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Drew Boyd

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Innovation in Practice tag:typepad.com,2003:weblog-1425731 2017-09-18T07:36:08-04:00 The Corporate Perspective on Innovation Methods TypePad typepad/dboyd/innovationinpracticehttps://feedburner.google.com Innovation Sighting: Task Unification and GladWare Containers tag:typepad.com,2003:post-6a00e54ef4f376883401b7c9212494970b 2017-09-18T07:36:08-04:00 2017-09-18T07:36:08-04:00 GladWare containers have become a common household item. Most kitchens today have that designated drawer filled to the brim with self-stacking plastic wonders and the infamous lids with the center circle. Those center circles are most convenient, providing an interlocking... Drew Boyd <div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"><p><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">GladWare containers have become a common household item. Most kitchens today have that designated drawer filled to the brim with self-stacking plastic wonders and the infamous lids with the center circle. Those center circles are most convenient, providing an interlocking feature for stacking, as GladWare intended.  </span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"> <a class="asset-img-link" href="http://www.innovationinpractice.com/.a/6a00e54ef4f376883401bb09c4569f970d-popup" onclick="window.open( this.href, '_blank', 'width=640,height=480,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0' ); return false" style="float: right;"><img alt="Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 6.49.39 AM" class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00e54ef4f376883401bb09c4569f970d img-responsive" src="http://www.innovationinpractice.com/.a/6a00e54ef4f376883401bb09c4569f970d-250wi" style="width: 250px; margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px; border: 3px #000000;" title="Screen Shot 2017-09-18 at 6.49.39 AM"></img></a></span></span><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Yet just a week ago, a photo of a typical, everyday moment went viral. A mom packing lunches for her family <br>snapped a shot of her partially filled GladWare containers, revealing a less-known innovation feature: a lid within a lid.  Who knew all along that Glad’s dressing cups fit up into the larger lid! Not only did the lightbulb come on for tens of thousands of lunch packers, but it revealed an innovation template within the GladWare design: Task Unification.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Task Unification is defined as: assigning an additional task to an existing resource. That resource should be in the immediate vicinity of the problem, or what we call The Closed World. In essence it’s taking something that is already around you and giving an additional job. Glad, through the integration of a center circle in its lids, created an additional lid for its smaller dressing containers, resulting in an all-in-one packing option.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><a href="http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2017/09/13/gladwares-container-lids-are-blowing-peoples-minds.html">Fox News</a> shares:</span></p> <blockquote> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Though Glad has <a href="https://www.glad.com/food-storage/containers/glad-to-go-lunch/">marketed its To-Go Lunch</a> containers as equipped with special “dressing cups that snap into [the] lid,” most have just assumed the circle in the middle of the lid was a design feature, not a built-in dressing holder.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">But now that this lunch hack has been revealed, it’s likely that more and more people will be taking advantage of the spill-proof cap storage.</span></p> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt;">You can also utilize this technique to innovate helpful products. To get the most out of the Task Unification technique, you follow five basic steps:</span></p> <ol> <li><span style="font-size: 12pt;">List all of the components, both internal and external, that are part of the Closed World of the product, service, or process.</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Select a component from the list. Assign it an additional task, using one of three methods:</span></li> </ol> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Choose an external component and use it to perform a task that the product accomplishes already</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Choose an internal component and make it do something new or extra</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Choose an internal component and make it perform the function of an external component, effectively “stealing” the external component’s function</span></li> </ul> <ol start="3"> <li><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Visualize the new (or changed) products or services.</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 12pt;">What are the potential benefits, markets, and values? Who would want this, and why would they find it valuable? If you are trying to solve a specific problem, how can it help address that particular challenge?</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 12pt;">If you decide the new product or service is valuable, then ask: Is it feasible? Can you actually create these new products? Perform these new services? Why or why not? Is there any way to refine or adapt the idea to make it viable?