Thursday, April 7, 2011

Politics Kill Innovation - Poor Influence

 As one thinks about driving change within their organization you need to first understand what kills innovation.  The first overarching area that seems to stop innovation in its tracks is Poor Influence.  Why?  Well, having great ideas is just that...great, but getting others to understand why those ideas are great and more importantly take up your cause to see those ideas live is another story altogether.  If you are in the change business, getting clear on why you are not influencing others is critical to learning how to do it.  Taking ownership of this outage in your journey is critical to learning how to combat your weakness.  My good friend once told me that innovation isn't a team sport it is a contact sport.  I never used to believe this, but until you are in the arena for a while and see how quickly you can get crushed, you will begin to believe.  So what does poor influence mean when it comes to innovation failure?

They don't understand it:  If they don't get it you don't get their support simply put.  Making sure that people understand what they hell you are talking about seems pretty obvious, but getting clear that this is a real thing to be on the lookout for when selling is another.  Always keep you radar up to know when your potential partner is lost in your vision, concept or approach (I have already written on the concept/approach principle earlier)

They don't see the value for them:  Maybe your potential partner does "get" what you are selling them but there is no good reason for them to go out on a limb for you.  As an innovator, when this happen this it is like getting stabbed twice, because if they don't understand it, you can accept that maybe you need to do better or they just don't get it.  If they don't see value, this selfish moment on your potential partners' part hurts because as most innovators believe in trust and collaboration, this self serving behavior sucks.  However, it is real and if you can create value for people they will come along...

They don't believe you are right:  This scenario is a test of wills and when it happens you either need to deal with the issues (what problems they may have with you or your idea) and go back in for a second round.  The other option is to build around your opponent (which will come later in why innovators are successful).

They don't have enough data:  While this is a common issue, knowing what data someone needs before they can support your idea can be an easy or long road depending on how they like to innovate.  But be aware for sure of this issue because unless you can meet the data hurdle set for you, your effort can stop dead in its tracks...

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