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Five Bad Habits That Kill Innovation in Your Startup

In the highly-competitive entrepreneurial world, the only way to keep your startup on top of the wave is to rely on constant innovation. Entrepreneurs, who embrace the need for innovation, drive their businesses to success as they manage to outrun the competition.

Innovation is the key success driver yet it isn’t easy to foster innovative thinking within the organization. There are ways for leaders to hearten innovative thinking but first and foremost they need to eliminate the things that kill the innovative spirit in the company starting with these five bad habits that slowly kill creativity:

Bad habit #1: Sticking to the initial plan no matter what – in the fast-changing business world, if you fail to move fast forward, you are doomed. It is good to have a long-term strategy, but you should be flexible when it comes to executing it. Startups should be ready to change direction and pivot when needed. It makes no sense to follow a path that leads to nowhere just because you have planned this road five years ago.

Bad habit #2: Aiming for perfection – perfectionists are the worst entrepreneurs. As Reid Hoffman has said: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” If you wait for everything to be perfect, you will wait forever. There always is going to be something that isn’t right. By looking for perfection, you are limiting yourself to experiment, limiting your creativity and the opportunity to find solutions by doing.

Bad habit #3: Keeping your ideas to yourself – by keeping your ideas to yourself you miss on the opportunity to get a different perspective on the matter. Discuss your ideas and problems with your team members openly – their input is valuable. Talk to other entrepreneurs and share ideas – they understand your journey as they are walking on the same path as you are.

Bad habit #4: Ignoring the customers – the opinion of your customers is extremely valuable. The feedback they give you can help you lead the company in the right direction. By testing new ideas, products, business models and approaches with your customers, you are able to understand what would work in the long run and what wouldn’t.

Bad habit #5: Failing to inspire – entrepreneurs, who fail to inspire their teams, are incapable of driving innovation in their companies. Innovation walks hand in hand with creativity. If the team members aren’t inspired and motivated to share their ideas, they will hold back every time they have something to say. If you don’t listen to their ideas, they will feel discouraged and it is very likely that they will fall into a work routine. If you want your company to be driven by innovation, give your employees the opportunity to share their creative spark.

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