Leading innovation: Question everything (week 10)


question everything leadership innovation culture

Leading Innovation: Question Everything (week 10)

To lead innovation by questioning everything, agree on ground rules, and foster curiosity.

This is our 10th installment in the Leading Innovation series. See the rest of the series here.

Fresh Leadership For A New Age: A Series On The Art And Practice Of Leading Innovation The award-winning book Collective Genius by our founding partners Dr. Linda Hill and team reveals the strategies behind some of the world’s most innovative organizations. Their research makes it clear that a fresh approach to leadership is critical for organizations needing to sustain innovation or create transformative change. This 22-week series features tips on when and how you can bring this new leadership style to life in your organization. - image shows a lightbulb made of fresh fruit

Traditional leadership:

A conventional approach to problem-solving has been to study solutions by tackling predetermined questions or questions with known answers.

A fresh approach: 

In the new era, innovation is critical, and new rules of engagement are needed for thinking differently. Your team needs to agree on basic ground rules for how it will go about solving problems, otherwise members will argue not only about possible solutions, but also about how to proceed. Specifically, how to identify and evaluate alternatives and then select a solution.

Giving your team permission to question everything will attract the most talented people-those who are willing to approach challenges like eager explorers venturing into unknown territory. You want your team to challenge the status quo, solicit questions broadly, and be open to new ways at looking at things.

Bring it to life: 

  • Be receptive and don’t get defensive when asked challenging questions
  • Create an ethos of “no subject is off limits” and probe your staff with “what if” and “what about” questions
  • Model and routinely encourage your people to question the status quo
  • Don’t expect people to do things the way they have always been done
  • Regularly consider potential improvements, even when things are going well.

Next week: Be Data-Informed.

Innovation solutions from Paradox Strategies

Our Collective Genius simulation and learning journey is designed to help leaders inspire action, nourish creativity, and build a culture of innovation. We also offer keynotes and our proprietary innovation diagnostic assessments re:Mind™ and re:Route™ as first steps in developing the mindset, culture, and capabilities of innovative organizations. Contact us via the form below if you would like to know how to bring these great tools to your organization.