Doing things that matter - How to make real change happen

From an innovation perspective Kotter's Step 7 for change, “Don’t Let Up!,” is an ideal time to start bringing in metrics. The company has experienced some quick wins, people understand the vision and are starting to buy in … now it’s time to measure how we are doing to keep our momentum going.

Involve some of the early adopters at all levels in the discussion around metrics. Beyond financial gains, what other measures should we consider? Should we think about how frequently we deliberately innovate? Should we consider our overall portfolio – how much work we are doing around incremental vs. breakthrough? Should we measure when we expect our innovations to impact the market – horizon 1, 2 or 3? How should we measure employees around innovation?

Once you’ve answered these key questions, it’s time to begin to pass the baton. Who should sponsor the next round of innovation work? Maybe it’s one level down into your organization. If employees begin to own innovation at a fundamental level, they begin to think differently. They have the organizational permission, process and tools to think differently – this is where the culture change truly ignites.

We see a lot of companies fall off the rails at this point. A small, part-time team is frequently able to get to the point of quick wins but falls short when it comes to “Don’t Let Up!”

All the work done in the prior steps, all the cross-company leadership support, the process and metrics identified, none of it matters anymore with what amounts to a half commitment to execution. In our 16 years we’ve seen it happen time and again – full-board innovation competence is not achieved through part-time attention; it needs constant hard work to get to Step 8 in Kotter’s change model – Making It Stick.

Last in this series: Step 8: Making it stick

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