Author Archives: Mitch Ditkoff

Rethinking the Role of a Manager

The root of the word “manager” comes from the same root as the words “manipulate” and “maneuver”, meaning to “adapt or change something to suit one’s purpose”. Although these words may carry a pejorative meaning, there is nothing inherently wrong with them. Indeed, into each life a little manipulation and maneuvering must fall. For example, if the door to your office gets stuck, a handyman might need to manipulate it to get it working again. If there is a log jam at the elevator, you might decide to maneuver around the crowd and take the stairs. No problem there. However, there is another kind of manipulation and maneuvering that is a problem — when managers use their position to bend subordinates to their will. While short-term gains may result, in the end the heart is taken out of people. Your staff may become good soldiers, but they will lose something … Continue reading

Posted in Culture & Values, Leadership, Management, culture | 1 Comment
Go Beyond Your Addiction to Incrementalism

In today’s nano-second, downsized, caffeine-buzzed business world, corporations are increasingly demanding that “their people” redouble their efforts to find new and better ways of getting the job done. If this were the 1950′s, an efficiency expert might be called in, a bespectacled, uncharismatic gentleman with a fascination for predictability, order, and control. His motto? “A place for everything and everything in its place.” It wasn’t a great leap of faith for upwardly mobile managers to buy into this trendy “consulting service” since it seemed like such a safe way to yield increased productivity and reduced costs. And yes, sometimes it did… Eventually, this tidy little service matured into a full blown “organizational intervention” and was renamed and repriced. The name? “Re-engineering.” The price? A lot. The theory upon which this was based was difficult to find fault with — that most company’s processes were sadly misconfigured and, like the average … Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Strategy | 1 Comment
Definitions of Innovation

I just Googled “definitions of innovation” and came up with 5,240,000 choices. Good luck reading them. For now, here are ten I’ve gathered over the years that I like. How about you? And if you have a better one, let me know. “Change that creates a new dimension of performance.” – Peter Drucker “The ability to deliver new value to a customer.” – Jose Campos “Adapting, altering, or adjusting that which already exists for the sake of adding value.” – Anonymous “The managed effort of an organization to develop new products, new services, or new uses for existing products or services.” – Ricky W. Griffin “The commercialization of creativity.” – Anonymous “The creation, development and implementation of a new product, process or service, with the aim of improving efficiency, effectiveness or competitive advantage.” – Government of New Zealand “Creating something before people know they need it.” – Guy Kawasaki “The … Continue reading

Posted in Innovation | 13 Comments
101 CreativiTeas for the Knew Age

Face it. No matter how much we tell people there’s no such thing as a “magic pill,” we all want it. Well, I don’t have the magic pill, but I DO have something even better — a virtual potion that has the potential to free you up from mucho obstacles and activate your inner manifester. All you need to do is read the list below, pick the creativitea you need the most, and drink deep. Then noodle on WHAT you can do to activate this quality in your life. Bottoms up! 1. Opening Up to PossibiliTea 2. Easy Going FlexibiliTea 3. Gandhi-like HumiliTea 4. Well-timed AdaptabiliTea 5. Taking Care of Details Amidst InfiniTea 6. Loosey Goosey ManeuverabiliTea 7. Acceptance of MortaliTea 8. Total QualiTea 9. Beyond MoraliTea 10. An Occasional Dose of RealiTea 11. Following Your Passion With ImpuniTea 12. Balancing PolariTea 13. InterdimensionaliTea 14. Flashes of NonsensicaliTea 15. Unfettered … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity | 2 Comments
10 Ways to Help Left Brainers Tap Into the Best of Their Creativity

If your job requires you to lead meetings, brainstorming sessions, or problem solving gatherings of any kind, chances are good that most of the people you come in contact with are left-brain dominant: analytical, logical, linear folks with a passion for results and a huge fear that the meeting you are about to lead will end with a rousing chorus of kumbaya.Not exactly the kind of mindset conducive to breakthrough thinking.Do not lose heart, oh facilitators of the creative process. Even if you find yourself in a room full of 10,000 left brainers, there are tons of ways to work with this mindset in service to bringing out the very best of the group’s collective genius:1. Diffuse the fear of ambiguity by continually clarifying the processMost left-brain-dominant people hate open-ended processes and anything that smacks of ambiguity. Next time you find yourself leading a creative thinking session, make it a … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Innovation | 4 Comments
Top 16 Reasons Why Human Beings Love Lists

This just in. My three most popular postings on this blog have one thing in common: They are all lists.100 Simple Ways to Be More Creative on the JobThe Top 100 Lamest Excuses for Not Innovating26 Reasons Why Most Brainstorming Sessions Don’t WorkWhile I acknowledge that these three postings are engaging, entertaining, and useful, I don’t think they are that much more engaging, entertaining, and useful than the rest of the stuff on our blog to warrant as much attention as they’ve been getting.Something else is afoot.And that, I believe, is the medium through which the content of these postings have been communicated: Lists.What’s up with lists? Why so popular? Why does every men’s and women’s magazine plaster their covers with them? Why do blogs? After some major noodling on the topic and a few consultations with the Master of the Tradition, I am very pleased to report my recent … Continue reading

Posted in Psychology | 4 Comments
26 Reasons Why Most Brainstorming Sessions Fail

And what you can do about itby Mitch DitkoffWhenever I ask our clients to tell me about the quality of brainstorming sessions in their company, they usually roll their eyes and grumble. Bottom line, most brainstorming sessions don’t work. Not because brainstorming, as a process, doesn’t work – but because it’s usually done poorly.What follows are the 26 most common reasons why – and after that, a list of what you can do differently to turn things around.26 REASONS BRAINSTORMING SESSIONS FAILPoor facilitationWrong (or poorly articulated) topicUnmotivated participantsInsufficient diversity of participantsInadequate orientationNo transition from “business as usual”Lack of clear ground rulesSterile meeting spaceHidden (or competing) agendasLack of robust participationInsufficient listeningHabitual idea killing behaviorAttachment to old (“pet”) ideasDiscomfort with ambiguityHyper-seriousness (not enough fun)Endless interruptionsPDA addiction (Crackberries)Impatience (premature adoption of the first “right idea”)Group thinkHierarchy and/or competing sub-groupsImbalance of divergent and convergent thinkingNo tools and techniques to spark the imaginationInelegant ways of … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Innovation | 3 Comments