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8 guidelines for new ventures

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  1. Forget how you’ve done things before. Borrow new ideas and learn by trial and error. You’ve got to be willing to leverage your team’s raw power.

  2. Unknown factors will trip you up, no matter how much advance work you do, so your success depends on your team’s eagerness to learn and adapt.

  3. Every group wants to cling to its orthodoxy, even in a new environment. You need to operate in fundamentally different ways.

  4. Overcome institutional memory (“We tried that once …”) by building from scratch, with new staff, systems and culture.

  5. Keep ties healthy between an offshoot and the core group. Pay attention to sources of tension, particularly budgets.

  6. Your enterprise needs its own planning process. The parent organization’s norms will just mess things up.

  7. Hold the new endeavor accountable for learning, not results.

  8. Take charge of strengthening your team’s basic skills in forgetting the past, borrowing new ideas and learning.
—Adapted from 10 Rules for Strategic Innovators, Vijay Govindarajan, Chris Trimble, Harvard Business School Press.

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