The July/August issue of Fast Company has a story titled, “Build A Better Mousetrap” that introduces the winners of the 2010 International Design Excellence Awards. The article in the issue introduces the blending of left and right brain thinking that resulted in products that are not only exceptional, but design-rich and beautiful. They include flash drives in the shape of keys, a FitBit tracker that looks like a piece of jewelry but measures steps taken calories burned, a new family of design-appealing work chairs, a work light with the flexibility and grace of a heron’s neck, and other really outrageous stuff (it is worth getting this issue just to see the amazing blending of left brain practicality and purpose, with right brain beauty and esthetics – no easy feat).
So why bring this up?
These are products imagined by employees – fired up, passionate and engaged employees. Bored, tired and disengaged employees don’t dream up the combination of beauty and function. Miscast, aggravated or unappreciated employees don’t dream up products that get awards in national magazines. This is more a statement of the creative contribution, engagement and loyalty of employees.
It is not always management that invents, innovates and creates. Management never has all the answers or all the ideas. In fact, the reason why employees are so good at this is they are connected to networks of other idea generators. They are always thinking. And when they work in jobs that play to their best talents, are passionate about what they do and feel a personal connection to their management and teams, these employees share their best ideas; they willingly invent and focus on adding value and making a difference.
How employee-focused is your workplace culture? In my book, Fire Up! Your Employees, I present the 10 components of a powerful employee-focused workplace culture. Not all of these ten components of culture need to be in place, but the more of these the organization can include, the more connected and supported the employee feels. And the more this happens, the more present, thinking and innovating the employee becomes. This is what creates organizational greatness.
Never underestimate the innovation and idea potential of a highly engaged employee. Hire the right employees, connect them emotionally to what they do, and share your companies dreams, opportunities and challenges with them. When employees feel included and valued, they contribute their best. And they may just help you invent a better mousetrap. And who knows, it may be clever enough to earn its way into Fast Company.
Please forward this to someone who can benefit form it and contact me to help you build a powerful employee-focused workplace culture.
This entry was posted on Sunday, June 27th, 2010 at 10:31 pm and is filed under For Managers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.