Why do established companies fail? Because they fail to create the future. Two ways for a company to fail: One way is it sets ambitious plans and doesn’t meet them. But the second way is it sets plans that aren’t ambitious and needs them.
And, there are many reasons why they fail to do so, but there is one word under which you can put all those reasons under: inertia.
What is organizational inertia? It’s resistance to change.
How does organizational inertia manifest itself in the day to day? Like this…
You Kill Ideas When You Close Your Mind
How do companies create inertia in their organization? By blocking, killing promising ideas. As the graphic illustrates, many “leaders” are also the Chief Idea Killer; rather than enablers of possibilities. The single most observable behavior of how a leader, or leaders, contribute to organizational inertia is not listening to other people’s ideas.
All established businesses reach their Kodak moment where they’ll have to disrupt themselves by creating future revenue growth engines; aka a new business model. Well, the foundations for those growth engines can come come from employees. There are many examples of employees who disrupted industries after leaving their employers to create their own business because they weren’t listened to and supported.
Listening, is a leader’s most powerful weapon. Listening opens your mind to other perspectives, it keeps your mind open to possibilities. On the other hand, a closed mind is so busy listening to itself that it has no room to listen to others. Listening, is how you know someone is a great leader.
If you’re someone who blocks ideas, remember that being called closed minded is not a compliment; it’s an insult. As you move up the ranks the less you rely on your skillset to the job done, but more on your ability to get results through others; and that development starts with listening more than you speak.
True leadership unlocks potential in organizations
Organizations that drive disruption are led by leaders who enable possibilities by creating the conditions where ideas from anywhere are encouraged and supported. These leaders are not concerned with maintaining the status quo, but rather finding the next revolution before it finds them.
Unlocking that potential starts with becoming aware that they don’t have all the answers, but ask questions that will get them new and interesting answers.
Bottom line: Innovative companies that reinvent themselves protect the future, not the past. They are led by leaders who listen more than they speak, who understand that The default state of all new ideas is “NO”. New ideas have to be protected, they need to be given room to breathe. As a business leader, your job is to jumpstart progress by enabling innovation. They way to do that is to provide purpose, challenge and support; then get out of the way. That’s how you give ideas oxygen.