You will find very Ignite practices on each of these Leaders Must Reads:

YOU'RE NOT POWERLESS IN THE FACE OF UNCERTAINTY

@Harvard Business Review by Nathan Furr
5 Minute Read

How adeptly you can respond to the impacts of Coronavirus on your organization depends on your mindset and mental approach. Having the right frame of mind when assessing options is statistically proven to help leaders respond appropriately to moments of crisis. Being heroic is about overcoming the doubt and uncertainty that become obstacles to decision-making — "the only way to become the hero, is to go through the obstacles!" Now more than ever, we need heroic leaders to pave the way for stability, growth, and innovation post-coronavirus.

"[P]art of our capacity to deal with the unknown is innate, a larger portion is learned. Those who develop this “uncertainty capability” are more creative, more successful, and better able to turn uncertainty into possibility.”

TO FIND MEANING IN YOUR WORK, CHANGE HOW YOU THINK ABOUT IT

@HBR by John Coleman
[5-Minute Read]


THE BEAUTY OF PURPOSE (EXCERPTS)

"A wonderful New York Times article from 2007 recounted the 20th annual 'Operator’s Challenge' — aka the 'Sludge Olympics' — a competition for New York sewage treatment workers. The participants compete to show skill in their work, and often do so with great passion. Emily Lloyd, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, said of the work the competitors do, 'It’s tough work. It’s frequently unpleasant work. And they’re terrific at it.' And as you read the article, you note the pride the competitors have in their work and the purpose they find in doing it well. One man, George Mossos, noting how anonymous their work can be, is quoted saying, 'It’s enough to serve the public.'"

"Why is it that some people can be extraordinarily well-paid and work in pampered settings but feel empty, while others can work in the sewers of New York City and feel fulfilled? Part of the answer is purpose."

"... for most people, purpose is built not found. Working with a sense of purpose day-in and day-out is an act of will that takes thoughtfulness and practice."


PURPOSE IS EVERYTHING!

Having purpose drives us forward and pushes us to be great - when purpose is lacking, work feels unfulfilling and meaningless. Working after all, is an endeavor that pushes us to constantly grow into our best selves so that we can make a difference in the world, no matter how small. How can we make that difference if we cannot find meaning and purpose in our work? As this article argues, purpose is present in anything we do, we just have to look in the right places and tap into the positive influences that will strengthen our purpose at work. And we couldn't agree more: greatness is driven by people who continuously discover and apply the full force of their gifts and purpose to make a difference in the world, which is why we launched our PEAK/X Growth Stream, to help you and so many others achieve greatness by first tapping into your personal purpose.
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PURPOSE-DRIVEN LEADERSHIP

@Springer by Carlos Rey, Pablo Cordona, Nick Craig
[16-Minute Read]


LEADERSHIP IS EVOLVING! (EXCERPT)

"Today, an increasing number of successful companies around the world are experiencing a major change in the way they understand leadership. From the traditional leader at the top model, they are moving toward a paradigm whereby leadership is distributed throughout the entirety of the firm.

Challenging the vertical notion of the traditional leadership models, the essence of purpose-driven leadership is presented in three undertakings: Discovering your leadership purpose, helping others to discover their purpose, and connecting personal and organizational purpose. These three are the same for all levels of the company and are exercised in all directions (top-down, horizontal, bottom-up)."


BEING A LEADER OF LEADERS

The professors encourage abandoning the hierarchal norms of leadership, because everyone can be a leader in their own way. They encourage the “leader of leaders” to help each individual actualize their personal purpose in means that bring out the leader in them.

