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Ideation Implementation

Ideation Implementation

Ideation Implementation Allen Fahden with

33 Percent of an employee’s salary.  That’s the cost of turnover.  Not to mention the lost time and production.  So how can you keep the good one’s around? Your ideation process may very well be the answer.


This is part one of a series.  First up is “Ideation.”  In part 2 we will discuss “Implementation.”


Listen to the podcast here:

Listen in as Karla and Allen discuss the Ideation Process

Karla Nelson:  And welcome to the People Catalyst podcast, Allen Fahden.

Allen Fahden:  Hello Karla. We’ve got a good one today.

Karla Nelson:  This is really fun.

Allen Fahden:  This is going to make you rethink your rethinking.

Karla Nelson:  That’s good. That’s a good point because this is… What we’re going to be talking about today is how people leave their bosses, not their companies. And this has been a huge issue for a long time and everybody knows it’s a problem. It’s not like its new news, except for, it’s interesting. There’s no real fix to the problem. We just dump more money into training.

Allen Fahden:  Yes we do. And we waste it, don’t we?

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. It’s really actually quite a staggering how much money we waste on training and how much it costs, how much we’ve invested for, how long and the absolute dismal ROI that pops out on the other side. And this is so critical. There’s both tangible and intangible challenges with this and to the business. The number one and number two cost to any business are turnover and a bad hire. And that was Forbes, I was just recently reading that the cost is 33% of whatever the individual’s salary is. That just came out in 2019, and so for the purpose of this podcast we’re going to be talking about turnover because a bad hire is a whole other conversation. But turnover is a big…

Allen Fahden:  Yes. However, it’s really interesting because when you look at those numbers, and let’s go back to the title, 50% of the people left their job because of the boss. So people leave bosses, not companies. By the way, that’s a Gallup study from a few months ago. And the intangible costs too is, I think, an important part because not only does it cost you money to make a bad hire and replace a person. I think what it does, the whole process of leading up to firing the person brings fear into the company, performance goes down, not only that person but other people. And then of course the whole energy and momentum of the company, the division or whatever is trashed. And so the damage goes on and on and on. Those intangibles are hard to measure, but they usually account for a lot more than the tangibles that you can measure.

Karla Nelson:  No doubt about that. And that’s definitely has to be why then 70% people hate their jobs. I mean, there’s a direct correlation, and that’s Gallup. We quote that all the time because they’ve been doing this darn study for 30 years and the numbers are almost staggering across the board. I think it reduced a little bit this past year and they identified the reason why was because unemployment was so low, not because the percentage of people truly shifted their thinking about hating their jobs and what they do every day, but just simply happy that they had a job. And the sad thing about this, Allen, is what this does do people’s…

Another intangible, their health, their relationships, their finances, every other thing. We spend more time at our places of work, regardless if… and I’m going to venture to say even more if you’re the business owner or the CEO or in some upper levels, you’re even spending more than the typical eight hours a day minimum that most people spend doing whatever it is that they do. And the challenge or the sad part about this is with this turnover and all these people hating their jobs, specific to turn over, the Society of Human Resource Management. I believe that’s what SHRM name stands for.

Allen Fahden:  Yes.

Karla Nelson:  I can never remember the acronyms after you’ve been using it for so long and 70% of the cause of this turnover is preventable. There are ways to… And that’s just the turnover. Today we’re going to talk about a process by which you can prevent it absolutely in regards to your company. But 70% of these intangible issues that are popping up and reasons people leave their job and costing 33% just of their tangible costs. Allen just identified a ton of intangibles that you could probably argue cost even more than the tangible, it can be prevented. This is an epidemic that’s preventable. I mean, why wouldn’t you prevent it?

Allen Fahden:  Yep.

