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Your Third Step Toward Creating an Innovative Climate: Ask

(It’s simple to do and costs you nothing!)

Continuing with our blog series on Creating an Innovative Climate, here’s where you are: Your employees now care about their company, and you’ve been bold enough to trust them with what you were thinking would happen, how it might happen and how you are doing against your original plan. The stage is now set for you to expand the intellectual bandwidth being applied to crafting the future of the company. There are few companies out there that couldn’t use more human thought. So, what’s the secret to getting more people involved? All you have to do is ASK! Your employees are waiting for this. In fact, they have been thinking about this since you began to trust them.

Remember in step one when we learned that one of the major questions an employee asks themselves in a company is “Am I important here?” Why do you think online gaming is so popular? It presents a chance for players to solve challenges and feel engaged in a scenario. Here is your chance to share the game-board and illustrate the challenges facing the company. Ask them to examine the game-board and give you feedback as to the strategy, the tactics, and the predicted outcome of the game called business. This is a big step toward transforming to a more meaningful relationship with them and optimizing your human performance bandwidth. In the big scheme of things, you have done two very critical things:

  1. You have made people know and feel that they are important
  2. You have relieved yourself of the burden of being a genius or a psychic (odds are you are neither)

Also, think about extending this new personal relief to other areas of the enterprise. Acknowledge that there are people in your organization with “PSC” (Problem Solving Capacity) that may be better than your PSC in some areas. Doing this will establish in your organization that different perspectives don’t need to lead to arguments, but often lead to better solutions through trustful sharing of those perspectives. You probably are already doing this with some things you don’t find you have the expertise or time for. You do this to relieve yourself of the burden (see #2 above). Start thinking about important areas where your PSC isn’t the best and you could use some relief. Let people volunteer to be part of teams where their gifts are aligned to your challenges.

Hint Note 1: When you start asking, don’t confuse inputs from your extroverts as genius. They are usually the first to speak up, which means they have thought about it the least. The quiet geniuses will give you more thoughtful inputs and will have ironed out some of the wrinkles in their ideas ahead of time. I don’t mean ignore the extroverts, they are a good source of energy and theatre, and often have great contributions that need introvert calibration.

Hint Note 2: The previous steps in this blog series should be implemented in order. This step must be implemented in concert with the next step or your relationship will revert back to a transactional one. The parallel step is a mechanism to show that you actually LISTEN to caring/trusted/thinking employees.

P.S. Cost of Asking: Zero…… But, cost of not listening – HUGE!

Note: This post is the third step in a blog series authored by Rite-Solutions co-founder Jim Lavoie about Simple Steps to Creating an Innovative Climate in Your Organization. The preceding post in the series is Your Second Step Towards Creating an Innovative Climate: Trust. The next post is Your Fourth Step Towards Creating an Innovative Climate: Listen.

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