Sunday, June 22, 2008


IERU stands for "Interchangeable Engineering Resource Unit" and is a large corporations idea of a "Person". I believe people are the most important asset of any corporation. People are not interchangeable, some people do really well at doing there jobs, they are focused and they understand what's going on.

Then there are the "others". The one's who don't seem to quite get it, the one's who only understand their world and don't get the big picture. They don't seem to know how to get things right.

It's not really as simple as that, but, for now, that's how I'm saying it is. Some people, when allowed to their job, can do wonderful things. The good one's can't simply be replaced with other people who struggle to do a good job. When people that do a good job are found...hang onto them!

If you have a person who doesn't quite get it, look for a job for them that they do get. Everyone does a good job at something. The trick is to find what people are good at...and then put them into that job.

Remember, people are the most important asset at a company, whether they acknowledge it or not. The leaders need to know and figure it out.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

More on Introversion and innovation

I've written that collaboration is a key ingredient for innovation (And if I haven't written it, I've thought about it a lot), but how does being an introvert fit into innovation and collaboration?

I know I've said I was an introvert. I've been told by various bosses that I need to "Push my comfort zone" and I need to collaborate with others to come up with idea's. I've tried to tell some of the bosses that just going into work everyday, knowing I'm going to have to deal with a bunch of people on various issues, is pushing my boundary and is using up a lot of my energy.

I've had to deal with people all my life and it still takes energy to do that. I don't always have the energy I need left for collaborations and negotiations for innovation.

I believe in "to thine own self be true". I'm an introvert, I work better without the distraction of others. So lately, if I'm trying to come up with a good idea, I listen to the others brainstorming ideas (I don't necessarily participate) I then go off to a quite place and read, think, relax, and "chew" on the information in my own introverted way. I do tend to come up with pretty good ideas that way. I then tell whomever was looking for the ideas and they're usually pretty accepting. I have ran into the problem of some bosses saying "you should have brought it up in the meeting" or "it's too late for that idea". Of course, I want to say "I didn't know good idea's had a time limit" being the smart a** that I sometimes am. Of course at work, you should always hold your tongue to those slower than you.

Remember, it's never to late for a good idea.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Medieval Corparations

I work in a big company…Very large company...A HUGE company. I've sat here many times, after walking past the walled offices, past the big cubes, to my hovel of a cube, and thought "this place is just a smaller version of a medieval kingdom." The company president is king, the VPs are princes, directors are Nobels, on down to us "surfs" . The king (president) doesn't see us except on the rare occasions he ventures out of his palace area. The Medieval kingdom paradigm aspect is pervasive in this environment (Big companies). You walk from "Employee parking" past upper management "Reserved Parking" to the building. The closer to the building the higher ranking the person in the parking spot.

Enough rambling, I was thinking about our Medieval company environment and how it affects innovation. There are a lot of people here with good ideas but a lot of them, I believe, are not voiced because of the hierarchy. This was reinforced in a meeting a couple of months ago when I just happen to be in a meeting with a director and several of his guys just below him in rank. I had an idea, and I voiced it, as I tend to do. I was ignored. I voiced it again and was told to be quite and that the they would figure out the answer and would tell me what it is. I've learned from many experiences that if I am simply brushed off in two tries, I will not be heard. Approximately 3 minutes later, one of the upper level guys repeated what I said, very close to word for word, and it was a great ides! All the big-wigs loved it.

How does this affect the common people with being innovative? What kind of culture does this set up so people can be innovative? Basically, it's anti-innovation, innovation and idea crushing, and is simply wrong. Innovation needs to be ingrained in the culture, ideas should be allowed to be openly expressed and listened, too. It's not only for the upper labor grades. If you want good ideas, listen to the people who's spirit haven't been crushed yet by this type of environment. Pull the thinking of the higher ups out of the 70's and at least into the 90's.

A lot of companies are better than this (I.e. Google and NI) but a lot of companies are not.

One Note: I will say that the director was out of the room and his minions were the ones not listening, but I was a couple of labor grades below the next lowest person in the room. The director does listen

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Introverts and Collaboration

I am an introvert. I'm in a world of extroverts. Only 25% of people are introverts and that means 75%, a clear majority of people are extroverts. I got this information from the great book "The introvert advantage" by Marti Laney.

The new corporate world demands collaboration and teamwork. If you don't fit in that paradigm then you're not moving up in the corporation...or so I've been told. I've also found that Introversion doesn't seem to be on the corporate Diversity list.

I don't mind talking with others but, as an introvert, I don't sit in a meeting and come up with idea's very well. My best idea's come up about 30 minutes to 1 hour after the meeting. Typically I have, what I've been told, are pretty good ideas but "I should have brought them up in the meeting".

I've seen several people around with this same problem, introverts I'm sure. Collaboration just doesn't always fit with the introvert. I've been trying to come up with some idea's on what introverts need to do to fit in the collaborative world.

Here are some thoughts on how to participate:
- Before the meeting, rest, relax
- Be prepared for the meeting, try to have ideas and answers before you go.
- Don't schedule to many meetings or to many group interactions in one day
- Take notes to help you focus your thoughts
- If there's a point in a meeting you don't have to listen, then work on clarifying your thoughts.
- Let people know that you're going to keep thinking about it and you may have inputs later.
- If they ask you to participate or for input let them know your thinking about it and you need to get your thoughts together so you can give a good answer.
- Once you gather your thoughts, E-mail or send a note to the leader.

I just thought I would pass this on because, at my work, your expected to participate in collaboration efforts. Even if your best thoughts don't come during the meetings.