A Will-Try Culture! Or just a New Year's Resolution?

So it's the first day back at work for many people. And many of those with heartfelt new year resolutions to slim, diet, jog, start a hobby or just get up earlier.

So, although they don't think of it this way, for them it is about Innovation. It's about Doing New/Different Things or Doing the Same Things Differently with a clear aim in mind. It could be to improve their health or their lifestyle. It could be to improve their bank balance.

All great aims indeed but we know what will happen don't we?  Gradually, for the vast majority, the grand resolution falls away; the initial passion, energy and discipline all decline; and the aims become softer, more blurred and eventually they all disappear; quietly, gently, hardly a ripple and our lives return to normal. We get back to doing things just as we did last year.

Sadly, that's also just what happens in most businesses. Whether at new year, at the appointment of a new manager or at the start of yet another new innovation initiative. The owner/manager/board are full of new zeal but over time the company drops back to normal, to life as before, to what we know.

How can we break that standard cycle, that human response to get back to normal, to minimise the risks and uncertainties of "new" anything? Can we develop and learn a process to keep going with our new stuff a bit longer?

We all have to understand the reasons for doing the something "new" in the first place. Everyone in the business needs to see the benefits (for the business and for them personally) and therefore the downside of not following through, of giving up.  

For a person on their own it's easy to give up on a new year's resolution - they don't have to convince anyone except themselves. It's harder if a spouse or partner encourages them to keep going.

So too in business. In a micro one-person business there is no-one else to convince. (Get a mentor!).

In a partnership you help each other.

In a larger business, it should be easier as teams should be helping their members. But we all know human nature. As the team gets larger the different views, different backgrounds, and different aspirations start to take effect and there is soon no consensus - and the initiatives decay and fall apart again.

It's easy to say but there should be a culture, a way of doing things in your organisation, that everyone accepts and supports. And that includes "trying new stuff". And not just the boss's idea but it could be your idea or your mate's idea too.

For very small businesses the team is compact and a "will-try" culture and consensus is much easier - and is a great strength when it comes to innovation.

A sort of will-try culture happens in corporates because they do have some very talented and entrepreneurial staff. But they also have committees, permissions and stage-gate barriers to stop it.

A sort of will-try culture happens in some large companies as they learn that they need to widen their thinking. But it's still hard to get through top management.

SMEs are worse still. A will-try culture so often fails to happen in small and medium size companies who are too busy to take the time to think about doing things differently. "But we innovate already" is commonly heard and yet refers to simple incremental innovation like a different colour, a different shape or a shorter form to complete on the shop floor. All good things in themselves but nothing that will grow the company through its next phase of competitive life.

A will-try culture DOES happen in micro, start-up and very small companies whose whole concept is based on doing things differently, better, faster and cleverer than the next guy. But all too often they don't have a standard innovation thinking and management process as part of their everyday or every month/year business. Consequently, as they grow and get extra busy, they lose the will-try culture and their innovation edge.

A simple innovation thinking process (as part of a will-try culture) is as easy - and permanent - as learning to ride a bike. You never forget! I learned to juggle many years ago - and you don't forget that either - or playing chess or (I guess) skydiving! In all those cases you are a bit wobbly or uncertain when you start again but you never forget the way to do it.

Use a process like PILOT for all your thinking and idea generation sessions. PILOT is described on this website. You can use it for free, right now. It helps you to generate many more ideas for your business and to find the best ones to work with.

You want to have and keep a will-try culture? Have a look at CONTROL PANEL also on this website.

It's a simple management process and it's free too. It's really just a commitment to do something specific - just like a New Year's Resolution! Except that you review it regularly and adjust accordingly.

That's the will-try culture. Never give up on trying even when an idea fails. Always try something - and adjust when you know what happens!

What will you try?