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Managers will Make or Break Your Corporate Innovation

By August 17, 2022September 7th, 2022No Comments

A surprisingly large number of corporate innovation endeavors fail not because the technology doesn’t work or the market isn’t ready. They fail because responsibility for the new initiative is given to managers who aren’t the right fit for the role. A big part of getting innovation right within a corporation is ensuring you have the right people strategy.

Most often what trips up a new corporate venturing program is its choice of managers. According to Clayton Christensen, more than half of the time the cause for failure is the wrong people were chosen to run the new venture. Part of the problem is we screen for the wrong experiences and attributes. Search committees look for typical characteristics like communication skills, track record of success, results oriented, etc. The presumption is that if they have accomplished these things, they’ll also be successful managing a new venture. Unfortunately, this is a bad assumption and one of the biggest reasons for corporate innovation failure.

When starting up new venture, skills can be very different. The best filters for your new recruits are those that match the necessary experience with the circumstances that are likely to be encountered in the new venture. To implement this, you have to specify the circumstances under which the leaders will be managing and make sure they have experience with those situations specifically.

Most of the time, the managers who have been the best at the core businesses will be the wrong managers for new ventures. HR should always keep a lookout for those managers who are learning the lessons and getting the experience necessary to run new ventures. 

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