At its core, Ignite's Genius, Purpose, and Service Growth Stream (PEAK/X) is an internal navigation system for where, how and why people achieve their greatest potential while using their gifts and passions to spark growth. Nurturing the leadership potential of each employee while aligning their personal passions and gifts towards a collective endeavor will bring out the greatest in every employee.
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NURTURING PERSONAL PURPOSE AT WORK

Carlos Rey, Juan Almandoz, and Alex Montaner
[11-Minute Read]


FROM THE AUTHORS

"Reflecting on the purpose of one’s work can be a highly rewarding and inspiring exercise that helps to harmonize the purpose of the individual with that of the organization, resulting in greater job satisfaction and quality of work. However, experience shows that often one’s purpose tends to weaken over time, running the risk of being forgotten altogether when not properly nurtured. Based on the three dimensions of purpose – knowledge, motivation, and action – this work proposes a framework on how to sustain personal purpose at work, increasing meaningfulness, focus, and effectiveness. Six process for purpose development are presented: self-knowledge, self-awareness, motivation plan, action plan, habit development, and emotional management."


WE TOLD YOU SO

These Spanish B-School professors echo what we’ve been, not just saying, but operationalizing in Ignite: nurturing personal purpose and operationalizing its practice across an organization is just as, if not more important, than nurturing organizational purpose.

It makes sense. To bring out the best version of your organization, your employees must first learn to bring out the best in themselves as individuals. At Ignite, one of our foundations of Growth is how Genius, Purpose, and Service (GPS) becomes an internal navigation system for where, how, and why people will pour out their very best selves. There is a science to Purpose that can be operationalized, measured, and scaled.
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REACTION, REBOUND, RECESSION, AND REIMAGINATION

@Boston Consulting Group by Martin Reeves, Lars Faeste, Kevin Whitaker, & Mark Abraham
7 Minute Read

Coronavirus has ferociously changed the world, but don't assume that everything will go back to what it once was before. Instead, we should prepare for the "new normal" that's fast approaching. In the words of the authors, some of BCG's high-level leaders,“reacting to the immediate issues presented by a crisis is necessary, but it is not sufficient. By also preparing for a potential rebound, understanding how to take advantage in the event of a recession, and reimagining the post-crisis future of businesses and societies, leaders can stay ahead of the crisis as it evolves.” When the new normal arrives will you, as a leader, be ready?

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS’ “JOBS TO BE DONE”

@HBR by Clayton Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David Duncan
[10-Minute Read]


DO YOU REALLY KNOW THE CUSTOMER? (EXCERPTS)

“After decades of watching great companies fail, we’ve come to the conclusion that the focus on correlation—and on knowing more and more about customers—is taking firms in the wrong direction. What they really need to home in on is the progress that the customer is trying to make in a given circumstance—what the customer hopes to accomplish. This is what we’ve come to call the job to be done.”

“Many organizations have unwittingly designed innovation processes that produce inconsistent and disappointing outcomes. They spend time and money compiling data-rich models that make them masters of description but failures at prediction. But firms don’t have to continue down that path. Innovation can be far more predictable—and far more profitable—if you start by identifying jobs that customers are struggling to get done. Without that lens, you’re doomed to hit-or-miss innovation. With it, you can leave relying on luck to your competitors.”


WE TOLD YOU SO

The approaches companies take to knowing their customers fall flat in truly establishing strong customer centricity – the misguided practice of using data-based correlations to predict what customers want and need is not knowing the customer. These esteemed members of the Harvard faculty echo what we at Ignite have been saying: knowing the customer entails knowing what they need to get accomplished, or their jobs to be done. Our Customer Centricity Growth Stream (CHI/X) emphasizes that understanding customers on a more personal and empathetic level by knowing the what, the how, and the why of their needs, is the driving force behind stronger customer relationships.
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HOW DOES AMAZON STAY AT DAY ONE?

@Forbes by Jeff Dyer & Hal Gregersen
[10-Minute Read]


GOLD STANDARD FOR INNOVATION

Amazon is the gold standard for operationalizing and scaling innovation across all its operations. The similarities with Ignite’s 4GS (4 Growth Streams) are startling - none more so than in the way Amazon has made Innovation, not a process, but a way of life for all its teams and employees. This is the precisely the kind of innovation-driven growth we engineer for Ignite client-partners.


