Posts Tagged ‘Innovation’

Sharing story as a way to motivate.

Mar 16, 2010 // 2 Comments » // Change Initiation | Conversational Circles | Leadership Infusion


Photo source: Mr. Mark via

Photo source: Mr. Mark via

Every veins and  lines probably have a story to tell…

I have a friend whom recently become quite sought after in the circle of motivational speaking. He was sharing how excited he was and good money too given that’s not what his main income’s source…

“What would you speak about to motivate others?”

“Can people really be motivated by hearing from someone else?

“How long you think they will stay motivated after hearing you?” came my barrage of questions.

He responded matter-of-factly: “Sure they do, they like to listen to my stories about failures and successes, rags to riches and it never fails to resonate in them…they LOVE it!”. “Umm…as for whether they remain motivated or not, who knows; aren’t they suppose to be able to self-motivate?!”…

Last year, I attended a workshop organized by National Book Development Council of Singapore titled: ‘ Narrative Techniques For Business’. The two days seminar essentially help us to understand the value of stories (or ‘grapevine’ depending on how you see it) within an organization setting and how to use narrative-based activities to design change that impact organization. I was mesmerized by the intriguing process of Preparation, Discovery, Sensemaking/Intervention Design and Monitoring, and how this process; if apply appropriately are able to help organisation facilitate intervention from hiring or firing to mergers and acquisition decision.

Stories are everywhere.

Christina Baldwin, who had pioneered the field of journal writing and women leadership; authored a wonderful book titled: “Storycatcher — Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power  and Practice of Story”. In the book, she open with the preface that says: “Every person is born into life as a blank page – and every person leaves life as a full book.”

We all have stories that are uniquely our own. Even when we shared similar features in our story that we can find common ground of understanding and viewpoint. Last week, the Straits Times interview-report  the father of 3M’s Post-it notes scheme Dr. Geoff Nicholson, he commented that CEOs should do well in telling stories; and that will have profound impact to spur staff to be innovative, he stressed.

When was the last time you share with or listen to someone’s story?

Productivity vs Product-viability

Feb 26, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Change Initiation

Here’s an excerpt from Mr. Toyoda’s apologies:

“In the past few months, our customers have started to feel uncertain about the safety of Toyota’s vehicles…”.

“Toyota has for the past few years been expanding its business rapidly. Quite frankly I fear the pace at which we have grown may have been too quick.”

“…Toyota’s traditional priority of Safety, Quality and Volume became confused and we are not able to Stop, Think and make Improvement…we pursued growth over speed and forgotten the basic stance of listening to our customers…”

Productivity is the buzz word in Singapore since the Economic Strategies Committee (ESC)  study has unveiled ambitious plans aimed at transforming Singapore’s economy over the next decade. Chairman of the ESC, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam told a news conference Monday morning: “Our assessment is that the next 5 to 10 years will provide greater opportunities for growth in the world around us than any decade we have seen in the past… It will require a change in how we work, how we create value.”

I did a brief search on ‘Productivity’ and would like to share with you the following:

Manual (Labor) work productivity, popularized by Frederick Winslow Taylor in the early 1900′s  uses Sciencetific Management – is a theory of management that analyzes and synthesizes workflows, with the objective of improving labor productivity. Peter Drucker identified better knowledge work productivity as our most important economic need. Manual work is visible, specialized, and stable, whereas knowledge work is invisible, holistic, and ever changing. Unlike manual workers, knowledge workers use their situational knowledge to get things done in a dynamic environment. They are almost always formally educated and are called upon to run and change their functions and organizations simultaneously. Here a quick table comparison:

Frederick Taylor on Manual Work Peter Drucker on Knowledge Work
Define the task Understand the task
Command and control Give Autonomy
Strict standards Continuous innovation
Focus on quantity Focus on quality
Measure performance to strict standard Continuously learn and teach
Minimize cost of workers for a task Treat workers as an asset not a cost
Manual Work Productivity Knowledge Work Productivity
Work is visible Work is invisible
Work is specialized Work is holistic
Work is stable Work is changing
Emphasizes running things Emphasizes changing things
More structure with fewer decisions Less structure with more decisions
Focus on the right answers Focus on the right questions

Source: Reinvent Your Enterprise, by Jack Bergstrand

ConversationCircles recent work with Fonterra Brands (see Fonterra case-study) help our client to identify that their work is changing therefore the entire team need changing mindset to continue adding-value to the work they do.  The team that comprises mainly senior executives were encouraged and focus in asking questions rather than just giving answers.

Talk to us to find out more about how we can help you in Change Initiation with your organisation.