Some years ago, the American baseball analyst, Bill James developed six indicators to help him predict whether a team would improve or decline in the following season.
One of them was the The Law of Competitive Balance, which states that teams tend to return to towards a .500 record. We can also call this a regression to the mean.
In a recent article, Danish high performance coach and author, Rasmus Ankersen, took this law into a new perspective for business people urging them to start thinking as losers – especially if they are current winners.
The logic is quite simple: If you feel that you are on top of the game and great at what you do, complacency will soon kick in. You need to stay sharp and this just seems easier to do when you are a challenger rather than a current champion.
I would like to direct this advice to corporate innovation teams in big companies. They might have all the resources needed to bring great products and services to market, but having these resources might also hold them back.
Here you need to have a mindset that makes you think like a challenger rather than the big gorilla. Think about the startups, smaller companies and even bigger competitors that want a piece of your cake. Think of them as if you are losing to them.
Such a different mindset can help bring out new approaches to innovation and if done successfully, this new mindset combined with the resources available really can bring out better innovation to the market faster.
Another piece of advice for such corporate innovators is to establish a BHAG. This is a big hairy audacious goal as defined by Jim Collins and with this I suggest another approach to developing a different kind of thinking.
Too often corporate innovation teams focus too much on the daily job rather than the big picture. They just get things done and even though, they might do a great job on this, they miss out on pushing themselves even harder and better.
My challenge to them is that they should think hard about the legacy that they will leave behind in their current jobs. It can be driven by a simple question: If you and your team only have 3 years in your current job and function, what would you like to be remembered for?
Make a list of three things on this list having in mind that you really need BHAG’s to be remember down the stretch.
So my messages here were that corporate innovators should think like losers and develop BHAG’s. This should a bit odd, but I hope this makes sense and get corporate innovators to think about their innovation efforts.