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    Should You Innovate With Your Customers or Not? Part 2

    In part 1 of this two-article series, we began exploring the ongoing debate in innovation as to whether or not companies should involve customers in their innovation efforts and act upon their ideas. I also presented arguments and success stories of both the proponents and opponents of customer involvement in innovation. The pro camp argues that we should listen to customers and innovate by giving them what they want. The contra camp counters that customers don’t know what they want until you give it to them. Contra camp aficionados include prominent creative business leaders such as Henry Ford, Akio Morita, and Steve Jobs. So which camp is right, and when? And how may we possibly reconcile the different views?

    Which camp is right?

    “There are two kinds of truth, small truth and great truth. You can recognize a small truth because its opposite is a falsehood. The opposite of a great truth is another great truth,” noted the Danish physicist Niels Bohr. I believe that the debate between proponents and opponents of customer involvement in innovation is a case of two great truths facing each other. Both sides of the debate have their valid arguments and supporting success stories to prove their points. 

    So who’s right? It depends on the situation — or in other words, what business context you’re in and what you want to achieve. You may ask the following questions to gauge whether or not you should listen to and involve your customers in an innovation project:

    • Do you want to focus on improving an existing process, product, or service? Or are you aiming to create a “new to the world”-innovation in your project? The more disruptive your targeted innovation, the less customer involvement is advisable. 
    • How complicated is your business and innovation challenge? How much do your customers know about your product and service, and the relevant domain knowledge and technologies? The less complex your innovation case, and the more intimately your customers are familiar with it, the more you can listen to them and involve them in the process. 
    • How much time do you have at hand to produce innovation results? The less time you have at hand for an innovation project, the more you should consider involving your customers. Listening to your customers’ expressed needs and ideas is a cost-effective  and fast way to improve existing processes, products, and services immediately or in the short run. However, it’s unlikely that these ideas and typically more incremental innovations will boost your revenues, profits, and margins in the medium- to long-term.
    • Whom do you target with the innovation? A mass-market, a smaller niche segment, or a narrow ‘tribe” of sophisticated elite users? The broader the market you target, the higher your risk of mistakenly listening to and innovating upon the wishes and suggestions of a non-representative sample of customers.
    • On what level of abstraction does the innovation challenge reside? • The narrower and more specific your innovation focus, the easier and more sensible it is to involve customers, vice versa.
    • How dynamic is your industry? How fast do trends change? The faster the speed of change, the more problematic it is to involve customers who typically lag behind trends.

    How to reconcile the opposing views?

    While pondering the contextual rules of thumb listed above, I spotted an overriding approach to reconciling the opposing positions of the two camps in the customer involvement in innovation-debate. Innovation projects vary in the degree of impact that they make in the market, and related, the time and efforts required to pull off an innovation. Consequently, we can distinguish four different innovation types with an accelerating risk-reward profile — continuous improvements, incremental improvements/innovations, evolutionary innovations, and disruptive revolutionary innovations (see the graphic below):

