Leadership guru John C. Maxwell once said, “everything rises and falls on leadership” Everything includes innovation. Trying to innovate without leading first is like driving a car without fuel, it won’t go anywhere.
When you study great innovators like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, they have one thing they do well apart from sharing their vision and creating innovation, they recruit right. Former CEO of General Electric (GE)_- American multinational conglomerate incorporated in New York City and headquartered in Boston. As of 2018, the company operates through the following segments: aviation, healthcare, power, renewable energy, digital industry, additive manufacturing and venture capital and finance.) is quoted in Harvard Business review saying, “I devoted what some people considered an inordinate amount of emotional energy and time- perhaps between 30%-40% of my day for two years- to hiring and developing leaders” That is a huge amount of time for a CEO to commit to any task. In fact, at GE, 85% of the executives are promoted from within- that is how good the company is at developing leaders.
Why is leadership important to innovation? We live in times of change. Management is easy to do with the ever-increasing technology penetration. We measure everything from the performance of an individual to the return on investment and how assets are increasing. So management is not the problem. More change always demands more leadership.
A peacetime army can usually survive with good administration and management up and down the hierarchy,coupled with good leadership concentrated at the top. A wartime army, however needs competent leadership at all levels. No one has yet figured out to manage people effectively into battle , they must be led.
As you recruit innovation leaders what you should you look out for?
- Ability to get results.
Ideas are worth nothing if you do not execute on them. Some people are smart but they must execute ideas. I get frustrated y smart people who are not prepared to take action. Does the candidate have a track record of taking action and not just stopping at creativity? Then hire them.
2. Multiple experiences.
I have learned to consider the dynamics of a candidate’s past work experiences. People who come from one industry might have difficulty moving into another. Some industries are just better at creating innovators.
3. Personal priorities.
People who have high personal foals and are able to work in an environment the demands them to think big and creativity will always bring the same vibe. Creativity is for everyone but innovation has to be learnt and practiced. When one has a big dream chances are high they encounter challenges and have to innovatively solve them.
Never delegate hiring leaders who can run innovation.