How to instill the urgency of innovation, even without a crisis
We’ve seen a stark contrast between the modest pace of typical change management projects and the rapid innovation that occurred since the outbreak of Covid-19. The fundamental difference was the sense of urgency precipitated by the crisis.
So as we look to the future, how do senior leaders create a sense of urgency for major innovations like systems without a crisis? Because the truth is that these projects are urgent and existential; it’s just that they don’t always feel that way. Here are three ways to instill a greater sense of urgency in innovation:
- Engage in small experiments. Think about change not as a big project but as a series of small experiments to be conducted in days or weeks.
- Set zesty goals. In a crisis, goals are short term, high priority, and challenging, and there is a sense that they must be achieved. We call these attributes “zest factors.” Build these factors into your small experiments and sponsor them as the opportunity to really make a difference.
- Lean in and get personally involved. Personal involvement of senior leaders sends a critical signal to people working on change projects that the effort is critical to the organization’s success, or even survival.
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