The purpose of this paper is to provide a blueprint for personal and professional development as part of the end-of-course review of lessons learned from the course Foster a Culture of Innovation. It describes a concise action plan for applying lessons learned in this course to my professional life. In the action plan, two clearly stated, measurable goals are outlined. Also in the action plan is the rationale for choosing those goals.
The first goal is to reduce turnover rate ND increase employee retention in the next twelve months. The second goal is to create, in the next twelve months, a fun work environment where there is always high employee enthusiasm. The paper also discusses two objectives each for each of the goals and provides compelling reasons why these objectives would help realize the goals. Based on the course outcomes, the paper further describes five lessons learned from the course and how their application would make a positive social impact.
Additionally, it provides several examples from the corporate world to illustrate the lessons learned in this course. The penultimate paragraph throws light on the relevance of the learning experiences to my personal or professional experience and how the course content can be applied to future learning and decision-making. It also explains how theories studied in this course are applicable to practice. Moreover, the overall impact of lessons learned in this course on my practice is explored. The paper concludes with a short recapitulation of the concepts examined in the paper. Relevant references are provided per PAP format.
Action Plan Action plan refers to “a sequence of steps that must be taken, or activities that just be performed well, for a strategy to succeed” (Business Dictionary, 2015, Para. 1). Its purpose is to describe the specific tasks needed to be done to achieve a goal, identify the resources required, and develop a timeline for getting the tasks done (Economies & Morgan-Fisher (2011). This course, no doubt, has taught me many valuable lessons that demand an action plan from me. After a thorough review of the course outcomes, I have set two specific goals for my personal and professional growth.
The first goal is to reduce turnover rate and increase employee retention in the next twelve months. High turnover is the Anne of every human resource manager because it “increases hiring and overtime costs, and decreases employee morale and productivity” (Daft & Marcia, 2013, p. 178). For example, last year, the organization I work for had to spend unbuttered for money in advertising, recruiting, and training when three managers left the company for other companies. According to Cleaner (2015), high turnover costs organizations in “administrative expenses, background checks, psychological testing, and interviewing candidates” (Para. ). My second goal for personal and professional development is to create, in the next twelve months, a fun work environment where there is always high employee enthusiasm. This is very important because employees give off their best when they perceive their work as fun and the work environment is friendly (Brown, 2008). High employee enthusiasm improves organizational creativity; increases employee performance and productivity, and profits (Daft & Marcia, 2013). Employee enthusiasm also boosts active team engagement, encourages freedom to experiment, and promotes innovation (Catcall, 2008).
Action Plan – Objectives Objectives are the measurable steps that translate goals into reality. Two objectives are crafted for achieving the first goal. The first objective is to attract qualified applicants. This objective will boost morale, build human capital and organizational expertise pool, and ensure efficient and effective execution of work (Daft & Marcia, 2013). The entire hiring process (including advertising, application, screening, interviewing, and personality assessment) has to be evaluated to determine whether it attracts the most creative and innovative applicants.
A cutting edge hiring process must attract applications, who do not only have the requisite educational and skills qualifications but more importantly hares the company’s innovation vision and are driven by the passion to create new ways of getting things done Brown, 2008). The second objective for achieving the first goal is to create a strategic plan for motivating the existing workforce and encouraging long-term commitment to the organization. This particular objective focuses on turning apathetic employees into a fiercely loyal and cohesive team.
While some people are loyal by nature; with most people, there has to be a deliberate program for achieving loyalty. To achieve, management will have to first demonstrate loyalty to employees by using non- uncial reward strategies such as showing respect and giving praise, instituting an employee of the month scheme, showing flexibility in time off requests, and being sensitive to and respectful to employees concerns, suggestions, and feedback Daft & Marcia, 2013).
The strategic plan must also identify barriers to employee loyalty and how they can be removed. Additionally, it has to enhance communication. The plan must encourage information flow. Informed employees tend to feel valued and part of the team. This fosters loyalty. The first objective for achieving the second goal is to create a strategic plan for employee engagement. Such a strategic plan would improve employee capabilities, team coordination and collaboration, effective use of employee skills for assigned job (Worth & Vera, 2014).
When employees are engaged, they tend to unleash their hidden potentials and capabilities, which can be tapped by the company (Daft & Marcia, 2013). The second objective for achieving the second goal is to create an innovative work environment. An innovative work environment encourages teamwork, experimentation of ideas, and is a fun place to work. All these are critical factors for creativity and innovation (Puccini et al. 2011). Managers, who understand how to foster a culture of innovation, create a work climate, where there is room for mistakes (Brown, 2008).
