The ability to be creative and think outside of the box is fundamental in today’s more challenging and competitive business landscape. Organizations today are looking for business professionals who have the ability to lead through innovation. Innovation is the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs. This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments, and society. In order for organizations to stay fresh and up to date they need individuals who are able to innovate and inspire new products or ideas. CEO of HCL Technologies, Vineet Nayar, is most notably known for his approach to leading innovation and transforming his at-risk IT services company into a global leader. By examining Nayar's innovation model, and that of other leaders like him, we can learn more about the skills and behaviors of such leaders and how they prepare their organizations to be more innovative. In this essay, the author will analyze research studies conducted on leaders of innovation and expound on the discovery skills of successful leaders in innovation.
In the article, Strategic leadership for the 21st Century, the premise of the article is based on the notion that the 21st century was predicted by scholars to bring a highly competitive and challenging landscape in the business community. Scholars and practitioners alike argued that managers would be required to think creatively and be more innovative in developing a vision for their organizations in order to survive the changing and more challenging competitive landscape. The first decade of the 21st century was one of significant turbulence in American history. The key to thriving in the business community during this triumphant period in America’s history and even now today, is for individuals in the business community to take initiative and use their inherent capability to think creatively and be innovators in their field. Hitt et al. (1998) and Ireland and Hitt (1999) described the capabilities needed for effective strategic leadership in the new competitive landscape expected for the 21st century; all of the following traits were exhibited by Nayar at HCL Technologies. They argued that effective strategic leaders had to: (1) develop and communicate a vision, (2) build dynamic core competencies, (3) emphasize and effectively use human capital, (4) invest in the development of new technologies, (5) engage in valuable strategies, (6) build and maintain an effective organizational culture, (7) develop and implement balanced controls, and (8) engage in ethical practices (Hitt, Haynes and Serpa, 2010). The five discovery skills that comprise an innovator’s DNA are associating, questioning, observing, networking and experimenting (Dyer, Gregersen & Christensen, 2011). A leader who is supporting innovation within an organization should inspire team members to develop these five discovery skills. Society’s general consensus is that the ability to think creatively and be a leader through innovation is genetic and one must be born with the gift. Innovators are supposedly right-brained, meaning that they are genetically endowed with creative abilities. Most of the population is left-brained and more logical, linear thinking individuals. Though everyone may not have the natural ability to think outside of the box, everyone has some capacity for creativity in terms of how they proceed in their business practices. In the article, “How I did it: A Maverick CEO Explains How He Persuaded His Team to Leap into the Future,” CEO of HCL Technologies, Vineet Nayar, explains the aforementioned title. Nayar had to use innovative thinking to persuade other top dogs in his company that HCL Technologies needed to make strategic changes in their business practices in order to better position the organization for success in the future....
References: 1. Dyer, J., Gregersen, H., & Christensen, C. M. (2011). The innovator’s DNA: Mastering the five skills of disruptive innovators. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.
2. Nayar, V. (2010). A Maverick CEO Explains How He Persuaded His Team to Leap into the Future. Harvard Business Review, 88(6), 110–113.
3. Hitt, M. A., Haynes, K. T., & Serpa, R. (2010). Strategic leadership for the 21st century. Business Horizons, 53(5), 437–444.
4. Doyle, M., & Smith, M. (2001). Classical Leadership. Retrieved from the encyclopedia of informal education: http://www.infed.org/leadership/traditional_leadership.htm
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