It's 1947, and in the small town of Marion, Virginia at the Harwood Manufacturing Corporation' pajama factory, a bit of magic is taking place.
All workers are divided into 4 very similar groups and are asked to change the way they do things.
The changes are minor - for example (and yes, this is a real case), folding pajamas into a box, rather than on top of a flat piece of cardboard.
Yet, Group One becomes extremely aggressive towards management, sees 17% quits in the first 40 days, while productivity drops immediately to about two-thirds of its historic output rate - staying at the new low level for 30 days after the change is introduced.
Group Two loses the productivity a bit right after the change is made - but then quickly recovers. There're no quits in the first 40 days and only one act of aggression against the supervisors.
But the real miracle takes place in Groups Three and Four.
"After a slight drop on the first day...
It's nearly embarrassing to admit, but yes, I have delivered four different TEDx talks.
[Clearly, it's some form of addiction.]
My very first talk was for TEDxLjubljana nearly a decade ago.
The TEDx community was just getting started, and there were barely any people in the room.
I prepared a powerpoint that did not look good on video.
So, it was a waste for everyone involved - and I learned that form, not only content, matters.
The second talk was with TEDxKlagenfurt.
I got so excited that I ran out of time.
The talk literally sped up like a bad cartoon at the end - and I learned that less is more.
The third talk was for TEDxNavesink.
The team worked so hard to get us all ready and truly prepped.
The day of the event I had an insane fever, my skirt kept making it hard to walk, and I re-did the slides the morning of the event.
Perhaps because I was miserable and sick - or because my AMAZING coaches kept nudging me on - but in the...
It’s time for some real talk.
But first, let me set the stage.
I first asked this question during an Executive MBA course I was teaching about a decade ago.
The room was filled with experienced professions who really had some mileage behind them.
So, imagine my surprise, when my question was met with absolute I-don’t-know-what-to-say silence.
No, I was not asking about anything private, weird, or inappropriate.
All I asked was this:
What value have you created last week?
Not your company. Not your business unit. You.
Simple question, right?
So it’s so remarkable how many of us have trouble with the answer.
We adore our product and services, we love or hate our processes, we celebrate or cry over our financial results… But value… That seems very abstract.
Yet, without a real grasp of value creation, reinvention is not possible – it’s all about new and improved ways of creating value.
I still remember the first time I heard of “writer’s block” – that sticky gloomy moment when a writer loses the creative spark and keeps staring at the blank page with no words coming out.
I was writing my second book.
Nothing was coming out.
And I just wanted to figure out what in a world was wrong with me.
(Nothing. It’s normal. Happens to everyone).
Well, these days writer’s block is not my issue – but reinventor’s block is.
Occasionally I simply get stuck.
No new reinvention ideas.
No juicy brainstorms.
(For a person who makes money reinventing, that’s a MAJOR issue).
Luckily, after a few rounds of reinventor’s block, I discovered an easy fix: get inspired.
See fresh reinvention ideas.
Review the stories you already know.
Get energized by other’s ability to re-think, re-new, re-build.
And your inner-reinventor will definitely wake up.
So, just in case you are...
Our team at Chief Reinvention Officer had a big September.
First, I made a trip around the world (Columbus - Toronto - Frankfurt - Nur Sultan - Seoul - Vancouver - Chicago - Columbus.... Even typing it up makes me dizzy!)
Then we launched the Fall 2019 Class of our foundations-of-reinvention course. (All those emails. Yes, we are done. Back to weekly articles!)
Then we started our own company reinvention - our quest for better team flow, better tech, better value for all of you...
So, when the idea came up to hold our next big strategic discussion while taking a walk at a beautiful park, I jumped.
What can be better than talking about letting go of no-longer-useful ideas while watching the trees letting go of their leaves?!
So, here we were, turning a corner of the park, talking about our mission - about the shift required in how we manage our organizations to meet the challenges of speed and uncertainty.
I am in my normal all-knowing preachy self, talking a lot.
I still remember the moment.
I was working on this new free knowledge platform that still did not have a name.
We all knew that it is desperately needed - after all, the demand for helping companies and non-profits to survive disruption was so high, that we had to say "no" to most requests for help.
We knew it was time to make our knowledge and tools public and radically accessible.
But we did not know how to describe it.
So, Mark Levy, our positioning extraordinaire, asked me: "If what you do in companies had a title, what would it be?"
That was a tough one.
I went through a list one by one.
Chief Innovation Officer? No, my job is also about protecting the old...
Chief Transformation Officer? We are so tired of the word transformation - and it so rarely produces results!
Chief Strategy Officer? But what about implementation...
And then it just came out. Chief Reinvention Officer.
Mark stopped for a second (he is a very tough critic, so I was bracing for...
I am sitting at the airport in South Korea, wondering how can I convince you to take the time and join me for a new live online Masterclass.
I am thinking of a story to tell.
Or a clever tagline to entice you with.
Or a piece of data to feature that will show you how useful this virtual get-together gonna be.
But all of it seems like a cheap marketing trick.
And we are talking about life and death here – quite literally – life and death of your organization or your career.
As I am writing these words, a client is waiting on WhatsApp to get help with a list of disruptions that only a few years ago would be unimaginable.
US-China (and the whole world) trade war.
New breakthrough technology making his products absolute.
Every kind of threat of ecological disaster from climate change to the catastrophic...
I am not going to lie.
Seeing headlines like this one make me cringe:
There is no question that we are due for a good crisis.
After all, just like nature’s seasons, the global economy is cyclical – and we’ve been in the longest period of growth since 1854.
It’s time for a recession.
It’s not a matter of “if.”
After a long summer, winter IS coming.
So, the real question is not whether recession and disruption are knocking on our door.
The real question is: How do we prepare?
To answer this question, my team and I went through tons of research that looked in-depth at the lessons learned from the past.
What we discovered (with no surprise) is that in the last economic recessions about 17% of all publicly traded companies did not survive.
What was, however, surprising – and very exciting – is that about 9% of the companies not only survived, but THRIVED.
In other words, if you...
You know that horrible feeling.
You’re working hard: trying to improve things, bring results, do the right thing.
But you feel like you’re stuck.
Your company is resisting.
Your customers keep changing on you.
Your competitors are throwing you curveballs left and right.
Your suppliers don’t get on board.
And now the upcoming recession is all over the news.
You keep pedaling and pushing but don’t get any closer to the desired outcome.
You feel exhausted, frustrated, and alone. And it keeps getting worse and worse.
Why is this happening . . . and how can you move forward without closing your eyes and waiting for things to “magically” get better?
That was exactly what drove our team as we committed to writing “Titanic Syndrome: Why Companies Sink and How to Reinvent Your Way Out of Any Business Disaster.”
We wanted to make sure you have an easy-to-follow toolkit that will help you deal with today’s...
A few years ago, a celebrity chef opened a pizza place near my house.
I’m not really a “celebrity chef” kind of person because I don’t tend to care if someone uses artesian water or features a special salt menu instead of the regular stuff.
But, I love me a good old pizza… …so my husband, our 15-year-old daughter Lila and I went to check the place out.
As we looked over the menu, we were hopeful. No weird ingredients, but the prices sent all the right signals. The pizza was about four times as much as a standard pizza, so surely they were going to rock our worlds.
When our pizza came out, it looked the part.
But… the taste was disappointing.
It wasn’t bad… but it wasn’t great… it was just a pizza. And that was EXACTLY the issue.
There was nothing to justify the higher price. The celebrity chef just decided that he “could” charge more, so he did.