I will speak at over 25 conferences in 2019. Mostly HR and TA, some leadership conferences. Every single talk I give will have some piece around innovation, at some point during the talk. The need to drive our organizations forward.
Here’s the problem with that concept. The ones that do things first are usually considered pioneers.
Do you know what happened to the pioneers? The ones that went first? I’ll save you time looking it up and going through the history. They died!
You see, those who go first are always at a disadvantage in many respects. You don’t know what you don’t know. In the corporate world, in HR and TA specifically, what this means is you’ll probably fuck it up and be fired. And, yet executives wonder why ‘we’ aren’t more innovative!
It’s a super easy answer! I don’t like to be shot.
Most organizations do not have an appetite for innovation. 100% will tell you they do, but the old white guy sitting in the CEO chair will fire the first person who screws up. That’s not a culture of innovation and change, that’s a culture of “I’ve got a board meeting in two months, get sales up or heads are going to roll!”
So, it is unsurprising to me when an HR or TA leader tell me they would love to be innovative, but then they don’t really do anything differently year after year. Yeah, we know our current system sucks, but that new system is expensive and if the metrics don’t change, I’ll have a target on my back.
The plains are covered with the bodies of pioneers.
We see this happen in organizations constantly. Stuff isn’t going well. Big change must happen. Big change happens. A lot of people get fired. New people come in (walking on the bodies of the pioneers) and get to revel in the glory of a new world ‘they’ created.
You can either be a Pioneer or some Schmuck that thinks they created something amazing but didn’t have the guts to ever really do it themselves. Or just keep doing like you’ve been doing it and life goes on. That’s what most of us actually decide.
I want you to be a pioneer. I want you to drive innovation and help make your organization, your life, and your career better. That comes with some risk. So, I don’t judge anyone when they don’t become a pioneer. When they are unwilling to accept that risk.
The pioneer life isn’t easy. Those who choose to live it do so because they are drawn to a new world, a better world, but mostly they end up dead.