Cultivating a managerial perspective is fundamental to harnessing the power of innovation and developing impactful solutions in a dynamic marketplace.
The managerial mindset is about cultivating a perspective that efficiently processes vast amounts of information in a way that produces positive economic outcomes for your business.
The first step to developing the managerial mindset is recognizing sources of opportunity that can improve the way your business operates.
Potential sources of innovative opportunities can occur in the following areas:
A. Occurrences of unexpected successes, failures or outside events.
B. Gaps between reality as it actually is and as it is assumed to be, or perceived as ‘ought to be’.
C. Innovation based on process needs.
D. Changes in industry or market structure that catch everyone unaware.
E. Demographic or population changes.
F. Changes in perception, mood and meaning.
G. New knowledge, both scientific and non-scientific.
The second step to developing the managerial mindset is to develop a process for vetting innovative opportunities.
In order to take advantage of market and industry changes managers & business leaders, at all levels, should practice the following principles of purposeful innovation:
1. Analyze the Opportunities.
Create a list of all the opportunities and rate them from 1-10 on how impactful they can be for your business. Then rate the opportunities 1-10 on how easily they can be accomplished. The opportunities that intersect should be prioritized.
2. Go Out and Explore, Ask, Listen.
After finishing a preliminary analysis, explore the prioritized opportunities in greater detail to develop a better perspective of which opportunity can yield the most success for the business.
3. Keep the Objective Simple, keep it Focused.
Maintaining a high level of precision and brevity is important to an effective analysis. Too much information can become paralyzing. Stay focused on the most essential components of each objective, and build goals from there.
4. Start Small – Try to Do One Specific Thing.
After determining the right objective and process to start with, begin with the simplest tasks and approach each goal one at a time. Spreading yourself too thin can lead to inefficiencies that damage efforts to achieve an objective in a timely manner.
5. Aim at Market Leadership.
Always look to seize opportunities that can position your company as a market leader. Shooting too low can result in allocating an unnecessary amount of energy, time and money on an objective that ultimately yields little change.
When approaching innovative solutions, entrepreneurial leaders should purposefully plan to tackle the project with a limited amount of resources. Adopting a less is more mindset can motivate innovators to bootstrap and make the most of the resources on hand. Plus, it encourages leaders to make corrections based on frequent tests and errors, and build the solution upon incremental successes.
When exploring innovative opportunities, entrepreneurs should avoid the following pitfalls that can damage any meaningful solution intended to answer a market demand.
1. Don’t be Too Clever.
If you are the only one who understands the innovative opportunity, it is unlikely that the opportunity is as real as you believe it to be. Truly impactful innovations are typically easy to understand. Moreover, innovative solutions must be handled by ordinary people, anything too clever or too complicated is almost bound to fail.
2. Don’t Diversify, Don’t Splinter, Don’t Try To Do Too Many Things At Once.
Trying to tackle too much at once is a real problem that often goes unnoticed before the effects harm the endeavor. Focus on one solution, or one element of a solution at a time. Entrepreneurs should allot time to strategically deconstruct a project into actionable steps before attempting to build the solution.
3. Don’t try to innovate for the future.
Always try to develop a solution that solves a current need. The future is fundamentally uncertain. Market changes can render any attempted innovation obsolete and unmarketable before it is finished. Entrepreneurs should focus on the present, and always keep a close eye on the market and try to anticipate where changes will occur before they happen.
For innovative solutions to succeed over the long term, current demand for the solution must exist in the present. Even if it takes a number of years to develop a solution, the demand must exist today. Some of the best solutions solve present problems with innovative breakthrough technologies. But, no marketable solution can effectively solve a future problem because no one will buy it in the present.
Fostering a managerial state of mind that supports innovation can sometimes lead company leaders astray from their core competences. Planning the adaptations of tomorrow while keeping in mind what made your company great yesterday is a challenge.
To maintain a balanced mindset, it is vital that entrepreneurial leaders develop clear methodologies that frame and support efforts to drive innovation change within their organization.
Part of the challenge entrepreneurs should be aware of is that effort can be at times counter-intuitive.
Innovation requires disruption, breaking the rules, and thinking differently. But, executing on innovation requires a disciplined process based approach.
The reality is that executive leaders must practice patience and experiment to find the right balance for their specific organization. The right methodology and mindset should allow for explorative freedom and embrace organizational or process discipline.
Ultimately, fostering an innovative mindset is more art than science. It takes the right approach, a clear perspective and a positive attitude.
Great managerial leaders appreciate creativity and discipline because they recognize that each holds equal value for the long-term success of any enterprise.
They approach the innovative process with an open minded willingness to discover new solutions and a desire to leverage past techniques that supported the success they have so far achieved.
The secret is knowing when to let the reigns loose and when to pull them in.
The practice is invariably a case-by-case exercise that depends on your industry and the talented individuals who make up your organization.
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