Hey Mr/Ms. Senior Leader, are you frustrated that your employees aren’t more innovative? Wonder why no one ever seems to have any new ideas to help the business grow? You may want to check the culture you’ve created.
Culture is everything to your business, as it defines how successful the organization can be. When I design organizations, the culture of the organization has to be considered an integral part of that design. Why? Because culture literally affects every part of the business...who gets hired, who has decision-making authority, how employees are rewarded for their good work, or disciplined for poor decision-making, how and when processes are implemented, how employees are developed, if employees are developed. Even the strategy for the organization, and the organization's plan for moving forward is greatly influenced by its culture.
As you can see, there’s not one part of the organization that goes unaffected by its culture. So when a leader builds a culture of no, you create an environment where dismissed ideas and a lack of innovation becomes the norm. If any time an employee throws out an idea they hear “It’s not in the budget,” “We don’t have the resources for that,” “We tried that once and it didn’t work,” or “Been there, done that,” then it becomes discouraging, and many of your eager, full of zeal employees, who were once engaged, are left feeling discouraged and frustrated.
But not only does it become frustrating, it also perpetuates a habit. When other leaders see you, the senior leader, shooting down ideas, it becomes a learned behavior because what they see you do, they do. And not only will they shoot down the ideas of others, but they’ll start to brush away their own ideas as well, letting them go unspoken and unimplemented. And there goes your culture of no…and any new ideas…and the innovation…and your competitive advantage…you get the point.