When he became CEO of Motorola in 2004, Ed Zander faced a unique situation. He was in charge of a company that was struggling for competitive success. Even though it was the birthplace of the popular six Sigma approach to quality management, Motorola was struggling to bring compelling new products to market at a time when something new in communications was happening almost every day.
Zander was facing a difficult problem: a historically successful firm with an established culture that was in need of transformational change. He says: “I found it necessary to drive change at Motorola, as the status quo was obviously not delivering the desired results…. I hoped to make Motorola a company that was led more from the out-side –that is, by customers.”
The results spoke for themselves; Zander brought innovation back at Motorola, as evidenced by the popularity of its RAZR mobile phone. One analyst remarked: “Zander instilled new business practices, refocused the company’s attention on customers, and shook up a stodgy corporate culture that had put the future of the venerable Chicago-area-based conglomerate in doubt.”
When asked to describe his leadership approach as Motorola’s innovator-in-chief, Zander offered these comments during an interview with BizEd Magazine.
“Companies that don’t innovate don’t survive, and leaders who don’t innovate are replaced by those willing to take risks. The key to success is to drive innovation.”
“To succeed, companies must set clear innovation goals, select the right ideas for development, and create an agile organization to drive ongoing innovation,”
“So when a company reaches the height of its success, a good leader will shake things up by ‘breaking’ the business.”
“Drive innovation by moving people around. Changing the company’s organizational structure allows different people to interact and new, innovative ideas to take shape.”
“Successful corporate leaders need to be willing to make big bets. Sometimes you...