When Innovation dies it is too late to change

When Innovation dies it is too late to change

When Innovation dies

Organisations and individuals alike want to become innovative. Some are really innovative, while even more claim they are innovative. When something we thrive for both as individuals and as organisations is finally achieved the even bigger battle begins. Remaining innovative is so much harder than becoming it. That is why we see so many companies and individuals, who fall down from the peak very rapidly.

I am writing this article because we have just witnessed a brilliant or tragic (depending on perspective) example today, 12. September 2018. Apple had its annual presentation of its new iPhones etc. Both Tim Cook and the product managers said exactly the same thing as last year and the year before. “It is the fastest iPhone we have ever built”, “The battery lasts longer than ever before” etc. What was different this year was, that you could hear that both Tim Cook and Philip W. Schiller had lost the enthusiasm. They knew they were repeating themselves and they could feel the disappointment from the audience. We expect Apple to be different.

I still remember in 2007 when the first iPhone came out. I needed to have it. I remember when the coloured, cute iMacs came out. I needed to have one. I remember when the white iMac with the screen on an arm came out. I needed to have one. I haven’t felt that need for a very long time. I have an antique iPhone, which does what I need and I don’t change it as long as it is alive.

Why does innovation die?

It dies because it loses reason. We, both individuals and organisations become innovative because we have to not because we want to. Just think about how creative prisoners have been throughout history when they have escaped prison. Think about how creative people become during difficult times. Apple became creative because Steve Jobs had a mission. They were the underdogs and he wanted Apple to succeed and win. And they did. Today Apple has nothing to fight for, nothing to prove. It is one of the most admired companies in the world. They still make great products and the integration between them is great. I love them and have no plans for switching. But I still miss that wow feeling I often had in the old days when the revolutionised the It industry.

Maturity is not the only reason why innovation dies. In fact, it doesn’t have to be a reason at all. But the organisational culture change is. When you go from an innovative challenge culture to a self-satisfied mature culture you can’t maintain a high level of innovation. The change in corporate culture kills innovation.

How can an organisation be mature and still innovative?

Creating, nursing and maintaining creative organisational cultures has been something we have been helping our clients with since the early days of Gugin, Here is a list of factors that influences your ability to remain a creative organisation over a long period of time

  • Let people go, even the high performers, the bosses and the old heroes. The heroes in the company who invented the groundbreaking products or services have to leave before they become a liability. Even with their best intentions, they will become a liability because they have a natural authority that only few will challenge. That stops new ideas and new paradigms to emerge and with them a new culture.
  • Split the organisation into smaller autonomous entities that are free to experiment with new products, leadership models, strategies, motivation models, etc. Everything must be subject to change.
  • Force diversity into all teams at all levels. I am not talking about gender, but all sorts of diversity. Get people on board who are most sceptical about what you are doing and let them challenge you. Get people on board who have no clue about what you are doing. Miracles will happen. That is guaranteed. So are the disasters, but you will win in the end.
  • Find new (real) challenges all the time and stay committed to those challenges.
  • Do really, really crazy things. Whenever an established order is growing in the organisation, kill it. We have a whole catalogue of things you can do to shake up the organisation. The feeling of uncertainty and unpredictability fuels innovation.
  • When the organisation leans to rely on its culture instead of its rules you are close to having the right culture. But it takes time, energy and sacrifices.

Alternatively, you can decide just to become a cash cow that makes the owners wealthy until you perish. But hey! Life is too short for that – don’t you agree?

We will love to hear from you. What do you do to remain innovative? Also, feel free to let us know if we can give you some inspiration.

 

Dr Finn Majlergaard

Dr Finn Majlergaard

CEO Gugin, Professor, Keynote Speaker, Author

Dr Finn Majlergaard is committed to helping organisations around the world leveraging the cultural diversity. As CEO of Gugin, he and his team work all over the world in almost all industries. He does a lot of conference- and corporate speeches, contributes to leadership magazines and teach at a number of business schools and universities across the Globe

Connect on LinkedIn and Twitter here:

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Cultural Intelligence, what is it and how do you develop it?

Cultural Intelligence, what is it and how do you develop it?

What is Cultural Intelligence?

Wikipedia defines Cultural Intelligence or CQ as “Cultural intelligence or cultural quotient (CQ) is a term used in business, education, government and academic research. Cultural intelligence can be understood as the capability to relate and work effectively across cultures. Originally, the term cultural intelligence and the abbreviation “CQ” was developed by the research done by Soon Ang and Linn Van Dyne as a researched-based way of measuring and predicting intercultural performance.”

