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How many people does it take to change THE light bulb?

I recently attended a fantastic field trip to visit some fascinating, edgy and even oldskool type companies. A great expoloration on the topic of culture. At one of the companies they have a wall of shame and on it sits many of the most used images to represent concepts. Case in point - the lightbulb!

So, so many presentations, workbooks and seminars use the light bulb to represent ideas, thoughts, epiphanies and of course the more current buzz word Innovation. It is also synonymous with some really old and cheesy jokes, that start with the opening line of.... How many "people" does it take to change the light bulb... and normally ends with a silly punch line.

I digress, but did you know, there is actually a website dedicated to these kind of jokes.

Anyway, Really the question I am trying to ask is:

How many people does it take to change the light bulb in your company?

Ok, so honestly, its just a fancy way of asking.... How many people does it take to disrupt your company?

I was listening to a talk recently and the person on the stage rightly pointed out that any business is no longer competing with people in their own industry. Your business in the digitized world will be competing with all other digital companies. Especially if you are basing your value proposition simply on how you do things versus what you do.

Now, it seems people at the moment most people are on either side of the fence seeing the world as quite black and white. My personal belief is, that both are important... but, BUT... we seem to be forgetting something really important.

I have been fortunate this year to be a part of many conversations around disruption, innovation strategy, technology, digitization, platforms, etc. etc. ad nauseam ...however what has struck me is that in 99% of these conversations the direction of them has not been pointed inwards.

What I mean is...it all seems to just be about the customer. Quite obsessively so. How will it help the customer interact with us? How can we get more customers? How do we invest to increase our margins? How do we make process improvements to enable a superior customer experience?

Having an avid interest in culture from an anthropological perspective and having a foundation in psychology and a deep passion for people, I find this incredibly interesting.

If you are wanting to compete you also need to look at the inside of your organisation. Why are the people in charge of people not part of these conversations? No one seems to be asking the questions like: How do we make process improvements to enable a superior Employee experience? How do we take our staff with us on the digital journey? How will the new platform we build enable our staff? How can we invest in technology that will grow our staff?

What HRTECH is out there that can improve employee relations or performance? How can this piece of technology improve on our cultural issues within the company? What is the future of HR/Training/Culture/Organisational structures/Innovation/Internal communication strategies in a digitised organisational environment?

You cannot expect to be the best, hire the best or innovate like the best if you keep doing things like the rest.

You cannot expect to be the best, hire the best or innovate like the best if you keep doing things like the rest.

There is nothing wrong with a customer-centric view per se but if you want to change your business it isn't the customer necessarily that will do that. What the customer determines is if the choices the business made were either right or wrong. Their power lies in their choice to stay or go. Its not like your customer is actually developing your product - although I believe they should be formally part of that process.

Its your people that do. Your business is fundamentally made up of the people who work for you. You want to change your business...you want to disrupt it...change the people, actually more importantly, change the things that drive the people.

Help them to help you.

Disrupt your innovation model. Deep dive and disrupt your HR practices - Innovate Innovation at your company! Focus on your people, remove the hurdles and find ways to say Yes!

A deeply rooted employee-centered business narrative is an excellent cascading brand strategy

So, How many people does it take to change the light bulb in your company?

My answer...all of them.