7 Principles of Success for Leading Innovative Initiatives
Innovative initiatives require quick wins. But unable to choose is unable to move.
7 principles of success for leading innovative initiatives:
#1. New initiatives need to inspire energy to survive and thrive. Leaders get excited about a new idea and falsely believe everyone else shares the feeling.
Does the new idea generate enthusiasm in current team members? When everyone starts talking about how busy they are, your great idea will die the death of a thousand cuts.
#2. New ideas need committed champions. Who on the team is ready to lead the charge? If no one eagerly grabs the rope and pulls, you’ll end up pushing it alone.
Go with true believers. Don’t waste time convincing naysayers, when ideas are young.
#3. Look for champions who aren’t already leading. Include new employees and people with untapped potential when exploring new ideas. See who steps up.
Give small assignments to potential leaders. See if they follow through.
#4. Listen to the concerns of dedicated doers. People who are already getting things done, understand what it takes to get things done. Dedicated doers aren’t foot draggers. They hate failure.
#5. Cut stretch goals in half and move forward. Small choices are easier than big.
The other name for ‘unable to choose’ is stuck. Successful teams make decisions. But big decisions take too long. Make several small choices.
Choices enable movement.
#6. Keep everyone in the loop. People on the fringes grab the rope after first-movers generate a win or two.
A few small successes give legs to new ideas.
#7. Give life to new initiatives by giving them flesh and bones. Invite the new people you’re serving to meetings. Listen to their stories. Watch for pockets of energy. Give enthusiasm a job.
Bring the outside in.
How might leaders succeed with innovative initiatives?
Dan you are right on on this one. I would add this approach works not just for new business initiatives but people ones as well.
My old building material firm USG Corp wanted to start a Diversity program. It was decided to name a newer and younger Vice President to be in charge, me. I was given an extra title, Champion of Diversity and with a small group of diverse junior people we initiated a work from home plan and an adoption reimbursement program among other programs. We actively published the results. Later this led to a new Director role for one of our group. This was one of those HR ideas that worked but it takes the right leader and team.
Great suggestions. Many times our physician committee members are so busy they rarely jump up to lead a new initiative. It would be wise to look for people who aren’t already leading something and tap into them. Dividing a new project and idea into small chunks may help get more volunteers and leaders to lead the charge.
Love this advice! “Give small assignments to potential leaders. See if they follow through.” and “Bring the outside in.”
“#5. Cut stretch goals in half and move forward. Small choices are easier than big.”
This. If the people around you are risk averse, or once-bitten from past failures that haven’t been well supported, this will help them get on board, and help to build a habit of growth under safer conditions.
Very nicely written Dan.
Hi Dan, this is one great post. Your insights are awesome and I am positive that when applied, they can create a great change.