Companies that make innovation a core strategic pillar will grow their relationships with customers, attract new ones, and differentiate themselves in the market. Digital innovation needs to cement itself as a mindset in your company – not an initiative.
We recently had noted author and consultant Ram Charan at Spark – our premier client event. In his best-selling book “The Attackers Advantage” he says: “even if you educate yourself about digitization and the consumer, your own psychology may get in the way of finding a path to take advantage of uncertainty. Paying keen attention to the deeply rooted subconscious blockages – your own as well as your team’s – will help transform your mindset from defense to offense.”
Getting the DNA of your corporate mindset focused on innovation is where digital strategy needs to evolve. Here are three steps I think leaders should focus on:
1) Innovation is a team activity
The best leaders are transparent, driven by a desire to coach and support teams to their very best performance – and they’re committed to communication that engages around a call-to-action… because innovation is a team activity! It’s up to leaders to create connections for their teams so that everyone’s performance helps drive a culture of innovation.
2) Make “doing the right thing” a principle of innovating
Guy Kawasaki was also part of our client event and talked about his experiences working with Steve Jobs at Apple. He spoke about the need to “make meaning,” noting companies that focus on making the world better elevate brand awareness and achieve a deeper connection with their consumers. They say that’s particularly true of millennials…but I think it holds true for all of us.
3) Demonstrate a sense of urgency
Demonstrating a sense of urgency has to be modeled by every leader. Help move the needle on employee engagement by communicating a sense of urgency to make things happen. Make adjustments and redirections quick and visible – it will drive the leadership team’s credibility and authenticity. And over-communicate – your teams want evidence their voice is being factored in as an integral part of creating the company’s sense of urgency for anticipating customer demand.