Blog Details

Back to All Blogs
Learning & Development, Learning Culture

Roadblocks to Innovation from an Executive’s Perspective

By Elizabeth Magill , March 30th, 2018

Businesses, in today’s competitive market, that lack innovation simply aren’t going to be the best that they can be. It’s no longer enough to match the products and services your competitors offer and hope to get an equal market share. We live in an age where people consistently want bigger, better, faster, and, well, more. The company that delivers these things is the company that gets the lion’s share of the profit and customer loyalty.

“Innovation is the driving force behind every successful business. Managers should do their best to stretch and challenge their teams to combat complacency, ” according to Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International and author of Human Resources Kit for Dummies®.

So, how do you get that creative innovation from your employees?

Get Out of Your Rut
It happens. Even the best of businesses with the most creative and innovative teams at their disposal fall into ruts of lackluster inspiration, ideas, and performance. For those businesses that have never before placed such a high focus on innovation it can be truly challenging to figure out how to draw those great ideas from the minds of employees you have at your disposal.

The first thing you need to do is figure out what’s holding you back. In other words, what’s the biggest barrier to innovation in your business?

A Robert Half International survey of more than 1,400 CFOs from U.S. companies employing 20 or more people revealed some interesting thoughts on barriers when it comes to innovation. 35 percent of the CFOs surveyed believed it was a lack of new ideas that was to blame for their company not being more innovative. Other barriers to innovation reasons included too much red tape and putting out fires.

Take a good look at the respective reasons CFOs gave for roadblocks to innovation, along with their corresponding incidence rates.

  • Lack of new ideas (35%)
  • Too much bureaucracy (24%)
  • Putting out fires / or being bogged down by tasks (20%)
  • Ineffective leadership (9%)
  • No answer or don’t know (11%)
  • Other (1%)

Here’s What You Can Do
With the results of the survey in mind, here are a few things you can do as a business owner, executive, or manager that will create an atmosphere that is far more conducive to innovation in the future.

  1. Become inspired so you can inspire others. As a leader in the business, you’re the one employees look to for inspiration. If you’re worn out, beaten down, and lacking when it comes to ideas and a creative spark, it’s going to be difficult to lead your employees to new heights of innovation. Rediscover your own inspiration so you can be the inspiration your employees need.
  2. Get everyone involved in the effort. You never know where those truly innovative ideas will come from. Get everyone in on the act and award those who step up to the plate with good ideas. Consider using suggestion boxes, brainstorming sessions, and any other tools you have at your disposal to get your employees thinking.
  3. Figure out how to make ideas work rather than pointing out all the reasons why they can’t. Shooting down ideas without giving them careful consideration is discouraging to employees who will eventually quit throwing them out there.

Take baby steps towards forward progress and pretty soon you’ll be making giant leaps of innovation. The one great thing about this is that the more you practice it, the easier it will become for you and your business.


Discuss this post?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *