Management

Gladwell: Innovation Rewards Patience, Not Haste

There are two types of innovators: conceptual and experimental.

November 11, 2013
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"The key issue with innovation is not haste, it's patience," Malcolm Gladwell told attendees at BAI's Retail Delivery Conference in Denver on Wednesday. "The innovation race is not to the swift; the innovation race is to the patient."
 
Gladwell, a staff writer for The New Yorker, wrote bestsellers such as "The Tipping Point" and "Blink."  
 
Gladwell traced the history of the rock band Fleetwood Mac as an example of perseverance and success in a very competitive market. "Few people know the band struggled through 10 years of trial and error before their album 'Rumors' sold 19 million copies and remains the fifth or sixth best-selling album of all time," Gladwell says.
 
"The median amount of time required for a product idea to go from conception to widespread adoption is 45 years," he says.
 
Gladwell believes in the 10,000-hour rule, which he likens to an apprenticeship period where a certain level of mastery is required to be creative and innovative. "The process of producing something significant is a good deal more protracted than we think," he says.
 
He described two types of innovators: conceptual innovators who have an immediate impact with their radical ideas, and experimental innovators who move through a much longer period of trial and error.
 
"Conceptual innovators are relatively rare," Gladwell says. "Your financial institution should promote an environment where experimental innovation can take place."
 
Gladwell also delivered a keynote address at CUNA's 2013 America's Credit Union Conference in New York.
 

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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