Resistance to change and discouragement of creativity are the foremost obstacles that face organizations seeking growth and prosperity. They can derive from a number of factors:
While sources of improvement and innovation (here defined as providing new solutions that offer value to customers) can be found almost anywhere in the organization, real change tends to come from the top. The visible enthusiasm and commitment of the chief executive and senior management towards exploring and implementing new ideas, be they situated in product, policy, management or operational development, is what promotes commercial vibrancy and adds customer value. Without such stewardship and affirmation, employees and other stake holders are unlikely to mirror the direction and investment in innovation shown by their ‘leaders’. In this way, the company can overcome fears and potential stagnation, and capitalize on its strengths by being able to respond to new situations. It is a flexible approach such as is that is the hidden strength of the small company. For example, the organizational culture in some enterprises acts as a damper and stifles initiatives which could be the future life-blood of the business.
Many organizations have turned to merger and acquisition in pursuit of growth and shareholder value. While this strategy may provide short-term performance improvements, it is unlikely to generate long-term shareholder value. The reason is that sustainable growth generated by continuous innovation is based on the capabilities and attitudes of the people within the company, and depends on a culture that encourages entrepreneurship and processes that enable individual and team-based creativity to surface and flourish.
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