LISTEN TO THE AMAZONS

This is eerily exactly what we get you to practice in the Ignite 4GS….

"To invent you need to experiment. If you know in advance it is going to work it is not an experiment. They are inseparable twins, failure and innovation. You have to be willing to fail. It is embarrassing to fail. If I said to you, you have a 10 percent chance at a 100X return, you should take that bet every time. But you still are going to be wrong nine out of ten times. And you are going to feel bad nine out of ten times." - Jeff Bezos, Amazon

"I've said this a couple of times and in different ways, but perhaps not emphatically enough: we work really hard to create an environment where it is completely accepted to take a risk, try hard, and fail." - Jeff Wilke, Amazon Worldwide

"Any of us who have built things that operate for a while with any great success know that you don't usually get it right in the first iteration. It usually takes time, iterations, listening to customers, and building to have something that succeeds." - Andy Jassy, Amazon Web Services
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HOW DO YOU MEASURE INNOVATION RESULTS AND OUTCOMES?

Chuck Ferry
[9-Minute Read]


EXPERT EXCERPTS: IT’S A MIX!

"Critical to have a balanced group of metrics around all innovation management dimensions — innovation strategy , innovation partnerships, innovation platforms, innovation portfolios, innovation process and systems, innovation and entrepreneurship culture."

"In my experience, the most important thing is to keep the measures simple and focused on what is important to measure — not what is easy to measure. We did a major survey with Rice and Stanford several years ago, and the major finding was that companies were measuring what was easy to measure instead of what was important, and most were measuring far too many things.”

The “Type A” answer is that the best measure of innovation results is ultimate financial success in the marketplace. While that is definitely a reasonable expectation, I’m hopeful that results are also measured by the learning gained throughout the discovery and commercialization process of innovation. Financial success is ultimately imperative to feed the innovation engine, but hopefully, there is enough patience and “lifeline” allowed for products and/or projects to fail along the way."

"There are a lot of new metrics being used today. Most are garbage. Things that need to be looked at include overall portfolio performance and the “funnel.” The top of the funnel — new ideas — should be getting bigger. The quality of what comes out of the funnel should be improving. And most importantly, companies need to get much better at learning to kill projects when it’s clear they’re not going to deliver value. All too often we only measure the final result. In innovation, the intermediate steps must be measured, too."


NOT JUST INNOVATION. GROWTH.

It is abundantly clear from our roundtable of experts that measuring innovation is a balanced scorecard. Innovation involves a portfolio of metrics across financial, strategic, organizational and human capital variables, and also across time.

In short, measuring Innovation is really about measuring Growth.

This explains Ignite’s obsessive focus on the 4 Growth Streams (4GS), Innovation being only one of the 4GS, along with Customer-Centricity, Collaboration, and Purpose. It the science behind how the Ignite O/S operationalizes, measures, and scales the 4GS via 6-month Growth Sprints on a 100-point Growth Scale.
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WE NEED IMAGINATION NOW MORE THAN EVER

@Harvard Business Review by Martin Reeves & Jack Fuller
10 Minute Read

A common message is found in most articles that concern managing through the Coronavirus: to survive now and thrive later on, imagination and creativity should be at the forefront of your efforts to respond to the effects of the crisis. It sounds absurd in such a time of crisis, but exercising and applying your imaginative skills, whether individually or collectively, should not be undervalued, because it can make a big difference in how your organization rebounds from the crisis, and how it can continue deliver excellent service to its customers.

"Imagination — the capacity to create, evolve, and exploit mental models of things or situations that don’t yet exist — is the crucial factor in seizing and creating new opportunities, and finding new paths to growth."

DESIGN THINKING FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION

@HBR by Tim Brown & Jocelyn Wyatt
[9-Minute Read]


POWER-PACKED EXCERPTS: DESIGN THINKING WORKS!

