The Innovation Safari: Hunt For ‘Big Game’ In Your Company!

18 09 2013

safari hunt

While tracking and hunting “wild game” is not for everyone, hunting down innovative solutions for one’s company is always considered a worthy pursuit.  One would never wander aimlessly around the back-country hoping to bump into one’s prize.  In the same respect, one would never target a random innovation as the next great strategic initiative for one’s company. Take a lesson from the Eye-Cubed hunters in pursuit of corporate greatness and maintain the position as “the hunter” rather than eventually becoming “the hunted.”

The hallways of your company set the path to follow and explore.  As you traverse the dangerous terrain in complete stealth mode, you must make your first strategic decision.  Should you slink through the caverns of operations looking for innovative efficiencies or brave the open plains of sales in search of innovative products or delivery methods?  There is no “wrong” move here since with the assistance of Eye-Cubed strategies, the “prize” awaits you in either environment.

Look closely and listen carefully.  What do you see?  What do you hear?  The opportunities lie camouflaged, lying in wait wherever the bottlenecks find themselves.  You can also focus within the mundane and senseless processes.  It is within those scenarios where the innovation opportunities infest the organization.  You can root them out from multiple sources if you wish.

In addition, when you make your way across the plentiful hunting ground, spend some time forging the many streams that abound.  Each stream (of income) has a flow all of its own.  Like a native tracker who knows the signs of his prey, so too does the hunter who analyzes the streams of income that flow through your company. Is the flow weak? Are the waters deep?  Is the river wide?  And most importantly, are there hidden streams yet uncovered that need excavation? Those new streams must be discovered and included within the Game Preserve. New waters are the lifeblood for current and future nourishment.

Once you’ve spotted the innovation which you desire to pursue, you need a plan so you can sneak up on the prize and launch an attack without spooking the elusive animal.  I suggest spending the time needed to gain the buy-in from the other hunters on your expedition.  It is unlikely that you will be successful seizing your prey on your own.  Together with your team, orchestrate your plan with the precision of a champion.  Remember that implementing the plan is as important as building the plan.  By drawing on the expertise of your team members, you will increase your chances of success.

One of the greatest pieces of advice for all hunters and teams is to avoid the pursuit while maintaining a feeling of desperation.  Give your team ample time to reach your goal and bag your big game.  Be prepared that your initial plan may be incomplete or totally ineffective. In many cases, you will need to revise your initial strategy or go back to the drawing board and devise an entirely new plan.

Think of the Eye-Cubed Innovation Safari like Teddy Roosevelt thought of his hunting prowess when he stated:

“No, I’m not a good shot, but I shoot often.”

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How Can You “Build The Vision For Innovation” With Eye-Cubed U?

10 09 2013

Has Apple lost it’s innovative edge? 71%  of respondents to a Bloomberg Global Poll say “YES”

Has Microsoft been dethroned due to Steve Ballmer’s lack of focus on innovation? According to Harvard Business Review, there is no question.

These giants have been scrutinized for falling out of the lead.  It seems as if the prodigal innovative leaders of each company carried the ball that kept them at the top of their game.  Did anyone believe that Bill Gates or Steve Jobs could easily be replaced?  I think not.  While each of us may be a far cry from Bill or Steve, we have an obligation to bring our organizations forward in turbulent times.  We must survive and thrive.

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Once you know that you need to be driving your company along the Eye-Cubed Super Highway towards innovation, it is time to take the many lessons of the past and design a plan to get there.

