Five YPO members and successful business leaders share their thoughts on how to bring innovation and entrepreneurship into your daily business life.
If you are not innovating, you’ll get left behind
“Innovation is the key to longevity for a business. If you are not innovating, eventually competitors will take market share away from you. Develop a focused strategy around innovation, based on an understanding of the level of innovation you are undertaking: continuous improvement or breakthrough. If you are in continuous improvement mode, be sure you are improving a product that customers want; there may be someone out there who is solving their problem better, faster and more cost-effectively.” — Michael Golway, President and CEO of Advanced Solutions Inc.
Focus on your corporate culture
“In our early days, we naturally had a tight-knit startup culture. And once we started to grow, we knew we had to be diligent about preserving it. Otherwise, it could quickly erode. So, we rallied our team to help us document the core values that define who we are as a company. These became our culture commitments and they guide everything we do. In my opinion, this has been our greatest success to date — not to mention the core driver of our growth. By defining our core values and focusing on consciously developing our culture, we created an environment in which everyone feels not only valued, but also personally vested in our overall vision.” — Heidi Jannenga, Co-Founder and President of WebPT
Eradicate fear around failure
“We were asking the right questions, had the right team and were able to develop more new products than ever before. We had some terrific wins, but failures too. Some of the failures were really expensive and we realized our team was starting to get a little bit scared to fail. We realized we needed to embrace failure — nine out of 10 new consumer products fail — and we needed to make intentional efforts to take the fear out of failure. Now, I share my failures with every new employee. I tell our ‘Flyers’ that stuff is going to fail, but that if we ‘fail intelligently’ by owning up to our mistakes, by not betting the farm on any one product and by openly mining failures for learning, it is OK.” — Robert Pasin, CEO of Radio Flyer
Choose the challenge
“I get told every day by someone — a friend, a banker, a business colleague — that my pace makes them uncomfortable. I hear over and over, ‘You should slow down.’ But I am successful because I do not do that. I capitalize on opportunities and seize the moment. Embracing the challenge is what makes people successful, so my advice would be to stick with it, even when people tell you to slow down. Remember, it is not you who cannot handle the pace, it is them.” — Carmen Sample, CEO of Sample Supports
Make talent planning a habit
“When talent planning is done right, it can be the fuel you need to ignite business growth. And when you bring in next-level talent, it can open your eyes to the holes in your team, because you see what next-level talent looks like and you yearn for more. We know this because we’ve seen it all too often. There are usually limitations within the existing team that hinder your ability to meet your goals. Ever heard the phrase, ‘Today’s hero is tomorrow’s problem?’ Outgrowing your team is a real problem for high-growth companies. Focus on cultivating a long-term perspective with regard to talent.” — Kurt Wilkin, CEO of HireBetter
Check out the 2018 YPO Innovation Week schedule