Posts Tagged 'amplitude'

Part Two: Bandrowski Global Communication Clarity (BGCC) Exercise

2838873571_8ce78456bd_mAs I described in my Global Communication Clarity: Part One post, it isn’t easy to lead effectively in multicultural environments—particularly when you are an energetic speaker, and your audience (your global team, business partner, customer, etc.) is listening to you in their second or third language.

I developed an exercise when delivering keynote speeches, training, and consulting around the world. It has worked well for me, and solves the problem of the audience being too respectful to interrupt and ask you to slow down, or be clearer. Perhaps the exercise can work for you as well. (Remember where you heard it first.)

Step One: Discuss Global Communication Challenges

As a quick icebreaker at the beginning of an important business meeting or training session in another country, ask the participants two questions:

  • Question A: What are your biggest global communication challenges when using the language of the other person, and rank them by the level of challenge they pose? (Invariably, the answer is “they speak too fast,” followed by “they use words I don’t understand.”)
  • Question B: Can you think of when these challenges caused a significant business error? (Let them feel the pain, or they won’t change; one of my change leadership expressions is “no pain, no change.”)

Step Two: Invent Silent Feedback Mechanisms

Ask your audience for suggestions of acceptable ways by which they could signal to you to slow down, ask you to go back and explain, or to speed up.

Care is needed to do this in each country in which you work; in international business, the importance of non-verbal communication can easily be underestimated. What may seem to be a conventional gesture or greeting in American culture can in fact undermine a business deal in Asia, Europe, and The Middle East. Some hand gestures in various countries are considered extremely rude, such as thrusting four fingers at someone in Japan, the peace sign reversed so the palm faces the recipient in Jolly ‘Ole England, and the up-thrusted thumb in Iran, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and parts of Italy and Greece. They all mean something similar to someone using the middle finger in American culture. These crude examples are offered to prevent you from being rude.

In Japan, senior managers attending one of my two-day Global Innovative Marketing workshops came up with these three signals for me, and they worked very well:

  • Slow Down: Hold hand horizontally, palm down, and lower it slowly.
  • Speed Up: Rotate the hand in a forward, spiral motion. (Not one I get a lot from audiences.)
  • Clarify a Point: Hold palm up vertically.

Step Three: Practice Challenges with Amplitude

I believe the single thing that distinguishes great leaders, innovators, athletes, artists, and anyone for that matter, is they have huge Amplitude. Amplitude is the measure of the height and depth of a wave—and determines its intensity—as in the power of electricity, the brightness of light, the loudness of sound, and just about every other phenomenon in the universe on a grand scale to the sub-atomic level. To change a habit, or learn something new, doing it with Amplitude—at the extreme level—is the fastest way to make progress.

In this exercise, practice with your audience in an Amp Upped manner, periodically and purposely doing one of the following, then wait for their signal. Speak:

  • Really fast!!!
  • Toooooooo ssslllooooooowwlllly
  • Too erudite—as in “who knows?”

Exaggerating each time is also good for a few laughs; humor is a key tool in facilitating learning.

Step Four: Simulate Challenges with Less Amplitude

As with any change leadership initiative, by now you may think you and they have both adopted “the new way.” But change masters know this to be a false assumption. Behavioral change (for both parties) takes many repetitions, each followed by positive reinforcement (“at-a boys” and “at-a girls”) delivered in a manner I call small SIPs (Specific, Immediate, and Personal). Otherwise you and they will quickly regress back to your old ways.

In Japan, this is where the subtle samurai image may still be lurking in their subconscious; their DNA kicks in and they just can’t do it automatically. So, you have to:

  • Amp Up your speaking intermittently to an extreme version of what is WRONG, to force them to signal you to do it RIGHT. It continues to get the point across, and invariably gets more laughs.
  • Amp-Down your exaggerations progressively to slowly wean them off of them, but still periodically testing them with a fake fast, slow, or “who-knows?”

