New Innovation Leaders
Millennials have the keys, but can they drive?
The United States faces a succession challenge as Millennials (ages 35 and younger) are called upon to lead before they are truly ready.
We know from the 2010 Pew Research Center publication, Millennials – A Portrait of Generation Next and other generational studies that Millennials have strong advantages when it comes to embracing new technologies and exploring creative avenues to change the way things get done. Millennial leaders can and will embrace their Millennial “Woo” (Winning Over Others) factor when it comes to modeling innovation. Millennials are very strong in thinking outside of the box, in fact it comes very easy for them, but it comes with a few caveats.
Chasing Bright, Shiny Objects
Newer leaders need organizational acumen and cultural awareness to know when innovation is the right thing to do. Leaders need to weigh the value in chasing a bright shiny object, such as new innovation, versus keeping a sturdy old repeatable process. They also need to define the parameters around the desired innovation and articulate the goals and constraints of those they lead.
Our newer leaders also need great people leadership skills to activate and empower innovation in others. They need to take a strategic approach to innovational means by identifying the right levels of talent, teams and individuals to engage, and how best to engage them.
From a coaching perspective, leaders should consider the developmental needs of team members, identify stretch opportunities and challenge individuals to maximize their experience to further develop their knowledge and skills.
To do any of this well, newer leaders need self-awareness. By continuously assessing their current performance, and listening to results and feedback from all levels, newer leaders will continue to grow their ability to innovate and inspire innovation in others. An experiential approach to learning is key to developing confidence through a bank of relevant experiences.
Experiential learning, when done on the job can come with a steep price tag. Newer leaders may take big risks and make mistakes along the way that cost time, materials and potentially damage relationships. Experience in a simulated environment at an accelerated pace enables leaders to practice these behaviors in a safe environment, get feedback from peers and a coach thus walking away with a key experience and best practices that they can apply back on the job right away.