Peet van Biljon shares a white paper on the benefits of ethics-driven innovation.
Is your company innovative? No doubt, you would like to say yes. Everyone wants to be innovative, which is why the word “innovation” appears frequently in annual reports and press releases. However, there can be a large gap between saying we are good at innovation and being truly good at it. How to close this gap is the topic of a multitude of publications on innovation management, and keeps many innovation consultants busy.
Is your company a force for good in society? Again, yes is probably your answer. Claims about how a company’s business activities benefit society are quite common, as evidenced by the promotion of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in glossy publications, press releases, and well-produced videos. But again there can be a gap between words and reality, as seen in corporate scandals and day-to-day business actions that contradict claims of caring for stakeholders and communities.
Now let us combine these two questions and ask a third one: Do your company’s innovations contribute to the greater good of humanity? This is an important question that needs to be asked more often, because innovation and ethics are deeply intertwined.
While it is possible to be “innovative” without serving a positive social purpose, and conversely possible to be “socially responsible” without being innovative, most companies strive to be both. So how can a company achieve these values? This paper introduces Ethics-driven Innovation®[i], an innovation process designed to meet this challenge. The good news – as we shall see – is that knowing why you want to innovate, and whom you want to serve in society, will make you better at both innovation and ethics.
Key points include:
- The inadequacy of traditional CSR
- Portfolio of initiatives
- Constraints-based creativity
Access the white paper, Good at Innovation or Innovating for Good, on EthicsDrivenInnovation.com.
Eran Zimmerman tackles the issue of corporate responsibility and the involvement of McKinsey in the Oxycontin scandal.
When I was a young McKinsey associate, 19 years ago, I was taught that while the amount of good any single member could produce for the Firm was limited, each one of us had the capacity for causing almost unlimited damage to the famed McKinsey brand. That piece of ancient Mckinsey wisdom came back to me while I was reading a NY Times article published Nov. 27 2020, airing McKinsey’s role in the horrendous crime of marketing opioids to millions of Americans.
The damage to human lives seemed indeed limitless. I figured that Purdue’s aggressive marketing of OxyContin was perhaps (bar the East India Company’s decision to expand into India) the single most harmful business decision by a corporation ever. The Times recounts in disturbing detail the work of two McKinsey senior hands in abetting and fostering Purdue’s disastrous activity. It appeared to me that through vigorously promoting this crime against humanity, these senior consultants have come close to producing that much feared lethal blemish on the great McKinsey name.
I only spent a relatively short time with the Firm, yet I always took pride in my illustrious alumni family. I therefore felt all the more disappointed and ashamed from discovering McKinsey’s involvement in this scandal, which for many epitomizes the derailment of Western capitalism: unbridled greed, disregard for human life and wellbeing and interference with regulators’ attempts to protect ordinary people from large corporations – all going almost completely unpunished.
Key points in this article include:
- McKinsey’s involvement in the scandal
- When lives lost become “events”
- Ethical leadership
Read the full article, Open letter to McKinsey from alum on Firm’s involvement in OxyContin scandal, on LinkedIn.
Zaheera Soomar presents an article based on the results of a recent conference on corporate responsibility for health and safety in mining.
I recently presented at the DRC Mining Week Digital Event on a new “modus operandi” for health and safety in mining. There was some good dialogue and I have had multiple follow ups and conversations since on an organization’s responsibility. Thought it would be good to share some views on this.
In the past few weeks alone there have been various health and safety incidents in the news. Despite the extractives and industrials industries existing for centuries, with focus on health and safety and a host of advanced H&S measures in place, people are still getting injured and dying. Covid-19 has certainly added its own sets of challenges to the mix, with mining companies having to make decisions on keeping mines open, having minimal operational presence and ensuring the safety of those that continue to work. One of the main implications that faced the mining companies was health and safety in general of their employees and host communities, and whether it’s a factor of their mining operations or not – but more importantly – what their duty is at this time. Despite what we all might hope for – this is not a one off: there will no doubt be other phenomena and risks as the global operating environment becomes more volatile with increased risks relating to climate change, pandemics etc. As a result, mining and other companies are re evaluating their role around health and safety, not just from an employer perspective, but from a human rights and ethical perspective!