Step Five: Use Bandrowski Global Communication Clarity (BGCC) Real Time

Now that they have practiced in an Amped-Down version, it’s time to go real time. Remind them that you need their Brutal Instant Feedback (BIF), as I call it. You want it, and it’s a gift to you (to accept, discard, or re-gift—as I’m doing for you.) And, they also need the same if they are not signaling you when they should be.

Americans are not the only ones who speak too fast. It can be a problem with any nationality. So when the opportunity arises, facilitate the use of the BGCC in the reverse direction. For example, have the Japanese team members use it when they are speaking Japanese, and someone from another country that speaks Japanese as their second or third language is trying to comprehend what is being said.

Given my enthusiasm and energy when I deliver keynote speeches and training, I once in a while still need a BIF. When I need it and instantly get it, it is Bandrowski Global Communication Clarity at its finest. It makes navigating successfully across multicultural and geographical space a whole lot easier and effective.

I hope you find this exercise to be practical and profitable. It could save you millions.

May breakthrough be with you,

Jim Bandrowski

Photo Credit: jungledrumsonline

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Innovation Amplitude: Succeed Even in this Tough Economy

Why do some companies consistently outperform their competitors? It’s because they innovate and execute better than the rest. Peter Drucker once said, “The enterprise that does not innovate inevitably ages and declines. And in a period of rapid change such as the present, the decline will be fast.” Poignant in past times, and even more imperative today amid today’s brutal economy and hyper-competitive markets.

What is the secret of these master innovators such as Apple, GE, HP, P&G, and Virgin? Fifteen years of research studying remarkable leaders and innovative organizations has revealed to me it is one thing. They have much greater Amplitude. In mathematics, Amplitude is the height and depth of a wave, which generates its intensity. In the X-Games, judges and spectators often use the term Amplitude to describe the heights of the jumps of skiers, snowboarders, BMX bikers, and skateboarders, as in “Boy did he get some amplitude!.”

What I discovered is that remarkable leaders and organizations have immense Intellectual Amplitude as well as enormous Emotional Amplitude. They apply them by:

1.        Digging deep with intellect and compassion to identify and excavate unmet market needs ahead of competitors (negative Amplitude)

2.        Leaping high with ingenuity and passion to develop imaginative solutions (positive Amplitude)—whether they be products, services, or other advances

3.        Completing the process by testing and selecting the best concepts to implement, and marketing them with the same innovative zeal as they employed creating them.

The sum total of this process is an organization’s Innovation Amplitude. And it can be measured, understood, and with this knowledge, increased. I have presented this concept to over 10,000 CEOs and managers around the globe and have received 99.9% confirmation that it’s the real deal.

What about the non-innovators? People and entire companies are sometimes accused of “thinking inside the box.” Well, the box is not just a metaphor. I claim it is real: a low Amplitude. So the challenge is to lead your entire organization out of the box by increasing its Innovation Amplitude.

Innovation is change for the better. Change management expert Rosabeth Moss Kanter stated: “Mindless habitual behavior is the enemy of innovation.” British politician Harold Wilson put it even more strongly: “He who rejects change is the architect of decay.”

Some today contend the USA is losing its competitive edge. Competitive strategy expert Michael Porter says, “Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity.” In this age of innovation, we all need to work together to do two things:

1. Discover America’s inner strength

2. increase America’s Amplitude.

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Inauguration: Barack Obama Has Huge Leadership Amplitude

Barack Obama has promised to cure America’s economic ills and restore America’s positive image. On a larger stage, he has the opportunity through influence to save the world from itself and make it a much better place. This will take huge Leadership Amplitude, as I call it. We are fortunate on this hallowed day of the inauguration of our 44th president. Obama has it, in spades!

Leadership Amplitude is made up of two components. The first is emotional amplitude, well known to psychologists. The second is what I have discovered and coined, Intellectual Amplitude.

