The Energy of Ideas

Surrounding yourself with like-minded people and doing the bleedin’ obvious! By Marcus Clifford

Expert advice from Marcus Clifford
Expert advice from Marcus Clifford

I was fortunate enough to be asked to judge a big chunk of entrants for an Awards ceremony to be held later in the year. Many categories required a piece on what engagement had taken place with customers to re-engineer, design for a different process, and work with the customer on better ways to enhance the product. 

There were some great examples. They were role models for collaboration, engagement, and genuine, positive interaction between companies and individuals. Others left you scratching your head. Did they read the brief? Or do they not know what good engagement looks and feels like?

Last Friday, I introduced a solutions provider with a fantastic product to a creative, innovatively minded Print Service Provider. Boom!! For two hours, I watched and enjoyed the amazing interaction, the shaping of thoughts on adding value to the print product, the energy, and the fresh excitement. It was great. It’s worth so much, not least in making this business fun and fulfilling to work in.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was cited with the quote, saying that if you invent a good mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. We know they might, but we still need customers who are effectively communicated with and who are on the lookout for a great mousetrap. Innovation, though, is the bridge and connector, as all customers want innovation of some sort. They want your energy and enthusiasm and help them make the day better. 

Just as an aside, the full quote from Emerson’s journal says, “If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon or make a better mousetrap than his neighbours, though he builds his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.”

The phrase became an axiom for the power of successful innovation. Some 4,400 patents have been issued in the United States for new mousetraps, with apparently thousands more unsuccessful applications, making them the ‘most frequently invented device in U.S. history!

We have so many great things in our toolbox; why don’t we use them more? Certain companies are held up and cited as innovative and doing different good things. They usually, and not surprisingly, perform better financially. 

Copy them, review what and how they are doing it, and ask your team to produce a list of companies they admire and want to take a leaf out of their book. Watch and look at companies outside our sector and make it part of your management meeting. Copy what is good and instil it in your organisation. I was with another company last year that just changed the emphasis on management meetings and said right from now on, come along to a meeting with at least one game changer: don’t just rehash management information.

Is this bleeding obvious?  Probably. But it’s so great to make business fun again!

I have written about instilling a culture of innovation, harnessing the power of your people, and creating better engagement with your customers, and my Pep & Tonic sessions deliver this. 

Things you can do, though, and it is bleeding obvious, is to use the great toolbox that exists. It’s amazing; surround yourself with people who have energy and love to share and create ideas. Work across collaborations and invite suppliers and solutions providers into your world to provide you with the story and script. Review what engagement you are actually delivering and encompass all your front-facing teams in this.

Call me to help you enable this 07743 818806.

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