Last week, we discussed two key arenas for success with innovation teams – communication and the project charter. Good communication is obvious in all areas of our lives, but we are often staggeringly inept at sharing information when needed by others. The project charter is a critical guiding document for the team that lays out boundaries and constraints for the product development effort. You can watch a short video on communication and charter here.
While skills development is one of the biggest concerns for innovation executives and leaders, routines in innovation processes can build habits that drive success. Many of the systems and processes in new product development (NPD) are detailed and sophisticated so that companies minimize risk and maximize ROI. On the other hand, routines for project teams are simple and inexpensive with high returns.
Rewards and Recognition
Most of us get up every day and go to work for a purpose. We might say we need to earn money to pay the bills, but as creative professionals, our purpose in working is far deeper. People drawn to innovation, design, and development work, value helping others and improving lives. Hiring for Purpose is the first practice in the Initiation and Structure element of the Virtual Team Model (VTM).
Human beings also want to reap rewards when we fulfill our purpose. Creating a new product that makes it easier to do yard work or yield an increased throughput at the factory are achievements worth celebrating. Recognition of successes in innovation is an important motivator for teams, especially when the challenges seem insurmountable.
NPD teams can build rewards and recognition into their daily routines. For example, daily stand-up meetings can also celebrate successes when goals are met, and tests are completed. Innovation professionals can gather in an informal celebration at lunch after a successful gate review. Displaying the first-run production batches in commemorative packaging builds morale and showcases the team’s efforts.
Rewards and recognition should also include profit-sharing for the new product or business as well. Profit-sharing and stock options are long-term rewards that encourage strategic development rather than quick hits. Longer term rewards also demonstrate the organization’s commitment to learning and development for the innovation teams.
Too often, we are on the go all the time. Because of the dedication to the purpose and mission of new product development, innovation professionals often put in long hours. Especially during crunch times to meet critical deadlines and during commercial launches, team members work evenings and weekends, traveling away from their homes, families, and friends. All of this go-go-go takes a toll.
Therefore, innovation teams must build routines of renewal. It can be as simple as instituting walking meetings instead of sitting in stuffy conference rooms. Renewal comes from relaxing the mind, body, and spirit.
Japanese companies require a two-week vacation each year. The reason is that you don’t really let go of your worries and concerns with just a few days away from the office. But, in two weeks you have time to pursue a favorite hobby, breathe in nature, and rejuvenate your soul. Renewal is also the reason that churches and universities offer sabbaticals. The intensity of work in these professions – to help guide and educate others – must be balanced with personal renewal. Sabbaticals give preachers and teachers an opportunity to clear their heads of day-to-day busyness and to focus on important messages.
What is Your Innovation Routine?
Does your innovation team have routines beyond schedules and budgets cycles? Do you recognize and celebrate all accomplishments? Even the learnings that come from failure? Do you reward teams with both financial and motivational honors? Do you give your innovation professionals time for renewal?
Innovation is tough work. If you face issues with too many failed projects and demotivated teams, consider adding routines of reward recognition and renewal. Learn how at the complimentary Life Design Master Mind Q&A webinar on 21 October 2019 at noon CDT (1 pm EDT, 10 am PDT). Register here.
Are Your Innovation Teams Struggling to Move Forward?
If your teams are struggling with cohesiveness and generating timely results, please join us on Friday, 6 September 2019 at 12 noon CDT for a complementary Q&A webinar on Building Effective Cross Functional Teams. Everyone who attends the webinar receives a FREE work style assessment.
A Division of Global NP Solutions, LLC
Study. Learn. Earn. Simple.