Posted onin Leadership/Management
I’m often asked by colleagues and employees: what keeps me up at night?
It’s an interesting question with a simple answer: How do I get better about encouraging and recognizing innovation?
It can feel like a challenge when you consider the things we face each day: technology upgrades, operational issues, new product introductions, and a lot of other things that can fill up the day.
But with the pace of change accelerating more rapidly each year, innovation is crucial to continuing to have a thriving business. How we react to this challenge as CIOs is important; our employees and colleagues are watching us. So are our customers. If we’re not doing things differently than we did five, three, or even one year ago, how can we ask for this behavior from our team?
At my company, we’ve made adjustments in our technology organization to get more closely aligned with our business partners. As a result, we’re pushing our team members in different ways and encouraging alignment between the two teams for the greater good of the company, not an individual business unit.
Are you doing the same? Do your technology plans account for how you’ll manage the life cycle of a product, especially as technology changes, and are you talking about this possibility with your business partners?
Each day can feel like a balancing act between day-to-day operations, where people expect perfection from the technology you make available, and innovation.
Innovating requires a different type of thinking, challenging yourself and your team to look at industry trends, getting ahead of them and anticipating your customers’ needs, often before they realize them. And it doesn’t have to be game-changing. Changing a process or removing bureaucracy from your work to make it easier to get work done is innovation as well.
But don’t just ask for innovation from people, celebrate it. Recognize the work that people do. Celebrate patents that are awarded. Recognize key contributors at a Town Hall meeting in front of their peers. Give them an award, or the opportunity to lead a project. Write an article about their accomplishments and share it with the company. And have these folks help when you’re recruiting for new talent. They’ll be some of your best ambassadors when they’re doing what they’re passionate about and being recognized for it.
How do you make the time for innovation at your company, and how do you recognize it in your team?