Entrepreneurs are by nature always thinking of innovation and the next great idea, but you may unwittingly have ways of thinking and processes that are holding you back.
In their book “The Physics of Business Growth: Mindsets, System, and Processes,” Ed Hess and Jeanne Liedtka outline a few ways that even the most innovative company may be unknowingly sabotaging its own success. Those ways of thinking must be examined and changed if your startup or small business is going to reach its potential.
Time-tested managerial goals like efficiency, scale, and low-variance operational excellence should be the first to go. The culture, behaviors, processes, measurements, rewards, and intolerance of failure needed to drive operational excellence are fundamentally different from those needed to foster innovation, which requires an emphasis on exploration and invention.
The need for certainty is another principle that can cripple an organization. The pursuit of growth and innovation is inherently messy and inefficient.
Innovation doesn’t have to be revolutionary. Most innovations are not industry-changing disruptions; they tend to be close-to-the-core improvements, add-ons or expansions into adjacent markets. Good innovators learn how to combine existing things differently or transfer concepts from different industries or domains.
And innovation and execution can coexist. Empower and create small innovation teams. Do not punish failures; instead, celebrate the learning that comes from trying.
Adapted from Four Ways of Thinking That Stifle Innovation at IT Business Edge.