As with any good
characteristic of a highly effective executive, innovation becomes stronger
as it is applied in every area of life as opposed to just "on the
Innovation is the
process of identifying, combining, evaluating and implementing opportunities
to add value to other people. Value is anything that increases their chances
of achieving what they want to achieve.
Look at the different
groups you interact with on a regular basis. Potential groups include your
spouse or significant other, children, parents, siblings, friends,
neighbors, church members, members of your community groups or associations,
and people you meet for the first time. Apply the same process you do at
work by asking the following questions:
- What does this
individual or the members of this group want to achieve?
- What is keeping them
from achieving their objectives?
- What can I provide or
remove that would increase their chances of success?
- How can I combine my
answers to question three in a way that will add the most value to them?
- Stop writing and move
Mother Theresa was a
classic example of this behavior. She identified opportunities to add value
and moved into action. We can do the same over and over again.
Many executives today
have aging parents who have their own special needs. These individuals no
longer have the responsibility of raising children, but they have the need
to feel connected to children. They no longer have the responsibility of
making decisions on where their own children go or what they do, but they
still have a desire to make an impact in their children's lives. The
innovative person finds ways to provide their aging parents with
opportunities to interact with children and to seek out their advice on
important personal matters. This, of course, needs to be done in a sincere
manner and not a manipulative way.
As of this writing, my
daughter is 30 months old and my son is six months old. They have very
different objectives. My daughter wants independence and the opportunity to
explore new things. My son wants attention and to be held very tightly.
Innovation requires finding new ways to meet their individual needs. Just as
my client interventions require different approaches to add true value to
each individual, so too does my parenting interventions. As I look at the
questions above, I see that my daughter needs a variety of environments to
explore. She also needs structure in which to have her freedom.
Consequently, I need to continually provide well-structured and interesting
environments that provide lots of freedom and safety. With these parameters
in mind, I can create a large number of such environments even within our
house and yard. That is innovation on the home front.
The more we hone the art
of innovation away from work, the stronger it becomes at work!