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Innovation for Greater Achievements
Fostering change in an organization can be a frightening proposition. When you initiate suggestions, then you also have to address the suggestions. That can seem daunting.
Although innovation can bring positive change and future revenues for companies, one survey by the American Management Association (AMA) found that our businesses are lagging behind foreign companies when in it comes to officially cultivating new ideas.
In a press release of 4/20/06, Edward T. Reilly, AMA President and CEO said:
“The increasing emphasis on short-term profits and predictable growth in U.S. business may be creating a culture where failure is not an option, closing the door on new processes that involve big risks and big rewards…It could be that the American way of business may very well be squashing innovation right out of the process.”
Further, the AMA Global Innovation Survey finds that less than 1 out of 3 companies possess an official method for assessing pioneering ideas and strategies. The other component following evaluation that is not present enough is rewarding innovators.
An atmosphere which sponsors and rewards innovation requires the initial formulation of a plan for how to handle new ideas as they arise. Create a policy for innovative ideas and publish it somewhere that all employees will see it (i.e. in the employee handbook or on the company web site).
Hang up an informational poster about your process for evaluating innovative ideas in the employee lunchroom. Get the word out. Your employees will be glad to know that their ideas will be rewarded if they help the operations to run more smoothly and/or increase the profits or stakeholder satisfaction in your firm.
Once there is a policy in place, it should be accompanied by a step-by-step protocol for evaluating the new ideas and determining if they will benefit the company. Your company can use a standard method for rewarding the innovative employee or provide a reward on a case-by-case basis, depending on how much the organization will benefit from the new idea.
As employees are afforded the chance to improve your business, they are encouraged to take more ownership of their work and the company’s welfare. If they enjoy a financial reward for their creativity, they may feel more inclined to develop new ideas in the future.
Before you can argue that your organization is not profit-oriented, remember that even government agencies and not-for-profit organizations can become more efficient in their operations and more effective at delivering services to stakeholders. The concept of keeping customers or stakeholders happy applies to almost all organizations, whether or not the firm is profit-oriented.
If you maintain a controlling type of vertical hierarchy in your organization and ignore the formal evaluation of new ideas, then you are squelching an important part of the contributions of your human assets, or your employees. You shouldn’t just pay them for the daily jobs they perform. You should reward them in an appropriate way for helping your business to evolve.
Rauenhorst Recruiting Company is an executive search firm specializing in placing key individuals in executive jobs. Our ideal clients are experiencing controlled growth and change or are seeking continuity in their leadership development. We are strategically involved in building management teams with these companies. Rauenhorst Recruiting designs and conducts thorough and customized executive searches in all industries nationwide. We currently have consultants on staff acting as land development, real estate, engineering, architecture and construction recruiters as well in manufacturing, energy engineering, and medical device technology and are regarded as a top information technology executive search firm. Rauenhorst Recruiting is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.