Any talk about innovation inside organizations is mostly just that; talk. Why? Because just like any individual that wants to make a change in his / her life, actually taking that step requires some reflection and clarity as to what you have to do to change; and you actually have to want to change.
And it isn’t easy; because you have to change your habits.
In the world of business, organizations fail because they miss the future. The reasons are many, specifically because they worship the status quo; protecting their sacred cows. They don’t want to change the habits that drive their current business model, that’s what impedes them from evolving and transforming.
People have to change too. I’ll give you an example. I have a friend who was a DJ for 20+ years. Right now he’s out of a job because he never experimented, evolved and adapted. And since he never tried, right now he’s completely unmotivated to do so and simply gave up on his passion.
So, how can you tell that an organization isn’t ready to change?
Here are a few:
- Sense of urgency. The big one for me is lack of sense of urgency. Most organizations only change because of competitive reasons, a crisis, or because it is driven fromthe inside. In either case, you either drive change or are outpaced by it. So you will fail if the future isn’t a priority.
- Lack of leadership. Changing for the better is a sign of growth mindset, a staple of leadership. Organizations that over-managed will have a hard time breaking away from the shackles of precedent; which can only be broken with strong leadership.
- Unwillingness to take risks. This one isn’t a surprise, as any organization that is going to change will have to start thinking and acting differently; that means taking risks.
Whether it’s about strengthening their business model or experimenting with what’s next, innovative organizations enjoy taking on challenges. This is the case small, medium and large ones; evolution doesn’t descriminate.
Bottom line: A critical measure of innovation is leadership and priorities. So your organization is only “talking” about innovation if these aren’t present in your day to day operation.