Monday, April 4, 2011

How To Tear Down The Walls To Business Innovation

Posted by Holly Green

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan gave his famous speech in which he implored Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!”

I’m going to paraphrase his history-altering quote and urge today’s business leaders to tear down these walls!

Which walls?

The ones that get in the way of cross-communication within organizations and prevent innovation from taking place. Unlike the Berlin Wall, you can’t see these walls because they’re invisible. But they exist, and they represent major impediments to creating meaningful innovation, especially in large companies.

Just look at the way most organizations are physically set up. Accounting in one area, marketing in another, management on the top floor with the nicest offices and best views out the window. Employees rarely interact with other departments unless they need something to get their jobs done.

In addition, many leaders and managers hesitate to share information with other departments, believing that controlling the data puts them in a position of power. In situations where team or departmental goals don’t align with organizational goals, they can actually get rewarded for withholding information.

So the invisible walls go up, communication goes down, and the ability to innovate goes out the door.

How do you tear down these walls?

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