Karla Nelson:  I mean, I know you mentioned the 50% of people left the job because of their boss and that Gallup just recently did that study. And we call it all these different words, and the one that really bugs me is leadership, but we’ve got change management, we’ve got culture, we’ve got all these different things, but after 50 years of not moving the needle, it’s just insane that… It’s the definition of insanity, right, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And really, the crux of this is that everyone is a leader. So we use the word leadership, but everyone’s a leader. We’re just leaders at different times. When the object of the exercise is to get something done, you have to let people lead and do the work that they are great at so that they are seen that leadership role throughout the entire company, not just teaching them standing up at the front of a room. Okay, here’s a leadership strategy of listening. You have to be a better listener, right? I mean, I could go on and on, Allen.

Allen Fahden:  Yes, and I think it’s a really important part because it’s like, a lot of bosses and leaders don’t understand it, but they are unknowingly harming themselves and the people who report to them by not knowing a big piece of this, and that’s what we’re really here to do. And maybe one of the best ways to do it is just to say, “Hey, if we don’t change the fundamental way work is done, putting people in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing, then we’re doomed to just repeat it, this whole behavior.” And probably the best metaphor we have for this is, imagine work today is like a three-legged race.

You’re trapped with the other person and so you’re trying to get something done and as your running the race, they’re slowing you down by questioning what you’re doing, by doing something that they promise to do but doing wind up doing a different thing or being late, and the people just don’t fit together very well. But if you were to take that three legged race or that sack race that’s so difficult to do and where people trip all over each other and change that into the fastest kind of race there is, which is a relay race where everybody sprints a much shorter time and then hands off to the right person. When you do that, we’ve been doing this for 25 years, things change dramatically. So if you have a boss who just went to leadership training, I mean, basically, we’re just saying don’t be a jerk, be nice or whatever the latest fad is.

If we don’t change the way we work together, the well-meaning leader is still going to be hypothetically a jerk because they give people the wrong work, get them doing something they hate, they get them sitting through long meetings where nothing gets done. In other words, the system is broken, the people aren’t.

Karla Nelson:  There you go. Yeah, and there you go. Deming, right? 94% of failure… or Deming’s. I always say Deming. Demings, Edward Demings, Edwards Deming actually. 94% of failure is process failure, which processes is a system, not people failure. Yet the first thing we do is blame when things go wrong. And at the end of the day, if you don’t have a system to figure out what you’re going to do, ideation, that’s what we’re going to talk about today, and we will do a part two, which is implementation and how use this system and process in the next podcast, because it often gets confused. There are two parts of the system, which is what are we going to do? How are we going to do it?

So ideation, implementation, and the answer is in both to run sequentially, even though they look slightly different, same players moving in a little bit different process. So I think about those, Allen, and it’s like, gosh, even using the system, work is difficult enough and we complicate it… It’s crazy. I mean, it reminds me of if anyone has ever driven in India. It’s ridiculous. There’s no traffic signals and everybody’s just pushing each other through. When you were talking about the three-legged race, how hilarious is it to watch. You sit on the sidelines and you’re laughing. Yet that’s exactly what we do in business every day, single day. So if you don’t have a system and a process for making decisions, ideation, in implementing them, implementation, the challenge is you never overcome that, what Edward stemming says, 94% of failure is processed failure, not people failure. And what is the study? How many percentages of CEOs? It was so high that get fired because they can’t get things done.

Allen Fahden:  Well, they estimated at the time, that was Ron Sharon, estimated at the time is about 90% of CEOs get fired for not being able to implement something new in their own company.

Karla Nelson:  And then 90% of businesses fail for the same exact reason. Right?

Allen Fahden:  Absolutely.

Karla Nelson:  And look at the correlation of those numbers between what Deming said, the CEOs being fired and businesses fail. They’re all right, pending they’re at 90 to 94%. And I would even venture to say that Deming, at the 94%, you always have the lucky one that’s in the right place just because of timing or whatnot.

Allen Fahden:  Well, I liked that Simon Sinek said, you can stumble over 10% of the market. Well, it’s the same way. You can stumble over doing 10% of the work correctly or having the right person. You just skip somebody who hold task, and probably a 25% of it is going to be something they love to do and they’re good at. And then they do it so fast, it only takes up 10% of their time because they do it way faster than everything else. So there’s your 10%. You spent 10% of your time doing good work and 90% of your time struggling through jello.