    • Involve customers intensively in innovation efforts that focus on continuous improvements in your processes, products, and services. For example, improving the consistency of a tuna salad and allowing customers to pick their strawberries (instead of having to buy them in prepackaged boxes) are customer ideas that the experiential grocery store chain Stew Leonard implemented successfully.
    • Customer involvement in innovation such as running focus groups may also work well for projects aiming at incremental improvements/innovations of existing products or services (say you want to get ideas or feedback from customers on a new taste or formula variation of a popular product).
    • Invite customers to participate in projects aiming for evolutionary innovations where you want to add substantially more value to your existing customers or expand your offerings to new customer segments. However, here you typically involve customers predominantly in the first stage of the creative process (the Xploration-stage in our X-IDEA innovation method). Thereby, you empathetically listen to them and observe them in their everyday lives interacting with the target object of the innovation project. Moreover, you may also ask them to give you feedback and suggestions on prototypes you’ve built in the critical, realistic evaluation phase. However, in the creative stages (Ideation and Development in X-IDEA) in between, you typically do your own thinking and create your own ideas (that may take inspiration from your learnings during the initial Xploration stage). Two weeks ago, I shared how Ingersoll Rand practiced this approach when they created a substantially improved grinder tool for their industrial clients. We also follow this modus operandi with Thinkergy when we guide clients (especially those from the food or FMCG-industries) through their evolutionary innovation projects with the help of X-IDEA.
    • In your projects targeting revolutionary innovations, however, best practice suggests not to involve your customers actively. This is because they may lack the necessary knowledge on technology, trends, and maybe even their wants and needs related to a “new to the world”-technology or product. For example, while working on the iPhone and iPad, Apple’s development team sought feedback only from its internal “one-man focus group” (named Steve Jobs). As we also discussed in part 1, Akio Morita similarly developed the Sony Walkman with a small product development team against the advice of market research and his internal marketing and finance people (and subsequently sold 400 million units of the Walkman). And thanks to Henry Ford’s unwillingness to listen to customers, we leaped to driving in cars instead of riding on faster horses.

    Suppose you’re a member of the pro camp and are unconcerned of potential confidentiality issues. What if you insisted on involving customers in a project pushing for creating a revolutionary innovation? In that case, my advice would be to invite those customers to participate in an innovation project workshop with a more progressive mindset and personality. How can you find them? By using a personal assessment tool created for innovation. For example, Thinkergy’s innovator profiling system TIPS identifies four such trendy, avant-garde profiles located around the Ideas-base. Ideators, Conceptualizers, Promoters, and Imaginative Experimenters tend to be ahead of their times. They can contribute a mix of geeky, trendy, fashionable, or creatively destructive thinking to broaden your internal project team’s views and inspire bold ideas.

    Conclusion: Customer involvement in Innovation? It depends

    Involve your customers in your innovation projects, and listen to their ideas if

    1. they’re familiar with your products and services,
    2. you want to continuously or incrementally improve these,
    3. you want to evolve your product to a more contemporary version, and
    4. you’re in an industry that is close to your customers’ everyday lives and moves slow enough to allow your customers to keep up with trends and the speed of change.

    In all other cases, limit your customers’ involvement in seeking input and feedback at the front- and back-end stages of the innovation process. And especially when you work on a revolutionary innovation that can potentially disrupt the market, better think, and create progressively in your internal innovation team.

    • Do you belong more to the pro or contra camp of whether or not to involve and follow through on customers’ ideas while innovating? Or do you have any other thoughts and ideas that support your side of the debate — or can reconcile the two views?
    • Do you plan to do an innovation project soon? Regardless of whether or not you want to involve customers in your project, please consider inviting Thinkergy as your external expert innovation process guides. Our innovation facilitators would love to guide your team towards tangible innovation results with the help of our award-winning X-IDEA innovation methodContact us if you would like to learn more.

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2020


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    How to Quickly Bounce Back After Losing a Job (Part 2)

    Two weeks ago, I shared with you the first six of twelve recommendations on how you can bounce back after losing your job in a pandemic-plagued, depressed economy: Recollect yourself after the knockdown. Reframe your situation and embrace the opportunity. Release and let go of the baggage. Rediscover your true identity. Revalue your true worth. Recalibrate yourself and take a positive outlook while facing your present reality. 

    In today’s final part of this two-articles set, you can learn about the remaining six action strategies you can use to pivot your career after a job loss. And of course, my twelve action recommendations also work if you want to proactively design a second career that you want to transition gradually into in the coming years.

    7. Recognize your values

    “Your core values are the deeply held beliefs that authentically describe your soul,” said the American author and leadership coach John C. Maxwell. The next thing that you should do to sharpen your core identity is to spell out your core values. Your values describe your principles or standards of behavior and your view of what is essential in life. For example, my topmost values are creativity, freedom, education (learning and teaching), and achievement.

