New Lantern

About the blog

Light from the
New Lantern blog

Welcome to the New Lantern blog. Our goal is to shine light on leading innovators and creative artists, and how your business can learn and profit from them. Companies large, medium, and small can benefit from employees who think more creatively. New Lantern may be just the source of inspiration your company needs to spark more innovative products, services, and processes.


Fast Company cover



RSS Buttons






Follow New Lantern on Twitter
Archives

Archives


Archives

Archive for Tag 'company'

A Labor of Love

Posted by on September 1, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Labor Day was first celebrated in 1882 as a day set aside to commemorate the “social and economic achievement of the American worker,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Labor Day has since come to represent the end of summer, the beginning of football season, and one of the last opportunities to get in those picnics, barbecues, and backyard family gatherings before the chill of autumn sets in across many parts of the country.

This year, Labor Day for your company should serve as a reminder to re-invest in your employees. Your employees are your company’s single most valuable asset. You already invest heavily in your employees through wages and benefits, but are you truly getting a solid return on that investment? Most likely you are not, and you have no one to blame but yourself.

Treat your employees like a valuable resource, and you will in turn reap the benefits. Nurture their talents, encourage risk-taking, and incent creativity and innovation.

Developing talent within your organization does not happen overnight. It takes persistence, a sustained dose of right-brain stimulus, and a senior management team who is willing to provide a culture where talent and creativity can take root and thrive.

Let New Lantern help your company mine and grow the talents of your employees through creative leadership training, performance-based compensation and incentive programs, and other inventive business innovation methods.

The pay-off for your company could be the next hot product or service offering, which is all the more reason to love your employees.

The Longest Day

Posted by on June 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm

For all you earth dwellers, today is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Well, technically the day is no longer than the other 364 days, but the amount of daylight today is at its annual maximum. Officially called the “summer solstice,” the tilt of the earth is in its most inclined position today toward the sun.

Of course, this is not news to most people. Most of us know that we can enjoy the most hours of sunlight today and the least hours of sunlight around December 21, which is the winter solstice. And I’m betting that you are like me and enjoy more light rather than less.

More daylight brightens more than just your room, it brightens your attitude and frame of mind. Sunlight is also good for our physical well-being in providing us with more Vitamin D, which our bodies need for greater bone health among other things. More daylight also means we need less artificial light – and the electricity it burns – as we go about our daily lives in our homes, work places, and the out-of-doors.

Which brings me to my point. With longer days and more daylight, one has less need for a light or a lantern, or a “new lantern” if you will.

So a consulting business that might provide services intended to provide light or new thinking to business customers, let’s say, might be less inclined to enjoy this time of year? Well, figuratively speaking that might be true. In reality, we like the summer solstice and the long hours of daylight as much as the next non-cave dweller.

Whether it’s supplied by the sun or a lantern, businesses and other organizations need creative thinking and the ability to see new ways of working year-round, 365 days a year.

And there’s no better time to embrace this notion than on the longest day of the year.

You Can Get There From Here

Posted by on January 12, 2014 at 9:03 pm

You Can Get There From Here photo

“You can’t get there from here.” Chances are you’ve heard this oft-repeated phrase all your life. Admittedly, I’ve used it myself on many of occasions. Yet, when I stop and really think about what I’m saying, or what someone may be saying to me with this phrase, I actually take issue with it.

From where I sit, I can get to anywhere. Whether it’s to an actual place or state of mind, I can get there. Just ask Google Maps, or Bing Maps, or MapQuest, or your shrink, or your partner or spiritual guru. They’ll all tell you the same thing. “Yes, you can.”

Now this is not to say that your desired destination may not be hard to get to. It very well may.  But that didn’t stop Rosa Parks from getting on that bus in Alabama in 1955. It didn’t stop Neil Armstrong from stepping out onto the moon’s surface in 1969. And it didn’t stop 64-year-old Diana Nyad from swimming from Cuba to Florida last year – after failing to do so in her four previous attempts.

Likewise, it shouldn’t stop you, your company, or your organization from going to wherever you need or want to go.

So the next time someone cavalierly tells you that you can’t get there from here, set them straight. Tell them they’re wrong. Hell, take them with you. They may learn something on the way.

Corporate Culture 2.0

Posted by on April 21, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Is your corporate culture what it should be? If you are like most companies the answer is probably “no.”

A corporate culture reflects an organization’s character, its values and the vision of its management. The culture serves as an unseen GPS for employees, customers, and partners – signaling who you are as a company and how you do business.

