At Forward Thinking Workplaces, we discover the people, insights, and strategies that lead to Forward Thinking minds, leaders, and workplaces of the future — today.
13 Forward-Thinking Insights
- HARNESS A DEEPER CONNECTION BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS
- IS POLITICAL CORRECTNESS STIFLING INDIVIDUAL ASPIRATIONS?
- DO MANAGEMENT PRACTICES DISRUPT OUR ATTENTION?
- ARE EXECUTIVES THE REAL CONSTRAINT?
- DOES A CORPORATE STRAITJACKET LIMIT IMAGINATION?
- ALIGN TRUE PERSONAL OBJECTIVES WITH WORK OBJECTIVES
- DON’T SETTLE FOR POLITICAL CORRECTNESS
- HOW CAN YOU BUILD UNITY OF PURPOSE?
- WHY ARE YOU COMING TO WORK TODAY?
- WHAT ARE YOU DOING & DOES THIS MAKE SENSE?
- ARE YOU GOING TOWARDS OR AGAINST IT?
- WHEN A RED LIGHT IS BLINKING, TAKE ACTION!
- GETTING EVERYONE INTO A STATE OF FLOW
Read the full interview at Getting Teams and People into the State of Flow.
Question 1: How can we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives & finds meaning, and change & innovation happen naturally?
FORWARD-THINKING INSIGHT #1
HARNESS A DEEPER CONNECTION BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL
“It might seem a bit overused as an ideal, but I really think that the most important aspect is that you must figure out a way to give the organization as a whole a common purpose. When I talk about purpose, I refer to a deeper connection between the individuals of such a nature that it really affects the way of thinking, the ideals, and the decision making of people working together.”
FORWARD-THINKING INSIGHT #2
IS POLITICAL CORRECTNESS STIFLING INDIVIDUAL ASPIRATIONS?
“Companies seldom try to make an effort in understanding what the single individual might aspire to and what their objectives in life are. That support is simply not there. It's even so bad that if you go into a company and ask people why they are there, they will reply in terms that are politically correct and conforming to the expectations of the business.”
Question 2: What does it take to get an employee’s full attention and best performance?
FORWARD-THINKING INSIGHT #3
DO MANAGEMENT PRACTICES DISRUPT OUR ATTENTION?
“I think trying to figure out how to focus on the work is an exercise every individual needs to engage in. But I think that is not only the way to frame attention. The major culprit is the dispersal of attention of the business in its own right. Why? Because there are many conventional management practices, which actually encourage multitasking. These practices, in turn, encourage the need to give attention to all and everything all the time without any means or mechanism of prioritizing and deciding what really matters.”
FORWARD-THINKING INSIGHT #4
ARE EXECUTIVES THE REAL CONSTRAINT?
“The people in an organization that have the least attention are actually executives and managers. So in this discourse of how can we give the employee the capability to use full attention and best performance, let’s start with executives. They are the ones in terms of attention that are the real constraint. We need to find ways of conducting business that allow executives to focus on things that really matter. If executives get into that frame of reference and mindset, then it will just trickle down.”
Question 3: What do people really lack and long for at work?
FORWARD-THINKING INSIGHT #5
DOES A CORPORATE STRAITJACKET LIMIT IMAGINATION?
“I think people in companies are so accustomed to the straitjacket that the corporate environment imposes on them that they are not even capable of imagining what they would want and long for in that setting.”
FORWARD-THINKING INSIGHT #6
ALIGN TRUE PERSONAL OBJECTIVES WITH WORK OBJECTIVES
“When you ask people what they aspire for and ask why they are coming to work, they will always give you some reply that is politically correct, which conforms to some sort of expectation of how you should behave and talk in the workplace. But if you really dig deep, at the end of the day it's always because I need some money because I need to do this or I want to do that. If you were able to create a working environment where people would feel what they are doing there is much better aligned with their own objectives in life, I think they would want to go in that direction.”
Question 4: What is the most important question management should be asking their employees?
FORWARD-THINKING INSIGHT #7
DON’T SETTLE FOR POLITICAL CORRECTNESS
“Ask why do you come to work every day and really dig into it. Don’t settle for the politically correct response. The essence of that question should become a cultural norm that the leadership should adopt and adhere to at all levels. But don’t just ask this question but follow up on it to try to cater to the needs of the individual in as much as is possible in the business competitive environment.”
FORWARD-THINKING INSIGHT #8
HOW CAN YOU BUILD UNITY OF PURPOSE?
“There's not one specific question management should ask. They should have a whole chest box full of questions. The intent of any one of those questions should be: are we building a unity of purpose? Are we nurturing a community of trust? How can we improve on that?”
Question 5: What is the most important question employees should be asking their management?
FORWARD-THINKING INSIGHT #9
WHY ARE YOU COMING TO WORK TODAY?
“Why are you coming to work today? If top leaders start asking those questions and really mean it and work in that direction to create a community of profound values and a unity of purpose, then the expectation becomes such that the employees would no longer feel uncomfortable asking tough questions to their leaders.”
FORWARD-THINKING INSIGHT #10
WHAT ARE YOU DOING & DOES THIS MAKE SENSE?
“If at some point the leaders are behaving in ways that go counter to these profound values of unity of purpose and community of trust, then employees should feel free to call them to order. They should ask them what are you doing now and does this make sense? Is this consistent with what you've been teaching so far? I think that has some good effect as well.”
Question 6: What is the most important question we can ask ourselves?
FORWARD-THINKING INSIGHT #11
ARE YOU GOING TOWARDS OR AGAINST IT?
“We want to be members of this social body of individuals that somehow share the same destiny—or at least a piece of that destiny. If these ideas of creating a unity of purpose and a community of trust get anchored in the organization, then at any point in your day whatever you do or decide, then maybe the guiding principle should be am I going towards or against those two founding patterns?”
FORWARD-THINKING INSIGHT #12
WHEN A RED LIGHT IS BLINKING, TAKE ACTION!
“In essence, rather than asking a question, it becomes more of getting into a habit of self-reflective introspection on whatever it is you're doing at any moment you're in during the day. When something doesn’t make sense. When you see a red light blinking at you. Don't let it blink, take action. Ask the question am I going towards or against our founding patterns?”
Question 7: You've mentioned a number of interesting ideas that come from TameFlow. Can you tell us more about it?
FORWARD-THINKING INSIGHT #13
GETTING EVERYONE INTO A STATE OF FLOW
“In TameFlow, I try to bring about that flow for both the individual and the workplace. How can we make the work environment and the organizational work such that it actually induces flow? One of the things we try to avoid is of course interruptions and give focus on things. But on top of that, I also try to bring about the more difficult kind of flow, which is the team flow. That's when you have a whole group of people who are all at the same time in that magic kind of state.”
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
"Bill has the unique gift of asking simple questions that make you stop, think and reflect. Being interviewed and chatting with Bill certainly helped me to verbalize my own ideas and give expression to my own thought processes, with depth and clarity at the same time. A great and worthy experience!" — Steve Tendon