Foster more connections among employees by playing “switch-a-seat.” Once a month at Bronto Software, two employees switch work spaces for one week. “It’s easy to get your head down in your own little world,” says president Joe Colopy. “But innovation and creativity are about connecting things that appear disparate.” The “switch” game enables team members to better share ideas.
Become known as a more inventive leader by using the future-leaning word “will” more often, as in “We will prosper if we think ahead.” Researchers find that a common attribute of the most innovative companies is that their CEOs focus more on the future than typical CEOs. How do they know? They tallied the number of “will” sentences used in the chiefs’ communications.
— Adapted from “What Are the Five Traits of Highly Innovative Companies?” Michael Arndt, BusinessWeek podcast.
“Never waste a crisis.” It’s the rallying cry of Barack Obama’s chief of staff and many global leaders. What can you do? Ask yourself what you can accomplish now that you couldn’t do before, suggests Saj-nicole Joni in Forbes. For example, Detroit carmakers used to worry about destroying $40 billion in shareholder value if they transformed themselves into “green” manufacturers. Now, rather than protecting a past that’s no longer viable, they could take the bold steps they’ve long been avoiding.
Stay tuned to market and cultural trends. PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi tells The Wall Street Journal that she stays current by using two tactics. First, market tours: “Every weekend I hop in the car and go somewhere. I listen to kids talk about what they’re consuming, what they’re doing, what they’re not doing.” And a robust reading list: “I read ... the usual business press but also People and Vanity Fair and anything close to the cutting edge of the culture. Even the AARP magazine.”
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