Are you ready to innovate?

by Mitch Ditkoff

If someone from your company’s leadership team asks you to locate an outside consultant to help your organization establish a culture of innovation, STOP for a moment and, with all due respect, ask the requesting member of the leadership team to answer the following questions.

If they answer “NO” to any of them, do not accept the assignment.

Really. I mean it. If you’re afraid to decline the assignment, there’s no hope for you, your senior team, or your organization. Zero.

If you say YES without understanding the current reality of the senior team, you will only be going on a wild goose chase — wasting your time, theirs, and the TBD consulting company’s who will be asked to generate a hefty proposal that none of your senior leaders will be ready, willing, or able to respond to.

10 Questions to Ask Senior Leaders Before Looking for an Outside Innovation Consultant
1.Do you have a clear, compelling vision of our organization’s future? If not, are you willing to create one?

2.Are you personally committed to fostering a culture of innovation? Are other senior leaders on the same page with you? If not, are they willing to make the effort to do so?

3.Are senior leaders willing to walk the talk — modeling the kind of innovation-friendly behaviors they want to see others manifesting on the job?

4.Are you willing to challenge the status quo?

5.Are you open to receiving new ideas from the workforce — and are you willing to establish a process that will make it easy for them to do so?

6.Are you willing to listen more deeply to what the workforce is thinking and feeling?

7.Are you committed to establishing and supporting an Innovation Council that will drive the process to raise the bar for innovation?

8.Are you willing to invest in a long-term approach, rather than treating the effort as a flavor-of-the-year initiative?

9.Are you willing to go beyond “command and control”, empower people, and push decision making further down the food chain?

10.Are you open to guidance and coaching from an outside company who can support you all of the above?

What other questions would you add to the list?

About hbouzas

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Studied Physics at the University of Buenos Aires. Joined Schlumberger in February 1985 in Houston, Texas, and worked in several technical and managerial positions until 2000. From 2000 until 2008 held several management positions in Abingdon, UK; Calgary, Alberta and London, UK. Worked in the areas of Geophysical Exploration, Geological Modeling, Structural Modeling, Reservoir Modeling and Petroleum Economics and holds several patents. He is currently the Norway Technology Center Manager for Schlumberger Information Solutions and is based in Oslo and Stavanger. Main interest are software, technology, innovation, 3D visualization, design, human computer interaction, energy, environment.
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