For Leaders of Innovation

Where is the Lid on Your Customers?

The volume of a grand piano is determined by more than how hard the pianist presses the keys. The position of the piano lid can impact the decibel level of the sound coming from the instrument. All grand pianos have three positions: closed, half-way open and fully raised. The choice of lid positioning has to do with the priority the grand piano is to play in a performance. Fully raised piano lids are used when the grand piano has center billing—it is the star of the show. You see this position used during a piano concert. Half open is used on those occasions a grand piano is sharing the spotlight with others in the performance. It might be the ....read more

Is Your Customer Service Accessible?

Customer-Centricity by Chip Bell: Is Your Customer Service Accessible?What if you were required to fill out an online form if wanted the phone number or address of an enterprise with whom you wanted to do business? Let’s say you were driving to a meeting at their location and you needed to contact someone to let them know you were unavoidably detained. You would have to pull over on the side of the road, fill out the online form, wait for a response, making you even later. Sound lu ....read more

A More Perfect Derriere: Confident Humility

Guest post, by Bill Treasurer leaderLeaders are likely to get a butt kick during some point (if not many times) during their career. Butt kicks are life’s mysterious and painful way of reminding us of the dangers of too much or too little confidence. There is a delicate balance to leadership. Let’s breakdown the extremes and discuss what the sweet spot is—finding the perfect balance. Extreme #1—Overconfidence When we believe in ourselves ....read more

Bill Treasurer is a Kaleidoscope Leader

leadership kick in the assKaleidoscopes are really cool toys. Turn them or shake them and they surprise you with their ever changing cavalcade of sparkles! But, the stones inside (granddaughters call them jewels) never change. You don’t open up a kaleidoscope and change the cut glass that creates the visual magic. Great leaders are like that—their influence is ever changing as they help others grow and achieve. But that influence reflects core values inside that never ....read more

The Secrets of Leadership Revealed!

There is an old adage that goes, “authority is the last resort of the inept and Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 3.43.54 PMfrustrated.” Parents who have found themselves relying on “…Because I said so” to direct a reluctant child know the absolute truth of this adage. When rank becomes the only means of ensuring compliance, one has long lost the battle to effectively influence. The art of influencing has challenged leaders for centuries. In autocratic setti ....read more

Rethinking the Value Zone: Why Focusing on its Employees First was the Right Move for HCLT

Guest Post by David Burkus burkus_new_management_fbad_buynowIn February 2006, Vineet Nayar, the president and CEO of HCL Technologies, one of the largest IT service providers in India, made a shocking announcement to a global meeting of their biggest customers. In short, he told them that they were no longer his top priority. In fact, HCLT had decided to fire some of its customers. Specifically, Nayar was announcing a reorganization of HCLT’ ....read more

People Don’t Resist Change

5370473007_03217829c1_bMaking change happen in organiza ....read more

How To Foster Innovation

innovationIt happened while driving over the Savannah River Bridge between Aiken, SC ....read more

The Gift of Advice

adviceSomeone once asked famed college football coach turned ESPN commentator Lou Holtz what he considered to be the toughest part of his job as a coach. With his typical “aw shucks” charm, he finessed the question but ultimately communicated that one of the hardest parts was “teaching lessons that stay taught.” Mentors have a similar challenge. Mentoring can involve everything from chalkboard teaching to spirited discussion to circulation of relevant articles, but one ....read more

Innovative Service: What Great Leaders Actually Do

hole-in-oneTake a look at a short list of renowned service innovators: Despite a Yale professor’s admonition that there was little practical about his theory, Fred Smith put his “C–” paper into operation and founded Federal Express (now FedEx). Michael Dell transformed a computer assembly business he operated out of his University of Texas dorm room into Dell Computer. Wall Street laughed at Jeff Bezos for thinking an on-li ....read more

Innovative Leaders Leave the Door Open

4232186785_c1190f9fae_zWatershi ....read more

Innovation Leadership is Made of Spears, Not Sand

focus “What do great innovation leaders do that other leaders fail to do?”  It was a pointed question from a way-too-obvious skeptic during the Q&A following my keynote.  I prefaced my answer with a line often spoken by my good friend, Bruce Fritchread more

Leadership as a Christmas Ornament

ornamentSooner or later it happens if you decorate enough Christmas trees. At some point you discover that almost all of the ornaments are handmade or have some special meaning. Discarded are those generic, store bought ones that looked pleasing to the eye but had no short cut to the heart. The special ones all have stories attached; the store bought ones just have hooks. The annual winter holiday celebration—whether it ....read more

The Innovative Service Rules for Shopper Frenzy

black fridayOn Friday, we entered the annual pe ....read more

Unbridling Crazy Horses

crazy horseCrazy Horse was a Sioux (Lakota) Indian chief who fought against Major General George Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn in the black hills of Montana during the summer of 1876. Crazy Horse demonstrated extraordinary bravery in that battle. One witness indicated that Crazy Horse rode closest to the soldiers, yelling encouragement to his warriors. One myth is he reared up on his horse and shouted to the U.S. cavalry, “This is a great ....read more

Empowerment: The Engine of Customer Surprise

Team-EmpowerImagine this. You are having breakfast in a midtown New York City hotel. It is your second morning with the same friendly waitress. You had given her a nice tip the morning before and learned she had been with the hotel restaurant for five years. Half way through your meal, she asks you a question: “Are you going to be taking a taxi immediately after breakfast?” she asks. When you acknowled ....read more

Are We Mechanizing Customer Delight?

5126030385_e67759eb7fStanding in the gate area of Delta Airlines at DFW Airport, I was watching the monitor to learn if my name appeared on the “upgrade to first class” list. Honestly, I was feeling totally entitled since I fly a gazillion miles a year on Delta. Had my name not appeared, I would have been disappointed, maybe even angry. But, this time my name appeared. Today, you do not go to the gate attendant for a n ....read more

Where Did All the Surprises Go?

easter egg huntWhen I was ten years old, I did a very naughty ....read more