One of my passions is the topic of creativity - especially how to spark it within a heavy manufacturing environment. Another of my passions is Cirque du Soleil - perhaps the most unique art form available today. The two come together in a book called CIRQUE DU SOLEIL® THE SPARK: Igniting the Creative Fire That Lives Within Us All. Conceived by Lyn Heward of Cirque, and written by John U. Bacon, a journalist, the book is a thinly disguised fable that tells of Bacon's sojourn with Cirque. While several Amazon reviewers were put off by the fiction/non-fiction confusion of the book, I enjoyed its reminders of the keys to a creative work environment.
My summary of the lessons of the book is fairly long. If you just want the highlights, read the sentences in this purplish shade of red.
"The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way." -- Dale Carnegie
Among many others, Peter Drucker stressed the importance of learning from failure. Indeed, as Mark Howell sees it in this recent post, Drucker saw this as the first requirement for organizational health. Organizations like Apple and Google (see John Agno's recent post) have shown that if you want to move fast, you are going to need to take some risks - you must "fail faster."
It is awfully easy for leaders to be trapped by the success of the past. We get so busy fighting yesterday's battle that we fail to see disruptive change bearing down on us. And we don't often have folks as willing as these two are to point out a better way. Most folks on our teams will simply nod and follow us into battle, even if they don't really agree. What we need is a Palace Fool.
An organized and clean workplace is the foundation of safe operations, low waste, high productivity, reduced variation and improved employee engagement. Perhaps more to the point, it is a lot more fun to come to work in a bright, clean, orderly environment than in a pig pen.
On September 8th and 15th I wrote about the need for Focus. Today I want to urge you to put much of that focus on what you and your organization already do well - and on how to do those things even better.
Think you can juggle a phone conversation with a customer while responding to an email from your boss and reading a technical report? James C. Johnston, a cognition researcher at NASA says you are wrong!