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 'employees'

To Text or Not to Text? (Im in mtg, will call u bak)

Posted by on November 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Texting photo

Are you the person looking down at your phone while a boss, co-worker, or dare I say, a customer is talking to you?

If that’s you, we should talk.

It’s time to set the device down.

Granted not every meeting is groundbreaking, but are you sure that you want to be texting during a meeting?

Do yourself a favor and try not texting for a few minutes at a time, and slowly build up your resistance until you can make it through an entire meeting. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that you didn’t have an iPhone or similar smart phone constantly begging for your attention.

I’m all for multi-tasking, but heads up – a recently released study says multi-tasking may shrink your brain!  So unless you want your brain to shrink, I offer up these three suggestions:

1.  Find an App that will automatically respond to any incoming text with a message that simply states you’re busy and will get back to them when you can.

2.  Pay attention during meetings.  Be sure to use this time with your boss, co-workers or customers to its full potential.

3.  Remember that your boss is probably watching, and there’s a good chance that he or she will notice your lack of attention while texting.

As I witnessed first-hand at the White House, when President George W. Bush asked for follow-up information during a meeting on a specific topic, the pertinent advisor took ownership at the meeting in getting that information back to the President.

What would have happened if this same advisor was texting during those meetings and was not paying attention? I expect he would be a former advisor.

So put the device down, look up and make the most out of each meeting.

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.

Fear No More

Posted by on December 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Have you ever had a good idea for your company, but felt if you raised it to your management, they might scoff at the idea – or worse, tell you to mind your own business? Fear is one of the biggest obstacles to innovation in any company. Fear of ridicule. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of being told that your idea is stupid.

Too many companies unfortunately promote an environment that embraces this fear. It starts with managers who fear that their direct reports might actually outshine them with a creative or ingenious idea. These fearful managers exist at the lowest levels of the company, at the highest levels of the company, and every level in between.

There are also structural factors that promote innovation-killing fear in a company. “We’re the Office of Corporate Strategy.” “We’re the Office of Innovation.” “We’re the Office of the CEO.” Or, “We’re the number one product group for the company.” “You stick to your day job, and let us worry about the company’s new ideas or innovation strategy.” Sound familiar?

These are also the same companies which many times find themselves slipping from first, to second, to way back in the pack, while younger, hungrier, and more fearless companies eat their lunch.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Start by leveraging the laws of statistics. Challenge every single person in your organization to stretch his or her thinking. Promote a culture that holds to this axiom: no idea is a bad idea. Of course, you’ll need to point out that only a few ideas will be worthy of pursuing. Yet, your odds of finding a pearl are increased as you open up a larger number of oyster shells.

Try it. You have nothing to fear, but fear itself.

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.

Thankfulness

Posted by on November 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm

During this upcoming holiday season make it a point to give thanks to those who matter most to your company: your employees, customers, partners, and shareholders.

The simple gesture of showing your appreciation sends an important message about your company and its culture. It shows you value those who contribute to the success of the enterprise. It also says you realize that achievement in business is a team effort, and does not reside only in the C-level suites.

So find a good opportunity to use the two short words that could be just the ticket to put you on the road to a better place in 2013. And mean it when you say it. Thank you.