Innovation – The Secret To Unleashing Genius

The Secret To Unleashing Genius

Innovation – The Secret To Unleashing Genius

Amazon isn’t an easy place to work. Its managers set steep goals, scrimp on budgets and expect long hours. But there aren’t many better places to be employed if you like the messy work of coming up with new ideas, because its billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos, has made that a priority for everyone and in so doing has avoided the usual curse of having a dynamic and creative founder at the helm.

….According to more than 1,000 assessments we gave, we’ve noticed that 10% to 15% of the most innovative leaders in the world (based on others’ evaluations of their skills) don’t bother to encourage the people around them to innovate as well. These leaders often believe their ideas are so much better than their colleagues’ that they see little value in building talent around them. Many also lack the patience required to give others the chance to develop and deliver their ideas, so they do the work alone. This can be okay in the short run but disastrous over time. Employees stop coming up with ideas; their creative muscles atrophy. This can pose a serious threat to a company’s performance if and when a highly innovative leader leaves, especially if that person is famous.

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….The more enlightened leaders know the importance of building creative capabilities in others. As Salesforce founder Marc Benioff emphatically put it during a recent conversation with us: “I can’t do it all. I don’t have all the ideas. That isn’t my job. My job is to build a culture of innovation. That’s something that we try to enforce. We encourage it. We value it. We notice it. We compensate for it. We require it.” Salesforce, by the way, has been No. 1 on the Innovative Companies list three years running.

…Jeff Bezos told us he thinks Amazon will be a long-term innovator because he’s made it part of everyone’s job. A lot of big companies appoint a chief innovation officer; Amazon has purposefully chosen not to. Bezos doesn’t want his leaders delegating that to anyone in particular. While Bezos has done many things to build an innovative culture, he emphasized three things that he thinks make the biggest difference:

 

Innovation – The Secret To Unleashing Genius