The Landscape Changed. Now We Need to Change With It.
SalesBoost’s Top Ten Ways to be Innovative
Who would have thought when we entered 2020 that this would be the year everything turned upside down? You’ve lived through safer-at-home recommendations and quarantines. Experienced layoffs or working remotely. Spent time homeschooling and organizing social interactions. Mastered Zoom calls and juggling the chaos of it all.
Hopefully, you’ve also had time to slow down. To put together the thousand-piece puzzle you got as a gift. To play board games with family. To binge-watch some of your favorite shows. And to learn new skills or try something you never had time to do in the past.
Now, as communities across the nation open back up, everyone is eager for things to “return to normal.” But let’s face it, it’s a new normal. The landscape of how we were living has changed. Social distancing, mask mandates, and the spread of the virus are still at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Spending habits and travel have changed. The mix of dine-in and carryout customers has changed. The truth is, life as we knew it may never look the same again… and that’s okay.
Because with change comes opportunities. Opportunities foster innovation. And innovation helps us reinvent ourselves and come out even better than before.
If you want to be at the top of your game, be innovative.
We all know that to be a good leader, to be a good employee, to be a good PERSON, we need to be well-rounded and have a variety of skills in addition to knowledge.
It’s not all about what you KNOW, it’s about what you bring to the table as a person.
84% of customers say it is important that the company (or person) they buy from is innovative.
66% of executives say innovation is crucial for survival.
Only 33% of executives say they are innovating successfully.
Innovative is crucial in helping our industry move forward successfully. It helps us:
- Adapt faster… yes, we’ll most likely see more changes in the coming months.
- Stand apart from the competition… your customers notice and remember ways you’re trying to keep them safe and still provide them with a great experience.
- Attract the best talent… word will get out about how your employee practices have been impacted by all of them (and the rock stars will stand out!)
Top Ten Ways to be Innovative
“Being innovative” as a goal isn’t very instructive. The team at SalesBoost has created a great resource – before the pandemic and shutdowns were even on our radar, that will benefit you personally and our industry as a whole. Here are their top 10 ways to be innovative.
1. Bring your best self
In order to perform at the top of your game, you need to pay attention to the fundamental wellness of your brain and body. For Gretta Brooks, CEO and Founder of SalesBoost, that means putting sleep as her top priority. “Sleeping is the way we reset everything about how our brain works,” shares Gretta. For those of you that operate on caffeine and adrenaline, the recommended amount of sleep every adult should get is seven to eight hours a night. That means unplug, turn off your devices, and avoid the temptation of getting sucked into a late night of binge-watching.
Some other ways to help bring your best self is to eat healthy, exercise, and practice daily meditation. “Meditation helps you set the ways you want to address your day,” continues Gretta. “So whether I’m feeling anxious, need to perform, or deal with something that is difficult, I can take 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes in the morning to get my brain set straight. Before I walk in the door, I’m mentally prepared to walk in the door.”
There are several different meditation methods you can try, but many people find guided meditation apps helpful. You can even introduce a mindfulness coach to your business to help your team reset and refocus.
Bottom line, your physical and emotional well-being should not be merely an afterthought, but the foundation of your desire to be your best self.
2. Have a learner’s mindset
Never stop learning. Your brain is a muscle and you need to exercise it to keep it healthy and functioning at its best. Be curious about the world. That means you need to search out topics relevant to your business/industry as well as those that are wildly different. If you learn with intensity and follow inspiration, you’ll be amazed at what you take in. Learning also doesn’t just come from a book as well all know. You can consume ideas and from many different sources. Social media, masterclasses, articles, podcasts, documentaries, and even talking to people you admire are all great ways you can educate yourself. “The best CEO’s I have ever seen are voracious learners,” shares Gretta. “They learn with intensity.”
Don’t just hear it and forget it, however. Apply what you’re learning to your days to help with problem solving or to simply create more interesting conversations.
3. Unlearn old ways
Things change so rapidly in business and technology that we are constantly called upon to adapt. One of the ways we can get bogged down is by simply continuing to do things the same way we have always done them. Like a computer struggling to run a new program on an outdated operating system, sticking with “the way it has always been done” is slow and inefficient. Though it’s hard to unlearn habits, it’s worth the effort to unpack a process that has worked in the past and think of ways it could be done better. Reinvent the process, relearn a better way, and replace the old with the new. For many of us, that could simply be looking at how we can do more and better things virtually!
4. Turn up the pressure
If you let your day manage you, it will… and it will limit how much and fast you can grow. Think of the adage about the goldfish that grows to the size of its bowl. When constrained to the minimum viable space, the goldfish stays small in size, but given a huge aquarium, the goldfish will happily take the opportunity to grow much larger. This same idea applies to many things in life, including projects we take on.
