December 19, 2010
The Top 10 Reasons Why Some CEOs Sabotage Innovation

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There's a huge gap between CEOs saying they want their companies to innovate and actually acting in a way consistent with what they say.

This lack of congruence drives internal change agents crazy, catatonic, or out the door. At the very least, it makes them cranky and unwilling to go the extra yard required to turn their inspired ideas into reality.

And so, as a public service to all of you out there whose CEOs are not walking the talk, here's my TOP TEN reasons why not.

Choose one, align with some fellow change agents, and kick start the process of actually doing something about it.

1. Innovation sparks dissonance and discomfort.

2. Innovation is all about increasing variability. Most CEOs want to decrease variability and increase predictability.

3. Results only show up long-term -- not next quarter.

4. CEOs conserve resources. Innovation requires more resources.


5. Innovation flies in the face of analysis.

6. Imbalance of right-brain and left-brain thinking.

7. It's not in the job description.

8. Over-reliance on cost-cutting and incremental improvement.

9. Inability to enroll a committed team of champions.

10. Insufficient conviction that innovation will really make a difference.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at December 19, 2010 11:47 PM


Yes! Excellent post.

I would also add that really fostering and driving innovation requires leaders to do a lot more of the "soft skill" stuff than they are comfortable doing. Innovation means listening. Innovation means ambiguity at times. Innovation means asking big open-ended questions. Innovation means relaxing our reliance onj hierarchy and authority. Innovation means that it is not all about me (the CEO).


Posted by: joe gerstandt [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 10, 2009 04:34 PM

Hey Mitch,

Well articulated! I must confess though that I don't agree to point 6. To me innovation isn't about more resources. It's about resourcefulness. And the simple solution to this tricky challenge very often is to kick start an intervention starting from the top and cascading it across levels.

Makes sense? Cheers - Sujit

Posted by: sujitsumitran [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 11, 2009 05:48 AM

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