When I was asked to write my next blog post on innovation and getting creative, I was instantly a bit uncomfortable. Yes, this request pushed me out of my comfort zone. Ultimately, being pushed out of my comfort zone is good because that’s how I continue to innovate and grow.
I really had no idea what I was going to write about. You see, most people would not correlate innovation with an accountant. And the “creative” word makes most of us accountants cringe. Well, I considered one of my favorite topics, leadership, and recalled a piece from Forbes that I ran across entitled Advice from The Most Innovative Leaders.
What stood out to me were the five skills of disruptive innovators; questioning, observing, networking, experimenting and associated thinking. I also really liked Jeffrey Bezos’ (of Amazon) answer on what he asks all job candidates: “Tell me about something that you have invented.” What he is really looking for is an answer that tells him that the candidate will try new things. The candidate is open and willing to grow. By the way, growth is one of our core values here at CDH. We define it as change as choice and it requires taking risks and getting out of your comfort zone. We encourage our employees to take risks, challenge and grow themselves, too.
In previous posts, I have commented about how leaders need to be more self aware of their leadership style, strengths and weaknesses. I would challenge you to think about the five skills and how they fit into your leadership style. No matter what industry you are in, if you are leading a middle-market business, I believe you need to be constantly looking for ways to innovate your company’s product or service offerings. Otherwise, based on the fast pace of change in our world, you and your business will be at-risk for becoming obsolete.
Ask yourself the following questions:
How much questioning, observing, networking, experimenting and associated thinking are you and your leadership team doing within your organization?
Are you and your leadership team really willing to grow; to take risks and get out of your comfort zones?