Included in this article:
- Responsibility to employees
- Responsibility to stakeholders
- Responsibility to community
Read the full article, Rethinking health and safety in Mining – what is an organization’s responsibility?, on LinkedIn.
Dan Markovitz shares why COVID-19 provides the opportunity to institute change.
“You’ve heard it countless times before:
‘People don’t like change.’
‘Change is hard.’
‘Change activates people’s lizard brain. They’ll fight you or run away.’
‘People don’t mind changing. They don’t like being changed.’
You hear these complaints so often that you’d think they’re inscribed in the 10 Commandments by now. (They’re not, by the way.)
Sure, there’s plenty of truth in those sayings, but the good news is that right now—in the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak—they’re less relevant than ever. If you want to make a change at your organization, now’s the time to do it.
The habits that people develop are like ruts in a dirt road. Whether you’re driving, biking, or hiking on that road, it’s really tough to get out of the ruts. You get stuck in the well-worn grooves that you or others have formed over the years. Which pant leg do you put on first? Do you brush first and then floss, or floss and then brush? How do you interlace your fingers? Good luck changing any of those habits.
Except when a flood washes out the road and you (and everyone else) is forced to bushwhack across new territory. Everything is thrown into turmoil, and the old habits no longer apply. When the road is gone, so is the rut.
Read the full article, Covid-19 Is The Best Thing To Happen To Your Company. Seriously., on the Markovitz consulting website.
Jennifer Hartz shares encouraging words on how the current COVID-19 situation provides the opportunity to learn, grow, and serve.
Obviously, #COVID19 creates a number of significant problems in the world, our country, businesses, nonprofits, governments, and schools. This temporary situation, current trend, or permanent transformation is challenging. So, let’s look at the opportunities for people working or learning remotely or not employed full time to improve their lives as well as others’.
REMOTE WORK IS EXPANDING
Twitter announced that most employees don’t ever have to go back to the office. “Continue working from home, or anywhere else that makes them happy and productive, forever.” Google and Facebook have extended work from home (WFH) through the end of 2020. California State University Campuses will not open for Fall Semester; on-line classes continue. Certainly, these organizations are not going to be alone in their shift from traditional offices and classrooms.
SADLY, UNEMPLOYMENT/UNDEREMPLOYMENT IS EXPANDING TOO
Read the full article, No Commute? Time for Service!, on the CorporateHartz website.
David Burnie’s company has published a timely blog on the 21 common mistakes many companies make when rolling out their business continuity plan.
A business continuity plan is essential for preventing and recovering from emergencies and incidents that can disrupt a business.
We recently shared our top 13 priorities for a strong BCP. While not having a BCP is a sure-fire pitfall to successful business continuity, there are other things to keep in mind. Here are some of the common pitfalls to look out for when executing business continuity plans.
The mistakes covered in the article include:
- Business continuity preparation
- Communication approach
- Systems failover
Read the full article, 21 Things Companies Do Wrong When Executing Business Continuity Plans, on the Burnie Group website.
Jason George shares an origin story of management consulting and lessons from the barnyard to highlight the benefits of putting people and practice before personal profit.
Marvin Bower faced a critical choice. He had led McKinsey & Company from its earliest years, in the process helping to define the fledgling field of management consulting. Now nearing retirement age, it was time to hand the reins to the next generation of leaders. As the principal shareholder in the partnership, Bower’s ownership stake was a gold mine, appreciating to many multiples of its value since his joining roughly thirty years prior.
To cash out he could sell to a third-party buyer interested in taking over operations. Alternatively, he could require the current partners of the firm to buy out his stake at market value. This would involve significant indebtedness that could constrain future agility.
Bower chose a radical, nearly unprecedented path. When the time came for him to step down as managing director, he elected to sell his shares back to the partnership at their nominal book value instead of their true market price. In the process he would forego a massive windfall, while also setting an example that would reverberate throughout the organization for decades to come. For Bower, a one-time gain was not worth more than investing in the culture and health of the institution he had laboriously built up.
Points of interest in this article include:
- Bain & Company’s downturn
- The twist in modern capitalism
- Establishing the ownership structure for investing
Read the full article, How giving away value can create more, on Jason’s website.
