Implementing New Ideas

Innovation's Dirty Little Secret

Innovation and working through big changes is an important part of business and ministry. But every good idea doesn't succeed. In fact, more new business ventures, big changes in strategy, and even church plants fail than succeed. Larry Osborne, Senior Pastor of North Coast Church in San Diego, CA, talks about the importance of recognizing the high odds of failure in order to do the things that will increase the odds of success and lower the pain of failures that can come along the way. 

Larry Osborne has served as Senior Pastor at North Coast Church since 1980. He is an author and nationally-recognized trainer of pastors. His books include Accidental Pharisees, 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe, and Innovation's Dirty Little Secret

Even the best ideas fail if they are instituted at the wrong time, in the wrong place or in the wrong way. What was a new venture, ministry or big change that you've implemented? Did it succeed or fail? Why? Do you think it failed on merit or implementation?
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Larry said that an exit strategy is just as important as an implantation strategy. What is a new venture, ministry or big change that you're trying to implement now? How have you worked through issues that allow you to prepare for a graceful way out? What are the indicators that show you need to shut it down? How would you communicate if things go slower than expected? What are the indicators the cause you to keep going even thought things are slow? How would you communicate if you need to shut the project down and go back to the old way?
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Larry mentioned the three types of failures that render a leader powerless, called Leadership Felonies because they change everything:
  1. High profile failure - Your failure is so well known, that you'll never get another chance.
  2. Over-hyped failure - The more you hype an idea up, the more you'll lose if it fails.
  3. Repeated failures - You always have a new idea and you lose credibility.

Larry noted that most people don't have to go through a high profile failure. But how do you talk about new ideas? How are you over-hyping it? When are you using less threatening verbiage like "experimenting" and "trial run"? What needs to change?
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Larry referred to the "conference junkie," who always comes back with another new idea. Do you tend to regularly pitch big new ideas, but not think them through? What needs to change?
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Every company, organization or church needs innovation for long-term success. Recognizing the high odds of failure and preparing for potential failure is one of the most powerful ways that successful serial innovators innovate. 

To read more about bringing creativity and stability to an organization, you can find Innovation's Dirty Little Secret by Larry Osborne here