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Section D.2. Adhocracy Quadrant

D.2. Adhocracy Quadrant


D.2.1.1. Managing Innovation
  • Institute a token penalty system for use when people in your organization use creativity killers such as, "We already tried that," "It'll never work," "It's against policy," or "The boss won't like it."

  • Establish goals, and hold people accountable for producing innovative ideas. Make that a part of everyone's job description.

  • Read broadly in fields not directly related to your area of expertise. Talk to people about their ideas and what they're thinking about, not just about results and outcomes. Start a conversation with, "What have you learned lately?" Actively seek out new ideas, new thoughts, and new perspectives. Keep a notebook or note cards to record the interesting ideas you hear.

  • Hold idea-sharing or idea-blending events in your work setting, such as internal trade shows, cross-functional task forces, symposia, book reviews, or focus groups. The idea is to address questions such as, "What's new?" "What have you been thinking about?" and "What problem do you have that you don't expect anyone to solve?"

  • Establish a practice field, separated from normal daily work, where new ideas can be tried out and low-cost experimentation can occur. This might include an actual physical location, time off, or extra resources.

  • Form teams and task forces where a formal minority report is expected to be filed, at least one person is assigned the task of finding alternative viewpoints or exceptions to the group's recommendations, or other mechanisms are used to create divergence.

  • Monitor regularly and closely the expectations, complaints, and preferences of customers. Reject nothing out of hand as outrageous or impossible. Use their ideas to stimulate different ways to approach work. Borrow ideas shamelessly.

  • Reward not only idea champions and those who generate new approaches to work but also sponsors or mentors of those ideas or approaches, as well as orchestrators or facilitators who help the ideas get disseminated and implemented more widely. Successful innovation takes all three roles: idea champions, sponsors, and orchestrators.

  • Encourage action learning among your people. Try things first, and then analyze what you have learned from your success or failure. Don't wait until you are certain of success before you take action.

  • The best hitters in baseball succeed about 33 percent of the time. Consider whether you can expect anything more from your people if you are really expecting innovation. Create a climate where people feel free to fail and admit it.

  • Ask for feedback from those with whom you work regarding what inhibits them from generating new ideas.

  • Make success visible. Celebrate even small wins. Provide a way for people involved in successful new processes or products to reap rewards from their innovations.

  • Encourage and reward not only big changes and visible innovations but also small, incremental, continuous improvements. Look for trends indicating minor but never-ending improvements in addition to major improvements.

  • Focus more on how work is accomplished than on what is accomplished in terms of new approaches. Construct process flowcharts and identify redundancies, irrelevancies, and work that adds no value. Encourage change in the how first, and the what will naturally follow.

  • When considering a difficult problem, ask, "Why?" at least five times in a row. This forces a search for root causes of problems, generates new ideas for approaching the problem, and gets away from treating symptoms instead of the core problem.

  • Try out ideas first on a pilot basis. Don't revolutionize the entire organization until you have experimented first on a small-scale basis.

D.2.1.2. Managing the Future
  • Hold an off-site meeting with your direct subordinates to articulate a vision, clarify its wording and key principles, and generate major strategies for accomplishing it. Get participation and buy-in from all key players.

  • Make a list of obstacles that impede what you hope to achieve in the future. What stands in the way of your outstanding success? Now reconsider each item on the list, interpreting each obstacle as a surmountable challenge. How can the impediment be made into an opportunity?

  • Keep track of trends and predictions for the future of your industry or sector. Monitor what is happening with your competitors not just domestically but around the world. Spend some time each month thinking ten years ahead. Don't get stuck in automatic short-term thinking.

  • Identify some cutting-edge organizations that tend to establish trends in one business or sector. They need not be in your industry or sector. Based on what you observe, project a future for your organization. What would you have to be like to be considered world class?

  • Get participation by others in the formulation of your organization's vision and in the strategies to accomplish that vision. Formulating a vision for your organization should not be a one-person activity. Get feedback on your vision statement, and get ideas about how best to accomplish it.

  • Write a personal vision statement. Articulate clearly what you feel passionately about and what legacy you'd like to leave as a manager. Where do you want to be in five years? (This is different from your organization's vision statement.)

  • Live your life so as to exemplify the principles of your vision. Exemplify what you have articulated. Walk the talk, don't be hypocritical, and be an example of what you want others to be.

  • What stories or incidents in your own organization exemplify progress toward your vision of the future? Disseminate these motivational stories, and repeat them often. Help make them part of the folklore that defines success in your organization.

  • Communicate your vision of the future often, consistently, and in a variety of ways. Never give a public presentation without communicating your vision in some way. Express it out loud, in written form, and by your behavior.

  • Provide opportunities for subordinates to become teachers of the vision. Structure opportunities where others can articulate and explain your vision. Hold them accountable for disseminating the vision to their subordinates.

  • In articulating a vision, make sure to honor the past. Don't denigrate or throw away the strengths and successes of the past while creating a new future. But also make certain that your vision is seen as a step forward and a new direction, not more of the same.

  • Ask each of your subordinates and each unit within your organization to generate its own vision statement. Each vision statement should be consistent with the basic principles and values of the overall organizational vision. However, unit and personal vision statements should identify the unique attributes and mission of each unit and person.

  • Make certain that the organization's vision statement contains simple, straightforward language; that it is short enough to be memorized; and that it is expressed using superlatives and passionate language. The language of the vision should capture the hearts as well as the minds of your people. It should be memorable but not cutesy or slogan centered.

  • Invite people to challenge the vision and modify it at the margins but then to commit to it. Empower people to use the vision as their guide while taking independent action based on it.

  • Provide opportunities for people to commit to the vision publicly. The more public the commitment is, the more likely the commitment will stick. Provide opportunities for your subordinates to orient someone else about the vision, explain it in a presentation, or defend one of its principles in front of others.


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