Getting the Boss to listen

One of our innovation crazed MBA students, Pete Smith, commented on my recent post about good ideas and no follow up. In his internship this summer, he’s getting great exposure to some very senior folks (CEO!!) at a large established company that’s completely focused on R&D but acknowledges that they have little incubation capability. They ream every last drop out of slowing markets….

Poor Pete (our energized student) could barely restrain himself…but he needled that senior leader just a bit. Couldn’t help it. Had to. He’s learned about the need to think further out than next quarter, or next year, or the next three years. And he knows how to incubate new businesses. I’ve seen him do it twice already.

On the other hand, he’s dealing with having to be diplomatic, and that’s a critically important lesson. When to ease up. How to deliver the message in a manner that senior leaders can hear it. Sometimes it takes awhile. Sometimes you have to be painfully loud, but other times that’s just not the right approach.

So Pete….the grade is A. You knew the answer, and you knew that now was not the time or place to deliver it. Change in organizations takes time. We chip away at some of them bit by bit. But others get it today. So Pete and his colleagues in MBA programs have to decide: Do I want to work at a place that already gets it and is trying to steam forward…or do I want to work at a place where I can leverage what I’ve learned to educate my bosses??????? It’s all good, and it’s all necessary.

See you in a couple of weeks Pete!

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