Amanda Setili shares eight steps you can take to mitigate stress and uncertainty during the current crisis.
I’ve been astounded by the degree and speed of innovation and change these last few weeks.
Things that in normal times would have taken months or years to do have been accomplished in days, largely because people are banding together to help each other. In the midst of suffering, stress, and a good bit of fear, there is more kindness than ever.
And as a society, we’re learning faster than at any other time in my lifetime.
People have shifted to remote work, retailers have ramped up store pickup services, governments have created relief programs, factories have shifted to making personal protective equipment, the Army is building temporary hospitals, and scientists and regulators are speeding new treatments to market. It’s impressive.
The steps outlined include:
- Supporting the needs of society
- Employee retention
- Customer support
- Cashflow forecast
Read the full article, Innovation amid Stress and Uncertainty, on the Setili website.
During times of crises leaders must make the tough decisions, but choosing the right way to go is not always clear cut. Zaheera Soomar identifies three practical approaches to serve as guidelines for ethical decision-making.
During a recent conversation with a senior executive, she expressed a sentiment that many of us share: “When the pandemic has passed, I want to be able to say that, at the hardest of times, I did my best to do the right thing”. During this pandemic, leaders are expected to make difficult decisions with far-reaching consequences.
Ethical decision-making becomes even more important in times of crisis.
Leaders are constantly faced with ethical decisions, with all of the challenges associated with meeting the expectations of various stakeholders – investors, employees, customers, partners, regulators, local communities, and society at large. These decisions are rarely simple, bringing together financial considerations with deep-rooted beliefs about the right thing to do: Costco’s raising of its minimum wage, Woolworths’ decision to get out of liquor and gambling and Salesforce’s decision to bar certain firearms companies from using its services all represent tough decisions informed by ethics and values. Leaders must make decisions with limited knowledge, predicting their impact, and have confidence and trust that the compromises and trade-offs are the right ones.
Included in this article:
- Align your decisions with your purpose
- Follow agreed and actionable principles
- Prioritise and plan your decisions and actions
Read the full article, Making Good Decisions in times of Crisis, on the Principia website.
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Swan Sit. wan Sit is an independent consultant specializing in digital, marketing and strategy. Having spent the past decade of her career accelerating digital into legacy companies, she held two key roles as a Vice President at Nike — overseeing Global Digital Marketing during the Emmy-winning “Dream Crazy” campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, and running Digital Operations, Product, Supply Chain and Service for a $2B ecommerce business during the Air Jordan 11 Concord launch, the largest in online history. She led digital at Revlon and Elizabeth Arden, using it to pull them out of a turnaround, and ran online strategy for the Esteé Lauder Companies, increasing its digital footprint to 400+ sites across 50 countries in 5 years. From modernizing hundred-year-old brands and partnering with unexpected influencers like Chelsea Handler, Iris Apfel and Gigi Gorgeous, to launching augmented reality makeovers and driving double-digit growth, Swan has demonstrated both the left- and right-brain skills required for a marketer that drives revenue. She was selected as a Brand Innovators 40 under 40 and Marketing Woman to Watch, and took home both Best Social Campaign and Best in Show at the Glossy Awards. You might recognize her as one of the faces in Twitter’s national “She Inspires Me” campaign during the Oscars, or from judging the world’s largest hackathon in Saudi Arabia alongside Steve Wozniak.
Prior to beauty, Swan was a management consultant at Bain, owned an ad agency focused on emotional branding, was a product manager at Newell (she launched a factory in China during SARS) and created infamous marketing campaigns at Trilogy Software during the dotcom boom. Swan graduated with a BA in Economics from Harvard and an MBA from Columbia.
Swan does speaking engagements around the world on Marketing, Digital Transformation and Leadership in the Digital Age. She is a Board Director of a publicly-traded pharmaceuticals company, advises a variety of businesses and sits on the boards of industry and philanthropic organizations including AdWeek’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, L2 Digital Think Tank, Women in Retail, Consumer Goods Technology Council, Impact Network, Foundation Rwanda and Worldview’s space think tank. Having traveled to 85+ countries, her favorites include Antarctica, North Korea, Mongolia, Rwanda, Bhutan, Myanmar and Tanzania for Kilimanjaro. She can often be found smashing a volleyball and chasing restaurant openings, or flying around on skis and horses – her two newest hobbies.
