Non-Competes, Health Insurance and Other Ugly Limits To Innovation

Limits and creativity run in the same circles. Desire to dig under, work around, leap over and push through is strong motivation to think anew. However, there are limits, that — hmm, — limit. Did you know that a major difference between moribund Detroit and high flyin’ Silicon Valley is the difference in how non-compete agreements are enforced? (Michigan enforces them, California limits them.) In the recent Carnegie Mellon University publication: “Renewing Globalization and Economic Growth in a Post-Crises World – The Future of the G-20 Agenda” Serguey Braguinsky and Steven Klepper write about various ways worker mobility can limit innovation on a regional scale. In addition to visa restrictions, social pressure and lifetime employment guarantees, they use the non-compete as a primary example of the damaging effects of limiting mobility in the United States. I’ve been on both sides of non-compete covenants. I’ve never particularly liked them, but never … Continue reading

3 Kinds Of Companies Trying To Survive and Thrive.

The sands are shifting and organizations are having to change. There are 3 ways in which companies are using their employees to do this.  Companies that have talented employees who see the difficult and innovative paths that must be taken – and are listening to them. Companies that have talented employees who see the difficult and innovative paths that must be taken – and are silencing them. Companies that had talented employees who saw the difficult and innovative paths that should have been taken. Most companies fall into category 2 and 3. It’s not on purpose. It’s not evil. It’s just human nature. Our habit of catering to past patterns of power ensures that most organizations work this way.

A Reminder Of Key Principles | Inside Drucker’s Brain

I’ve read a lot of Peter F. Drucker over the years, so it’s nice to find a great distillation of his ideas in one place.  Just finished Inside Drucker’s Brain by Jeffrey A. Krames and it is full of gems to remind us of Drucker’s no nonsense style. For business wonks who have never read Drucker directly, you will find the concepts he developed very familiar. For those of us who have – it is a great, short summary of his evergreen concepts. The management concepts he talks about can be eye-opening for you no matter where you live in an organization. Life and Death Decisions — For Drucker, the most important Life and Death decisions are people decisions. Who to promote, who to fire/demote, and each manager’s scope of responsibility. After people decisions came the priority decisions on resource allocation. Executive management likes to think that they control the really … Continue reading

Place May Be The Fourth Personality

Resent research indicates that environments with ‘disorder clues’ (think messy) cause people to diverge from social norms. This post from Roger Dooley outlines the premise that simple things like disorderly shelves or graftiti can push individuals towards behaving badly. It would be interesting to know if these enviromental clues would have the same impact on team dynamics.  So just like a “bad apple” individual could cut productivity could disorderly meeting spaces or work environment provide additional productivity losses? We’ve all been to a meeting that was disorganized and left feeling that our time was wasted.  A team whose information, or environment, was a mess is often hobbled. On the other hand… Maybe chaos is the perfect antidote to ‘template’ thinking.  A group of ‘creatives’ I knew was given permission to go off and think for a year. In addition to physically removing themselves from the cubes of our corporation, they outfitted … Continue reading

Infective Team Dynamics

Your business is run by teams.  Now, more than ever, you have to be sensitive to team killers – the one or two individuals that drag a high quality group of people into the mud. We’ve all dealt with them.  The individual who just seems to be in the way, not pulling his weight or simply a jerk.  Some interesting research by Dr. William Felps, Rotterdam School of Management, indicates that team effectiveness can be reduced by 30% to 40% through the simple addition of a single ‘bad apple.’  He describes his research in a recent episode of This American Life and had it published in the 2006 journal, Research in Organizational Behavior, Volume 27, 181–230.  Bad apples were described as jerks, slackers and depressive pessimists. I really enjoy the inventiveness of the experiment.