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The Platinum Rule® and Innovation [Part Eight]

Anne told me that she had one of those "Aha! moments" when she thought about how her team reacted to ideas for improvements. If we accept that improvements involve change, doing something new at your company, and generating a positive outcome, then making improvements and innovating are one and the same.

"Now think about how each of The Platinum Rule® profiles will likely react to discussions about change.

  • Directors want to know the expected result (how it impacts the bottom line)

  • Socializers want to know that the result will make them look good

  • Relaters want to know how it will affect people (employees and customers)

  • Thinkers want to make sure it is the right thing to do AND that it is done right!

"Directors and Thinkers are the two groups most likely to generate new ideas, ideas for improvements, particularly those that will improve efficiency and productivity. Directors will quickly grasp a new idea and decide whether to move forward on it, especially when they see improvements in the operation of the company and its bottom-line.

"The first thing that Thinkers see in any new idea is all the ways it can go wrong. And this is what they will vocalize first, everything that is wrong with the idea! Once they have identified the weaknesses, potential failure points, they will happily work on solving the problems.

"Socializers will adopt new ideas, for the sake of change and they will relish the opportunity to inform their co-workers that there is something new coming!

"Relaters will approach change with caution. They want to know that everyone is going to be comfortable and feel safe with the change; they are concerned about how the change may impact their co-workers in unexpected ways!

"It used to be that Anne would come up with an idea for improvement, for innovation. She would take the new idea to her senior team, who were nearly all Thinkers, and before she could even finish explaining her vision, everyone in the room had "jumped in" to identify a loophole or flaw in Anne's thinking.

"You can only imagine how frustrating that was. Anne nearly always went away from these meetings feeling discouraged and angry.

"With mastery of The Platinum Rule®, Anne could see that everyone was behaving in their "preferred" way! To harness their strengths, Anne proposed a new system. First, she invested a little more time in understanding other members of the team, second, she would think her ideas through a little farther before sharing them; the team would listen and make notes (a record) of the idea.

"They could ask non-judgemental, clarifying questions. No criticisms were to be made until the Thinkers could prepare their assessment and find ways to remedy any deficiencies.

"Anne would leave after the questions had been asked and wait for the team to respond.

"Invariably, the idea came back, in a slightly (or sometimes radically) modified form; and it was a great idea! And not only was it a great idea, someone else now owned it. In fact, it might already be moving towards implementation.

"Anne had to learn to focus on the outcome. As Harry S. Truman once said, "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

The next challenge was communication to the balance of the team. To make sure that the Relaters were prepared for the change and not taken by surprise. When working in an agile environment, it is easy to rush ahead with the innovation and forget that the Relaters need time to get comfortable with change. This is one area where the Socializers can help; they like having the opportunity to share news and can participate in "socializing the change."

A "good morning!" screen was introduced to the proprietary software the team was developing, this screen included an upbeat message for the team, highlighted the changes, reminded everyone that these were requested changes (e.g., "we heard you!"), and set the entire team up for success!

As you can see, The Platinum Rule® had a profound impact on Anne and her company! People were set up for success and empowered to make their highest and best contributions! Short, medium, and long term!

We are going to tackle a new subject next week and hope you will come back to join us as we discuss ... well, you will have to come back and find out!

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