How to energise your business into action to make new things happen
While every step on the innovation journey has its challenges, the hardest part is making new things happen. It’s easy to talk about what you are going to do. Comparatively, the hardest thing is to make it a reality. Walking the talk.
However, it is more than just getting a product to launch, it is about energising the business as well. The people involved in the business need to be pumped to make a success of the innovation. All hands on deck. You need to be inspiring others to walk the talk with you – with gusto.
And when you need to galvanise all your resources and be at the top of your game, the best place to turn to is strengths – both yours and those of others working with you.
The first question is, do you know your strengths?
Back in 2001, according to Gallup, only 2 out of 10 people could name their strengths. Thankfully that’s now changing with over 56% of people claiming they could name their top 5 strengths in the 2015 VIA Strengths @ Work Survey. Can you name yours?
And the second question is, why does it matter?
It matters because when people use their strengths they are more likely to stick with the challenge in hand. Flow happens when you are doing things you love. And when it comes to successful innovation you want to make the most of what you have.
There are a few strengths models around but my favourite is CAPP’s Strengths Profile. They define strengths as not just something you are good at, but something that energises you too. You know that buzz of energy inside you when you do something you love? A little high inside. No other model takes this into account but, to me, this is critical. There are things I know I am good at but that I find a chore to do – so I avoid them when I can. When I am using strengths that energise me, stand well back – there is no stopping me! So, it makes sense to dial up your personal energy when it comes to energising the business for innovation challenges.
Whilst the majority of strengths have a relevant role in energising the business, there are some that I think are particularly pertinent. From a big-picture perspective, being a Change Agent is a must. You need to be a person who loves being constantly involved with change and who is energised by making it happen. And, as a Catalyst, you can motivate others, inspiring them to bring about change with you.
At Happen, we often liken successful innovation leaders to Intrapreneurs, and have created a checklist about how you can become a successful Intrapreneur – now we look at this with an added angle around Strengths:
- Be right: Make sure you’re right based on deep insights – gut feeling is nothing but informed intuition manifesting itself.
Do you have a great skill in judgement and are energised by a good eye for detail? You need to know your stuff and have a rock solid case for what you are proposing. Are you Centred (with an inner composure and self-assurance) and have a strong sense of self-belief? Do you have a talent for being an Explainer (simplifying things so that others can understand them)? You’ll need all these to sell your vision.
- Tell a story to build belief and engage the organisation into a collective vision of the future. It will be easier for you to sell once people have bought in. Adapt to fit the culture and ways of thinking. Find ways to reduce organisational resistance.
Here you’ll need a Narrator who can inspire with engaging stories. As they weave their magic, you need to have a strong emotional awareness to read the room and empathic skills to understand the implications of your innovation from different perspectives.
- Pick the right day! Timing can be everything.
This is about being adaptable – you’ll need to be great at juggling to meet changing demands of the day and be ready to take advantage of opportunities at a moment’s notice.
- Don’t give up. Contexts change – be ready to adapt, reframe your ideas and act on your passion.
Be it persistence, resilience or bounceback – each with their subtle differences – strengths in this area will ensure you have the energy to stay the course. And as a hungry Resolver, you will ensure that problems are solved along a bumpy road.
- Preach your gospel. Make the right allies from your key stakeholders: the first follower turns a lone “but” into a leader and your ideas into a business investment.
To sell your vision of the future, strategic awareness and counterpoint are valuable strengths and it is here that strengths focused on relating to others come to the fore. Your interactions will be so much more potent when you are a rapport builder who loves to foster your strength as a relationship deepener too.
- Be prepared for luck. Be patient and wait for it: be ready to pull the right strings at the right time.
Some days you’ll need your optimism, maintaining a positive attitude about the outcome.
- Be rebellious! You might be working in a system which stops innovation from happening.
You’ll need to be able to relish the adventure and buzz of taking a risk that stretches you out of your comfort zone.
You’ll need different strengths to peak at different times but you can always juggle and find ways to put your energising skills to good use – as long as you know what those strengths are in the first place.
So act like an intrapreneur and play to your strengths.
Martine Barrie, Founder, Happen Australia