Being afraid of change is one of the largest, if not the largest, barrier to successful corporate innovation. Many companies and their managers, if they have been around long enough, have experienced downsizing and outsourcing. And have seen the past attempts at change fail and result in workforce churn.
For many reasons like these, innovation isn’t always accepted by everyone in an organization. More and more companies, however, are figuring out that innovation is a must because the past is no guarantee of future success. Success comes to companies that are actively seeking out new pathways, and roads less traveled.
For the corporations that have it figured it, many are using the Lean Startup methodology, which is another way of saying they are using more experimentation to validate customer needs and develop products and services customers are willing to pay for, as a way to transform how they grow.
This is highlighted in a great new book by Eric Ries, titled The Startup Way: How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture and Drive Long-Term Growth.
“I have seen this firsthand in dozens of amazing companies: when employees are subject to traditional organizational structures and incentives, certain specific bureaucratic behaviors result. It’s an inevitable consequence of the way those systems are designed.”
“…the goal is to make it possible for startup teams to operate reliably and give every employee the opportunity to act in an entrepreneurial way.”
This is exactly right.
Today’s companies need to understand how to not only position corporate change to get buy-in across the organization, they need to empower their employees to call out opportunities to create a better product or experience. In other words, allow them to seek out problems, like a startup does. The goal is to incentivize these behaviors to generate even small enhances to efficiencies. Save your company money by having a forum in which employees can safely share their observations and ideas, as well as see them implemented.
Most optimization takes place as a result of recognizing opportunities to make a process better dynamically, as we are doing it. We implement this strategy at American Pacific Mortgage by operating on the Kaizen philosophy – a belief that improvement is far more possible than many might believe if it is simply broken down into smaller incremental changes as opposed to waiting, planning, hoping and wishing for some big thing to occur that will fix things.
We must be the change we want to see in the world!
Back to the book, there are five principles to “The Startup Way,” all of which Ries dives into:
1. Continuous Innovation
2. Startup as Atomic Unit of Work
3. The Missing Function
4. The Second Founding
5. Continuous Transformation
The strategies Ries lays out are easy to follow and actionable for a company of any size. And his examples aren’t just high-level, he provides tested techniques so any organization looking to implement a Lean Startup methodology will have a blueprint to operate from.
Remember, it’s all about developing a culture of change, how you overcome fears of change and how you allow your employees to implement change at your company.
In the future, business will evolve at faster rates, and today, no approach to at least incremental improvement is a dangerous one. Nonetheless, by creating an environment of continuous transformation and not relying entirely on the “old way”, we create a more sustainable company for the future.