Tag Archives: best practices

Do the Right Thing

Do the Right Thing

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

100% agreement means there’s less than 100% truth. If, as a senior leader, you know there are differing opinions left unsaid, what would you do? Would you chastise the untruthful who are afraid to speak their minds? Would you simply ignore what you know to be true and play Angry Birds on your phone? Would you make it safe for the fearful to share their truth? Or would you take it on the chin and speak their truth? As a senior leader, I’d do the last one.

Best practice is sometimes a worst practice. If, as a senior leader, you know a more senior leader is putting immense pressure put on the team to follow a best practice, yet the context requires a new practice, what would you do? Would you go along with the ruse and support the worst practice? Would you keep your mouth shut and play tick-tack-toe until the meeting is over? Would you suggest a new practice, help the team implement it, and take the heat from the Status Quo Police? As a senior leader, I’d do the last one.

Truth builds trust. If, as a senior leader, you know the justification for a new project has been doctored, what would you do? Would you go along with the charade because it’s easy? Would call out the duplicity and preserve the trust you’ve earned from the team over the last decade? As a senior leader, I’d do the last one.

The loudest voice isn’t the rightest voice. If, as a senior leader, you know a more senior leader is using their positional power to strong-arm the team into a decision that is not supported by the data, what would you do? Would you go along with it, even though you know it’s wrong? Would you ask a probing question that makes it clear there is some serious steamrolling going on? And if that doesn’t work, would you be more direct and call out the steamrolling for what it is? As a senior leader, I’d do the last two.

What’s best for the company is not always best for your career. When you speak truth to power in the name of doing what’s best for the company, your career may suffer. When you see duplicity and call it by name, the company will be better for it, but your career may not. When you protect people from the steam roller, the team will thank you, but it may cost you a promotion. When you tell the truth, the right work happens and you earn the trust and respect of most everyone. As a senior leader, if your career suffers, so be it.

When you do the right thing, people remember. When, in a trying time, you have someone’s back, they remember. When a team is unduly pressured and you put yourself between them and the pressure, they remember. When you step in front of the steamroller, people remember. And when you silence the loudest voice so the right decision is made, people remember. As a senior leader, I want to be remembered.

How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

  1. Do you want to be remembered as someone who played Angry Birds or advocated for those too afraid to speak their truth?
  2. Do you want to be remembered as someone who doodled on their notepad or spoke truth to power?
  3. Do you want to be remembered as someone who kept their mouth shut or called out the inconvenient truth?
  4. Do you want to be remembered as someone who did all they could to advance their career or someone who earned the trust and respect of those they worked with?

In the four cases above, I choose the latter.

Image credit: Unsplash

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Change Management Best Practices

Lessons from Successful Change Initiatives

Change Management Best Practices

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

Change is inevitable in any organization striving for growth and innovation. However, successfully managing change can often be a daunting task, encompassing various challenges and uncertainties. This thought leadership article delves into the best practices of change management, drawing valuable lessons from two impactful case studies. By examining these successful change initiatives, valuable insights can be gained to inspire and guide future change management efforts.

Case Study 1: Netflix

When Netflix emerged in the late 1990s, it disrupted the traditional video rental industry dominated by brick-and-mortar stores. Recognizing the shift in consumer preferences, Netflix changed its business model from a DVD-by-mail service to an online streaming platform. This transformation required effective change management to maintain and expand its customer base.

1. Crafting a Compelling Vision: Netflix defined a clear and compelling vision that emphasized convenience, variety, and personalization. This vision motivated employees and stakeholders, acting as a guiding light throughout the change process.

2. Agile Organizational Structure: Netflix adopted a more agile and decentralized structure to enable quick decision-making and adaptability. By empowering employees and encouraging innovation, the organization created an environment primed for change acceptance and implementation.

3. Transparent Communication: Effective communication played a central role in Netflix’s successful change initiative. The leadership team consistently communicated the rationale behind the change, its potential impact, and involved employees in decision-making processes. Transparent communication fostered trust and encouraged active participation, resulting in smoother transitions.

