Change and Transformation
New Powerhouse Created in Canadian Human Capital Market
Two of Canada’s most respected professional services firms have come together to create a new strategic alliance to serve Canadian business leaders in meeting the challenges of transformational change and talent management.
“The Beacon Group’s program proved to be a transformational experience for our staff, and has created a new, more open culture of creativity and collaboration that has given The Globe and Mail a marked and measurable competitive advantage.”
— Phillip Crawley
“The Beacon Group was able to handle our 360 reviews across 9 offices in a manner that brought significant value to our partners, the firm and ultimately our clients.”
— Judson Whiteside
“The human capital programs provided by The Beacon Group are best in class.”
— Tye Burt
“The Beacon Group approaches very serious and difficult topics in an accessible and insightful way.”
— Eric Siegel
“The Beacon Group’s thought provoking curriculum utilizes best practice tools and interactive media for evaluation, assessment and overall learning. It has helped us raise the bar on our calibre of talent.”
— Ernst Lieb
“The Beacon Group delivered cutting edge perspectives on many human capital topics that were tailored and customized to our company in a way that we could not have obtained at more generic, cookie-cutter advising shops.”
— Doug Lord
“The Beacon Group acted as a strategic partner and was instrumental in helping us raise the bar on candid dialogue and team performance.”
— Robert Courteau
“We engaged The Beacon Group when we needed to bring two cultures together after our first major international acquisition: the evidence of their success lies in both the subsequent growth in our business and our presence in more than twelve countries on five continents.”
— Rupert Duchesne
“The Beacon Group excels in facilitating open & candid dialogue that has fostered superior team performance.”
— Mary Ellen Carlyle
“Top-level thought leadership, combined with practical, cost-effective solutions—that’s the real value the Beacon Group team brings to bear on Foresters talent challenges.”
— Suanne Nielsen
“Doug Williamson and his team were of invaluable assistance in helping our organization navigate through a completely new strategic planning process and emerge with a three year plan resoundingly endorsed by our Board. Doug’s global perspectives and ability to drive consensus was an integral part of our success.”
— Don Forgeron
“The Global HR & Communications senior team engaged the Beacon Group in shepherding us through a unique strategic planning process that involved an outside-in view of our current and future workforce and how this aligns to our business strategy. Thanks to Doug and his team it was a thought provoking process that sharpened our strategic thinking and, in the end, made our strategy stronger.”
— Sylvia Chrominska
“The Beacon Group’s customized and personalized approach fit our needs perfectly. From the initial self-discovery phase all the way to recommending solutions, the work they have done has been consistently world-class. They combine strong analytics with a wealth of real world experience. They are focused, targeted and are experts at taking theoretic concepts and making them real. We look forward to working with Doug and his team as we continue to elevate our business and improve our internal performance.”
— Don Romano
In the hyperactive and challenging world in which we all live, it is becoming harder and harder for business leaders to find time to read, reflect and gain insight from the many valuable sources at our disposal.
In "Provocative Propositions", The Beacon Group attempts to fill that void by offering our opinion, often rather pointed, on a wide array of issues we believe are relevant to leading a modern organization.
The articles are catalogued into 12 categories so you can quickly and easily find a topic of particular interest. We then offer three easy steps under the heading "In Our Opinion" to help business leaders take action on the key themes.
Simply click on the category and read away.
There is a great deal of "buzz" in the corporate marketplace about the value of innovation and creativity and its role in generating sustainable performance improvement. Most organizations we know of certainly have Leadership Competencies that include those two attributes on their checklist of essential leadership behaviours. On the other hand, they sometimes forget that, at the very core of the innovation gene, there is something called "the idea".
The Idea Factory
We are in the middle of a revolution - an idea revolution - and organizations will improve their chances of winning based less on innovation per se, than on their ability to harness and polish raw ideas. In their book Alan G. Robinson and Dean M. Schroeder book "Ideas Are Free" promote that stimulating, promoting and fostering the "idea factory" within the organization is an absolute prerequisite to the much-valued outcome, which is "innovation".
