Posts Tagged "creativity’

Recognition as a Driving Force for Potential

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe blog logoRecognize This! – Changes in the business world are rapidly accelerating. To keep up, companies will need to recognize more of potential and creativity, and less past performance.

Keeping up with the changing world of work is becoming more and more difficult. No longer just about the pace of change, leaders must now also react and respond to the complexity of interacting and overlapping changes.

As I wrote in a recent piece on Compensation Café, the profile of competencies required of all employees – and how organizations recognize and reward them – needs to change in order to keep pace. What follows is an excerpt from the original post.

The imperative for leaders is in the creation of a compelling vision and how to motivate employees around that vision. Unfortunately, those seem to be the skills that are lacking among high-potential (HiPo) employees in leadership pipelines. Recent research published in the Harvard Business Review found that nearly half of participants in HiPo programs are below average when measured on leadership effectiveness.

A portion of these findings might be explained by a “how/best” mindset that has traditionally guided organizational decision-making. Leaders seek out which decisions are the best and then how to implement them. Where data from past performance or best practice exists, that mindset is both effective and efficient. However, that same mindset presents a barrier in response to situations that are novel or uncertain, situations that require creativity in response to change.

To be future-proofed, organizations need to move away from the types of processes and structures that reward a “how/best” mindset and past performance. Instead, they will need to place more emphasis on how to identify and develop a broader range of employee attributes, including potential and creativity.

One way that business and HR leaders can shift the emphasis is through the strategic use of rewards and recognition. Not only will that contribute to a more positive employee experience overall, but social recognition can also provide leaders with the data on which individuals are being recognized for their innovation, their curiosity in solving challenging problems, and for experimenting with new processes.

Click on this link to read the full post on Compensation Café.

Creativity for the Whole Career

By Derek Irvine

All roads lead to learningRecognize This! – Ongoing creativity requires a delicate balance of specialized and diverse knowledge, which can be supported through human-focused workplace practices.

It’s true that generations matter to organizations, but perhaps not in the way you might be thinking. Despite the intense focus on the Millennial generation in the news, workplace dynamics tend to be driven much more by age (namely, how long a given group of employees have been in the workforce) rather than a specific generational category per se.

Organizations can pay attention to some of those differences to help maximize human potential over the course of an employee’s entire working life. One aspect of that potential – creativity – is the subject of recent research that attempts to explain variations over time, providing insight to organizations on how to maximize creativity across generations and ultimately make work more human.

A recent post on Knowledge@HEC summarizes the findings by tracking the development of workers across their careers, alternatively developing specialized and diverse sets of knowledge, and the impact that has on creativity.

For employees that are new to the working world, there is often a sense of strong enthusiasm but minimal knowledge specialization that would help discriminate information that is novel versus what might simply be new to them.

As workers advance in their early careers (roughly 4-5 years according to the research), the development of knowledge specialization takes a front seat, building that framework and guiding how ideas can be developed and used. The research suggests that creativity steadily builds throughout this phase as deeper knowledge is acquired and a capacity for complexity is built.

Unfortunately, there is a potential downside to over-specialization through the mid-career years, in that it can contribute to a narrow focus and cognitive inflexibility (to quote the old saying, “to a hammer, everything is a nail”). Negative effects on creativity and motivation begin to emerge around year 10 or so, overshadowing the benefits of increasing depth.

At this stage, a balanced strategy is required to continue realizing human potential by introducing opportunities for diverse knowledge, which can encourage greater cognitive flexibility by cultivating interests in a broader range of areas. As the post summarizes, “The ability to generate new ideas is a matter of balance between specialized and diverse knowledge, and varying degrees of cognitive flexibility. The optimal amount of each changes over time and the balance must be readjusted accordingly.”

This is where the importance of human-centered organizational solutions come into play, to provide experiences that can balance those two types of knowledge development. On the front end, organizations can provide developmental experiences that are appropriate for early, mid, or late career employees that strike the right balance between specialized and diverse knowledge. Downstream, rewards and recognition can be provided that call out and reinforce contributions that align with the development of specialized or diverse knowledge, or perhaps even both depending on the employee.

With a complete strategy, organizations are well positioned to realize the benefits of a creative and engaged workforce across generational groups.

How does your own organization help you to develop specialized and diverse knowledge?