Being consistently creative is a challenging feat to take on. It requires finding ingenuity in the little things ranging from the conversations one has with the people he/she is often around to having the uncanny ability to spot opportunities while doing some of the most mundane activities. Most importantly, it takes drive to be able to materialize a unique vision into something tangible and real. Which, often at times, many people find incredibly hard to do―especially today’s business leaders.
Many business leaders today usually prefer to consistently create instead of being consistently creative. Which is how innovation typically becomes stifled, and how status quos remain the established standards in all industries and markets.
Here are some of the common ways business leaders often perpetuate the status quo when it comes to leading their companies.
They Copy Competitors To Keep Up With Them
Being creative every day, every week, every month, every quarter or even every year, can be challenging to do. But with the right perspective, it’s not impossible to accomplish.
Unfortunately, many business leaders often don’t see things that way. So the next best thing to do is copy what a competitor may be doing in order to keep up with them, but only do it better.
Ideally it would be great if more business leaders decided to develop new tech devices and apps that didn’t perform the same types of activities some of the major players have already cornered the market on like Uber and Lyft with car sharing; GrubHub and Blue Apron with food delivery services; and Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Box and Dropbox with cloud computing.
There are plenty of other important opportunities out there for business leaders to take advantage of―and more than enough problems to solve―than for them to simply copy what other companies are already doing. Even more so, when those companies are doing those things rather well.
It’s the business leaders who find ways to be creative who will stand out in the eyes and in the views of many, and not the ones who insist on doing the same things every other leader is already doing.
Don’t Continuously Reinvest In Research and Development
It takes patience to see a decent return on any investment that’s made. Which is why it’s important that business leaders invest in as many innovative projects as often as possible to ensure they never miss out on their windows of opportunity to have the right investment pay off―and in a major way. However, that can never happen if a company continues to repurchase its own shares of stock to reduce the amount of outstanding shares available for purchase in order to increase the current value of that company’s stock price. Especially when it’s at the expense of investing in important Research and Development (R&D) projects that would not only help the company’s revenue potential, but that could potentially impact society for the better as well.
For instance, if a company decided to buy back its outstanding stock shares for two consecutive fiscal quarters, they would’ve created a six-month window for their competitors to launch viable startup projects that would enable them to jump ahead of them in that respective industry. Now when you apply that same concept to real world scenarios with companies like IBM, Oracle, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, you come to understand why certain companies became the runaway leaders in cloud computing―and why other companies are way behind trying to play catch up.
Continuously investing in R&D projects may seem like an old school approach even for this day and age, but it’s why the new generation of entrepreneurs, tech companies, and startups alike are winning the war in just about every innovative industry one could possibly think of. Although returning value back to a company’s shareholders in the form of dividends and stock repurchases can be a productive financial engineering maneuver, it can also hurt those same companies a lot more than they realize in the short and in the long-term.
Conservative strategic thinking has often caused a lot of companies to become disrupted and innovated out of the very industries many of them were once leaders in at one time or another. However, it will be the companies that are led by creative strategic leaders that will remain staples in their respective industries for many years to come. Because they were led by the kinds of creative leaders who understood the value of consistently being creative―instead of constantly perpetuating the status quo―in their respective industries.
Click to read part 2 of: Ways Business Leaders Perpetuate The Status Quo