I’ve discussed recently how critical it is to tap into the creativity of your employees in order to create new value (for past customers), increased value (for existing customers) and distinct value (for new customers). You can read my latest thoughts here.
At the request of dozens of connections on LinkedIn I wanted to create a summary here for all to access (if we haven’t connected yet on LinkedIn, let’s do so here).
- Shared Vision. It is difficult for employees to add value and be creative if they aren’t 100% on where you are trying to take the business. Share your vision openly and frequently.
- Compelling Future. Along the lines of my point above, it’s not enough just to share where the business is heading, you have to make a compelling case for employees to support the vision. What’s in it for them? Why should they care? How will this be helpful to their families?
- Idealization: Disney is best known for their frequent meetings in which employees are encourage to think “outside the box.” Are you enticing employees to think creatively, asking for their ideas and then acting on (not criticizing) what they share?
- Environment: Along the lines of my point above, if your work atmosphere is one of strict policies and procedures, then the environment is not one in which your employees will be enticed to think creatively. A long-term client of mine overcame this by creating an open area for employees to share their ideas, aptly naming this the “collaboratorium.” Are you creating the right environment for creativity?
- Reinforced Behaviors: If you have created an environment ripe for creativity and you entice employees to share openly, then make sure to react and respond (positively) to any and all ideas. Most banks today have drive-thru windows because at one point or another they decided that if the convenience of drive-thru’s work for fast food, it would also work for banking. Almost sounds ridiculous, but imagine if executives at the banks had been closed minded to the idea? The only way to reinforce a positive behavior is to reward what is shared, not criticize or question.
[Tweet “Whether your employees are being creative or not is solely your responsibility, not theirs.”]
Following the five steps above will enable employees to think creatively, act creatively and ensure that innovation becomes less of a buzz-word and more of a reality for your business.
Want more ideas on how to create and sustain employee innovation? Check-out my new book from McGraw Hill Operational Empowerment: Collaborate, Innovate and Engage to Beat the Competition.
© Shawn Casemore 2016. All rights reserved.