Lessons for first-time managers: How to create innovations in your team
Published in Leadership and Soft Skills.
Innovation is a cornerstone for modern Businesses as even the smallest performance gain can separate a profitable company from a bankrupt one. CEOs, experienced managers, and business gurus all talk about innovation. As a first-time manager, you play a vital role in the innovation process.
Apply these tips to help your team innovate:
- Promote cooperation and collaboration in the team. No innovation is created, documented, and integrated by a single person. Best ideas come when several people work together and combine their knowledge and skills to find a point for improvement. I wrote a guide on promoting cooperation.
- Optimize Business Processes together. Some may think the manager is solely responsible for the development and improvement of Business Processes. They are wrong. Indeed, Process Management doesn’t happen without a manager’s involvement. However, team members are to be included in the process too. After all, they are the people who’ll follow the steps of the Procedure.
- Facilitate cross-team bonds and communication. Often, innovative ideas come from unexpected places such as an accountant looking at the building plan. It’s a rare innovation that impacts a single team or department. Usually, productive change requires the involvement of dozens of teams supporting a single product or a service in the Organization.
- Collect feedback and adopt it. Innovation usually comes in a row of small observations and incremental changes. This process usually comes in 4 steps: Design, Build, Run, and Analyze. Bureaucracy stifles innovation. This cycle of optimizations and improvements can happen a thousand times in big projects.
- Stop thinking about innovation for a moment. There’s no point in improving the process no one uses because everyone is innovating process upgrades. Does no one have any ideas? Relax, work as usual, and check again in a week.
It’s impossible to forcefully create an innovation. Continuous development of innovations requires good Team Members, optimal Business Processes, and innovation-promoting Corporate Culture. All of which are, at least partially, controlled by the middle managers.