    Why is it necessary to recognize your key values? These clarify how you prefer to do things and simplify decision-making. For example, when I assess an opportunity, I simply ask a few questions related to my values:

    • Does the project excite me and allow me to be creative? 
    • Do I have the freedom to decide how to approach and execute it? 
    • Can I learn something from it? Or does it provide me with an opportunity to teach something worthwhile to others? 
    • Would a successful completion of this project feel like a worthwhile achievement and investment of my time? 

    If the answer to most or all of these value-aligning questions is “yes, “I will go for the opportunity. “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier,” accurately noted Walt Disney’s brother Roy.

    8.Realize your passions: Do what you love doing

    If you ask people about their least and most favorite day of the week, most people name Monday as their least favorite and either Friday, Saturday or Sunday as their most favorite day. What does this tell us about them? They dislike their work. They only do their job because of the money it pays. 

    How about you? How much do you love your job? Do you like it so much that you hardly can’t wait to get back to work each day?

    Steve Jobs commented that after he got fired from Apple in 1985, “I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.” In other words, you’ve got to find your passion.

    Unfortunately, nine out of ten people settle for a job that pays the bills but doesn’t profoundly touch their heart and soul. When they started, work felt good, as there were still many things to learn, and they enjoyed the external recognition and perks that came with it. But as time passed, many people are proficient in their job but don’t feel passionate about what they do. They don’t burn for it. And while most jobs are secure in normal times, they may eventually be asked to leave when times are bad. When organizations need to downsize to survive, who are the least likely to lose their jobs? Those who are both competent and passionate about their profession.

    So when you design a second career that will keep you in work until or well past your retirement date, find something that you love doing. And remember the words of Steve Jobs: “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

    9. Reveal your purpose

    “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart,” noted Steve Jobs. We all have to pass on one day, perhaps sooner than we think. What positive contributions will you make to humanity that go beyond satisfying the immediate needs of yourself and your close kin? Why are you here?

    We’re living at a time when the world needs more people who not only work for the money but do important work that they feel someone needs to be doing. We may call these purpose-driven people real-life superheroes. Because just like superheroes, what gets them going is the intrinsic motivation to fight for a worthy cause larger than oneself.

    Can you picture a new role that allows you to contribute to a worthy cause and gets you paid? What superhero purpose can you imagine committing to? If you haven’t found one, consider exploring the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 to discover what crucial human development cause resonates most with you. In my case, it’s the goal no. 4 (Quality Education), which connects nicely to my purpose of developing creative leaders and innovators.

    10. Reassess the odds of success

    You may have worked for years or even a decade or more in a specific role in a particular profession or industry (for example, you might have been a credit analyst in the banking industry). Apart from reassessing your passion, it would help if you also reassessed how well your profession and industry will go forward. Why? 

    In the 2020s, many well-established industries are predicted to face major disruptions and transformations due to technological shifts in the new technologies that will drive the Sixth Wave (digitalization, clean-tech, and bio- & human-tech). The current health crisis and related economic crisis will likely speed up, front-load, and exaggerate these transformational trends. Moreover, digital transformation and automation will reduce the number of white-collar jobs in well-reputed professions and industries. What does this mean if you’re hunting for a job or plan to design your new career? 

    You might need to move to a different industry with good growth prospects for the coming decades. So, if you worked as a financial advisor or a credit analyst in a bank who recently cut headcount, and you enjoy this kind of work (see point 8). Then, you may want to explore becoming a digital currency advisor or a data analytics manager in a fin-tech company. Of course, this may require you to take classes to acquire new know-how and develop new skills. (We all will have to invest time and money to reskill and upskill ourselves to keep up with the transformations of business we’ll see unfold in this decade).

    11. Realign yourself to a suitable career ecosystem

    In TIPS, Thinkergy’s personality assessment tool for the digital innovation economy, we include a section in the report called “Hot or not?” Therein, we tell you what ecosystems (business functions, industries, organizational types) are “hot fits” for your particular TIPS profile and your related cognitive style. The report also warns you of “not” ecosystems that you ought to better avoid. What’s the difference between the two? If you work in a “hot” ecosystem, work feels EEE (easy, effortless, and enjoyable), while in a “not” environment, it feels DDD (difficult, de-energizing, and drudging). 

