Fear factor: Overcoming human barriers to innovation

Worries about failure, criticism, and career impact hold back many people from embracing innovation. Here’s how to create a culture that accounts for the human side of innovation.

How a “Pay-to-Quit” Strategy Can Reveal Your Most Motivated Employees

Companies often have a hard time determining how motivated or committed their employees are, because employees know it goes against their own interests to declare themselves unmotivated or uncommitted. The solution to this problem is for companies to put incentives in place that encourage employees to reveal how they actually feel. In this article, the author, a behavioral economist, describes an incentive plan that has … [ Read more ]

An Innovation Culture That Gets Results

This article presents some practical guidelines for executives seeking to design a high-impact innovation culture. It also outlines four areas of focus that offer a clear path for change, drawing on examples from leading innovators.

4 Types of Employee Complaints — and How to Respond

Complaining can have both positive and negative effects on organizational communication. Constructive complaining — or structured opportunities for employees to voice their concerns — offers valuable feedback to improve work processes, products, and services, and thus should be encouraged. Venting and chronic complaining have both advantages and disadvantages for the individual and the group and should be given the right space and time, rather than … [ Read more ]

The algorithmic trade-off between accuracy and ethics

In The Ethical Algorithm, two University of Pennsylvania professors explain how social values such as fairness and privacy can be designed into machines.

Lessons on motivation from the odd friendship of Maslow and Frankl

Recently I was surprised to discover that two men whose philosophies I’ve compared and contrasted for years to help explain modern motivation science had a relationship where they did the same thing during their lifetime. We can all benefit from the relationship between Abraham Maslow and Viktor Frankl.

Pay for Performance: When Does It Fail?

The consensus in social psychology is that monetary incentives for performance have a detrimental impact on individual performance. Yes, under certain specific and limited conditions, rewards can reduce performance. Yet pay for performance schemes are ubiquitous. How can we resolve this divergence between theoretical recommendations and observed practices? Nirmalya Kumar and Madan Pillutla recommend solving the problem by designing smarter incentives that avoid these detrimental … [ Read more ]

5 Habits To Maximize The Effect Of Recognition

Unlike pay and other financial rewards, being praised and recognized is an expression of care, and this—and not money—affects the hearts in people. Here are five habits leaders must develop in order to maximize the effect of recognition and thereby derive its greatest benefits.

Smart Rules: Six Ways to Get People to Solve Problems Without You

Companies clearly need a better way to manage complexity. In our work with clients and in our research, we believe, we’ve found a different and far more effective approach. It does not involve attempting to impose formal guidelines and processes on frontline employees; rather, it entails creating an environment in which employees can work with one another to develop creative solutions to complex challenges. This … [ Read more ]

Guide: Understand team effectiveness

Much of the work done at Google, and in many organizations, is done collaboratively by teams. The team is the molecular unit where real production happens, where innovative ideas are conceived and tested, and where employees experience most of their work. But it’s also where interpersonal issues, ill-suited skill sets, and unclear group goals can hinder productivity and cause friction.

Following the success of Google’s[ Read more ]

Design Your Organization to Match Your Strategy

An organization is nothing more than a living embodiment of a strategy. That means its “organizational hardware” (i.e., structures, processes, technologies, and governance) and its “organizational software” (i.e., values, norms, culture, leadership, and employee skills and aspirations) must be designed exclusively in the service of a specific strategy. Research suggests that only 10% of organizations are successful at aligning their strategy with their organization design. … [ Read more ]

Author Talks: Turn your work enemies into allies

Whether you’re being interrupted in meetings or challenged at every turn, Amy Gallo shares tactics for getting value out of difficult work relationships.

Intellectual Honesty Is Critical for Innovation

Here’s how to balance psychological safety and intellectual honesty for better team performance.

Inclusion Isn’t Just Nice. It’s Necessary.

Improving employees’ experience of inclusion in the workplace is one of the most actionable levers companies have to attract and retain talent. When done right, inclusion can slash attrition risk in half.

In today’s fiercely competitive environment, inclusion is akin to a hidden superpower, so why do so few companies view it as a business necessity? The answer is simple: workplace inclusion is hard to define, … [ Read more ]

Adaptive Space: Shifting from Structural to Social Design

One of the biggest challenges facing organizations today is the need to be agile. To achieve this goal, leaders must seek a deeper understanding of the power of social interaction in furthering the flow of ideas, information, and insight. Michael Arena explains how building relational structures that foster 4D connections, discovery, development, diffusion, and disruption, can usher in the new, innovative ideas and concepts necessary … [ Read more ]

Using neuroscience to make feedback work and feel better

Research shows that using feedback is how organisms — and organizations — stay alive. Here’s how leaders can make the most of the anxiety-producing process.

Stop Overcomplicating It: The Simple Guidebook to Upping Your Management Game

Russ Laraway’s book When They Win, You Win, weaves together tons of existing management studies from top-notch sources like Gallup, his own primary research, as well as thoughtful stories from his own decades-long career.

From the Marines to software to VC, Laraway has spotted a pattern that frequently crops up and muddies the waters for managers everywhere. “People have become far too focused on all the … [ Read more ]

4 Types of Innovators Every Organization Needs

Every company strives to be innovative, but most are missing key ingredients. How can you identify which ingredients your organization needs — and which employee styles can fill in the gaps? The authors’ research distills four key innovation styles that can lead to success — generators, conceptualizers, optimizers, and implementors — and explains how common they are across sectors. Then, they outline a four-part framework … [ Read more ]