Innovation is often focused on products and services. What about innovating how you attract, engage and manage people?
Southwest made this part of its strategy. By making employees number one (not customers), they were able to create a customer experience that has helped reshape an industry. HCL, which has been referred to an "intellectual clean room where its employees could imagine endless possibilities" has made leader transparency a key element in attracting and energizing top talent.
Who are your next employees? Gen X, Gen Y, the Facebook Generation? These are folks who are growing up online. They start with Webkinz and eventually graduate to text messaging, Twitter, Facebook and other ways of engaging with self-formed groups. Will your current management approach be relevant to this next generation of workers?
1. All ideas compete on equal footing
3. Hierarchies are natural, not prescribed
4. Leaders serve rather than preside
5. Tasks are chosen, not assigned
6. Groups are self-defining and self-organizing
7. Resources get attracted, not allocated
8. Power comes from sharing information, not hoarding it
9. Opinions compound and decisions are peer-reviewed
10. Users can veto most policy decisions
11. Intrinsic rewards matter most
12. Hackers are heroes
There are tremendous opportunities to leverage this insight. For example:
- Figure out where this way of thinking, relating, innovating can allow you to capture new non-customers.
- As your boomers retire, create a transition plan to turn the reins over to Facebook leaders while maintaining or even improving performance.
- Leverage the insight and speed that internet-raised employees provide your firm to develop, market and sell new products and services.
- Understand how culture is changing across your firm. For example, one of my clients discovered how vastly different the HQ culture is compared to how the field operates. This will be a key factor as we develop a new business model and customer strategy.
Folks who grow up online see online as a way of life, not as a tool that they access. Is your company's strategy ready to delight this generation of customers, workers and influencers? What opportunities do you see?