New Lantern

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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.


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Archive for Tag 'training'

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 Art of Managing (The White House)

Posted by on February 6, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Can you imagine having 300 people counting on you to keep daily operations running smoothly? Now imagine one of those people is the newly inaugurated President of the United States, and the rest are his closest advisors and staff.

If this isn’t enough to think about, remember the country and world are watching.

Here are 10 strategies I learned during my five years serving as the Operations Manager for the White House, Executive Office of the President.

1.  When the Oval Office or anyone in the West Wing calls, you make things happen, quickly.

2.  Treat all who need your help as if they too work in the the West Wing.

3.  Get to know your customers and act as their liaison. Be the bridge between your customers and the experts who will help you solve their problems.

4.  View each challenge as an opportunity to showcase your skills and learn new ones. With each challenge comes risk for great success and equal failure. Commend others who helped you be successful, and own your failures.

5.  Always have a back-up plan so that any failures are quickly fixed.

6.  It can be prudent to ask questions such as, “Why are we doing it this way?” If the answer is, “I can’t remember,” or, “This is just the way it has always been done,” it could be time to rethink your solution.

7.  Change is constant – be able to adapt and improvise. There may be times when the best plans go south, this is when you must think on your feet, move fast or get run over.

8.  There is a solution for every problem; use your imagination and creativity to find those solutions.

9.  Mentor and train others – this is both challenging and rewarding. Showing someone the ropes and training them will ensure their success, while also ensuring your team’s legacy will continue.

10.  Lastly, one of my favorite sayings I used while working in the White House – “The impossible is possible, it just takes a little longer.”

The photo above was taken by Tina Hager (former White House photographer).

Celebrate Your Employees

Posted by on September 3, 2012 at 9:46 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 would indeed be cause to celebrate the fruits of your company’s labor.

Don’t Wait Until the New Year

Posted by on August 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm

How about getting a jump start on your New Year’s resolutions?

It may seem odd to be talking about New Year’s resolutions in August, but humor me for a moment.

I would venture to guess that the last several years have been tough on your business, unless of course you’ve been doing business on a different planet. Cut-backs, lay-offs, salary freezes. Stop me if none of this sounds familiar.

Also, with an unemployment rate seemingly stuck forever over 8 percent, a U.S. Government in the red at record levels, and trade deficits larger than ever before — the near- and mid-term forecasts are still looking pretty cloudy.

As a result, an emphasis today on early planning, wise asset management, and creative thinking will help to ensure that your company not only survives, but thrives.

Your employees are your single most important asset. If you are not currently laser-focused on how to nurture and grow this asset, then you may be missing a once in a generation opportunity. Note that I’m not talking about growing the number of employees; I’m talking about the professional growth of each employee.

Within your current employee base resides the next great product or service idea, or process innovation. Small investments today in an employee’s professional growth via an innovative workshop, seminar, or event could provide just the needed creative spark.

By doing so, you not only stand to reap the benefits of your investment, but you also send an important signal to your most promising employees that they are worth the company’s investment, even during lean times – especially during lean times. This one act could also mean the difference in their staying, or moving on, when the economic climate does start to improve.

In sum, there’s no time like the present to get a head start on your company’s New Year’s resolution list, and in doing so, move ahead of your competitors.

Your Company’s Golden Opportunity

Posted by on August 6, 2012 at 9:26 pm

I admit, I feel a bit nostalgic when I watch the Olympic Games. There’s something about watching the world’s best athletes compete their hearts out, not for a paycheck or a corporate sponsorship, but for the sole purpose of winning — and standing on a podium to proudly represent his or her country.

It boggles the mind to think about the thousands of hours and years of practice that many athletes invest to become the best at what they do. And more boggling is that all that work may come down to a mere 60 to 120-second performance.

What drives a person to work that hard for a reward only of recognition?

The Olympics are unique in this regard. A company or organization could never, ever replicate this level of drive and dedication from its employees. Employment is work. It is a compulsory activity whose purpose is to make a living, provide for one’s family, and ideally save towards retirement.

With that said, there’s a lot that a company could learn from the Olympic ideal. Creating a healthy, competitive environment is a good thing. Rewarding those employees who excel and distinguish themselves is a worthy exercise and will drive increased performance across the ranks.

A corporate culture that celebrates achievement, both of individuals and of teams, is one that will lead to long-term success. It also creates an environment where employees are more likely to enjoy their work, and not dread coming to it.

Seek to ignite a fire within your employees. Light a cauldron that can serve to fuel creativity and innovation. I bet you’ll like the results and the golden opportunity it will provide your company to best your competitors.

Find Your Creative Place

Posted by on March 30, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Do you have a creative place? It’s the place where you feel you are at your most creative and productive. It may be a bench in your favorite park, a special nook or room in your house or spot in your yard, a quiet desk at a library, a small bistro table in a busy Starbucks, or a spot at work where no one can interrupt you.

Frankly, your creative place may not be a physical location. It could be a particular state of mind. It could be a certain mood, time of day, or the type of music that you are listening to at the time. It could be something you do such as driving or walking. Or it could be any combination of the above.

Every employee has at least one place that focuses the mind and puts them in a more inspired state. Not a state that will necessarily lead to a nuclear fusion breakthrough, or the next generation of computer chip. But it could be a state that helps them think through a more creative presentation, design a more environmentally-friendly container, improve the profitability of a company service offering, or find a more efficient way to process expense reports.

A company’s challenge is to help find those places for employees where they can be more innovative. Most companies insist that employees produce results in sterile environments under rigid conditions. Ask yourself this question: if you were using your own money to fund a composer to come up with a great score for your next blockbuster movie, would you insist that he or she do it between 9 to 5 on a Tuesday in the small conference room down the hall? I don’t think so.

I realize that organizations may not have the flexibility or the resources to put their employees into their most creative physical spaces. But with a little bit of ingenuity, leadership, and guts to try something different, they could clearly get employees to a better place or frame of mind.

Let New Lantern help your company find its creative place. It could be the beginning of a more beautiful and productive relationship between you and your employees.

(Back by popular demand, the above posting appeared originally in April 2009.)