Innovation, Ideation and Igniting Passion – Welcome 2016!

firewords 2.jpg

By, Cari Desiderio

Last year my New Year’s blog had to do with the transformation of HR into a business partner model. This year, no need for grids and diagrams. I think the HR community has captured the message that we are evolving into a new state of being.

This year, let’s focus on simplicity. The hallmark of a strong company, is a company that stands out from the rest. Stands out with unique products. Stands out with special employees. It is time to inspire something new in our companies this year!

This starts by igniting passion by creating a culture that is both attractive and has leaders worth following. A few years back I was part of the R&D division of a large healthcare company. We needed to create a new IT product that was different from anything in the market, to drive our division and allow us to create the kind of clinical analytics and metrics to drive a competitive advantage. In our journey, we realized that the way to get here was to create an environment that great people wanted to be in. We hired some new leaders who were very progressive and positive. We actually redecorated the office with a dynamite employee lounge, snacks, positive and inviting environment. Because we knew that the programmers we needed on the team would be hard workers and sometimes work super overtime, we even installed a small rec area for relaxation and gaming. This fun environment created an environment conducive to igniting passion!

The other elements are kind of conjoined. Ideation is all about drawing out the creative juices in your team. Innovation is all about new product ideas that will create a competitive advantage and be ground breaking in your industry. These two things are all about hiring smart minds, and cultivating those minds. This starts at recruiting. Good branding, good talent attraction and smart total comp packages to hire the talent. This continues with managers who are coaches. Let’s move away from the old school performance ownership models, and into environments of coaching. Give me a leader who cares about me, my development, my ideas and is willing to let me sit alongside him or her at the business decision table. Do that  and I feel empowered and engaged. Finally, this means great talent development and training investments. I owe a debt gratitude to my last two employers who have supported me through my HR master’s degree. I owe a debt of gratitude to two leaders years back who paid for my SPHR and change management training and professional association fees, to grow me. I owe a debt of gratitude to every leader who put time and energy to give me new experiences and to teach me (not just coaching me, but also sponsoring me and putting me in new stretch opportunities). When positive environment intersects with positive leaders and quality investment, we are ready for some ideation and innovation action!

Hats off to all the leaders who are inspired to invest and be positive change agents this year!