Thursday, June 25, 2009

You can learn a lot from job postings

Many years ago during my first career as a catering sales manager, I used to openly read the employment section at my desk, much to my boss's chagrin. On more than one occasion he warned me that our property's general manager would get a bad impression. I countered by saying that I'd be glad to explain what I was doing, but I wasn't going to give it up. You see, I wasn't looking for a job ... I was looking for company prospects for corporate holiday parties and special events. And the employment section of the paper was pure business intelligence gold, often citing or reflecting the hiring company's size, growth, values, culture, and benefits generosity ... often listed just above the contact information of the decision-maker for catered staff events. Of course, I'm not sure that the strategy would work as well today given that the printed ads of the past have been severely reduced by online listings and the web. And having moved on to other pastures, I don't have the same needs anymore either. But it does go to show that you can find value in unusual places - even job postings - when you keep open to looking at things in a different way.

Which brings me back to the inspiration for this post. A few days ago, I received notice of a job posting for Royal Dutch Shell in Houston. I've long admired Shell for their innovation program, to which I was introduced by a gift from a former superior of The Art of The Long View. So, I decided to read the full job posting. Here are a few of the details from the job listing:

Responsibilities:


This position is built around a team of unconventional people who find and fund exciting concepts through an early stage development process (team members work as “sponsors” for idea “proponents” until
their concept is proven/not proven, and thus ready for pick-up by
other R&D or business processes)


This individual will need to navigate through a land for which
there is not yet a map (this requires a curiosity to pursue the
interesting without getting distracted by the unimportant)

Establishing productive plans for novel ideas thus requires
people who are comfortable with ambiguity and thrive on change

Create new technology opportunities, new directions for the
enterprise, and positive futures for people all around us


Key Accountabilities:

Recognize and stimulate unusual ideas that could have high
potential impact

Use personal networks to link ideas and people that might not
otherwise interact

Apply your own individually unique skills and interests to
develop new opportunity domains

Ask tough and insightful questions as a participant in team
portfolio review and decision making panels


Requirements:

Proven experience helping other people turn their ideas into
reality; the incumbent will be required to work with multiple fluid
team structures and that requires trust and integrity



Wow, what a great piece for thinking!
There is so much there, but my favorite part is "this requires a curiosity to pursue the interesting without getting distracted by the unimportant." I may even post it above my desk.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Hold the mayo" inspires thoughts on innovation

Check out how a bottle of mayo past its expiration date sparked
Steve Shapiro's thinking about innovation. Take a look at what he has to say, and consider how you can live up to his challenge to find the innovative in your daily life. And remember, innovation isn't always about creating something entirely new ... it's also about making meaningful adaptations to improve existing products.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Leading Strategic and Cultural Change

Stephen Haines has some perspectives worth consideration. Drawing from his Naval Academy training, a wide array of examples, and systems science, his focus is on strategic management and organizational change. I have had his company's site bookmarked for some time, but it was only yesterday that I watched his free executive overview of "Leading Strategic and Cultural Change".

Here are three things I really liked:

"“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside,the end is near.” Quoting Jack Welch

Clarity and simplicity = success (simplicity wins the game every time)

State of the Art Best Practice:
Problem: Lacking the Organizational Capacity for Change
Best Practice: Invest in, Hire and Develop the Capacity to make change succeed

And there's more great stuff. If you're interested in leading change in organizations, be sure to check it out.