The word innovation itself can be intimidating to many. The word represents change, and change is something many of us do not like. This resistance to change can be for many reasons. As human beings, we appreciate predictability and the ability to proceed without added stress, difficulty and conflict. We will do almost anything to avoid conflict, necessary or not.
However, innovation is necessary for personal and company growth, and for us as a society, to evolve. To become better, innovation is necessary. Many individuals scoff at the thought of change, growth or innovation based on uncertainty, risk, and fear. Many leaders and companies are resistant to leave their comfort zones. I believe this is the kiss of death for executives, leaders, and entrepreneurs. For many, to intentionally exit the place we feel safe and appreciated is more than difficult.
Intentional action is driven by a goal, and a plan to achieve the desired results.
Personal and company innovation and growth are no different in principle. What is your plan? I fear you might not have a Strategic Growth and Innovation Plan engaged to serve you yet. Should that be the situation, I urge you to begin the very rewarding process of developing a unique plan for your advanced success.
Many individuals struggle through life reacting to all that confronts them, both personally and professionally. Are you one of them? I believe (and have always practiced whatever I do) in having a goal, a strategic plan to get there and a desired outcome. Now, it might not always work as I expected and that’s when the art of the pivot comes in. That is another discussion. The ability to adjust is paramount to overall success in anything we do.
To be innovative, one must always be looking to improve even when things are going well. This is proactive innovation. To change when the s**t hits the fan is reactive. By then, it is often too late in the process and the struggle continues. Most likely the effort to remediate becomes far more difficult. To avoid unnecessary additional pain, discomfort, financial concern and so on, why not get out in front of it?
For most of us, the reasons are additional work, potential risk, fear of failure, no one else is doing it and people give me pushback. The innovative headwinds are too strong and we simply do not have the energy to face all of it.
This is not a good strategy. This process of innovation is not overly difficult, so get all the excuses right out of your head. If you keep thinking that crap, you will start to believe it.
A Sustainable Strategy for Innovation
I have put together an outline for your Innovation Strategy that is very effective. Required for innovative success is vision. A forward-leaning: Where do I want to be and when? What skills do I not have currently to get me there? Who do I need to help me get there? What are the benefits when I do get there? Who gets value from those benefits? Why do I need to do this in the first place? How do I implement and do it? In what order do I do it? When will I get it done? How will I feel when I get there? Finally, was it worth it?
As you begin to answer these questions, you will find clarity. You will begin to identify your benefits and acquire the motivation to succeed. Be forewarned, not everyone will support your innovative behaviors. Many will intentionally create obstacles, say mean things, provide negative pushback and reject you. I know this to be true. I have learned that the trick is to put your head down, roll up your sleeves and get on it! Push through the nonsense, monitor your progress, pivot as necessary and move forward at all costs.
The funny thing is though, when you arrive there and demonstrate the benefits of your innovative efforts, everyone wants to be your friend. Even more interesting, many suggest they were with you all along on your innovative behavior. Remember who you did it for in the end. You did it for YOU. Be your advocate, be the brave leader out on point. Be the person you admire most. Be the absolute best you can be by taking on your future with innovative behavior.
I bet you can!