Are You an Innovator or a Duplicator?

One of my top CEOs recently asked me a great question, as he frequently does.  He’s a very visionary leader and I always feel as if I’m in the co-pilot’s seat when he takes off on a “weekly flight to above and beyond”.  He wants his organization to be on the cutting edge of his field. Here was his question:

“How do I get my leaders to get into a mindset of always thinking about new ways of looking at ideas, rather than the same way they’ve looked at them in the past? “

The challenge he runs into is that sometimes his leaders think about how long something is going to take. They picture whatever he wants to achieve the same way they are doing things now. He wants to challenge them to jump outside the box and approach it with new thinking.

I see this present-day thinking as that of a “duplicator”, not an “innovator.” If any of us would be asked which we want to be (an innovator or a duplicator) we would likely say we want to be the former. The question is whether we really do that when we are thinking about our own organization.

It can especially be true if you invented a system or process. You tend to think of it as the right way to do something, since it’s served its purpose in the past. It might be time to do what one of my young professionals is always talking about… BLOW IT UP!

ACTION STEPS FOR THIS WEEK

  • Have  a meeting and tell your team you are going to be thinking “outside the box.”
  • Tell each person attending to bring something from their desk they use
  • Ask each person to tell you what the item does (but it can’t be what it actually is).
  • This exercise will get them outside their comfort zone.
  • Now think of a challenge your organization faces.
  • Ask each person to come  up with a solution that has not been considered prior to the meeting.