Emotional Amplitude Moderated

Barack Obama may be the most emotionally centered president to date—perhaps even more so than Abraham Lincoln, one of his idols. For example, under the harshest fire from John McCain’s political pit bulls, Barack would hear it, smile and move forward. Golf Digest, in its February 2009 issue, reported Obama does the same on the golf course. He loves to compete by making small wagers to increase the pressure, and when he underperforms to his high expectations, he just smiles and analyzes how to improve on the next shot.

When he does increase his emotional amplitude, it is constructively. On the one extreme, he lets his emotions out of the box with deep compassion for the world’s problems and feels everyone’s pain around the world. On the positive extreme, his passion and confidence to solve them is obvious to everyone. As he stated, “The country has chosen hope over fear,” and later, “We are ready to lead once more.”

Intellectual Amplitude Unleashed

Constructive emotional amplitude is a wonderful quality, but it is insufficient in itself to change the country, much less the world. Doing so will require immense Intellectual Amplitude. Here is where Barack shines as a Breakaway Leader. I have discovered that Intellectual Amplitude is the one thing, the singular trait that distinguishes great from good leaders. It is the Holy Grail of Leadership, if you will.

In his inaugural speech, and throughout his campaigning for leader of the free world, Barack displayed Intellectual Amplitude at the two extremes. On the constructively negative side, he identified and focused on the top vital problems that America needs to address, and he passionately voiced a call to action to drill deep for their root causes to eliminate or substantially mitigate them. Now, on the positive extreme, he already has begun to outline a vision and strategy for reinventing America and its role in the world. His inauguration speech spoke to both extremes. He spoke of “the gathering clouds and raging storms,” and of optimism that “our minds are no less inventive than before,” and declared “the state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.”

America’s Amplitude Must Be Huge

As I have asserted in prior writings, the “box” is not just a metaphor, it is real—a low amplitude. Remarkable leaders don’t just think out of the box, they lead the entire organization out of the box. In this case, the “organization” is America.

All of America must up its Amplitude to help Barack Obama and his administration see and solve the challenges of our country, and the world. As he proclaimed, “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the work of remaking America.”

Barack, may breakthrough be with you.

Jim Bandrowski

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Innovation through Fusionomics

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One avenue to strategic innovation is to slam together separate technologies or methodologies and see what you get. I call this “Fusionomics.” Think about Tex-Mex food and the mobile phone. Fusionomics is about to happen again. Get ready to have your iPod or iPhone be your game controller. One will be able to wave their iPod or iPhone like a motion controller for game consoles, similar to the Nintendo Wii technology. Social Gaming Network (SGN) has risen in visibility as a result of its iPhone and Facebook games. Now they are fusing web gaming and the iPhone in the iFun technology, and releasing its first free cross-platform game, iGolf. SGN CEO Shervin Pishevar describes their innovation as “the first time the mobile world, the Web world and social gaming have united liked this. This is like having a Wii on the go or a Wii in your hand.”

In my book, Corporate Imagination—Plus, published by The Free Press imprint of Simon & Schuster, I explained several strategic innovation techniques. One method I detailed was “seeking combinations.” Fusion is a classic approach to creativity; things that already exist are linked together, in a marriage of thoughts.

In the food industry, in which I do extensive work, consider the examples of wine coolers, toaster waffles, milkshake breakfasts, chunky soups, and all of the “lite” foods. Additionally, years ago Procter & Gamble created an innovative new laundry product from two existing but separate products, a combination of detergent and fabric softener, named Bold 3. The products were commonly used together when washing clothes already, but required the purchase of two separate products; they just combined them in one product for a compelling marketing hook. How did the rest of their competitors miss this obvious combination?

Seeking effective combinations of existing products, yields innovative concepts and  powerful marketing niches; think cross-promotion sales and merchandising, retailer branded credit cards, and cross-over vehicles.