That was in 2003. Since then a lot of other definitions have emerged as it always happens in academia. I prefer the original definition of cultural intelligence although it should be expanded into non-work related situations as well.

Why is Cultural intelligence important?

If we go back 40 years or more we lived in a completely different world. The economic wealth was centralised in Europe and the USA with a few isolated wealthy spots in Asia and South America. Trade was limited to good and we didn’t know about outsourcing or international joint ventures in larger scales. Travelling long distances was out of reach for most people and communicating over long distances took forever and was really expensive too.

The rise of emerging- and frontier markets, technological developments, de-regulation and many areas across the globe and increased political stability fueled the development of a new era; globalisation. With globalisation came migration of people who wanted to work or study elsewhere – far away. International joint-ventures and partnerships, as well as outsourcing of production and later services, became the norm. The rise of the new economies and development of new middle classes lead to a much more balanced global ecosystem with the global wealth more distributed than ever before in history. A sign of that is that the US part of the global economy has declined by more than 50% from 1960 to 2014 according to Forbes. That is good news for the world.

The distributed wealth, distribution of work, migration and global consolidation id the reason why possessing cultural intelligence is one of the most important leadership skills you can possess.

Leaders with low cultural intelligence fail badly

The rapid change in the demand for new leadership skills has left a lot of leaders behind who fail badly despite that they previously were very successful and experienced. It is a situation you can compare to the early days of the IT revolution. At that time in the early 70’ies, you could find leaders who saw the potential in IT and you could find leaders who resisted its introduction. Today we have leaders who believe they will remain successful and they know everything worth knowing about leading people.

And when they feel the pressure to understand cultural diversity they fall into using foolish simplistic, cultural stereotypes developed by Geert Hofstede 50 years ago. Read here why you should never use Hofstede simplistic view on cultural differences

How does Gugin train leaders to become cultural intelligent?

We have always argued that cultural stereotyping is a stupid thing to do (excuse my french). We all belong to a large number of different cultures. You belong to cultures associated with your job, gender, age group, lifestyle, sexuality, education, religion, interests, nationality and many more. Think for your yourself. Which of the cultures you belong to is the most important?  We have asked more than 6000 people (clients of ours) across the globe. Les than 5% felt that their national culture was the most dominant one. More than 85% had a mix of cultures where more than 2 cultures were equally important.

Therefore it makes NO SENSE dividing people into national stereotypes and assume they share common behaviour and values.

Instead of stereotyping we train our customers to identify and reconcile cultural dilemmas. This way you respect different points of view, different values and different behaviour equally, and none of the parties involved feels they are in a competition.

Traditional cross-cultural training based on Hofstede often assumes that cultural differences are a problem that calls for a solution – a compromise. With that approach, you will always lose because you don’t leverage the full potential of having the cultural diversity.

Apart from focusing on reconciling cultural dilemmas another aspect of possessing cultural intelligence is the ability to focus on the commonalities instead of the differences when you engage with a group of people who is different from your own. It takes some training to learn it. Here is a test to check your own or your colleagues level of cultural intelligence when it comes to focusing on the commonalities instead of the differences.

We also train you to understand other people’s value systems. That is a very important skill to have. If you judge other people’s behaviour with your own norms and values you will inevitably create a lot of unnecessary trouble both for yourself and others. You will let people down you need to be close to you, you will lose opportunities you would have won if you had been more cultural intelligent and people will leave you because they consider you arrogant. We have seen it all over the 17 years we have worked with clients all over the world.

Here are some cultural intelligence training for your organisation

Gugin Course module: Cultural Intelligence 1
Topics covered
There is more than one right way to do things.
The layers of Culture.
Identifying other people’s norms and values.
Cultural Identities.
How to change your own behaviour.

Cultural Intelligence 1 is also available as an online course here

Gugin Course module: Cultural Intelligence 2
Topics covered
Avoid cultural stereotyping.
Identifying cultural dilemmas.
Reconciliation of cultural dilemmas.
Motivating cultural diverse Teams.

See all Gugins courses here

Please contact us for a discussion on how we can upgrade the leadership skills in your organisation. We deliver the courses across the globe for companies, organisations, corporate universities, business schools, governments, non-profit organisations etc.

