There are so many buzzwords doing the rounds in business today. “Enhanced operations”, “global reach”, “search engine optimization”. All of these words don’t necessarily imply a singularity of concept or function, but rather refer to a hold-all for many different processes and policies that lead up to an endpoint.
This is also true when it comes to another of those infamous modern terms, innovation. Now, what this word means to you and I could differ substantially when discussed out of context or in a vacuum, but it’s rather critical that your business gets it right if you want to remain relevant and move into the future.
THE “TOUCHY, FEELY” STUFF
Here’s a fact. A “business” in and of itself is not a tangible thing per se. It is a collection of people, processes, and power that determines what it is, where it goes, and how successful it’s going to be. Therefore, if you’re wanting to achieve greater levels of innovation in your business, it’s important to create emotional connections to and within your business and this isn’t just between customers, networks, and suppliers but more critically, your staff. When your staff feels like they have a stake and a vested interest in the success of your business, you’re more likely to inspire innovation amongst your staff and that’s a great place to inspire it because they work intimately with your business processes and policies, every day. If anyone knows how to make your business better, it’s them.
RETHINK YOUR REPORTING LINES
Streamlining the lines of communication and reporting between your top tiers of management and decision-makers and the folks at entry-level means that you’ll have faster access to potentially game-changing, real-time information. This becomes a truer, truism when your business is grounded in manufacturing or assembly line processes, or if you have a large contingent of staff in a contact or service center environment. Even if your current business plan is entrenched in a culture of evolution (extra points for you), you can create hotlines and internal, anonymous email tracks that allow employees to share ideas and yes, report on poor-performing managers or policies. Not every bit of information you garner here will turn into business intelligence and this is part of the reason that many businesses don’t consider doing things like this, but even if you only get one great idea a month, that’s 12 great ideas over a year – that’s serious game-changing territory.
COMPETITION, KNOW THYSELF
You have got to understand and know what your competitors are doing better than you, faster than you, cheaper than you, and more efficiently than you and for this to be done properly, you’ll need to check your ego at the door and be prepared to accept revision. If you’re really brave (and smart), you’ll hire “secret shoppers” to do this for you – that’s towards your business by the way. When you’re done with that introspection, you can start looking at your competition and repeating the exercise. Comparing and analyzing that data, and finding the differences in between, is where your business needs to do better.
There is just no way that you can expect anyone in the field to take your businesses seriously today if you don’t have an active and proactive diversity policy. Sure, there are arguments to be made all around this topic, and how you implement diversity policies in your business ultimately needs to make sense to the market you serve and also the hiring pool in your area but study after study has concluded that more diverse workplace in 100% of case studies, leads to better productivity, maximized profits and increased levels of innovation and this is because where there is a diversity of ideas from a wider sample of lived experiences, the result is by design – innovation. Women are doing particularly well in entrepreneurship, and companies that recognize this are reaping the benefits.
It is shocking to see how many businesses today still don’t understand the impact that efficient systems in the areas of revenue collection have on not just a business’s bottom line, but their ability to collect payments. One would think this is a no-brainer but how many times have you clicked onto another site because the one you’re on kept on getting stuck on the payment page? How frustrating (and potentially embarrassing) is it, when you get to the checkout and your credit card is declined when you know that that’s impossible? You have to ensure that your business makes use of a payments’ processor, like this company to keep your revenue collection working like clockwork. When that part of your business is working optimally and your financial teams can focus on what they’re really paid to do, you’ll see innovation thrive in your financial departments.
What we can all learn from this post is that creating a foundation where innovation can thrive is not one singular task or the responsibility of one department. It is a collective pursuit that works best for everyone overall, when everyone, overall, is involved.