    Ask yourself: How well did you fit into your old role? Did it feel EEE? If it was a “hot fit,” why did they let you go? If you think the fit was not ideal, ask yourself: What other ecosystems might be a better fit for me? (Or even better, take the TIPS online test for USD 89 to unveil your TIPS profile and find out more about your related “hot” ecosystems).

    12. Rearrange the pieces until a splendid new career picture reveals itself

    Once you have collected all essential mosaic pieces that you need to design your new career, lay them all out on the floor. Look at each piece individually, then step back to take in the full picture, and ask yourself a couple of questions: 

    “So what? So what does it all mean for me? How can I align my identity, talents, values, passions, and purpose in a new career that allows me to make meaning and make money in the next one to two decades? Should I shift to a new professional role, industry, business function, or organizational type that aligns with my unique ingenuity, or that offers better odds of success given the transformation of the economy in the coming years?”

    Then, begin shifting and rearranging the mosaic pieces until suddenly, a picture of an exciting new career emerges in front of your mind’s eye. The more effort you’ve put in all preceding stages of the development process, the clearer, more energizing, and more beautiful your vision of a new career should be. And this clarity, energy, and beauty will give you the creative transformational momentum and stamina to make it happen. As Richard Buckminster Fuller noted: “When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”

    Conclusion: The comeback is always greater than the setback

    “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary,” said Steve Jobs. Consider following Apple’s ingenious innovator’s advice if you have to pick yourself up from a recent job loss, or if you want to proactively prepare for a second career that keeps you happy and active well past reaching the official retirement age. 

    We cannot control what happens to us, but we do have control over how we respond to it. Follow the example of Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, and Steve Jobs and transform a job loss into the start of a self-determined new career in line with your true identity, values, passion, and purpose — or in other words: in line with your unique genius. 

    • Have you recently lost your job due to the COVID-19 crisis? Or are you concerned your job might be on the line? What if someone took you by the hand and guided you step-by-step through the 12 steps to discovering an exciting new career in harmony with your unique genius? We’ll be soon launching an online course that we will be running later in Q3.2020 that will do just that:
      • In the program, we will first help people recognize their true talent with the help of TIPS. 
      • After that, we will guide a selected few applicants through the twelve steps to rediscover your genius (based on chosen exercises and contents from our Genius Journey method).
      • Finally, we help you design a new career that is in harmony with it.
      • Contact us if you would like to learn more once we release the program.
    • Would you like to learn more about TIPS? Check out our TIPS website to learn more about our 21st-century personal assessment tool for business and innovation. And consider taking the TIPS online test (USD 89) to uncover your TIPS profile and preferred cognitive styles.

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2020

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    Using TIPS for the People-Side of Innovation

    Suppose you’re a corporate innovation manager who arranged to get all of your fellow executives and coworkers from the major business units of your company profiled in TIPS, Thinkergy’s cognitive profiling test for business and innovation. Today, let me suggest eight actions that you can take as an innovation manager after your company has been TIPS-ed.

    1. Start with yourself and review your own TIPS result and profiling report

    As an innovation manager, first, deepen your self-awareness before beginning to gain greater innovation awareness. Study your personal TIPS profile and test results and take the actions suggested in a related earlier article (titled So you’ve been TIPS-ed, now what? (Part 1 | Part 2).

    2. Familiarize yourself with matching innovation contributions of the different profiles

    An earlier article in this blog titled How to make everyone contribute to innovation discusses how each TIPS profile can add value to corporate innovation initiatives. Read this article to gain a general overview before deep-diving into the TIPS results of your company.

