Over the past few weeks I've had a number of clients ask me a similar question, how can we tap into the hidden brain power that lies within our organization? How do we nurture and harvest the best ideas? Given that every single industry is navigating their fair share of change, its more important than ever for leaders to find ways to tap into the collective consciousness of their organization. The days of a single leader or a small group of leaders coming up with all the ideas and predicting every disrupter will no longer suffice. Bottom-line, the world is moving too fast.
Below are three quick ideas to help you unlock the power of your people.
Invite Everyone to have a Seat at the Table First and foremost we have to create a culture we’re people feel like their voice matters and that their ideas will be heard. How much responsibility do you give your people? Do you trust them? If you treat people like leaders, they’ll step up like leaders. Treat them as subordinates, and they’ll act like subordinates.
At the Ritz Carlton Hotel and the Four Seasons, associates such as bellhops and housekeepers are given substantial amounts of cash to use freely at their discretion to create a memorable guest experience. A beautiful example of this was during a wedding at one of the Ritz Carlton resorts when a disabled guest wasn’t able to access the beach where the wedding was taking place. A staff member had an idea to build a platform so she could watch. It cost hundreds of dollars but it made the guest feel special and no doubt left a very favorable impression of the brand.
Celebrate Failure Corporations’ number one priority is the bottom line. We judge people by their results. Did they meet the target? Did they make the numbers? Quantity often overrides quality. But this pressure to perform keeps people from stepping up for fear of failure to meet expectations. If you want your people to offer ideas and take a risk, then it’s vital to praise efforts, not just results. Research at Stanford has shown that when people are praised for intentional, value added effort, they are much more likely to take more initiative and stretch themselves than when praised only for results. Praising a well-intentioned failure might pave the way for the next success.
Breakdown Silos It's easy to fall into a silo and only talk to and work with people within your own department. If your company is growing quickly or has several offices or remote workers, some employees might not even recognize each other — but it's essential that they know and engage with one another. Whether you're using an internal social network, a video conferencing tool like skype, google hangout or a Webex, encouraging teammates to interact will make employees feel more connected to and informed about the company and ultimately drive more knowledge sharing, better collaboration and idea generation.