Amanda Setili shares a post that identifies a few ways we can take positive action during the current crisis.
Billions of us worldwide are altering our behaviors during the covid 19 crisis, so that as many people as possible remain safe.
When faced with a tough situation—even something big, like the coronavirus situation—I always ask: how can we mitigate the downside, and create some good?
We are living in strange times, and things are changing every day. Schools are closed and colleges have sent students home; flights, conferences and events have been cancelled; millions of employees are suddenly working remotely. Events this spring are likely to change the way we think, plan and do business for years to come.
Areas covered in this article include:
- Employees, process and finance
- Innovation and agility
Read the full article, Finding the Positive, Even in Challenging Times, on the Setili website.
Vik Muktavaram recently published an article that evaluates the current crisis through four approaches of risk management.
“As the federal government finally took the first decisive step in stemming the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US, the images of serpentine lines of arriving international passengers at airports waiting for immigration and screening for COVID-19 coronavirus ubiquitous online and in print. Presumably, the rationale for the screening was that these arriving passengers represented a high-risk cohort. Yet, the long, crowded lines with no social distancing not only defeats the very purpose of screening but in fact, one could argue that the risk of spreading is increased substantially amongst the ground staff as well as passengers from different airlines.
As we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we should also be wondering how did we miss this when all the signs were there. How did some countries such as Singapore and South Korea manage to contain, if not necessarily prevent, the spread of virus in their countries despite their proximity to China? Risk Management is a structured way of looking at early indicators and prioritizing risks and then managing these risks. As our crisis response continues to be a case study in “how not to”, let’s take a step back to see how the risk (low likelihood, high impact) of a virus-pandemic became a crisis.”
The four approaches explored are:
- Risk Transfer
- Risk Acceptance
- Risk Avoidance
- Risk Mitigation
Read the full article, Covid-19 in the U.S. How a Risk became a Crisis, on the Rithym Advisors’ website.
Jesse Jacoby shares a timeless post that explains how leaders can overcome overt and covert resistance to change.
In your role as a leader, you will likely encounter resistance to change at some point from one or more of your own team members. Resistance may come from a variety of sources:
- An individual with a difficult personality
- Someone anxious about impending change
- A person who disagrees with your vision
Resistance is usually demonstrated in one of four ways, each with the potential to create roadblocks for you:
- Lack of Communication – Leaving you out of the loop in terms of key information or not discussing issues openly
- Lack of Support – Foot-dragging on key initiatives you try to implement
- Counterproductive Criticism – Being overly critical of you and your ideas
- Passive Aggressive Behavior – Agreeing to do something, but then not doing anything
The steps to overcome resistance include:
- Being alert to the signs of resistance
- How to gain an understanding of the employee’s perspective
- Defining the positive behaviors you want to see, and be clear about your expectations
- What to do if the resistance becomes habitual
Read the full article, How Leaders Can Manage Team Member Change Resistance, on the Emergent Journal website.
David A. Fields identifies benefits consulting firms should focus on during this time of crisis.
There are so many voices fixated on the disaster unfolding around us, that you could easily be swept into a torrent of anxiety, fear and panic.
In truth, there is real reason for concern and you absolutely should heed the direction of medical leaders. At the same time, you and your consulting firm will benefit from a healthy dose of positive perspective.
If you ferociously cling to positive thought patterns while chaos is swirling around you, you and your consulting firm can maintain a clear head and promote forward progress.
Fortunately, there are many realistic, reliable reasons for you to feel upbeat.
Eight thought-starters are listed below, and I’ve left two spots open for you to fill in—one more than usual, because I know the entire consulting community will benefit from your inspiring thoughts.
Read the full article, 10 Positive Facts Your Consulting Firm Should Obsess over During this Crisis, on David’s blog.
Luiz Zorzella shares key points that can help leaders evaluate and address their approach to change to ensure better outcomes.
Strategy & Value
For the past 10 years, financial services firms have publicly acknowledged that they needed to change. Chances are, your organization was one of those.
