ASHA’s CEO has succeeded in making a human focus operational by aligning all aspects of the organization with it, and moving ASHA forward to new levels of growth and innovation.
Staff, team and culture development boot camp
Most of us “play it by ear” when it comes to the execution of a new concept. Our focus is on acquiring ideas or information—planning, reading, discussing, hearing or analyzing them. When it comes to execution, we rely on the same old tools we always used and settle for ad hoc activities and initiatives. Yet one cannot achieve systems-wide change by “understanding” the concept or generating detailed plans. What these require are fundamental changes in the way organizations think and behave.
It is the execution of change rather than the ideas, themselves, where the rubber meets the road. Paradoxically, however, there are no tools or systems approaches for “executing” innovation.
Announcing a new dynamic, fast-paced, hands-on workshop for innovative CEOs on December 15.
Abstract visions of the future or well-meaning promises and expressions of appreciation become reality only when they connect to specific ways individuals can benefit from them immediately—whether these are opportunities for additional income, concrete new skills they can market, a share in profits or decision-making.
Making innovation happen requires a shift in mindset. Case in point: Association for Financial Professionals. CEO Jim Kaitz approaches expansion by building organizational capabilities to constantly adapt to the
speed and nature of market change. Kaitz does not marginalize change by reducing it to new product launches or isolated initiatives outside of AFP’s core business. Instead, he lets small-scale successes and lessons learned catalyze broader changes to the association and disrupt business as usual.
To create a culture of cooperation, you need to refocus from products to people and translate change—not into theories or programs—but in doing things, thinking and measuring success differently.
Gary Hamel, the proponent of radical innovation and visionary of the future of competition, challenges us to break out of bureaucracy to build the cultures and capabilities that will make us competitive for the future.
- Passive members who feel no motivation to participate in impersonal surveys and mass calls for member input, certain that these will never be implemented
- Disillusioned employees – cynical about investing hours or months in one more retreat, reorganization or change initiative in which their opinions are solicited and new plans are developed only to be shelved indefinitely
- Chapter leaders, suspicious and unwilling to cooperate when told that the association is now interested in its chapters and wants to involved them in its design of a new chapters’ model. “Why should we trust the association this time?” one chapter leader asked. I know that if the CEO walked in the room right now she would not recognize me or know my name. Nothing changed as a result of their last redesign efforts.”
- Avoid sending signals that you’re in charge. “Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably conveying your power through subtle cues.”
- Be clear about the type of input you want
- Provide resources for acting on the input you get. As an example of the opposite, the authors cite clients from a number of industries “who spent thousands or millions of dollars collecting ideas but then didn’t allocate a single employee to read through the data, much less design a systematic evaluation process.”
- Create a more vocal culture in which feedback and exchanges of opinion are regular practices.
- Reach out to solicit others’ opinions and concerns.