Innovation. That’s the name of the game today. If you can’t come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things, you’re drifting to the edge of the waterfall. Sooner or later you’re going to get sucked into the unstoppable current that will pull you over the edge. And it’s pretty difficult recovering from that, as a company or as an individual person.
“Ah!” you say, somewhat relieved, “that doesn’t apply to me. I lead people, so it’s business as usual for me.”
“The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.” So said L P Hartley in his 1953 novel The Go Between. You simply cannot afford to live in a foreign country – in the past, where things were done differently from the way they’re done now. You’ve got to live in the present, which is not as long as it used to be!
And the only way to live and work in the present and stay relevant as you move into the future is to embrace new thinking, new ideas and new ways of doing things. Not simply for the sake of newness, but because most new ideas and new ways are smarter, more effective, faster and better than the older ones. That’s because they benefit from new thinking, new perspectives, new learning, the support of new technology or some other innovation.
It’s therefore important for you to set yourself free to embrace newness – and to beware of the serial killers that lurk all around you – the ones that kill every new idea that either you or your team comes up with.
Yes, when it comes to new ideas, companies are teaming with serial killers – people who delight in killing new ideas as soon as they emerge. These serial killers do not want to embrace new ideas because they have no new ideas of their own and feel threatened by the new ideas of others. They also lack the vision to see the potential of new ideas. Or they simply want to preserve the status quo that happens to suit them. So they either try to ensure that new ideas are still-born before they can grow strong enough to stand on their own, or they wait for their opportunity to kill them off as soon as they get a chance.
Don’t expect these serial killers to be walking around with caps on their heads that say, “Serial killer” on their peaks. They will go to great measures to keep their intentions and identities hidden, but their intentions will still be the same – to kill off all new ideas that colleagues come up with to improve the business.
The danger of these serial killers is that they will never stop – until they are recognised for what they are and dealt with accordingly.
It’s therefore important to identify and stop the serial killers of the new ideas your company so desperately needs to embrace because, left to continue their dark deeds, these serial killers have the potential to kill off the company, causing it to become irrelevant and ineffective as time passes. Then just before the company ship goes over the waterfall, they jump ship and move off to another company to continue their murderous ways.
So encourage, nurture and protect the new ideas in your company, your division or your department. Be on the lookout for the serial killers who stealthily try to kill off any of these new ideas, particularly when those ideas are still vulnerable. Take firm action to ensure all new ideas have the freedom to be born, to grow and to mature into winning strategies that will take you and your company into a better, more successful and more fulfilled future.
Alan Hosking is the Publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net and @HRFuturemag. He is an internationally recognised authority on leadership competencies for the future and teaches experienced and younger business leaders how to lead with empathy, compassion, integrity, purpose and agility. In 2018, he was named by US-based web site Disruptordaily.com as one of the “Top 25 Future of Work Influencers to Follow on Twitter“. In 2020, he was named one of the “Top 200 Global Power Thought Leaders to watch in 2021” by peopleHum in India. In 2022, he has been named on the Power List of the “Top 200 Biggest Voices in Leadership in 2022” by LeaderHum.