In one of my favorite leadership books, Team of Teams, the author Stanley McChrystal explains, “The models of organizational success that dominated the twentieth century have their roots in the industrial revolution and, simply put, the world has changed…being effective in today’s world is less a question of optimizing for a known (and relatively stable) set of variables than responsiveness to a constantly shifting environment.”
Young people today intuitively understand that the world is constantly changing, and adaptability is often more important than efficiency. They want to work with leaders, teams, and organizations that are willing to respond and adapt. This is one of the reasons that innovation is essential to engage the next generation effectively.
This month, Dave Raley, founder of Imago Consulting joins me on the podcast to discuss how we need to rethink innovation. The first step is addressing myths about innovation. For example, one myth is that innovation is something you do after you have your act together, and everything is dialed in. The reality is that innovation is best applied when things aren’t going well. Crisis is often the opportunity that drives sticky innovation. Another myth is that innovation is all about the new, bright, shiny object. The truth is that innovation is a disciplined process.
Young leaders bring unique perspectives to teams and organizations looking to become more innovative. They are more likely to question assumptions and to challenge current ways of doing things. They also are motivated to understand the “why” behind what we do, and the innovation process requires us to have those conversations.
Philosopher Eric Hoffer once said, “In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.” Innovation requires us to remain in a posture of learning. At times, this can result in fatigue, but the benefits are significant. Without learning, we are unlikely to thrive in a world that requires innovation. Futurist Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterate of the twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
As you consider rethinking innovation, consider the following:
Dr. Jolene Erlacher is a wife, mommy, author, speaker, college instructor and coffee drinker who is passionate about empowering the next generation of leaders for effective service!