Good business ideas need to be great innovations and then they must be executed quickly. British humorist Ashleigh Brilliant once remarked, “Good ideas are common. What’s uncommon are people who’ll work hard enough to bring them about.”

It takes both…good ideas and great execution.

What today’s super-competitive business world covets is managers and executives who can execute to perfection and have a gift, even a genius, for innovation and inspiration. It may be that a manager who is good at execution is not particularly innovative. This manager works to build innovation in their team. Other managers are great at innovation and can build execution management in their team.

Innovation is the rocket fuel of highly productive companies and business units. New ideas, better products, streamlined operational processes, supply chain management are just a few categories for creativity. Every business today must be productive and achieve high-performance in order to compete. What area of the business has opportunities to grow? What are the industry trends? What are customers saying they need/want? Whatever it is, the business unit must innovate and execute. Whether a business is trying to overcome stagnation or looking for a way to jump ahead of the competition, the “innovation culture” is needed to find the way.

When building an innovation culture, both the manager and team need to nurture and develop certain some very specific “mind-sets”. In his book The Innovator’s DNA, Clay Christensen outlined characteristics of the innovation mind-set.

  1. Association
  2. Questioning
  3. Observing
  4. Networking
  5. Experimenting

If managers will just focus a bit on these five characteristics they are very likely to find that they possess one or more and members of the business unit may have one or more as well. This is a very easy starting place. The manager sets the cultural imperative that the business unit must innovate and find new and better products, methods, processes, etc. The team is consistently challenged to innovate around the need or problem.

If a member of the team is good at say “networking”, ask them to actively network around the need/problem. If an employee is particularly creative by associating one idea with another, challenge them to look for productive association around the need/problem.

Much of this innovation and execution management are core characteristics of entrepreneurship. Too often, we think of entrepreneurs as these solo, start-up independents. Often that is the case. But today’s top performing companies support and encourage their managers and business teams to think and act like entrepreneurs. This is not some lame parlour game. If your company or business unit is not thinking and acting like creative and dynamic entrepreneurs, you are falling behind. The issue for many companies is negative inertia. “We have always done it this way and it got us here” is their anthem. It will also be their undoing.

News Reporter