    3. Overview the results of your innovators in a matrix

    If you’ve profiled a larger number of employees in TIPS, Thinkergy or your TIPS coach can send you a TIPS Profiling Results Spreadsheet featuring the test results and related personal data of all your profiled colleagues:

    • The spreadsheet contains each person’s TIPS innovator profile, test scores, and cognitive styles, among others.
    • Consider adding other relevant information to each profiled colleague to make it easier to subsequently compose diverse innovation teams (such as perhaps business unit or business function, age or social generation, gender, or educational background).
    • Use the sort functions to quickly regroup the results based on certain desired parameters.

    4. Identify your internal innovation champions

    Certain TIPS profiles tend to thrive in —and often love to drive— (digital) innovation projects. (Please see also a related article titled How to find the people to drive digital innovation). How can you find those creative and digital types? Go through the results list and check for Ideators, Conceptualizers, Promoters, and Imaginative Experimenters with high scores for the Ideas base. 

    In line with Everett Roger’s innovation diffusion theory, these profiles also tend to constitute those innovators and early adopters who create, test, endorse, and promote innovations. I detail this out in a related article titled Who really makes innovation happen?

    5. Use TIPS to optimize the people-side of innovation projects

    As an innovation manager, you will regularly organize innovation projects that target specific challenges. Moreover, business unit managers may approach you occasionally to ask for your support for a particular innovation project. Whatever the case may be, TIPS can help you in better planning successful innovation projects in three ways:

    1. Each innovation project typically targets one particular innovation type (such as product or service innovation, or customer experience design). Interestingly, different TIPS profiles tend to enjoy and do well in certain innovation types. Please check out the article titled What innovation projects fit your cognitive style for more information.
    2. TIPS also allows you to optimize the people utilization in an innovation project. You can do this by inviting people only to those process stages that they tend to enjoy based on their TIPS profile. I discuss the details in an earlier article titled Who shines when in the creative process?
    3. TIPS also spells out what is the preferred style to innovate of each profile. As an innovation facilitator, check what TIPS profiles you have in an innovation team before you guide it through the stages of a structured thinking process.(such as our award-winning innovation method X-IDEA). When applying specific thinking tools, adjust your facilitation style to fit the preferred styles of innovating of the team members. I explain these differences in an earlier article titled What’s your and everyone else’s style to innovate?

    6. Identify opportunities for work realignments in the innovation management function

    Depending on your TIPS profile and your specific job responsibilities, you may or may not be highly satisfied with your role as an innovation manager. It is quite likely that you love certain aspects of your position, but regard taking care of other tasks as a drudgery. This ambivalence is because most innovation managers either enjoy administering organizational innovation from behind or leading innovation initiatives at the front, but not having to do both.

    For this reason, I made a case to separate the function into two roles in an earlier article titled Creative leaders and innovation managers: same same but different. Read this article and decide if my arguments make sense to you. If yes, consider bringing in another person who complements your preferred work focus. Then, drive and lead innovation at the front, while leaving all the administrative tasks to your colleague — or vice versa, depending on your TIPS profile.

    7. Clarify who is going to respond how to creative change

    TIPS can give you hints on who is going to respond how to major creative change initiatives that your organization may introduce to make your corporate culture more innovation-friendly. Thereby, we distinguish all profiled people into three groups based on their TIPS profiles and highest score:

    • Psycho-dynamic profiles (such as the Conceptualizer, Ideator, Imaginative Experimenter, and Promoter) tend to be change drivers or change agents.
    • Psycho-neutral profiles (like the Theorist, Coach, All-Rounder, and Partner) tend to skeptics whom you need to convince that the change is sensible and worth the extra efforts.
    • Psycho-static profiles tend to be laggards and preservers who are likely to resist change passively, or who may even actively try to sabotage it.  They include the TIPS profiles of the Organizer, Systematizer, Systematic Experimenter, and Technocrat. 

    As such, TIPS can help you to identify possible change drivers and change agents in your organization. Moreover,  TIPS can also point you to those psycho-static colleagues who are likely to oppose and resist the change initiative. This knowledge allows you to actively approach these colleagues early on to address their concerns and try to win them over.

