INNOVATION- It is about people in our VUCA world.

By John O’Boyle

Creativity underpins innovation; innovation underpins enterprise. In the business world it is people and teams within enterprises, not ideas, processes or products on their own, that make money. Much attention is given to new product development and to processes of innovation. Indeed, there are increasingly popular techniques to support these processes. While considerable attention is given to the product development side of innovation, it is a matter of debate whether the same degree of attention is always given to the people side. This article  will focus on teams and people.

Talk about Innovation and the talk often drifts to new processes, products, procedures, efficiency and effectiveness. These are important if not vital to such developments, but on their own they are not enough. LEAN, Six Sigma in production, holacracy as a new innovation management technique. It’s puzzling how many companies are willing to invest in their infrastructure but don’t view their people as an asset worthy of investing in. However, cultivating a company’s greatest asset – its people – can yield outstanding results.

People deliver INNOVATION for your business

Why not invest in improving them?

One of the most common assertions companies make is, “Our people are our most valuable asset.”

This is a big corporate lie. While many CEOs may gush over their employees while the camera and recorder are running during interviews, research continually shows most don’t make their people priorities.

Study after study reveals that when CEOs are asked to identify their top priorities in running business, developing their people rarely places in the top five or six. These company heads routinely identify increasing sales, increasing recognition, cutting expenses, research and development and other priorities, yet fail to realize that it’s their people who accomplish all of these things.

The costs of not dealing with people
Does all coaching guarantee Innovation.? Of course not. The decision not to invest in development , however, doesn’t have positive profit margin guarantees, either. So many companies fall into the trap of focusing only on the initial cash outlay for coaching without regard for the costs they’re incurring by not doing so. What management who holds this belief is missing or overlooking  are all the hidden costs associated with turnover that dwarf training fees.

These costs cannot be listed on a balance sheet. Costs such as: lost productivity due to an open position, lost sales, client dissatisfaction resulting from missed deadlines and orders, client departures, increased burden on, and lowered morale of, remaining employees –and so on.

Yet company after company continues to claim it can’t afford coaching in the face of the overwhelming evidence supporting its ROI – evidence such as Apple estimate that the company receives a 30-to-1 return for every dollar invested in employee coaching and Harvard University-Warden Business Schools study revealed that a company’s surest way to profit and productivity is to treat employees as assets to be developed.

Worth thinking about- eh!

About the Author:

John O’Boyle is a business and team development coach based in Galway, Ireland. He is the Director of Belbin Ireland, whose mission it is to enable the potential of Belbin Team Roles as a simple and practical tool for understanding how teamwork improves business and personal performance, throughout the island of Ireland and in the practice of Systemic Team Coaching.