</span></li> </ol></div><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=CU81OB4S8mk:2RXMKvgXZU0:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=CU81OB4S8mk:2RXMKvgXZU0:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?i=CU81OB4S8mk:2RXMKvgXZU0:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=CU81OB4S8mk:2RXMKvgXZU0:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?i=CU81OB4S8mk:2RXMKvgXZU0:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=CU81OB4S8mk:2RXMKvgXZU0:I9og5sOYxJI"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?d=I9og5sOYxJI" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice/~4/CU81OB4S8mk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://www.innovationinpractice.com/innovation_in_practice/2017/09/innovation-sighting-task-unification-and-gladware-containers.html How a Creative Legal Leap Helped Create Vast Wealth tag:typepad.com,2003:post-6a00e54ef4f376883401bb09c0372c970d 2017-09-05T08:10:34-04:00 2017-09-05T08:10:34-04:00 By Tim Harford, BBC World Service, 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy In 1911, someone asked Butler to name the most important invention of the industrial era. Steam, perhaps? Electricity? "No," he said. They would both "be reduced to... Drew Boyd <div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"><p><span class="byline__name"><strong>By Tim Harford</strong>, BBC World Service, 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy</span></p> <p>In 1911, someone asked Butler to name the most important invention of the industrial era.</p> <p>Steam, perhaps? Electricity?</p> <p>"No," he said. They would both "be reduced to comparative impotence" without "the greatest single discovery of modern times" - the limited liability corporation.</p> <p><a class="story-body__link" href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04b1g3c"></a>It seems odd to say the corporation was "discovered". But it didn't just appear from nowhere.</p> <h2 class="story-body__crosshead">Creative legal leap</h2> <p>The word "incorporate" means take on bodily form - not a physical body, but a legal one.</p> <p>In the law's eyes, a corporation is something different from the people who own it, or run it, or work for it.</p> <p>And that's a concept lawmakers had to dream up.</p> <p>Without laws saying that a corporation can do certain things - such as own assets, or enter into contracts - the word would be meaningless.</p> <p>The legal ingredients that comprise a corporation came together in a form we would recognise in England, on New Year's Eve, in 1600.</p> <p>Back then, creating a corporation didn't simply involve filing in some routine forms - you needed a royal charter.</p> <p>And you couldn't incorporate with the general aim of doing business and making profits - a corporation's charter specifically said what it was allowed to do, and often also stipulated that nobody else was allowed to do it.</p> <figure class="media-landscape has-caption full-width"><span class="image-and-copyright-container"><img alt="The headquarters of the powerful East India Company, Leadenhall Street, London pictured in 1800" class="responsive-image__img js-image-replace" data-highest-encountered-width="624" datasrc="https://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/320/cpsprodpb/5709/production/_97418222_966675g3bh79.jpg" height="643" src="https://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/5709/production/_97418222_966675g3bh79.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="930"></img><span class="off-screen">Image copyright </span><span class="story-image-copyright">ALAMY</span></span></figure> <p>The legal body created that New Year's Eve was the Honourable East India Company, charged with handling all of England's shipping trade east of the Cape of Good Hope.</p> <h2 class="story-body__crosshead">Liability liberation</h2> <p>Its shareholders were 218 merchants. Crucially - and unusually - the charter granted those merchants limited liability for the company's actions.</p> <p>Why was that so important? Because otherwise, investors were personally liable for everything the business did.</p> <p>If you partnered in a business that ran up debts it couldn't pay, its debtors could come after you - not just for the value of your investment, but for everything you owned.</p> <p>That's worth thinking about: whose business might you be willing to invest in, if you knew that it could lose you your home, and even land you in prison?</p> <p>Perhaps a close family member's? At a push, a trusted friend's?</p> <p>The way we invest today - buying shares in companies whose managers we will never meet - would be unthinkable. And that would severely limit the amount of capital a business venture could raise.</p> <figure class="media-landscape has-caption full-width"><span class="image-and-copyright-container"><img alt="The first fleet of the East India Company leaving Woolwich in 1601, pictured in Cassell's Illustrated Universal History' in 1882" class="responsive-image__img js-image-replace" data-highest-encountered-width="624" datasrc="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/320/cpsprodpb/B1A9/production/_97418454_976600h33m4b.jpg" height="600" src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/B1A9/production/_97418454_976600h33m4b.jpg" width="976"></img><span class="off-screen">Image copyright</span><span class="story-image-copyright">ALAMY</span></span></figure> <p>Back in the 1500s, perhaps that wasn't much of a problem. Most business was local, and personal. But handling England's trade with half the world was a weighty undertaking.</p> <p>Over the next two centuries, the East India Company grew to look less like a trading business than a colonial government.