Saturday, January 5, 2008

Managers kill innovation

a Biblical thought...
The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, "This has to be the Son of God!" (Matthew 27:54)

a Book thought...
I think Jesus wants the church to offer an apology to people when needed, and I think Jesus wants those who like him to forgive the church if she has wounded them. (p58 Kimball)

a Dave thought... from The Age
Just about every employee I speak to says managers kill innovation. The ideas are there, they're just not drawn out, nurtured and developed. Whether it's linear chains of command, closed-minded executives, no time for the new, pathetic incentives or just plain old clumsy execution, ideas don't stand a chance in most organisations.
This should ring alarm bells for business owners. Innovation is centre stage when managers talk about where growth in the future will come from.
So what's going on? Is there any hope for innovation in organizations? How exactly do you create an environment in which innovation can flourish?
I think it comes down to the way organisations operate. As innovation guru
Gary Hamel writes in his new book The Future of Management, a CEO resurrected from the 1930s would feel right at home in just about any corporate meeting today. The stiff hierarchy of command and control has barely changed since the day it was created, and that was way back in the months following the American Civil War.
Compare this rigidity with the fluidity of the market. How much has the competitive environment changed in the last 10 years? With such outdated models it's no wonder organizations struggle to come up with new products and new solutions.
Michael Tchong points out in his
Fast Company Blog that it is a bit of freedom and autonomy that sets companies like Google apart from their slow and clunky brethren. The ability to make decisions quickly and act on instinct is key. With middle managers "typically grid-locked in political battles with other divisions to get their flawed, focus-group-research-imbued opinions heard", Tchong writes, me-too products inevitably flood the market.
The sooner managers realise that internal processes, rather than the ideas themselves, need to be freed, the better.

Internal processes in The Salvation Army also need to be freed, and as the church is generally 10 years behind the business world when it comes to new models of management it may take us a while yet. I strongly believe it is going to be new models of ministry and innovative ways of being the Salvation Army that will help us grow but like the writer above suggests unless we can make decisions quickly and act on instinct we will continue to be bound by a system we thought would help us grow.

Just a thought.

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