We are in a crisis. But as a leader how can we begin to give hope to our people - especially if our industry is being decimated? Answer: innovate. But how do we do that when we have to deal with the issues we are facing right now?
Listen to what management guru Peter Drucker (1909-2005) had to say in an essay entitled "The Entrepreneurial Business":
"People work within a structure. For the existing business to be capable of innovation, it has to create a structure that allows people to be entrepreneurial. It has to devise relationships that centre on entrepreneurship. It has to make sure it's incentives, it's compensation, personal decisions, and policies, all reward the right entrepreneurial behaviour and do not penalise it."
In these crazy times then, ask yourself, what is your structure? If you know deep down you will need to pivot in the short or long term who and how is going to be in charge to that? If this is the case usually then in these times of crisis how much more should we take heed to Druckers thinking? Drucker goes on with the following, very pertinent, two points:
"1. This means, first, that the entrepreneurial, the new, has to be organised separately from the old and existing. Whenever we have tried to make an existing unit the carrier of the entrepreneurial project, we have failed. One reason is that the existing business always requires time and effort on the part of the people responsible for it, and deserves the priority they give it. The new always looks so puny - so unpromising - next to the reality of the massive, ongoing business. The existing business, after all, has to nourish the struggling innovation. But the “crisis” in today's business has to be attended to as well. The people responsible for an existing business will therefore always be tempted to postpone action on anything new, entrepreneurial, or innovative until it is too late. No matter what has been tried - and we have now been trying every conceivable mechanism for thirty or forty years - existing units have been found to be capable mainly of extending, modifying, and adapting what already is in existence. The new belongs elsewhere.
2. This means also that there has to be a special locus for the new venture within the organisation, and it has to be pretty high up. Even though the new project, by virtue of its current size, revenues, markets, does not rank with existing products, somebody in top management must have the specific assignment to work on tomorrow as an entrepreneur and innovator."
Peter Drucker, "The Entrepreneurial Business", Buy on Amazon »
I have a suggestion for you - separate off your most entrepreneurial and creative people into an Innovation SWAT team. Put one of the leadership team in charge. Get them to FOCUS. Unleash them. Their mission: to uncover workable ideas to pivot to. Get them motivated and reporting in weekly. If they struggle for ways of working check out the subject of "Design Thinking" and get them to run "Sprints" (this is an amazing place to start: https://amzn.to/2xpkdK8).
Resourcefulness not resources will determine success.
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