As always, I had an interesting conversation with my friend Matthew Ensor today. Matthew is a Technical Team Leader/Programmer/Product Developer for Dave Ramsey’s MyTotalMoneyMakeover.com product. The topic at hand was functional business practices vs. innovation. A common contention between established businesses and companies that innovate. As the discussion normally goes, small companies innovate because they aren’t bogged down with bureaucracy. They’ve got nothing to lose. As companies grow from small startups to established businesses, they trade in this “nothing to lose flair” for the “we need to play it safe” which ultimately leads to their demise.
Our discussion prompted Matthew to share this article from Cooper.com.
From Cooper.com (Matthew’s Synopsis) The counter-argument to giving freedom to creative people is they will fritter it away enjoying themselves but not moving the company forward. This can be a valid criticism in companies that lack a worthwhile corporate goal. However, if creative people know what that goal is, they will work hard to achieve it.
What business leaders must do is make certain creative people know the goal. They must hear it stated clearly, unequivocally, boldly, loudly, unanimously, and frequently. They need to know what successfully achieving the goal looks like. They need to be publicly and positively acknowledged (rewarded is good, too) when they advance the business mission.