Case Study 2: Microsoft

Under the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft successfully transformed its organizational culture, moving away from a traditional software-driven company to a more agile and cloud-oriented enterprise.

1. Embracing the Growth Mindset: Microsoft encouraged employees to embrace a growth mindset, fostering a culture that valued learning, adaptability, and continuous improvement. This mindset shift allowed employees to tackle challenges head-on and view change as an opportunity for personal and professional growth.

2. Prioritizing Employee Enablement: The leadership team at Microsoft understood the importance of equipping employees with the necessary tools, resources, and training to succeed in the new paradigm. By providing ongoing support and enabling employees to acquire new skills, Microsoft ensured a smoother transition and minimized resistance to change.

3. Celebrating Successes: Recognizing and celebrating milestones along the change journey is crucial in reinforcing change initiatives. Microsoft actively celebrated both small and significant victories, acknowledging the efforts of individuals and teams who embraced the transformation. Such positive reinforcement reinforced the new culture and motivated others to follow suit.


Change management is a complex process with no one-size-fits-all approach. However, the valuable lessons extracted from successful change initiatives can serve as guiding principles for organizations seeking to navigate transformative journeys. By focusing on crafting a compelling vision, fostering transparent communication, nurturing a growth mindset, prioritizing employee enablement, and celebrating successes, organizations can increase the likelihood of successfully implementing change. Embracing these best practices allows organizations to adapt and thrive in an ever-evolving business landscape.

SPECIAL BONUS: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

Image credit: Pixabay

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From Idea to Execution: Best Practices for Innovating Successfully

From Idea to Execution: Best Practices for Innovating SuccessfullyGUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

Innovation is at the heart of progress. It drives companies to new heights and fuels economic growth. However, transforming an idea into a successful reality requires careful planning, strategic thinking, and flawless execution. In this article, we will explore the best practices for innovating successfully by analyzing two inspiring case studies.

Case Study 1: Apple Inc.

Apple Inc. is renowned for its innovative products that have revolutionized entire industries. One of their most memorable successes was the launch of the iPhone in 2007. What made this innovation exceptional was not just the creation of a new smartphone but the integration of multiple functions in a single device. Apple not only developed a powerful touchscreen phone but also designed an intuitive operating system and an App Store ecosystem that allowed developers to create versatile applications.

The key lesson from Apple’s success is the importance of thinking holistically. Innovation should not be limited to individual features or products. Instead, organizations should strive to create an ecosystem that provides a seamless experience to customers. By considering the entire user journey and designing complementary products or services, companies can differentiate themselves and capture market share effectively.

Case Study 2: Airbnb

Another remarkable success story is Airbnb. Founded in 2008, this online marketplace disrupted the traditional accommodation sector by connecting travelers with homeowners renting out their properties. The company’s success can be attributed to its ability to understand and adapt to changing customer needs. Airbnb recognized that travelers were seeking unique and personalized experiences rather than conventional hotel stays.

To ensure successful execution, Airbnb built a platform that focused on trust and community. By establishing rigorous verification processes, providing accurate reviews, and fostering a sense of belonging among hosts and guests, the company created a strong foundation for growth. Moreover, Airbnb’s strategy of gradually expanding its offerings beyond accommodations, such as “Experiences,” further strengthened its position in the market.

The key lesson from Airbnb’s success lies in continuous adaptation and responding to evolving customer demands. Successful innovation requires companies to be agile and open to learning from feedback. By staying connected to their customers and actively seeking their input, organizations can develop offerings that cater to their changing needs.

Best Practices for Innovating Successfully

1. Foster a culture of innovation: Encourage employees to think creatively and provide them with the resources and support to explore new ideas. Innovation should be ingrained in the company’s DNA.

2. Identify customer pain points: Truly innovative solutions address real-world problems. Invest time in understanding your customers’ pain points and use them as a basis for your innovation efforts.

