The pursuit of innovation is at an all time high. In the U.S. alone, 145 billion dollars are spent annually by enterprises in an attempt to disrupt the market within which they operate. Fostering innovation is the number one priority for global companies over the next three years.1
Within this rapidly changing business environment, CEO’s are facing greater challenges than ever before, navigating uncharted territories of fluid landscapes. As a result, over two thirds of top executives have expressed concerns about addressing critical issues with which they have no previous experience.2
In the past when confronted with such unstable times, leaders may have opted to stay the course and wade out the storm. But this tempest is not going to pass; uncertainty is the new norm. In order to maintain the trust of stakeholders and employees, CEOs must not only confront the unknown, but do so with an insightful strategy and the courage to implement it.
what do innovative leaders do differently?
Many organizations are already harnessing change to pull ahead. Executives at these successful enterprises aren’t necessarily doing anything differently than their less contemporary counterparts, they are simply doing the same things better.
Innovative leaders scored nearly 25% better at managing risk, demonstrating curiosity, leading courageously, seizing opportunities, and maintaining strategic business perspectives.3
Inventiveness is inherently risky, and sinking resources into a new initiative is daunting. Yet, nothing mitigates risk like preparation. In uncertain times, this means identifying and sharpening the right behaviors and cultivating a culture that is primed to seize opportunities.
Leaders do this by:
- Prioritizing which projects to pursue
- Performing thorough risk analysis
- Identifying and placing appropriate leaders in key positions.4
Companies equipped in this way are able to quickly identify initiatives and act on them with confidence, turning the unknown into a sea of opportunity.
Innovative Doesn't Always Mean New
Although the word innovative implies creating something new, the leadership behaviors needed to achieve this growth are not novel; in the end, there is no secret ingredient. Competitors rarely hold a hidden key to unlocking new markets and driving success.
Their advantage lies in simply perfecting best practice behaviors and strategies, and consequently developing ingenuity, agility, and an adaptive environment. By honing and refreshing existing skills and management capabilities, leaders position their companies to capitalize on the unknown and emerge as innovators in their fields.
Ashley Perry is a Consulting Associate at Insight Experience, a Boston-based firm delivering contextually rich, immersive business simulations and learning experiences to accelerate and integrate leadership, business acumen and strategy execution.
1 Now or Never: 2016 Global CEO Outlook. (June, 2016) KPMG International. Retrieved April 1, 2017 from https://home.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/pdf/2016/06/2016-global-ceo-outlook.pdf
3 Post, J. (2017, January 26). The 10 Biggest Challenges for CEOs in 2017. Business New Daily Retrieved April 05, 2017, from http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/3625-new-year-challenges.html
4 Graham-Leviss, K., (2017, March 08). The 5 Skills That Innovative Leaders Have in Common. Retrieved April 1, 2017, from https://hbr.org/2016/12/the-5-skills-that-innovative-leaders-have-in-common