By Damian A. Clarke, group member since December 2017.
Many companies encourage cross-departmental exchange and solicit ideas from every level. Others come up with a list of specific, long-term problems that employees can help solve. More importantly, the first step is to let your staff that know that new ideas and improved efficiencies is the way forward. By making collaborative thinking part of your culture, you’re on your way to a stronger competitive advantage.
Make Diverse Hires
It starts with the people. Bringing together people from all walks of life will also foster greater innovation. More than ever before, one-size-fits-all solutions aren’t going to work. Across departments, you want to build a team with varied skill sets as well as backgrounds. This means hiring beyond the core qualifications that a job requires and looking for the personalities that fit the culture you’re envisioning; It’s often the unique perspectives that will benefit your company. However don’t—of course—ignore a needed level of competency and qualifications. But, the person who also has the right perspective can contribute more to your company’s success than someone who simply fulfills a job description.
Invest In IT
Every organization needs to stay at the forefront of technology. From tracking inventory to automating functions to digital marketing, improved technology provides cost-efficient, productivity-enhancing ways to do business. Your potential customers are always connected. So look at digital solutions such as an improved web experience or including social media as an integral part of any marketing plan. Don’t look at IT as a line item that’s dragging on company resources—instead, see technology as an investment in improving your organization’s processes.
A good finance department can help by looking at this function more strategically.
Business trends are shifting faster than ever before. Therefore, leadership may need to be as quick in determining how to move forward. If the thought of making fast decisions causes you concern, then follow a process. Adopt a set of critical questions to ask before making a decision. Run each idea or proposal through this filter to determine if you should or shouldn’t move forward. When you respond quickly to employee ideas, they’ll be inspired to continue sharing ideas, even if the answer is no. Nothing slows down innovation more than apathy or indecisiveness from the leader.
For small- and medium-sized businesses, it’s critical to offer high value for customers. While, you might get caught up in the day-to-day concerns like cash flow and whether you can cover that next order, you need to stay focused on the big picture. Distinguishing your company’s from the competition isn’t always easy in today’s environment. However, by adopting practices for innovation, you can ensure sustainable growth for your business.
Originally published on GreySuits
Source: Generation CFO LI Group