Innovation Success – Five Keys

Text saying Make things happen

The world’s best run businesses efficiently and effectively decide upon, launch, manage and optimize new business projects and initiatives.

In contrast, poorly run businesses struggle mightily to do so on all fronts.

They struggle deciding where to invest scarce project time and resources.

Once they do decide, they then struggle to get those new projects launched.

And if they do manage to get them launched, sadly far more often than those projects just don’t work out, are abandoned, and things are frustratingly returned to business as usual.

How can your business avoid this sorry fate?

Well, here are Five Keys that separate companies and organizations that successfully launch and execute new business initiatives from those that don’t:

#5. They Choose Wisely. For existing businesses serving existing clients (i.e. not startups), it is almost always better to take on only 1 – 2 “change” projects at a time.

Whether it is a web site redesign and relaunch, a development of a new product, implementation of new sales software, rewriting of job position roles and responsibilities, the pursuit of an outside financing, or really anything else that is not “business as usual,” finding the needed proactive and “reflective” energy to focus on more than just a couple of these initiatives at a time is unrealistic.

Far better is to invest more upfront time to determine which initiatives are most mission critical / have the highest ROI, and to then work to execute on them sequentially versus in parallel.

#4. They Know Their People. Conjuring up and doing “new” things is a talent that the significant majority of business people simply do not possess.

This is especially true in smaller, founder-led companies where the main guy or gal is a high creative, high ambition individual who then tends to fill out their organization with more process driven folks to execute upon all of his or her great ideas.

However, this “I dream, you do” dynamic can lead to a lot of frustration as the entrepreneur/founder can often feel that their team just doesn’t “get it” and big communication gaps open up such that key company-building projects get off track often as soon as they get started.

Instead of getting frustrated the founder / entrepreneur needs to identify (the Gallup Strengths Test is one of my favorite tools to do so) those in their organization NOT designed to take on new things and then…don’t give them any new things to take on!

 #3. They Get Outside Help. The natural corollary to the above is to “let in” the deep and wide world of outside consultants and service providers of every stripe, from all around the globe, and just hire them to drive the needed new stuff forward for you.

What is particularly great here is that it is usually far easier to drive hard and demand results from outside contractors or consultants, than it is from one’s own employees!

#2. They Hire a Change Champion. When budgets are there, hiring a person to be a company’s “Change Champion” is a great best practice.

This person should report directly to the CEO and be empowered to “run roughshod” on and over any bureaucratic bottleneck, excuses, and less-than-stellar effort from team members charged with leading and making happen the key change initiatives.

The most successful Change Champions have the emotional makeups of successful sports coaches – they find the balance between “tough love” accountability and positive motivation and just the very act of having a person like them in the organization is a powerful signal that a company’s leadership is truly willing to “walk” the change and innovation “talk.”

#1. Toughen Up. The world’s best run businesses recognize the magnitude of the “change challenge” and commit themselves as a team to the additional work and highly resilient attitudes to get it done.

These change leaders do not tolerate weaknesses or excuses – in themselves nor in their co-workers, not from a place of “jerky” blame but rather from a one of inspiring themselves and all in their orbits to be their best and most aspirational professional selves.

And every day as their organizations build more of this “change muscle,” they are able to complete their best change and growth initiatives more efficiently and profitably.

Be like them.


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