Many business owners and executives want to be surrounded by empowered and motivated employees who join them in seeking new heights for their companies. But are they creating the right environment for that world to exist inside their companies?
To achieve those great new heights, think about a recipe of courage, curiosity, and culture. One or two of these ingredients alone in your team could be fine. The three of them fused together is pure power. Look out, competition.
Let’s break these down.
Courage: In an article for the Chief Learning Officer website, Sandra Ford Walston states, “One of the most cost-effective leadership solutions is to tap into everyday courage to strengthen and stabilize an organization.” Do courageous employees tend to act boldly and rather autonomously? Typically, yes. Do they speak up when they have something to say? Usually. Are their actions strategically well thought out and on point? Sometimes. (Hopefully.)
Take this ingredient, which can have degrees of effectiveness on its own, and add curiosity.
Curiosity: Curious people tend to forgo the need to be right in order to remain open to new ideas and insights. As an effect, innovative thinking floods in. As a 2015 piece in Fast Company offers: “We are born curious, but when answers are valued more than questions, we forget how to ask.” The art of questioning leads to innovative thinking because curious people are willing to sit in the present moment of listening. They’re willing to sit, at least momentarily, in a state of ambiguity or in other words, in a state of exploration.
So far, we’re stacking your team with boldness and innovation. To that, add your company culture.
Culture A: Let’s assume you’ve intentionally nurtured a culture in which failure is tolerated and risk-taking is safe. Fingers aren’t pointed and blame isn’t shifted around. Let’s assume that along with failed attempts come hands-on, timely guidance that can help prevent future failure, as well as a celebration of the attempt being made. Ideas flow, new tactics for success are tried and measured, and lessons are shared.
Culture B: Now picture a culture counter to that. The culture is less forgiving – intimidating, even. Fear of being wrong leads to fear of speaking up. The possibility of getting reprimanded for using the time or money it took to take a calculated risk with an unknown outcome is too much pressure. So your curious and your courageous people stay silent. The chance to innovate passes by your company. Your curious and courageous people seek out a culture that’s better for them and with time, that competitive edge of yours dulls.
Culture B doesn’t have to be you! To shatter ceilings, empower your team with courage, curiosity, and Culture A.
Catherine (Kitty) Taylor, vice president of innovation at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached by email or 901-266-2662.