InnoGraph is a visual representation of the innovation trends and information shared on specific topics. Because of the changes occurring in its operating environment, innovation is managed in different styles and techniques combination which allows managers themselves to adapt. Team working is given a new dimension with collaborative communication tools, and through that teams and projects are being granted a new power. This InnoGraph analyzes the new balance to be built between leaders, managers, team members and followers to develop new forms of innovation strategies able to adapt to a changing world. If you want to join the discussion, you can join us on Linkedin, Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Slideshare.
Virtualizing leadership: real limits and opportunities
As Nick Morgan explains in his article for HBR, influence works with four major components: the positional power, emotion, expertise and non verbal signals. Regarding this last point, the writer reminds how “That’s why phone conversations are nowhere near as satisfying as in-person encounters and why conference calls inevitably involve lots more interruptions, miscues, and cross-talking. We’re not getting the signals we’re used to getting to help us know when the other person is ready to hand the conversational baton on to us, and vice-versa.” The virtuality of teams and project do not make humans and their limits, tools, virtual at all. As Ron Ashkenas reminds for HBR, “If the sponsor wants to take project sponsorship seriously, she should be clear about the commitment. Sponsoring a dozen different projects is a worthless proposition, since the executive won’t have the bandwidth to provide any meaningful support.” Because our limits are not virtual, they have real physical implications if not taken into account, as reminds Entreprendre. According to the article, the six ways to manage these limits are: “expressing ourselves, watching out for alarm rings, driving objective analysis, figuring out a set of solutions, getting specific training to manage time”.
Taken on a global business scale, you can easily imagine how management and leadership are turning into difficult exercises, especially when leaders and managers are asked to lead people they hardly meet, or even know. Existing techniques and tools do not apply anymore, and there comes the time for change. Consultants and experts such as Torben Rick advise several points to take into account in order to better drive change. As he writes on his blog, “”Successful execution of a growth strategy depends heavily on having a culture that drives high performance. Changing the culture, however, is daunting for any organization. Culture is deeply embedded in values, assumptions, behaviors, and attitudes.” These cultural changes have to take into account new basics that are going beyond the models that had been developed previously. As Doug and Polly White explain for Entrepreneur, “In the real world, the average employee is, well, average. The fact is that the average employee does need extrinsic motivation. The notion that you can remove motivation and people will continue to work hard, because they are intrinsically motivated ignores human nature.”
Leadership therefore needs to better include human nature in its development. Benjamin Kessler reminds for Insead Knowledge that “Effective leadership performance hinges on the willingness to ask fundamental questions, absorb the answers, and act on them — which can’t be done if you’re fixated on just one side of the influence-expression binary.” According to Vivian Giang from Fast Company, “Everyone in your company, especially those in lower levels of the firm, needs to know exactly why decisions are being made because they’re the ones going out into the world and advocating your cause. They need to know what’s happening in the marketplace and social culture, and how their organization connects to all of this. For this to happen, transparency needs to be something that happens throughout the company.” In below video from INC, Tom Gimbell, CEO of Lasalle Network, explains how transparency leads to honesty and projects that share credits and accountability.
Suzanne Lucas from INC lists a number of reasons why we should identify, share and manage human limits in the interest of businesses and employers, and obviously, of employees.
In his article for Strategy and Business, Matt Palmquist describes the benefits of a diverse board. In his own words, ” Indeed, Fortune 500 firms with a traditional CEO but a diverse board were the most successful at innovating and establishing effective operational systems, which underlines the need to spread multiculturalism throughout the corporate hierarchy.” Boards are indeed heading towards improved structures and more efficient models, as Per-Ola Karlsson reminds for HBR. As she says, “The fact that succession rates are more universally aligned is a sign of continued globalization. Governance practices have been converging steadily since 2000, capital has become increasingly mobile, and senior leaders at the largest corporations find themselves, more and more, facing the same kinds of challenges and opportunities no matter where they are headquartered or where they do business.” Acknowledging improvements are important, as well as analyzing failures, as Omer Zahid reminds for DailyTimes. In his view, “Understanding the types of destructive behaviour can help a leader in his or her task to diminish its worst effects on others and, by understanding the costs of his or her own destructive behaviour, offer the insight required to lessen its most negative effects. A feature of leaders prone to destructive behaviour is a persistent failure to take responsibility for their own actions.” In order to admit, analyze, learn from lessons, change then grow, leaders develop different communication styles that explain how courage enhances leadership.
Global leadership and crowd-based leadership
As Kevin Petrie explains for TechCrunch, “all of us, businesses and consumers alike, have a role to play. And the businesses that invite their customers to engage in transparent data transactions will create outsized benefits on both sides of the trade“. With Big Data, IoT and wearable devices, the customer enters the heart of corporate strategies, and leadership needs to align. It also needs to align with a growing use of open innovation. As Farid Gueham explains for Trop Libre, “Open Innovation is a solution to communicate and enlarge companies visibility. Open innovation also enables to grow group performance. (…) It is a real talent program.” On top of connecting with the innovation ecosystem, leaders also need to meet new breeds of leaders that have been selected by “the crowd” through crowd funding. As Lydia Dishman reminds for Fast Company, “The next decade will be great for female entrepreneurs, as online platforms provide access to large networks of investors in an efficient process,” says Caldbeck, adding: “They are a clearly identifiable group that is benefiting from this transformation, but there are many others, including entrepreneurs in rural areas.”
Leaders therefore need to think in broader terms and broader ways. There is no “one fits all” solution to develop one’s eyesight, but there are effective communication tools. As Heidi K. Gardner and Mark Mortensen remind for HBR, “The only way to combat these asymmetries (different understanding in different locations) is to work hard to counter them. Effective global collaborations have processes and procedures designed into them that force information sharing across sites.” In order to broaden their views, leaders may also be tempted to better use analytics and balance their intuitive and data-driven decision making. In his article for InfoWorld, James Kobielus opens conclusive questions to help leaders decide: “What’s the right decision: Let the bots rule or let humans throttle them? That’s not an issue you want the bots to decide. They’re not all-knowing. But ask yourself: Does your organization have humans with the wisdom and perspective necessary for gauging when the bots truly need to be reined in?”. Last but not least, leaders have to decide and drive towards what they think tomorrow’s innovation system could be. As Françoise Benhanoum explains in her article for Boursorama, “it is with no doubt with a new type of partnerships, one that enables a better connection between public authorities and private initiatives, that innovation is inclined to reveal talents and develop tomorrow’s economy.”