by: James Young
In a product community, it’s important to keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive; this means continually pushing into uncharted terrain with new products, market initiatives, and personnel investments. Each of these areas involves making decisions without perfect information, under conditions of uncertainty. Here are few tips to guide your innovation journey:
- Exclude friends and “yes people” from your leadership team and board of directors. You need solid advice and blunt, honest feedback as you consider investment in an innovative idea.
- Surround yourself with people who have complementary skills and different approaches to analyzing issues and making decisions. Listen to their suggestions and arguments, even when you disagree. These other voices can help you avoid walking off a cliff.
- Recognize that growth comes from focus. A clear, succinct vision that excites, serves as a rallying point, and drives momentum can help you double-down on your ‘why’, achieve focus, and motivate and engage your market for what’s coming.
- Learn when to cut your losses. You cannot win the game if you don’t play. But don’t play every game to the end. Like a good poker player, recognize when you’re pouring resources into a losing hand, and have the courage to walk away with your losses. The best way to a robust garden is to prune your bushes and cut back your trees each spring. They may look ugly in the short run, but by late summer you will see new growth.
- Double-check your assumptions. What looks rosy can be a disaster if those assumptions are not realistic. Balance an exciting future with doability. And remember, if you have the right culture, a lot of ‘pretty goods’ add up to great.
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About the Author
James Young is founder and chief learning officer of the Product Community®. Jim is an engaging trainer and leading thinker in the worlds of associations, learning communities, and product development. Prior to starting the Product Community®, Jim served as Chief Learning Officer at both the American College of Chest Physicians and the Society of College and University Planning.