This will be especially effective in knocking out big projects. When you only give yourself the time a project SHOULD take to do, and tackle it in daily bites, there’s no time for procrastination, no time for excess, and no room to overthink. It also allows you to take brain breaks. It’s been scientifically proven when you give your brain a break, you can come back and give the project the hyper-focused attention you had in the beginning.
Also, try doing the most difficult or tasks you’re dreading the most first! Putting them off gives you an immense amount of stress because it’s causing procrastination and everything else piles up behind them.
We are all capable of being more productive, so put the pressure on, take control of your schedule, manage your time, and start crossing things off your list. Runners are much faster in a short sprint than they are during any part of a marathon. That means concentrated effort is and will be your friend.
5. Take more calculated risks
We are so afraid of failure that it can be hard to step out of our comfort zone. Though risking is essential for growth, it won’t always be successful, and we need to develop a mindset and culture that allows for failure.
Though failure is an inevitable result of risk, failing itself is not a failure. Failing is learning, even if the lesson is ‘that didn’t work.’ You can only be innovative if are willing to try new things, and trying new things is risky. On the flip side, there is risk in complacency as well. It can be argued that there is a tipping point where the risk of staying still is much more likely to lead to failure than is the risk of moving forward.
6. Ask great questions
Asking questions goes hand-in-hand with always learning. Seek to really understand, and don’t make shortcut assumptions. What is the big picture? The most important result? The desired outcome? Here’s an idea on how to dig deeper with your questions. Essentially, it requires you to ask a question at least 3 times to get to the deeper truth.
As an example, let’s pretend to work on a software development project. The technique goes something like this:
- Why are we doing this? To make it more efficient and remove bugs from the old version.
- Why? So the customer will have a better experience.
- Why? So they will trust us and be loyal future customers.
- So why are we doing this? So our customers will trust us and be loyal to our brand in the future.
Seeking customer trust and loyalty is more salient and deeper than increasing efficiency could ever be. Getting to the deeper question unlocks company values and big goals and can help clarify the bigger picture.
7. Be humble
The flip side of knowing your strengths is being honest about your weaknesses. Asking experts for help is one of the most valuable things you can do to increase the strength of your team. Being humble feels vulnerable, but nothing goes farther to build trust and confidence in leadership. Embracing the contributions that others can make in areas where their strengths bolster your weaknesses makes for a well-rounded and effective team.
80% of people, if you ask them to brainstorm on the fly, have a very hard time with that unless they are in a room that can help them create that innovative thought process!
8. Meet with purpose
Does your team dread meetings? Do you feel like you spend all of your time around a conference table? If so, you’re doing it wrong. Banish the obscure word “meeting” from your vocabulary, and instead have a “brainstorming session”, a “project launch strategy session”, or a “progress check-in.”
In naming your gathering’s purpose, you can prioritize goals and derail inefficiencies before anyone sets foot in the room. It gives contributors direction on what they should prepare and lets everyone know what will be accomplished.
Using the same principles of “Turn up the pressure, ” condense the group time to half of what you would normally schedule to increase urgency and efficiency. Put emphasis on team members coming prepared and following up to maximize productivity during your whole-group session.
9. Implement a Personal Advisory Board
Develop your sounding board with intention. Incorporate people whom you respect and admire, drawing from as many varied perspectives and areas of expertise as possible. Including people of different generations, different backgrounds, and specializations gives you a more well-rounded sounding board. You should trust these mentors to give you honest feedback, and expect that they will maintain confidentiality and discretion.
10. Think differently to find creative solutions
This is the sweet spot. Everything we’ve discussed leads up to this last tip. In fact, you really won’t be that effective in thinking differently if you haven’t done the other nine steps. That’s because in breaking out of your routine, looking at things differently, and being at the top of your game mentally and physically, you will activate the ability to be more creative and think outside of the box. Great thinkers are great leaders. Creativity must be exercised and strengthened like a muscle. The more you invite creativity into your daily life, the more comfortable you will find it, and the more effective you will become at implementing creative solutions.
Want to learn more?
SalesBoost has created a book that you can download and share with your teams. CLICK HERE to unlock “10 Ways to Be an Innovator,” start breaking down barriers and achieve your greatest potential. Plus, you can still access the one-hour webinar they prepared for CHART for an even deeper dive on ways you can innovate and create a better version of yourself.
SalesBoost is the new revolutionary active learning platform that helps organizations improve the value of their human capital with soft skill development to accelerate performance, boost confidence, and most importantly, boost results.