No matter how big or small your business is, you need to introduce and deploy innovation and change quickly to stay competitive. This is not easy. It's even harder to do this without overwhelming or burning out your employees. To keep up the faster pace of innovation and change, every one of your managers need to have the ability to lead innovation and change.
Managers are key to bringing in new ideas to improve sales, reduce cycle time or improve experiences that matter to the business. They determine how well or poorly their teams and team members bring in new perspectives from outside the business or become motivated to make something better internally. Every day, managers help or hinder the way others focus their time and energy. Managers shape their team's work environment which signals whether or not it is safe to share crazy new ideas and how important it is to execute well.
Here are three ways to help your managers speed up change and innovation in your company:
Embrace Agile Innovation
Agile innovation is different from traditional innovation in that it's more focused on speed and agility. This means being able to rapidly test new ideas and then either scaling them up or ditching them if they don't work. Find managers who are excited about innovating in new ways and give them freedom to experiment. You can apply this to new growth projects or to being innovative with existing resources. If part of your business already does this, enlist the employees as ambassadors to teach others.
Start small and reward those who do
Pick one or two areas of focus and a small group of managers. Ask the managers to run experiments to test how to proceed. Every company culture is unique, so force feeding a certain methodology may work eventually, but is likely to waste time and energy. Don't waste effort on managers who don't want to make it work - focus on those who crave impact. Then give them more support and resources.
Rotate innovation amplifiers
When you find first-line managers who excel at leading change and innovation, make it easier for them to rotate across different functions and take on bigger roles. Replace them with team members who have shown an ability to master the trifecta of 1) introducing new ideas, 2) focusing and deploying those new ideas, and 3) doing 1 and 2 in a ways that energizes themself and others. Leading innovation and change sustainably requires individual and collective muscles that are built over time and across work assignments.
If you want to change and innovate faster, focus first on your managers at every level of the business. They play a key role in bringing new ideas to the table and keeping teams motivated. To help them succeed, embrace agile innovation, start small, and move innovation amplifiers into bigger roles. With these steps, you can speed up the pace of innovation and keep your business competitive over the long haul.
This blog is inspired by Pacing for Growth: Why Intelligent Restraint Drives Long-Term Success. Visit Produgie’s website to learn more about how our technology enables businesses of all sizes to accelerate change and innovation sustainably