Is your business environment driving innovation and creativity - or numbness and passivity?
executive managers understand
that today's rapidly changing
global marketplace puts pressure
on businesses to become
increasingly innovative in order
to compete. New products and new
ideas are constantly needed to
gain that competitive edge.
An example of an
idea generator is Thomas Edison.
He was an incredible genius, but
he also had a remarkable number
of inventive failures. Another
person with many successes was
William Shakespeare. Although
`many of his plays and sonnets
are masterpieces, many others
are studied in schools and
universities as examples of what
not to do.
Remember, the individual; who is dissenting is often giving voice ot the opinions of many others who are not as comfortable speaking up. So the way you treat this person will be carefully observed. If you embrace the dissent and engage fully, you are likely to see more of this behavior in others eventually. But if you cut the person off and make it clear that dissent is not tolerated, you will produce the opposite outcome.
Encourage Frank Discussion
Many leaders feel they are being paid to be decisive and to lead, not to discuss. They are not comfortable in the role of a discussion "facilitator." They would rather hear a few opinions of others, then make a decision. And the reality is that often the leader's decision is the right one.
One of the reasons they have been placed in a position of leadership is that they have been right more often than they have been wrong. Business leaders are typically bright, competent and dedicated to doing what is best for their organizations. So they can be forgiven if they sometimes tend to lean a little too heavily on their own council.
But over time, a leader who does not cultivate a culture of open discussion and dialogue within his organizations will tend to become more and more myopic in his thinking. As he or she gets wrapped in the leadership "cocooon" that filters information coming in, the business instincts that served so well in the past can veer off track.
So encouraging frank
discussion can help to ensure that you are
always hearing the authentic thoughts and
opinions of those around you.
One way for a leader to "prime the pump" and drive an organization toward more frank and candid discussions is to ask questions that provoke a truly engaged response. Not obvious questions where the "right" answer is clear, but subtle, nuanced questions that force people to think. Be sure to avoid telegraphing your own thoughts or opinions when you ask these questions, and don't let anyone hide out.
If you have someone who tends to speak up consistently. let this person know how much you appreciate their opinion, then ask them to hold back in order to force others to step up.
Reward Dissent / Punish "Yes People"
Ultimately you will see more of the behavior you reward, and less of the behavior you "punish." So find ways to reward those who are speaking up. Let the organization know why you are rewarding them. Make it clear that one of your top values as a leader is open, authentic dialogue. And be patient - some will believe you and respond right away. Others will take longer to be convinced. And some will never be comfortable sharing their genuine thoughts in an open forum. For those people you may need to schedule one-on-one time to get to their true thoughts.
And if you eventually determine that an individual cannot make the transition, then you need to help to move them on to a career somewhere else. This will send a powerful signal to everyone in your organization, that open dialogue isn't just desired, it is a critical part of your corporate culture.
Whether your training need is small and focused, or enterprise-wide, you can count of Frontline Learning to deliver. For more than 20 years we have been helping organizations achieve their business objectives with targeted training initiatives.
Copyright (c) 2009 Frontline Learning LLC. All rights reserved.