Should the leader who is leading Innovation be following or leading? #12 #cong17

By Sudha Mani.

Should the leader who is leading Innovation be following or leading?

There is only one small step between good and excellence. This paradigm shift is what produces 90% of the profits.  – Sudha Mani

Should a Leader who is leading Innovation be following or leading? Or Should innovative ideas be nurtured? Innovation is not always a groundbreaking idea like Facebook, Twitter or even Hotmail. Sometimes, innovation is a creative, iterative process that percolates under the camouflage of simple things.  As innovation is the driver for enhancement and advancement in the ever-changing landscape of Technology, Education and Business; equally, innovation can create chaos and disruption negatively if managed inappropriately. 

So, it is vitally important that the innovation is managed to disrupt markets may it be in business, government or social enterprise to produce positive impact and productive results. 

Let us talk about 4 things an innovative startup or entrepreneurs;

  1. Three behaviours that cripple the innovation
  2. Three enhancers that make innovation productive, profitable and streamlined
  3. Adoption of L.U.C.K. Model to succeed in Innovation 
  4. Which leadership style should Innovative Leader adopt

Three behaviours that cripple the innovation 

The innovation could be value-added innovation or exploratory but following three attitudes of the leader will cripple the innovation.

  1. Innovation is not part of the strategy but tactic

“We are spending too much time on this, but I don’t see the value, when can I get the results” – This attitude comes from task-based management, not from long-term strategic implementation of the vision.

Let me give you an example, one of the companies I worked with had the challenging task of justifying redundancies and looking at the improvement of the processes and streamlining those processes to increase profits.  This company did the following and killed the innovation (value-added).  Let me tell you what they did,

  • Fired all good employees who could do the work 
  • This led to employee morale issues and inflexibility
  • The innovative process re-alignment didn’t work
  1. Not having clear longer-term vision; as in why you do what you do as a leader  

Innovation often looks like we are going to bring new change which is going to disruptive but in specific niches, this could be transformative and bring company going bust to profitable. That’s when innovation is tied to longer term vision rather than how we can make quick profits.

  1. Lack of coaching or mentoring culture

Many companies do send their employees for training, but only 10% is applied on the current job. There is no culture of ongoing coaching or mentoring nurture the talent.  Training is of no use if not implemented and talent is of no use if not nurtured. For innovation to succeed, you need to nurture the talent through coaching or mentoring that’s what empowering is about.

Three characteristics which enhance the innovation to produce positive impact

  1. Manage Chaos strategically 

Innovation always leads to chaos, if you can’t organise the chaos, then innovation cannot produce results.  The chaos if not organised will lead to major loopholes and lead competition taking major advantage and topple.  When chaos is managed and organised, you can disrupt the market very easily through strategic implementation.  Innovation succeeds in strategic implementation.

  1. Have right leadership style based on the team dynamics

In an innovative team, you have a different kind of members, their behaviours differ, their work ethics differ, and their reward system differs that means empowerment techniques must change.  An innovative leader must put together the right team where every team member complements each other to achieve the common goal.

  1. Always be in lookout for opportunities and manage risk strategically

The opportunities present themselves, if you had a strategic vision and done your strategic analysis, i.e. SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) or PESTLE (Political, Economical, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) then you will know how to convert threats into opportunities and manage weaknesses. 

These three enhancers you will see in any successful innovative corporations or businesses. 

Sudha's L.U.C.K.  Signature Model 

L – Leadership Style - Listen & Leverage the experiences, skills and engagements

U – Unified Vision - Understand the problems of your audience and map the solution

C – Collaborative approach - Let them tell you what they want

K – Knowledge to convert threats into opportunities

When the business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators who could adopt a certain leadership style based on the outcome when dealing with other innovators or anyone who have a different perspective on how to get things done in the shortest amount of time then they will be leaving THE LEGACY instead of just an innovative product.

So, should the innovative leader follow or lead? Innovative Leader must know how to manage innovation using L.U.C.K..

This talk is a snippet from Sudha’s signature keynote entitled “The Leadership by Design: How to Develop your Own Leadership Style to Lead any Team”, where Sudha has adopted principles from 5000-year old Indian scripture “The Bagavadh Gita” and late sixth century Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” to develop different leadership styles.  

CongRegation © Eoin Kennedy 2017 eoin at congregation dot ie