Within almost any organisation, you'll find that as managers attain more and more seniority, they become more and more wedded to the status quo; no surprises there! Of course this is rarely a conscious choice; it's merely a common byproduct of success (which may not be outstanding but can often be viewed as 'good or good enough'). That's because any accomplished person has gotten to where they are by doing things a certain way, so it's natural to want to promote the same thinking and processes to others. But as the saying goes, the fish rots from the head down. So when senior managers promote the status quo, active inertia infects the entire organisation, stifling innovation and any chance for sustained growth.
How can organisations combat active inertia and reinvigorate 'inside-out' innovation? Or better yet, how can they avoid the active inertia disease? As is generally the case, it begins and ends with the quality of leadership and the quality of management. And in this instance, it's in the hands of your people.
In the second part of our interview with Bud Boughton, Bud said that in order for businesses to be successful, they must embrace "an all-hands-on-deck mentality." In other words, they must encourage ideas from everyone in the organisation regardless of their age, time with the company, seniority, status, etc. The same practical philosophy applies here: In order to fight or ward off active inertia, leaders must harness the wisdom of the anthill.
Your people are more than capable – you hired them for a reason, right? Then to maximise growth and innovation within your business, you must maximise the value of the anthill. Tap into the collective brains, creativity, ideas, energy, passion and initiative of your people, because the best solutions for the future can often lay a long way from the status quo, including from the thinking of senior management. Just because no one can 'see it' doesn't mean it's not there!
At Fortune, we help facilitate the power of our clients' anthill through STAGs (Short Term Action Groups). Put simply, STAGs are a process of organisational learning that focus on strategic priorities with a view to innovate real solutions for change and growth. They encourage broad based engagement from a deep cross-section of the business so that the power of the anthill can be fully exploited... and they're driven using 'middle-out' change in which middle managers are empowered to go after 'value-creating' initiatives with the full support of senior managers.
As a result the STAG methodology develops leadership skills and approaches that build sustainable innovation 'inside-out', and which can be implemented across the entire organisation.
In organisations already suffering from active inertia (which frankly is most of them), STAGs are a great tactic for getting in front of the change curve. If you're not harnessing the wisdom of the anthill, you're not leading, you're following!