3. Focus on the user experience: Innovation should enhance the overall experience for customers. Design products and services that are intuitive, user-friendly, and seamlessly integrated.

4. Build cross-functional teams: Successful innovation requires collaboration across different departments and disciplines. Encourage diverse perspectives by assembling teams with varied skill sets and backgrounds.

5. Test and iterate: Embrace a mindset of continuous improvement. Test your innovations, collect feedback, and iterate based on the insights gained. Rapid prototyping and minimum viable products can help gauge market response before full-scale implementation.

6. Create a supportive ecosystem: Just as Apple and Airbnb understood the importance of building an ecosystem around their innovations, consider how your innovation fits into the broader customer experience. Develop partnerships and collaborations that reinforce the value proposition of your offering.


Innovation is an iterative process that requires a thorough understanding of customer needs, a holistic approach, and continuous adaptation. By drawing inspiration from successful case studies like Apple and Airbnb, organizations can enhance their innovation capabilities and bring groundbreaking ideas to life. Embrace the best practices outlined here, and unleash the potential of your organization to innovate successfully.

Bottom line: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

Image credit: Misterinnovation.com

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Best Practices for Digital Transformation Leadership

Best Practices for Digital Transformation Leadership

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

Digital transformation leadership is essential for organizations looking to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving digital economy. Digital transformation leaders can help drive innovation and organizational success by leveraging cutting-edge technology, implementing a data-driven strategy, and improving customer engagement. But what are some best practices for digital transformation leadership? In this article, we will discuss key best practices for digital transformation leaders backed up by two case study examples.

First, successful digital transformation leaders must understand the technologies available to them. This includes understanding the capabilities of the technology and how it can help drive innovation within their organization. The leader should be well-versed in areas like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and cloud computing, and leverage the technology to create new business models and processes.

Case Study Example 1 (Unilever) – A great example of this is the VP of digital business transformation at Unilever, who implemented a cloud system that allowed the company to better understand customer behavior. This improved customer segmentation, prediction, and customization, allowing Unilever to efficiently respond to customer needs and drive more sales.

In addition to understanding technology, digital transformation leaders should be able to effectively foster collaboration and communications within their organization. This includes promoting the sharing of ideas and leveraging the expertise of those in the organization. Leaders should create an environment where everyone is encouraged to openly share their ideas, and feedback is valued. The goal of this is to build trust among team members and help create a culture of innovation.

Case Study Example 2 (GE Healthcare) – As an example, the CEO of GE Healthcare shifted the company’s leadership culture to be more customer-centric. This was driven by a focus on collaboration and communication between the different departments, allowing for different perspectives to be heard and responded to. This yielded increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Finally, an effective digital transformation leader should have a deep understanding of the customer landscape and customer experience. Leaders should stay on top of customer needs and feedback, and make sure customer feedback is incorporated into the organization’s roadmap. The leader should also ensure that customer-facing teams are equipped with the tools and resources they need to provide a great customer experience.

Case Study Example 3 (Amazon) – An example of a successful initiative in this area is Amazon’s digital transformation leadership. The company invested heavily in knowing customer needs and getting feedback from customers, leading to the development of services like Amazon Prime and Amazon Web Services. These services have propelled Amazon to become one of the most successful digital companies in the world.


In summary, successful digital transformation leaders must be well-versed in the latest technology, foster collaboration and communication within their organization, and have a deep understanding of customer needs and experience. Unilever, GE Healthcare, and Amazon have successfully implemented these best practices and achieved great results. Organizations looking to drive digital transformation should keep these best practices in mind and leverage these case study examples to guide their journey.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Change Agents and the Future of Change Management

Change Agents and the Future of Change ManagementRecently I was identified in a mini research study as one of the top Key Opinion Leaders in change management on Twitter by Maven7, and they were curious about some of my opinions about organizational change, and asked me these two questions for an article titled ’14 Insightful Quotes from Influencers in Change Management’ on their blog.

