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SPECIAL EDITION NEWSLETTER dedicated to new Hot Spots Research Institute findings from Singapore

This edition of the newsletter brings you an exclusive look at the results of the year-long research project in Singapore into creating high performing and innovative teams and communities. Lynda has just come back from The Human Capital Conference in Singapore where she revealed the results to the media, the government and over 800 participants from across Asia – these really are hot off the press!

Last year, the Singaporean Ministry of Manpower (MOM) began working with The Hot Spots Research Institute to consider how innovation in Singapore - and indeed across Asia - can be increased. In the first phase of this work they supported the Hot Spots development of more than 30 teams from nine organisations: BD Medical; Keppel; MOM; SATS; Shell; SMRT; Standard Chartered Bank; the Turf Club; and Unilever. The results form the most comprehensive checklist so far for how teams learn to increase their performance and innovation.

VIDEO: What are our current challenges?

Lynda takes an overview of a tough year for many organisations, and what the current situation means for innovation and motivation.

The crucial impact of three major world trends

What is clear in Singapore – as in many other places across the world - is that there are three major trends that governments and companies will have to adapt to and could potentially gain from:

  • increasing globalisation, which will result in ever greater connectivity between the talent pools of the world, consumers and sources of production;
  • rapid advances in technologies that will bring unprecedented levels of connectivity and speed at ever-decreasing costs;
  • a changing demographic, which will see shifting patterns in global demographic patterns and the rise of what has been termed “Generation Y” - in effect, the first truly technological and joined-up generational cohort.

Key new challenges for corporations and teams

As we worked with companies and governments around the world we found that teams are often crucial sources of value creation in the organisation and a key place for member skills and capabilities to be developed. Typically we found in Singapore that these teams have three complex tasks to meet if they are to succeed:

  • they have to develop ever more innovative products, services and practices to meet the needs and aspirations of their rapidly changing consumer groups;
  • they have to bring together talented people - often with very different backgrounds and from across the globe - to work on these innovative products and services;
  • and simultaneously these teams are tasked with creating places of energy and innovation in which team members can work at their optimal level of discretionary effort and creativity.

Four strong themes emerged from the data about the teams:

Theme 1: The impact of the Hot Spots core elements

It is no surprise that we found that in these 30 teams all three Hot Spots core elements (cooperative mindset, boundary spanning, and ignition) are crucial in boosting the productivity, performance, and value creation of the teams. But interestingly the research results reveal more: they show clearly that how a company puts these elements into play really makes a difference.

Setting the stage for cooperation is key to value creation. A cooperative team culture, strong cooperative goals, and interpersonal trust drive productivity and performance in teams. However, cooperative behaviour itself (that is, helping each other out) has a less powerful impact on the bottom line than the structure and the frame within which cooperation takes place (for example, the extent to which coaching takes place or the cooperative role models of leaders)…. so make sure the context for cooperation is in place!

We also learnt more about networking and boundary spanning. For example, we found that actively engaging in boundary spanning as a team is more important than simply the boundary spanning experience of individual members. So make sure you actively ignite your network if you want to create a Hot Spot!

We have always known that team energy flows from a compelling vision, energising questions and an igniting task. What this study reveals is that igniting questions that stimulate out-of-the-box thinking are the most energising factor for teams. So get those igniting questions asked!

Theme 2: the structures and operating methods of the team

The research found that some practices are particularly important to boosting productivity:

  • It is really important that teams clarify their roles – particularly with regard to dividing the work and making clear who is supposed to do what;
  • Making commitments is crucial – it creates a clear sense of accountability for the bottom-line impact;
  • Teams that perform well are able to synchronise their time so that everyone is on the same page with each other and is able to share knowledge;
  • We found that in these turbulent times with constant changes in the environment, teams that found a strong rhythm between periods of working under pressure with immediate delivery and periods of deliberate reflection were more able to sustain their performance.

Meanwhile, we discovered that in these teams two aspects in particular worked against performance and innovation:

  • The more complex the organisational environment of the team, the more the team struggles to be innovative;
  • High team conflict (whether about tasks or relationships) significantly lowers the performance and value creation of these teams.

Theme 3: the management practices and their influence on innovation

We found that those teams with the highest innovation scores as rated by the team members and the stakeholders where often strong in these management practices:

  • Innovative teams tended to have strong cooperative goals and trust and low conflict;
  • Innovative teams had a clear vision and asked stimulating questions which pushed the thinking of the team in new directions;
  • Innovative teams find a rhythm in their work with periods of pressure followed by periods of calm, conversation and play
  • Innovative teams are more often found in companies which support the development of the skills of dialogue, and which make time and space for inspiring conversations to take place.

Theme 4: Teams can rapidly boost their performance and innovation

The research project also included putting the 30 teams on our 60 day Hot Spot Learning Journey. So we were really interested in finding whether the teams could actually boost their performance in this relatively short period of time.

We are delighted to announce that teams actually can.

Over the 60 days we found that:

  • 78 % of the participating teams boosted their performance, value creation, and innovative capability as rated by their key stakeholders (the teams’ clients and suppliers) Of these 78%, a third were shown to have strong improvement in these areas.

If that is what is achievable in 60 days, imagine what the teams will be able to achieve at the end of 12 months! This result is particularly pleasing to us, as it proves that actionable change and Hot Spots of energy and innovation can indeed be achieved rapidly – which bodes well for swift-moving companies looking to take advantage of the shifting corporate landscape.

On behalf of the Hot Spots team, we’d like to congratulate Andreas Voigt, who managed the Singapore project and, alongside Marilyn Davidson, coached the teams.

Are you interested in seeing what the 60 Day Learning Journey can do for your organisation? You can read more here or contact Tina for details on tina@hotspotsmovement.com.

PODCAST: Does your company have Hot Spots?

Lynda was interviewed by Phil Dobbie for BTalk in Australia. You can listen to the podcast here.

REMINDER: Hot Spots Programme, London, November

We have a few spaces left for Lynda’s two-day Hot Spots Programme in London on November 3-4, so sign up now! You can read more about the event here.

Next edition:

Next month, we will be featuring Lynda’s diary from Singapore, as well as some pointers as to why some teams boost their performance more than others.




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