Karla Nelson:  That’s so true. Yes. And so we know that work is broken. We work with the 19th century work strategy system.

Allen Fahden:  In the 21st century.

Karla Nelson:  Exactly. I was having a conversation with my bonus dad yesterday about education and you look at, in the last 100 years, look at how our phone has changed. Look at how our TVs, they didn’t exist. Look at how cars have changed. And we were talking about how education hasn’t changed, but even though training… Training and education or two sides of the same coin, but it’s a very thin coin. Kevin, one of our leaders, always says, as parents, do you want to have your kids to have sex education or sex training. There’s the difference. It’s a really good way to look at it. And so the education and training are really close. But if all of those technologies changed, systems, processes, because they’re all interlinked, have changed in the last a hundred years but the way we do work hasn’t changed at all, how is that possible?

Allen Fahden:  That’s right. And it’s all about, if you want to remember anything from this podcast, take a look at fit and sequence. How do your people fit together end to end so that when I finished a job or a task, I know who to go to for the next step and about 75% of the time, left on our own, we go to the wrong person and we have bad results and the trash is there at work. So the part of that is to know how people fit together and put them in the right sequence. That is the missing piece.

Karla Nelson:  Yes. And we have previous podcasts also about personality and behavioral training too, which again, great stuff. I mean, we work with some of the largest resellers of disk in the nation and you can add both in. However, the object of the exercise is not to sing kumbaya. It’s not the potluck on Friday, nor the air hockey table in these break room. And what we do… And I like what you said there, Allen, how we go to the wrong people and we break it down as if we have to like each other in order to get something done. Right?

Allen Fahden:  Yeah. Its problem is the minute they reject your work, you don’t like them anymore no matter how much air hockey you play together.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. And hanging out on the weekends is a lot different than being on a team that’s running through and trying to get something accomplished. And so the relay race and fit in sequence. I love that. If you’re going to walk away from this podcast with to two things is always think about a relay race and how fit in sequence with your people. So let’s break this down, Allen, in ideation. Again, part two, we’ll talk about implementation because these often get confused. So we’re separating in a two-part series for the podcast. With ideation, what you… and let’s talk about the process, Allen. Let’s back it up because you can do ideation without doing the brain dump sometimes. Right?

Allen Fahden:  Sure.

Karla Nelson:  So what I mean by that is we’re going to walk through. I’ll let you do the big picture process and then we’ll break it down with the pitfalls that you can have with the shakers, a mover and the prover as you’re running the ideation process. So walk us through the process.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, so basically it’s the shakers who are the idea people and what you want to do… I mean, every job starts with either there’s something, a goal you want to accomplish or there’s a problem you want to solve. So everybody generates ideas. But oftentimes the most novel ideas will come from the shakers. Let’s say you get a whole big list of ideas, and you’ve done that a million times and everybody has, but it’s what you do with the ideas that makes the huge departure and makes all the differences. So instead of a getting rid of every idea that has something wrong with it, well, the problem is every idea is born grounding. Instead, what you do is you keep all the ideas, and it’s the movers who are natured to pick the best idea and set priorities and design a launch plan.

So the mover takes the all the ideas, picks one, makes a quick plan for it and immediately goes to the prover who is either in the first meeting or not allowed to talk brainstorming. But what you do is go to the prover and you say, “Poke every hole you can in this idea. Rip to shreds. Tell me everything that can go wrong.” And then instead of killing the idea, you collect the what can go wrong and then bring it back to the shakers. So you keep the shakers and the provers apart because they tend to argue with each other and they don’t fit together. But they do fit together when they have a mover in between them.

So the mover is like the point guard on the basketball team that brings the ball down and designs the play. So once the provers say what can go wrong, then the shakers get a chance to come up with ideas to solve the problem. And so between those two it’s about three times faster and everybody gets to imprint the idea without blowing up the other person’s results. It’s all forwarding. It’s a way you can take all these steps and never move backwards.

