By: Missy Jackson, Managing Partner

If you were digging a tunnel and heading in the wrong direction, how soon would you want to know?

Perception is all about the level of openness you maintain while offering the appropriate level of space to foster innovation, and capture and implement ideas.  Innovation is developing a continuous improvement mindset.  Over the course of time, businesses will inevitably be faced with the need to innovate, or at times even reinvent themselves, to stay relevant.

Think of companies like Aldi and Starbucks.  What worked for them in the onset of their business, over time, needed to evolve for them to maintain relevance and market share.  Their ability to do this greatly hinged on their willingness to continuously improve and be open to new ideas.  Yet, the ideas alone are not what unlocks success.  It’s the ability to not only hear innovative ideas, but also develop and implement them.

In looking at the Prioritized Leader framework, we have written previously about Purpose, People and Pace. In part five of our series, we will look at Perception and address how well your business is poised to bring your team together to collaborate and innovate.

Perception, the 4th priority

The perception quadrants

There is an important balance that needs to exist between developers, those that make current things better, and pioneers, those that create new ideas and are open to change, within a company.  The key is finding a rhythm that cultivates an open mindset and unlocks innovation for your team.  A rhythm that gives space to both the ideation and reflection of new possibilities and equally the devotion of time to drive solutions forward that will meet your customer’s needs.

High execution, low ideas (off-track)

When everyone is too busy, it is likely you are off-track.  There may be a sense of high productivity yet, it’s unclear where you are going.  Although everyone is getting things done there is never time to consider new opportunities.

Low ideas, low execution (complacent)

When you’ve been at the top of your game for a while and feel little need to change or innovate, you’re complacent.  Others that find themselves in this quadrant have already lost market share and have begun to accept this as their new reality and feel powerless to make the necessary changes.

High ideas, low execution (conversational)

Organizations in this quadrant are great brainstormers.  They are full of ideas, but it is just lip service because nothing ever comes to fruition.  You come up with great ideas and insights all the time, but other companies are beating you to market.  These companies are conversational.

High ideas, high execution (innovation)

These companies are open to new ideas.  They recognize that better solutions can come about and the need to continually listen and learn is important.  These companies are also eager to explore turning these ideas into new solutions for your customers.  They have found their rhythm and open mindset.  They are humble, hungry and innovative.

When you successfully make it to the innovative quadrant, you give way to the ideal innovation loop of curiosity, connection, conversation, pilots, processes and products.

You enable curiosity by asking, “where do we feel stuck and frustrated as a business?”  You can make connections between ideas that bubble up and what you see and feel across the business and in the market.  You engage in conversation amongst those with open mindsets and a vested interest in the ideas, yet also allowing space for them challenge and support as needed.  You’re open to trying new things through pilots to learn and understand where you may have early adopters and support.  You take time to consider what new processes and procedures are needed to fully bring new ideas to fruition.  And lastly, you can identify what the final product of ideas are so they can be fully realized and brought to market.  You have found your rhythm.

Do you have a balance of developers and pioneers within your team?  Or, do you have all ideas and no ability to execute?  Are you so busy that ideas are just a wish that will never happen?  Are you open to new ideas and willing to try new things? Do you need help understanding how to find your rhythm and balance within your business?  Are you struggling to make your way to the innovative quadrant?  If so, The Vantage Group can help.