October 05, 2013
Inside/Out Innovation

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If you work in an organization that wants to establish a sustainable culture of innovation -- you have two basic choices: outside/in or inside/out.

Outside/in is the most common approach. It assumes that re-engineering systems or processes is the way to go. You know the drill: do a little Six Sigma, cost cutting, continuous improvement, hire a few consultants to give pep talks and you're off to the races.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you, but it's often just a slick way of repositioning the deck chairs on your own Titanic. It looks good. It sounds good. You feel like you're doing something, but the ship is still sinking.

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The other approach -- inside/out -- is far less common. And why it's less common is because it's slower, initially more chaotic, requires more commitment and, to a lot of left-brained people, seems like voo doo.

The inside/out approach is based on the notion that "organizational change" follows individual change -- understanding, as it does, that an organization is nothing more than a collection of individuals.

The bottom line? Organizations don't change until the people in them do.

In the inside/out approach, each person commits to -- as Mahatma Ghandi put it -- to "being the change you want to see in the world."

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Ah... personal responsibility! Personal accountability! Sustained commitment! Even when things get uncomfortable.

Real change does not begin with re-engineering. It does not begin with new initiatives, tweaked processes, compensation plans, reward systems, cost cutting measures, flex time, organic lunches in the cafeteria, or overpriced consultants telling you what to do.

Where does real change begin? It begins with a change of mindset -- what the dictionary defines as "the characteristic mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to new situations."

Mindset, not skillset.

MINDSET -- why a pickpocket, every time he meets a saint, will only see pockets. MINDSET -- the cognitive filters we look through that color how we see the world. MINDSET -- why the CFO sees the problem as data, the Chief Marketing Officer sees it as branding, and the IT Director sees it as bandwidth.

The fact is: every single person in your company already knows what to do in order to foster a culture of innovation. They do. They really do. It's common sense. It's just that common sense has become uncommon these days.

Consultants like to make it mysterious, but it's actually very simple.

Does your company's longstanding history of bureaucratic, hierarchical, command-and-control get in the way of each individual operating at their highest potential? Of course it does.

Will re-engineering business processes help? Of course it will. And it is an important piece of the puzzle. But the real deal is NOT a "program". The real deal is each and every person in your organization bringing their innate wisdom to the table every single day. Their highest self. Their best self. Their naturally creative, authentic, passionate, collaborative, go-beyond-the-call-of-duty, opportunity-finding, accountable, engaged, on-fire-with-possibility self.

It's simple.

Simple, unfortunately, is not the same thing as "easy" -- especially these days where so many of us worship at the altar of complexity.

To be continued...

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at October 5, 2013 01:01 PM

Comments

Inside change simply requires love. Love garners and rallies our intrinsic motivation - all of the great change agents were great lovers.

Posted by: gladys [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 3, 2011 11:03 PM

Right on, Gladys! It's all about love. When people love themselves, their work, and the process of making a contribution to the lives of others, everything else falls into place. Without love, there's not a process in the universe that will ever be good enough.

Posted by: Mitch Ditkoff [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 3, 2011 11:08 PM

That leaves our current socio/economic/political situation in world of despair.

Posted by: gladys [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 3, 2011 11:16 PM

That's where you come in, my dear. And me. And a cast of thousands (or millions) who will not despair even though there is a lot to despair about. We may be in the belly of the beast but the beast will not eat us. (Weird image). Anyway, love will save the day. Always has. Always will.

Posted by: Mitch Ditkoff [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 3, 2011 11:22 PM

All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle! Love always wins!!

Posted by: gladys [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2011 12:18 AM

Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” What does that mean? Well for starters, that it is possible for the actions of one person to make a difference in the world. And that in fact, it’s the only way that change ever occurs. It also means that “leading by example” and taking personal responsibility is essential to making change happen— whether it occurs immediately or gradually over time.

Posted by: Trademark Litigation [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 4, 2011 06:20 AM

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