Friday, March 25, 2016

Lean Quote: Foster Innovation Amongst Our Employees

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imagination, our possibilities become limitless.— Jamie Paolinetti 

Innovation can be a company’s best strategic advance, especially in today’s competitive and crowded marketplace. However, for the innovation to occur, most companies have to be willing to embrace the risk of potential failure. Employees may be afraid to offer insight and new ways of doing things because the company culture doesn't support them. If you really want to empower employees, you'll need to create a company culture that encourages and rewards innovation. You may start by asking individuals to look for ways to improve efficiency, output, safety, etc. in the tasks they perform every day. Actually, this kind of an approach across the company always has to start with the tone at the top – if employees see their manager taking risks and testing new ideas, they are more likely to follow suit.

Foster innovation by challenging assumptions about what can and cannot be done. When employees come to you with an idea or a solution to a problem they believe is for the betterment of the company, it’s a sign that they care. Supporting new ideas and giving an individual the chance to ‘run with it’ is motivating, whether or not it works out in the end.

React to mistakes and failures in a way that shows that you condone risk-taking. Give your support, provide resources, and remove barriers to change. Approach problems as learning opportunities. Think twice when people agree with you; show you value independent thinking and reward people who challenge you.

As ideas cannot be shared without honest and open communication, encourage your employees to say a thing or two about company’s latest projects. Communication always takes time, so adequate time and place for discussion and meetings must be apportioned into the normal schedule.



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