</p> <p>At its peak, it ruled 90 million Indians and employed an army of 200,000 soldiers. It had a meritocratic civil service and issued its own coins.</p> <figure class="media-landscape has-caption full-width"><span class="image-and-copyright-container"><img alt="Half Anna East India Company coins of 1818" class="responsive-image__img js-image-replace" data-highest-encountered-width="624" datasrc="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/320/cpsprodpb/6389/production/_97418452_976549et175e.jpg" height="549" src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/6389/production/_97418452_976549et175e.jpg" width="976"></img><span class="off-screen">Image copyright </span><span class="story-image-copyright">ALAMY</span></span></figure> <p>Meanwhile, the idea of limited liability caught on.</p> <p>In 1811, New York state introduced it, not as a royal privilege, but for any manufacturing company. Other states and countries followed, including the world's leading economy, Britain, in 1854.</p> <h2 class="story-body__crosshead">Industrial growth</h2> <p>Not everyone approved. The Economist magazine was initially sniffy, pointing out that if people wanted limited liability they could agree it through private contracts.</p> <p>But the limited liability company would prove its worth. The new industrial technologies of the 19th Century needed lots of capital.</p> <p>A railway company, for example, needed to raise large sums to lay tracks before it could make a penny in profit. How many investors would risk everything on its success? Not many.</p> <p>Soon, The Economist was gushing that the unknown inventors of limited liability deserved "a place of honour with Watt, Stephenson and other pioneers of the industrial revolution".</p> <p>But the limited liability corporation has its problems, one of which was obvious to the father of modern economic thought, Adam Smith.</p> <figure class="media-portrait has-caption full-width"><span class="image-and-copyright-container"><img alt="Adam Smith" class="responsive-image__img js-image-replace" data-highest-encountered-width="624" datasrc="https://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/320/cpsprodpb/175A0/production/_97584659_8f1159f9-0364-4914-a51b-a05939a54c0a.jpg" height="1100" src="https://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/175A0/production/_97584659_8f1159f9-0364-4914-a51b-a05939a54c0a.jpg" width="976"></img><span class="off-screen">Image copyright </span><span class="story-image-copyright">GETTY IMAGES</span></span></figure> <p>In The Wealth of Nations, in 1776, Smith dismissed the idea that professional managers would do a good job of looking after shareholders' money.</p> <p>"It cannot well be expected that they should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which partners in a private co-partnery frequently watch over their own," he wrote.</p> <p>In principle, Smith was right. There's always a temptation for managers to play fast and loose with investors' money.</p> <h2 class="story-body__crosshead">Maximising profit</h2> <p>We've evolved corporate governance laws to try to protect shareholders, but they haven't always succeeded, as investors in <a class="story-body__link" href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34742691">Enron </a>or <a class="story-body__link" href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40873568">Lehman Brothers</a> might tell you.</p> <p>And they generate their own tensions.</p> <figure class="media-landscape has-caption full-width"><span class="image-and-copyright-container"><img alt="Enron logo" class="responsive-image__img js-image-replace" data-highest-encountered-width="624" datasrc="https://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/320/cpsprodpb/5A72/production/_86545132_enron2.jpg" height="549" src="https://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/5A72/production/_86545132_enron2.jpg" width="976"></img><span class="off-screen">Image copyright </span><span class="story-image-copyright">AFP</span></span></figure> <p>Consider the fashionable idea of "corporate social responsibility" - where a company might donate to charity, or decide to embrace higher labour or environmental standards than those stipulated in law.</p> <p>It can be clever brand-building, and in some cases may result in higher sales. In others, managers may be using shareholders' money to buy social status or a quiet life.</p> <p>For that reason, the economist Milton Friedman argued that "the social responsibility of business is to maximise its profits". If it's legal, and it makes money, they should do it. And if people don't like it, don't blame the company - change the law.</p> <p>The trouble is that companies can influence the law, too. They can fund lobbyists. They can donate to electoral candidates' campaigns.</p> <h2 class="story-body__crosshead">Short-sighted?</h2> <p>The East India Company quickly learned the value of maintaining cosy relationships with British politicians, who duly bailed it out whenever it got into trouble.</p> <p>In 1770, for example, a famine in Bengal clobbered the company's revenue. British legislators saved it from bankruptcy, by exempting it from tariffs on tea exports to the American colonies, which was, perhaps, short-sighted on their part: it eventually led to the Boston Tea Party, and the American Declaration of Independence.