Home' HR Monthly : September 2014 Contents 18
2014 AHRI HR IN
– DA RWIN
2014 AHRI HR IN
2014 AHRI HR IN
Q&A: DAN GREGORY
LG: You have suggested that much of the innovation we
see ‘happens in the gaps’, but our lives are typically so
busy that we leave little room for gaps, and potentially
innovation, to occur. What examples have you seen in a
business environment of these gaps being present? And
is it something that happens by accident, or should it be
DG: At The Impossible Institute we’ll go into
companies we’re consulting with and start by doing
organisational and cultural audits, where we look
at where those gaps are. The biggest gap we see is
when individuals, or even entire departments, have
KPIs set that are in opposition to others within the
same company. In other words, the metrics and
measures have been set up so the only way for one
department to succeed is for another to fail, sometimes
catastrophically. Which just seems crazy.
If we think about the way we’ve engineered the
architecture of our organisations, the way we lay out
where people sit, we have accounting in one part of
the building, marketing in another and production in
yet another. Sometimes they won’t even be in the same
building. Those are critical gaps.
Sometimes you also end up with one department
being critically aware of an issue that affects an entire
organisation, but that issue and information doesn’t get
shared, so you don’t get solutions being generated.
“IT’S VERY EASY FOR US TO SAY
‘WE VALUE INNOVATION, WE VALUE
COLLABORATION’, BUT, UNLESS
WE AUGMENT THAT WITH
PROCESSES THAT ENCOURAGE
THAT KIND OF BEHAVIOUR, WE
DON’T OFTEN SEE THE RESULTS.”
DAN GREGORY, CEO OF THE IMPOSSIBLE INSTITUTE
One of the things that we encourage organisations
to do is to look at where the gaps are and, once
they’ve been identified, set collaboration performance
indicators [Co-PIsTM], which are measures that actually
encourage collaboration. It’s very easy to say, ‘ We want
the organisation to be more collaborative,’ but, if it’s
not measured and rewarded the truth is that people
just don’t do it. Unless it’s measured and rewarded, the
implication is that we don’t value it.
It’s one of the things the advertising industry learnt
very early on. In the 1960s, Bill Bernbach, one of the
original ‘Mad Men’ in New York, pushed for creative
teams where there was a copywriter working with an
art director, working with a strategist. So you ended
up with these different skill sets working together in a
complementary way. That revolutionised the advertising
industry, and it’s critical to innovation.
If you’re going to solve problems in new ways,
you need that high level of collaboration between
individuals. One of the things that makes collaboration
critically important is that it helps you avoid, what I
call, ‘conceptual blindness’. In other words, you can be
really good at doing your job, but that often means you
can’t see any other way for that job to be done. Your
proficiency in the role actually gets in the way of any
kind of innovation.
LG: Your point is that an organisation can advertise that it
encourages creativity and innovation, but, unless it also
encourages the supporting behaviour, it’s just rhetoric.
Are you saying that the two have to go together?
DG: Behaviour has to be much more than just beliefs.
Behaviour is that you can make a persuasive argument.
What we see in change management is that, unless you
make the behaviour easy for people, unless you create
barriers to doing the opposite of that desired behaviour,
you don’t see real change. When we try to get people
to recycle, for instance, we make their general waste
bin half the size of the recycling bin, so there’s a
physical impediment driving the change in behaviour.
That’s exactly what we need to do in the business world.
It’s very easy for us to say ‘we value innovation, we
value collaboration’, but, unless we augment that with
processes that encourage that kind of behaviour, we
don’t often see the results. It ends up becoming just
rhetoric, and the problem with rhetoric is that it builds
up cynicism. Employees start to take on this attitude
that ‘our management is always talking about change,
but we never really see it, so most of what they say is
rubbish’. Then that becomes a critical issue around trust
within the organisation.
from Dan Gregory
Dan Gregory will be
speaking at AHRI’s HR
in Focus Conference
series in October as
it tours to Darwin,
Hobart and Perth. His
presentation on how
to build a culture that
thrives on change will
specifically look at:
• The trends driving
change in our society
and the marketplace.
• How to build
that make innovation
• How to create
a culture of
, not just
• The skills your
team needs to be
more creative and
adaptable, and to
embrace and profit
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN. AHRI MEMBERS SAVE ON REGISTRATION RATES.
TO VIEW THE SPEAKER PROGRAM AND TO REGISTER VISIT AHRI.COM.AU/INCLUSION
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15/08/14 3:08 PM
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