I remember years ago someone telling me, “I am not paying you to think, just do your job.”
That clearly did not go over well. I didn’t remain there much longer. It was clearly a bad mix.
Now, as someone who has been an entrepreneur for decades, founding four companies along the way, I am well aware that the need to think, to innovate, even if it isn’t required, or permitted, would be required by me because of my need to keep improving things, including myself.
Innovation, is what keeps many of us engaged, invested, and contributing at the highest levels. All employees within corporate as well as entrepreneurs would do well with this trait. Innovation is a necessity of life as things continue to change. Either we let it all unfold and watch or we actively participate in making our world and our company the best it can be.
One of the greatest challenges, however, can be giving ourselves and our employees, or VAs, permission to be innovators. The old adage that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts applies here. With every one of us having permission to be innovators, to come up with great ideas, great concepts, or even great seeds to be developed by others, we also need permission to have not-so-great ideas without fear of being punished or ridiculed.
I know that over the years I have thought of something that sounded terrific yet as I shared it with a friend or co-worker, even I could hear in the telling that it wasn’t anywhere near as good as it initially felt. However, having stretched my thinking for this idea, made it so much easier to use that as a jump off point for the next concept that was terrific.
It is a process; look at Alexander Graham Bell. Employees who are not permitted to think, improve processes etc., are being asked to play dormant, to simply show up. We all need stimulation, creativity, and permission to be an integral part of the company’s growth. We certainly need that if we are to stay in our positions. No one goes to work to be bored.
Companies that encourage innovative thinkers, rather than negate them, are the companies that millennials and others want to work for. They get to be an active part of a team while feeling valued and rewarded. Yes, some ideas are not fantastic, but they keep them thinking, all while doing their job as well.
As a consultant and coach, I applaud my clients who think out of the box. They are the gift every company needs. Do you need help, encouraging your leaders or employees to risk growing and contributing further?
P.S. In the meantime, check out our Podcast at: www.truthanddoubledaring