Are you ready for serendipity?

  • “Social evolution isn’t a top-down phenomenon but rather a bottom-up one.” The Evolution of Everything – How New Ideas Emerge, Matt Ridley, Harper Collins, 2015.
    This statement is both provocative and re-assuring.
    First, because it can be debated that not everything is the result of design, but rather the result of natural evolution and in some cases revolution. If you believe this to be true, then there are circumstances where leaders need to recognize that top-down command in many areas of life and business is inefficient, smothering and sometimes tyrannical.
    At the same time, I personally find the statement reassuring because it confirms the validity of our core message that 20% of organizational performance is determined by the relationships between leaders and their immediate direct reports and that the quality of these relations are best measured from a bottom-up perspective. Our research is clear in that a bottom-up perspective is significantly more accurate in evaluating the quality of relations and predicting organizational outcomes.
    It’s wrong to think that the way to success is by ordering other people about and to getting into positions of power ourselves.” Peter Forbes, Independent, September 2015.
    Innovative ideas emerge when leaders stop pushing downward and begin pulling upward by inviting their direct-reports to present their ideas in a forum that promotes engagement, debate, and recognition.
    Leaders that care will be astonished by the number and quality of unexpected and constructive ideas that burst into the open!
    Post Script

    More than Skunks Works, Brainstorming, and Suggestion Boxes
    The bottom-up approach is more than skunk-works, brainstorming, or a suggestion box. Instead, try to imagine a place where managers have the resources to experiment with new ways of doing things. How much fun would that be?
    Skunk-works – the traditional small and loosely structured group of people that have escaped routine organizational procedures and are directed to research and develop radical new ideas. (Skunk Works project, Wikipedia, 2015).
    Brainstorming- the free flow of ideas, “Where people are warned not to criticize each other, or point out the difficulties in each other’s suggestions. Blockages are bad. Negative feedback is a sin”. “Removing failure from innovation is like removing oxygen from a fire.”
    Please no more brainstorming sessions …, Mathew Syed, LinkedIn, 2015).
    In this kind of brainstorming, groups are encouraged to come up with many solutions provided that their willing to debate and criticise. Cultures that permit and encourage such expression of differing viewpoints stimulate the most innovation. Criticism brings difficulties to light and forces people to check assumptions.


About PMC Coaching The founder of PMC Coaching, Gilles Rochefort, B. Comm (SPAD), MBA, began with roots in sports management and moved on to multi-national business, working for many years as a management consultant/trainer for a host of Fortune 500 companies. He’s also the author of Tales from the Playing Field – a new strategy for Business Management Coaching (Woodley & Watts).