  1. Make sure you have the diversity in leadership personality to lead innovative change.  The value of differing thought processes and skills lead to success.
  2. Perform Corporate Hydrology exercises and deeply analyze your streams of income.  Make them wider, deeper, longer and if possible, find new ones.
  3. Analyze your past and present using Dendochronology tools and determine if your organization has been innovative enough over the years and remains innovative enough today. Add the rings of change to your growing tree and visualize the evolution of each corporate innovation.
  4. Scrutinize your innovations and make sure they benefit the customer. It is all about them and not about us.  Never lose sight of the end-game.  Without the consumer, we are all looking for new jobs.
  5. Develop a consistent plan to innovate every year, especially when times are good.  This prevents you having to “swing for the fences” on the final pitch.
  6. Follow a plan to choose which innovations to pursue by determining which ones to do in the short term, medium term and long term.  Create a process to measure each opportunity.
  7. Make sure your innovators know what to expect as they effectively bring about change.  The road to greatness for innovators is long and hard.  Give them support along the way.
  8. Follow effective plans to gain buy-in among your teams.  Your great idea will die on the vine without senior management support.
  9. Understand that the innovative path from point A to point B is not always straight.  Prepare for twists, turns and huge bumps in the road.
  10. Utilize collaborative techniques to optimize the innovative process.  Bring others in and enhance your idea.

It does not matter what industry you are in, Eye-Cubed companies survive because they evolve.  Peter Drucker, one of the greatest business minds in history aptly puts it “Core competencies are different for every organization..But every organization needs one core competence: innovation”.

It is time to consider engaging Eye-Cubed U as a speaker to facilitate the analysis of your innovative process within your organization or to address the innovative leaders attending your next conference.   Take advantage of the Eye-Cubed-U philosophy.   I look forward to discussing availability for your next corporate event or conference.

David J. Sussman, Esq. CLU

SVP PFP-Schmitt Sussman Enterprises, Inc.

Founder and President, Eye-Cubed-U, LLC

Building the Vision for Inspiration. Innovation. Implementation.

Cell Phone:  203-247-2104:  Email:  dsussman@pfpservices.com





The Nature/Nurture Debate & Developing An Eye-Cubed Leadership Team

4 09 2013

What was your reputation…____________?

  • As a young student?
  • In high school?
  • In your first job?
  • After the 90 days following that big career leap?

What are the reputations of your…____________?

  • Employees?
  • Teams?
  • Departments?
  • Companies?

Do you have a personal reputation filled with the Eye-Cubed qualities of a great leader that inspires others to innovate and implement?  I ask the following follow-up critical question:

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What came first, the reputation or your behavior that supported it?

This issue permeates psychology classrooms and has been debated among the greatest minds.  Have we developed the personalities, which form our reputations, as a result of “nature” (what we were born with and cannot control) or “nurture” (the environment in which we were subjected, exposed and molded).  This concept drives one of the key tenants on how to build an Eye-Cubed team that is inspired to achieve greatness and high performance.  In the Eye-Cubed world around us, we control that which we can and believe we have the ability to influence results by executing a plan.  As a result, I answer the nature/nurture debate as follows:  NURTURE!

“Give the people around you a reputation to uphold.”

When I was a young boy, I was wrought with “confidence” issues.  They manifested themselves in many ways. However, my mother Janice Sussman, refused to allow me to develop a negative self-image.  Her consistent words and actions gave me the confidence to believe in myself.  Over time, I grew to believe the positive stories she told me.  I developed the very image she demanded I have of myself.

In high school, there were two English teachers whose actions, words and behaviors damaged my confidence and belief in myself.  I nearly gave up writing completely as they said, “I have no idea how you ever got out of middle school English.  Your writing is remedial.”  However, there was another teacher, George Stone at The Hotchkiss School, whom I respected and admired.  I listened to him.  He praised my creativity.  He described me as “powerful”, “influential”, “creative” and as a “leader”.  He wrote a letter to my parents describing me this way.  I took those words seriously and focused on following the footsteps of one who had those traits.  I continued to write.

Throughout my business career, I developed the reputation of following in my father, Stanley Sussman’s footsteps as PFP’s innovator.  I took that as a responsibility and honor to maintain while I focused a tremendous amount of time and energy on providing that characteristic to the company.

  • Who can you influence by giving them a reputation to uphold?
  • What qualities will you identify as key?
  • How will you communicate the great news?

You, your Eye-Cubed leaders and their teams possess the qualities needed to excel (Read more about Leadership as the Prerequisite of Inspiration).  Many know it today and need to hear it from you.  Others need to hear it from you so they believe it tomorrow.  By providing a “nurturing” environment, your team will achieve your vision.