Karla Nelson:  Yes. And then of course, the shaker being able to overcome those obstacles and running the process and running this process until the process does not end until the prover says, I can live with that.

Allen Fahden:  I can live with that, yup.

Karla Nelson:  I can live with that. And then, because remember the shaker… And then we call, this is another buzz term that I can’t stand, employee engagement. Although it is a challenge in a process or a situation, it can be fixed just by this process. Okay? And the reason why is because the shaker says no to an idea if it’s not their idea. So they get quote unquote disengaged if they can’t imprint the idea. The mover gets disengaged because things aren’t moving forward. And we were in this meeting last week, I wasn’t in charge and we didn’t facilitate anything of an outcome, so I got other things I want to work on.

That’s how they get disengaged. The prover gets disengaged because they’re sitting there rolling their eyes thinking about all this stuff these yahoos aren’t thinking about and is often not allowed to even poke the holes in the ideas at all because they’re seen as negative, naysayers, Debbie downers. And so they get naysayed because they’re just sitting back thinking, gosh, these yahoos aren’t going to get this done anyway. And so this is how you engage everyone at the right time. And I think we could break this down to… Let’s go through the input and output piece of this and then we’ll move on to the pitfalls, if you want to take that, Allen.

Allen Fahden:  Yeah, good idea. Let’s say you start a project with either something you want to accomplish or something that’s a problem and needs fixing. Well that’s perfect. That’s reality. That’s the way things really are and that’s the perfect input for the shaker. The shaker wants to know exactly what’s going on and exactly where we want to go, get the details so they can take that reality and generate ideas to change the reality. It’s the shaker’s nature to want to change what is the status quo.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, shakers want to break the rules.

Allen Fahden:  Break the rules, break the mold, do something that’s never been done before. So a shaker will come up with a great idea, fall in love with it but really won’t know one idea from another. They can have six ideas and I don’t care which one we do as long as it’s mine. So the shaker’s output is ideas and that matches the mover’s input, which is ideas. So it’s like an outbox and an inbox. You line them up, shaker ideas, output, mover ideas, input. The mover takes all the ideas and decides which one is best, what the biggest priority ought to be and then makes up a plan for it, and that’s the mover’s output is the plan.

Now the plan, the output of the mover, happens to be the plan, the input of the prover. So again, fit in sequence. They’re all lined up perfectly. You have the mover deal with the prover. The other reason you have them deal with it is because they’re not going to fight. They sort of have a professional respect for each other and create value from each other. So the output of the mover is the plan. The input of the prover is the plan because the prover is dying to make new rules, which is to critique the idea, to tell you what’s going to go wrong, to warn you. And so the prover takes that input to the plan, and their output is reality.

It will work because of this and this and this and this. So that output of reality then is the input of the shaker. But you do not want the prover to deliver it directly to the shaker because those are what we call red light relationships. No shaker wants to hear from a prover what’s wrong with your idea. So the mover then takes that reality and delivers it to the shaker. The mover says, “Loved your idea. Only three obstacles we’ve got to overcome.” So instead of saying, “It’s a bad idea or we’re going to kill the idea,” which is usually the message that the shaker gets, no matter how nice the prover tries to be. Instead, the mover says, “Here’s the challenge for you, overcome these three obstacles and we got a go.”

So the shaker comes up with what? They take that reality and come up with ideas once again, deliver the ideas of how to overcome the problem to the mover. Mover makes a new plan, accommodating their best idea, and turns that into a plan and gives it back to the prover because that’s their input and says, “Now, can you live with this or is there anything else we haven’t thought of that can go wrong or is there any trade Offs in the new ideas, things that can go wrong with the new idea we haven’t considered, or can you live with it?”

