Innovators are people who introduce new ideas, practices and products.
Their ideas are new to us, they change the way we see things and open us up to unconsidered and more effective ways of approaching challenges and solving problems.
Leaders are very much the same.
Both are willing to take risks and challenge the status quo for sake of what could and should be.
That’s tough to do.
Particularly at big organizations that have been doing things the same way for decades.
So change management is really just another form of leadership training.
Change managers teach others how to step out from the group and implement new business process.
Innovators vs. Dreamers
Dreaming about new ideas doesn’t make you an innovator or a leader.
You need the courage to act on your ideas, usually in the absence of complete certainty, because if you wait for someone else to prove you were right, you’re no longer a leader. You’re a follower.
So innovators, people who introduce new ideas, and leaders, people who act first on new ideas, are very much the same.
But how do you teach courage? You could do it intellectually in the classroom, but would that actually change behavior?
The answer is through behavioral training and performance management techniques that show people challenges are a chance for growth, and effort matters more than talent
Remember, “just because some people can do something with little or no training, it doesn’t mean others can’t do it (and sometimes do it even better) with training,” writes Carol Dweck in her book Growth Mindset.
Technology is Innovation
In the world business technology training, sales and marketing, it’s the promise of improving organizational effectiveness and increasing efficiency that drives sales, so technology sales people are essentially selling innovation, and those who do well, are usually great candidates for organizational leadership roles by virtue of their experience delivering unrealized potential, which is what leaders do too.
Experience advocating for innovation readies you for all sorts of leadership roles, because technology sales and marketing involves leading others to step out first in a new direction, despite the risks, and take a chance on achieving unrealized poitential.
Planning and due diligence are important.
But leaders and innovators realize that while their plans may change, the reasons for continual process improvement never do.