Innovation Leadership and Going Beyond the Obvious

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What are the unique skill sets needed for innovation leadership?  We all have a list of what good leadership skills are but what are the unique ones you need to be a true innovation leader?  Today on Killer Innovations, I will discuss what I have found to be the skills needed for successful innovation leadership.

Innovation Leadership

Innovation Leadership Skills

These leadership skills apply to all organizations, whether you are small organizations or a large organization.

  1. Integrity
    1. You need to trust the people you are working with.
    2. You need to know they are looking out for what is in the best interest for the team and organization.
  2. Vision and Strategy.
    1. Team members are looking to the leaders to communicate what the vision and strategy are.
    2. You need to look longer range beyond where the team is and roll that back in so they can see what your vision is.
    3. You need to be able to tell the story, make the pitch, share their dream with others.
    4. Communication is critical to successful innovation leadership,
    5. If you are going to be a leader you need to be able to interact and build relationships and truly have interests in other people’s lives.
    6. Know what is going on in your team member’s lives so you can help them eliminate distractions and really get their head in the game.
    7. You have got to persuade people to leave what they are doing now and join your team.
    8. You have to be able to convince them that what are doing is something worth their time.
  3. Adaptability and Flexibility.
    1. As a leader you cannot be rigid; you have to be adaptable and flexible with your team and organization.
    2. Can you operate as a leader of a team?
    3. You need diversity on your team to be successful.
  4. Coach and Develop.
    1. Find young and upcoming people and coach and develop them.
  5. Decision-Making.
    1. You have to be comfortable making the final decision.
    2. Realize that sometimes the decision you make are going to fail.
  6. Planning and Organizing.
    1. If you are not good at planning and organizing, then hire people to do it for your team.

These are the basic skills you need to be a successful innovation leader.  So, what skills do you need to do differently to truly be an innovation leader?

  1. Innovation leadership involves taking risks.
    1. You have to be comfortable that some of the decisions you make are going to fail.
    2. Some of your decisions are going to be flipped.
  2. You need to keep looking for new opportunities and threats.
    1. Look for threats to your organization, industry, or geography.
  3. Innovation is about change.
    1. Stability is the death of innovation.
    2. Foster a culture where change is expected.
  4. Do not rest on the traditional management techniques.
    1. Every situation is different.
    2. You need to invent the way you manage and do leadership.
  5. Be an optimist.
    1. Innovation is about being an optimist.
    2. You need to convince and convey an optimistic view of the future.
  6. Innovator’s cut through the crap.
    1. Innovation leaders need to cut through the crap and get to the core.
    2. You need to step in and stop the corporate game-playing.

Let’s connect; I am on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.  If we do connect, drop me a note and let me know.  The email address is feedback@philmckinney.com or you can go to Philmckinney.com and drop me a note there.

Thinking Beyond the Obvious

The challenges on the creativity innovation side does not change based on scale.  It is the same whether you have a five-person team or a fifty-person team.  The challenge is operating and innovating at the same level.  A lot of companies get in a rut because they are doing what they have always done.  So, how do you push yourself and people to go beyond the obvious and do the next thing?

  1. Break the rules.
    1. Corporate anti-bodies will come after new ideas; you need to recognize that these antibodies exist.
    2. Sometimes you are the corporate antibody.
  2. You have to think differently.
    1. You have to unlearn what you have been taught when it comes to conforming.
    2. Make sure that you challenge yourself to go beyond the obvious answer to questions.
  3. It is all about asking
    1. How do you ask questions that will make you think about something you have not considered before?
    2. How do you ask those killer questions?
    3. Better questions get you better answers.

To learn more about the leadership skills you can apply to your organization, listen to this week's show: Innovation Leadership and Going Beyond the Obvious.

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