Innovative Competencies

Many business owners, C-Suites, directors and senior managers believe their enterprises are just not innovative enough. They feel their organisations tend to become steeped in what is currently going-on, comfort in the known, rather than being uncomfortable in the new and, as yet, unknown. Implementing novel operating procedures and activities, developing new services and products, or exploring innovative ways of leading people are difficult to get involved in; ever-present anxiety and fear-of-failure. With all this focus on the lack of innovation, there are few business-owners or C-Suites who work towards creating effective innovative-cultures, where people are encouraged to fail-often, fail-quickly and fail-cheaply whilst uncovering innovation. Within most organisations, there is a palpable lack of focus on actively securing resources for possible new-projects, seeking out innovative individuals, and encouraging them to proactively solve problems and nurture innovation. Where leaders in enterprises constantly champion the need for improvement and develop opportunities for innovation, then there will be greater chance for innovative ideas to sprout. Where failure is greeted as a learning-curve, not an excuse to fire someone, there will be a culture of recognising the necessity for a continuing and evolving search for innovative excellence in processes, services, products and how employees are led. In our enterprises we need to seek and secure people who not only think ahead, but also act on, future needs and opportunities. Clearly we cannot encourage chaos within our organisations but we can develop an agile approach where expectations of levels of innovation can be explicitly outlined; what we want to see from supervisors, junior managers and senior management. We must also be alert to and encourage the best of new ideas coming from the most-recent and most-junior of employees. Innovative team-leaders and supervisors, the first-tier of management in any enterprise, must improve current-projects as well as explore and initiate dialogue about future new processes and activities. To the extent current policies and procedures allow, they ought to seek opportunities to develop improvement plans on their own initiative over and above normal accountabilities, responsibilities and obligations. Higher-level managers, perhaps reporting to directors of the enterprise, ought to be broadening their perspectives on opportunities and challenges by embracing and implementing projects beyond the scope of their own role. They should not give up easily when things get difficult. Being action and results-orientated, these individuals are effective at creating plans as a means of informing others and gaining their commitment, minimising problems by acting on them before they arise. As a result, a successful higher-level manager is almost always prepared for contingencies, thinking ahead and acting on future needs and opportunities in consultation with executive management. Executives or senior directors are expected to identify, with multiple stakeholders in mind, the long term success of their division and the organisation, pulling together resources from across all parts of the enterprise. By gaining acceptance and agreement from multiple and diverse stakeholders, these senior players will sustain momentum in the enterprise. Known to be someone who introduces wide-ranging changes and transformations for sustainable-success, these directors will continuously drive organisational performance through effective deployment of exceptional and innovative business-acumen. By introducing changes to meet needs of specific situations and oversee large-scale changes such as the creation of, amalgamation of or abolishment of services and programmes, such innovative leadership will exhibit long-term planning, anticipating what needs to be done and designing complex, comprehensive and detailed plans bridging several issues, spanning timeframes longer than this year’s results. Innovation is not just about the new but also about being prepared for contingencies. Innovative leaders are agile enough to take advantage of opportunities and effectively face challenges.

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