Commoditization meant a systematic erosion of margins for banks; reduction in interest rates has been challenging both interest and non-interest income sources of banks and investment firms as well as the economics of insurance; and technology has posed a constant threat of disintermediation and radical value-adding substitutes.
However, just like the proverbial frog in the heating water, most business leaders have responded incrementally – aiming at matching the pace of change they observed in the market and improving their results within the parameters of their existing business model.
The problem is that change has arrived and it does not look like we expected. While COVID-19 ravages lives, economies and markets, clients and stakeholders alike are looking at financial service firms and asking that they help them weather the storm. They are calling you to change with them.
Points covered in this article include:
- Find you calling
- Evolve and decommodotize
- Reforge your ways of working
- Take the technology plunge
Read the full article, Is this Crisis Your Strategy Crucible, on the Amquant website.
Surbhee Grover takes a moment to think about the future and how the Coronavirus will change the way we work and live.
Our lives, as we’ve known them, have come to a grinding halt. What will the world look like when the music starts again?
In the time we are not obsessing with COVID-19 updates, or trying to revive the business; ensure availability of dog food (and wine), and survive homeschooling, some of us are starting to wonder what the future holds. Here’s my initial take on what comes after. These are not analytical forecasts, nor predictions – it is too soon for that, the data is too sparse, things are still too raw, and emotions too fickle. These are merely anecdote and observation-inspired musings, intended as stimulus to spark a discussion.
Key areas covered in this article:
- Work from home culture
- The benefits for dogs, the drawback for cats
Read the full article on LinkedIn.
Dan Markovitz explains why some methods of measuring performance and quality seriously lack the data to make an impact.
Pity the employees at a Starbucks in midtown NYC. In a misguided attempt to improve quality, the management posts monthly scores on a variety of metrics. . . without understanding anything about effective use of metrics. Measurement is a good idea, but only if it’s done well. These measurements? Not so much.
If you read Mark Graban’s blog or book, you’ll immediately see problems with this chart. For one thing, three data points don’t make a trend. With no upper and lower control limits, the movement in scores is nothing more than management by emoji — we have no way of knowing whether the movement is just random noise in a stable system, or a real signal indicating something significant happened. And why are they looking at the scores monthly? By the time they see a decline, it’s far too late to figure out what the root cause was and how to address it.
Read the full article, When Leaders Torture Their Employees, on the Markovitz Consulting website.
Geoff Wilson gets straight to the point with some tough love in this article by asking if you to make sure your strategy inspires.
The possibilities are endless. Some might say that the sole purpose is to ‘enhance shareholder value.’ I’d argue that this old trope is no longer the gold standard. Some adhere to the stakeholder model…which might be closer. Regardless of the ‘concept,’ a given business strategy has to appeal to a lot of people.
Strategy, inasmuch as it deals with things that are less certain and immediate, is an argument. It’s an argument formed from assumptions that are (or should be) formed from knowable facts and less knowable (but educated) estimates.
But, something tends to happen on the way to building business strategies that derails one of the most important imperatives. We lose the power of inspiration. Usually, we lose it when the hardcore management nerds get ahold of the strategic planning and implementation ‘ecosystem’ and start over whelming the organization with jargon, tools, and really smart pablum.
Read the full article, Are your people uninspired? Maybe it’s time to hang the DJ., on the Wilson Growth Partners website.
Miklos Tomka illuminates the importance of doing what you can to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus.
The Coronavirus is spreading fast and has spread inside of hospitals in China, exposing hospital staff. Various places are a source for spreading infections, light switches that everyone touches, is clearly one of these.
Ubiquilux has developed a product to reduce the risk of infections spreading in hospitals: a gesture controlled light switch. A light switch which does not react to random motions like motion sensing switches do (it reacts only to specific on/off/dim gestures) – the first true replacement of any switch. No one has to touch the light switch anymore
An independent, expert lead clinical study confirms that the new (patented) gesture-controlled technology from Ubiquilux is reducing bacterial load on the surface of a light switch (the light switch is a widely documented contributor of infection transmission).
Read the full article, Are you doing everything to protect yourself, your colleagues and your patients from the Coronavirus?, on LinkedIn.
It takes more than talent to become a valued employee in today’s workplace. Sherif El Henaoui identifies the benefits of finding the right fit.
