If you want your employees to think outside the box, shouldn’t you be doing the same? Here’s what a leadership expert has to say.
The strongest leaders know that without innovation, business is doomed. An environment like a cleanroom and the resulting products are in and of themselves innovative. To build on this can mean leaps and bounds for future success.
What do employees need to let their innovative juices flow? Maxine Attong, a seasoned corporate coach with an impressive résumé, offers a suggestion that may surprise you. She attributes the level of an employee’s innovative ideas to how safe he or she feels.
She’s not talking about physical safety.
Attong discusses the importance of feeling safe to express opinions, ideas, and feelings without judgment or repercussion. She says,
“In order to take risks, which is the foundation of innovation and subsequent rewards, a team member has to feel safe… Anyone who has ever been in a classroom or company meeting knows the potential risk of making an out-of-the-box statement, which could be seen as silly, frivolous, or ignorant — or as a groundbreaking insight. Without a sense of safety, most employees will decide to silence an unconventional statement that could risk their standing.”
Her suggestion is to create a safe space – the “office Vegas,” if you will; what happens there stays there – in the workplace. She notes that no matter how structured a business plan or SOP, humans are unpredictable. We are vulnerable, and there is no getting around hardship and other distracting events that cannot be ignored.
Yet if you could go into a room at work and vent, rant, or just take a time out, an employee can live a moment without judgment and get back on track. When a team feels this kind of support, each member will gain the confidence and mental space to foster and share innovative ideas.
While this idea is unconventional for this industry, Attong points out that unconventional and unusual ideas are a sign of strength in a company. Visit www.cemag.us to read more about the “safe space” she suggests.
If you need your cleanroom certified or validated, contact Gerbig Engineering Company. We value the success of your business, and we understand the complexities of these processes. Call 888-628-0056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to an expert today.