Industry Expert Offers Tips On How Employers Can Foster a Team of Problem-Solvers and Micro Innovators
Today’s business leaders may be familiar with the myths surrounding business innovation. Some even believe the art of innovating is a rare talent and that cultivating fresh ideas always requires support from the outside.
However, the ability to think creatively can be achieved by anyone who has the right framework in place, as well as thoughtful guidance and leadership. In fact, fostering the ability to innovate — along with encouraging an environment where innovation can prosper — can send an organization down a path to fresh discoveries, new ideas, and tremendous successes.
The truth is, every leader and staff member is capable of contributing valuable ideas, and each person has creative potential. Yet, when employees are required to complete daily tasks that can feel mundane, they often cease paying attention to their authentic, innovative flow.
Some team members may even think they aren’t innately creative, which couldn’t be further from the truth! In these scenarios, business leaders must realize that those employees who assume a lack of personal creativity may merely need a little hand-holding at the start. With some guidance and time, they will create a habit of utilizing these vital skills and be well on their way to developing their creative potential.
Ultimately, this strategy can help team members gain the right level of confidence to innovate and go above and beyond their daily tasks.
Understand the Value of Good Employee Relations and Communication
To encourage creativity and innovation, it’s essential to establish a framework that gradually extracts creativity. It is vital to remind team members that their ingenuity is a priority, but you must also realize that it’s up management to nurture a culture that encourages workers to think outside of the box.
The more business leaders can open their minds to the visualization of the opportunities in front of them, the better the chances they can see it and act on it. To take it a step further, the more leaders train staff in outside-the-box-thinking, the more they will see the endless possibilities for success.
The more time you spend educating staff about the advantages of teamwork and collaborations, the more it will prompt teams to see things from a different perspective. I can tell you plenty of stories where millions of dollars have been dedicated to solving a problem only to discover what was implemented was proven obsolete in a short time. The reasons for these types of flops are almost always traced to a failure by management to seek other alternatives or include all organizational stakeholders, internally and externally, in the decision-making process.
A Simple Way to Start: Ask “Why?”
By asking “why” when making decisions, leaders will be amazed at the opportunities that can be uncovered. For example, perhaps one team is on the receiving end of an important proposal. If they take any of the facts presented as “true” facts, they leave themselves open to failure in some form. The “facts” presented are merely what were understood by those presenting.
But was the homework actually done, and can another stakeholder review these facts and verify them to be true? Did those creating the proposal consult and seek input from all stakeholders, inside and outside the company? Often, there is specialized knowledge waiting to be tapped into if we simply look outside our immediate circle.
This method of asking “why” does not foster doubt or mistrust — rather, it encourages teams to carefully think things through and ask themselves hypothetical questions before drawing any firm conclusion. In other words, it allows employees to become better trained through a more in-depth search for knowledge.
Business leaders often gravitate towards those who “can just do it”— the ones that seem to never let barriers get in the way. These employees see what can be done and push aside the obstacles that others often stumble over.
Keep in mind that every manager, in every type of business, has made decisions that could have been better. In fact, sometimes, the decisions were downright terrible. However, unless someone steps up and shares their honest opinion regarding how an issue could be changed for the better, poor decision-making will continue.
You must encourage employees to choose to be an active, creative part of the solution that can improve the organization and ensure the facts are correct. Whether it’s a truck driving position, an entry-level office role, or a management position, the ability an employee has to add value to a business is the same.
Ultimately, asking “why” and choosing to be part of the solution makes a difference in how opportunities are viewed and recognized, and then, in turn, acted upon.
Ask yourself: Do my employees take the opportunity to be a positive agent of change in their current position? Often the decision is already in their subconscious mind — they merely need to be proactive, make their plan, and act upon it.
The Bottom Line
Today’s business leaders can choose to be the person others want to work for, or the person companies want to keep. It is always a choice. If management is not willing to invest in their employees, they will not see positive outcomes. If they do not try, or if they give up after little effort, the results are sure to be nil.
Fortunately, leaders and employees alike can progressively learn and foster the necessary skills to generate value-added solutions to help any organization evolve as a more-effective operation via outside-the-box thinking, creativity, and innovation.
Kim Lorenz is an author, entrepreneur, and visionary who founded two companies starting at age 26 with zero backing. He went on to sell both to Fortune 500 companies before he was 47. Kim cuts through the noise of becoming a tech millionaire and demonstrates the work it takes to build multi-million-dollar industrial-strength companies.
His expertise can be accessed through his most recent book, ”Tireless: Key Principles that Drive Success Beyond Business School”. In this upbeat, inspirational business memoir, Lorenz shows readers how to take advantage of the opportunities surrounding them, proving that “luck” is when preparation meets opportunity. Get inspired, see hidden opportunities, and learn from true business stories that aren’t taught in business school. Tireless is a testimony to those who strive for prosperity in both in business and in life.
“Tireless” is available at book retailers across the country and on Amazon.K