Friday, August 25, 2017

Book Review: 'The Innovation Revolution' by K. Melissa Kennedy

Individuals as well as organizations must either change in order to thrive or remain the same and deteriorate

Major research studies by reputable firms such as Gallup indicate that – on average — less than 30% of those employed in a U.S. company are actively and productively engaged; the others are either passively engaged (“mailing it in”) or actively engaged in efforts to undermine the success of their employer.

I was again reminded of those statistics as I began to read Melissa Kennedy’s book. It seems safe to assume that executives who created the workplace environment in organizations with major employee engagement problems cannot be expected to solve those problems. They are probably hostage to what James O’Toole so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.”

Kennedy carefully organizes the material in her book within three Parts. First, “360ยบ Reality Assessments” (Chapters 1-5) provides a solid foundation, what she calls a “starting position.” Acknowledgement and understanding of “trends disrupting business-as-usual at light speed,” etc.

Next, “Smart Speed: A Mindset, A method, and A Movement” (6-9) prepares the reader to reconfigure what they already know and do, “”activated by authentic employee engagement to skip the slow corporate dance and deliver results continuously, and at speed.”

Finally, the material in Part 3, “A Guided Path Forward” (10-14), focuses on the need for leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise during its innovation transformation. More specifically, Kennedy focuses on these behaviors:

o Lead by example for your team and beyond.
o Be the connector and multiplier.
o Listen with an open mind.
o Encourage everyone throughout the organization to speak up (especially to power), connect, and strive.
o Be Brave – STOP the silly busywork, ditch the buzzwords.
o Believe.
o Start and then sustain a movement, not merely complete a task or a project.

I urge those who read Melissa Kennedy’s book to keep these observations in mind:

“There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.” Peter Drucker

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

An innovation revolution is a process, not a destination. The healthiest organizations experience several and emerge stronger because of each. Those who defend the current status quo probably helped to replace the previous one. So, individuals as well as organization must prepare for and then adapt to the only constant in human experience: change.

Editor's note: This review was written by Robert Morris and has been published with his permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right. 

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