Innovation is the secret sauce to success. Unfortunately, efforts to create innovative products or services often get derailed by good intentions, market factors, or other roadblocks holding us back.
Business leadership has spent billions searching for innovation. From creating Innovation Centers to investing in incubators, organizations continue on a snipe hunt for innovation. It must be a snipe hunt because 94% of executives say they are frustrated with their company's efforts to harness innovation. The prominent paradox managers face is that systems enabling success based on today's management model reinforce behaviors inconsistent with an innovation culture.
Innovation leadership must remove the inertia barrier as a first step toward embracing innovation. To do this, start at the top with leaders that welcome and support new and more innovative ways of thinking. Leadership must lead with bold, creative ideas first. This will inspire the spark that can spread into a cultural conflagration of innovation over time.
8 Leadership Roadblocks to Innovation
Let's get specific on the eight leadership roadblocks that prevent organizations from achieving innovation success. Firstly, groupthink occurs when everyone makes the unspoken decision to follow the group's thinking. Groupthink stunts innovation and prevents some of the best ideas from being presented.
Secondly, there is burnout, which comes from firing on all cylinders, killing creativity. Innovation depends on creativity, so make sure to find time to rest. The third roadblock is a lack of resources, coming in time, people, and money. When innovation teams lack resources, it's hard to go past the ideas and into execution.
The fourth roadblock is insufficient trust, which is especially essential to innovation efforts. When trust within organizations is lacking, teams will be skeptical that their ideas will be executed and won't even try. The fifth roadblock is stopping at ideas. Ideas have to come with action by inspired and engaged employees. Letting good ideas die in the pipeline is a common innovation pitfall. Avoid that.
Roadblocks 6 to 8
Next is preferential treatment, stemming from managers not valuing diverse opinions or only valuing one person's opinion. This results in fewer ideas and low-impact innovations. The seventh roadblock is a lack of collaboration, which comes from leaders giving individual credit for ideas. This creates an unwillingness to collaborate with others. Without a strong culture of collaboration, an organizations' innovation efforts will fail.
Lastly, there is the roadblock of fear. It's not safe to fail when there isn't any trust that failure is a normal part of the innovation process. Sometimes, the riskiest ideas end up being the best, and innovation efforts suffer without them. Leaders who promote an innovation-friendly workplace culture are crucial in today's world. Doomed leaders and organizations are those who don't innovate.
To know more about about leadership roadblocks, listen to this week's show: 8 Leadership Roadblocks to Innovation.