“Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don’t criticize what you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters, beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
So get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times, they are a-changin'”
The Times They Are A Changin’ – Bob Dylan
Despite massive investments of management time and money, innovation remains a frustrating pursuit in many companies. Innovation initiatives frequently fail, and successful innovators have a hard time sustaining their performance.
Without an innovation strategy, different parts of an organization can easily wind up pursuing conflicting priorities—even if there’s a clear business strategy. Diverse perspectives are critical to successful innovation. But without a strategy to integrate and align those perspectives around common priorities, the power of diversity is blunted or, worse, becomes self-defeating.
To create an innovative culture, managers need to make sure that all employees know that innovation is a job requirement. It should be woven into the fabric of the business and given a prominent place in job descriptions, procedures, and performance evaluations. Innovation should be defined to include incremental as well as revolutionary improvements. Innovative companies recognize that failure is an important step in the process of success. They understand that with each failure, the company moves one step closer to success. In this way, failure is given a positive value.
Innovation is the sum of change across the whole system, not a thing which causes a change in how people behave. For organizations to embrace innovation, there is a dramatic shift in how time is spent, how communication happens, and how content is managed. There will be changes in how team members relate to one another and, hopefully, significant changes in productivity.
Organizations must be able to inspire all levels of employees to be innovative or risk being overtaken by more nimble and creative competitors. In a hyper-competitive global economy, where competition is no longer limited by geography or industry, new formidable competitors can arise seemingly overnight.
The goal for workers is to become relaxed and productive, less frustrated by a lack of visibility into what is going on with their team and to communicate purposely, knowing they building value for the whole team.
There are people who reject policies and norms in manners that can harm the organizations in which they work. Such counter-normative behaviors in the workplace, referred to as workplace deviance, can cripple an organization’s well-being. Though deviants may constitute a minority, their impact on productivity, performance, staff morale and workplace culture can be colossal.
In such an environment, one of the surest ways for an organization to fail is to tolerate workplace bullying. Bullies not only stifle productivity and innovation throughout the organization, they most often target an organization’s best employees, because it is precisely those employees who are the most threatening. Thus, enterprises are robbed of their most important asset in today’s competitive economic environment – precious human capital.