made it so I could skip
Hollywood lines for the 1977 opening of the original Star Wars.
the lines and buy my tickets at a Los Angeles ArcLight Cinemas theater, in my car, on the traffic-snarled 101 freeway. Even then it wasn't easy as I searched fifteen different shows trying to find an assigned seat not in the first two rows. Mission was accomplished during my 52 minute commute.

Ticket sales were so brisk that it literally broke the internet (or parts of it). The Star Wars trailer is to the Internet what the Death Star is to Alderaan, crashing Fandango and shortly after tickets were released. A couple of days ago, Imax reported $6.5 million in U.S. and Canadian advance ticket sales. This absolutely crushes box office numbers set by other highly anticipated hit films. The Hunger Games: Catching FireThe Dark Knight Rises, and The Avengers all raked in about $1 million each in similar sales.

Call me a nerd or a dork or whatever. Opening day for the seventh installment of Star Wars is an epic event (barely surpassing my South Korean movie opening [ha!]).

I'll be there opening day. And why wouldn't I? I mean listen to Han Solo (around the 1:11 mark) and the chills start in your ankles and climb up to your neck:

"It's true.

All of it.

The dark side.
The Jedi.
They're real."

All this Star Wars talk and Internet breakage got me wondering about innovation. Innovation for the your life. Innovation for the workplace. Innovation from your staff. Getting your people to contribute more to your organization while simultaneously establishing stronger talent retention must cost a pretty penny, right? Not really, says corporate coach Maxine Attong.

Want to know more? Buy the book!
“You don’t necessarily need to add expensive new ingredients to the stew, you just have to know how to use your ingredients better,” she says. “A talented chef – or in this case, corporate or organizational leader – knows how to let an ingredient speak for itself, perhaps with just a touch of seasoning, or guidance.”

What is the guidance – competition or incentives such as bonuses? Not exactly.

“Most employees want to have more input,” says Attong, a certified facilitator and author of Lead Your Team to Win: Achieve Optimal Performance By Providing A Safe Space For Employees. “However, personal issues, fear of being laughed at or anxiety of not getting credit can stymie contributions from a leader’s staff.”

If a leader can engender a real sense of trust, the organization will benefit both from the individual and the team’s ingenuity. A reliable way of establishing a trusting climate is to make team members feel safe, says Attong, who offers five steps for doing so.

  • Share responsibility; practice “I” statements: With openness, encourage interaction by having team members and leaders enforce the rules and monitor the use of common space. When members break the rules, the team discusses the problems and decides on the sanctions and steps necessary to assist the member in following the rules next time. Speakers are discouraged from using the word “you.” Instead, they use “I.” This simple yet effective practice encourages personal culpability and discourages blame.
  • Consistency: Teams need to consistently follow the agreed-upon rules as they set the boundaries and the tone for relationships. Following the rules makes the behavior in the space predictable, which limits uncertainty and increases feelings of safety. Consistent application of the rules helps the team to increase trust as behavior becomes prescriptive and members know more or less what will happen in the room and how they will be treated.
  • Judgment: The members must feel that they are not being judged. If someone says that an idea is bad, the speaker will shut down and feel embarrassed. In the future that speaker will hesitate to give ideas, since he feels his ideas may not be good enough for the team. Less confident team members may refrain from presenting ideas if they are uncertain of the quality of the ideas. However, many ideas that may seem strange or unorthodox at first can wind up being some of the best.
  • Good intentions: Not all team members are effective communicators so it may be difficult for some people to frame and cogently express their thoughts.

“I assume all team members have good intentions and want a positive outcome,” Attong says. “Even though what I am hearing may be contrary to that assumption, I hold on to the thought so that I am able to fully understand what the member is saying before I react.”

When listening this way, the leader delays having a reaction and has time to assess the situation before responding. When the leader has emotionally detached from the situation, he can then ask questions to clarify the situation.

  • Norming: By this point, team members seem to embrace each other and there is a spirit of togetherness. Do not be fooled by this. This doesn’t mean that your team has normed—that each team member makes decisions that advance the goals of the team. It means that the safe space concept has allowed them to see each other in a more neutral light and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses. While the space may act as an accelerator or catalyst for the team to norm, it is not magic. It does not mean that whatever problems existed within the team before have miraculously disappeared. The leader still needs to pay attention and check the team temperature. Regular team meetings and team building sessions should still be conducted.

Want your own Star Wars? Buy the book!

Other things I discovered this week...

The death and life of the great British pub

Across the country, pubs are being shuttered at an alarming rate – scooped up by developers and ransacked for profit – changing the face of neighborhoods and turning our beloved locals into estate agents, betting shops, and luxury flats. This is the story of how one pub fought back.

What It’s Like to Vacation in North Korea? Look no further:


The New Republic goes inside a radical experiment at Zappos, in Las Vegas, to end the office workplace as we know it.


Do You Know What Your Marketing Is Doing? | Adobe Marketing Cloud

What better way to celebrate the success of The Martian than an with the ultimate brand fail set around a space launch commercial?

The brand represented in the "Do You Know What Your Marketing Is Doing?" spot by Adobe Marketing Cloud and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners is AstroBoost, an energy drink you've never heard of. The spot brilliantly showcases that advertising doesn't have to be rocket science. Take a peak: