Renegotiating for Corporate Innovation
By Marc Freeman
company can exist without innovation. Those companies that don’t
reinvent themselves or their product will begin to lose market share
quickly. The leadership of the company must get the buy into that
innovation from every employee in the company. This is where the
executive of any company that is always looking to create new
innovations and they will tell you that it is a company wide
effort. It must be built into the corporate culture. This means
constant changes. It is this constant changing that creates the
opportunity to renegotiate within the company, between departments,
with vendors and especially with your customers.
Renegotiating is the art of revising, altering or changing a
previously negotiated relationship. Every new idea, every desire
for a new product, every need for a new procedure, and every request
for a new innovation creates the change in a previously negotiated
relationship that now has to be renegotiated. This is where our
behavior counts most. If the corporate culture supports innovation,
then employees won’t be afraid to give their ideas. They will look
forward to giving them and will feel empowered. In too many
companies, employees are afraid to voice their ideas for fear of
being ridiculed, because there is no one to go to with a new idea,
or they know that their superior will take credit if it is a good
idea and blame the employee if it is a bad idea.
change will create an atmosphere of excitement and innovation.
Remember that change has to come and be executed in an organized
manner. Change without organization is called chaos and that is
worse then never changing at all. Here are seven key steps to
create and encourage innovation in any company:
Take Control of the Process: If one wants to be in control then
you need to understand a major principal of renegotiation, “The
Secret of the Orange Ball.” Someone has to be in control for any
change or renegotiation to move forward. Otherwise, there is chaos
and disorganization. The concept of the Orange Ball is to know who
is in control. If the process is not going in a direction that you
want or need you must then know who is in control of the Orange Ball
how to get control of it back. How else can a renegotiation be
monitored for progress?
to keep in control of the Orange Ball or to get control back you
need to get everyone involved to “Hit the Refresh Button.” This is
another important principle of renegotiating. The main technique
here is listening. Listening is such an important skill when change
needs to occur that without it there will be certain failure. The
design team must listen to the production team. The production team
must listen to the sales team. The sales team must listen to the
customers and the executive team must listen to everyone. Remember
listening is a verb not a noun. Listening is a learned skill, and
doesn’t necessarily come naturally. Listening means being silent
while someone else is speaking. It means not thinking about how you
are going to respond while someone else it talking. It means no
interrupting. In that silence you will find all of the answers.
Proper listening will give you the skills to ask the right
questions. We always learn more by asking questions rather than
answering them. A great question is worth a 1000 answers.
Nice: Being nice does not mean being insipid or insincere.
Actually, it means quite the opposite. It means, to be generous, to
be respectful. Also, use humor where appropriate. Humor puts
everything on a lighter note. It allows those involved to have fun
during the process. Sarcasm is not humor and belittlement of others
is not funny.
Create a Corporate Culture That Encourages Organized Change:
Every employee must understand, how these changes are going to
affect him or her personally, in a positive way, immediately and in
the long term. Then develop a process where every employee is
expected to participate in making the company more innovative
through creating excellence in every aspect of the company.
Promote Employee Involvement: Create a culture where every
employee is encouraged to speak up at specific times and express
constructive ways to make the company more efficient and products
and services better. Once this process is in place, create teams to
look at every aspect of the operations of the company and create
ways to make each part better. Constantly trying to improve and
fine tune how the company functions.
Show Respect to All Employees: Employees will only come along
for the journey if the executives show them respect. Do not pay lip
service to changes that the employees come up with and that the
executives agree to implement. Only commit to changes that the
executives are willing to have the company execute. Being honest
with the employees will show them respect. Management also needs to
make some of the changes that the employees are giving otherwise the
employees won’t take the process seriously.
Make Realistic Time Frames, Don’t Rush Changes: Giving people a
proper amount of time to create changes within any organization is
the best way to show respect. Allow those who are making the
changes to create the time lines and then help them to keep to those
commitments. If you rush a change, more times than not, everyone
will be disappointed.
Create a Culture of Listening From the Top Down and Act on What You
Hear: Take all ideas seriously and set up a team with employees
from every part of the company to look at all new ideas. Get back to
those that offered the idea and let them know how their idea will or
will not be implemented.
Innovation is the key to success in any business. It is what pushes
each one of us, and forces our companies and even our society to
move ahead and be better to be excellent in what services or
products we represent. Competition forces innovation. Renegotiating
with integrity will move the process of change and therefore all
innovations ahead that much quicker.
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