While just about every CEO and senior executive of a company pays lip service to innovation, many do not really mean it. They mouth the words--it would be politically incorrect not to embrace innovation--but they do little beyond that.
That's not because they are not good, smart, and highly competent people. It's just that innovation is not a part of their DNA. The majority of executives make it to top positions by being very good operational managers: meeting sales objectives, improving products and services to keep up with competitors, supporting existing customers and acquiring new ones, managing mergers and acquisitions, achieving the required financial results quarter after quarter, and so on. These management jobs are very tough and getting tougher, given our rapidly changing, fiercely competitive, global business environment. Being a good manager takes very hard work, attention to detail, and organizational discipline.
But as executives rise up in the organization, other skills become increasingly important. They need to transition from being a manager to being a leader.
Source: Business Week, http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/aug2008/id20080822_832405.htm?chan=innovation_innovation+%2B+design_top+stories
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