Paul Hobcraft tries to avoid this option of suggesting moving on until he understands the more often than not complex issues surrounding these lack of commitments seemingly laid at the door of top management. He argues that this advice of leaving is perhaps a little offhand and too easy to offer.
This is a valid point and Paul backs it up with several other good insights. You should check out his comments. However, I still think many people stay at companies too long for the wrong reasons that most often are financially driven.
Of course, it is hard to just quit a job when you have mortgages to pay and kids to feed, but I believe many people would be happier in different places and a key reason for not moving on is that they get staid and stuck where they are. This is meant as a general thing that goes beyond frustrated innovation leaders.
Peter Kuyt argues that a culture that stimulates playing it safe and keeping the status quo is what prevents companies from opening up their innovation process. It is also the same culture that makes people stay too long on their job. It just becomes too hard for them to leave their own comfort zone and so they contribute to a culture of playing it safe.
Peter says that the funny thing is that if people manage to untie themselves from this environment and switch jobs anyway, they are doing their employer a favour as well, by forcing them to bring in fresh new people. These new employees usually influence the status quo much easier than the ‘veterans’.
I like the questions Peter also raised in his comment. Should a program to spin out employees be part of an open innovation strategy? Or even better, an exchange program?
I agree that it is too hard for people to leave their comfort zone and thus we should not always blame the company for creating a less dynamic culture. This got me thinking about Jack Welch, the very successful CEO at General Electric from 1981 to 2001, who fired the bottom 10% of his managers every year.
I don’t like such structured programs where you have to kick out people just to meet a number, but I think many companies can benefit by having programs that assesses the quality of their innovation managers and ensures that a necessary renewal takes place.
You might find better innovation managers internally which is one reason that I like the idea of exchange programs. If you expose your innovation managers to the challenges of other managers and vice versa you not only begin building a stronger innovation culture. You also identify more people who can play a key role on innovation.
If you want to go all the way, then you can also consider exchange programs with partners in your ecosystem…