Innovation is the backbone of every successful company. It’s what sets a business apart from the competition, and helps it grow and prosper.
Getting staff to think creatively isn’t always easy, though. In a survey by Robert Half, 35 percent of chief financial officers said the greatest roadblock to organisational breakthroughs is a lack of new ideas. Executives polled also cited excessive bureaucracy (24 percent) and being bogged down with daily tasks or putting out fires (20 percent) as other major barriers.
Here are six ways to overcome those challenges and encourage creativity on your team:
Also give staff the power to make decisions and take action. People who are trusted to take safe risks and attempt new ways of doing things just may stumble across that next great business solution. Be careful about being too critical when things go wrong, though, because employees will take note. No one wants to be the centre of negative attention, and people will hold back on making suggestions if they’re worried about potential consequences.
Do what you can, as well, to remove the red tape by considering which internal processes might be stifling innovation. For instance, it can be demoralising if recommendations must go through multiple layers of approvals in the organisation and take a significant time before they’re implemented, if at all. Look for ways to streamline the process so people can see their good ideas in action quickly.
Also make sure that people can offer their recommendations in writing if they’re not comfortable speaking up. Stress to the entire team that you welcome input any way they prefer to share it with you.
Make preventing burnout a high priority. Developing programs that promote work-life balance, such as offering telecommuting or paid time off for volunteer work, can help. Redistribute workloads when necessary and consider brining in temporary professionals during peak demands to keep everyone fresh and focused.
Do what you can to minimise your own stress so you can be at your best. It stands to reason that a relaxed, positive mood is more conducive to innovative thoughts than a tense one. Whenever possible, don’t skip your lunch break, and take a head-clearing walk when you need to recharge.
Finally, take a serious look at the skill sets in your group. When was the last time you supported training and education for your employees? People need to be given the tools to think innovatively and that includes keeping their knowledge and expertise up-to-date. With the right management approach and support, you can not only help your staff enhance their contributions but also make yours a better workplace.