Too many companies place a glossy mission or values statement on their website, but don’t work to build a corporate culture that truly lives up to the words.

Senior management cannot impose a desired corporate culture on an organization. It must be earned and built brick-by-brick. Management must create a culture that treats employees as the company’s single best asset. Employees need to know that performance will be measured and appropriately rewarded. Conversely, they need to know that under performance has its consequences. And employees need to know that the same performance yardstick will be used fairly throughout the entire organization.

A culture that places loyalty to management over performance is a company abusing the shareholders’ trust. Likewise, a culture that tolerates — or worse yet – rewards an attitude that says, “all I need to do is keep my head down, go along with the flow, and not cause any waves,” is doomed to failure.

Jump-start your corporate culture starting today. Let employees know that their talents and value to the company matter. Provide a vision and a clearly defined set of goals for which all employees will share responsibility in achieving. Let employees know that risk-taking, an entrepreneurial spirit, and challenging the status quo are strongly encouraged. And make it clear that a strong sense of ethics is an integral part of your company’s DNA.

If you are able to do the above, your corporate culture will change for the better, your future will be brighter, and shareholders will happily reap the benefits.

March Madness Over Telework

Posted by on March 19, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Last month’s “no-work-at-home” pronouncement by Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer has set off quite the firestorm in telecommuting and telework circles.

In a company-wide email to employees on February 22nd, Yahoo’s head of HR laid out the new ban on telework in a short, four-paragraph memo. The memo stated, “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side.”

News stories that followed cited Mayer’s concerns that “200 or so” Yahoo employees were working remotely and that “some did little work for the company and a few had even begun their own start-ups on the side.”

In the last four years, I have written several blogs on the benefits of telework for many companies. I’ve noted that while some positions may not lend themselves to working remotely, others could be effectively performed at home or elsewhere for at least some portion of the work week. In a June 2009 blog posting, I cited several independent studies showing that many employees are more productive working from home. I coupled this with my own experience as a senior HR executive for several large corporations.

Mayer, 37, who is a former executive at Google, does admit that some employees can be more productive working from home. However, she argues that productivity does not translate into innovation and that employees need to be in the same physical location in order to collaborate and innovate.

In another blog posting in 2009, I noted how an average employee can spend as much as 90 minutes a day commuting, and how a stressful commute can seriously impact one’s mindset and productivity. I went on to talk about how “innovation starts with happy and inspired employees, and employees who can get to their ‘creative place’ – whether that be a physical place or a state of mind.”

Let me pose this question: Is an employee apt to be in a more creative frame of mind working from: (a) home or other preferred location, or (b) in a cubicle after spending an hour in traffic?

I would argue that the employee problems that exist at Yahoo are not the result of working remotely, but the product of an ill-defined and ill-managed telework program. Whether an employee is working in the office next door or from home, it’s the responsibility of that employee’s manager to make sure he or she is fully collaborating and contributing.

I too agree that in-person collaboration can lead to creativity and innovation. Yet, a flexible and well-structured telework program could include regular in-person sessions, while also allowing for time working from home.

So let’s not make telework the scapegoat for a company’s lack of creativity. Banning telework would be like a basketball coach banning the full-court press from his or her playbook in response to a loss of a game due to a poorly executed play. That would be madness.

Like telework for a company, a full-court press can be an important game-winning tool for a basketball team – if properly executed.

A Winning Playbook for 2013

Posted by on January 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm

It seems like only yesterday that we were talking about Y2K. Yet, here we are now in 2013.

A great deal has transpired in these last 13 years. Many businesses were started. Some greatly expanded or bought up other companies. While others are no longer with us.

We survived the stock market bubble burst of 2000. The economic meltdown of 2008. And historic long-term unemployment ever since.

Fortunately for all of us, the start of each new year brings with it the opportunity for your company to start afresh. Try something new. Leave an ill-conceived or outdated practice behind.

Importantly, the new year also gives you the most runway — 365 days — to accomplish your objectives. So there is no better time than the present to self-access and retool.

Every company, no matter how well run or high performing, can find room for improvement. Last year’s playbook is an important baseline, but it should never substitute for this year’s winning game plan.

Times change.
Conditions change.
Competitive threats change.
Employees change.
Leaders change.

As such, your playbook should change as well, and frankly should be regularly reassessed, challenged, and updated throughout the course of the year.

Make 2013 a winning year for your company. Update your playbook today, and you’ll soon be enjoying the rewards it will bring.