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Inspiring Innovation Video, Ken Tencer, Cause a Disturbance

‘Tis the Season of Falling Leaves and Growing Budgets

It’s that time of year again. With the turning of the leaves it is officially budget season!

Yes, planning for a new budget begins with everyone eagerly compiling their want list. Like kids creating a birthday wish list, there is wide-eyed excitement and hope that this will be “the” year. And, yes again, as the budget process unfolds inevitably there are a few disheartening adjustments to the wish list.

But, as the chorus of “ughs” begin, I offer some advice.

Rather than being the person who laments over what could have been, try this. Focus on leveraging one of the largest resources you have – your people.

Focusing on your people means focusing on your engaging your team with a view to driving your bottom line. Why?

  • Engaged people are more productive.
  • Engaging your people will increase productivity.
  • Engaging the hearts and minds of your people will help your company to recoup some of the $450 billion in lost productivity annually due to disengagement.
  • Engaged employees contribute to customer retention.
  • Engaged employees deliver revenue growth.

We all know it is easier to have existing customers buy more than it is to attract new customers. Research indicates the cost of customer acquisition is on average between four to ten times more expensive than customer retention. Investing in engaging your employees can be beneficial for your customer retention strategy.

The Disney Institute and McKinsey Company recently reported companies whose people consistently offered an exceptional customer experience realized a 2-percentage point advantage over their peers in revenue growth along with an increased employee satisfaction and engagement of 30 percent. Imagine what customer experience could do to your bottom line.

Through increased productivity, customer retention and revenue, you will be creating your own budget increases … freeing up more time to go outside and rake!

Are your people fully engaged? Here are a few tips to get started.

Ten Tips for Increasing Engagement:

  1. Develop inspirational leaders
  2. Hire motivated people
  3. Ask for input
  4. Do change well
  5. Provide learning opportunities
  6. Encourage calculated risk taking
  7. Get to know your people as individuals
  8. Deal with non performers
  9. Be true to your company values
  10. Celebrate success

Expert Marketer Magazine gives Cause a Disturbance a Five Star Rating

 

We want to thank EMM for their review and five star rating of our second book on innovation, Cause a Disturbance.

EMM, Expert Marketer Magazine is the unrivaled specialist in marketing books and publications. All books are carefully selected from the worldwide offer, independent from any publisher.”

To read more from EMM simply click through to http://www.expertmarketermagazine.com/en/books/13193/cause-a-disturbance.

To order your copy of the book go to http://www.amazon.com/Cause-Disturbance-Right-Hand-Breakthrough-Innovator/dp/1614489920 or any leading online book retailer.

Speaking engagements can be booked through Shawn Ellis at shawn@thespeakersgroup.com.  Media enquires can be directed to Tom Martin at tom@tommartinmedia.com.

 

Employee happiness matters more than you think

Originally published on September 16, 2014 as a Guest Column in The Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-digital/innovation/employee-happiness-matters-more-than-you-think/article20600181

I remember the flight well: It was 2010 and our first book on innovation had been successfully released. I was on my way to Cannes to deliver a workshop at the annual World Innovation Convention, and was excited to be making the trip.

What struck me was the fact that the companies attending this conference didn’t just represent billions of dollars in spending and revenue – they represented tens of billions of dollars. My business wasn’t even a rounding error for them.

In my workshop, I focused on the generation of small, incremental ideas: those ‘little things’ that leave a big footprint on your organization and most importantly on revenue. Following my presentation, the chief innovation officer of a major U.S. company approached me. He told me that the company had grown to such a mammoth size over the years that it cost more to submit an internal proposal for a new idea than it did to start the company in the first place.

This was a business-changing conversation for me. As an entrepreneur, I gained insight into the value that a boutique consulting firm can bring to the global marketplace. As an innovation thought leader, this encounter made me recognize the importance of intrapreneurship: eliminating the barriers that squelch bottom-up internal innovation.

Intrapreneuring, of course, is all about empowering your work force to think like owners, and identify and implement ideas to move the business forward. It’s about managers doing less telling and more listening. It sounds simple and should be intuitive. But true intrapreneurship has been surprisingly slow to emerge.

Its importance was recently reinforced by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman in his new book The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age. “Companies need entrepreneurial talent throughout the organization in order to respond to rapid changes.” The importance of intrapreneurship, however, goes further than idea generation. Empowering your people has an additional benefit: besides new ideas to improve products, services and process, it helps to surface new ways attract, engage and retain great people.

Why is this important to all of us? Because if business success depends on happy customers, happy customers come from energized, engaged employees. A recent article co-authored by McKinsey and the Disney Institute offers this important insight: “The secret to delighting customers? Put employees first.” When employees are encouraged and motivated to do their best work, they will continually delight your customers with new and better products and services.

The same article goes on to say, “companies that had a 1-percentage-point lead over their peers in key customer journeys typically enjoyed a 2-percentage-point advantage in revenue growth. In addition, companies that deliver excellent customer journeys increase employee satisfaction and engagement by 30 per cent.”

It’s all intuitive, really. Who’s better positioned to recognize new opportunities for better products and processes than those who meet customers every day? And what better way to motivate and engage your workforce than to listen to them and respect their insights?

Having spent many years in manufacturing, I’m impressed with American Airlines’ Fuel Smart program. Founded in 2005, the program aims to reduce fuel consumption by implementing employees’ suggestions. Through simple ideas from employees, like using one engine during taxiing, American Airlines has saved billions of dollars in reduced fuel costs. This concept resonates with me because I have always engaged my employees to help my company do things better, and saved thousands of dollars along the way, which for small businesses is a big deal.

As an entrepreneur, I’m also moved by Adobe’s Red Box innovation program. As a 2013 Adobe blogpost, “Imagination Sparks Innovation,” explains, “at Adobe, we truly believe that anyone in the company, irrespective of title or function, can innovate.” To bring employees’ ideas to life with minimal management interference, Adobe developed its KickStart Innovation Workshop. “Employees are given a red box. Inside is everything they need to become an Adobe Innovator, including some seed money on a pre-paid credit card with a step-by-step process to originate an innovative new concept, and then use that money to validate that concept with customers.” Imagine that: A suggestion box that offers recognition, process and capital.

As entrepreneurs, we may not be able to give everybody in our organization a ‘red box’ to test new ideas. But we can certainly take the time to listen, mentor and fund a few choice ideas percolating within our organizations.

The good news is that companies large and small are ripe with entrepreneurial talent. Generation Y employees, and the younger millennials (born after 1980), were not raised like the generations that came before them. They were not told to keep their heads down, put one foot in front of the other and not to cause problems. They were raised to think independently and make a difference. Growing up with social media, millennials are accustomed to interaction, dialogue, opinion and debate about anything and everything, at work and at play.

Today, smart leaders drive innovation by making their workplace more appealing, stimulating and engaging. It’s no small change – you want to attract and retain the best of the best. But it’s all based on basic skills: listening, sharing, empowering and collaborating. Ready to get started? Have a positive attitude. Build a culture of belief. Blow up the barriers that divide the thinkers from the doers. Success will follow.