3 Leadership Characteristics That Will Drive Your Innovation – Even During The Times of COVID-19

Article published in Real Leaders, written by Kristiina Hiukka

The proverbial wisdom says that “you can have all the riches and success in the world, but if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.” Right now, everything hinges on our health. Our work, our wealth, our future.

As the sickest nation in the world with COVID-19, the United States is heading towards having “nothing.” The U.S. is leading the world in deaths by the coronavirus, and people are left with “nothing” as they lose their jobs. It is heartbreaking and scary. Simultaneously, Continue reading 3 Leadership Characteristics That Will Drive Your Innovation – Even During The Times of COVID-19

Playbook For Life

Discovery Core 107 I 2020

Getting to college is a big deal. Then, you are in, and you expected to make sense of it all. There are so many choices and decisions. And all of them feel like your life depends on them… or at least that the rest of your life is impacted by them. Stressful. Confusing. Being a first-year college student can be the best of times and the worst of times all in one. This can be your first-year college experience during COVID-19 as well – even if you do not leave your home and roam the campus. During the global pandemic, we are wrapped in our fears and confusion exponentially more than normal but it is not all bad. I’m determined to create a stepping stone experience for this new generation of academics that will inspire them to love their university years. We can do this – even via Zoom – at the University of Washington Bothell where I teach as an adjunct professor. For the students this fall, I’ve created a course I call Playbook for Life to make the first quarter an exploration into “Who am I?” and a design process of “Who do I want to be”. Here is a nice article that was written about it by Douglas J. Esser (click below to go to UW Bothell website):

An experience, not a lecture series

 

Innovativeness sustains innovation

The emotional rollercoaster of an – especially that of a leader – can determine whether the venture either flourishes or withers. Last Friday I had an opportunity to present for the series my “6C model” of – what keeps the flame of burning, without burning out oneself. Please, take a look (60 min video), and let me know whether you find this perspective useful – or not. My point is how the human element of innovation, the relational and emotional element is overlooked and thus missed when trying to sustain the innovative spirit in companies.

By having the courage to go deeper into the realm of “humanness” creates an innovation force multiplier and can dramatically improve the success of your innovation culture. Innovative results are outcomes of creative thought and collaboration, which are wildly human experiences that consist of emotional and relational elements. It is an innovation leader’s job to optimize the emotional energy of their teams towards great novel solutions. Although many companies offer growth mindset or emotional intelligence training for their employees, the value of these trainings is lost when the key messages are left out of the strategy conversations within the leadership team. Developing ways to make emotional, relational, and social intelligence embedded into the fabric of the culture begins by weaving them into strategic planning conversations.

Fundamentals for Startups: Innovativeness – Flourishing or Withering?

 

 

Three hidden inhibitors of innovation (Part 3: Rewards)

(In the last two weeks I’ve written about the hidden inhibitors of innovation culture. First I wrote about how strategy needs to be rooted in the human experience, and my second blog was about human-centered metrics. This article addresses rewards at work.)

Although organizational culture comprises a wide variety of factors, I believe three of them – strategy, metrics, and rewards – warrant closer scrutiny when the goal is to establish a “culture of innovation”. While these three factors are regularly deliberated, discussed and decided upon by the senior leadership teams, critical blind spots remain. Therefore, it is more likely that leadership creates innovation-inhibiting conditions by agreeing to:

1. An innovation strategy that is not rooted in the human experience,

2. Irrelevant or distracting innovation metrics, and

3. A reward system that doesn’t actually reward the deeper human needs.  

Having the courage to go deeper into the realm of “humanness” creates an innovation force multiplier and can dramatically improve the successful innovation culture.

Your reward system is effective only when your people feel rewarded 

Innovation efforts by their nature are about experimentation without guarantees for their Human-centeredsuccess. In the best-case scenario, innovation efforts can result in new products, services, business models, and business processes. In reality, though, Continue reading Three hidden inhibitors of innovation (Part 3: Rewards)

Three hidden ways your corporate culture inhibits innovation (part 2: Metrics)

Leaders often create innovation-inhibiting conditions by agreeing to:

1. An innovation strategy that is not rooted in human experience,  2. Irrelevant or distracting innovation metrics, and 3. A reward system that doesn’t actually reward the deeper human needs.

By having the courage to go deeper into the realm of “humanness” creates an innovation force multiplier and can dramatically improve the successful innovation culture.

Last week I wrote about how to connect your strategy with the human experience.  Here is what you can do about the inhibitor number 2:

2.     Connect your innovation metrics to the human experience

Continue reading Three hidden ways your corporate culture inhibits innovation (part 2: Metrics)

Three hidden ways your corporate culture inhibits innovation – (Part 1: Strategy)

Oodi, Helsinki Finland

Published on February 20, 2020

Virtually all companies now claim to have a culture of innovation, yet they often fail to recognize disconnects between the performance of teams and overall governing corporate culture that may be dampening or even distorting innovation.  Seeing these invisible cultural disconnects is similar to seeing the invisible biological disconnects that are revealed in a functional MRI. When the driving action of innovation teams is going on beneath the surface, it remains invisible, unspeakable and therefore unmanaged.

My work with teams aspiring to best-in-class innovation has revealed the nature of these Continue reading Three hidden ways your corporate culture inhibits innovation – (Part 1: Strategy)

Time is Right for Civility Engineering

Civility rules

I was recently invited to speak at a civil engineers’ conference about the hot topic of #Inclusive Leadership. On my way to the conference, I pondered my connection to the world of civil engineering. I realized how the results of civil engineering were all around me. I began marveling at the landmarks – signs of engineering ingenuity on my way to the conference: the viaduct, bridges, skyscrapers, ferries and even the conference center where I was going to be speaking at. I was in awe.

It occurred to me at that moment that while I’m not a civil engineer, I am a “Civility Engineer”, one who works with behavior “engineering”.  

Continue reading Time is Right for Civility Engineering

What Really Matters – the ROI of Executive Coaching

When The Seattle Times headlined a front-page story (Aug 17, 2018) about the fee per hour for #coaching the CEO of Sound Transit, it was curious that the hourly rate ($550) of the coach earned the headliner status rather than the reasons why coaching was requested in the first place.  (And despite all the litigations plentiful in this country, we have yet to see a front-page headline about the hourly rate of the top lawyers.)

A much more interesting figure would have been a calculation of the cost of doing nothing about a “brash”, “aggressive” or even abusive leader. Or the cost of lost productivity because of employees dealing with sexism and interactions laced with profane language.  Or, what if, instead of hiring a #coach, the CEO had spent about $10,000 and bought all his Continue reading What Really Matters – the ROI of Executive Coaching

The Superpower of Inclusive Leadership Revealed

As a leadership consultant, I help leaders to be thoughtful and strategic about designing inclusive organizations. There is intense discussion, debate, research and experiment going on in this space. I challenged myself to identify the single most impactful lever – or a superpower – to implementing inclusive practices in organizations. I recently shared what I came to realize at the TechInclusion Conference in Seattle, and now I want to share my insight with you here.

Inclusive leadership is made out of two equally challenging parts, “inclusion” and “leadership” – so, let’s first explore some key characteristics of each of them.

Continue reading The Superpower of Inclusive Leadership Revealed