Are You An Innovative Leader or Innovative Company?

Aug 6, 2019 | Growth Tips

Who comes up with the innovations in your landscape, lawn or irrigation company?

Is it you?

Or is it a mix of the people on your team?

Last week I wrote about the book, Shoe Dog, by Philip Knight. It’s a thrilling book, and hard to put down once you pick it up.

(Sure, you can protest Nike’s current actions, which I also don’t agree with, but you gotta give credit to the founder and his inspiring journey.)

One of my personal insights from this book is how Phil Knight cultured a unique company spirit. It was formed by a group of passionate runners, who worked as a true band of brothers and sisters to develop their little running-shoe company.

Many of the innovations that put Nike on the map came from someone other than Phil Knight

  • The waffle treads were developed by his partner and track coach, Bill Bowermann
  • The Air technology was invented by an outside group that came to Nike
  • The name Nike was coined by one of the first employees
  • The swoosh was developed by a student graphic designer

This says a lot about the founder:

He surrounded himself with great (and crazy) people
He didn’t let his ego get in the way, good ideas came from anywhere
He created a true “we” feeling

So back to the question: Where do innovations come from in your company?

If it’s just you, then you are missing the opportunity of a lifetime.

Two Approaches You Can Emulate

  1. Shawn Edwards (from Iowa) who belongs to two of my peer groups (for landscape, and for irrigation) knows that good ideas come from anywhere. He and his team will talk to anyone, from any size company, to learn something new. And then they get together to discuss and implement. And it shows, given how continually successful their company is.
  2. Reg Robertson (form Kansas), a coaching clients of mine, is developing an innovative culture. He recently assigned each team member to read one of the many trade magazines each month, and report back on ideas that will help the company grow. His company is truly employee run.

Your Challenge….is two fold: To develop a stronger group of leaders that readily find, create and put fourth good ideas; and for you to acknowledge those ideas and act on them.

Your ego should be strong enough to drive your company (or dept.) forward, but not so strong that it gets in the way of shared success.

It takes remaining curious, sharing the spotlight, and keeping focused on the bigger dream.