It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult. ~ Seneca
Organizations that drive innovation, and feed people’s creativity to think in new and challenging ways, reward risk-taking to create new boundaries. And although leaders often realize the importance of creating a culture of innovation and creativity, their day-to-day actions and reactions to the business side of things can communicate the contrary. For creativity to be a norm, people require time and space, which can quickly be compromised in any fast-paced, bottom-line driven environment. Instead of lifting the talented rebels (who were hired to catapult the company forward), leaders can put people in a position to protect the status quo, favoring basic levels of control and compliance.
It’s unfortunate, but creativity is more often stifled than sustained. Even in organizations that do well with innovation, creative minds can learn quickly that real risk-taking will only be questioned to death. Unless leaders are truly willing to support and reward risk-takers, most people will succumb to conventional thinking. In most cultures, the risk, then, becomes in taking risks versus the other way around.
The problem is that without innovation and the freedom to explore, human capacity is diminished and workforce engagement is stemmed. No one enjoys working in a stale environment with the humdrum of tedium. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right focus on creativity, leaders can bring innovative ideas to the surface. It starts with a creativity framework for growth through reflection and change.
Challenge Yourself–TPA: A Framework for Growth Through Reflection
Think: When was the last time someone presented an idea that contradicted the current program of work? What is your general response to discord and objection? When someone does take a risk, do you admonish, ignore, or reward it? If you want others to stick their necks out for the sake of doing things differently, you have to do the same.
Plan: Pick one initiative, activity, or program that needs new life breathed into it. Assemble a team of people and push their thinking to make improvements. Then, support the ideas they generate. Being supportive of new ideas is the way that leaders model their expectations for creativity, not necessarily by having new ideas themselves.
Act: Be sure to reward risk-taking by being vocal and supportive of the people who push the existing conditions. You cannot just “allow” creative people to exist, they need explicit support. Next time someone has a new idea, use public praise to back them up.
Stay tuned for more challenges, reflection questions, leadership models, podcasts, and more by following theschoolhouse302.com. It’s our job to curate, synthesize, and communicate so that you can lead better and grow faster. In a world plagued by nothing but noise, we help you by getting to simple.