Freedom to make mistakes encourages experimentation, which in turn promotes creativity and innovation. It also frees employees to think outside the box and when necessary challenge the status quo (Puccini et al. , 2011). Employees are at their innovation best when they are encouraged to question accepted norms and suggest more efficient ways of getting things done. Social Change Impact Several important lessons have been learned in the Foster a Culture for Innovation course, which can be applied to make a positive impact in my organization.
First, learned from this course is that diverse teams have greater potential for creativity and innovation than monolithic teams. In order to illustrate this lesson lets imagine a team comprising a Caucasian male called George, who is a finance manager, a Chinese woman named Gang, who is a web developer, a Latin named Maria, who is a human resource manager, and an African-American woman called Rakish, who is a marketing manager. When working on a management project, each of these team members is able to bring is/her unique professional and racial experiences and perceptions to the table.
Such differences in lived experiences can produce a much richer pool of intellectual and managerial resources for generating innovation and novelty than if they were of the same race. Second, in order to be creative, one has to sometimes dare to push aside so-called conventional wisdom and connect new ideas from different life experiences in order to create new products. Take for example, a situation where Bob, a low-income, uninsured minority living in a poor community, needs to seek medical attention but decides not to go because e does not have money for a doctor’s visit.
At social workers’ conference, Bob’s case manager, Vicki, brings up the case. Other case managers also bring up their different life experiences. At the end, they speak to a philanthropist, who offers to set up a fund for providing subsidized insurance for people like Bob. In this example, though Vicki was not directly affected by the problem; her interactions with Bob initiated a series of steps, which eventually led to the creation of a novel solution to the problem. In other words, Vicki and her colleagues used their previous experiences to solve a current problem.
Lesson three, when managers look at things from multiple perspectives, they are able to transform the way strategies, processes, services, and products are developed. People are able to see possibilities when they decide that there is more than one way of getting something done. For example, the three young inventors of the social media, Tango, came up with the idea after one of them missed a party the other two had attended and there were neither videos nor pictures as evidence. Being young engineers at Microsoft, they decided to create their own free social media for sharing photos and videos among the three of them.
Now, their innovative ay of communicating among themselves has been made available to the public and made them very rich. The fourth lesson is innovative leaders promote work environments where creativity thrives. For example, in order to motivate her employees, Classics decided to paint the office different colors and put up an “Ideas Board” where employees could write down ideas and suggestions. These simple actions made her employees feel relaxed and motivated them to come up with different ways of making the company grow.
The fifth lesson I learned in this course is that innovation leaders distinguish themselves by their creative intelligence, which manifests in the form of associating, questioning, observing, experimenting, and networking skills. Associating refers to innovation leaders’ ability to connect apparently unrelated past experiences to current situations. To illustrate this point, consider, Amy a member of a team of product designers charged with the responsibility of creating a new phone application.
During the brainstorming, she remembers the games she played while growing up in little town in Ohio. She combines ideas from that experience with the games she loved to play as an adolescent and creates a new application for phone. Relevance and Critical Thinking 20 marks Innovative leaders know how to develop “direction, alignment, and commitment needed to create and implement something new that adds value” (Worth & Vera, 2014, p. 5). They use their power of imagination to break down accepted norms and dare to tread on uncharted paths.
They also understand that innovation requires pooling different skills set together and focusing on creating something new of value (Brown, 2008; Worth & Vera, 2014). Contrary to popular notion, innovative thinking can be applied beyond creative arts such as music, sculpture, and painting (Laureate Education, Inc. 2012). It can be applied to virtually every aspect of life. Innovative thinking people such as Steve Jobs (founder of Apple), Mark Suckering (founder of Faceable), and Jeff Bozos (founder of Amazon) have demonstrated that the future belongs to those who choose to explore new, simpler ways of doing things.
No doubt, this course has made a profound impact on my personal and professional life. Lessons learned in this course would surely find their application in my new job as an Assistant Human Resource Manager in a thriving mid-size company. Theories learned in the course are easily renewable to practice as illustrated in this paper. Conclusion This paper has examined a blueprint for personal and professional growth with respect to lessons learned in the course Forester a Culture of Innovation.
It opened with an action plan for translating the course outcomes into practice. Two short-term goals were stated with reasons why they were chosen. Furthermore, two objectives each for achieving each goal are provided. Compelling explanations for these objectives are also given. The paper also discussed five lessons learned from the course and how their application can bring a positive social change.