</p> <figure class="media-landscape has-caption full-width"><span class="image-and-copyright-container"><img alt="A copy of the American Declaration of Independence" class="responsive-image__img js-image-replace" data-highest-encountered-width="624" datasrc="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/320/cpsprodpb/10070/production/_97584656_gettyimages-3259558.jpg" height="549" src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/10070/production/_97584656_gettyimages-3259558.jpg" width="976"></img><span class="off-screen">Image copyright </span><span class="story-image-copyright">GETTY IMAGES</span></span></figure> <p>You could say the United States owes its existence to excessive corporate influence on politicians.</p> <p>And arguably, corporate power is even greater today, for a simple reason: in a global economy, corporations can threaten to move offshore.</p> <p>When Britain's lawmakers eventually grew tired of the East India Company's demands, they had the ultimate sanction: in 1874, they revoked its charter.</p> <p>For multinationals with opaque ownership structures, that threat is effectively off the table.</p> <h2 class="story-body__crosshead">Power of hierarchy</h2> <p>We often think of ourselves as living in a world where free market capitalism is the dominant force. Few want a return to the command economies of Mao or Stalin, where hierarchies, not markets, decided what to produce.</p> <p>And yet hierarchies, not markets, are exactly how decisions are taken within companies.</p> <p>When a receptionist or an accounts payable clerk makes a decision, they're not doing so because the price of soy beans has risen. They're following orders from the boss.</p> <p>In the US, bastion of free-market capitalism, about half of all private sector employees work for companies with a payroll of at least 500.</p> <p>Some argue that companies have grown too big, too influential.</p> <p>In 2016, <a class="story-body__link-external" href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/10/most-americans-say-u-s-economic-system-is-unfair-but-high-income-republicans-disagree/">Pew Research asked Americans if they thought the economic system was "generally fair", or "unfairly favours powerful interests"</a>. By two to one, unfair won. Even The Economist worries that regulators are now too timid about exposing market-dominating companies to a blast of healthy competition.</p> <p>But let's not forget what the limited liability company has done for us.</p> <p>By helping investors pool their capital without taking unacceptable risks, it enabled big industrial projects, stock markets and <a class="story-body__link" href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40189970">index funds</a>. It played a foundational role in creating the modern economy.</p> <p><strong>Tim Harford writes the Financial Times's Undercover Economist column. <a class="story-body__link" href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04b1g3c">50 Things That Made the Modern Economy</a> is broadcast on the BBC World Service. You can <a class="story-body__link" href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p058qrk3">find more information about the programme's sources</a> and <a class="story-body__link" href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p058qrk3">listen online</a> or <a class="story-body__link" href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04b1g3c/episodes/downloads">subscribe to the programme podcast.</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Article from BBC News: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-40674240</strong></p></div><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=CD4rpqA2gio:FLSFsfcafyY:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=CD4rpqA2gio:FLSFsfcafyY:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?i=CD4rpqA2gio:FLSFsfcafyY:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=CD4rpqA2gio:FLSFsfcafyY:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?i=CD4rpqA2gio:FLSFsfcafyY:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=CD4rpqA2gio:FLSFsfcafyY:I9og5sOYxJI"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?d=I9og5sOYxJI" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice/~4/CD4rpqA2gio" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://www.innovationinpractice.com/innovation_in_practice/2017/09/how-a-creative-legal-leap-helped-create-vast-wealth.html Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector tag:typepad.com,2003:post-6a00e54ef4f376883401bb09bdf2b7970d 2017-08-29T10:11:29-04:00 2017-08-29T10:11:29-04:00 Facing especially wicked problems, social sector organizations are searching for powerful new methods to understand and address them. Design Thinking for the Greater Good goes in depth on both the how of using new tools and the why. As a... Drew Boyd <div xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"><p class="Default"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt; color: #221f1f;"> <a class="asset-img-link" href="http://www.innovationinpractice.com/.a/6a00e54ef4f376883401b7c91ab529970b-popup" onclick="window.open( this.href, '_blank', 'width=640,height=480,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0' ); return false" style="float: left;"><img alt="Design_thinking_for_the_greater_good_cov" class="asset asset-image at-xid-6a00e54ef4f376883401b7c91ab529970b img-responsive" src="http://www.innovationinpractice.com/.a/6a00e54ef4f376883401b7c91ab529970b-200wi" style="width: 165px; margin: 0px 5px 5px 0px;" title="Design_thinking_for_the_greater_good_cov"></img></a>Facing especially wicked problems, social sector organizations are searching for powerful new methods to understand and address them. <em>Design Thinking for the Greater Good</em> goes in depth on both the <em>how</em> of using new tools and the <em>why</em>. As a way to reframe problems, ideate solutions, and iterate toward better answers, design thinking is already well established in the commercial world. Through ten stories of struggles and successes in fields such as health care, education, agriculture, transportation, social services, and security, the authors show how collaborative creativity can shake up even the most entrenched bureaucracies—and provide a practical roadmap for readers to implement these tools.