Innovation is critical in a knowledge economy — driving growth, new products, and new methods of delivering value to customers.
According to PwC’s 2015 study on Global Innovation, U.S. companies spend $145 billion dollars in-country on R&D each year. And yet, despite its importance, innovation is a difficult quality to cultivate both in leaders and in organizations. In Conference Board’s 2015 CEO Challenge study, 943 CEOs ranked “human capital” and “innovation” as their top two long-term challenges to driving business growth. This is a key talent challenge for most organizations, and a talent gap that needs to be closed, starting at the top – with the role of the Chief/Principal/Commander.
Innovative leaders scored 25% higher than their
non-innovative counterparts on managing risk. Innovative
leaders are bold when it comes to experimenting with new
approaches. However, they will initiate reasonable action
when potentially negative consequences are expected. When
risks do present themselves, they develop plans to minimize
the risk and identify where it is needed most.
Innovative leaders also scored higher in terms of demonstrating curiosity. They exhibit an underlying curiosity and desire to know more. These leaders will actively take the initiative to learn new information, which demonstrates engagement and loyalty to company goals. Keeping their skills and knowledge current gives them the competitive edge they need to lead effectively, and also stimulates new ways of thinking in other workers.
How Organizations WIN
Below we will list a range of factors that build Global Leaders.
Leaders examine mistakes and setbacks as opportunities to
learn. Mistakes prompt leaders to look inward and think
about your limitations. By studying patterns of behavior,
leaders recognize and correct behavior that repeatedly
results in mistakes, miscalculations, or the misreading of a
Leaders make time for researching the necessary information to strengthen their knowledge portfolio.
Successful leaders are proactive and lead with confidence and authority. They turn tough circumstances into prime opportunities to demonstrate their decisive capabilities and take responsibility for difficult decision making.
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Successful leaders are sure to engage and maintain audience attention in high-stakes meetings and discussions, and they do not avoid conflicts and differences of opinion. When facing a tough decision, courageous leaders consider the alternatives, identify and confront risks, and prepare to deal with other people’s reactions - they Look for an opportunity to share feelings and opinions with clarity and conviction, despite any resistance they may experience.
Successful leaders differentiate between being assertive and being aggressive.
Assertive leaders are effective because they look for win-win solutions and show respect for others (even when they disagree).
Innovative leaders scored higher when it comes to seizing opportunities. They are proactive and take initiative and ownership for success. These leaders anticipate potential obstacles before taking action, but avoid over-analysis. They push for personal performance and are able to work independently for extended periods of time with minimal support. They are also able to change directions quickly to take advantage of new opportunities when they come up.
Research shows that innovative leaders score higher when it comes to maintaining a strategic perspective. These leaders demonstrate a keen understanding of trends and their implications.
There is one competency where innovative leaders perform more poorly than less innovative leaders — maintaining order and accuracy. For this reason, organizations need to supplement innovation initiatives with people who are strong in project management, or provide tools and training to help the innovators manage the details more effectively.
Data indicates four subsets of leaders. Leaders with “driving styles” were the most likely to be innovative because they are willing to chart their own course and to stand alone in developing a creative, fresh approach to a product or service. People with “impacting styles” are also likely to drive innovation through their ability to convince and persuade others toward a new way of thinking. On the other hand, “supporting” and “contemplative” individuals tend not to be innovative leaders. They need more organizational encouragement and structure to help them bring their out-of-the-box ideas to the table.
Research suggests that the most innovative leaders do not ignore risks – they manage them. These leaders anticipate what can go wrong without getting boxed in. They’re curious, and they seize on clear opportunities, balancing exploration with being opportunistic. The leaders who are most likely to lead innovation are driving, high-impact individuals, who aren’t afraid to be assertive, independent, and above all, curious.