 

Dr Finn Majlergaard

Dr Finn Majlergaard

CEO Gugin, Professor, Keynote Speaker, Author

Dr Finn Majlergaard is committed to helping organisations around the world leveraging the cultural diversity. As CEO of Gugin, he and his team work all over the world in almost all industries. He does a lot of conference- and corporate speeches, contributes to leadership magazines and teach at a number of business schools and universities across the Globe

Connect on LinkedIn and Twitter here:

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Why leaving Facebook is the right thing to do

Why leaving Facebook is the right thing to do

This article is about why I closed my Facebook account 2 months ago and why I feel it is one of the best decisions I have made in a very long time

I actually started writing this article before Facebook fell down from the sky. Not that I am surprised it is happening, but I am surprised it is happening so soon.

WHY DID I CLOSE DOWN MY FACEBOOK ACCOUNT?

There were several independent reasons why I decided to close down my facebook account, and when there were no good reasons for letting Facebook continue to make money on my data I decided to leave Facebook.

I did it gradually. I started unfriending all the people I had no communication with or where I had the communication on other platforms. Then  I made the last post on my Facebook feed, where I stated that I was going to leave in a couple of weeks time. I explained very briefly why I had decided to leave and ended the message by encouraging people to remain in touch like I would remain in touch. I am easy to find. I am the only one on this planet called Finn Majlergaard and I am a fairly public person so if people want to get in touch with me then just google me. It is as easy as that.

There were people who got offended when I unfriended them as if being connected on Facebook is the most important thing in this world. Their reaction just confirmed to me that my decision was right.

I decided to close my facebook account because:

  • I could see how Facebook in very subtle ways manipulated me to crave for likes and comments and made me spend more and more time on Facebook. It is exactly like being in a relationship with another person where you suddenly realise that you have been manipulated over a long period of time. You feel incredibly stupid and naive.
  • Facebooks involvement with Cambridge Analytica plus all the companies we haven’t heard about yet made me seriously angry. It was the first proof that Facebook has no moral or ethical compass.
  • During the hearings in both USA and Europe Mark Zuckerberg managed to convince me that he had no clue he had done anything wrong. As a well-trained parrot, he said what his advisers had told him to, but there was no remorse at all. In my humble opinion, Mark Zuckerberg is less trustworthy than the worst used-car dealer.
  • There was an extremely high degree of predictability in my Facebook feed. I knew what standpoint people had to everything and there were the same people posting the same kind of photos all the time. And I did the same. When is the last time you have taken a photo without sharing it on social media?
  • I didn’t like the way Facebook censored what was shown to me in my feed. It gradually became totally irrelevant

THE RELIEF – FACEBOOK IS OUT OF MY LIFE

I thought I was going to miss it, but I have actually felt a great relief from day one. Social Media are supposed to bring people together, but I have observed that Facebook did the exact opposite. Instead of hooking up with people over an espresso or a glass of wine on the beach it often stopped with a brief interaction on Facebook. And when you needed to find people with specific skills you just posted a message in a relevant facebook group. Now I actually have to talk to people – often many people before I find the person with the right skills I am looking for. And in that process, a lot of wonderful things are happening. Things you couldn’t plan for or even imagine. It is a joy every single day without facebook.

FUCK YOU MARK ZUCKERBERG

Excuse my French, but that is actually what I think of him and his company. Yesterday they announced that their revenue growth will drop significantly because they are going to pay attention to their users’ privacy. Fuck you, Mark Zuckerberg, because it is not something you are doing because you know it is the natural thing to do. You only do it because you were caught with your pants down. Otherwise, you would still have been doing it and I will not be surprised if what we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

You are stupid too just like I was. I don’t recall who said it, but someone said; ” If something is free then you are the product”. I couldn’t agree more. You should go through the same thought process as I did and assess if all your personal information is worth sharing with the whole world in return for access to an app.

If you come to the same conclusion as I did, I will hope you get the same great experiences that I have got by returning more to real life.

I will be happy to hear your experiences. And please share if you like

Dr Finn Majlergaard

Dr Finn Majlergaard

CEO Gugin, Professor, Keynote Speaker, Author

Dr Finn Majlergaard is committed to helping organisations around the world leveraging the cultural diversity. As CEO of Gugin, he and his team work all over the world in almost all industries. He does a lot of conference- and corporate speeches, contributes to leadership magazines and teach at a number of business schools and universities across the Globe

Connect on LinkedIn and Twitter here:

Why leaving Facebook is the right thing to do

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Why leaving Facebook is the right thing to do This article is about why I closed my Facebook account 2 months ago and why I feel it is one of the best decisions I have made in a very long time I actually started writing this article before Facebook fell down from the...

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Leadership Training reinvented

Leadership training has to be reinvented in order to be relevant for tomorrows leaders and managers. AI and automation are changing the leadership roles dramatically.

Why do we need to reinvent leadership training?

