Who’s Managing Innovation?

on April 18, 2018

Next in my blog series about all things disruption/innovation, we’re looking at managers.

We covered what it looks like if you are ready to shake things up and disrupt your respective market.

We have laid out where your leaders need to be and their role in the process. So, it only makes sense to keep moving and discuss how this plays out for managers. You following me? There’s a method to my madness.

Let’s pretend that you worked at warp speed and your leaders are ready to innovate.

Congratulations (I’m slow clapping right now)! You did it.

But here’s the thing: Your leaders are not actually the ones who lead the change – at least not all the way through the organization. Sure, they need to shape the path forward, but they need to engage and empower their managers to take this thing home through the frontline team members.

The change you are striving toward is going to happen at the front line. Since your managers are directly responsible for your front line, it’s time to make sure they are ready to roll! So, how well equipped are your managers to lead change?

Since everyone seems to be into my points system, let’s keep it going in the name of consistency.

Answer each question with a number from 1 to 5, with 1 being “Nope. Nopity. Nope,” and 5 being, “Move over, born leader coming through!”

  • How well do managers understand their role as leader of change at the front line?
  • How well do your managers understand your business, the marketplace, and your competition?
  • How well do your managers understand the changing demands of your customers?
  • How capable are managers of driving business results through their teams?

And let’s break it up just a little for this one and end with an open-ended question to give you further context into where your managers fall on the readiness spectrum.

  • What are the capabilities of your managers to engage your front line, to tell the story that brings “Why change?” to life?

(Highest possible score = 20)

15 and above: Beep Beep! Managers coming in hot!

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, standing in the way of your managers. They have their eye on the prize and are feeding that front line every single thing it needs to crush it. This is a group of managers who mean business. They heard everything the leaders had to say and turned it into actionable information to pass on to their teams. Marching orders have been issued and everyone is ready to rock.

6–14: Itching to Innovate

All of your ducks are almost in a row. You may need to tighten up that front line just a bit more. Make sure you are clearly communicating expectations about their role and help usher them through this exciting change. With just a little more focus, you will make big things happen!

5 and below: Don’t Stop Believing

Hold on to that feeeeeeeeelin’… Sorry, gets me every time. But seriously. You have the tools and the people. You just need a little reset and refuel. Don’t be discouraged because you can totally do this. Just prioritize and once things start moving, keep that momentum going.

Did you make the grade? Any surprises with your score? You’ve already taken the biggest step, which is to commit to change. Now take that energy and turn it into action. Rally your troops. Keep your managers ahead of the curve with an open communication loop and meet any challenges with confidence, because when all is said and done, you’re going to bring it home.

What was your score? What one thing are you going to do now to help your managers lead change?

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