Many businesses these days are shocked by the pace of change in their respective industries. Our digital lives move at a quicker pace than ever before and that means innovations in the way companies do business and the products and services they provide. These changes have been swift and far-reaching, leaving many leaders feeling stunned.

If you feel like your business is tied to a fence post, watching the world go by, maybe it’s time to try to act more like a startup. Here are a few things you can do to increase your company’s agility and ability to innovate.

Hire outside of the box. It could be that your team needs some diversity or just a shot of creativity or competition. Sometimes making a counterintuitive or “out of the box” hire is a great way to challenge the existing culture to create more, do more, and perhaps most importantly ask more questions.

Create side projects. When was the last time you stepped out of your company’s normal routine in an effort to discover something new? Dedicating resources to brand new projects can be a distraction that actually pays dividends in the form of energy and excitement in the office and potential new forms of revenue.

Don’t limit yourself to company problems. Again, try to step outside the box. If you’re only thinking about solving internal problems, you aren’t likely to solve many of the big problems that exist outside the office walls. And though your internal problems might seem like the most pressing, I would argue that the most important thing are the needs of your customers.

Eliminate the red tape. Often, the minute a fresh new idea dies is the minute it has to be documented and approved several times over. Wherever you can, do your best to eliminate red tape. It will make your employees breathe easier and will make your new ideas rise off the ground quicker, as well.

When it comes to making organizational changes, the fear is real. I understand that. But if you try to look the fear in the face and then loosen a few restrictions here or there, you could be pleasantly surprised at some of the results you will encounter. Do you have a story of how stepping outside of the box helped (or hurt) your organization? Share your story in the comments below!

photo credit: Christopher Jacques and Robert Newall – 1934 Maserati 8CM Monoposto at the 2015 Goodwood Revival (Photo 1) via photopin (license)