We’re all on a quest for the newest, best, slickest, most agile solution to our problems. And when the going gets tough, that’s when the pressure mounts up to get something done, quickly, to move past the problem, and on towards capital gain.
But a reactive approach to solving your problems is hardly the trick that’s going to see you soar past your competitors, and gain market percentage. If anything, you’ll find yourself staring at the now, thinking you’ve overcome something much bigger than it is, when in fact, you’ve probably just managed to get yourself even further behind than when you started.
So, how do you get around that? How do you master the force of proactivity and innovation, when your daily battles seem to occupy most of your agenda?
Simple – you get back to your culture.
Innovation – the word of the moment. The hot topic on everyone’s lips. We’re trying to do the new, constantly.
But for many organisations, the notion of innovation is more cumbersome than creative, more dreary than doable – and for many, the idea of doing something new brings along feelings of exhaustion at the thought of having to transform entire departments, schools of thought, process, even product. But it’s probably easier than you think.
If you don’t have a culture of innovation, you need to develop a culture of evolution.
The notion of business transformation has never been a one-off exercise. And in the case where organisations have treated it as such, they have very quickly been caught out. Bill Pasmore, in his book Leading Continuous Change: Navigating Churn in the Real World, says: “Organizations fail when they run out of money and other resources. But going bust is the end of the story, not the beginning“, and unfortunately, for many the realisation of culture change is one that comes far too late in the process – when any hope of turnaround is gone.
Evolution, by definition, refers to the gradual development of something. Note: “Gradual” and Note: “Development.”.
Where many think that the starting point for any type of innovative activity is a big bang approach, we’re here to tell you that it’s anything but that. Yes, you’ve realised that you need to start thinking creatively – and that’s great. But going at anything in full force may do more damage than good. Your teams may not be ready for it, your processes and back-office systems may not be ready for it – so there’s a gradual change, a gradual metamorphosis that needs to take place, to get your business, and your teams, ready for it. Some steps may be easier to take, than others – in which case, you need to start acting on them. For others, you’ll need some time to work through it to find the right solution that sees profit, growth, confident structure.
And where you’re developing a culture of innovation, it may be worth not only looking for the new, the different, but looking for ways to make your teams become accustomed to change as a force for good. Innovation, in its own nature, is doing something differently – and for many first-timers, they don’t always get it right. A healthy attitude towards change means that you (and your teams) are not afraid of results, or consequence, but that they have a healthy, naturally curious attitude to trying things in a different way.
Remember, seldom does anything innovative happen when you sit down with a blank sheet, and a pen, and think, “Ok, now I’m going to be innovative. I’m going to create the solution to World Hunger”. (If that were possible, and if you were able to do that, we’d love to meet you!). For many, however, innovation comes through trying things, failing attempts, frustrating experiences. And if you’re open to change, and open to a culture of evolution – that innovation may just birth something completely unexpected.
If you’re ready to tackle some of the trickier culturally challenging parts of your business, then we’d love to help. We’ve worked with organisations to grow their curiosity, and align their teams to support, encourage and lead business strategies. We’d love to help you too.