Leadership e-Tip 11: Creating a Culture of Innovation 

PMc Consulting Leadership e-Tip 11

As an associate of Integro Leadership Institute, I would like to share with you these thoughts about leadership.

Creating a Culture of Innovation

What does innovation mean in your team or organization? For teams or companies involved in research and development or quality improvement, the answer may be obvious. But it isn’t obvious for those that do the same work week in, week out; month in, month out.

Everyone has thoughts about how things could be improved – they see things that could be changed, fixed or improved that would make work easier, would make more sense, or achieve better results. Most people just don’t call this innovation.

Part of the reason they don’t call it innovation is they think everyone else can see it too. They don’t realize that other people don’t see things the same way they do, and they may think that no one is interested in their ideas anyway.

As a leader you can tap into your people’s creativity and resourcefulness to make sure their ideas don’t go to waste. But first you need to believe that they do have ideas worthy of being heard, and then create the opportunity for them to speak up.

Pink Bat: from Simple Truths has a great message about innovation.

Pink Bat by Michael McMillan: Whiteboard Video

An effective way to encourage your people to be innovative is to divide them into small groups of 3 or 4 people, and ask them this question:

What have you noticed that if changed, fixed or improved would increase our organization’s or team’s performance? To get the best results from this exercise:

  • Give each team member large Post-It® notes and a sharpie pen to write down their own ideas first, rather than call their ideas out.
  • Post their ideas on a flip chart or wall so they can be sorted into topics.
  • Ask team members to volunteer to take responsibility for goals identified and form sub-groups do develop and implement plans.

When you do this on a regular basis, at least every other month, team members start to pay more attention to what they are seeing, and take ownership for continually improving the team’s performance.

I encourage you to reflect on the following questions.

  • What am I doing to encourage people to be innovative?
  • Am I open to the suggestions from employees at all levels?
  • What impact would innovative employees have on our organization?

If you feel your answers indicate a need for change, or if you have any questions / concerns please call or email me, 616-446-5075. or pinky@pmcconsulting.net

Wishing you success in the days ahead,

Pinky McPherson