MOMs are multilingual in the sense they seem to understand the different strata of the Corporation speak different languages. The Language Comparison figure illustrates this. Language is an essential element of MOMs credibility. MOM networks fill a critical translation function both horizontally, between various innovation constituencies, and vertically, between low-level Mavericks and senior management. The MOM network also helps people learn to use the vocabulary of a particular domain properly, in effect learning a new vocabulary.
MOMs are adapted at managing risks that are generally outside the tolerances of the established core businesses. With existing businesses the challenge is to do what you did yesterday, only better. Innovation outside the core, on the other hand, jacks up the level of risk a couple of notches. What MOMs do is bring the opportunity or innovation to the point where the risk level becomes acceptable to the receiving business.
MOMs provide encouragement but also kill projects and/or ideas. Unlike the Maverick innovator, they are willing to call the baby ugly.
MOMs and their networks understand the impact of the climate for innovation in the host organization, and adjuster level of transparency or explicitness accordingly. As a climate conditions constantly change, the MOM network both calibrates to or sets a new climate, and takes steps to ensure that innovation remains viable.
MOMs not only have a high tolerance for ambiguity. MOMs use ambiguity is a method of concealment and protection for the innovation. They keep out intruders and/or allow Mavericks time and space to do their homework.
MOMs and their networks demonstrated sensitivity the core business that is matched with an ability to counteract the organizations “gravitational pull”. MOMs demonstrate the ability to honor and respect what is core, e.g., customer, business, competencies, etc., will not being confined by it. This is particularly true when it comes to envisioning how and where the organization might be revitalized.
MOMs have a sense of firm self-worth, the potential value for the innovation to the business. For MOM networks a question of innovation is not “does it fit”. Instead they ask “how can we make this fit”. Finding the answer either changes the innovation, or modifies the organization’s perception of what is core, or both.