Fear is the greatest success killer
The fear of making decisions on an insecure basis rated 52 percent of study participants as the number one innovation preventers. 35 percent of the total of 202 interviewed chief innovators from mostly German Company They also admitted that they had already prevented innovations for fear. So, first of all, it's the fear, and especially the fear of mistakes, that has to disappear from the companies.
With fear in the neck we run faster, but only a very short piece. After that we are completely finished. The fact that man under pressure exerts spiritual miracles is a particularly dangerous story. The opposite is the case. Continuous pressure and persistent miscarriage sabotage the brain's ability to do its best because the messengers excrete in the anxiety block synapses.
But in fast times fast synapses are needed. And creativity, the key resource for innovation, is like a whimsical diva who needs the right circumstances. Mood, leisure and stress abstinence are part of it. Work has to be fun to be good. That's why so much emphasis is placed on a feel-good climate in thriving new economy companies.
Powerful people do not call for a palace revolution
For 37 percent of respondents, power issues are the number one innovation blocker. In addition, according to the study, almost every second manager fears a loss of power through innovation. Losing power and thus status and control is usually very difficult. Possession of property is therefore a huge topic. Through an inflated measuring and control bureaucracy, many managers first of all ensure their right to exist. But bureaucracy makes a company slow and stupid.
Any change - and therefore any innovation - also means that something unknown is created that no one knows for sure whether it will be better or worse than the one before it. Anyone who wants to break new ground must also be able to break habits, leave their comfort zone and throw overboard valid beliefs.
But people like to repeat activities in which they once were victorious. "Self-herding" is called this behavior in professional circles. Similar to herd behavior, here we follow the "herd" of our own earlier decisions. Management thinker Gary Hamel has a catchy statement ready for those eternally yesterdays: "The future easily makes fools out of the unbelievers who cling to old certainties for too long."
Dispose of the old ballast of old times
One thing is for sure: on the journey to the future, it takes easy baggage, because the markets, like the hares, always hit new heels. But while the Old Economy continues to cumbersome planning and endlessly discussing budgets, the founder generation is just starting. Of course, it is better not to wear a suit and frame sewn, but t-shirt and sneakers. Speed is increasingly important in exponential times.
For this must first be mended. All the weeds that hinder innovation must go: traditions that have never been questioned, sacred cows, which no one has ever wanted to slaughter, management methods that already have a rusty patina. Internal locks must be relaxed, degenerate management systems must be removed, and instruction-oriented control mechanisms must be taken care of quickly.
However, if you want safety, you will choose the triplet mode: Here are a few more horsepower, because a little more design, there a new feature, the packaging bigger, the label colorful and then the stuff cheap in the market, to the competition to show it right. Linear means more of the same - but more of the wrong - and increasing insignificance. Disruptive, however, is the leap through the wall of fire of uncertainty.
What must go? Minus 50 as the target number
Inevitably, when something new arises something old has to be put aside. But the old people mainly see what they lose. The boys, on the other hand, are not in this dilemma. They have nothing to lose, no status to defend and no outdated stuff in their luggage that needs to be unlocked. And they have nothing to mourn about the "all things better" time, they can only win in the future.
In order for the traditional companies to reach the future, a rapid transformation into an agile state is a must. This means that everything that makes an organization slow must go away. And everything she does quickly has to come. First, the speed gap must be closed. 50 percent less bureaucracy, administration, hierarchy, reporting, key figure systems and so on are a reasonable target.
I therefore advocate not for complete smashing and anarchy, but for low-hierarchical systems and a sufficient structure to ensure essential quality and to eliminate false paths at an early stage. For whoever tries to clear hierarchies by force creates a vacuum, in which hierarchies are created again. In addition, employees at all levels have to be approached to new forms of work.
How to achieve quick wins and big wins
There are many tools to rebuild obsolete management structures and to create better conditions for innovation. Here I call two:
- a "kill a stupid rule" workshop, which is suitable for larger employee groups across departments. The goal is a self-responsible optimization of the internal processes, especially with regard to innovations for an improved customer orientation.
- a "kill the company" workshop, which is primarily intended for management levels. Originally designed by Lisa Borell, CEO of consultancy Futurethink, this format is explored through the eyes of an aggressive competitor or start-up to better prepare for the future.
From my own experience, I know: the first method brings rapid operational success, the second can provide the necessary really big jumps.
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