In today’s fast-paced business environment, innovation is more important than ever, says writer Adam Bryant. Bryant, the author of New York Times column “Corner Office” and just-released book “Quick and Nimble: Lessons From Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation,” says the formula for success has changed dramatically over the years. “In the day and age we’re living in now, the competition is global and relentless,” says Bryant. “You have to quickly move directions, because there are so many people coming along to disrupt your business model.” To help businesses big and small stay on their toes, Bryant shares the top tips he’s learned from today’s most important business leaders:No. 1: Craft a simple plan. “A leader’s job is to create a clear sense of where the company is headed and how you’re going to measure progress along the way,” says Bryant. Without a game plan, Bryant says silos pop up within a company that can undermine an organization’s overarching goals. And while being nimble may mean changing the plan as new challenges present themselves, Bryant says leaders can’t redirect their staff on a day-to-day basis. “As a leader, you can’t create whiplash for employees. When you do change, really communicate why you’re doing it,” he says.No. 2: Create a values-based organization. Bryant says it’s important to define company values – and then make sure they are upheld. “It needs to be clear which behaviors are encouraged and discouraged,” says Bryant, who says many CEOs go through the exercise of defining values, only to let them fall by the wayside once the process has concluded. “If you don’t live by them, it’s a recipe for cynicism,” says Bryant.No. 3: Treat everyone with respect. “There are a lot of bad bosses out there who will humiliate workers in front of their colleagues, which is tremendously damaging,” says Bryant. Rather than use fear as a motivation tool, strive to bring your best self to the office each day, he suggests.No. 4: Hold staffers accountable. “It’s a very simple rule: People have to do what they say they’re going to do,” says Bryant. If employees don’t follow through on commitments, the organization will be slowed down in any major push, he says.No. 5: Have adult conversations. “A lot of managers and colleagues in general are afraid of having frank discussions,” says Bryant. Avoiding conversations where you have to give feedback will simply allow unproductive behavior to continue, and will create tension between managers and the workers who report to them. “One common theme among successful companies is creating a culture of having conversations, where they train people on the art of giving others feedback,” says Bryant.
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