Stop thinking innovation and do it

What separates the best from the rest? A bias toward action, argues Harvard Business School professor, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author of Confidence and SuperCorp. “Companies heading downhill have passive cultures,” Kanter says. “Unmade decisions pile up. Opportunities are lost. No one wants to risk making a mistake.” In companies with high levels of innovation, in contrast, “people take initiative. They start new things. They don’t wait to be told. They get routine work done efficiently in order to free up the time to get involved in something new”. People in high-productivity environments share similar traits: they understand that small wins matter, they relentlessly chip away at big things, they know perfection is overrated, and they generate energy and momentum through action. “Busy work” often prevents highly capable people from moving forward with plans and ideas, according to Behance founder, Scott Belsky. He calls it “insecurity work” – stuff that we do that has no intended outcome, doesn’t move the ball forward in any way, and is quick enough that you can do it multiple times a day without realising. To combat it, Belsky recommends a combination of awareness, self-discipline, and delegation. “Insecurity work threatens to weigh us down and prevent us from escaping the never-ending ticker of what the world thinks,” he says. “To envision what will be, you must remove yourself from the constant concern of what already is.”

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