Submitted by Paul Sloane on July 4, 2011 – 12:05 am2 Comments.
A Leadership Tip to Drive Innovation
by Paul Sloane
How can you continually improve the performance of your business and at the same time innovate? Should you focus on making the current model work better or should you seek to find different ways to do things? The answer is that you and your team must do both.
Give all your people two key objectives. Ask them to run their current jobs in the most effective way possible and at the same time to find completely new ways to do the job. Encourage your employees to ask themselves – what is the essential purpose of my role? What is the outcome that I deliver that is of real value to my clients (internal and external). Is there a better way to deliver that value or purpose? The answer is always yes but most people never even ask the question.
Being busy, efficient and effective is essential. It is necessary – but it is not sufficient. What is needed in addition is a restless hunger to find better ways to do things. Challenge people to find those better ways. Encourage executives to investigate how their kind of role is fulfilled in organisations in other fields. They could join industry associations and networks to learn about new and different methods. When someone finds a better way to do something that makes their own job obsolete then praise and promote them.
You could add something like this to people’s objectives:
■Investigate and identify entirely new ways to achieve your goals.
■Advise at least two radical alternative approaches in the coming year.
Make sure that such objectives are evaluated seriously at appraisal time.
Doing the day job is not enough. The trouble is that we are so busy on the day job that we leave no time for trying new things. If you make it explicit in people’s objectives that they have to try new things then you will help to break-out of the current rut and start on the road to innovation.