New executives can lead innovation at family firms by accepting failure as a necessary part of the innovation process, Cornell University innovation expert Allan Filipowicz said at a CKGSB-Cornell University event in New York.
“Innovation is going to be very, very slow,” said Professor Filipowicz, who is the Clinical Professor of Management and Organizations at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell. “You will do something, nothing will happen; you’ll do it again, nothing will happen. And so what happens is we give up, much too soon.”
Companies, he told an audience at the CKGSB Americas learning center, should focus more on process than outcome – no small task. “Process goals are a measure of effort,” Professor Filipowicz said. “We love measuring outcomes. We hate measuring effort.”
Professor Filipowicz’ lecture helped reinforce how family enterprises represent a growing force in the economies of China and other emerging markets. With family-owned businesses expected to represent nearly 40 percent of the world’s large enterprises by 2025, they also come with built-in challenges – developing global leaders for the future of the enterprise and sustaining wealth into the next generation and beyond.
Daniel G. Van Der Vliet, Executive Director of the Smith Family Business Initiative at Cornell, began the presentation by saying that in China and Latin America, it is estimated that 90 percent of businesses are family-owned. In India, 98 percent of businesses have family ownership. In the United States, 70 to 90 percent of businesses are family-owned.
If innovation is important to an emerging leader, then he or she must track daily and weekly how much effort is being put into developing innovation, Professor Filipowicz said. A leader needs to answer these questions: How much time have I spent setting low expectations? How much time have I spent giving people time autonomy? How much time have I spent developing psychological safety, developing a belief in one’s ability to get the job done?
Originally posted in: CKGSB-Cornell Session: Embracing Patience ‘Key’ to Creating an Innovation Culture