Managers are paid to solve problems. They see something wrong and they fix it–and that’s a good thing. Yet if your managers are spending most of their time fixing things, addressing unacceptable performance or simply putting out fires, your organization will never grow and will likely fall behind your competition.
Problem solving by definition merely brings a level of performance back to the agreed upon standard. It restores the norm. It rarely moves performance to a higher level. Innovation, a key ingredient essential for growth, comes about when managers dare to increase the standard or raise the bar. When managers solve problems and innovate-particularly when innovation is greater as a percentage of time, good things happen. You need both.
Encourage managers to continuously push the standard, to seek innovation, to anticipate changes in the marketplace. Strive to be an exemplar like 3M. They have created a culture and workplace that is continuously evolving, changing and profiting from continuous improvements, creativity and innovation.
Create an environment in your organization that encourages employees to innovate, take risks, make mistakes, work smart, and challenge the norm.