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3 Ways Leaders Kill Innovation

Source | LinkedIn : By Sara Canaday

Many companies today are worried they don’t have the right leadership to succeed in the digital and disruptive age. Maybe they’ve got it all wrong.

What if they actually have the right leaders—but they’re being held hostage by the same old expectations, metrics, and rewards?

Here’s the problem. The very nature of business is continually evolving. Consumer needs fluctuate. Technology keeps shortening the lifespan of products and organizations. Even the strongest companies can’t afford to coast on past successes or be content to do things the way they’ve always been done.

If leaders don’t keep pace with the change, they run the risk of unknowingly undermining the innovation within their organizations.

I’ve seen it over and over again. Highly trained leaders with strong track records start to rely on habits and practices that served them well in the past but won’t take them into the future. They get stuck on the status quo. I realize that letting go of these familiar behaviors is a big shift, but it’s absolutely necessary.

Here are three ways leaders may be inadvertently putting a damper on innovation:

1. They never press “pause.”

Humans have a bias toward taking action versus standing still—and that’s especially true of leaders. We’re wired to produce and don’t feel valuable unless we’re doingsomething. Being crazy-busy–running to meetings, dashing off emails–is the norm. When’s the last time you dove into some big-picture thinking, like trying to connect the dots between a recent innovation and what it means for your business? Or does even pondering that idea make you think, “Who has that kind of time on their hands?”

Researchers Francesca Gino and Brad Staats have found that “people feel more productive when they are executing tasks rather than when they are planning them. Especially when under time pressure, they perceived planning as a waste of time—even if it actually leads to better performance than jumping into the task head-first.”

Read on….

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