So that’s the output from the prover, and it usually takes one round of this where the prover says, “Oh no, that looks pretty good. I never would have thought of fixing it that way.” Another is the provers are good at saying what can go wrong, but they’re not very good at fixing it. So they’ll go to an overdone idea to try to fix it and oftentimes it’s something that hasn’t worked before. So this is a way to put everybody in their strength and everybody in a fir and sequence that goes three to eight times faster with better results.

And just to give you an idea of that, one of the companies we work with is a giant telecommunications company. They had a group of salespeople and they started using fit in sequence, and not only in their sales group but with their customers as well, putting the right people in the right place. And in two years they went from 20 million to 60 million, and fast. Well, by the way, while the rest of the company was flat, had no growth at all.

Karla Nelson:  Okay, so remember shakers, they want to break the rules, movers interpret those rules and provers want to make the rules. And this is an ideation. So you could obviously utilize the assessment. You can find it on our website to be able to identify if somebody is a mover, shaker or a prover. Now we have not brought up the maker guys, and the reason why is because they don’t want to be in this meeting. So these will show up later. It’s the person that for years can come to the same weekly meeting and never have a unique thought. That’s what we usually look at them for, and it’s like you ask them who even wants to be in this room? They’re the ones that say, “No. I’ve got to go back to my work on my desk. I’ve got real work to do. You guys can… “

Allen Fahden:  Real work.

Karla Nelson:  You guys messed this place up two months ago and I just got done fixing it. Okay? So there’s no reason to have them in this meeting. Now, to have them learn the training, that’s one thing. We usually do keep them in the room, but as soon as we start actually running the process, we just let them go back to their desk because it doesn’t make any sense to waste whatever they’re being paid for them to be in a room that they don’t want to be in. Right? And so the pitfalls of this, let’s talk about a little bit before we wrap this up, Allen, which is, and you mentioned one which is stay in your own lanes. Okay, oftentimes you have to separate. You have to always separate the shaker and the prover, but sometimes they can’t even be in the same room. And the reason why is because when the shaker is making or creating the ideas, they might not open up because they’re too worried about somebody saying what’s wrong with it.

And by the way, with staying in your own lanes, this can happen live. If you are not facilitating it, it just can go instantly back to people talking over. They can’t help it. They blurt it out. It happens every single time, even when you’re playing games. So the mover has to make sure they know the process, or whoever’s facilitating it, because you can facilitate it. It’s just the mover is the most ideal person because they don’t have a dog in the fight. They love to balance fit and sequence and balance the team, and they love the system because now they’re fully engaged. They’re actually moving this process forward and getting something done. So stay in your own lanes. Separate if necessary. And one of the unique core natures of work is when you have a secondary and primary or a 50/50 of a shaker prover. They’ll do it right live. I mean, they’d have to know where they’re being cast because if they are in the lane of coming up with ideas, they’ll shoot their own idea down live when you’re just coming up with ideas.

Allen Fahden:  It’s like Mr. Subliminal on Saturday Night, or the, hey, what a great idea. No, it’s not. Wonderful idea. It sucks. Greatly, mentally shutting your own ideas down.

Karla Nelson:  Yeah, and they’ll do it on both sides, right? So if you are coming up with ideas and they go, “Oh, this is the idea, but that’s not going to work,” the mover, you have to make sure you’re facilitating that and say, “Hey, that’s great.” And what you do is write it down. You can give that to the movers so when the provers have something going on, you can… The mover is the one who is the movement between separating those lanes so that you’re focused and you’re using the process instead of going back to the old way of doing meetings, which is idea, bang, idea, bang, idea, bang. Everybody’s tired. They’ve been in there forever. Nothing’s going to get done anyway, so let’s just get out of here.

Allen Fahden:  I think it’s really important too, just to stress that once more, is that not only should it be the mover, and you talked about them taking action. And the action, as you said, should be as immediate as possible because things deteriorate so fast, even if it’s the CEO. I learned the hard way, had a CEO who was a shaker at a meeting and they kept derailing the meeting. And if a mover would have been running the meeting, which is not me, I’m a shaker, the mover would have said, “That’s fine. But we have a commitment to stay with the process. Not in the process, so write that down. Table it and let’s keep moving with the process.”

