Serendipitous Innovation Advantage for Hybrid and Remote Teams

7 min read
(Video & Podcast) Serendipitous Innovation Advantage for Hybrid and Remote Teams

Work will never go back to a pre-pandemic normal, and leaders who don’t seize an innovative advantage risk lagging behind. One way to gain competitive advantage is to use methodologies like Virtual Serendipitous Idea Generation. That’s the key take-away message of this episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show, which describes how hybrid and remote teams can gain a serendipitous innovation advantage.

Video: “Serendipitous Innovation Advantage for Hybrid and Remote Teams”

Podcast: “Serendipitous Innovation Advantage for Hybrid and Remote Teams”

Links Mentioned in Videocast and Podcast

Transcript

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the wise decision maker show where we help you make the wisest and most profitable decisions. And today we’ll talk about the wisest and most profitable decisions on returning back to the office and figuring out the future of work in terms of hybrid and remote collaboration, specifically issues around idea generation, serendipitous idea generation innovation. That is the essence of what we want to talk about today. Now, as you might very well might know, a very common reason for leaders who are pushing return to the office, plenty of people want to go back to the office for five days a week, they want the whole back to the office Monday through Friday, nine to five or something like that, or eight to six for those who want four days a week. That is a common refrain. I hear a lot from leaders who want to go back to the office for the companies that have helped transition into the future of work. They are really worried about innovation. So that’s the issue that they’re worried about. They perceive innovation, fundamentally serendipitous innovation, and anticipated innovation to come from Hallway Conversations. And those holy conversations are the basis for that serendipitous generation of ideas, unexpected ideas. And these leaders missed out on these unexpected serendipitous ideas during the lockdowns and they’re really worried that the rivals are going back to the office Monday through Friday, nine to five, the whole work day. The more time you spend together in the office, the more they think you will maximize those ideas, get as many hallway conversations happening as possible Hallway Conversations, post meeting conversations, whatever, all of those sorts of things happening, and then you’ll get as many ideas as possible. Well, here’s the thing. They did not really adopt the best practices for serendipitous idea generation remotely during the pandemic. What happened during the march 2020 lockdowns is that they imposed their methods that they traditionally used for office collaboration, they imposed them on remote collaboration during the pandemic. So they didn’t really adopt many innovative best practices that are suited to remote work or to hybrid work. And that is why they’re pushing for a fall sale. Return to the office once the vaccine became available, despite the new variants that are coming up, which are clearly quite dangerous for the Fall office return. And despite the challenges of retention, and recruitment, that are associated with forcing office workers back to the office, they can do their job quite fine, full time remotely or on a hybrid schedule. Being forced back to the office is not a good idea, if you want to keep your best talent. Now consider lots and lots of surveys. External surveys, major surveys conducted after widespread vaccination was fully available show that employees really preferred to have hybrid work or remote work, something like a quarter to a third prefer full time remote work. Over half prefer hybrid schedules, only something like 10 to 20% one full time in office work. And we’re of course talking only about the 50% of workers who can work full time remotely. And you know what, something like two fifths to over half said that they would resign if they’re forced to go back to the office full time if they’re not given their preferred flexible schedule. This is a huge danger for successful innovation. You might have heard about the great resignation also called the Great quit. We’ve seen huge numbers of employees resigning in the months after vaccination became widely available. 3,000,003 point 4,000,005 point 7 million over 4 million. These are huge numbers considering that the American workforce is not that much, something like 150 million. And you see these huge resignations to 3% of the American workforce. This is astounding, much, much higher than people have ever resigned before voluntarily leaving for another job. The desire for flexibility is a major driver of this resignation. And here we see the signs of mismanagement, leaders are making really bad decisions. And there’s a lot of resistance by office workers to going back to the office. So there’s resignations, you see a lot of demoralized people in the workplace. And this happens at the very top companies, Google, Apple, Amazon, Uber, all of these companies, you see the leadership pushing office workers back to the office, they want an office centric culture that you say, and then you see other companies starting recruitment campaigns for the workers at Google at Amazon at Uber at Apple and the top employee are leaving and the rest of employees are demoralized because their office leadership is pushing them back to the office. And this is a serious issue. And we see that these companies are making very bad mistakes, because they’ve turned around and they said, oops, we screwed up. Google was throughout the pandemic, saying that, hey, we’re gonna force everyone back to the office, we want to know about centric culture, and they had many people resign. So on May 5, they said, We screwed up, we’ll allow up to 50 after 20% of our workforce to work full time remotely, Amazon was saying they wanted everyone nine to five back to the office, then they changed their tunes, kind of a Gen 10. They said, we’ll have people back in the office three days a week. And then they changed again on October 10. Saying that, well, we screwed up, we’re gonna have our people just be Team Lead models where people are going back on a basis that their team or the team leader suggests, here’s what we should do. So that lower level decision making is another top level decision making, which is something I’ve been advocating since the start of the widespread vaccination, in my book on this topic, returning the office and leading hybrid remote teams, benchmarking the best practices for competitive advantage. And that was published in May 2021. So Amazon is really behind the times. So as Google search, so many other companies, and many other companies, Goldman Sachs, and so JP Morgan, are still trying to force their employees back to the office or have an office centric culture, a very bad idea. The problem here is cognitive bias is dangerous judgment errors that cause us to make bad decisions. And so this is what results in leaders, the dangerous judgment errors, these cognitive biases that cause us to make problematic decisions that cause us to not adapt to the new situation we’re facing ourselves into. And not to adopt best practices to use in this new situation. People just really favor what they’re comfortable with. And so here’s one of the cognitive biases, it’s really dangerous, called the status quo bias. We want to go back or maintain the ways of doing things that we know our old style ways of doing things, things that we’re comfortable with, leaders really want to go back to January 2020. They’re successful in that setting. They know how to manage people and that setting. And so that status quo bias causes leaders to try to push back and go back to that office centric culture with which they’re familiar. Unfortunately, that