The Threat to Innovation
Updated: Mar 3
When we talked last in How to Know What’s Next For Your Customers, there was a tension that remained- a very real, palpable, normal tension. It is an internal innovation challenge - when those within the company resist the pull toward change.
Business leader Jack Welch said “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”
Most likely he said this because in addition to being a very real, palpable, normal tension, it is also incredibly powerful and must be managed. Internal resistance to change can stop innovation and iteration in their tracks, derailing a future of impact. No one wants to be a part of a dying company, but simultaneously, few want to walk through another change.
Change in systems, process, product, service, approach, style, method….it can be exhausting.
So if you have to change to stay relevant to customers and it is exhausting, what do you do? You, personally what do you do?
It depends on how you are wired and how different wirings work together.
While the “there are two types of people in the world” model can be simplistic, in some instances it can be fair, and when it comes to change and innovation, I think we can use it safely for the sake of our conversation.
Let’s call the people who love change innovators.
Those who love the routine and rhythm of staying the same, well, they are our stabilizers.
And those reading who are smack in the middle, you, my friend, are probably an implementer. You appreciate innovations but your gifting is taking an innovation to the field. Let’s talk more about your critical role in the future! For today let's focus on the extremes of innovators and stabilizers.
Innovators gravitate towards change. They see the world through the lens of what could be improved.
Stabilizers gravitate towards consistency. They see the world through the lens of what can be streamlined and stabilized.
One is not better than the other; we need both. And we need both to understand each other enough to lean into each other in different seasons.
If we are creating constant change, customers will be confused.
And as we talked about before, if we are resisting change, customers won’t need us any longer.
Once you know your wiring, then it is about understanding and leaning into others at the right times.
Note to the Stabilizers:
Don’t ignore the innovator on your team-he one who has wild ideas about what could be next.
Instead, give them enough belief, enough support, enough budget oxygen for their ideas to take shape. Maybe - just maybe - they will be right!
Think back on the innovations we all know and love today. At one point there was an innovator with an idea, surrounded by people who shared every reason why it wouldn't work. Innovators on our team need your encouragement and belief, and they need your stability even though they may not know it yet!
Note to the Innovators:
Don’t resist the stabilizers on your team- the one who can streamline a task into a process that can be repeated with efficiency, he one who is steady and predictable in so many ways. Instead of resisting the consistency they bring, lean into them to help create a process for innovation in your organization. I know you may hear the word process and cringe, but in fact. process can help bring organizational alignment and protect your incredible innovations, allowing them to move through the organization effectively.
Innovators, you need stabilizers.
Stabilizers, you need innovators.
We all need each other to serve Customers well today and into the future!
Continue learning and growing by ordering your copy of The Power of Customer Experienceand thebook club video series and user guide for your team.