Welcoming innovation and creating an overall innovation culture at work is not easy but necessary.
Most company cultures have very limiting unwritten rules when it comes to innovation. For the most part, innovators in corporate culture are seen as irresponsible, unmindful, nonconformist and disruptive. For instance, some organizations will not hesitate to shut down dissident voices and to punish rules breakers.
Furthermore, the longer you have been in a leadership position, the more you become complacent, the more you get stuck in your ways, the more you start believing in erroneous paradigms, the less you are willing to take risks, to change your processes and to innovate.
Wondering how to avoid complacency and to enable the innovation process?
What is innovation?
Innovation is a natural or acquired process that is present as a core value in most organization and that can make all the difference. It is the ability to deliver new positive data, value, concepts and systems. Somewhat, innovation implies creativity but not the other way around.
Furthermore, innovation is a mindset but not everyone is able to trigger innovation. Innovative leaders are capable of:
- Self-awareness and of assessing situations.
- Creativity and of generating new opportunities for themselves.
- Identifying issues, understanding them and exploring different perspectives.
- Finding long-term solutions to problem and making strategic decisions.
- Having a vision, short and long-term goals.
- Performing at a higher level, effectively restructuring organization, implementing a vision and appropriately using their resources.
- Communicating effectively.
- Adapting to different circumstances, taking action despite the circumstances and reinventing themselves.
- Taking charge of their behavior and their emotions.
- Adequately handling failure and success.
Leaders feel pressure to adapt to the market, to create new products, to maintain a stable work environment, stable results and still welcome innovation. Jump starting the innovation process within your organization will help you and your organization:
- Stay relevant.
- Gain a competitive advantage.
- Remember that what worked in the past, will not necessarily work right now.
- Demonstrates your effectiveness, adaptability, capacity to handle issues and to overcome challenges.
- Pay close attention to the customers.
How to trigger and maintain an innovation culture?
Every organization has their own culture and every leader has their own norms. So, in order to avoid complacency and to trigger an innovative spirit:
- Live a healthy Work-Life Balance.
- Identify new ideas to integrate into your leadership style.
- Keep an open mind, focus on the positive, give yourself the time and the opportunity to explore, always ask questions and always be open to learn. Pursue truth and knowledge.
- Challenge your own knowledge, your assumptions and your preconceived notions.
- Avoid using your life and work experiences to drive innovation. Question and learn from everything: read, observe and explore more than usual. You can even look at other innovative ideas and see if they fir your situation.
- Get out of your comfort zone, challenge conventional wisdom and the status quo.
- Create a personal mission statement that measure your progress, that helps you follow through on your commitments and that incorporates your willingness to innovate.
- Rephrase a same issue multiple times to gain more clarification.
- Don’t hesitate to break societal rules to get where you want to go.
- Demonstrate that innovation is necessary. Incorporate it in your core values and in your actions.
- Listen to different ideas and appreciate other people point of views, especially if they are not related to the issue. However, this doesn’t mean that you will need to apply their point of view.
- Be confident in your vision and embrace change.
- Write down every idea that comes to you even if you don’t have the opportunity to use them.
- Learn to take calculated risks, to handle failure as well as success, to plan for the unknown and for failures, to celebrate success. Failure and success can inhibit your ability to innovate because you are constantly thinking of what could go wrong. It is therefore important to see failure as an opportunity to grow and to get closer to success.
- Analyze the time and the cost needed to implement your innovative idea.
- Identify the passionate people and change agents on your team. Besides, expecting people to be passionate, demonstrate your own passion and convey it to your team.
- Identify the people who are blocking your ideas in the organization. It would be wise to share your vision with them and try to convince them.
- Ask for constant feedback and give feedback yourself.
- Empower your team at all levels, trust them, allow them to speak their minds, to find different alternatives to a problem and help them achieve their goals.
- Encourage dissenting voices who can challenge in new ideas and analyze their every aspect, who can identify areas in the organization that need optimization.
- Welcome brainstorming activities and filter out ideas with potential.
- Set deadlines to build pressure and to get more out of your team.
- Train your employees to hone their skills, to appreciate change and set high expectations for them.
- Avoid criticizing your team when they come up with new ideas and avoid shifting blame when something goes wrong.
- Remove your ego and potentially collaborate with your competitor.
Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!
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