</span></p> <p class="Default"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt; color: #221f1f;">The design thinkers Jeanne Liedtka, Randy Salzman, and Daisy Azer explore how design thinking helped impoverished farmers adopt new practices in Mexico, kept at-risk California teenagers in school, reduced the frequency of mental health emergencies in Australia, and helped manufacturers and government regulators in Washington find common ground on medical device standards. Across these vastly different problems and sectors, these groups have used the tools of design thinking to reduce risk, manage change, use resources more effectively, bridge the communication gap between parties, and manage the competing demands of diverse stakeholders. Along the way, they have improved the quality of their products and enhanced the experiences of those they serve.</span></p> <p class="Default"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt;">With strategies accessible to analytical and creative types alike, and benefits extending throughout an organization, <em>Design Thinking for the Greater Good</em> will help today's leaders and thinkers implement these practices in their own pursuit of creative solutions that are both innovative and achievable.</span></p> <p class="Default"> </p> <p class="Default"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt; background: white;"><strong>Jeanne Liedtka</strong> is a professor at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. Her books include <em>Solving Problems with Design Thinking</em> (2013), <em>Designing for Growth</em> (2011), and <em>The Designing for Growth Field Book </em>(2013), all from Columbia University Press.</span></p> <p class="Default"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt; background: white;"><strong>Randy Salzman</strong> is a journalist and former communications professor. His work has been published in over one hundred magazines, journals, and newspapers, from the<em> Wall Street Journal</em> and the<em> New York Times</em> to <em>Mother Jones</em>, <em>Bicycling,</em> and <em>Style</em>.</span></p> <p class="Default"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt; background: white;"><strong>Daisy Azer</strong> is an entrepreneur, principal at Waterbrand Consulting Inc., and adjunct lecturer of design thinking at the Darden Graduate School of Business. Her career spans roles in business development and training and development in the financial industry, education, and technology.</span></p></div><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=ZjGZzUfQNyI:CnZTDsQ8_m0:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=ZjGZzUfQNyI:CnZTDsQ8_m0:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?i=ZjGZzUfQNyI:CnZTDsQ8_m0:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=ZjGZzUfQNyI:CnZTDsQ8_m0:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?i=ZjGZzUfQNyI:CnZTDsQ8_m0:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=ZjGZzUfQNyI:CnZTDsQ8_m0:I9og5sOYxJI"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?d=I9og5sOYxJI" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice/~4/ZjGZzUfQNyI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://www.innovationinpractice.com/innovation_in_practice/2017/08/design-thinking-for-the-greater-good-innovation-in-the-social-sector.html How a Case of Laryngitis Helped Me Find My Voice and Grow as a Leader tag:typepad.com,2003:post-6a00e54ef4f376883401bb09ba275c970d 2017-08-21T03:00:00-04:00 2017-08-21T03:00:00-04:00 By Deb Gabor As a brand strategist, author, and public speaker, I rely upon my voice and storytelling ability to make a living. I’ve observed that my interpersonal communication style is less 1:1 and more “broadcast” in nature. I get... Drew Boyd <p><strong>By Deb Gabor</strong><br>  <br> As a brand strategist, author, and public speaker, I rely upon my voice and storytelling ability to make a living. I’ve observed that my interpersonal communication style is less 1:1 and more “broadcast” in nature. I get in a room full of people, position myself directly in the center, and hold court. At a leadership conference featuring 10-hour days of training and intense strategy sessions for 1500 member leaders and staffers of a global organization of chief executives of private companies, I lost my voice…and at the same time found it. Along the way, I learned how developing deep emotional connections with individuals and practicing the art of followership can contribute to my growth as a leader.<br>  <br> About two days into the conference, I conceded defeat to a case of laryngitis that rendered me mute. Unable to speak above a whisper, I carried around a handwritten sign detailing my name, my role, and my hometown. Without my voice, I could no longer rely upon my trademark extrovert friendliness and ability to get a conversation going among strangers. I couldn’t raise my hand to ask questions that make me look smart to the rest of the room. I couldn’t make insightful observations that position me as an expert in my field. Instead of the center of attention, I was an audience member, skirting the fringes of conversational groups. Instead of a speaker, I was a listener. Instead of a leader, I was a follower.