Innovation and Culture
Innovation and Culture

July 31, 2019 | admin | 0 comments | 0 Views

Scholarly Publishing

Innovation is a term that is thrown around like confetti at a New York City Canyon of Heroes celebration parade.  Talking about innovation and implementing it from start to finish is another story.  The IG (Innovation Graveyard) is strewn with innovation projects started with the best of intentions but which subsequently failed due to a lack of vision, strategy, planning, resources and leadership.

To transform your business it is important that you, as the leader of your publishing house, for example, challenge your colleagues, but most important challenge yourself, to go beyond your normal day to day business activities.  Business leaders who wish to foster innovation must ask these questions of themselves and their team members:

  • What is innovation?
  • What is culture?
  • What are the best practices of innovation?
  • What are the best practices of a high performing culture?
  • What are the best practices of creating an innovative culture?

Projects that are labeled Innovative have not been fully vetted unless there are answers to the following key questions that the management team and an oversight board need to ask themselves:

  • What is the strategic objective of the Innovative Project?  Any innovation project must have a strategic purpose.
  • What will this Innovative Project do for our customers and our business?
  • Do we have the necessary personal and expertise to build and implement the Innovative Project?
  • If not, are we able to outsource the Innovative Project to a reputable vendor?
  • Has the Innovative Project been fully funded to ensure that it will be completed on time in its full capacity?

The Japanese believe in and utilize the practice of “Kaizen,” defined as continuous improvement.  Innovation does not have to involve  a big bang; it could be just a tweak to a flawed process, product, etc. that improves a company’s productivity, profitability, or customer service significantly.  Innovation can be described as a new idea, new feature, new process, new product, etc., that will improve productivity, profitability, quality of service and professionalism of your organization.

Does your company’s culture create a positive environment for innovation or does your culture encourage the status quo?  Let’s do a quick check to see if your company’s culture creates a positive environment for innovation.

  • Within  team members’ performance objective setting for the year, is there an item for their annual objectives that includes an innovation project?
  • For your team members’ individual annual performance and compensation review are they provided financial incentive for their innovation project?
  • Does your company allow every team to dedicate a percentage of its time to an innovation project?
  • Is innovation actively encouraged by the CEO and senior management team?
  • Is innovation is celebrated at your company?

For each question give your company a score of 1 – 5 (1 = Not innovative at all, 2 = A little innovative, 3 = Sometimes innovative, 4 = More innovative than not, 5 = Fully innovative) and add up your score.

If your score is 23 or higher than your company is truly an innovative company.  If your score is 20 – 22 your company is working towards being an innovative company.  If your company’s score is under 20, it may show some signs of being innovative, however it has a lot of opportunity to grow.

How does your publishing house define itself when it comes to innovation?  Does your publishing house like to lead the industry in new developments, or follow the leaders and allow them to underwrite new innovative developments?  Or does your company wait until the market has accepted a new innovation and then adopt it? 

Is there an innovative project included in your company’s strategic plan?  Has your company established a defined project plan, with a team, budget, etc.?  What will be the key aspects of the innovation project that will drive your company’s success?  How will you measure success of your innovation project?  What type of performance dashboard will you use to ensure that your innovation project is hitting its milestones?

In Kaihan Kippendorff’s book “Outthink the competition:  How A New Generation of Strategists Sees Options Others Ignore,” the author tells the story of a leader who creates a fictitious competitor that he uses to keep his team members on their toes.  After a period of time he discloses to his colleagues that the great competitor they have been fighting to beat in the market is a fictitious company.  The competitive innovative behaviors that he wanted to instill within his team are now deeply knitted in the fabric of their everyday culture.

Over the last 20 years we have seen the launch of electronic journals, electronic books, Open Access journals, Federated Search, altmetrics, expert networks and hundreds of start ups eager to improve the value chain of scholarly publishing.  There are dozens of new initiatives on the horizon.  Some will succeed, some will fail, and the question is, Where will your company fall in the area of innovative developments?

So you may ask, If my company did not score 20 or more on our innovative questionnaire, how do we get started to create an innovative culture?  The answer is to start with baby steps.  Begin the process of conducting a gap analysis of your current culture.  Next, establish a project plan that will position your company to take full advantage of an innovative culture.  Then select a good solid innovative project to kickoff your program.

Every publishing house has the opportunity to be innovative and the innovative project does not need to be the “Big Hairy Audacious” innovation project.  An innovative project can be small but have huge benefits.

