Innovators have high expectations. They expect to succeed and have high expectations of themselves and others. Their employees and others they work with may find them difficult at times because of these high expectations. Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs had employees who said they were extrenely demanding , but as innovators they were driven and successful. This drive for success and demand for perfection made many around them uncomfortable, but you cannot argue with their results. Both were world class innovators.
Vince Lombardi stated, “Perfection isn’t attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” This statement exemplifies what successful innovators do. Though they may never achieve it, they chase perfection. While they don’t catch perfection, they are involved with creation. They create something new, exciting and beneficial.
Here are several areas where innovators have high expectations.
1- Innovators expect to have a successful innovation. – They are driven toward and believe that their idea or invention will become a great innovation. This drive kept them going when they hit obstacles and difficulties.
2- Innovators have high expectations of themselves. – Edison, like most successful innovators, worked non-stop for his innovations. Such successful innovators would put in the necessary hours, regardless of the time demanded. They expected to find solutions to problems they encountered.
3- Innovators have high expectations of others. – They led by example and expected others on their team to contribute to the success of the innovation.
We live in a world where we want instant gratification. We want our questions answered right now. We want results today. Companies must perform today or their stock price will fall. We want innovation now.
In reality the world does not work that quickly. The things that really last in life, take time to build. Innovation takes time. The key to our success may just be having patience, patience with ourselves and with our circumstances. Edison stated it this way, “Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
This video explains how being patient may be the key to our creativity and innovation.
People continue to marvel about Thomas Edison’s impact on society. He not only created new inventions, but he was also truly innovative because he took these products all the way to the consumer. His inventions were amazing, but what separated him from many other inventors was Edison’s ability to create systems necessary for his products to be useful. He invented the phonograph and then created the records for people to listen to. With motion pictures he not only created the projector but he also created the movies that went into the nickelodeon and eventually into theaters. Practical use of electricity was even more challenging. Others had created simple light bulbs, but Edison created a longer lasting light bulb and the system so every house could use it.
History.com has created some new videos on important gadgets in history. Here is the one they created for Edison. It is definitely worth the time to look. To view, Click here.
One of Edison’s most famous quotes is “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Perspiration and work are common themes from Edison. He put in long hours and stayed focused on the project at hand. Edison also expected that those who worked with him and for him would work equally as hard as well.
But Edison was not just focused on the act of working. He also focused on having a plan and executing the plan. If one approach did not work, then he would come up with another one and try it. Edison stated, “Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.” To have value, work has to be focused, planned, and have a purpose.
So ask yourself the question, “Am I just busy or does my work have a purpose?” If you are working hard without focus and purpose, then all your perspiration is just getting you wet.