Inside LaunchStreet Tamara Ghandour Kleinberg business podcast innovation podcast

Small Incremental Movements Can Help to Make it Better Every Day

Part one of my conversation with Anthony Lambatos, President of Footers and IQE Partner. We do things a little differently for this episode. Anthony and I go deep into how to make innovation tangible. He shares how the rewards programs, voluntary committees, and the IQE assessment help him make innovation something that happens every day. We also talk about how setting expectations around the J-curve of innovation helps ensure the naysayers don’t win and recognizing the power in the 80% rule — something you’ll definitely want to consider after this interview.


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Key Takeaways:

[2:30] You may be surprised to learn that Anthony has a separate sports bucket list.

[5:09] How do you create a great place to work? Anthony and April’s original goal was to do just that! Part of their mission statement is to make it better every day. They utilize voluntary task forces to help make things better.

[9:36] How do you move the shift past, one more meeting, and get them excited to join a task force? The fact that it’s voluntary is huge. It’s something that they genuinely care about and challenges them to work on something new.

[11:55] How do you pick what’s worthy enough to be a new project?  It’s driven by the strategic plan and the eight company directors. Each director is in charge of an area from the strategic plan. Ideas also come from our team.

[14:38] Anthony employee’s efforts are rewarded by submitting requests for team members to earn Jimmy bucks. The playing field is level in that every employee can submit the request. Tamara talks about the importance of celebrating the behaviors, stepping up, and trying something new. It’s when you only focus on the outcomes that innovation fails.

[17:10] Get introduced to the 80 percent solution, and find out how it’s opened the door to a lot more progress. Anthony talks about failing three times to automate the pack list and about the lightbulb moment about letting go of perfection. We focus on making it better. Our acronym, MIBED, is our internal branding within our team.

[20:50] We tend to focus on the 20 percent because it’s glaring. Everybody can see that this part isn’t working. Productivity doesn’t go in a straight line. Anthony shares the “J” curve.

[24:02] Tamara often shares in her keynote addresses that it gets harder before it gets easier. Setting expectations at the front end is so important to get through that “J” curve. Anthony shares that it’s important to point out what the inconveniences will be and how the team will work through the problems.

[25:24] Anthony and Tamara discuss the importance of failure. Anthony believes that the task forces are a safe place for employees to throw out all ideas. Challenging people to be open with their ideas is essential. He likes the team exercise, Look for Ways.

He shares an example how a one-star review of Snowbird ski resort, was turned around and used as marketing tool.

[28:12] Footers, comes out of the gate differently. At the base of that, is the motto Make It Better Every Day. How has this view impacted your culture, innovation? Anthony shares that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb, Others had invented it before him. Edison invented the first commercially viable light bulb. Anthony believes that the key to innovation is making small incremental movements that will make it better.  Innovation is tangible and manageable. Tamara talks about rearranging the box, instead of getting out of the box.

[32:42] The secret sauce to a great culture is to genuinely care about the people that work for you, and in turn, the people want to do a great job. Anthony feels it’s also important to give the team opportunities to grow and improve.

[34:17] Tamara encourages listeners to pick one action point that Anthony talked about and implement it today.



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Mentioned In This Episode:

Footers Catering

IQE Assessmen