In talking about the last “C” of Clarity, Confidence and Commitment, I want to focus on the importance of trust and the power of knowledge over ignorance. As was pointed out in Scott Atkin’s last blog post, when attempting to encourage necessary innovation within an organization, it is not sufficient to simply say “Act entrepreneurially, let’s do things differently!” Although this may be momentarily exciting to hear, it is not empowering but simply an empty statement if not followed up with appropriate action. How does anyone commit to this? How does management? How does the team responsible for making it happen?
To gain commitment around innovation, clarity in strategic objectives starts the ball rolling. In addition, good leadership must inspire confidence that this strategy is the right thing for the organization to do and ultimately that the organization is capable of executing. This last part, the capability of executing, requires both an objective assessment of relevant organizational competence and trust that leadership will support a plan to close the critical gaps in that competence. If teams don’t trust that leadership is committed to supporting what it takes to succeed, then their confidence and commitment evaporates and no matter what the actual capabilities of the organization are, the innovation will not succeed.
When initiating a strategic vision that requires change, it is likely that no one is fully aware of all that is necessary to achieve the vision. This is why the knowledge gained through early, thoughtful planning around what is critical and the consequent dialog that results is essential. This can be achieved through the use of a methodology such as the Innovation Value CanvasTM.
This active pause to discover, understand and clearly communicate the desired objective and its consequences is empowering.
Before committing, leadership and innovation teams should listen to the advice of the White Rabbit in Walt Disney’s version of Alice and Wonderland, “Don’t just do something, stand there!” You can’t commit when you don’t know what you are committing to. A commitment derived from this exercise will likely engender both the confidence and trust necessary to get through the unforeseen obstacles that the effort will face.