5 Common Traps that Sink Innovation

Without regular reflection and renewed directions, surprisingly common traps in organizations we work within become sinkhole killers of novelty.

5 Common Traps that Sink Innovation

How so?

1. Mentoring practices encourage seasoned advisors to replicate outmoded practices. Have you seen old boys prevent new approaches better suited to rapidly changing horizons? Innovation requires a radical shift for mutual tutoring. An exchange that reflects more balanced coaching, means guidance that fosters innovation. It’s based on mutual brainpower potential and shared experiences, rather than on entitlement, age or seniority. Mindguiding, in contrast to mentoring, offers reciprocal novel opportunities. Rather than  replicate  old practices, mindguides lead  to winning ideas – along new neural pathways of discovery.

2. Ego crazed leaders live in denial of  emotions required for ethical workplace renewal. If you crave inspired talents in others, more value from teams, or  care and curiosity cultivated, your  leaders may be in sinkholes.  Innovation takes leadership with ethics at the helm and emotional intelligence for a risk-taking culture. The opposite of ego-crazed is renaissance leaders, who encourage and reward innovators.  In contrast to out-of-control egos, who plant barriers that diminish change and stomp on growth, renewed leaders avoid traps of the me-me-demanders.

3. Bullies and cynics douse fires and drench courage for risk taking and innovation. New studies from UCLA, San Diego, give a sharper image of what goes on in the brains of bullies or cynics who respond with anger and aggression to perceived threats of change.  Studies suggest that such behavior is associated with a hyperactive amygdala, an area of the brain that processes information regarding threats and fear. With less activity in the frontal lobe, a brain region linked to decision-making and impulse control, bullies see situations more from their own needs and act to get what they want, regardless of negative consequences to growth at work.

4. When toxins replace play at work, then doldrums likely substitute for discovery. Fewer than 30% of corporate workers care less about their jobs and 20% want to undermine co-workers. No wonder the US is headed down slippery slopes of brokenness. We constantly hear calls for more jobs, as if the solution equalled more of the same. Fun and discovery meld through cultivating job satisfaction,  not in creating more jobs at toxic workplaces.  As economic pressures increase, so do complaints about lack of character building and toxic workplaces. Where does your workplace fit? Rate your workplace wellness in 25 items to determine a wellness score.  Discover what kills innovation, as well as how to inject fun and discovery into your organization.

5. Meetings are ghost gatherings, where it’s easier to move a graveyard than grow new ideas. We’ve discovered that most workplace meetings are more brain draining than empowering, more time wasting than productive. It doesn’t have to be that way. Take this survey to determine your last meeting’s innovative IQ. More importantly, add life-changing items into your next meeting agenda and watch innovation transforms work.

How many innovations land in sinkhole traps in your organization? Why not dip instead into the vast pool of brainpowered strategies and transform ruts and routines into innovation opportunities for the coming week?

2 Comments

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  2. DorleeM says:

    Ellen,

    The ease with which organizations may fall into an unproductive pattern of doing their work as they have always done is so true (same old, same old).

    I think there is some truth to Albert Einstein’s definition of/quotation regarding insanity (or just impracticality): doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Thank you for sharing all these dangerous traps that typically inhibit the natural creative juices in organizations.

    I am truly in awe of all the wonderful strategies you have developed and/or share on how to inspire innovation. In essence, you exemplify a well of creativity and innovation through all your posts!

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