Monthly Archives: November 2018

Want More Innovation? Focus on the Team

In a recent post on Innovation Weekly, Tamara Chandour noted that “team innovation is the secret sauce to a business’s success.” As we discuss in some of our vistage CEo meetings, that means, removing the barriers and getting a team to innovate on a regular basis, not just at creative off-site meetings once a quarter. It means creating a culture of supporting innovators and understanding when you need to nurture them. Companies like 3M, Google and Intuit and start with the individual – giving each 15-20% time to be innovative – and then allowing them to form teams to use the time to experiemnt. Working with clients at LaunchStreet she found 7 ways to encourage innovation that have big pay off. That encouragement becomes the invisible cultural glue that creates real empowerment and motivation to act within your team.

  1. Give Risk A Name:Risk shuts down a lot of innovation efforts. The fear of failure takes over and innovation is shut down. Talking about risk actually minimizes the fear factor as people realize the perceived risk isn’t nearly as bad as their imagination makes it out to be. Talk about it, say it out loud, give it a name.
  2. Reward Behavior:If you want to encourage innovation, reward the behaviors that generate it.
  3. Test to Discover:Nothing satisfies the creative spirit like bringing your ideas to life. All too often innovation gets shut down by the all-or-none mentality. Testing fosters optimized ideas and more investment in innovation overall.
  4. Make Space, Not Meetings:People need space to innovate – not long-draw out meetings.
  5. Empower Them:Part of the reason your team doesn’t innovate is that they simply don’t know how. Perhaps they’ve been told they aren’t innovative or they’ve shoved their innovative side in a drawer for so long they forgot how to use it. If you want to encourage innovation with your teams, help them understand how they innovate.
  6. Challenge Everyone, Not Titles:You’d be amazed where a good idea can come from. And usually, it’s not where you think.  several companies seeking new algorithms (e.g., Netflix) find that the wiiners of their contest are people NOT related to their industry.  Fresh perspectives, like those Vistage members provide each other during their monthly meetings, can make all the difference.
  7. Be Consistent:. Make innovation part of their job responsibilities and daily tasks, not something you do at an occassional innovation event.

What are you going to do in your company is 2019 to encourage more innovation?. If you want better results, you can’t do same-old-same-old. Share with us.

More Evidence that “Less Is More”

Allen Root, a writer for Barron’s (part of Dow Jones) recently made an observation concerning earnings reports. While not a scientific study, he  identified an important pattern concerning the length of earnings PowerPoint presentations. The lengthier the slide deck, the poorer the performance.

“Slogging through stacks of (virtual) presentations while covering the latest third-quarter earnings reports has sparked the following correlational thought: The longer it takes to read the provided information, the worse the stock is doing.” Focused on the large-cap Russell 1000 index, he found that, across most sectors, “the worst performers’ earning presentations are, on average, 12 pages longer than the best performers…What’s more, the worst performers also appeared to have the longest slide decks five years ago, so our signal could be predictive. And some of the best performing stocks actually showed a decrease in presentation size over time. Go figure — less is indeed more.

“From our signal, who are the strong, silent types? Those stocks that have perform well and offer shorter (or no) PowerPoint presentations? Steel Dynamics , Burlington Stores (BURL), Netflix ( NFLX ), Nvidia ( NVDA) Abiomed (ABMD)m and XPO Logistics (XPO) are the six top stocks by sector. That group has returned 48% a year for five years.”

Presentation Excellence provides training for executives who want winning presentations. Our first point is that the presenter has to be clear exactly what action he/she wants the audience to take. Our second point, is that less is more! That’s not easy because it means organizing it for solid impact, and leaving out all the distractive information many other team members may want to include. (That’s the reason, with financial presentations we often recommend two “parts”; the first is the VITO) (Very Important Officer) who decides to act based on the compelling information about the company. The second provides support information for “Seymour” the analyst who needs to SEE MORE details: e.g., his analyst who dives into the related details. This way you don’t dilute the power of the presentation with distractive information.

As you approach 2019…. Make sure your presentation designer creates a concise, well-organized presentation which focus on what the audience really needs to know.   If you’re not closing as many deals as you want… request a corporate training program, a one-on-one coaching program for key people, or attend are quarterly open-to-the-public workshops (Next one is January 11, 2019)

You can contact me here, or register here

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