Dr John Kotter
Over 30 years ago, Dr John Kotter identified an eight-step model for ensuring successful change in an organisation that sticks. Today, this model is still as relevant as it was then.
Dr Kotter’s model formed the key tenets to the innovation program we created and ran. I wrote the eight steps in the inside cover of each notebook I used. Being both strategic and practical, the model really does work, and when anything went wrong, we found we had normally strayed from the model.
If you are leading or running a change, transformation or innovation program and you are not aware of the Kotter change model, I encourage you to become familiar with it: You will not regret it!
The eight steps are outlined here…
Step 1: Establishing a Sense of Urgency
Help others see the need for change and they will be convinced of the importance of acting immediately.
If you want your leadership to be innovative, be very aware of what you are wishing for.
Here’s a quote Mike Myatt, a thought leader on leadership:
“Whenever I see leaders focus on maintenance over innovation, I see people who have unnecessarily drawn the line of impossibility in the sand. As I’ve said before, a leader’s job is to disrupt mediocrity – not embrace it, to challenge the norm – not embolden it, to weed out apathy – not reward it, and to dismantle bureaucracies – not build them. Nothing is impossible until you embrace it as such.”
I absolutely love this quote! Leaders must be those that envision those that they are leading. Leaders are not meant to be managers but to continually take steps forward.
Look out for the disruptive leader!
It’s important, right? It’s vital to the future, right?
So why is it so hard to get some leaders to hear what everyone is shouting from the rooftops? We all know the leaders that live for innovation, but they’re always working in a different company!
Why are leaders hesitant to commit to innovation? They seem know the theory and believe the reasons as to why they should be innovating, but just can’t seem to make that move and actually do it. I believe there are three types of leaders in relation to innovation activity:
- “Follow Me” - Leaders that are completely sold on the benefits of innovation, shout about it and make it happen.
- “Not Sure” - Leaders that know they should focus on innovation, but don’t have the faith or experienced the benefits of innovation yet.
- “Too Busy” - Those that think innovation is fluffy, a waste of space and a distraction from the job at hand.
I believe you can change the “Not Sure” and “Too Busy” leaders into “Follow Me” leaders. Here’s four areas that could be stopping them and how they can be overcome:
It is at this time of year that people reminisce about the year that has been and the new one that is approaching. What we do personally, we also take into our work, and in both “worlds”, a change is only made when we take action on those thoughts.
And if you were wondering where the link to innovation was, here it comes…
…”change that makes a positive impact” is a pretty good definition of innovation.
So with the link to innovation made, how can you increase the chances of having a “most innovative year?” Here’s some ways that can help you and your organisation be brilliantly innovative.
Carrots and Cudgels: How to Incentivize Innovation
An article I wrote for Prescouter Journal was recently used in a piece in Wired.com. I thought it would be interesting to see how the author had used my thoughts to shape a good article on the rewards and risks of innovation.
Check it out!
In my experience, most of the energy and activity that happens in innovation initiatives is focused around getting ideas. but ideas do not deliver value until they are implemented. Often, organisations don’t focus effort on the execution of ideas until they have them. As a result, many ideas fail and are never used.
To overcome this, the outcome wanted before asking for ideas must be clear. Consider what is actually needed and what resources are available. If you only have the ability or resource to implement a few ideas, make this clear at the start; otherwise you could annoy some very engaged people!
Beginning with a clear idea of the desired outcome can substantially improve success. If I enter a prize draw, I expect to know how many winning tickets there are; it’s the same for innovation. Communicate the outcomes to your audience so they know the rules. However, even when you know what outcome you want, implementation is still hard work, as you are trying to change the status quo.
So, here are five tips to help increase your chances of idea implementation.
The call for organisations to be innovative is becoming deafening. Everywhere a CEO looks, people are asking about the next big thing, how will they solve the problems they have, how can they make the most of the opportunities in front of them. It is hard to ignore the noise, and so one-by-one, executives are starting to accept and understand that they have to be innovative to keep their business relevant and successful.
Great start – but what’s next?
Anybody can make a decision; it’s the actions taken next that will determine success. The executive team are on-board the good ship “innovation”, and then they give the infamous rallying cry to their troops, “we need your ideas!”
Encouraging? Yes. Inspiring? Probably. Will it be successful? Unlikely.
Really? Surely, one of the key factors in having successful innovation is strong leadership support and sponsorship. This is being very clearly displayed here, but a key tenet of innovation has been missed. The target to aim at has not been called out.