THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW - NEWS Edition 8 March, 06
"Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple"…..Charles Mingus __________________________________________________________________________________ If you buy the premise that the best route to healthy growth is having a remarkable product or service, then the big question is: how to create a remarkable product or service. A remarkable product or service is something worth talking about, worth noticing, worth buying, worth supporting…..and on, and on. What seems to be clear is that the road to a remarkable company, organization, product, or service is paved with creativity. So for your creative consumption…. Top 10 Creative Rules of Thumb:
1. Best way to get great ideas is to get a lot of ideas and throw the bad ones away.
2. Create ideas that are 30 minutes ahead of their time…not years away.
3. Always look for a second right answer.
4. If at first you don't succeed, take a break.
5. Write down your ideas before you forget them.
6. If everyone says you are wrong, you are one step ahead. If everyone thinks you are ridiculous, you are probably two steps ahead.
7. The answer to your problem most likely "pre-exists." Asking the right question can reveal the answer.
8. When you ask a dumb question, you often get a smart answer.
9. Never solve a problem from its original perspective.
10. Visualize your problem as solved before solving it.
THE TAKE-AWAY: Find things that are "just not being done" in your field, and just do them.
- JetBlue almost instituted a dress code for passengers. (They are still considering giving a free ticket for the best- dressed passenger.)
- A plastic surgeon could offer gift certificates.
- Stew Leonard's took the strawberries out of the little green plastic cages and let the customers pick their own…..sales doubled.
THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW - NEWS Edition 7 January, 06 ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Getting to "Ah-Hah".......How to Find A New Breakthrough Idea! by Maxene Johnston
New ideas can be stimulated in a variety of ways. To encourage ideas, leaders know they need to engage people’s minds and their hearts and choose different approaches.
Approach 1 - Approve 'Thinking' on the Job
A successful former CEO of Time Warner used to tell his executive-level team that if he ever walked into their offices unannounced and found them leaning back in their chairs just thinking, he would give them a bonus on the spot! His attitude was that he was paying senior people to think about how to make the company better, not to run day-to-day operations. That was for other people.
Approach 2 - Mix it Up
Other leaders know that new ideas usually come from people free enough from daily responsibilities to have a chance to think. No emails, phone calls, appointment, etc. This does not mean that sitting around in a "thinking" position without interruptions will automatically do it. Some people need to free up their brains and should be encouraged to, at times, engage in non-business activity: window shopping, strolling through a museum or a park, reading something different, going to a new place, etc.
Approach 3 - Become a Brainstorming Champion
It is hard for some people to reach the big idea or the "Ah-Hah" all by themselves. Brainstorming in small groups can be very effective when you can try out ideas and exchange ideas with others. Here are some ground rules to consider:
1. Keep the group small, preferably no more than six people.
2. Work with a clear assignment such as solving a major problem or coming up with a way to dramatically increase client and/or employee satisfaction, etc.
3. Limit the assignment to one to two weeks. Avoid pouring through data for months, or doing special research.
4. Isolate the group from day-to-day business, ideally in a meeting place well away from their usual work environment.
One of the best examples of big idea-small group thinking comes from the early Disneyland days. Walt Disney wanted to expand the Disney Park business to Orlando, Florida. While it was a good idea, Disneyland did not generate enough cash to finance the venture and Walt was absolutely opposed to borrowing from banks and taking on debt.
Trying to figure this out, Walt called six managers to his office and told them about his vision and gave them an assignment to figure out how to finance this extremely expensive project from the existing business. He insisted the group isolate themselves from their families and peers, gave them two weeks to get back to him and instructions that he did not want to be disappointed!
Two weeks later, they presented Mr. Disney with a one sentence big idea solution: Keep Disneyland open at night. Prior to this time, Disneyland routinely closed every day at 6:00 P.M.. The group's idea was to extend hours until midnight and promote the evening period as a perfect setting for group outings, conventions and tour groups. Results: More money and a bigger Disneyland in Florida.
THE TAKE-AWAY: A critical role for a leader is to create an environment where breakthrough ideas get aired, where no idea is too crazy to be immediately ruled out and big payoff ideas are rewarded.
THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW - NEWS Edition 6 - August, 2005
"Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough for some people." .....F.M. Hubbard
Hirer Beware: Aliases and phony credentials can lead to a job!
On August 17, the Los Angeles Times ran a front page story about a five-time felon who has spent his life elaborately lying his way into jobs at churches, nonprofits, and most recently, as a fundraiser for the UCLA medical school.
His most recent job came about when UCLA hired a Manhattan Beach-based search firm to recruit and interview appropriate candidates. It appears that the firm was not asked to do any reference checking and UCLA, at the time, did not require any criminal background check. Frederiqkoe DiBritto, who had been hired for the $100,000-a-year UCLA job, with what seemed to be excellent credentials, was really Fred Brito, a con man and felon. Brito was arrested and led away in handcuffs by UCLA detectives after receiving a tip from the LAPD.
In reading the story, I realized that he sounded like a familiar "felon" ! In 2003, we were conducting searches for two different organizations and, Brito had applied for both positions using different names.
- First, we received a resume from a Mr. Gomez de Esparza. After reviewing it, we had some questions about dates and claims about accomplishments and awards. For example, his resume noted that he had received a "Humanitarian Award" in August 2003 from L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina but his profile did not seem to warrant such an award.
- Before we could ask him about these concerns, we received another resume for a different position from a Federiqkoe Britto with the same address, work history as Mr. Gomez de Esparza. Not only were the names on the resumes different, but the titles of his positions at his recent employer and his schools were different.
- We did some checking and found no listing for the universities listed on both resumes. We called Supervisor Molina's office to learn that, although the supervisor gives numerous certificates, they were not aware of a "Humanitarian Award" given by Supervisor Molina. After doing some further Internet research, we also found out that he had at least four different aliases.
This is what the search firm should be doing; stealthily screening applicants. This screening process, however, turned into a 'screaming' one. Brito became upset and agitated with us when we informed him that we could not present him as a candidate. When we discussed the concerns we had about the discrepancies on his resumes, he threatened us and told us he would let us know how he was going to deal with such unfair treatment.
We never heard from him again. Most importantly, the clients never had to hear from him and were spared the potential of making a high-risk hire.
The Take Away: Stealth screening is a critical element in identifying viable qualified candidates. Screen early and often to avoid a big investment of time in a potential candidate.