Published by The Nashville Business Journal
The old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t break it” just doesn’t fly in today’s marketplace. Our world is moving at warp-speed, and competition is tougher than ever. As our competitors work diligently to improve, we must work even harder to innovate and advance faster to stay ahead of the pack. Strong companies and good leaders know that to compete in the modern free market the best approach is really more like: “If it ain’t broke, let’s break it and make it better.”
If we do what we’ve always done we stifle innovation and quickly lose ground. Progress is a direct result of continuous change and an unrelenting commitment to improvement. Jumpstart a more competitive, creative and stimulating workplace environment with these simple tips:
Curiosity: Demonstrate and encourage everyday curiosity among your team by asking questions, challenging the status quo and always seeking out ways to improve your business. People who are consistently curious will challenge current processes and products, and ultimately push forth new ideas that can build a stronger, more successful company.
Innovation: Be a champion of innovation in your organization. Create an open, inspired environment that’s conducive to innovation—new ideas are the lifeblood of a growing and changing business. Support, encourage and protect those mavericks who have initial ideas that may seem a little “off the wall.” Often those type of suggestions lead to new and better products and services. Forget how it was done it in the past. Look at how you can do it better in the future.
The people’s ideas: In most businesses the best ideas come from those who are closest to the work. That means your team—the people who are out in the field or talking to customers daily. Our role as leaders is to encourage our people to suggest the ideas and changes that can realistically improve our product or service. Listen to your team and push forward those little sparks of brilliance that will make your company even better.
Process improvement: Best-practice teams that focus on key issues often unlock the secrets that lead to greater efficiency in even the simplest tasks. And you don’t have to micro-manage them. These smart, self-starting teams typically achieve the most when we just leave them alone to brainstorm. “We are taking notes but not taking names,” I used to tell these teams. When change makes a measurable difference, be sure to celebrate it, too. The more positive change is recognized and rewarded the more constructive change you will see.
Business is always changing in a perpetual quest to improve. The secret to success is simple: The best organizations innovate smarter and change faster than the competition.