Examples abound. From a technological perspective, the key to relational databases, the fastest growing segment of the software industry, is the power of the programs to relate two different files of data, so long as they have some element in common.  Ever hear of a company that broke ground seeking combinations in this area named Oracle? Larry Ellison, the company’s driven CEO, is a remarkable breakthrough leader.

On a personal note, my thirteen year old twin boys, Eric and Ryan, and their two friends conceived the germ of the Wii concept six years ago in our family room when they were seven years old. I walked in one day and found them lined up watching Star Wars and in unison replicating the laser sword battle scenes with their toy light sabers. I asked them if they’d like to do this with their Sony Playstation, and they asked how. I said it would take a few years. In my next leadership development training session at the largest computer game publisher in the world, I offered the idea for free, and I recommended they partner with Sony and develop it. I repeatedly voiced the idea in each annual session with this company. For whatever reason, no action was taken on the idea and three years later, near-dead Nintendo launched the Wii, and subsequently screamed to the top of the computer game console industry, right past Sony. It broke my strategic heart.


Outliers and the Story of Success

 

Writer and journalist, Malcolm Gladwell familiarized the public with the terms “the tipping point,” and “blink.” With the release of his newest book this week he is about to popularize a less-than-common word: “outlier.”

In Outlier: The Story of Success, Gladwell describes an outlier as “the person who doesn’t fit into our normal understanding of achievement.” In essence, he says that outliers out-work the rest of us, and spend 10,000 hours doing it—what he calls the 10,000-hour rule—because greatness requires enormous time. His examples include Bill Gates, the Beatles and many others who worked enormously hard and put in the time before making it to the big time.

In Lean Six Sigma, one of the approaches that I utilize as a consultant to help organizations around the world achieve breakthrough financial results, an “outlier” is a data point that is beyond the three-sigma lines on a statistical process control (SPC) graph. W. Edwards Deming, Walter Shewhart, and their colleagues brought SPC graphs and outliers to the world in the 1940s. And, In the 1950s they brought them to the Japanese, who in turn used Deming’s philosophy, methods, and SPC graphs to kick our industrial butts in the 1960s. And they still do today.

Technically, an outlier is data point with a 99.7% chance of not happening. So if one happens, you can say with huge confidence, “something has changed.” You should do a root cause analysis on all outliers, good and bad. For example, if you rack up a horrendous golf score compared to your handicap, or previous average and range, ask yourself what the root cause is so you can correct it. Do the same for an amazing score. Rather than just buying everyone in your foursome a drink when you have an “exceptional” day, make the exception the rule by analyzing what worked. This is called a best practice.

I completely agree with Malcolm Gladwell’s assessment of the distinguishing characteristic of greatness. But if I may be so bold, I’d like to add an underlying characteristic. AMPLITUDE. On one extreme, great performers go to the positive extreme, where they think big and idealistically, and push themselves and their organizations to achieve uncompromising quality. Additionally, winners in all walks of life employ huge, constructively negative amplitude in order to spot unmet market needs, as well as brutally evaluate themselves. This enables them to be overachievers in practicing their art, science or sport, and fuels them. Wayne Gretzky, Jerry Rice, Dianna Ross, Madonna, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jack Welch, and every other winner does this. They are often accused of being perfectionists, and for good reason. They are.

Coincidentally, I believe I fit Malcolm’s 10,000-hour rule in that I have presented what I have discovered to be the ONE THING that distinguishes great leaders (and all other winners) from just the good ones. It’s “Amplitude,” and I intend to make the word famous. (Remember where you heard it first!) I have shared it in keynote speeches and workshops around the world with 10,000 people over the last 15 years, receiving 99.9% confirmation it’s the real deal.

Or, if you would like to see how to apply amplitude to your business strategy, innovation, marketing, finance, operations, organization, acquisitions, and other areas, read my first book, Corporate Imagination—Plus. It was the first book to detail how to put innovation into strategy.

