154 – How to create a culture where innovation thrives | Ft. Amantha Imber

Amantha Imber is all about working smart. We spend up to a one-third of of our waking lives at work.  That’s a huge percentage of our lives.  Amanda asks the powerful, yet rarely considered question.  “Shouldn’t our time at work be a rewarding?”

So, creating enjoyable, engaging rewarding workplaces should be a top priority for organzations.  But, as far too many of us are aware, it simply is not.  Amantha is on a mission to change that.

Amantha Imber is an organisational psychologist and founder of behavioural science consultancy Inventium. Amantha’s thoughts have appeared in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company and she is the author of two best-selling books: The Creativity Formula and The Innovation Formula.


Lessons Learned

Bad Bosses are Everywhere

The average person is probably working for a bad boss. Or, they are stuck working for organizations that have toxic cultures. Amantha illustrates that point with a story about one of her close friends. She had recently moved divisions after working with another team for several years. And they didn’t even give her a send off. They just said. “Oh yeah? See you later.” And it was just awful. It was completely demoralizing for her. Even the most basic acknowledgment of her time and work would have been enough. But this particular organization couldn’t even muster that.  That boils down to one thing: bad leadership.


Do you work inside a toxic culture?

Amantha and her team use self-determination theory to determine the state of an organization. That theory says there are three factors that are going to determine their motivation at work.

  • Autonomy:  Do people feel like they’ve got a sense of control or freedom over when, where and how they work?
  • Mastery: Are people given the opportunity to master new skills?
  • Connections: Are there opportunities for people to have really high-quality connections?

Shallow work and Deep Work

Cal Newport is a professor of computer science at Georgetown University. He identified the difference between deep work and shallow work.  Helping your team to understand the difference is critical to improving efficiency and quality of work.  To say nothing about the sanity of your team.  When someone requires deep-work that means no email notifications, no Slack windows open and the phone turned to “do not disturb”.  Making it OK for a team member to be offline for a period of time is so important for getting things done.  And it has the bonus effect of instilling a sense of trust and confidence in your team members.

Understanding chronotypes

A big area of research for psychologists is the new science of chronotypes.  It’s a fancy term for an old idea.  That some people are night owls and others are early risers.  In fact, new research shows there are actually three chronotypes.  That is, the times over a 24-hour period when people are at their most alert and productive. There is the stereotypical morning person, the middle birds and the night owls. If you allow your team members to work the hours that are best for them productivity is shown to dramatically increase.  But again, you have to have a team that you trust and that trusts you for this to work.




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