Tactics

The Innovator's MethodHave you or your team ever come up with a big idea that you thought would be very cool, but didn’t take any action because you thought it would be too risky? Perhaps it was an idea for a new product or service, or a process change to solve a complex problem. Maybe you tried to bring the idea to life, only to have it turn out to be an expensive, time-consuming failure.

The new book The Innovator’s Method: Bringing the Lean Start-up into Your Organization, by Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyer, is a leader’s guide to validating new ideas, refining them, and bringing them to market. It presents a method for leveraging a set of tools emerging from lean start-up, design thinking, and agile software development.

Jeff Dyer’s previous book The Innovator’s DNA, co-authored with by Clayton Christensen and Hal Gregersen, is a bestseller, has already been published in more than 13 languages, and won the 2011 Innovation Book of the Year Award from Chartered Management Institute. Jeff is Professor of Strategy at Brigham Young University and Wharton. He is co-founder of the consulting firm The Innovator’s DNA, and he gives speeches, consults, and conducts training programs in the areas of innovation, change, and strategy. He is the only strategy scholar in the world to have published five times in both Strategic Management Journal (the top academic journal devoted to strategy) and Harvard Business Review (the top practitioner journal).

Innovator's-Method

In this episode, Jeff and Jesse discuss:

  • 2 types of uncertainty that influence a team’s ability to create customers
  • Why traditional management taught in MBA programs does not work if you’re leading a team that faces radical uncertainty and needs to innovate
  • 4 steps to solve high-uncertainty problems and turn insight into a successful innovation
  • 3 tests to know when you’re ready to move to the next step
  • How the turnaround of the software company Intuit demonstrates the new way of leading in a high-uncertainty industry
  • How the startup of Rent the Runway, which applied the Netflix model to enable women to rent high-end designer dresses for one-tenth of the purchase price, demonstrates the method’s ability to reduce risk, cost, and time-to-market.

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If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at jesse@engagingleader.com, subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

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Scaling-Up-ExcellenceIf you’ve created a great little coffeeshop, how do you expand and put your coffeeshops in cities around the world without watering down what makes your coffeeshop great? That’s a question that Starbucks certainly struggled to answer.

Or, if you have a key practice or mindset — for example, lean manufacturing — how do you spread it throughout your organization?

It’s a question of scaling up … taking a pocket of excellence and expanding it. But it’s really hard. There are countless example of organizations who try to scale up but end up just spreading mediocrity — or worse, their efforts to expand actually ruin the organization.

Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao, researchers and professors from Stanford University, spent seven years studying this question. And now they’re sharing their findings in their new book Scaling Up Excellence: Getting To More Without Settling For Less.

In this episode, Jesse interviews Bob Sutton, whose previous six management books include New York Times bestsellers The No A**hole Rule and Good Boss, Bad Boss.

Jesse and Bob discuss several take-aways from Scaling Up Excellence:

  • It’s a ground war, not just an air war: bombarding people with a training session or quick communication campaign doesn’t work; it requires pressing each person, division, and group to make one small change after another in what they believe, feel, or do.
  • Starting with a full working prototype (rather than theory) that your people can see
  • Connect-and-cascade process: going beyond the usual “cascading through the management ranks” by using social bonds to spread the right mindset
  • Guardrail strategy: specifying as few constraints as you possibly can—picking those precious few that matter most and pack the biggest wallop, and then leaving people to steer between and around them as they see fit.
  • Striking the right balance between Catholicism (replication) and Buddhism (customization) for your organization and goals
  • Once is not enough, and One is not enough: the best leaders find themselves saying things over and over, in a variety of ways and through a variety of methods
  • Team size: creating a team that’s too large is the biggest mistake leaders make

Case study: Kaiser Permanente shifting mindset from hospital-as-hub to home-as-hub model of health care

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

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If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at jesse@engagingleader.com, subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

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075: Conquer the Entrepreneur’s Kryptonite: Simple Strategic Planning | with James Woosley

February 6, 2014

Today’s leaders — whether in business or nonprofit — are expected to be entrepreneurial. The kryptonite that threatens to kill the dreams of every entrepreneur is strategic planning. Many people have no plan and try shooting from the hip, so effort and resources are wasted or unfocused. Others get bogged down in an overly-detailed planning […]

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063: How to Make an Impact on a Corporate Board of Directors | with Betsy Atkins

November 7, 2013

If you are a CEO or if you been working in corporate America, you probably have had some involvement with the Board of Directors – either advising them or being advised by them. If you already serve on a Board of Directors, do you think you’re really making an impact? Is your involvement making a […]

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060: Leading the Starbucks Way: 5 Principles for Connecting with Your Customers, Your Products and Your People | with Joseph Michelli

October 17, 2013

Starbucks has become one of the best-loved and trusted brands in the world. It’s recognized as being one of the world’s most effectively led and admired companies. And yet, a few years ago, it seemed they had lost their way … the customer experience had become mediocre, and they had to close hundreds of stores. […]

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Use Images to Boost Engagement: The Science Behind Visual Communication

August 4, 2013

Over the years, as our team has employers engage and influence their workforce, we’ve repeatedly seen the power of visual images and video. But last week’s blog post by Leo Widrich really hit home on just how crucial an image can be. Widrich, co-founder of the hugely popular startup Buffer, said adding the right images […]

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6 Communication Lessons from Social Media for 21st-Century Leaders

July 17, 2013

I was not one of social media’s early adopters. I finally got on Facebook in 2009, roughly the same time as your grandmother. Twitter? Not until 2011. All those hashtags and short URLs confused me. BTW, my first-ever tweet: http://bit.ly/15lCRZW I quickly discovered that social media isn’t rising so quickly because the tech is sexy. […]

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How Gamification Changes the Engagement Game

May 1, 2013

Recently I was asked how gamification fits with other engagement strategies, or whether it replaces them altogether. The answer reveals a major reason why gamification is a game changer. I define gamification as game-inspired tactics to engage people. Traditionally, corporate communication experts have viewed the process of engaging a target audience as a progression from […]

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Hit the Nail on the Head: 5 Guidelines for Effective Storytelling

April 3, 2013

Stories are the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal. ~ Howard Gardner, Harvard University In my previous blog post, I discussed four primary reasons a well-crafted story can be powerful. The operative term, of course, is well-crafted. To influence people, your story doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does need to be crafted […]

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Did You Hear Me? (Why You Need to “Triangulate” Important Messages)

February 20, 2013

The $1,000 Email Last week, the Dropbox account that our Aspendale team uses to share files in the cloud suddenly stopped working; we could still access our files, but we couldn’t upload more files. I investigated the problem, and discovered that Dropbox had sent me three emails over the last two months, indicating that it […]

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Why You Need True Fans in the Connected Economy [video]

February 5, 2013

Back in the “olden” days of the late 20th century, it was a lot easier to get prospective customers to check you out. The adage “if you build it, they will come” held true, and all you had to worry about was getting your name out there. Now we face the Connected Economy — a flurry of […]

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021: How to Use Podcasts to Engage People | with PodcastAnswerMan Cliff Ravenscraft, plus Jonathan Mast

January 24, 2013

In this episode, Jesse gets tactical and explores a specific method of engaging with external audiences such as customers, as well as with internal audiences such as employees. His special guests for this episode are two pioneers of podcasting: Cliff Ravenscraft: Cliff has been podcasting since 2005, and as the Podcast Answer Man he has […]

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