Today is the official release date of Bill Taylor and Polly LaBarre Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win. Bill and Polly will be in center city Philadelphia tomorrow afternoon -- Tuesday -- with a few local mavericks. This is one of the few times our fair city has been on the front lines of a conversation on business innovation and the design of work.
Last April Fast Company magazine readers' network hosted a conversation with Dan Pink on A Whole New Mind two short weeks after the book release.
Many influential business bloggers and business publications have already had a hand in pre-publicizing the book. You may find links to those resources in the authors' blog. Companies and executives can transmit the same sense of excitement for which entrepreneurs are usually known; the pages of the book are filled with the stories of people who are inventing a more compelling and rewarding way of doing business.
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." This is the line taken from celebrated computer scientist Alan Kay that makes the authors' research also a what-if. We can learn from the provocative and meaningful answers provided to the four challenges that organizations and leaders face: how to set strategy, how to unleash new ideas, how to connect with customers, and to to assist your best people in achieving great results.
Bill and Polly call this a writing of next practices. This book features and celebrates stories of achievement and collects a host of additional resources. A true toolkit for success -- a success measured by how much it contributes to ours.
There are some big thoughts that deserve some immediate attention:
- Create a new space for yourself - I am always amazed at how the first reaction of people who want to really accomplish something is to create something new or change jobs. It is easy to make the case for starting a new venture with a new team, or getting that coveted promotion elsewhere. What if our work and environment were one we could create ourselves? How else can we think about our daily challenges and redesign our job to fit in with our strengths and specs? We can, we must. A job description is just that: what someone imagined possible to solve certain problems. In the same way we are the makers of our own destiny we can and we must unleash our skills and experience to do just that: invent how to solve a company's problems. Our job description is ours to shape. That in itself is already the creation of a new space.
- Innovate by connections - This is another counter-intuitive principle. We all think that by holding our cards close to the chest we will be able to keep the competition at bay and come up with the next biggest, coolest gadget and service in utmost super-duper secrecy. Alas we forget that the collective is by far more powerful than the single output. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that enlisting the elite thinkers in your field may be by far a challenge greater than getting them to sign a secrecy or exclusivity agreement with you. How can we attract the attention of the outside brainpower and get the most talented people excited about working on our project? Because it is good for you will not work.
- Articulate your vision and purpose clearly - Your talk reflects how you think. What is your vocabulary? Are you focusing so much on how to beat the competition that you forget to develop your own inner qualities, those that set you apart? Words are not mere sounds, a few chosen and well-placed phrases can literally harness the power of what you are building to work for you. A culture is based upon a shared set of values, which are expressed in a distinctive voice
- Create value in the marketplace - Nobody needs a me-too kind of company, product or service today. We already have more than enough of that. Creating an experience is also about the price of entry. How can you infuse the experience that your customers and employees have with the most value for them? Good deals aren't good enough anymore. What do you stand for? Is your brand only skin and package-deep or is its foundation the psychological contract? A contract between your company at its employees and between those employees and yous customers. Genuine passion and day-to-day commitment to flawless execution.
Is your strategy so compelling that it feels like a cause? The future of business is for those open-minded avid learners who are growing the ranks of the skilled collaborators and values-sharers. That's how we can overcome the age of overload, evolve our consciousness and have lots and lots of fun as creators of our destiny. Meet the leaders in Bill and Polly's stories, Mavericks is mandatory reading.