Innovation

One Minute! One Idea! Ep. 11 "Agree on a Vision"

Welcome to "One Minute! One Idea!" – where we Deconstruct what’s happening at the intersection of innovation, human potential and the things we do to unlock it, known as Leadership.

Today’s idea is “Agree on a Vision!”

If you’re heading out to a new destination and you’re like most people, you whip out your trusty smart-phone and fire up the map app. What’s the first thing it asks? WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO! We accept this as a normal and necessary precursor to our trip, but all too often we’re willing to skip the step of defining our destination in our daily lives. Goals for our careers, companies, and personal relationships? We tend to avoid them because of our mistaken beliefs that goal-setting requires a crystal-ball or that the future will be a repeat of the past.

In episode 10, I introduced our case study for this season – the decision my wife Rebecca and I made to follow our hearts and return to our roots in rural America. We went looking for land in western Loudoun County Virginia, but what we found was a farm, complete with a log cabin – not some manufactured log house, but a real, hand-hewn log cabin, circa 1785. We looked at the cabin, looked at each other, and said: “This is it”. Our shared vision? To invest in our future by returning to our roots.

More in episode 12.

- Dennis 

Playing It Safe in the Peloton?

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to ride in the Tour de France?

Professor Bert Blocken, who teaches Civil Engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands is the guy who can tell you. Over the past two years, Professor Blocken and his team have run the numbers and developed a model that details exactly what it’s like. And while the temptation is to say “it’s just like NASCAR” in that drafting closely behind another competitor benefits both you and the competitor, there’s a better comparison.

Riding in the Tour de France is exactly like working in most organizations that are struggling to change in the face of potential disruption, globalization, and advancing technology.

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How so? In both cases, the role of the leader (of the Peloton or the company) is expected to set the direction, speed, and most importantly to accept most of the resistance (aerodynamic or organizational) for the larger group. In both cases, “go along to get along” behaviors are rewarded with a powerful aerodynamic effect sweeping the group forward. And finally, in both cases, those participants who abdicate leadership positions save on energy expended at the expense of playing an active role in where the group is going and how fast it will get there.

Dr. Blocken’s work was recently published in the Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics and profiled in the Wall Street Journal. And while the conclusion that leading is tough is ont nnew and conserving energy by burrowing yourself in the pack is a core part of a strategy, the extent to which this is true is eye-opening.

Per the ground-breaking research, the leader of the Peloton encounters between 75% and 100% of the wind resistance that he would experience if riding alone. In other words, the pack doesn’t benefit the lead rider. For riders further back along the edge or in the Peloton itself, the aero drag drops off quickly, falling as low as 5% for riders near the rear. In other words, riders who choose that subordinate position experience reductions of up to 95% of their aero drag.

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That’s fine for the Tour, where coasting in the back is typically part of an overall race plan that includes carefully timed sprints to pass or finish strong. It’s another thing when it’s a habitual stance within an organization that desperately needs to change. Behavioral experts frequently cite these disincentives to change, that make it easier to coast on the same, well-worn path, when they discuss an organization’s “immunity to change”.

So, how to overcome this resistance, both passive and active? There are three key steps, that work for leaders and encompass the reality of Dr. Blocken’s research.

First, realize that while it’s often lonely at the top, leadership isn’t a solitary affair. Leadership done right is personal, so it’s critical to involve multiple levels of leadership, including front-line management, in change initiatives from day one.

Second, while the leader needs to know the direction the pack should go, the real power in human organizations originates in broad, grass-roots engagement. No cyclist leads the Tour the entire way. If the broader workforce has a say in the direction of the group, it’s much more likely they’ll get on board and fully engage in driving the organization where it needs to go.

Third, if you’re in the pack, recognize the “go along to get along” reality for what it is: inertia. If you’re unhappy with the current direction or speed, it’s up to you to make your voice and ideas heard. Odds are that your unique perspective will help the pack get where it needs to go.

One Minute! One Idea! Ep. 2 "Meet People Where They Are"

Welcome to the second episode of One Minute! One Idea!  This is a multi-media micro-podcast in which we Deconstruct what’s happening at the intersection of innovation, human potential and the things we do to unlock it (leadership).

Today’s Idea is “Meet People Where They Are”.

It’s tempting to think that we’re able to create such a compelling product or service that our potential customers will beat a path to our door – they used to call that “building a better mousetrap”.  For almost everyone, that’s no longer true.  When we ask a prospect to go out of their way or to change their habits BEFORE they use what we’ve created, we create an insurmountable barrier to adoption.

So, today’s idea is “Meet People Where They Are”.  For me, that means not asking you to read anything or change your schedule.  You’ve already got too many emails and messages to sort through.  One Minute! One Idea! asks you to take literally one minute when you’re at the gym or in your commute when you’re already looking at or listening to your phone to consider one free idea. If I’m doing this right, that offer should at be least interesting.

Meet people where they are. It’s what I’m doing.

Tweet Me @DLBrouwer!

- Dennis

One Minute! One Idea! Ep. 1 "Get To The Point!"

Welcome to the first episode of One Minute One Idea!  This is a multi-media micro-podcast, delivered in a visual format, each episode lasts 60 seconds.

We’ll use this time to Deconstruct the latest in innovation, leadership, growth, and human potential and arrive at one, clear idea.

Today’s Idea is “Get To The Point!”.

With that in mind, One Minute One Idea dispenses with the filler, repetition, commercial breaks, and all things obvious, and what’s left is sixty seconds of dense, valuable content. You can pause, repeat, click through, or you can just hit play and let it run for the full minute.

"That’s not enough time," you say. Ha! Sixty seconds is enough time to watch the best Super Bowl commercial of all time or to read the Gettysburg Address. A minute is plenty of time.

So, today’s idea is “Get To The Point”. If you think your purpose, your job, your problem is too big to boil down to one minute, you’re probably wrong – you’re just letting yourself off the hook when what you really need to do is “Get To The Point”. That’s what I’m doing.

Tweet Me @DLBrouwer!

- Dennis

If you would like to learn more about Deconstruction and how it can impact your organization, contact me at Dennis@DLBrouwer.com or check out www.DLBrouwer.com.