Create a culture of trust and encourage employees to speak up
workers and reward them for bringing potential opportunities and challenges to
their attention. Front-line employees are often an enterprise’s most informed
audience — to create and sustain competitive advantage, provide them the tools
they need to translate ideas into action.
2. Constantly rethink business practices
Is “the way it’s always been done” still the best
way to do it? Like competitors, market leaders are always asking themselves
3. Freely collaborate across the organization
Flatten lines of communication and allow information,
insights and support to flow throughout your enterprise. The more readily you
can align tools, talent and resources toward common goals, the more readily you
can foster innovation.
4. See the future now
Rather than simply keep pace with rivals, top innovators
always consider where the future is heading and strive to put the solutions
tomorrow’s audiences will demand in place today.
5. Be open to change
Leaders expect employees to stay abreast of changing
business environments — and intelligently and flexibly respond to them. To this
extent, workers are given the freedom to take small, smart risks that have the
potential to help the organization better serve its customers … so long as
these risks are intelligent, productive, and cost-affordable.
6. Spread risk
Leading organizations don’t try to be risk-free, but rather
actively pursue a more calculated range of business bets. As with financial
portfolios, these enterprises constantly manage and adjust a portfolio of
strategic ventures. Not all wagers will pan out. But all are designed to
collectively help the organization grow its capabilities, spread risk, and
learn through real-time monitoring and course-correction.
7. Never stop learning
Rather than just rely solely on contingency plans, market
leaders consistently experiment with new innovations and solutions — especially
when things are going well, and they can most afford to gamble. By consistently
pioneering new ideas and approaches, and extending their experience,
capabilities and comfort zones, they create added flexibility and room to
maneuver in the face of changes or unforeseen events.
In short, leading organizations turn employees into
emergency responders. They transform infrastructures from barriers into
enablers. They see business strategy as being flexible, not fixed. And they
continually provide workers with the tools and runway they need to reimagine,
reinvent, and innovate their way to success as scenarios change.
by Scott Steinberg, a business consultant for Fortune 500 firms and author of
“Make Change Work for You