Marginal Success Creates Exponential Potential

Ignorance and uncertainty indicate you’re breaking new ground.

Yesterday’s after action meeting confirms ignorance is stressful, slow, and expensive. The team determined our last innovative initiative could be executed more effectively with half the budget. I’m delighted not disappointed.

Ignorance is expensive but unavoidable during innovation.

Hire or Develop?

You can hire experienced talent when new initiatives are high cost, high risk, and beyond your experience. Low risk, low cost initiatives, on the other hand, provide learning opportunities that develop leaders and exponentially enhance organizational potential.


During low cost, low risk innovations, focus on process and procedure goals more than outcome goals. For example, the marketing team can determine the methods, channels, and extent of their efforts. They cannot, however, predict results.

Avoid arbitrary goals. For example, don’t say our target is X number of new customers. Do say we are reaching X number of homes in this geographic region through direct mail, radio spots, and newspaper ads.


Expectations determine organizational assessment and attitude.

Several times during the recently completed initiative I told our entire organization: “This is an experiment. Trying something is better than doing nothing. We’re going to work hard to achieve great results and see what happens.”

Everything we did was new to us. Ignorance was high, confidence was low. A “let’s try this” approach created a safe learning environment.

Tough, honest assessments offset the cost of ignorance by creating learning opportunities.

The best thing?

We achieved acceptable, not stellar results. We have, however, more potential today than we had three months ago.

Proper expectations enabled the team to evaluate this initiative in ways that extend vision and fuel passion. They’re engaged, confident, and motivated for round two.


What factors make innovation successful even when optimal results aren’t achieved?


Don’t miss a single issue of Leadership Freak, subscribe todayIt’s free.  It’s private.  Go to the main page of Leadership Freak by clicking the banner at the top of this page, look in the right-hand navigation bar, enter your email and click subscribe.  Your email address is always kept private.  Note:  if it doesn’t arrive, check your spam filter for a confirmation email.