boost innovation, introduce a Chief Incentives Officer

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Physicist and biotech entrepreneur Safi Bahcall argues in Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries that the secret to creativity as actually organizational structure versus anything else. To Bahcall, the goal is to create a structure where you get people motivated and incented to go for “loonshots,” crazy ideas that ultimately turn into big innovations.

Companies need to separate the “artists” who do primarily creative work from the “soldiers” who focus on operations and execution. 

 “The Innovation Equation,” which offers four parameters companies can use to tilt the balance in favor of innovation and away from politics. The parameters are:

  • Equity Fraction: the fraction of compensation tied to project outcomes vs. tied to rank
  • Fitness Ratio: the ratio of two measures–how well employee skills are matched to their projects, and how much politics matters to promotion decisions
  • Management Span: the number of direct reports that executives of the company have
  • Salary Growth: the increase in salary with promotion

Loonshots also advocates for a new executive position: The Chief Incentives Officer. 

click here for the full Inc. article


Inc. – Invite Fresh Ideas to the Table

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Create an outside team of advisors. Unlike a focus group, they are not anonymous, but purposeful in providing valuable insight about the trends in your market. Your advisory team should always provide data, not assumptions, about what is trending and emerging so your company can be ahead of the learning curve. Members of your advisory team should have term limits, so you are always on-boarding fresh ideas every 2 to 4 years.


Bill Gates – the Quality of Your Life

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Bill Gates recommends that you answer these questions to assess the quality of your life:

  1. Did I devote enough time to my family?
  2. Did I learn enough new things?
  3. Did I develop new friendships and deepen old ones?

And a fourth question, suggested by his trusted friend and mentor Warren Buffett; “Do the people you care about love you back?”

click here for the full Inc. article


Speaking is no longer a soft skill

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“If an entrepreneur can’t tell a convincing story, I’m not investing. You call it soft. I call it fundamental.”

Warren Buffett would agree. Whenever Buffett is asked about the one most valuable skill that anyone can build today, he says public speaking. He even puts a value on it, “The one easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now — at least — is to hone your communication skills — both written and verbal,” Buffett says.

Individual income from manufacturing continues to fall as robots replace workers and artificial intelligence takes over repetitive tasks once handled by humans.

The main task of the jobs that are left — and the new ones created — is to change minds.

click here for the full Inc. article


Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff – Vision and Values

Marc Benioff steered Salesforce to stellar success through “V2MOM.” which stands for vision and values (V2) combined with methods, obstacles, and measures (MOM). It’s shorthand for their fundamental business processes:

Vision: Defines what you want to do or achieve.

Values: Principles and beliefs that help you pursue the vision.

Methods: Actions and steps to take to get the job done.

Obstacles: The challenges and issues you have to overcome to achieve the vision.

Measures: The ways in which you measure achievement.

Click here for the full Inc. article.


your purpose

It’s hard to be confident in what you’re doing if you’re not sure why you’re doing it. What is your purpose in work and in life? Once you identify your “why,” you’ll be more confident because you’ll be coming from a place of purpose.


Establish clear objectives for every business unit and team 

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​Having a clear overall strategy is not, on its own, sufficient – you must ensure that each department and team within the organization knows what its objectives are, and how those objectives relate to, and align with, the overall strategy.

​One way that many great CEOs ensure proper alignment is to use the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method, in which management defines both objectives and the measurements against which performance towards those objectives will be measured (the key results). To learn more about OKR, please see the relevant Google Ventures video.

full article at Inc.


Summarize your strategy and share it with everyone at your company

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​​As a CEO, you must understand that many corporate workers are unaware of their organization’s big-picture corporate strategy. In fact, a 2005 Harvard Business School research study found that “95% of a company’s employees are unaware of, or do not understand, its strategy.” This lack of understanding can adversely impact businesses – the same study found that “if the employees who are closest to customers and who operate processes that create value are unaware of the strategy, they surely cannot help the organization implement it effectively.”

As one might expect, people who understand how their own tasks contribute to the overall strategy of the firm for which they work often perform better than those who do not. Of course, complex strategy documents can confuse people – so the best CEOs keep their strategy documents simple, short, and to the point. A one-pager is usually ideal.