6 Ways To Be An Innovative Leader

January 27, 2014 — 15 Comments
6 Ways To Be An Innovative Leader | Joseph Lalonde

Innovation is a requirement for great leadership. You’re always on the lookout for new ways to move the company forward. You know there’s power in new ideas.

But how many times do you feel stuck as you try to take your team to the next level? It’s frustrating. It’s annoying. It’s something that can be overcome.

When we introduce new ideas and new practices, we begin to elevate the company to the next level. The company is able to rise above the previous problems and tackle new issues that are arising.

You can even help the company grow and succeed by being innovative.

But what does it take to be innovative as a leader? What can you do to increase the flow of new ideas and new breakthroughs?

I think there’s at least 6 ways to be an innovative leader. Let’s take a look at those 6. Afterwards, I’m going to ask you to suggest your own ways to be innovative.

1. Invite your team’s input: Your team contains valuable insight. You hired them because they’re talented and can get the job done, right?

Then why do we often overlook those doing the work and bringing the results? The man on the floor, in the action, getting dirty sees new and innovative ways to improve the company.

Invite these members to the creative input meetings you have. Let them share their ideas.

Don’t discount them because they’re not an executive or a senior board member. Instead, place greater value on what they say because they see the areas of inefficiencies every day. They’re working in the problems.

Help their voice be heard and help innovate the company.

2. Modify the methods of other leaders: With all of the books and conferences and coaches that are out there, there’s a load of information at your fingertips.

Study the master leaders. Learn from them. Become an expert at their teachings.

And then tweak their work. Look for the methods that may be outdated or inefficient. Look for what you can improve upon.

Now do the work to correct the issues you see. Improve the methods of the masters. Take their work to the next level.

3. Practice Ready, Fire, Aim: Innovative leaders know they need to get their ideas and methods into action quickly. They know they can use the Ready, Fire, Aim method to rapidly deploy and modify.

Ready, Fire, Aim doesn’t mean taking unnecessary risks. Instead it means get ready, test, and then recalibrate to the right target.

Take small steps first to see if the idea is going in the right direction. Once you know where you’re going to hit, go big.

4. Break the rules: Rules are good. They’re there to inform us of what can or cannot be done. However, the rules can take too long to change or to be reevaluated.

When this happens, it’s time to break the rules.

Look for what’s holding you back. See if it’s a weakness in an outdated rule.

Can the rule be broken without dire consequences? Will there be innovation if the rule is broken?

If so, break the rules. Destroy the old assumptions. Discover the new path to success.

5. Allow for failure: Innovation requires us to fail. We wouldn’t have the light bulb or sticky notes if the creators hadn’t failed a time or two.

Are you holding the company back by making your team fear failure? Break it today.

Let your team know you’ll allow for failure. Let them know they can try new ways of doing old tasks. Let them be free to experiment.

Without failure, you won’t learn. Don’t hold your team back because you’re scared to fail.

6. Limit resources: Innovation can be elusive if we’re given all of the latest technology and gizmos. This mindset seems a bit counter-intuitive but when we think about it, I think it makes sense.

As you’re given more technology to make your position easier, we become lax in figuring out the latest problem. Instead, we rely on our toys to get us through the journey.

Take these away and we’ve got to become creative in our problem solving.

Innovation requires us to push forward. To think in new ways. To create paths that weren’t there before.

Don’t be scared to innovate. Be scared not to innovate.

Question: In what ways are you being an innovative leader? Please share one or two methods you’re using today in the comment section below.

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  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    Today technology has really opened the door us for to innovate in our leadership. One way is to have more personal interaction with our team. It could be a Google Hangout or Skype but we could set up a “what’s next” meeting with our team.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      So true Kimanzi. Technology has advanced to a point where the possibilities are virtually endless. I love how you’ve been using Google Hangout to share your message and the message of others.

      • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

        Thanks brother!

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  • http://www.crazyenoughtotry.com/ Ryan Bonaparte

    I think #1 is critical. So many times, we hear from friends and colleagues who have great ideas that you know the higher ups will never hear. It really is quite impossible to lead without listening to the people who are on the ground doing stuff. If nothing else, knowing that you are valued by your leadership inspires you to try a little harder.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Exactly Ryan. Once you’ve heard from those people, how do you bring it up the chain even further?

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    I think social media can allow us to innovate even more. It’s full of great ideas and thoughts that we can work from. Great post and thoughts bro!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Good addition Dan. Social Media provides a great new channel for innovative ideas.

  • http://sukofamily.org/ Caleb

    Allowing for failure can be hard to do but when done in a safe environment I think the results can be amazing. As a missionary failure has been one of the main ways I have learned to innovate and kept myself moving forward.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s awesome Caleb. It’s amazing what we can learn from failure when we’re honest about it. Thanks for sharing that you’ve learned from the failures in your life.

  • http://www.leadershipthoughts.com/ Martin Webster

    Creativity and innovation go hand-in-hand. Creativity is generating ideas with the team. And innovation is moving the ideas to action. Great post.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Thanks Martin.

  • jonny curran

    Great Post and all the ways are superb specially i like allow for failure.

    I also want to recommend one idea i personally feel to be more innovate and i.e to push yourself and you team in critical and stressful situation so that you can see how much talented you and your team are.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s a great one Jonny. Thanks for adding to the list.

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