Top people are desired. Every company wants them: the intelligent, creative, endurable, high-performance worker. Since this desired workforce is rare, there is a “war” as suggested by the HR literature. I once heard a quote of a McKinsey partner commenting on the Internet bubble crisis saying, “We won the war for talent, but we ended up with too many prisoners.”
We want to suggest a more peaceful view on the matter. High-performance is also a result of the cultural fit. This applies to societies and corporations. An aggressive, forward-looking sales professional works well in one type of company but is perceived as too pushy and less collegial in another. Is that the fault of the employee?
Read the full article, Fight Your Own War for Talent, on LinkedIn.
Amanda Setili shines a light on an initiative that sparked employee engagement, inspired innovation, and motivated collaboration.
What does a 110-year-old company do to increase the rate of innovation from less than one new business per year to 50?
The answer, says David Lee, Vice President of Innovation and New Ventures at UPS, is to launch a program that taps into the brilliant growth ideas lurking in the heads of many of its 480,000 employees.
The program is called Upstarts, and it invited employees to “in five pages or less, tell us your idea for growth.”
To spur interest, Lee’s team held mixers in cities around the world, from Shanghai, to Neuss, Germany, to Toronto and Miami. Employees heard what UPS was hoping to achieve through the program, and how they could contribute.
“It’s not just about ideas,” Lee explains. “It’s about finding teams of passionate, talented people.
Read the full article, Upstarts Kick-Start the Pace of Innovation at UPS, on Amanda’s website.
Dan Markovitz reveals a common problem that lean programs often face.
Boeing’s Starliner failed an important test flight two weeks ago. It was supposed to rendezvous with the International Space Station, but was unable to reach the correct orbit.
The problem with this engineering marvel? Not the complex aerodynamics, not the critical separation from the Atlas V rocket, not the all-important re-entry heat shield.
No, the problem was with the internal clock. The spacecraft’s internal clock became unsynced with the overall “mission elapsed timing” system, so the Starliner failed to fire its engines at the correct time to reach orbit.
So—a $5 billion project was undone by something that your $10 Casio watch could handle.
Does your lean program face the same problem?
Read the full article, Boeing Starliner Failure: lessons for your lean program, on Dan’s company blog.
Susan Drumm identifies how conflict can achieve greater results when it grows from cognitive diversity and provides a few factors that can help you build a cognitively diverse team.
When you imagine an incredibly effective, successful team meeting, what does it look like?
For some people, it looks like this: One person talking while everyone nods. Someone is taking notes while muttering, ‘Yes, I think so too!’ The leader wraps the meeting by asking, ‘So we’re all in agreement?’ And everyone cheers, ‘Yes!’
Now, I love a smoothly run meeting as much as the next person, but I also know you do not want a completely conflict-free team. It’s not good for your company (or your clients or margins) to be staffed exclusively by people who share the same worldview, the same personality type, or the same approach to business.
In fact, every company would benefit from hiring for cognitive diversity — even if it creates conflict.
Why? Because the conflict that arises from cognitive diversity is good conflict.
It’s conflict that results in better products, happier customers, more effective systems, and fewer missteps.
Points covered in this article include:
-What cognitive diversity is
-Types of conflict that arise from cognitive diversity
-How to make sure you have a cognitively diverse team
Read the full article, Why You Need Cognitive Diversity on Your Team – Even if it Leads to Conflict, on the Meritage website.
Dan Markovitz provides a reality check on the concept of management by walking around (MBWA); how the leaders at organizations embracing lean take a different approach, and why the latter is better than the former.
Theodore Kinni argues in Strategy + Business that leaders must practice management by walking around (MBWA), a concept popularized by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman in their seminal book, In Search of Excellence. That’s the best way for them to stay connected to their businesses and understand what’s really happening with their customers. As Peters puts it, “The real meaning [of MBWA] was that you can’t lead from your office/cubicle.”
I’ve got no problem with the concept—after all, it’s similar to the lean precept of genchi gembutsu, or going to the gemba.
But here’s the problem with MBWA: it’s essentially unstructured.
Read the full article, Please, Not Another Argument for MBWA, on Dan’s website.