A few weeks back I wrote about “4 key ingredients to being Innovative” and one of those key ingredients was TRUST. It was focused on “creating a culture of trust” for openness and innovation to flourish and “trusting the process.”
I want to come a little clean here and share a little more “under the covers” of where we have been. We use to be an organization that frowned on mistakes; mistakes became a “CLM” (career limiting move). If you made one in front of management, it would be like cutting yourself on the set of Twilight! We quickly saw and learned that playing the “blame game,” fixing or covering up mistakes, or just ignoring them does not create an innovative environment.
I sometimes think of innovation like baseball, which I thoroughly enjoy. You can be a .500 career batter. But if you only have 10 at bats it isn’t really saying much that you can sustain it over a certain period of time. Just being in the game for 10 bats and afraid to not get a hit is focusing more on eliminating failure than creating success. If you put in way more than 10 at bats, over time you will become more consistent and know what you are really capable of delivering, but it will not be a career .500 batter any longer. Time and skin in the game is what drives innovation.
Remember the “Crazy Guy”? What I didn’t focus on was all of the trial and error that we went through over time in order to gain success! Are you willing to put in the time and effort and allow your people be creative and innovative?
To build trust from within and create this type of culture, let me suggest some questions you might ask yourself and your leadership team:
- How do you treat mistakes?
- How much experimenting do we encourage from others or allow?
- How and whom do we recognize for what type of behavior?
- What systems and support structures are we willing to put in place?
- How do we develop skills?
- How do we use and share information?
- Do we stay committed and keep promises?
- Do we truly live according to our values?
- Do we provide clarity in our goals and priorities?
All of these are a part of the trust building process. How do we implement these into our organizations and stay true to the test? We work on this every day, and it still isn’t enough. How are you building trust in your organization as a leader and fostering innovation…I’d love to hear your ideas!