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Friday, April 16, 2010

You Don't Grow a Plant by Pulling On It

by Yann Cramer

You Don't Grow a Plant by Pulling On ItThe Work Foundation published the results of an interesting study: Exceeding Expectation: the principles of outstanding leadership. Amongst the differences that make the difference between good and great leadership, I picked this distinction: Delegate task v. Delegate space for autonomy

The distinction most definitely applies to innovation leadership. You do not grow a plant by instructing it to do so, or worse by pulling on it. You do not get people to innovate by tasking them with innovating. You grow a plant by providing the Soil, the Space, the Sun... and letting it happen. You foster innovation by providing:
  • The Soil - access to internal and external knowledge and experiences where people can extend their roots,

  • The Space - the autonomy, as opposed to breathing down their neck,

  • The Sun - letting people draw their energy from their own passions,

  • The Strategy - direction and challenge.

... and letting it happen.

Great leadership in general and innovation leadership in particular call for leaders to invest their energy and trust in people, not in action lists and delegation tracking systems.

"Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts." - Albert Einstein.

An executive summary of the study can be found at the Work Foundation.

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Yann Cramer is an innovation learner, practitioner, sharer, teacher. He's lived in France, Belgium and the UK, he's travelled six continents to create development opportunities with customers or suppliers, and run workshops on R&D and Marketing. He writes on www.innovToday.com and on twitter @innovToday.

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Blogger Mitch Ditkoff said...

Yann: Great point. I totally agree. This has been my experience, precisely. Here's link to an article I've written about the same topic. Hope you find it useful.


10:59 AM  
Blogger Samuel Kingsley said...

Ha...In most organisations , they will employ a innovation consultant, set up a one day workshop, pick 10-15 employees, put them in a room and "ask" them to innovate....

Result - end of day some suggestions ...!!

4:45 AM  

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