causes them a lot of problems because the context changed. We fundamentally changed our values, habits, norms, preferences, people are not overwhelmingly willing to go back to that office centric culture. So top employees are leaving and companies, the biggest trillion dollar companies that usually have huge Lehigh retention are not retaining their talent. That is one big problem, the status quo bias. Another big problem is called the ostrich effect. That refers to the mythical notion of ostriches burying their head in the sand when they see dangers. Of course, that’s not what actually happens. But that’s the myth. And that’s what the ostrich effect is named after. This is about denial of negative reality. So leaders denying negative reality, despite plenty of data, showing them that what they’re trying to do is leading to bad outcomes like employees resigning, and they deny these uncomfortable facts. That’s a top reason why CEOs get fired. Actually, there was a study of 1087 Board members of organizations that fired their CEOs, the top five reasons 23% of the CEOs were fired for denying negative reality. So clearly, this is a prevalent and problematic tendency. Now, in order to adopt best practices for the future of work, we need to focus on the hybrid model, where most people come in one to two days a week, some people come in full time remotely, you match the employee desires to maximize retention. And then the teams are the ones who decide the team leaders, as I was talking about from early on, when vaccines are becoming widely available, team leaders need to make the decision. They’re the ones who know what their team needs best. That’s what optimizes collaboration and boosts retention. So that is what you want to go for. As part of that. Let’s circle back to the beginning about the serendipitous idea generation. What’s that about? Right? How do you do that in remote settings? What you want to realize is that the leaders who try to transpose their in office based practices or remote work did not do a very good job. It does not work very well to try to use in office practices for full time remote work or for hybrid work. Instead, in order to have effective serendipitous innovation in remote or hybrid teams. You want to create specific virtual venues that are customized to serendipitous generation to people’s incentives, motivations and the way that it is appropriate and effective for them to collaborate in remote and hybrid settings. So those incentives, that’s what you want to be thinking about. So how do you do this? What’s the practical way of doing this? Well, think about your virtual collaboration platform, whether it’s slack, whether it’s Microsoft Teams, whether it’s Trello, whatever it is, set up a venue, a channel in Slack or teams a card in Trello, that people can use for certain depressa. Yeah, generation for each team for cross functional teams for broader business units, if you have a smaller company, the organization as a whole or a business unit of the company, and then for that need, that’s a native digital format that people can use effectively, what they do use it for is as an open space to share innovative ideas. So members, when someone shares someone has an innovative idea, they put it in the appropriate channel, whether it’s relevant to the team to the business, you know, to the cross functional team to the organization as a whole. And then other people get notifications or somehow they check the channel depends on whichever collaboration software you’re using the evaluate the idea, they comment on it, their feedback, and then what if it snowballs and reaches critical mass, that’s when you can move forward, and you can have that idea going forward. So you have a lot of well considered innovative ideas resulting from this development. Now, that fits members natural motivations and engagements. Think about what happens. The person who shares the idea gets credit, of course, because they share their idea. They are the innovator, and then the people who give feedback, are they improve, so they give credit as well. They’re valuable contributors, that fits everyone’s needs and everyone’s desires, and they get the appropriate reputational benefit from it. And of course, that sometimes leads to patenting and you want to know who helped come up with the idea for patenting purposes. So that’s great as well, it maximizes different strengths. So if you think about the optimist and the pessimist on your team, you have that neurodiversity, right. Some people are more optimistic, they’re really the idea generators. And the pessimists are the ones who improve ideas. So this provides a really good balance. For both of them, the optimist will generate ideas, the pessimists will improve them. Now, there are a lot of other benefits of this forum format. It enhances people’s ability to work together to be a team to collaborate effectively, it helps them be creative, and it takes advantage of members’ strengths, optimists pessimists and compensates for weaknesses. They don’t have to do anything that weekend. So this is a really great technique to adapt to the future of work for which is really going to be hybrid and remote. So there is going to be a bunch of people who are hired to create a large minority of people who are going to be full time remote and only a small proportion of people who will be coming into the office. And so that is what I want to share about a sort of depressed idea generation in hybrid and remote teams. Alright, everyone, I hope you’ve benefited from this episode of the wise decision maker show. Please click like on the show, please follow us on whatever venue. You’ve heard this might be on YouTube, where you saw the video it might be on Amazon or Apple podcasts or you heard the podcast, please subscribe. Make sure you keep getting all our videos or podcasts going forward, check out the show notes for much more information on the topic of certain depressive idea generation. Alright everyone, I hope you send me your ideas on what you thought about this. My email is Gleb GL ARB at disaster avoidance experts.com. Again Gleb at disaster avoidance experts that come happy to share more information about this topic, and hear your ideas when you send them to me. In the meantime, I hope you will make the wisest and most profitable decisions until I see you next time, my friends 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai 


Bio: Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is a world-renowned thought leader in future-proofing, decision making, and cognitive bias risk management. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-proofing consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts, which specializes in helping forward-looking leaders avoid dangerous threats and missed opportunities. A best-selling author, he wrote Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019), The Blindspots Between Us: How to Overcome Unconscious Cognitive Bias and Build Better Relationships (New Harbinger, 2020), and Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, and other languages. He was featured in over 550 articles and 450 interviews in prominent venues. These include Fortune, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, CBS News, Business Insider, Government Executive, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Time, Fast Company, and elsewhere. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for mid-size and large organizations ranging from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, including 7 as a professor at Ohio State University. You can contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, LinkedIn, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, and gain free access to his “Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace” and his “Wise Decision Maker Course” with 8 video-based modules.