Letting leaders lead - How to make real change happen

Step 2 of Kotter’s Eight-Step Change Model, “Creating a Guiding Coalition,” makes a great case for hiring (or promoting from within) a Chief Innovation Officer (CInO) with appropriate connectedness to leaders throughout the business.

Innovation is a combination of dealing with ambiguity, driving change and impacting the strategy – a job for a seasoned leader. So if we have our CInO, how does the rest of the team shake out?

The CInO needs a peer group that:

  • Provides meaningful, executive-level support for innovation
  • Can secure people, funding and technology resources
  • Can motivate and inspire – they’re already known to be successful
  • Has both the authority and the skill to make decisions
  • Is a known supporter of ideas, tackles innovative projects or takes risks
  • Is oriented toward learning from experimentation vs. punishment for coloring outside the lines

This team, along with the CInO’s direct reports, is then accountable for bringing innovation to life in the organization. They do this through refining and communicating a compelling vision of change, showing what’s possible through small, quick wins and leading the behavior through thought, word and action. This is the fundamental step that begins changing the culture.

Next in this series: Step 3: Getting the vision right

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