To stay and be happy, be prepared to walk away

I stumbled on to a great post on the EverydayUX blog, that referred to this post on another site.

The relevant excerpt below:

So which PEOPLE are innovators? And what drives them?

The folks I’ve been impressed with have some key attributes:

  • They are better observers than most
  • They ask good questions
  • They listen deeply
  • They are OK working alone or in small groups, but ideally, connect well
  • They are fierce about their passions, and believe deeply in their convictions
  • They are courageous and hungry
  • They aren’t so wedded to your organization that perpetuating the organization (and their place within it and its pecking order) takes priority

and so…

  • They often need care and protection most from the same institution that needs them.
I agree with the summary and conclusion.
  • Great companies need to ensure that they build an environment where people that question authority and challenge conventional thinking and incrementalism (i.e are able to drive innovation) are protected from the natural tendency within any successful company to stay the course (See: Innovator's Dilemma)
However, there's another side to it. Of the six attributes of innovative people listed above, the first five are really more personality traits and habits. The sixth ("don't care as much about perpetuating the organization or their place within it") can also be more of a decision.
  • I can't help thinking that detaching yourself from the company to some degree, and from personal reward within the conventional hierarchy of the company to a larger degree will allow you to make better, bolder decisions, which in turn is better for the company and (if you're company is run the right way) you!


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