A culture of innovation has been an overused concept over the past years. In fact, it’s been in many organizations a lips service rather than a living culture. It’s been an end goal rather than a mean to achieve that goal. Often, leaders just don’t know how to innovate because of fear of failure. They contribute to create a culture of obstacles as opposed to a culture of openness.
It’s Positive Energy at Work
In order to transform your working environment from the fearing stage to the action mode stage, you need positive energy. Very much alike going to the gym, in order to feel energetic, you need to exercise at least three times a week, eat healthy diet to provide good nutrition to your body, and set aside time each day to reflect on your negative thoughts that day. In order to initiate change, think about how you can turn a negative thought into a positive. For example, instead of saying “this is too hard”, say “let’s give it a shot”. Allow room for mistakes and celebrate successes.
Create a positive environment by adding light or happy art and positive sayings. Treat your employees well. Don’t gossip. Look at how you can serve others, help your coworkers and add something positive to your environment.
Earn the Right to Press the Pause Button
We are surrounded by digital, whether it’s the Apple watch, the Google glasses or the Fitbit, notwithstanding our cell phone (commonly known as an extension of ourselves). There are no rules to prevent us from putting these devices on pause. Similarly, when you are working on making changes in order to keep up with the fast pace of change, give yourself permission to pause. We’ve all heard before: “sometimes you need to pause in order to move forward”. If you don’t do this, sometimes life will push the button for you. Pausing to ask yourself what, how, and why you are doing things can be exactly what you need in order to resume forward progress.
It’s A Matter of Skills Set
Often, skillset is the challenge to create a culture of innovation. Leaders must have the skills to listen, to draw people out, think about things, before they start adding or changing. Most importantly leaders must begin to own the change themselves and then, innovation can become much more widespread.
The same skills are useful to learn in a multicultural environment. However, they will be used differently across cultures. For example, a client of mine originally from Thailand will not say “I need this to be done” bur rather “it would be nice to do this. Therefore, if you don’t know this cultural trait, you will not understand the request. In today’s world, it is an essential skill to learn about different cultures in order to manage them right and ensure they are engaged in the change. As opposed to be perceived as obstacles.
Training is an Important Step
Your employees will need to learn how to innovate. You need to get excellent performance out of your team members while helping them grow. An effective training method is to provide real situations that will require innovative thinking. As such, innovation is not just a concept but through true examples, employees get the fast way to be innovative.
Provide the means and the support to move from the training space to the real life. Instead of fearing failure, your employees will learn from testing. Stay close to the outcomes and make sure you reward the successes. Your employees will feel empowered and will recognize their value-added to the organization.
It’s so much easy to create a culture of obstacles! Conversely, it is a lot harder than creating a culture of innovation. However, by following these above steps, you will develop a framework for a sustainable innovative culture.