    8. Identify possible candidates for a creative leadership development program

    You can regard all the psycho-dynamic colleagues that we’ve identified in steps 4 and 7 as a potential talent pool to be developed into creative leaders by your organization. A sophisticated creative leadership development program such as Genius Journey by Thinkergy can teach these creative talents the advanced creative mindsets and action routines of outstanding creative leaders in business, science, sports, and the arts. (Depending on your TIPS profiles, you as innovation manager and other psycho-dynamic top executives may want to join such a program, too).

    Do you want to learn more about TIPS

    Are you curious about what’s your TIPS profile? Buy your TIPS online profiling test coupon for USD 89 now.

    Would you like to find out more about our TIPS training for your team? Contact us to tell us more. 

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2019

  • 9 Ways to Manage People Better with TIPS

    Have you ever heard about the “war for talent”? The term appeared first in a 1997 research study by McKinsey and was popularized in the 2001 book of the same title. In The War for Talent, Michaels et al. argue that companies have to navigate an increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented employees. Demographic shifts (primarily in the United States and Europe, but also in Asia) and increasing demand for highly skilled knowledge workers are responsible for the predicted talent shortage. In response to the call to win in The War for Talent, the talent management industry gained momentum and grew in popularity.

    Twenty years later, we may ask in hindsight: Have many organizations suffered from a shortage of talented people during the past two decades? Indeed, companies face difficulties to find enough talents for specific roles in certain industries (e.g., IT developers). However, the “war for talent” has proved to be a myth. In most areas and countries, talents abound. So, if we’re not short of talent, what’s the real challenge? Most organizations are unable to recognize the real “personal assets” of their human capital   — and how to best use them. Here we’ll explore how human resources manager can better manage human capital along the talent management cycle with the help of TIPS, Thinkergy’s cognitive profiling tool for business and innovation.

    Introduction: The talent management lifecycle

    Talent management aims to anticipate an organization’s requirements for human capital. Then, strategic plans plot how to meet those talent needs effectively. Talent management includes all activities to plan, recruit, onboard, manage, develop, reward, and set free talented managers and employees.

    The literature on human capital management presents these key activities along with a lifecycle model: the talent management lifecycle. While various concepts differ in detail, there is a widespread consensus on certain stages that talents pass through while working for an organization.  In the following, I outline how TIPS can support the talent management efforts of the human capital function. Thereby, I move along the various stages of the talent lifecycle and its three main objectives (recruit—retain—release talent).

    Talent management aims to anticipate an organization’s requirements for human capital. Then, strategic plans plot how to meet those talent needs effectively. Talent management includes all activities to plan, recruit, onboard, manage, develop, reward, and set free talented managers and employees.

    The literature on human capital management presents these key activities along with a lifecycle model: the talent management lifecycle. While various concepts differ in detail, there is a widespread consensus on certain stages that talents pass through while working for an organization.  In the following, I outline how TIPS can support the talent management efforts of the human capital function. Thereby, I move along the various stages of the talent lifecycle and its three main objectives (recruit—retain—release talent).

    Stage 1: Talent planning

    Talent planning is a strategic approach that involves identifying key positions and roles, understanding critical skills requirements and gaps, and creating transition and succession plans to keep critical roles filled with top players today and in the future. The practice encompasses the assessment of an organization’s current level of talent, predicting the future talent needs necessary to achieve its strategic objectives, and then creating corresponding action strategies for recruiting, retaining and releasing talents.

    TIPS can be a valuable conceptual tool to help talent planners gauge an appropriate cognitive mix in an organization’s talent pool. Depending on the industry and the evolutionary phase in the business cycle, a company or strategic business unit needs more talents with specific personality profiles and related cognitive styles. For example, banks or accounting firms have a greater need for quantitative, analytical thinkers, while agencies in the creative industries need a high proportion of qualitative creative thinkers. With regards to the business cycle phase, a fast-growing company needs to focus on bringing in more operational knowledge workers to solidify its backend, while a company threatened by digital transformation needs to look for agile, creative talents who drive change as the organization begins a new business cycle to avoid disruption and creative destruction.

