Sometimes YPN runs across pearls of wisdom that can’t be ignored. Below is an excerpt from Forrester’s Josh Bernoff talking about how to successfully innovate within your company without offending everyone and getting nothing done.
On Thursday March 31, YPN held its third professional development event of the year (wrap up post coming soon!) entitled “Entrepreneurial Mindset: Taking the Reins of Your Career.” Some of the audience expressed that they wanted to be innovative within their company, but weren’t totally sure how to go about it, especially with certain supervisors and departments. The panelists had awesome suggestions but Josh’s article really lays it out and offers incredible insight on how to approach innovation. See an excerpt of his article below.
On innovation: How to make trouble productively
by Josh Bernoff
There are a lot of reasons not to make trouble in your job. Do what you boss asks you to do. Be part of the team, do what the company strategy says to do. Go ahead, if that makes you happy.
But what if you want something more? What if you really want to make a difference? What if you want to do something different?
You could always quit and start your own business. But your company has resources that can help you. And if you feel some loyalty (even in this day and age, such a thing exists), maybe you want to help your company. I know a little about this, since I have interviewed a lot of HEROes.
Look, I like to make trouble. Productively. I like to ask if things could be different. I like to start stuff. Poke the box, you might say. In case you are like me, here are the things I think you need if you’d like to make trouble, productively.
1. You need friends. You can’t get far on your own. You’ll need to reach out to people in other places in the company, not just the people you work with. IT. Sales. Support. Marketing. Finance (yes Finance). So take every opportunity to reach out to these people and understand what they’re after. This will allow you to connect for mutual benefit in the future. It really helps to have friends in high places — if you get a chance to work with a senior manager, put extra effort into it. Do something for them, not just something that shows how great you are.
2. Develop a reputation for excellence. A reputation for excellence is a huge help. Given the chance, work on high profile projects. Be the one that sends out emails to the whole marketing department, or the whole company, if that’s part of the project. Ask a question at the company meeting. This takes years to build up. Look at the people who became respected within your company — take them to lunch and ask them how they did it. Build a foundation. By the way, you can do this by rising through management, but it’s independent of any promotions.
3. Don’t whine, fix things. Your company does stupid things and has stupid polices. All organizations do. Whining about what’s wrong may make you feel good, but it doesn’t actually change things. On the other hand, coming up with ideas to fix things, and taking on projects that improve things — that’s will get you noticed. Whining will just get you pegged as a troublemaker. Resist the temptation.
For the next 8 tips steps, check out Josh’s full post here.