Ties That Bind

One of our means toward effectiveness is getting everyone pointed in the same direction. We work toward the same goals, although perhaps via different routes. Having good leadership helps, but only so much. Leaders can’t be watching every minute, and we certainly don’t want everyone coming to them for every decision. Instead we build Ties that Bind+: professional and/or social relationships where individuals have implicit trust+ in the opinions or intuitions of others immediately around them. You get and trust the answers you need by simply turning around and asking the question.

Trust is not something faked or bought in a can. This is not cumbaya or Outdoors Adventures. You build trust by working together on real scientific or business problems, often under difficult conditions, over extended periods of time. We can set it up so this happens. Whether or not the trust builds is then left to the individuals.

It’s pretty clear individuals in the same business or technical professions often develop similar ways of viewing the world. For example, scientists regardless of their disciplines often highly value rationality and critical thinking+. There is a ‘scientific worldview’ that predominates their thought processes. Sales and Marketing professionals often think more about personal relationships. Rationality and ‘truth’ take a back seat to the impressions and sentiments they build with their colleagues (and customers). Sales and Marketing professionals have a very high Tolerance for Ambiguity+. Communicating across these ‘professional’ divides can be difficult, but this is precisely what we seek for greater effectiveness in commercialization+. We look to minimize the ‘communications barrier’ across the disciplines that get in the way of trust.

World Class R&D deliberately promotes Ties that Bind. We’re looking to build kindred spirits during the normal course of business events, so they’ll be there for us when we need them most during key moments in commercialization. A few of the ways we can do this are listed below:

  • Flipped Matrix+
  • Franchise Benefits+
  • Graduation+ *
  • Free-Format Proposal+ *
  • Sub Blockbuster+ Commercialization *
The items above with an asterisk can be used to build ties either internally or with external vendors. 

Again, we promote ties that bind with the intent of building effectiveness in R&D, and we use Organizational Behavior Management+ (the discipline) to identify, test, and qualify new ways of building these ties. Good external vendors will regularly seek out franchisees to better understand their business needs (or even just to do a joint presentation at industry forums).

Below are brief comments on how each of the above items contributes to ties that bind, i.e., greater trust among individuals.

Flipped Matrix

Technical staff work together to advance the science in their technical specialties for the benefit of all. Franchisee technical staff work with firm (Industrial Design+) technical staff intimately on these projects, for as much as 25% of their time. This is ‘commercialization’ of cutting-edge science for use by all franchisees.

Franchise Benefits

Access to the results of the work under the Flipped Matrix is a franchise benefit. Franchisees also have essentially unlimited access to any technical or business expertise within the firm as a benefit of their membership+ in the franchise. Franchisees have access to annual confabs or other firm-wide events (e.g., employee recruiting fairs) where they work together toward common goals (e.g., presentations, rewards, franchise business affairs).

Graduation

Franchisees invite outside expert witnesses from both the firm’s staff and from outside vendors during their work to graduate their prototype+ into commercialization. Similarly, the opposition (i.e., the prosecution in a Trial by Jury+) invites a variety of expert witnesses. So either in a supportive or adversarial setting, franchisees get to know many diverse experts simply by passing through the graduation hurdle.

Free-Format Proposal

We don’t just hand vendors a blank sheet of paper and an access key to the Intellectual Property Repository+. We pay vendors to develop proposals, and they have access to key staff as they build the proposal. This is a consulting assignment for the vendors, and they will attempt to build as many close relationships as they can during this effort.

Sub Blockbuster Commercialization

These are the practice runs for our full-blown blockbuster commercialization efforts. They allow franchisees (and vendors) to develop working relationships with many of the same players they will meet during blockbuster commercialization.


Many prototypes do not graduate into commercialization, or, in regulated industries, don’t get approved by regulators. Also, we deliberately shield research efforts in the franchisees from prying corporate eyes (to thwart the quants). There are very few opportunities for formal review of a prototype before it 'shows up at the door' of commercialization. We deliberately nurture trust across organizational (and legal) boundaries so that future plans can be shared and cross-disciplinary knowledge can be traded without promise of future success or contracts. We work together over the long term, with the understanding that should we be successful we are much more likely to want people we know on the team.