Friday, August 24, 2012

Moderation: the enemy of innovation

Our friend John Stoner is known for his profound little sayings...which we affectionately refer to as "Stonerisms." Yesterday, while enjoying coffee and catch-up with he and his wife Janet, he suggested: "everything in moderation, including moderation."

After we chuckled a  bit, I silently reflected on how John had lived this ideal out in his own life, once even losing a college teaching position for acting passionately on his beliefs. Then I began to consider its implications for the workplace.

Imagine the workplace without passion... Drone like employees come to work and dutifully, follow policy and proceedures to the letter, never considering any other way to make processes better, or to better serve the customer. Everything is neat, ordered and tepid. Yuk.

Yet, many organizations are designed for such quiet resignation. Don't rock the boat. We (management) will figure it out. We are not really interested in your ideas because we know what is best around here. Where does innovation come from if not from passion? Imagine Edison saying each day as he toiled "well, maybe if I am lucky today, I will figure out this light bulb thing...ho hum."  How moderate is your workplace? Is moderation an enemy of innovation in your organization?

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