"Time and again, initiatives falter because they are not based on the client’s or customer’s needs and have never been prototyped to solicit feedback. Even when people do go into the field, they may enter with preconceived notions of what the needs and solutions are. This flawed approach remains the norm in both the business and social sectors."

"As an approach, design thinking taps into capacities we all have but that are overlooked by more conventional problem-solving practices. Not only does it focus on creating products and services that are human centered, but the process itself is also deeply human. Design thinking relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that have emotional meaning as well as being functional, and to express ourselves in media other than words or symbols. Nobody wants to run an organization on feeling, intuition, and inspiration, but an over-reliance on the rational and the analytical can be just as risky."

"One of the biggest impediments to adopting design thinking is simply fear of failure. The notion that there is nothing wrong with experimentation or failure, as long as they happen early and act as a source of learning, can be difficult to accept. But a vibrant design thinking culture will encourage prototyping—quick, cheap, and dirty—as part of the creative process and not just as a way of validating finished ideas."


INNOVATION, NOT JUST IN SOCIAL IMPACT BUT IN BUSINESS TOO!

The authors, executives from IDEO, the pioneer of design thinking, emphasize that it can solve any challenge of any magnitude in any environment. It's already helped provide creative solutions for human welfare issues, and there's no reason to doubt its impact in the business world. Ignite is an advocate for design thinking, because we believe in its power and effectiveness in creating solutions and enhancing innovation in any company or organization. That's why our Innovation Growth Stream is driven by innovation practices such as design thinking: if you can operationalize these practices as a way of life and integrate them into the way we work, growth and innovation for your organization is not far away!
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A COMPANY LIKE ME: BEYOND CUSTOMER CENTRIC TO CUSTOMER ENGAGED

@HBR by Clayton Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David Duncan
[10-Minute Read]


WHY CUSTOMER CENTRICITY IS NOT WHAT IT SHOULD BE! (EXCERPTS)

"Being customer-centric was tactically possible without any real concern for the customer.

You could do things that would benefit the customer but you only did them to make sure that your company was doing what it had to do to benefit its shareholders -- meaning focusing on engaging your customers -- and true value exchange with them wasn't part of your DNA, but a pragmatic and reactive move to ensure business value. You give up something to get something, rather than think through the idea of value exchange and embed it into the culture of the company.

To build the kind of company that can demonstrate successful customer engagement requires a culture that would foster a relationship between the company and its customers characterized by this value exchange. That's what customers are looking for anyway. You're a customer. You know that you require a relationship that makes you comfortable with the company -- at its optimum, if you care enough, you'd feel that the company was trustworthy and 'understood' something about you."


"The company must show itself to be trustworthy, empathetic, believable and respectful."


OUR BREAD AND BUTTER

Paul Greenberg, a best-selling CRM author, emphasizes four characteristics essential to developing genuine customer centricity: being trustworthy, empathetic, believable, and respectful. And at Ignite, we couldn't agree more! That's why we created our Growth Labs, specifically our Customer Centricity Growth Lab (CHI/X), to help instill these values not only in organizations, but in every employee at all levels of the hierarchy. We believe that these four values, among others, lie at the core of genuine customer relationships, and fuel growth and innovation.
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KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS’ “JOBS TO BE DONE”

@HBR by Clayton Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David Duncan
[10-Minute Read]


DO YOU REALLY KNOW THE CUSTOMER? (EXCERPTS)

“After decades of watching great companies fail, we’ve come to the conclusion that the focus on correlation—and on knowing more and more about customers—is taking firms in the wrong direction. What they really need to home in on is the progress that the customer is trying to make in a given circumstance—what the customer hopes to accomplish. This is what we’ve come to call the job to be done.”

“Many organizations have unwittingly designed innovation processes that produce inconsistent and disappointing outcomes. They spend time and money compiling data-rich models that make them masters of description but failures at prediction. But firms don’t have to continue down that path. Innovation can be far more predictable—and far more profitable—if you start by identifying jobs that customers are struggling to get done. Without that lens, you’re doomed to hit-or-miss innovation. With it, you can leave relying on luck to your competitors.”


