The Republicans just finished their big shindig and now the Democrats have their blowout this week. While watching part of the convention I had a moment when I realized there is so much to learn about innovation from this process.
First, if you are running your company the way it was designed in 1832 it might be time to rethink your approach. Just saying.
Second, if your company is making decisions by which faction yelled the loudest in a 'yea'' or 'nay' vote you might want reflect on that.
Third, if Scott Baio is your big name draw, at least do a skit of some type like 'Donald Loves Melania' or 'Donald in Charge.' Those are so obvious. Where was Trump's use of Chachi's "wah wah wah' from Happy Days in his acceptance speech. What a lost opportunity.
Finally, if helping drive change in your organization hinges on a speech by your company's leader at 10:15 pm on day 4 of very boring off-site when most folks are ready to go to bed, it might be prudent to evaluate if that is really a good idea.
I completely understand that these conventions are really about media, promotion, and having a big boondoggle. With that said, what about your company? What innovative approaches are you using for annual meetings, off-sites, and staff meetings? Are you trying new and innovative approaches or is it more of the same old same old.
Take a lesson from the conventions - it is time to innovate.
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Memphis, Tennessee and do all the cool stuff that Memphis has to offer. One activity that was particularly fun was going to Sun Studio, the location where Elvis Presley (did I even need to include his last name there) recorded his very first songs.
Did you know that when Elvis came to Sun to record a song (anyone could walk at that time and pay to have a song recorded) the owner and legendary producer at Sun, Sam Phillips, was not there at the time? However, his secretary, Marion Keisker, was and, after listening to the recording, she suggested that Sam contact Elvis.
There are quite a few lessons here. However, in the interest of keeping with the theme of innovation, let's focus on just one.
Consider for a moment that person who you feel is 'just the secretary' or 'just an intern' or in some other more entry level position. How do you react to his or her ideas? Are you listening? Are you even asking? Do you value his or her input?
The key to building an innovative culture is being open to and respecting the ideas of EVERYONE. In this case, Ms. Keisker's idea turned out to be a pretty big deal.
Compare that to the reaction by the experts at the Grand Ole Opry who, in 1954, after Elvis' one and only performance at the Opry, suggested that he should "probably go back to driving a truck."
I guess all we can say to Ms. Keisker for suggesting and for Sam Phillips for listening is "thank you, thank you very much."