Lack of Innovation Cripples Organizations’ Performance
What does it really mean to be an innovative company, and how does an organization know if it is innovative? Companies can perform their own innovation health check by looking closely at some of the key variables that affect innovation, according to Andrew Graham, CEO of Kepner-Tregoe, Inc., an international consulting and training services firm.
• Does your organization have a clear strategy? Strategy defines the field in which an organization operates such as what products will the firm offer and how much will the firm invest.
• Do your company’s business processes measure up? Business processes are the workflows through which business is conducted. Consider how things can be done better, and put methods in place for addressing innovation issues.
• Does your organization have clear goals and do you measure results? In order to be innovative, organizations must have strategy-driven expectations for innovation. Goals must be defined, measured and results must be reported.
• Do employees have the necessary tools to learn to be innovative? Hiring innovative people is one way to foster innovation, but innovation skills can also be taught.
IRS Announces 2008 Standard Mileage Rates
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the 2008 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. The standard mileage rates for the use of a car including vans and panel trucks will be 50.5 cents per mile for business miles driven; 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes; and 14 cents per mile driven in service or charitable organizations. The new rate, beginning in January 2008, compares to the rate of 48.5 cents per mile for 2007. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile.
SBA and Nationwide Launch Small Business Disaster Preparedness Guide
The U.S. Small Business Administration and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company have teamed up to launch a disaster planning guide for small business owners. The 10-page guide provides information business owners need to develop an effective plan to protect customers and employees in the event of a disaster. The guide provides key disaster preparedness strategies to help small businesses identify potential hazards, create plans to remain in operation if the office is unusable and understand the limitations of their insurance coverage. “The most successful recovery efforts are always preceded by good planning,” said Jovita Carranza, deputy administrator for SBA. “How quickly those businesses can get up and running after a disaster can have a significant impact on a community’s ability to recovery.” Hard copies of the guide will be distributed by SBA field offices, its resource partners around the country and disaster field offices.
Three Sins that Undermine Your Company
Whether you’re a leader or an employee, you want your company to succeed. But the vast majority of companies are filled with saboteurs. Employees at every level do small, seemingly insignificant things to sabotage their own success. Here are three common sins committed by accidental saboteurs: Relentless Negativity. The solution is managing up. Position your people, products and company in a positive light – it doesn’t just happen – you have to make it happen. Creeping we/theyism. Most leaders use “we/theyism” phenomenon – “Well, Rick, I fought for your pay raise but human resources makes those decisions” – which has an effect on company culture. Instead of blaming HR, say, “When I talked to HR, they pointed out health insurance premiums have risen so pay increases must be postponed.” You’re managing HR and positioning the company as a united entity. Giving low performers a pass. It’s easier not to confront low performers. But until you move them either up or out, your company will never advance beyond short-term gains. The low performer holds everyone else back.