Family businesses succeed through multiple generations by striving to be the best. As the world around us changes at an ever faster rate it’s important to inspire management teams to innovate to grow. KPMG’s People Powered Performance specialist Ingrid Waterfield joins up with Dominic Mahony of Lane4 to bring a deeper understanding of what it takes for family businesses to create a high performance environment
When coaching Family Businesses in innovation, the ultimate challenge is in achieving the balance between the traditions of the family’s business with innovative ideas and business practices that will enhance the growth, profit and sustainability of the family’s business. To develop a successful family business innovation programme, mind set of both management and family members will need to be addressed and challenged.
The organisational responses will be:
A number of myths surround innovation which can lead us to underestimate the role of good management and leadership in making innovation happen. For example, there are actually two sides to innovation: exploration of ideas and the execution of those ideas.
So what are the barriers, enablers and misconceptions that impede innovation in terms of the ideas and the execution? What can individuals, teams and leaders do to allow innovation to flourish?
The leader’s role in innovation is often overlooked; with the emphasis on creative, entrepreneurial types simply making innovation happen. But the reality is that innovation is unlikely to succeed if not managed effectively. For instance, depending on the nature and scope of innovation, the exploration and execution phases might be carried out by separate teams. Strong leadership is needed to ensure true collaboration between the team tasked with generating the ideas and the team responsible for implementing them.
Leaders also need to manage the tension between innovation and core business. Often, radical innovation should be separated from business as usual (BAU). This protects core business from the inevitable uncertainty of radical innovation. At the same time, you maintain strong discipline around the process of testing innovative concepts, rigorously reviewing outcomes and making explicit decisions on when to stop, continue and whether to integrate into business as usual. Trials don’t end up merging into BAU without proper testing.
If you don’t practice asking questions you are going to fear change. If you are comfortable questioning, experimenting, connecting things then change becomes an adventure. Warren Berger, journalist and innovation expert, noticed a pattern in many people’s problem solving: