I was talking with a friend the other day and realized just how infectious complacency is within organizations that stifle ideas and squash team members’ enthusiasms. These organizations have pushed their best asset — their people — into what I call the “Tired of Trying Zone.”
It seems that all organization large or small believe they are innovative, cutting edge or some other tired phrase. The reality is innovative organizations are not the norm, and most organization won’t get out of their own way. The very essence of the term “innovative organization” means its people are innovative. So why is it that organizations spend more time deciding how not to do something than doing something? When you look at technology-born organizations, such as Facebook, Google or Netflix, the companies born after the 1990s, you see a stark difference in how the work force feels toward innovative thinking. Here’s why
"THE ORGANIZATIONS BORN FROM TECHNOLOGY REALIZE THEIR VERY EXISTENCE WAS CREATED BY INNOVATION, AND THAT SOMEONE ELSE CAN AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT INNOVATE THEM OUT OF BUSINESS."
Frankly it’s disturbing to see great people so disgusted with their organization’s attitude toward innovations they simply stop trying. Some reading this will say it’s their own fault; they should quite go somewhere and be appreciated. I must admit I think that way most of the time, as well. However, sometimes current life circumstances make that decision much more complicated for some.
So let’s blame the leadership, After all, if these leaders instead searched for better ways, they would welcome new ideas instead of slamming the door. They would force their lower-level managers to explore better ways, not simply manage older ways. Some organizations are so focused on “the way it is,” because they are only compensated on “the way it is.” What if organizations actually compensated their people to not only manage “what it is,” but also imagine what it could be?
I believe it’s time for the imagination bonus plan. Come on, leaders. Use your imagination and develop a program that rewards the team to think of ways to innovate. Then those great people won’t utter that dreadful commentary, “We’ll never do that,” or “We take forever to do something different,” or “I’m not going to say anything; it’s useless.”
In today’s changing world, organizations must invest the time and resources in addressing the way it’s going to be. The RD departs of the past move too slowly and usually carry the weight of outdated policies. It’s time that legacy organizations innovate their policies and their attitudes about how they look for and bring back the future – allowing them to prosper even more today.
Everyone that works in the company should also be members of the R&D department. The amount of information available today is staggering. Today’s leaders must figure out how to manage an overload of ideas from their teams, instead of following outdated management practices that teach teams not to care.
In closing; to leaders who believe their team cares about the company’s future more than a pay check, you’re delusional. That is, unless you’re a leader who actually pays the team to look to the future. If you’re one of those organizations, kudos to you.
MY CREATIVITY and passion for innovation has inspired my career and continues to guide where I go and what I do. Over the last four decades, I have had both success and failure. I have built things from strictly imagination to successful implementation. I started my working life in the grocery business over 40 years ago. From the aisles of the grocery store I went on to serve in the U.S. Army as a Military Police Officer and after serving three years and receiving an honorable discharge I found my way back to the grocery business. At the age of twenty-two I held the position as one of the youngest store managers in Winn-Dixie history. In the late 80’s I joined Lanier Worldwide Tampa Florida. I quickly excelled in the industry, eventually built and sold my interest in two Office Equipment Dealerships in Wichita Kansas. In 2014 my wife Liz and I relocated to Nashville where I joined ImageQuest as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, In that roll, I oversee every aspect of ImageQuest’s service delivery platform. I also enjoy my new hobby of writing about the experiences I’ve had in life, and business.