Last but not least, encourage your team members to read up on innovation and share the best practices with you and their colleagues.  There is a lot of information on innovation and it is at everyone’s fingertips via smart phones.  Information is power

Leadership Hardwork and Profit

July 31, 2019 | admin | 0 comments | 0 Views

Sales & Sales Uncategorized

July 14, 2014

Darrell W. Gunter

Hard work and Profit!

This past weekend my family celebrated my mother’s upcoming 90th birthday and our annual family reunion.  We began on Friday with my mother’s birthday celebration followed by our family reunion picnic on Saturday.  We concluded our festivities by attending my mother’s church, Second Baptist Church in Atlantic City, NJ.  Pastor Collins A. Days always delivers a superb sermon and this Sunday’s sermon was no exception. 

I was so moved by the sermon and its leadership principles I was compelled to share with you the key points of his sermon.  Everyday we bring our leadership skills and attributes to our everyday occupation and we all have our blind spots.  It is my hope that this article helps you to address any blind spots that you might have and help you make your hard work more profitable!

His sermon focused on Proverbs 14:23 – “All hard work brings a profit,
 but mere talk leads only to poverty.”  How many times have we experienced someone in our work environment that puts the time in, but not real effort?  Instead of putting in quality time i.e., (time and effort) the unproductive worker just shows up and logs in ordinary time.

Imagine a crew of eight oarsmen competing against another team of eight oarsmen.  Team “Excel” has eight oarsmen that are fully engaged and in sync with each other.  Team “Boarsman” has only five out of the eight that are fully engaged.  The boats take their position and as soon as the gun sounds, anyone observing the race knows the likelihood of Team Excel winning the race is great!

A company competing in the market place is only as strong as its weakest link.  King Solomon spoke that “All labor is profitable”.   It is said that, “You reap what you sow.”  In other words, you get out what you put in.  If your labor is positive and productive, the profit from your labor will result in great performance reviews, awards, salary increases, performances, etc.   If your labor is not productive then your profit for this poor labor will result in poor performance reviews, no salary increases, no promotions and potentially loss of employment.

Hard work equals positive profit and poor work habits equals poor profit.  The Oxford dictionary defines hard work as, “A great deal of effort or endurance”

Anything truly worthwhile requires a consistent dedicated effort and patience. In his book, “Built to Last”, Jim Collins challenges his readers that in order for them to achieve greatness they need to establish “A big hairy audacious goal”!   Hard work will be essential to achieve that “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”!  Working smart and working hard goes hand-in-hand.  Some people feel that if you can work smart then you do not have to work hard. Do not misunderstand me. I fully appreciate and recommend to my clients that they should utilize the best practices within their work environment to ensure that they, along with their colleagues are maximizing their productivity.  However, you must put the time into your business to have that breakthrough and create a positive performance gap between you and your competitors.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, he details several examples of successful people who have invested 10,000 hours or more to their profession.  Each of us has our own gifts and there are no overnight successes.  My nephew, Kadir Nelson is an award-winning illustrator ( and he started drawing at the age of three and never stopped.  During his formative years, he worked entirely on his art.   He logged well over 10,000 hours before he headed off to college.  As a college student, he was selling his original artwork and doing work for Nike!  Even today he is consistently putting in the time to make sure that all of his work meets his standards of high quality.

In building your team of high performers, you must set the example of putting in a quality workday!  Your team will follow your example of putting in a quality workday.  Even if you are currently not managing anyone it is essential that you set your personal work standards very high.  No matter what your position is in your company, you want to make sure that you are giving it your best effort everyday.  As you ascend the corporate ladder or launch your own business, it is imperative that you bring your “A” effort and set the standard for excellence.

Remember, any significant endeavor will require an extraordinary and consistent effort (hard work)!  The benefits of the hard work will result in the following benefits:

  • Position yourself for better raises and promotions
  • Great work self satisfaction
  • Leadership position within your company
  • Your day flies by
  • Happy co-workers and customers
  • Positive working environment

Take control of your life and career by establishing a new PMA (positive mental attitude) towards your work and career.  Establishing personal productivity goals to stand out from your colleagues and competitors will ensure that you are on the right track to true Professional Growth and Profit!


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Innovation and Culture

July 31, 2019

Leadership Hardwork and Profit

July 31, 2019


Sales & Sales


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Scholarly Publishing


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