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Innovation Killers

I have been having several strategic conversations with people on my staff about INNOVATION. I can sense a real desire to try new ideas – think outside the box – and go where no one has gone before. (Yes, I had to throw in a Star Trek reference.) But I have been running into some road blocks as we try to innovate.  Here are some reasons why . . . i think.

KILLER #1: You are scared of Change.

I have noticed over the years that everyone says that they like change until the change impacts them.  Think about that.  If you are leading out the “change” (whatever that might be), you think it’s the best thing since 8 tracks.  If the “change” is crashing into your world, you resist it with all your might.  Innovation has built-in change. The foundation of innovation is change.  It is something new – different  – not proven.

Key Thought: Don’t let your fear kill a new idea that has the potential to revolutionize your sphere of leadership.

KILLER #2: It is not your idea.

Call this what it is. PRIDE (aka . .. ego – arrogance – selfishness). Have you ever been in a meeting where two ideas are on the table and 5 people sit in silence where two people argue why their idea is better than the other?  I have been there. I have even been the one of the “TWO”.  Usually, it’s not that bold and blunt.  This usually happens in more subtle of ways. Watch for it, you will start seeing it.

Key Thought: As a leader you have to fight to look at the idea objectively and make sure you are not positioning your idea.

KILLER #3: You are stuck in the past.

Let me preface this thought.  We should learn from the past.  The past has a lot of wisdom built into it!  So, don’t ignore it.  On the flip side, the PAST will keep you in locked up in chains refusing to let go of you. Keep yourself – your team – looking forward on “what could be”.  When you hear comments like, “Last year we did _________.”  or “When I was at my last church I ___________.”  Kindly stop the conversation and say, “It sounds like we all have had some great past experiences. My question is where should we head into the future?” Key Thought: Learn from the past, but keep focused on “what could be”.

KILLER #4: It is messy.

Embrace the mess.  Innovative ideas are almost always messy!! Why? They haven’t been tried – proven and perfected.  The first day Disney Land opened it was a disaster.  Someone counterfeited tickets so the park was over sold.  It was an extremely hot day in Southern California and the park quickly ran out of water.  People were fainting left and right. It was a disaster of gigantic proportions.  Skip ahead decades, Disney is one of the most innovative ideas ever to be discovered in the world.

Key Thought: Embrace the mess . . .lead strong . . .anticipate problems . . .fix the issues and you will be amazed at what you discover.

PHOTO CREDIT: Jayphen Simpson via Unsplash

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