WE TOLD YOU SO

The approaches companies take to knowing their customers fall flat in truly establishing strong customer centricity – the misguided practice of using data-based correlations to predict what customers want and need is not knowing the customer. These esteemed members of the Harvard faculty echo what we at Ignite have been saying: knowing the customer entails knowing what they need to get accomplished, or their jobs to be done. Our Customer Centricity Growth Stream (CHI/X) emphasizes that understanding customers on a more personal and empathetic level by knowing the what, the how, and the why of their needs, is the driving force behind stronger customer relationships.
Read More

THE BEST BUSINESS BREAKTHROUGHS COME FROM MOMENTS OF DOUBT

@IDEO by Sandy Speicher
9 Minute Read

Coronavirus has clouded the future with doubt and uncertainty. What's certain is that learning how to navigate through a crisis not only tests your capabilities as a leader, but also tests your creative capabilities. Thinking creatively may make the difference in achieving a breakthrough or not. Creative leadership is an effective way to lead right now, and this kind of leadership will be essential in the "new normal" too. Embrace these moments of doubt, because they will help spark the breakthroughs you're searching for while also improving collaboration within your organization.

“Some of the best work comes from some of these hardest times. Confusion, self-doubt, existential searching, getting lost, and then finding your way out of that state of disequilibrium — these are the essential experiences for the emergence of creativity [and leadership].”

THE COLLABORATION BLIND SPOT: WHY TRYING TO MAKE PEOPLE COLLABORATE FREAKS THEM OUT

@HBR by Lisa B. Kwan
[8-Minute Read]


COLLABORATION CAN BE THREATENING (EXCERPT)

"Here’s the problem: In mandating and planning for collaborative initiatives, leaders tend to focus on logistics and processes, incentives and outcomes. That makes perfect sense. But in doing so they forget to consider how the groups they’re asking to work together might experience the request—especially when those groups are being told to break down walls, divulge information, sacrifice autonomy, share resources, or even cede responsibilities that define them as a group. All too often, groups feel threatened by such demands, which seem to represent openings for others to encroach on their territory...

... Nagged by concerns about their security, groups that have been asked to collaborate often retreat into themselves and reflexively assume a defensive posture. Their top priorities: Guard the territory, minimize the threat.

This kind of behavior can have consequences that extend beyond the collaboration at hand. A group focused on protecting its turf and minimizing threats can come across as uncooperative and a poor team player. Word gets around that it “can’t be trusted” or is “two-faced”—assessments that can harm future efforts to collaborate before they begin."


CHECK YOUR BLIND SPOTS!

This executive leadership coach at Harvard Business School can't be more right - companies tend to overlook their blind spots, and when silos focus on protecting themselves rather than working with others, collaborative endeavors have no chance in succeeding. We at Ignite are dedicated to promoting cross-silo collaboration because like Kwan, we understand the hindrance silos have on the effectiveness and execution of collaborative efforts. Our Collaboration Growth Stream strives to break down the silo mentality in all of its aspects so that everyone across all silos are comfortable participating in engaging collaboration. When teams don't feel threatened, and are able to incorporate their strengths and needs with that of other teams, collaboration can be a beautiful and profitable endeavor.
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WHEN SENIOR MANAGERS WON'T COLLABORATE

@HBR by Heidi K. Gardner
[10-Minute Read]


EXPERT EXCERPTS: REAP THE BENEFITS, AVOID THE DRAWBACKS

“… for the professionals involved, the financial benefits of collaboration accrue slowly, and other advantages are hard to quantify. That makes it difficult to decide whether the investment in learning to collaborate will pay off. Even if they value the camaraderie of collaborative work, many partners are hard-pressed to spend time and energy on cross-specialty ventures when they could be building their own practices instead.