In a recent study published in Fast Company Magazine, failure to capture ideas costs organizations upwards of $1.4 trillion a year in the United States alone. In every organization there are rich and deep hidden seams of "ideas" that, like any mineral body, have to be discovered, mined and then refined. Organizations must, therefore, find a way to spend a substantially greater amount of time 'auditioning' ideas that are brought forth by their employees.
Mining the Database
How many employees do you have?
How many of them are formally requested to mine their own mental database and provide you with ideas?
You might measure their productivity and their performance but do you measure who amongst them generates the most ideas? The best ideas?
Silly isn't it? We somehow know that innovation and creativity are important. We know they provide value. We know they can help differentiate us from our competitors. We know it will keep us in the game but we never ask (I mean really ask) for ideas.
It doesn't matter if the employees are on the factory floor, or all hold Master's Degrees (or both). If you stack them all up on top of each other, they are sure to be smarter than any one person alone and, guess what – Ideas are Free. In the idea revolution, your only weapon is the idea itself.
Stop the Bribery
Bribery does not work and Suggestion Boxes are a gimmick from the 1950's that never really worked either. When it comes to generating ideas - stop offering promotions, enough with the sales gimmicks, collect all the coupons.
These days, ideas are free. In order to succeed in the future, organizations must find a way to implement genuine, frequent and energized 'blue sky' brainstorming sessions. These meetings should involve employees from all levels of the organization and should be informal and fast paced.
The idea here is not to perfect the idea but to generate ideas. Random ideas that are not necessarily linked, but might represent some thinking that is at the edge, on the fringe or even from the far side. Do it often enough and the pulse of the organisation might even quicken.
What is an Idea?
Ideas can be about breakthrough products or services, or small, incremental changes that lead to cost savings or efficiencies across the organization. Either way, ideas are thoughts, fancies, notions – ideas are intangible. However, they are the most valuable hidden item on your balance sheet.
Quick, it’s getting away!!
How many times does this type of thing have to happen: An employee has an idea, realizes its potential, and takes it to senior management who promptly shoot it down. At this point, the employee decides to take that idea to a more open-minded organization that will support (and ultimately profit from) the idea. How is it that so many companies don't have some sort of review system to ensure that every idea is thoroughly examined, logged, and revisited – regularly? If we are truly in an idea revolution – that is similar to poorly managed funds.
I before E
Far too many organizations spend a disproportionate amount of their time and effort developing strategies which they then ask people to execute. They then conduct a single brainstorming session to come up with new ideas to include in their strategy. Organizations would be better advised to find ways to develop their ideas in real time rather than rely upon formal planning events or strategy sessions.
In Our Opinion
The Beacon Group's Thoughts on Harnessing Ideas
Hire a Prospector - Designate someone whose job it is to find ideas and present ALL of them to the management team.
Add Ideas to the Dashboard - How many ideas has your organization collected this month? How many were acted upon? What was the financial benefit of each idea? Great companies track their ideas.
Buy an Option - There are times when an idea is truly ahead of its time. Be sure to make a list of such ideas. This list should be reviewed on a regular basis, so, as time passes, ideas are not forgotten and can be embraced as the timing dictates. They represent an option on the future.
Don't Reward Individuals with Money - Reward them with opportunity, space, and encouragement to continue searching for more ideas. People are far more responsive to recognition and respect. Therefore, as your 'great idea' people emerge, create an environment where they can thrive. If they come up with a great idea, give them a day off to go find another one.
Be Competitive – Challenge departments to come up with the highest number of ideas. Compete to see how many of them are actually implemented. Healthy rivalry will stimulate all employees to continually challenge themselves to be 'checked in' to their work.
Our Monthly Rant
Hey Wait, That's My Idea!
Because ideas are free and there is no limit on the number of ideas out there and no patents can be granted on the idea (just the invention) this is maybe one part of the business world where it is actually OK to steal.
Now, we don't mean that literally and we are not promoting illegal behaviour but if you think about it for a minute, how often is an idea hoisted up the flagpole and just left there to flap in the wind. No one wants it. No one notices it. No one sees how that idea might link to another idea in order to create something special.
Many organizations employ fast follower strategies to help themselves get up to speed. At a time like this, where competition is moving at the speed of light, you must be honest with yourself, and if you find yourself trailing the pack, do whatever you can to catch up.
To get started… steal the idea idea first.