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3 Heads are Better than One – Hewlett Packard

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While the formal partnership of Hewlett-Packard was between Dave and Bill, David’s wife Lucile’s contributions placed an indelible stamp on the human face of HP. Her husband, in the dedication to his 1995 book, “The HP Way,” cited her encouragement and participation in the early years as the genesis of the HP Way

We all know that 2 heads are better than one when it comes to finding solutions, overcoming barriers and being innovative. We all need to find our own “Lucile”.

I always look for ways to broaden my view of an idea. When I do, I like to do this with people who challenge but encourage at the same time. As we get more time poor why muck around with people who just always want to agree with your ideas?

For example, I have recently joined an accredited group of consultants called NCP (Network Consulting Professionals). Many members are past CEO’s, CFO’s and senior executives. It’s a powerful team who help me add more value to my client offering.

Be smart. Think of who you can work with – ideally someone different to you. Let them give you honest feedback around the culture you create because of your leadership (or lack of).

Remember though, if they don’t  ‘rattle your cage’ you are most likely wasting your time.

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We Can Do That! (The Payoff When Collaboration Becomes the Priority)

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We often hear the joke about council workers ‘leaning on their shovels’.

You could not get further from the truth with an inner suburban Council’s Works Depot team.

Nearly 10 years ago I received a call from their manager who wanted to take action to improve the collaboration of his crew of around 30. The team regularly partners with Bridgeworks to build this ‘working together’ attitude.

It’s amazing what happens when you invite the ‘brains from out of the car park’ and into the workplace.

Their commitment to learning, including getting along with others and building trust amongst their team has led to stellar results including:

  • Saving council over $1,000,000 in the first 15 months alone by making and installing signs in-house.
  • Saving over $200 per tonne treating drainage waste in-house at their own purpose built facility.
  • Scoring a perfect 100% twice in their CMP road management plan audits, thus reducing council’s insurance premiums… to name a few wins

All these ideas generated by team members (not leaning on their shovels!)

This caught the eye of their new CEO who was invited to attend the morning session:

“The depot is really leading the way in this as a department, and you and your coordinators deserve to be commended for the culture you inspire in your team.

Well done to you all – it was a delightful, inspiring, thoughtful and fun morning – thank you for inviting me!” 

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Building Best Culture Requires Lateral Thinking

I love this story from the Smart Company newsletter.

Risky stuff, but a great long term investment in Building a Culture that attracts the best.

Coffee giant Starbucks has announced it will foot the bill for online university education for thousands of its employees in the US.

The coffee chain launched a new program yesterday which will pay for its employees to attend online classes at Arizona State University.

Although the company has struggled in Australia, the US arm of Starbucks has been acclaimed for its human resource tactics in the past.

The program is open to any of the company’s 135,000 staff based in the US and working in its company-operated stores, support centres and plants, provided they work at least 20 hours a week and have the test scores to gain admission to Arizona State.

It will allow employees to finish a bachelor’s degree from a choice of 40 undergraduate programs delivered online through the top-ranked University. Juniors and seniors will earn full tuition reimbursement for each semester of full-time coursework they complete toward a bachelor’s degree, while freshmen and sophomores will be eligible for a partial tuition scholarship and need-based financial aid for two years of full-time study. 

Staff will have no commitment to remain at the company past graduation.

“I believe it will lower attrition, it’ll increase performance, it’ll attract and retain better people,” Starbucks CEO Howard D Schultz told The New York Times.

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Creativity – the last true competitive advantage

What do I fear about getting old?…..becoming “functionally fixed”.

This became clear to me as I listened to a great message delivered by TV Host & celebrity Todd Sampson (Australian television personality and CEO of the advertising agency Leo Burnett Australia). Todd’s presentation at the recent 2014 National Retail Association highlighted the power of creativity. The lack of it of course led to people becoming ‘functionally fixed’.

Todd’s view was that becoming ‘functionally fixed” meant becoming more and more routine, stuck in one’s ways, becoming a dinosaur in thinking and in attitude, becoming closed minded. Routine, processes and compliance have the danger of replacing creativity, common sense and just thinking differently/creatively about how we resolve our problems and challenges.

That really scared me as I thought about many of my own conservative or fixed views. It highlighted to how we still educate using methodologies that are often from a 100 years ago!

“Creativity is fast becoming the LAST remaining competitive advantage” according to Todd who heads up the very successful Leo Burnett agency. “Most people think they are not creative. How wrong they are.”

It was Dr. Hewitt-Gleeson that invented the mantra “CVSTOBVS” – with everything we currently do (our ‘current view of the situation) there is ALWAYS a better way of doing it (better view of the situation).

The way you plan your day

The way you do your work

The way you connect with your friends

The way you market your business


There is ALWAYS a better way to do everything in our day to day. As you explore your day why not remember the mantra “CVSTOBVS”.

What will you do different today to avoid the ‘functionally fixed’ disease?!

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