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Change is in the air for NEW Cincinnati

Monday, November 11, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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A sold-out crowd of 600 learned to nurture and leverage change and innovation at the NEW Cincinnati fall networking event, Nov. 7, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency in Cincinnati.

Change is like a train running through companies, according to Douglas Merrill, former Google CIO and author of Getting Organized in the Google Era: How to Stay Efficient, Productive (And Sane) in an Information-Saturated World. "Be on it,” he said, "or be under it.”

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Don’t agonize over each decision, he cautioned. "Do something. If you hate it, change it. Just do it! It’ll be okay.”

To spur innovation, the most important thing you can do for your company and yourself is to listen to your customers, Merrill said. But don’t listen too carefully, because their actual behavior is different from their stated behavior. "Take time to watch and test your customers and you will learn what they want.”

To encourage creativity, managers should recruit people who think differently than they do, Merrill said, adding that corporations need to fire their HR departments or radically restructure them."Hire people who may annoy you. It means they may bring something different to the company.”

Developing talent is much different than managing talent, he noted. "It’s important as a leader to understand where a person is and where they should go next.”

But, remember, employees will do what is measured. "Be careful what you measure, because it can restrict innovation,” he said.

Company policies and structure can encourage or squash innovation. Google, for instance, provided free lunch to employees – not just to feed employees, but to nurture innovation. As employees sat together, they’d talk and brainstorm.

"Change happens to you or by you,” Merrill said. "Pick.”

Merrill also spoke to 50 college and high school students, invited to the event by the NEw Cincinnati college outreach committee, which was recognized for by NEW for Excellence in College Outreach at the NEW Leadership Summit, Oct. 22 in Los Angeles.

Organizations sending large delegations to the event include Acosta Sales & Marketing, Advantage Sales & Marketing, Altria Group Distribution Company, Brown-Forman Corporation, Campbell Soup Company, Catalina, The Clorox Company, The Coca-Cola Company, ConAgra Foods, CROSSMARK, Dannon Company, Deloitte, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, dunnhumby, General Mills, GlaxoSmithKline, Hallmark Cards Inc., Harlow-HRK Sales & Marketing, Henkel Consumer Goods Inc., H.J. Heinz Company, Hormel Foods Corporation, The J.M. Smucker Company, Johnson & Johnson, Kao USA Inc., Kellogg Company, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Kraft Foods Group Inc., The Kroger Co., MARS Advertising, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Nielsen, PepsiCo Inc., Procter & Gamble, S.C. Johnson, and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company.

(From left) NEW Cincinnati officers Nicole Rasmussen and
Amy Eskoff-Garret join former Google CIO Douglas Merrill and
fellow officers Tiffany Menyhart and Lisa Holsclaw.

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