I was chatting with a friend a few days ago and he made an interesting statement.  He said “As you know, I never accept the status quo.  I am always looking for the best way to get it done – not the same way.”

And then I was presenting one of my keynote speeches last week in St. Louis and I heard myself say the same thing but in a completely different context.  “Be different.  The only way to get ahead these days is to stand out in the crowd.”

The message seems pretty similar. Innovate to get it done.  Innovate to get ahead.  Innovate to succeed.

Today is different.  Our markets are more competitive, job opportunities are tougher to find and the next contract is not falling from the sky like it used to.  Our stakeholders, customers and employers are asking “What else have you got?”.

Today, more than ever, it is essential to innovate for success.

Innovate your career.  Look at all of your peers and ask yourself “What are they not?  What can I be that will pull me away from this crowd?”.  I was telling the St. Louis project management crowd that the tick-box project manager is gone.  The traditional ‘Build it on time, on budget and in scope’ is old school.  Innovate by thinking beyond your project, asking yourself and others “Why are we doing this and where is the business value?”  Innovate by exploring the world of tomorrow now: blockchain, AI, digital transformation, Fintech and more. This is where the new wave of projects are coming from.  Innovate by learning how to be more than just a project manager.

Innovate your thinking. My “I never accept the status quo” friend has a reputation for the way he thinks.  As a lawyer and ‘consultant’ to all of his clients, he made it his mission to find the right way to a solution.  The right way for the current scenario and for the current day – not the right way for yesterday. Times change and you have to keep up.

Innovate your organization.  Get involved in the creation of new processes, new methodologies and maybe even new products and services.  The innovative organization of today will live for a tomorrow.  The organization that accepts “This is the way we always do it” will be gone tomorrow.  Which one do you want to work for?

Innovate your life.  Is this it?  Is this where you really want to be?  Is this the path you really want to be on?  Life is very short and, I promise, you will kick yourself at my age if you are saying “I wish I had tried something different” or “I wish my life had taken a different path”.  Fix it now.  Innovate.

Your career, your day-to-day approach to things, your contribution to your organization, your life:  success will come from innovation and to the innovative.


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