We need to reinvent the leadership training primarily because the roles of the leader are going to change dramatically and because our expectations for the leaders are going to change as well. The introduction of Artificial intelligence and increased automation will put some of the traditional leadership roles under pressure. We will see leaders in new dilemmas and we will see leadership decisions overruled by artificial intelligence.

The leader will supervise the artificial intelligence

New corporate cultures will develop because of artificial intelligence and automation. Gugin has helped its clients around the world preparing for this for a long time now. And it needs to be prepared carefully as all cultural change takes time and it can’t be forced. 9 women can’t give birth to one baby in one month. It is the same with cultural changes.

Previously and today the leader can lead because of his/her formal authority, experience, charisma, intuition and knowledge. We often see leaders who are following their intuition instead of following the logical decision based on facts. When they succeed we admire them for their courage and wisdom.

The future might be very different. Artificial intelligence is capable of analysing huge amounts of data and information which might lead us to believe that AI can make better decisions that a leader with charisma can. We have seen that developing in the aviation industry for decades now. One of the main reasons why it is so safe to fly is because Artificial intelligence has taken over the aeroplane. The vast majority of all accidents in aviation are caused by human errors. So by minimising the risks of human errors, it has become incredibly safe to fly. That philosophy is now expanding into almost all other areas.

That change obviously requires a new leadership style and a new corporate culture. The new leader will not lead in the traditional sense but will overlook the artificial intelligence system and report if they do something inappropriate. The system will be able to make strategic and operational decisions based on facts and it will be able to promote, hire and fire people {those who are still needed} based on rational analysis.

So the new leader will have similar roles to the captain and pilots. The will make people feel comfortable with the journey and inform them on a regular basis. They will take over on the very rare occasion of an emergency.

So in the new leadership training world, leaders will go into a leadership simulator, where they can exercise leadership in the rare cases where the artificial intelligence freaks out.

People will trust technology more than their leaders

We trust the technology when we are flying and we know it is because of the technology we can fly around the world with almost no risk associated with it. How will you respond if the captain before a flight announced that he will fly on manual mode because he feels he makes better decisions that the computer systems? If you are like most people you will think he is a suicide candidate and he or she is going to take you and all their other passengers with him or her.

In not so distant future we might judge leaders who are trying to make decisions based on their experience and intuition in the very same way as the captain who wants to fly your plane in manual mode.

We have some serious questions to ask ourselves

If it is up to the techie nerds the development is inevitable and unstoppable. I have worked with human behaviours around the world for more than 20 years and it just doesn’t work that way. We don’t kill other people just because we can. We don’t cheat people just because we can, and so on. We have a moral and ethical compass (most of us at least). That compass balances things out nicely and I am very much in favour of that it should remain that way. What do you think?

Recently someone sent me a photo showing a meal prepared by a robot. Underneath she had written, “Isn’t it just fantastic”.

Here is the correspondence afterwards:

Me: “Why is it fantastic – we humans have been able to prepare meals for thousands of years”
Her: “Then you can save time”
Me: “What shall I do with that time?”
Her: “Something you like!”
Me: “I like to cook for my guests and family”
Her: “Is that an invitation?”
Me: “No”

Gugin can help your organisation finding the right direction

AI and automation will, of course, have a huge influence in the future, but we don’t buy the idea there is nothing we can do to influence the development like we don’t believe all development is good. How should your organisation look like in the future and what kind of leaders do you want? The answers to these questions are all related to what corporate culture you want. Which values should serve as norms and which behaviour should be regarded as unacceptable. Will you go for short-term profit at any price or are you willing to defend some ethical and moral values?

Bring your leadership team together and let us spend a day together where the goal is to answer these essential questions for your company. Get in touch today and let us start a conversation

Why leaving Facebook is the right thing to do

Why leaving Facebook is the right thing to do

Why leaving Facebook is the right thing to do This article is about why I closed my Facebook account 2 months ago and why I feel it is one of the best decisions I have made in a very long time I actually started writing this article before Facebook fell down from the...

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3 Topics all Leaders should have on their Radar Screen

3 Topics all Leaders should have on their Radar Screen

Leaders need to check if their organisation is ready for the future.

The worst thing you can experience as a leader is suddenly not being able to attract customers and employees and you don’t know why it suddenly isn’t possible. Here are 3 topics that should be on your radar screen as a leader if you don’t want to end up with no employees and no customers in the future.

Can your company attract the next generation of employees and customers?

A lot of different research shows that the coming generations will have a very different focus when it comes to choosing an employer than previous generations. There seem to be a greater consciousness of the environment, general sustainability and having a happy life. They are also more like to change jobs more often and the traditional corporate ladder doesn’t seem to have much appeal.