    Stage 2: Talent acquisition

    Talent acquisition is all about hiring the right person for an open position. How can TIPS help organizations to acquire the right talents who cognitively fit the requirements of a particular job (and prevent them from hiring the wrong people)? In a TIPS talent acquisition project, we use a gamified approach to help a human resources team translate the job description for each open position into compatible TIPS profiles. Typically, every role has a primary TIPS profile representing an ideal cognitive fit and 1-3 secondary profiles that are possibles.

    Then, human resources invite all shortlisted candidates to take the TIPS online test to determine their TIPS profile. Next, we check for the cognitive job fit of each candidate. When the recruitment committee members conduct the final job interviews with the shortlisted top candidates, they can ask specific questions to validate the cognitive suitability of each candidate further. Finally, they decide on the best candidate considering all position-specific competencies (knowledge, skills, expertise, and cognitive profile).

    Would you like to get more details on a TIPS-empowered talent recruitment process? Check out an earlier article titled How to hire the right talents with TIPS.

    Stage 3: Talent onboarding

    When a new talent joins an organization, they often first go through an orientation program that helps to familiarize them with their new organization. After the initial “honeymoon period”, however, many talents are left alone in living up to the expectation of their new boss and colleagues.

    One onboarding approach to help new talents to integrate into their new organization successfully, and avoid disillusionment, is to assign them a mentor. Here, TIPS can help to ensure that the mentor has a similar, or ideally, the same TIPS profile as a new talent. Why is this useful?

    People with the same or similar profiles and cognitive preferences tend to like each other. They share similar viewpoints and cognitive styles. Hence, a TIPS-compatible mentor can share with her mentee how to effectively navigate the company culture (the real one, not its public relations version) while staying true to one’s natural talents and personality.

    Stage 4: Talent (re-)alignment

    One of the best ways for an organization to retain their top talents is by putting them in a role that they love and can do well. One sentence captures the essence of talent (re-)alignment: Put the right person into the right job. 

    Organizations that ensure hiring the right new talents for a vacant position tend to comply with this maxim (in stage 2: talent acquisition). Yet, many organizations have put a significant number of those “right people” who are already on board in a “wrong job”. Either they work in a (slightly) wrong role within the right work team, or in a wrong business function. How can TIPS help here? 

    TIPS suggests what “ecosystems”  (business functions, industries, and organizational types) fit the natural talents of each profile type. So, invite all your incumbent talents to take the TIPS online personality test. Then, check how closely the role that each person works in fits their TIPS profile and preferred cognitive styles. Next, discuss the results with each talent and their manager. If desired, realign the roles and responsibilities of all those “right people” who are  “in the wrong job” to set free their full talents. Do you want more details on how this works?  Take a look at an earlier blog post article titled How to put the right people into the right job.

    Stage 5: Talent management

    Different talents vary in the way they prefer to be managed by their superior (team manager or senior executive). These differences go back to different personal preferences in cognitive styles that relate to the four TIPS styles (to think, work, interact and live). If you’re a manager, some members of your team may prefer:

    • taking on more quantitative, analytical duties, while others prefer more qualitative, creative work assignments (thinking style). 
    • working on longer, conceptual projects, while others enjoy ticking off operational tasks on a To Do-list (work style). 
    • you to make your case, and decisions, based on evidence and hard facts, while others want you to communicate and make decisions in a more considerate, consensual ways (interaction style).
    • a work climate and management style that is more formal, disciplined and on schedule, while others are more casual, free-flowing and flexible on time (lifestyle).

    The article Manage people better by relating to their personal styles discusses these differences in how people like to be managed in greater detail.

    Stage 6: Talent development

    Talent development aims to provide appropriate Learning & Development (L&D) programs that empower your talents to grow, perform better, and prepare them for their next career step. Thereby, it’s essential to move away from one-size-fits-all L&D programs to more individualized upskilling approaches. Such a personalized approach aligns with a fundamental principle of TIPS: “Make everyone play on the natural strengths of their TIPS profiles. Use the other profiles to compensate for one’s weaknesses.” 

