Most leaders know innovation is important — a recent study showed that 74% of top leaders say that innovation is either an important priority or an absolute imperative for their company. However, many leaders might be shocked to know how big the gap is between how they see innovation, and how their employees see innovation. We call it The Perception Gap.
When asked about the biggest barriers to innovation, employees said they believe leaders’ actions don’t line up with their words. In that same study, 28% of employees believe their boss wants to be the person who generates all the great ideas, and 25% say that new ideas aren’t welcome and the organization is stuck on how things get done. What’s more, almost 1 in 3 suspect that creative ideas will be killed by organizational bureaucracy.
Clearly, there’s a problem.
Leaders say innovation is important, imperative even.
Most leaders tell us that employees are their biggest asset and the biggest potential source of innovative ideas and action.
But, if your innovation results aren’t pacing with the emphasis you’ve put on how important it is within the organization, you may need to take a hard look in the mirror and see which perceptions and barriers might be keeping your employees from contributing their energy and ideas.
If you’re ready to create the ecosystem to drive innovation within your organization, here are a few ideas that could begin to break down limiting perceptions and barriers:
Given the data, closing The Perception Gap won’t be easy. First, you have to be willing to admit that there could be a gap in your own organization, then, you’ll have to be willing to do the hard work to close it. But, doing so will certainly separate the thriving firms from those that merely survive, or worse…
Photo licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 via Flickr user: Grand Canyon NPS