Create a culture of innovative change makers

Friday, October 13, 2023

When we discuss workplace culture, we are talking about a way of life. The way we dress, the food we eat, the music we listen to, the films we watch, and even the games we play are all part of our workplace culture. And it is also about our shared values, beliefs, and traditions, influencing how we, as leaders, steer our businesses toward desired outcomes.

One of the most important things you can do as a leader is to create an environment where people feel safe to speak their minds. This means encouraging team members to share their thoughts and ideas, even if they’re unsure they’re right. It also means actively listening without judgment.

When people feel valued, they feel empowered. They enjoy the freedom to innovate, experiment, and take risks when empowered. Understanding this concept can lead to great things for your team and business.

How can you create a safe space for your team to become effective change-makers? Here are some tips.

1. Give people the opportunity to share their ideas.

Ensure that everyone on your team has a chance to speak. Brainstorming sessions, roundtable discussions, or asking for input are ways to start the conversation. Remember that each team member’s voice deserves to be heard.

2. Encourage feedback.

Ask team members to share both positive and negative feedback. This practice will help them become better communicators and collaborators. This will encourage people to ‘say what they mean and mean what they say,’ a healthy long-term practice.

3. Avoid judgment.

Don’t judge shared ideas prematurely. Instead, listen and give the person an opportunity to explain their thinking. As leaders, we should accept that various perspectives exist outside our own. Allow fresh perspectives, especially the challenging ones.

4. Be open to change.

If you’re inflexible, your team members will be, as well. Let them experiment and try new things. This openness will encourage creativity and innovation. Remind your team members to think outside the box and invent new ideas. Be receptive to their suggestions and give them the freedom to implement their solutions.

5. Respect capabilities.

Always show respect for your team members. Treat them as individuals with their unique thoughts and ideas. Please encourage them to express themselves freely. Show your respect by never hindering the creative process.

As a leader, the goal is for your team to consist of people who can change their DNA. If they can be their genuine selves, the work will evolve from a dull job into a burning passion for creating and innovating — and ultimately, this will drive results beyond your dreams.

Parker Lee

Parker Lee is the managing partner of Territory, a design consultancy, who has developed and led teams in transformation, design thinking, and business development for decades. Co-author of The Art of Opportunity, he has created and facilitated dozens of design and visual thinking engagements.

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