6 Ways to Create an Innovative Outlook That is Receptive to Change


6 Ways to Create an Innovative Outlook That is Receptive to Change

We are in an age of innovation that is unparalleled in its acceleration, expansion, and impact.  We’ve witnessed the rise of Amazon, and the industry revolutionizing impact of Uber and other disruptors like Airbnb, Bitcoin, Netflix, and Tesla.

It is easy to see the change going on in other industries, and recognize that the old-line companies need to adjust and change faster.  However, it is not always so easy to recognize the need to change our own organizations.  One of the things we commonly say here at CTaccess is that we must move faster, be more agile, and change more quickly. Yet the resistance to that change is huge.  Sometimes that resistance can be people, but just as often it is a function of who we are.

We work tirelessly to create systems for consistency in delivery of service, and sometimes it is these exact systems that keep us from adapting.  Other times, it is the busy-ness of running our business. Regardless of the case, there is a strong resistance to change, and this resistance produces a need to be very purposeful about innovating to the point of being relentless.

Tony Robins says, “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”  You may have experienced this in your own life.  You may have changed a habit, because it became difficult or life-threatening to continue.  Maybe your doctor told you to change your diet after a heart attack. Or you started going to the gym after gaining a few too many pounds, and the doctor told you your blood pressure was too high.

It makes sense to develop at least a posture that embraces change.  Is change risky? Certainly.  It means stepping out of our normal which is a risk. Will the benefits be worth it? Absolutely.

Here are 6 Ways to Create an Innovative Outlook that is Receptive to Change:

1. Learn. In whatever form works for you, create a habit of learning about innovation.  What is on the cutting edge for your industry?  If you don’t know about it, you don’t have a chance of leading the way.  This comes by reading, watching videos, and talking to vendors.  I know that in the tech industry, seeking out vendors who are offering new solutions is time consuming and sometimes frustrating. Yet, some of the best new information comes to me from the channel.

2. Team. Involve your team in the process. I’ve made the mistake of going all the way down the path with a solution and being ready to embrace it, but then finding out that nobody else was there yet. Bring others in on innovation.  It gets better buy-in and better long-range results.

3. Purpose or Fear. Often fear holds us back. I find it valuable, when trying to innovate, to think about my reluctance in terms of purpose or fear. Is my reluctance a genuine concern about the solution? Or is it fear of what might happen? Or fear of changing from the old way?  Acting out of purpose or faith is always the right choice, and sometimes being very clear about creating this line in your thoughts helps.

4. Commit. Change is often not any easier after you decide to move forward, than it was before making the decision. Real change requires hard work. Commitment sometimes means creating accountability with other people. It sometimes involves burning a bridge, so you can’t go back to the old.  It sometimes means a purposeful daily choice each morning.

5. Persist. This is the concept of the flywheel from the book, Good to Great. It takes a lot of effort to get the flywheel moving, but once it is moving it has inertia to keep going. Sometimes, you must push that flywheel for a long time, before you finally breakthrough and get going.

6. Adjust. There is a balance between persist and adjust. At some point adjustments are needed to get to the right destination. This is a fault of mine.  I often set the course and just want to keep pushing.  However, sometimes a course correction, even a small one, is just what is needed to get through.

If we shift our focus on innovation to technology, there are two big change factors that we should consider in business.  These factors are cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI).

The developments in hacking, phishing, ransomware, and fraud in the past few years have been dramatic.  It is time to make fundamental changes to protect ourselves.  Tools like security awareness training, advanced threat protection, and next-gen antivirus are rapidly becoming a necessity.  If you have not taken a second look at your cybersecurity, now is the time.

Artificial Intelligence is driving change in dramatic ways and is applicable to most industries.  If you are in the landscape maintenance business, you may be looking at unattended lawn mowers, much like a Roomba vacuum.  If you are in a business like insurance, where there is repeated data entry, you may be looking at RPA technology, that will learn to key-enter data for you.  If you are in a business that processes lots of documents like invoices, you may be looking at automated recognition tools to pull data from the document and feed it to your other systems.  If you are a manufacturer, you may be looking at cobots or robots to ease the worker shortage problem and automate more.

Ben Franklin said, “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”  And, let’s face it, if you operate a business, you have most certainly learned to change and adapt to some degree.  In this present age of exponential innovation, it is important to increase the speed of adopting change in a purposeful way to stay relevant and continue to grow.