<br>  <br> Throughout my career, managers have recognized me for my brusque and direct communication style and tough-but-fair management approach, which typify what the Chinese call the masculine “yang” side of my energy. However, abundance, emotional closeness, and nurturing come from our feminine “yin” side. While I value these qualities in my personal life, I never knew the potential they could have for me in business.<br>  <br> During my unintentional silent retreat, I came face to face – or rather mouth to ear – with fascinating people with whom I may have never had a conversation. I whispered in people’s ears, drawing them into my personal space so I could get my points across. Even though I could hear them fine, my new acquaintances reciprocated by leaning in and whispering in my ear, instantly forming intimate bonds. There’s something about feeling a stranger’s breath on your face that makes you dispense with traditional pleasantries and small talk. Through these deep, one on one conversations, I learned about other CEOs’ joys, fears, and vulnerabilities. I listened closely to their observations about the frenzied conference activity going on around us. We talked about global politics, employees, taxes, our kids, relationships. We formed bonds that normally take business people years to nurture. I listened; I learned, and I was inspired.<br>  <br> For about four days I practiced a type of leadership I’ll call “followership.” The business world has validated my compulsion to speak up and assume responsibility for the strategies and tasks that I ignorantly thought everyone else was incapable of. As a result of my unrelenting desire to assert my authority over everything, I missed the fact that there are others who are capable and desirous of owning and doing things. Most of them are smarter and better than I.<br>  <br> In my life as an extrovert with a loud, confident voice and a healthy ego, I did most of the talking – closing off conversational threads and ideas coming from others. I learned that much of my leadership style is based upon being a hero and feeding my own ego. And that has been at the expense of some really worthwhile relationships and ideas.<br>  <br> I had two big ah-hahs from my voice loss:<br>  <br> <strong>1) My assumption that the state of leadership is a lonely existence is largely incorrect. </strong>It really doesn’t have to be. Any loneliness I have felt as a leader has been self-inflicted. The “holding court” style of communication has blocked me from developing vital and meaningful relationships with other humans (employees, colleagues, clients, mentors, friends) that have the power to inspire and nourish me in ways I never thought possible.<br>  <br> <strong>2) No one can (or should) lead all the time.</strong> Followership is the other side of leadership. Followership is the ability to take direction, to enthusiastically support a program, to be part of a team, and to deliver on promises. The concept of followership doesn’t get a lot of airtime because being a follower isn’t fun or sexy. They don’t really teach it in business school, and it certainly isn’t trumpeted as a key to sustainable business success. But followership delivers great rewards. Sitting back and letting others share their ideas, strategies, and responsibility for executing lets creativity flourish and empowers other people to grow as leaders themselves.<br>  <br> I have since returned to my day job and regained my speaking voice. I am consciously letting others hold court - although, this is really difficult for me. I am letting others speak up, and I am actively and attentively listening. I am peeling off individuals to connect with them more on a one-on-one basis so I can really understand what drives and scares them. Perhaps most importantly, I am letting others step up to be in charge, putting my voice and my ego in check, with great positive impact in my business.<br>  <br> <em>Deb Gabor is the author of Branding is Sex: Get Your Customers Laid and Sell the Hell Out of Anything. She is the founder of Sol Marketing which has led brand strategy engagements for organizations ranging from international household names like Dell, Microsoft, and NBC Universal, to digital winners like Allrecipes, Cheezburger, HomeAway and RetailMeNot, and dozens of early-stage tech and digital media titans. For more information, please visit <a href="http://www.solmarketing.com">www.solmarketing.com</a> and connect with Deb on Twitter, @deb_sol.</em></p><div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=OUmNTT1iexo:to6C7q7zTs8:yIl2AUoC8zA"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?d=yIl2AUoC8zA" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=OUmNTT1iexo:to6C7q7zTs8:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?i=OUmNTT1iexo:to6C7q7zTs8:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=OUmNTT1iexo:to6C7q7zTs8:F7zBnMyn0Lo"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?i=OUmNTT1iexo:to6C7q7zTs8:F7zBnMyn0Lo" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?a=OUmNTT1iexo:to6C7q7zTs8:I9og5sOYxJI"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice?d=I9og5sOYxJI" border="0"></img></a> </div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/typepad/dboyd/innovationinpractice/~4/OUmNTT1iexo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> http://www.innovationinpractice.com/innovation_in_practice/2017/08/how-a-case-of-laryngitis-helped-me-find-my-voice-and-grow-as-a-leader.html