Is there a thing such as incompetent innovation directors? Of course. Should a consultant let them know when he or she detects this? Yes. I think so.
The reason for writing this is my recent blog post on Five Types of People Who Kill Innovation in which I included this one:
“Incompetent innovation directors: These people must be able to fulfill the needs of current and future markets. They must be able to bring internal as well as external resources together in order to make this happen. At the same time, innovation directors need to know how to play the political game that is always played in organizations. This is a tough job and there is no room for incompetent people.”
Someone at LinkedIn commented like this:
“Stefan, as an innovation advisor, dare you tell your customers their directors are incompetent or executives don’t get it? – likely, your interlocutor is a director and/or an executive… Beyond seeming rude, you risk these people decide you are not talking about them but about the director of “the other” department, and at the end of the day you would just have added to their internal political imbroglio. So, how do you build an advisory service on top of the knowledge of “people who kill corporate innovation”?”
My response to the comment:
“If you care more about adding value to your customers rather than on your own short-term business situation, then you will of course also have the guts to tell the truth. This can be done in different ways – some more direct than others.”
Innovation directors have tough jobs and I think they value consultants who have integrity and tell the truth if this can help them do a better job. In the end, I believe this approach is better for my customers as well as for my own business in the long run.
What do you think?