What does that mean for you as an employer?

It means that you have to adapt your corporate culture to the value system of your future employees and customers. You don’t get a value just by writing it in a power point presentation or on your website. Values are what your employees are using as guidance when there are no rules or when nobody is looking. Creating the right corporate values and culture is a complex but very important process. Usually, cultures change very slowly and we can adapt slowly. It is called the cultural adaption function. But the cultural change on a global scale is happening much faster than ever before. That means you have you change more rapidly too. Are you prepared for that?

How good is your organisation to attract the Millennials? How well does your company culture fit the requirements of the future employees and customers?

These are questions you should ask yourself regularly. If you don’t adapt to the external environment smoothly but constantly you will be out of business either because you can’t attract customers and/or you can’t attract employees. And size is no guarantee you will stay in business. Nokia vanished very rapidly because they didn’t change. Companies like Compaq, PanAm, Enron, Tower Records, Blockbuster Video, Minolta, Netscape and Sears are all gone because they didn’t adapt to changes in the external environment. Some of these changes are cultural changes, where employees, customers and other external stakeholders gradually change their values. That change in values gives them other preferences that lead to making other decisions about where to work and what to buy. Do you think Facebook will be around in 5 years time?

What will the corporate cultural preferences look like in the future for your employees and customers?

How can your organisation attract employees, customers, investors and public goodwill in the future? This is one of the key subjects we spend a lot of resources on researching in Gugin. Being able to develop scenarios for how the cultural preferences will look like in 3,5 or 10 years time is crucial. Cultural change takes time and it is too late to change if you suddenly can’t attract new employees or the customers are going somewhere else.

Cultural changes happen for a reason. We have a model for assessing all these reasons whether they are technological, environmental, demographic, legal, political, ecological, social or cultural. We are in constant interaction with our clients around the world, doing research together with them and help them develop scenarios for what the future might look like and we help them facilitate the cultural change process.

Are your organisation’s true values the right ones for the future?

As mentioned above, values are fundamental to any culture. You have values in your family, your sports club, your company, your country – all cultures you are a member of have values. Values define you both as an individual and as a group. We have worked with many clients over the years developing the right culture and values. Initially, when we assess the real values of an organisation it is very rare that the real values are even close to the values the company says it has. We reveal the real values in our culture due diligence process

You need to know your true values before we can start helping you changing them towards the values you want to have in the future. The next generations will not be impressed by your financial performance, the size of your headquarter or the size and brand value of your company. The next generations a better than anyone else finding out the truth about your company. Thanks to the technology there will always be people who are willing to share stories. If the reputation of your company is low you will have a really hard time attracting employees and customers in the future.

One of the most important factors for building and maintaining a high reputation level is integrity. Do what you say and say what you do. When you have determined the true values of your organisation with a cultural due diligence both employees and customers will feel at ease because they feel a high level of integrity. When they have that feeling they will develop loyalty, a loyalty that will save you on a rainy day.

Is fear for the Future paralysing your ability to change?

We often meet leaders who know they have to change either themselves or the direction of their company, but they simply don’t have the courage to do it. Leaders talk about change all the time but it usually means they want everybody else to change. When it comes to themselves the ability or will is often more limited.

They don’t change because of fear. Fear is the most important motivation factor influencing us human beings. When we feel fear we lose the ability to behave rationally (unless we have received special training). This is not an ideal situation for a leader to be in.

But fear exists on all levels of an organisation. When we help a company with cultural change or facilitating a post-merger integration process fear leads to a lot of non-information and misinformation. Resolving these issues is crucial for the change process to succeed.

If you as a leader show fear everyone in your organisation will feel it too. Fear is extremely contagious. As a leader, you can reduce your fear of the change process by starting the change process as soon as you see the iceberg on your radar screen. Most of our clients wait too long. when they do that the change process has to be more drastic and riskier.

Do you want to know what is on your radar screen?

Gugin Research Unit (GRU) can help you find out which cultural changes in the external environment are going to affect your business and how they are going to affect you. We can work together in many different ways ranging from an appetiser workshop to a long-term strategic collaboration.

Interested? Get in touch today here

Endnote:

A great study is the Millennial Study. It is academic sound and also deals with many of the myths.

Why leaving Facebook is the right thing to do

Why leaving Facebook is the right thing to do

Why leaving Facebook is the right thing to do This article is about why I closed my Facebook account 2 months ago and why I feel it is one of the best decisions I have made in a very long time I actually started writing this article before Facebook fell down from the...

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