1) In your opinion, how will change management evolve in the next 10 years?

2) Why is change agent involvement essential during a change initiative, and what best practices are there to involve them?

The article on their site just highlights a few quotes from the insights I shared with them surrounding these two questions, so if you’re more interested in hearing the full responses, please continue reading.

Question: In your opinion, how will change management evolve in the next 10 years?

I believe that the field of organizational change will evolve first by moving beyond change management. We currently speak about change management and maybe change leadership, but I believe we need to make the conversation about The Five Keys to Successful Change™ more pervasive. These five keys are:

  1. Change Planning
  2. Change Leadership
  3. Change Management
  4. Change Maintenance
  5. Change Portfolio Management

When we start moving the conversation beyond change management, we can start focusing as change professionals on achieving excellence in practice in all five areas, creating more efficient and effective tools and techniques for each. The new Change Planning Toolkit™ introduced in my book Charting Change (Feb 2016) is focused on making the planning of a change effort of any size (up to the level of mergers & acquisition, and down to the level of the project) more visual, more collaborative, and more human.

In today’s environment it is innovate or die, and the reason that most organizations are bad at innovation is that they are bad at change. So, the ability to create a culture of continuous change in an organization, and a commitment to empowering employees with the tools, techniques, and mindsets that lead to the creation of a new organizational capability in change for the organization, will lead to THE most important competitive advantage an organization could possibly possess – greater organizational agility.

This evolution of change management will lead to a group of companies with incredible organizational agility and a collection of companies that will join Blockbuster, Montgomery Ward, Borders, and Tower Records not because of mismanagement, but because of a refusal to move beyond change management to embrace The Five Keys to Successful Change™. Which will you be?

Question: Why is change agent involvement essential during a change initiative, and what best practices are there to involve them?

I don’t like the notion of a change agent. Instead I prefer the notion of a change movement inspired by a motivated change leadership team. The notion of the change agent confers the idea that one person can affect lasting change, and that’s just not reality. We might like to attribute a successful change to a single individual, but the truth is that in those situations a movement was created where people eagerly participated in affecting a certain change, where imagination and creativity were captured and harnessed to create a new reality.

The truth is that successful changes are led by a passionate change leadership team with a clear plan that empowers and engages people with a clear, and often tailored, vision for the new reality they hope to create with the broader team. Successful change leadership teams build a clear plan that can be easily shared in order to start creating movement, in order to overcome the inertia of the organization, and then they focus on building and sustaining the momentum necessary to realize the desired transformation, whether that is a “BIG C” change or a “little c” change.

Successful change leadership teams build a shared vision of the change process, and a common language for the change effort, with the support of something like the Change Planning Toolkit™. Unfortunately, 70% of change efforts fail, and one of the big reasons is the lack of alignment, and frankly, an understanding of why the change is necessary, important, and how it might be achieved. At the same time, organizations fail to provide the support necessary to help the change participants successfully adopt the desired change. If you focus on change agents instead of empowered change leadership teams, people will be less likely to adopt the change, or to sustain it. So, choose wisely.

Accelerate your change and transformation success

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Innovation Best Practices from Microsoft

Innovation Best Practices from Microsoft

“Industries are being commoditized at a faster rate and you have to look for ways to create more value and set yourself apart,” says Braden Kelley of Business Strategy Innovation. “Innovation is one of the few ways to do that because people use the same best practices for operational excellence. The way they innovate and the culture they build are the ways they can differentiate.”

To help companies with their quest to sustain their innovation efforts, Microsoft has reached out to collect a number of innovation best practices into an evolving framework, that I’ve provided a preview of below.

