Removing barriers - How to make real change happen

Let’s focus specifically on the actions of innovation for Kotter’s fifth step for leading change, “Empowering Broad-Based Action.” This step is about supporting employees as they take innovation actions on their own.

Innovation is an evolving discipline and a journey of learning. Leaders often have difficulty defining the right actions, let alone employees, so how can we support these efforts?

First, sponsor transparent innovation efforts of your own. Engage your employees on-line around an urgent topic. Commission a cross-functional team to explore breakthrough innovation. Celebrate the heroes who get an innovative product or service launched in the marketplace.

Second, ask employees what is and isn’t working – then do something about it. This may mean giving additional resources, giving the employees time to work on an innovation, or stopping some things that aren’t related to innovation or don’t add value. This all will impact the leadership team’s credibility.

Third, celebrate loudly and visibly. Celebrate those who take risk, those who think differently, those who get the innovation across the finish line, those who learn tough lessons they’re willing to share. Give people a reason to fall in love with your innovation program.

Next in this series: Step 6: Create short-term wins

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