Crises often serve to exacerbate our natural tendencies as humans and leaders. During crises, the trend to solely focus on execution, at the expense of innovation, becomes most obvious. As the fate of organizations and employees hangs in the balance, organizations tend to forego their innovation practices.
This tendency stems from a view of innovation that many leaders share, and that we believe to be inaccurate. While many see innovation as a ‘great plus when it can be afforded’ we believe that innovation is absolutely essential in securing a company’s future. Steve Blank drives this point home wonderfully with his quote -
Execution is focused on immediate short term earnings today, whereas innovation looks further and pays dividends in the future. if you don't invest in your pension you won't have anything to sustain you in the future. While execution is of course important - as your salary is - it does not render innovation - your pension - optional. You don’t pay into your pension fund only ‘when it makes sense to.’ Whether it is easy to, or difficult to, you make different sacrifices to ensure you can invest in your pension and your future.
Even if you somehow cannot invest in your pension for a short period, you are under no illusion that your salary will sustain you for the next 50 years. The same ought to hold true for your company’s innovation efforts.
Continuing to exploit your core business is of course important, as is finding more efficient ways of doing so via incremental innovation. But that fact does not remove the need to explore and create the growth engines that your company will need to thrive in 10 years.
As the half-life of companies continues to shrink, this need to develop new ways to grow is more important than ever before. Investing in your pension is not optional in your personal life. So why would it be optional in your company’s life?
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