Karla Nelson:  Yeah. This has happened pretty much every meeting for 25 years, every training, and it got derailed so many times. We came up with the 10 agreements and we review them in every, single training because we have to remind the team that there is a system and a process they have committed to, and it gives us the ability to then facilitate that. And I would venture to say it’s gotten better in the aspect of, hey, don’t even let the CEO derail it because the old way of doing business was, I’m the CEO and I said so. So I don’t even care if I’m paying you to be here to fix our problems, I’m still going to derail the training, the meeting, whatever. So we actually, one of our agreements is don’t allow anyone to derail the system in a process, not even the CEO. And we review that and teach our certified trainers that because it’s critical. I think that’s a really good point, Allen.

And the other aspect that I think is unique in different in this change in the way we do work, or at least the mentality of realizing it, and the millennials are really driving this, right? The numbers are just dismal. You hire them, they’re engaged for two months, then they become disengaged and spend 16 months looking for another job. And they just turn them and burn them. And with the low employment rate, it’s getting even worse and a much larger cost over time because then you have an employee that, yeah, you need somebody sit there to do something, but they’re spending 16 months out of 18 months looking for another job.

And my other point about this, Allen, and I’ll let you chime in here before we wrap up, about HR. We have for years, and are told this probably weekly, “Wow, you guys should really focus on HR and the HR leaders.” HR by default has been focused on reactive. They’re their later adopters, right? It’s about not getting sued, typically. And now I think that’s shifting, the mindset at least, that we need to invest in our people partially because this really low unemployment rate. But then the millennials are saying, “I don’t want to work that way. Sorry. And I’d rather just travel the world and I’ll live on $20,000, $30,000 a year doing some online something versus this of corporate America history we’ve had for quite some time.”

Allen Fahden:  So true.

Karla Nelson:  And it’s very rare that HR brings this in. When they do, Oh my gosh. So there’s a video, we’ll put a link to it in this. It was Disrupt HR. It’s a five minute video, but Disrupt HR is all about, well, hello, disrupting HR. And we did a little bit of a training on it. Even though the training or the… I’ll never forget doing this video because you had to do, what was it, five minutes, 15 seconds a slide, and then move forward?

Allen Fahden:  Exactly. The slide changed at exactly the same time every second. It was the most absurd thing.

Karla Nelson:  They don’t give you your clicker.

Allen Fahden:  So a bunch of people cheated it by putting the same slide in so it would change every 15 seconds, but it would be the same slide.

Karla Nelson:  It was the same slide and they could just give their five minute talk. I know. We were not the ones that cheated. Allen and I worked pretty hard on that one, but it was funny. It was like HR is late adopters, so let’s disrupt HR, but let’s create a process because you will not… A prover had to have created that process because they want to make the rules. You’re not going to go over five minutes.

Allen Fahden:  Right.

Karla Nelson:  It’s hard enough to have anything in five minutes, let alone be pressed that quickly to know each slide, and you don’t want to memorize it too. So we’ll put it in the link to this podcast so you guys can check that out too. And lastly, I just want to wrap up with, Allen and I were talking too, Harvard Business Review. Everybody knows HBR. We were just reading about how much money is being pumped into training. It’s something like $400 billion, and that’s globally. In the US it’s a huge chunk of that. Probably, I would say, 300 billion or so of the total that is pumped into training. And after this entire long read, which was a great read, this big huge problem where we’re getting no ROI on our training. How to fix it? Systems and processes.

Allen Fahden:  That’s right. So what that means is not getting better donuts in the training. It means doing it completely differently.

Karla Nelson:  Yes. Instead of the way we have done it. And Allen shared with me a saying I hadn’t heard in a while that we’ve not tried a different way to fix it, but when your only tool is a hammer, everything’s a nail.

So that was the wrap up and make sure you join us for part two next week where we talk about implementation, because we went through the process in ideation. And then we will break it down after you figure out what to do, how you’re going to get it done.

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