 

Barack Obama is a Breakthrough Leader!

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Congratulations President-Elect Barack Obama! You have unquoed the status, as I call it, and ushered in a new era of leadership. And just in time.

America is awash in nearly paralyzing uncertainty and desperately sought a leader who can reverse the tide and restore the hopes and prosperity of our country. Barack Obama heard this desperation and saw an opening that would cross all previous boundaries of race, gender, class, age, and political affiliation. He crafted a campaign that resonated with Americans, and judging from the reaction here in Tokyo where I am currently delivering a workshop, as well as media reports from around the globe, it is also striking a chord with the rest of the world as well.

President-Elect Obama’s actions and statements thus far indicate that he holds a philosophy built on the principles of breakthrough leadership, innovation, and inclusion, with a mandate to drive change. His leadership style separated him from Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin, and arguably from all of his predecessors, enabling him to deliver an improbable victory that has fundamentally altered the electoral landscape, and he stands poised to alter the world stage as well.

He is a transformative leader. He recognizes that his role as a strong executive is crucial, and he has marshaled his inner leadership strengths to be equal to the task. Importantly, he also acknowledges that he as a singular leader can not do it on his own. He has begun surrounding himself with a strong team and called for partisan partnership. But he also knows that Washington isn’t good enough.

America itself urgently needs to discover its own inner strength. We individually and collectively need to take up the mantle of leadership, as he alluded to in his speech in Chicago as the new President-Elect on election night.

In that stirring speech he spoke of the challenges we face and will face, and prepared the public for the rough road ahead. He knows that it is critical to look our problems in the face, name them, and employ deep leadership amplitude, digging into their root causes-what I call the “dark-side.” But he also spoke of America’s promise, of the goals to be achieved, the changes on the horizon, and the possibilities of what can be accomplished together. I call this the “light-side.”

Barack Obama assessed what America was, is, and can be, and he has repeatedly done this throughout his long march to this day. He has a masterful ability to incorporate both the light and dark sides, and factor them into a compelling vision, with a reasoned strategic action plan, employing a strong, disciplined, and consistent message of intent throughout the duration. This ability is the key to unlocking his breakthrough leadership approach. There is much to learn from his example for leaders in all facets of society.

It’s fitting that I kick off my blog at this moment, as this remarkable leader ascends. Because what the country and the world are seeing in this President-Elect’s leadership ability is something I have identified in exceptional leaders throughout the world, and throughout history.

It took years of research to crystallize it, but as a global keynote speaker, trainer, and leadership development consultant, I have concluded that there is One Thing that separates great leaders from good leaders. I identify it as amplitude. Leaders who operate with amplitude dig deep into the dark-side, to diagnose world or industry problems, which are breakthrough opportunities, and then leap and soar to the light-side, to find ideal solutions others can’t even begin to imagine, or are fearful and hesitant to entertain.

Breakaway Leaders, as I call them, know what others don’t-the impossible isn’t. And, while they are strategic innovators with a compelling vision, they are relentlessly pragmatic and know how to make their strategies an enduring reality.

I have spent the last fifteen years searching for and refining what I believe to be the essence of remarkable leaders. In presenting my findings to over 10,000 CEOs, executives, managers, and professionals around the globe, and asking for their candid feedback, I have received an astounding 99.9% confirmation that this one thing-amplitude-is it.

In future blog postings and books, I look forward to sharing with you how amplitude is the core competency of great leaders, so that you can learn how to harness yours effectively, and put yourself and your organization on the road to remarkable results.

In future postings I will reveal hundreds of insights about how world-changing leaders employ amplitude to accomplish breakthrough results, as well as practical applications. My objective is to enable every one of you to discover your inner strength, and use it maximally to prosper.

If we all work together it will help fulfill the mandate that our new President-Elect has set before us as a nation, and around the globe to make the world a better place.

Stay tuned to amp up.