Terrible Innovator No. 5: The Defeatist

The following is the latest excerpt from Innovation and the Future Proof Bank. I identify six archetypal innovation employees you should watch out for, and the fifth is “The Defeatist”.  From Chapter 9:

If you got to choose the kind of bad innovator you hired by mistake, you’d want the defeatist. The only danger that comes from having a defeatist innovator is that you have to carry the headcount without getting any return. The reason? The defeatist will look at any new thing and be so overwhelmed by navigating the institution to get success they are unable to do anything at all.

These are the individuals whose first response to any innovation is ‘that’s too innovative for us’. The problem of course, is that the defeatist doesn’t have the correct amount of influence to get what-ever-it-is accepted, and for some reason is unable to admit it.

Now, although the defeatist doesn’t burn influence (as they probably won’t get up enough courage to see anyone), they are insidious because they drag down all the good performers as well. Innovation is a tough game, and requires a great deal of self confidence and poise: after all, the innovator is going to face rejection far more than he or she will have successes. A positive outlook is essential. Having someone in the team who is negative just takes energy away from the main effort.

I’ll post the last archetype, “The Cowboy” on Monday, before I go on Christmas break.

Previous terrible innovators:

Reprinted from Innovation and the Future Proof Bank, published by John Wiley & Sons. Copyright 2009.

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