True multidisciplinary collaboration requires people to combine their perspectives and expertise and tailor them to the client’s needs so that the outcome is more than the sum of the participating individuals’ knowledge.

If professionals better understood the trade-offs, and if firms lowered the organizational barriers to collaboration, then not only clients but also the professionals themselves and their firms would benefit handsomely...

...My findings show how the benefits of collaboration play out. They paint a realistic picture of the barriers that often prevent professionals from working together. And they suggest changes that both individuals and firms can make to reap more of the advantages and avoid more of the drawbacks.”


IGNITE IS HERE TO HELP!

As argued by the article, collaboration becomes challenging when the general consensus is that I don’t benefit from collaborating. Avoiding this mindset is a challenge that at Ignite strives to tackle. That’s why we developed our Collaboration Growth Stream (COLLAB/X) in order to show that collaboration is indeed beneficial to both an individual and a team as a whole. We want to help develop you and your team’s ability to effectively collaborate with others based on your respective strengths, aspirations, and needs.
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CROSS-SILO LEADERSHIP*

@HBR by Tiziana Casciaro, Amy C. Edmondson, Sujin Jang
[11-Minute Read]


EXPERT EXCERPTS!

“In today’s economy everyone knows that finding new ways to combine an organization’s diverse knowledge is a winning strategy for creating lasting value. But it doesn’t happen unless employees have the opportunities and tools to work together productively across silos. To unleash the potential of horizontal collaboration, leaders must equip people to learn and to relate to one another across cultural and logistical divides. The four practices we’ve just described can help…

Not only is each one useful on its own in tackling the distinct challenges of interface work, but together these practices are mutually enhancing: Engaging in one promotes competency in another…

Over time these practices—none of which require advanced degrees or deep technical smarts—dissolve the barriers that make boundary-crossing work so difficult. When leaders create conditions that encourage and support these practices, collaboration across the interface will ultimately become second nature.”


SILOS LIMIT POTENTIAL

If there is one thing these internationally renowned professors want us to learn, it’s that the silo mentality limits the potential of an entire organization: potential has to be maximized in order to find success and sustainability in a competitive business world of constant innovation and growth. Ignite’s Collaboration Growth Stream is dedicated to this challenge, and we believe that empowering people to collaborate based on their individual strengths, aspirations, and needs develops their potential and effectively breaks the silos that prevent sustainable collaboration.
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THE SILO MENTALITY: HOW TO BREAK DOWN THE BARRIERS

@Forbes by Brent Gleeson
[5-Minute Read]


CAUTION! SILOS AHEAD (EXCERPT)

“The silo mindset does not appear accidentally nor is it a coincidence that most organizations struggle with interdepartmental turf wars. When we take a deeper a look at the root cause of these issues, we find that more often than not silos are the result of a conflicted leadership team.

Many executives may look at their organization and dismiss department inefficiencies and lack of cross-functional solutions with immature employees, lack of basic training, or simply the inability for some employees to play nicely with one another. Unfortunately, while these behaviors may be a result of the silo mentality; it is not the root cause. These assumptions will actually lead to long term harm to the organization as a whole by creating resentment and cynicism within the teams. Most employees become frustrated with their department and the organization as a whole when they have identified the problems, but can’t do anything about it. It is the responsibility of the leadership team to recognize this and rise above to create effective, long-term solutions that are scalable, executable, and realistic.”


UNIFY OR DIE

Alleviating the Silo Mentality is all about having a united front across all collaborating parties - successfully executing a collaborative endeavor requires a unified vision, a common goal, and incentives that promote such unification. If there is no effort put into unifying silos, collaboration becomes futile. We at Ignite cannot stress enough the importance of having a culture and structure of togetherness; our Collaboration Growth Stream (COLLAB/X) is driven by our belief that silos can effectively collaborate when their respective strengths, aspirations, and needs can come together towards a unified endeavor.
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