The ways in which you communicate with your team can show you whether you evoke fresh and new ideas in them, or throw them completely off course.
If you’re serious about setting your company up for success in the long run, it’s essential that you foster a true innovation culture. Oftentimes, when you’re too focused on the numbers and keeping your head above water, you might unintentionally end up blocking the ideas you need to thrive as a CEO or business owner. No, there’s no exact formula to unleash your team’s inner innovation drive; but there are steps you can take to set your company up for creativity and fresh ideas. Next up I’ll be discussing five mistakes that you should avoid when trying to identify innovation opportunities.
How you communicate with your team can truly make a massive difference when trying to create a culture of innovation. Don’t be so quick to shut down ideas with comments such as: “That does not make sense for our company.” Rather, practice using more open-ended questions, like: “How do you think we could apply that to our company?” If you need to disagree thereafter, make sure you do it constructively.
Let’s suppose a certain solution happens to be way over budget, don’t disregard it by just saying something like: “We do not have the budget.” Foster new ways of finding solutions by asking: “If money happened to be an issue, in what other ways could you apply a similar approach?”
By making use of the right kind of language, you can start to encourage an environment that is open to innovation and creative collaboration.
When your team is overloaded with work and has no “free time”, thinking and acting innovatively becomes considerably harder. Designate time for your employees to work on other projects that excite them, or to learn new skills.
It’s a known fact that team-building exercises tend to ease the working environment and create a more vibrant atmosphere all round. In addition, this improves the flow of ideas. Think fun mixers or volunteering events, outside of work If you plan at least one team-building event every month, you’ll undoubtedly see the interoffice friendships flourish. Generally, when team members trust each other more, they’re more willing to collaborate and share their ideas.
There are some really useful collaboration tools out there, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. These are a fantastic way to share ideas around the office, or even across multiple offices! Make sure that you create some kind of a channel. for fresh ideas, and different one for “problems”. What may be an issue in one office could very well have already been solved in another one.
The moment people begin sharing ideas, make sure that you comment — or, at the least, just react with a “thumbs-up” emoji. If you engage in simple actions like these, you and your fellow leaders will motivate your team to share even more!
If you have too many layers of approval in tow, your business won’t be as flexible as ones where there is more exercise of freedom. So, what can you do to combat this? Well, try simplifying your organisational structure, or removing any unnecessary approval processes that you can suss out. This will allow for more people to feel empowered and share their ideas.
The bottom line is that there is no Holy Grail for innovation. Having said that, as a business owner you are in a unique position to create a culture of openness and collaboration that allows innovation to skyrocket! You can set examples through your language and your participation in office activities; and make sure you praise any ideas that come to the fore!
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