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Leadership Challenge: Ban Inertia for Sustainable Organizational Health

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A place of inertia; indecision, inability to act or move forward, fear of the unknown, not enough information or knowledge, resistance, a lack of direction or clarity.  We've all been there at some level, at some point, be it professional, organizational, health, investments, relationships or a major purchase.  

Implementing sustainable innovation in your organization where there is resistance to change is a lot like changing your diet and adopting a regular exercise program for healthier lifestyle. It makes sense, everyone sees benefits, but implementation is frustrating - our habits may not be the healthiest, but we know them and have a comfort level. We live with them daily and the surprise factor is small, until they catch up with us and a crisis ensues. In hindsight our flawed thinking and outdated strategy become glaring, and the "fix" more difficult if not improbable. 

To make any type of significant progress, first there must be intent to change. Resources must be found, and time committed. The principles are fairly basic and simple, but do they all apply to you? Change demands you let go of something or take a chance in order to effect a change, which may or may not ultimately prove beneficial if you choose carelessly or hastily - change always brings risk of injury or loss as well as possibility for great benefit; two sides of the same coin. 

  • The issue which requires change first needs to be clearly observed and defined - critically look in the mirror and acknowledge it's time to move beyond torpor and procrastination and become more flexible, nimble, defined and stronger.
  • Strategy must be timely and align with existing structure and goals - be realistic about your resources and mindset.
  • Assess your options, initially scrutinizing all seemingly viable avenues, seeking other opinions and recommendations from diverse conventional and unconventional sources.
  • With intent, goal, and commitment in mind, begin to design your sustainable program for ongoing organizational health. 

Organizationally speaking, present barriers, opportunities, quantity and quality of knowledge, choices, focus, and risks, will define future possibilities and vision. This Contextual Canvas, is the landscape that ultimately gives rise to innovations. Expand the size of the canvas - increase your knowledge and awareness base for growth - and the probability of finding answers as to how or what is next arises. 


Opportunities are already present within our organizations, just waiting to be discovered. Clarity is often lacking. Yet, clarity is only one half of the equation to reduce risk and uncertainty. Speed is the other half. Letting fear of risk define your innovation efforts is like snacking large at midnight - the weight goes on and more inertia sets in. Instead of playing it safe, "Play" with worthy ideas, big or small - dip the toe, eat the kale, run the 5K, experiment more and build on your insights, growing useful context. 

opportunities crossroad

In short, no matter the focus of your innovation, make innovation itself a core focus, with fast experimentation on a number of fronts. This will yield clarity about functional elements of your prospective solution.

Innovation requires strategic planning, alignment with core values and stakeholders, sufficient investment, continuous idea generation, continuity of effort, sustainability and above all, taking charge. Leadership commitment and skills are essential - to pursue your vision you must become proactive leaving passive acceptance of status quo behind, jumping into the lake with both feet, yet with awareness of where the shores lie, and swim like crazy. 

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