How often have you heard about the ‘one hit wonders’ who are here one day and gone the next? Sadly, too often . . . If I think about most of them, I pick up a common thread that is at the heart of their short-lived success . . . a lack of innovation! Whether you are a music artist, a speaker, or a company, the fact remains that innovation is your key to your future success. Innovation is at the heart of longevity as a business and is something that needs our regular attention. What works today might not work tomorrow. Our customers’ expectations are constantly increasing. Our industry players are always doing new things. You cannot afford to be left behind!
There are some critical things we need to consider and do when we are innovative:
1. When it comes to your Customers, innovation is intriguing. Innovation makes your product and/or service intriguing to clients as it is always ‘fresh and appealing’. Customers want a product and/or service to be stable, but at the same time forward thinking and current. They want to see that the product and/or service is continually improving for them. Sometimes it may just be a ‘facelift’ to our packaging or a redesign of the brand. The key is to find the balance between stability and innovation so that there is confidence in the product and/or service, whilst at the same time there is a sense of excitement around the product and/or service. Your competitors are working their hardest to win over your customers. Innovation is critical to keeping your customers and gaining new customers.
2. When it comes to your staff, the more people know, the more they can grow. The more trained people are, the more exposed they are to possibilities. If you want an innovative and ‘ownership minded’ team, you have to make sure that they are up to date with the latest thinking in their role. When they are exposed to forward thinking and innovative people and training, they become for innovative in their role. Company growth happens when everyone thinks innovatively and is driving the business forward in their individual roles.
3. When it comes to your team, innovation is an inspiration. Teams are inspired by innovation and new ways of doing things. Yes, some are daunted at the idea of change initially, but are inspired by the results that innovation brings, and thus eventually embrace innovation. You will be amazed at how many ideas are sitting unutilised in your team! Why not create a set time at least once a quarter to meet and purely brainstorm innovative ideas on how to do things better as a team and for the customers you serve? If anyone has a good idea of what needs to be improved operationally, it is the team itself! Write down some of your best ideas, ask the rest of the team to do the same and then set aside a couple of hours soon to brainstorm ideas, prioritise those ideas, create action plans for the ideas you want to implement first, and lastly, create an accountability and sustainability plan for the ideas you have come up with. Remember to do this quarterly so that your innovation is current and relevant as a team!
4. When it comes to leadership, we have to remember that without innovation, growth is impossible. As leaders, we constantly need to be thinking about how to do things better. Our customers are constantly wanting things done better. There are new systems available to us to make our team’s life easier. There are new offerings available to us to enhance our service or product. As the leader, part of your role is to be at the forefront of making things more efficient for your team and the customers you serve. Innovative thinking is one of the non-negotiable elements of a leader’s make-up. When last did you as the leader take a good look at your team, your product and/or service, and your customer requests? There is ALWAYS room for improvement. Be innovative and creative! In our experience, we have seen that competitors are hungry for your customers and will be trying to outsmart you . . . You have to be one ahead! As the leader, it is your responsibility to drive innovation . . .
Focussing on innovation in invigorating. It takes you and your team in to the realm of vision and possibilities. What a great place to be in! The innovative individual and team takes their business forward with great direction and momentum. Be that individual! Be that team! Don’t settle for mediocre . . . you and your team are better than that, but it is time to prove that!
Remember, with innovation, anything is possible!