3 principles that encourage a culture of innovation and creativity

In turbulent and uncertain times, a culture of innovation and creativity becomes increasingly essential. Yet, we also need to acknowledge that the stresses of these times wear heavily on us, zapping our creativity.

You, as a leader, can leverage off these 3 principles to free yourself from this double bind.

The benefit of providing principles far outweighs that of providing ‘ways’, or 'ground rules’ or ‘methods’.

While there are great and important innovation processes, the principles presented here are evergreen, and so applicable irrespective of the organisational context, budget or time constraints.

These are the 3 most frequent ‘push back’ topics around “why we cannot implement” something!

The 3 principles explored here are based on Relationship Systems Intelligence (RSI™). RSI™ enables leaders and team members to create the conditions that strengthen agility, creativity and innovation, and get everyone to work better together.

Successful innovation greatly depends on how I feel at work. What climate is created around me and how I am valued. Do I matter?

Without these conditions, innovation performance will always be flatlining below your desired levels.

These principles serve as enablers to lead in building a culture that encourages creativity and innovation.

Principle One: Teams perform in a world of Constant Change

“Change is the only constant in life” - (Heraclitus)

Acknowledging and intentionally working with this principle is very different from being subjected to a world of constant change.

Intentionally leading from this principle gives you and your team access to agility vs being trapped in rigid and unrealistic expectations of predictability and reproducibility.

While we must strive for excellence in our processes and procedures, we must also be ready to work with the daily inconsistencies that are inevitable.

Knowing that inconsistencies are just as constant as the excellence designed into processes, leaders prepare the team for innovation and creativity.

Principle Two: Every Team Member has a Voice

When we try and solve problems, there is a propensity for leaders to only work with experts or only to hear the views that align with their own biases.

The other challenge in team innovation sessions is that we only hear from the same few expressive and vocal team members.

As soon as leaders intentionally invite all voices into the conversation, and create a space for diverse and diverging views, innovation has a chance.

Everyone’s unique perspective, even if they’re not an expert, will creatively contribute to innovative ideas.

Short and intense brainstorming sessions in which all voices, views and feelings are welcome will cut your time for innovation.

This principle strongly underpins the value and uniqueness of each team member by actively soliciting their perspective and acknowledging that their voice matters.

The sense of belonging created through this acknowledgement is worth gold in every team and organisation.

Principle Three: Teams are naturally Intelligent, Generative and Creative:

A common response to this principle might be vehement disagreement, especially when engagement levels in your teams are low and getting to innovative ideas feels like pulling teeth.

If you catch yourself as the leader with this perspective, I am offering you a mindset principle to shift your paradigm through which you see your team.

Everyone’s life is much broader than what we do at work, and how we show up there. Everyone solves a myriad of problems on a day-to-day basis and finds innovative and creative solutions for these challenges.

We are extremely resilient beings.

When we find another person or a team that taps into the creativity of what I contribute, it deepens my ability to bring my generative, intelligent and creative self to the fore.

The best leaders bring out the best in their team members, and so this principle invites you to create a culture of innovation by upholding it.

Don’t accept or reject these principles at a conceptual level!! That will not be of service to you or creating a culture of innovation and creativity.

Try them out like a new suit, or pair of shoes. Lead with them intentionally for some weeks and months and watch your team’s response.

I will also admit that none of these principles are plug and play. They require some personal reflection and growth on behalf of the leader. They do, however, allow you as a leader to strengthen your locus of control, which is so helpful in times like these, and in the ever-emerging new.

By knowing and committing to these principles, your presence will exude a new degree of leadership ability.

They shift your ‘come-from’ place and enable leaders to thrive while working in interdependent organisational settings in a complex, pressured fast-paced and uncertain time.

Your ‘come-from’ place is something that deeply resonates with your team, and with your team's ability to bring excellence forth.

After all, excellence is a team function. It never exists in isolation, it's always the result of working better together.

By fostering a culture of innovation and creativity, your confidence and credibility grows. There is little that’s as satisfying as watching people’s brilliance coming through, and them flourishing in their resilience and agility in tough times.

Relationship Systems Intelligence (RSI™) is founded on 5 principles. Leading with RSI@Work™ is a 2 day deep dive into integrating these principles into your day to day leadership approach. This training provides an experiential and visceral learning experience and is suited for leadership groups or leaders and their teams. We are also successfully running these sessions through Zoom.

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