Creating the culture
What does an innovative culture look like?
I've worked in dull, boring, life-sucking environments that made me question my very existence. Maybe you have too. I remember thinking "is there something wrong with me?" while watching others, who had been there long before me, go through the motions day by day, seemingly content. Meanwhile, I'm dying inside, silently screaming to collaborate, try something new, solve some kind of difficult problem. That kind of setting is death to me!
On the other hand, I've work in collaborative situations where everyone was on the same page or at least headed in a similar direction. We might all hold differing opinions on how to get there exactly and might even argue about the correct path. But, after the discussions have ceased, the diagrams have been drawn, and our brains have stormed, we have a beautiful solution that works! It's something we're proud of and can defend if necessary. We're tired, but satisfied. At least for a moment..
Is it possible to transform a dead culture into a living, more innovative version? Of course it is, but not without a leadership transformation. I've discovered that leaders of innovative cultures possess these key qualities:
- innovative leaders engage their employees regularly
- they support their people by removing obstacles and acquiring the tools they need to be effective
- they're able to unearth and develop the talents of others
- they put the right person in the right role
- they give creative freedom while also providing direction when necessary
- innovative leaders stay positive no matter what the situation
When these key qualities are present in leadership, they'll naturally spread to rest of the team.
People rarely rise above the example of their leaders.
My leader isn't like this.. is there any hope?!
This doesn't mean that if your manager or leader isn't innovative, you're a lost cause. YOU can become that innovative example your team (and leader) needs! You can possess that contagious, innovative spirit and others will recognize that spirit within you and might even catch on!
Let's sum it up.
To be innovative is to do everything you do, small and large, with a passion to do it better than it has previously been done.
Innovation stems from an innovative character, one that is empathetic, insightful, and driven to do the right thing for the right reason.
An innovative culture is one where people are collaboratively doing what they're good at and are given the creative freedom and proper tools to do it.