The Hail Mary of Innovation: Google X

Google Glass

Google glassesLast week I had the opportunity to watch the future in action. As a Google Glass wearing friend took my picture, posted it to Instagram and emailed it to me – all with a hands-free one sentence voice command.

Exploring the opportunities, implications and risk of this technology is and will fill volumes, courtrooms and lawsuits. Today we look at ‘where did this technology come from?’
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Inside the halls of Google X lies a very different organizational culture, structure and breed of people that are developing, trying to break and launching new breakthrough technology. Take a look:

  • CAPTAIN OF MOONSHOTS:  Now there’s a business card to aspire to! Expectations of success are extremely low – but if/when they come – the results are world changing.
  • FAILING IN FULL VIEW:  When Leadership can fail in full view, then it gives everyone permission to be more like that.
  • RAPID EVALUATION:  ‘Why put off failing until tomorrow or next week when you can fail now?’ Encourage those who admit mistakes or defeat in group meetings.
  • THE TEAM:  People who want to build stuff and who aren’t easily daunted.

Google is uniquely equipped at a unique moment of history with the potential to create world changing innovation. Once you eliminate the fear of failure – anything is possible!

What is your Gold Standard?

Olympic Gold Medal, 2014 Sochi

Getting the best results from your team requires a consistent process that measures performance tied to a specific standard.

In a recent Fast Company article, Michael Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman has a few things to say about getting the most performance out of people. Coaching 22 gold medals from one athlete gives him a lot of authority to speak as to the level of standards that need to be set in order to achieve consistent excellence:

sochi-2014-olympic-medal_large_verge_medium_landscapeDETERMINE YOUR GOLD STANDARD.
“Each business has a gold standard,” Bowman says. It’s up to the leadership to decide what that standard is and how the organization gets there. Once the gold standard is set, everyone on the team needs to buy into it, he says. “We (the staff and athletes at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club where Bowman is CEO) try to be very process-oriented, performing up to a certain standard every day,” Bowman says, “(You can only) control what you can control.”

‘Disruption’ and ‘innovation’ are now the norm in our daily work flow. It is more critical than ever to determine what we CAN control and create process which will consistently delivery our high standards in regardless of the unforeseen yet inevitable challenges. We make our day to day business decisions based on what we perceive as standards for success. If these standards are not clearly articulated AND agreed upon by the entire organization – we will waste resources and experience failure. And if we want to achieve sustainable success, then we must create consistent process which deliver these standards or we will experience inconsistent results.

What is your organization’s standard for excellence?
and HOW do you consistently achieve this Gold Standard?

Would I do this for another?

Tracy and Lanny Barnes, 2014 Olympics, Sochi

The story of the Barnes twin sisters has been ricocheting around the world. WHY?

It’s a story of:   • Sisterly bond    • Selfless love    • Standing for someone else’s greatness
and as Guinness claims, ‘The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character.’

BUT even of more importance, this is a shatteringly compelling story because it challenges us to ask ourselves the profoundly difficult question – Would I do this for another?  Watch Guinness video 1:04.

Tracy & Lanny

While we most likely will never have to wrestle with giving up our earned Olympic berth or even a coveted job to someone whom we are deeply connected – this question can provide us a great gift into our own self awareness. It forces the follow on questions of:
• What is most important to me?
• What opportunity might I create for another?
• What opportunity should and must I fully own as it is uniquely mine to celebrate in the world?

This is NOT the story of whether Tracy did the right or wrong thing by giving her sister Lanny the spot Tracy had earned on the U.S. Olympic biathlon team. This IS a story about someone who did something very good out of self-less love for another.

Old, and don’t miss Lanny and Tracy in Sochi.