Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Visionary or gatekeeper?

Back when I was starting out it was fashionable to talk about 'leaders' and 'laggards' or those 'on the bleeding edge.' Now, though, there's a more insidious problem: the visionaries are being held back by the gatekeepers.

One of my clients is headed up by a visionary CEO. This individual really grasps the importance of staying a step ahead of the competition and making a bet on ways of innovating business process to achieve an edge and  maximize profit.

Trouble is, the CEO is held back by others in the organization who just don't 'get it.' They're the gatekeepers, not always in the Finance department, who want proof that the innovation will work before they'll sign off on pushing forward. Their caution leaves the goal wide open for someone else's striker to score first and risks them playing catch-up when they could have been setting the pace.

So what to do? I'm proposing a way forward that involves bite-sized steps, an 'agile' approach that doesn't make too many demands - or commitments - and enables the organization to try things out slowly.
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