One of the biggest issues leaders face in an organization is hitting a plateau. Even after months of sales gains or a period of production increases, once growth starts to wane, it can be hard to not only understand why but also what to do next. That is why innovation has been one of the main areas of emphasis for C-suite executives over the past few years.
According to a study, 84.9% of executives recognize that innovation is important; however, 57% of companies don’t have a formal innovation process. To fully break through stagnation, an organization must change their perspective and focus. Check out these three tips on how to do just that and start focusing on plateau-busting innovation.
Analyze How You Arrived Where You Are
Before you figure out how to change your perspective, it’s important to look at the steps you took that got you where you are. Take an inventory of the past few goals your organization has achieved. How close did you get to achieving them? What steps did you take to reach those goals? If your organization has struggled with the past few goals, what were the causes of your shortcomings? Were the goals unattainable? Did they not take market conditions into consideration? Understanding what drove your company to its current state is key to knowing how to move forward and grow.
Consider Non-Business Variables
This past year was unlike any we’ve seen. Businesses that were open for decades were forced to shut their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing a global economic crisis. No one could have predicted this happening, and it’s impossible to plan for non-business variables. So when looking at missed goals or plateaued success, take into account outside factors. You may have set the right goals for your company or had an excellent process in place, but just had pure bad luck when dealing with outside factors. Moving forward, companies will be more equipped to handle variables like the ones we experienced in 2020. Shift your focus on the future with the knowledge of the past.
Change Your Goals to Fit the Current Situation
After analyzing your past goals and considering factors outside of your normal purview, now is a great time to rewrite your goals or growth vision for your company. The values and mission of your organization shouldn’t change, but how you achieve them may need to be modified. Understand that the “what you do” and the “why you do it” are the constant; however, the “how you do it” can be updated, shifted, or changed altogether to fit where you are as a company and the temperature of the current business climate.
Focus on Innovation
In a study by Moorhouse, since 2017, there has been a 67% increase in companies that have increased funding for innovation and change initiatives; and there has been an 18% increase in companies that say they have the culture in place to embrace change. This new focus on innovation and change initiatives shows a shift in the business outlook over the next few years. Simply put, you must adapt or perish.
However, shifting your organization’s focus on innovation isn’t simply creating new technology. It’s about working on initiatives and processes to be more efficient and productive than your competitors. Henry Ford factitiously pointed this out: “I see no advantage in these new clocks. They run no faster than the ones made 100 years ago.” Ford was an innovator and changed manufacturing for good with the advent of the assembly line. When shifting your perspective to break past a plateau, look at ways to hit your goals with a Henry Ford mindset. Even if you had a down year, maybe you’re closer to a breakthrough than you think. Maybe the “what” and “why” are in place, but the “how” just needs a little shift. It’s all about perspective.
How do you break past a plateau? What do you do to change your perspective and focus on innovation? Let us know in the comments section below!