    Do you see the value in this credo? Then focus the upskill training initiatives for your talents on developing their strengths further, and not on eradicating their weaknesses. Read the article Who should be trained in what?, which explains the underlying rationale in greater detail, and also suggests sample training courses that most talents of a particular TIPS profile type find appealing. 

    Stage 7: Talent performance

    Different types of talents tend to excel at producing certain kind of outputs. For example, a person who is good at closing deals typically is poor at writing code. 

    TIPS can help you understand who has a talent for producing what kinds of outputs. The target outputs that come naturally easy to a person reside in their talent sweet spot. So, if you’ve already put the right person into the right job (talent acquisition and/or realignment)), then that talent can produce the target outputs related to this position easily, effortlessly and enjoyably. 

    An earlier blog article titled How to boost work productivity and performance with TIPS outlines examples of primary and secondary target outputs for each of the 11 TIPS profiles, as well as the process steps of effective performance management for your talents.

    Stage 8: Talent leadership

    Who is the best talent to lead a business unit — or even the entire organization as CEO? It depends on where in the business cycle a particular business unit, or the whole corporation, locates right now, and whether it’s ready to move to the next development stage. 

    As a company grows, it’s leadership focus shifts: from creating and launching products, to marketing and sales growth, to solidifying operations, and finally systematizing the entire business. As explained in an earlier article, specific TIPS profiles come to the fore at different development stages as a company gradually evolves from a start-up venture to a large or even multinational corporation. 

    For example, nowadays, many corporations are threatened by digital transformation and new technologies (especially in some industries such as banking or automotive). They need to start a new creative cycle to avoid the fate of creative destruction. The corresponding TIPS profile to best drive such agile, innovative and disruptive change —either as leader of a new business unit or even as the organization’s CEO— is an Ideator (and not a Systematizer who tends to occupy executive chairs in established organizations). 

    Stage 9: Talent transition

    At some point, talents depart from an organization. In the past, most people stayed with one organization from recruitment until retirement. Nowadays, the end of one talent lifecycle is the beginning of a new one. 

    In some cases, talents transition into a new organization by their own volition to hike up their compensation or career prospects. In other cases, however, organizational restructuring and automation of business processes force organizations to make some of their talents redundant.

    Here, TIPS can become an invaluable tool to ensure that departing talents can smoothly transition into a new role or career. Companies may offer their “outplaced” talents to take a TIPS online test. TIPS allows them to learn more about their personality profile and preferred cognitive styles. (For some, it may be the first time in their career that they’ve got the opportunity to take a cognitive profiling test). By gaining greater self-awareness of their TIPS profile, departing talents can align their next career move to a proper role, industry, organizational type, and business cycle stage, regardless of whether they sign on at a new company or consider starting their own business.

    Conclusion: TIPS empowers talent management along the entire lifecycle

    TIPS can provide organizations with greater talent awareness. Our cognitve profiling tool can support human resources managers to more effectively manage human capital along all stages of the talent management lifecycle. Knowledge of a person’s TIPS profile allows you to:

    a) first, recruit the right talents;

    b) then, retain them longer by aligning their job placements, L&D initiatives and performance contributions to their TIPS profile, and by managing them in harmony with their preferred cognitive styles; and

    c) finally, release them in style into a successful next career.  

    • Are you a leader who would like to learn more about how TIPS can help you manage your human capital? 
    • Are you curious about what’s your TIPS profile? Buy your TIPS online profiling test coupon for $89 now.
    • Would you like to find out more about our TIPS training? Contact us to tell us more. 

    © Dr. Detlef Reis 2019

  • Which of the 11 TIPS Profiles are You?

    TIPS has 11 distinct innovator profiles that play on one or more of the four TIPS bases (theories, ideas, people, systems). How do you profile in TIPS?

    TIPS is Thinkergy's new cognitive people profiling tool for business and innovation. When would you like to get TIPS-ed and take our TIPS online test to reveal your innovator profile?