If you want innovation, check your budget.
As leaders or owners, we must ensure that we have budgets in place to keep the belt tight if we want a culture of innovation and process improvements.
Everyone likes to talk about a good game of Lean or Six Sigma, but in a practical sense, when the belt is loose, we tend to eat until it’s tight. In my experience working in a manufacturing company and in my coaching practice, I see that those with endless pocketbooks tend to be more frivolous with “waste”.
When I coach people, I find that budgeting is an ignored concept or poorly managed. In many cases, debt and endless cash streams are weakening them, and they don’t see it. Wasteful spending leaves them wondering why they are bleeding money and see no way out but the need for more money.
As a team member of an organization, if every time I ask for more budget, I get it, why should I care about being more focused on process improvements? If you want a culture of innovation and creativity, especially with process improvements, there needs to be a culture of budgets and restraints too.
Consider it from a more personal perspective if you still don't believe me. If you are a parent who never gives limits to your child, are you shocked that they lack more innovation and creativity? I remember being raised in a single-car family, yet I found ways to consistently get where I needed to be. I would get around by bike, friends' parents, siblings, bus, skateboard, and sometimes just my two feet.
The point is, I figured it out.
I easily could have played the victim card and spent my childhood in my room, making it my parents’ problem, but I figured it out. I probably did whine a time or two (actually, I know I did); but all the complaining in the world wasn’t going to change the situation.
Just like in my personal example, if your team wants to go somewhere, they will figure out how to get there with what you give them.
So, keep your budget correctly sized. You’ll thank yourself later when your profits grow and, more importantly, when you see your team and organization being more productive with what they have.