Courage, awareness of trends, and thinking outside of your own box, work well when pushing innovation and getting new ideas at the individual level, but are tough to get to scale past just a few people.
Group think, social proofing, ego driven statements, fear based responses, body language cueing and other forms of involuntary people management begin to kick in when a groups gets to be larger than four members.
Which is why understanding your own conflict style, your own communication approach, and being clear on your own goals (not at the expense of understanding and listening to others’ goals though) becomes the bedrock of innovative action.
Don’t believe me?
Try this: The next time you’re in a meeting with the “smartest” people in your department, your division, your company, or your organization, say nothing (or little) and instead watch how they respond to each other.
How they subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) manage each other.
And if the group is larger than four people, watch even closer.
Watch how “good” ideas become mired in indecision, vagueness, and lack of forward motion.
And then, wonder to yourself: “How can I make this situation better the next time?”