Leadership and Innovation / Change: Breaking the Rules

A point of view   by  Karim Jaude 

We often think of innovation as creativity, but as Harvard professor Theodore Levitt points out, the difference between innovation and creativity is the difference between thinking about getting things done in the world, and getting things done. Creativity thinks up new things, innovation does new things.

Innovation drives the heart of every exceptional business.

Innovation continually poses the question, What stands in the way of my customer getting what he wants from my business?

For the innovation to be meaningful, it must always take the customers point of view. At the same time, innovation focuses your business on its critical essentials. It should make things easier in the operation of your business; otherwise, it is not innovation, but complication. Innovation helps your business identify itself and establish its individuality. This skill, developed within your business and your people, constantly asks, How can we do this better/best?

In that regard, I think of innovation as the best way skill. It produces a high level of energy in every organization within which it is nurtured, fed and stimulated. This energy in turn feeds everyone the organization touches: its employees, customers, suppliers, lenders, and investors. In an innovative organization, everyone grows.

Peter Drucker defines innovation as change that creates a new dimension of performance. Leaders can create environments, give people the tools, and set the expectations to make innovation part of daily work. They should take the time to explain to their teams that they must abandon practices that no longer work.

While great leaders in the world might seem to have little in common, they all excel at turning every team members talent into palpable performance and they do not hesitate to break virtually every rule held sacred by conventional wisdom.

Leaders know that the business climate is in permanent flux and that different approaches to lead people are necessary. They must be open to new opportunities, find ways to be innovative, and be willing to change..

As leaders release the power of innovation, they must also be constantly adapting policies, procedures, and even processes to make room for these dynamic changes. Here are seven ideas to consider when implementing innovation and change in your organization:

1. Vision and Goals The best way to predict the future is to create it. Do not hesitate to break virtually every rule held sacred by conventional wisdom. Develop goals and measurements that reinforce innovation and change.

2. Old vs. New Rules Eliminate rules and policies that hinder the change and create new ones that reinforce the desired way of operating. The old principle that states, if it is not broken, do not fix it, has never been effective. A visionary leader will break it and fix it by creating a new and better way to do it.

3. Training A great leader excels at turning each team members talent into performance. Replace training that reinforces the old way of doing things with new training.

4. Rewards and Recognition Find the right fit for each person, so that rewards and recognition are based on performance. Make rewards specific to the change goals that have been set. Recognize individual and team
contributions to making the changes work.

5. Communications Deliver communications in new ways to show commitment to innovation and change. Use multiple channels to deliver consistent messages to everyone in the organization, at all stages during the transition: before, during and after.

6. Environment Make sure the environment reflects the change. Create an atmosphere that fosters innovation and change. Leaders should allow the team to make lots of tries and consequently suffer some failure or the
organization won’t learn.

7. Organizational structure The structure should reinforce the operational changes. Define the right outcomes, rather than the right steps. Combine overlapping divisions, eliminate duplication, re-organize around customers
as opposed to functions.

Article Source: http://www.leadershiparticles.net


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