We are on the last step of “how” to execute as an innovative leader. Step 3-involve your team.
Once you have learned how to execute steps 1 and 2, you can teach your team how to execute them.
We intentionally leave the “involve your team” step to last in this process to allow you to learn first.
That said, are you ready to teach?
The first step in involving your team is to ask them to look at the data and give you their feedback. Listen to what they come up with and determine if you are aligned with what must be improved.
What would be considered a positive outcome of this first step?
That your team will see things you didn’t so that with your feedback and theirs, you will have a robust list of areas that need improvement.
Second, create your master list of experiments you could execute to improve each item on the improvement list.
No idea is off-limits.
The best way to accomplish this brainstorming experiment meeting is as follows:
- If you are in person, meet in an open room. No table or desks.
- Put your chairs together in a tight circle. Your knees could even be touching if you are comfortable with that.
- Kick off the discussion by picking one of the areas of needed improvement.
- Each person is expected to suggest ideas (or innovate). Once the dialogue starts, the comments can only be ADDED to, not retracted or closed down. In other words, when someone comments after a person speaks, they must say, “yes, AND what if.” The word AND must be used. The circle cannot use “but.” The word “but” is off-limits for this innovative discussion. Keep the dialogue going using “and” until you all reach a point where you are satisfied with the experiment or experiments you are going to try for that portion of the business. Then move on to the next topic.
Third, decide your framework of how you will experiment. Who will own what? What are the rules for experimenting?
Fourth, determine how often you will have innovation meetings within your team. How will you share the results? How will you follow up on the action? Where will you store your “master list” of innovation experiments and their results?
Fifth, share your plans and your monthly results with your supervisor and your organization to see if they have input, ideas, suggestions, etc. Perspectives are valuable. You don’t need to share with others solely to say, “Look at me.” Others will already be looking at you because what you are doing is rare. The process of being innovative is what makes you an irreplaceable asset.
So go meet with your team. Build out the framework for how you will innovate. And go do it!