Innovation & Advantage: The Source is Employees | Gagen MacDonald

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Innovation & Advantage: The Source is Employees

Jan 23, 2015
My first job after graduate school was in a company that was dominated by the “my way or the highway” style of leadership. Work never changed, we just kept delivering the same stale service over and innovation was neither encouraged nor desired. As a result, turnover in the organization was high, and we lost the best people pretty quickly. I got out when I could and found greener pastures.In the years that followed, I have had the good fortune to work with a number of excellent leaders. These leaders had a way to engage me, to focus me and to encourage innovative thinking. My colleagues and I gave our best efforts in that environment and to those bosses.When Bernard Tyson speaks about mission, innovation and involvement, it reminds me that those are the essential qualities and ingredients that lead people to giving their very best efforts.In highly competitive industries like health care, innovation becomes a critical factor in organizational excellence. When people are committed to a purpose, when they are engaged and encouraged, they are more likely to be innovative.It is innovation that drives the quality, cost and process improvements. These improvements allow organizations like Kaiser Permanente to prosper.What does Tyson do to encourage innovation?
  • Constancy of purpose and mission,
  • Well-communicated and well-supported by policies,
  • Recognition and management practices,
  • Groups of employees coming together on a regular basis to tackle specific issues,
  • Merging the roles of strategic planners and doers,
  • Directing those with managerial responsibilities to foster a supportive and engaging environment,
  • Coaching and mentoring, and
  • Labor/Management cooperation.
Technology has also played a part in Tyson’s leadership of the organization. Computers, i-phones and other means of communication encourage direct feedback from across the organization. This has allowed a healthy debate about the best ways to achieve the organization’s mission.Tyson is convinced that these practices encourage an energetic and creative work force. My personal experience makes me agree with Mr. Tyson.
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