Microsoft’s Innovation Management Framework

Every company serious about innovation should anchor their pursuit in a vision, strategy and goals for innovation. These core innovation components should address not just enabling technology but processes and culture too. Download Microsoft Innovation FrameworkMicrosoft has published this Innovation Management Framework as the culmination of a collaboration with a consortium of visionaries and practitioners to ensure that it includes thought leadership on innovation from Microsoft and its broader ecosystem, including current charter members and contributors to the framework:

  • 3M
  • Avanade
  • Capgemini
  • Ericsson
  • Business Strategy Innovation
  • Microsoft
  • Pcubed
  • PTC
  • Quantum PM
  • Siemens PLM
  • Sopheon
  • Tech-Clarity
  • UMT
  • United Healthcare
  • Wolters Kluwer

“Microsoft’s Innovation Management Framework is designed to help companies develop a comprehensive, integrated approach to implement and support an innovation management strategy. This framework is a repeatable reference architecture for innovation and is intended to allow companies to share and learn about innovation management best practices and enabling technologies as a starting point for strategic discussions for their company’s innovation management strategy.

The framework includes best practice processes and solutions that offer a strategic roadmap. The roadmap offers techniques that are proven through experience to improve innovation and innovation management performance. For example, the framework shares lessons learned from Microsoft’s own innovation strategies and processes that help fuel innovation across the Microsoft enterprise. These processes are used within Microsoft, enabling teams to quickly implement innovation programs that are fit for purpose.”

Microsoft Innovation Management Framework

At its core the framework focuses on five main innovation sub-processes that we’ll give you a very brief preview of here:

1. Envision

Innovation is critical to achieving the goals of the modern business strategy. The Envision process should put in place the strategy and plan to achieve the innovation goals in the business strategy.

2. Engage

At the front end of innovation where ideas are generated, sometimes referred to as “ideation,” is where Engage occurs.

In this process, companies engage employees, customers, and partners in an innovation community to capture and share new ideas. Formalizing engagement transforms it from a passive, unfocused, ineffective “suggestion box” to a proactive approach that effectively produces targeted ideas. The goal is to generate ideas that will drive new business value. As Braden Kelley of Business Strategy Innovation explains, “The key in the engage processes is to get closer to the customer, what they desire, how they will make their lives better, and how your product will displace something.”

3. Evolve

The third process, “Evolve,” takes the output of the Engage process to the next level. In this process, companies evolve ideas – as individuals or as teams – to increase their quality and value. Soliciting and capturing ideas is not enough. Early feedback allows great ideas to be improved upon and issues to be raised so they can be resolved (if possible).

4. Evaluate

Simply discussing ideas is not enough. “It’s important to be able to organize, de-duplicate, and merge ideas and take them to the next step in order to turn ideas into money,” offers Newsgator’s Markus von Aschoff. At some point companies must identify the innovations they believe are candidates for further investment. Unfortunately, many companies are drowning in too many ideas.

5. Execute

Of course all of the best ideas, proposals and business plans in the world are of no value unless they can be turned into a reality. The “Execute” sub-process takes the input from the previous processes and executes a formal project to further develop the idea or commercialize it.

Microsoft DIRA Framework

The Microsoft DIRA Framework

This Innovation Management Framework is tightly aligned with Microsoft’s Discrete Industry Reference Architecture for the discrete manufacturing industry. The DIRA framework covers three primary business imperatives that are critical to the growth and profitability of a manufacturing enterprise. These imperatives are:

  1. Innovate – Manage cross-boundary innovation and accelerate time-to-market
  2. Perform – Deliver operational excellence with reliable business continuity
  3. Grow – “Observe & serve” customers globally to drive growth with profitable proximity

This framework represents the “Innovation Management” portion of the “Innovate” imperative (see diagram). This framework will also align with the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Framework, which also falls under the Innovate imperative of DIRA.

Download Microsoft Innovation FrameworkI’m sure you can tell by now, or at least I hope you can tell, that this has just been a teaser of some of the great content that exists in the full document.

For more detail on Microsoft’s DIRA Framework and to see the complete Microsoft Innovation Framework, be sure and download it as a PDF.

Build a common language of innovation on your team

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