Confront Reality By Running A FREE Employee Survey On Innovation

I know the conventional wisdom of leaders today is “I know my workers”. Yet- it is incredibly different from what we find as we work with companies. It turns out- bosses are not as close to the workers as they would believe.

Are you a leader who is frustrated because you cannot understand why your team is not progressing rapidly with the company’s innovation plan? Do you really know how to connect with your team to get them to move forward? Then, you need to learn what drives them. Learn what their thoughts are. Chances are, it is not the people , but the innovation system that has been created that is not only frustrating you- it is frustrating your employees as well.

A few years ago, I worked with multiple location business owners to innovate and grow their company.  The business was owned by a husband and wife. We asked about 20 or their key people to take a confidential survey on the company’s innovation culture. As I sat with the husband and wife to go over the results, I received very different feedback from them. The husband started to turn red- obviously upset. The wife was shaking her head up and down- agreeing with each point. It reached a point where he stormed out of the room. The wife did not try to downplay his display- she told me that he was having a hard time with the results.

After about 15 minutes he returned. He told me, “If I am totally honest with myself- that is exactly who we are. That is exactly how we operate. That is not what the way I want things- but it is reality.” The wife knew immediately. Now that reality was confronted- we could start to help. Without the honest confronting of the real situations- we are mired in the past and may be blocked by our own egos.

We can help you to understand how your team is operating within your current system, and confront the reality of where you are, with respect to innovation. 

How much do you trust your systems- the systems that allow you to innovate and grow your business? Are you as innovative as you think on bringing new product and service offerings to market? How successful have you been with your current systems? Are you confident your systems can produce the results you need? Are your systems set up so that there is alignment within your company? A lot of questions- but we find that these are the kinds of questions that proactive business leaders are asking themselves.

I say systems- because systems can produce more consistent results. Systems are what makes a Big Mac a Big Mac, no matter where in the world you buy it. When my wife and I bought businesses many years ago- we bought franchise locations- because of the systems. With systems- you don’t have to rely on a superstar. Your people know what to expect and how to run things. Your confidence and courage go up with a good system. Your odds of success go up when you follow a good system.

Here’s out it works: 

First, we measure the innovation mindset of those within the company- if innovation is needed, and the urgency to make the necessary changes. I remember working with a business owner a few years back. When his employees did not understand the urgency to innovate and grow his business, I asked him if he had ever told employees how far business was lacking, and that he needed help in relaunching his company. He had not. How could they know the urgency?

Second, we measure your current innovation systems. How confident are you and your team that you current systems can grow the profits? How successful has your current system been in growing profitability? Is the team optimistic or pessimistic about the future?

Third, we see how aligned your team is on innovation and growth. Is your innovation strategy clearly communicated to everyone? Is top leadership committed and supportive of innovation efforts? Is there a clear link between the projects being worked on and the strategy of the business? Alignment is so important. This includes both vertical alignment (from customers all the way thru your company to your supply chain), and horizontal (do all departments value the same things…or are they hunkered down in their silos- just concerned about what is important to their silo).

Fourth, we survey how important learning is to your company. Does your company feel that the organization’s ability to learn adds to your competitive advantage? Is learning a part of your organization’s values? Are you good at capturing your learning? In todays world- if you don’t value learning, you may be in trouble. The world is changing too fast. If we are not learning at the pace of the world- we are going to be in deep trouble.

Fifth, we survey how well your team collaborates. Does the organization have formal promises to network outside your company? Does your organization make it easy for other companies to work with you? Do the people you work with cooperate to get the job done?

The resulting benefit is that if you can honestly confront the reality of your situation- that will help you to change, and move forward. You will not longer be mired in mediocrity.  Leave the ego at the door. Give everyone – including yourself- amnesty. Has anyone ever trained you to innovate and grow a company? Odds are – the answer is no. So- how could you know there is anything new to learn.

What can you do with this much information? You can begin to confront reality and make necessary changes. You can begin to engage your employees. In his book The Idea Driven Organization, Schroeder and Robinson state that employee driven ideas are 4X more powerful. You can start to unlock that potential.

How do you unlock the potential? An innovation mindset… systems that make you more confident and give you courage…alignment within your whole company…an atmosphere that values learning…and the kind of collaboration you may only dream of. This is attainable with the right system.

Here is an easy next Step for you. We will do a no cost/no obligation Innovation Systems Survey for you. This will take each person about 10 minutes to answer 20 questions. We will hold an honest discussion with you to give some options.

There is no cost. Just a few minutes of your employees time…and your time for an open conversation.

What are you waiting for?

Bruce Hall
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