Hiring and Team Leading for Innovation

August 19, 2008

There are a lot of ways to inspire, empower, and encourage innovation and innovators within your company.  The trick is finding the ways that work for you and your employees and sticking with them.  Ride the wave of innovation for as long as it takes you.

For both small and large organizations, hiring can be a great time to create new innovation.  Most times, at any level of the company, a fresh pair of eyes can do wonders.  They can help you see problems that you overlooked, or opportunities that you could never find.  Being in one place too long has a numbing effect, and sometimes all it takes is a fresh outlook on a business to generate new growth.

Innovation within proven organizations and teams can come from a lot of places, but it almost always is a product of great leadership.  There are multiple ways to inspire your “A” players to continue to innovate.  First, create brainstorming meetings across departments and allow people to connect to one another.  Generate many ideas and then focus on narrowing it down to one great new idea.  Then select a team and give them the full responsibility for that new project.

This will give them a passion to get things done.  It will also highlight the work they are doing and provide guidelines for which they will be judged and rewarded.  “Innovation Teams” within the scope of a larger organization should have the freedom to operate on their own while utilizing the many assets available to them within the company.  A little freedom can lead to a lot of creativity.

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What Makes a Leader

June 29, 2008

The qualities of a strong leader are hard to quantify.  Whether you are leader of an organization, the leader of a nation, or just the leader of a family, it takes a variety of qualities to get the job done.  Many have written about the characteristics that you must possess to lead people to accomplish great things.

Can someone learn to be a leader or are the great leaders born that way?  I cannot answer that question, however there is one thing that defines strong leaders the world over.  It is an innate ability to empower the people around you.  You do not always have to know what to do, or be able to see the right moves.  But the ability to surround yourself with the right people who can get the job done, and then let them do what it is they are there to do, will always give you better results than you would get on your own.

Empowering others involves providing the right structure to give everyone in an organization a voice.  The free flow of information will always result in new ideas and new direction.  As a leader, you have to have the foresight to clear the path and allow others to speak for you.  You have to be confident in yourself and others simultaneously.  You have to let your ego aside and allow things to happen without interference.  The greatest leaders have not always come up with the ideas that lead to innovation, they recognize others who have the ideas and put them in a position to speak.

When people feel free to express themselves, they have the confidence to get things done.  By limiting the voices of those around you, you narrow the possibilities and lead to compromised decisions.  To be a truly great leader, you have to be able to encourage growth within every aspect of an organization.  Then, and only then, will the greatest ideas make their way to the front of the line.

With this is in mind, it seems that great leaders can learn the skills necessary to lead.  Some people are born to lead, but we all have the ability to choose to lead.  Leadership is about people, and the people you lead will guide you along the way.  Empower those around you and you will find that they have the solutions you are looking for.