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The pace of disruption has required an increase in the pace of innovation.

Unfortunately, the pace of innovation means leaders seem to spend much or all of their time fighting the fires of disruption, slowing your ability to innovate and create. Can you as a leader relate to the situation below?

A strange thing happened Tuesday in the supply chain planning department of ABC Company. Between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., there were no crises, no fires to fight. Everything worked. The leaders took a deep breath, looked up from their computer screens and thought: “What now”? It had been several months since their pants were not on fire.

John checked his LinkedIn account and found 143 messages and 47 invitations to connect. Mary peered into her data science reports that she had not had a chance to review for several months. Bob dove into his file cabinet and eliminated a whole trash can of files. Now, once again, he can file things without his fingers sticking between the folders.

And then there was Anna, who stared out the window and reflected on the old days of 2019 and before. Prior to the advent of perpetual disruption, Anna spent several hours a day trying to innovate and create enhancements in productivity and customer satisfaction. She reached for her innovation folder and discovered that she had not touched it in 9 months.

Do you recall the good old days when you had time to be innovative and creative? When on a regular basis you actually worked on making your company better? That seems like so long ago.

Everybody agrees innovation is important – here are 13 good reasons alone from The Business Journals. And here is some information from Forbes on how to encourage employees to innovate.

But for yourself as a leader, why don’t we just pretend that between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. today (or next Tuesday if today’s calendar is already booked with fires), there are no crises – that we actually have the time to THINK about innovations and how to add value.

I know, a weird thought, but it may be interesting to give it a shot. You may turn an hour of thought into a solution to a problem. Not having that problem next week will actually create two hours for innovation. Just like the good old days.