Some companies get it right. They reward people for taking smart risks, for getting out of their silos and reaching across department lines, and for bringing new solutions to the table every time they meet.
Other companies don’t get it right. They have a tendency to only reward ideas, more specifically ideas they deem as being successful. Maybe they hit their revenue targets or got a lot of press.
But fostering innovation doesn’t come from only rewarding the one in 100 ideas that make it (and believe me, the odds are against you). At least 80 percent of new products fail, which means in order to hit a success you’ve got to get it wrong first. If you only rewarded the successes, chances are you’ll have fewer of them in the long run. Besides, if you are waiting to reward the idea you are missing a million opportunities to foster and generate new ideas.
Truly innovative organizations get that way by rewarding the behaviors that foster and promote innovation so that you can get to those successes. Companies that only reward the ideas are missing a big opportunity to develop and grow as an innovative company, which will ultimately lead to more successful ideas.
When you think about your organization, which is rewarded, the idea or the person that chose to bend the rules to make that idea possible? It’s probably a bit of both, but I encourage you to think about how to reward the behaviors that get to those ideas, not the ideas themselves. Here are 5 behaviors you and your organization should be rewarding
- Eternal optimism: We all need a reality check every now and again, but it’s the eternal optimist that ultimately lands on the great solution. Why? Because they still think it’s possible. While everyone else has given up, they are still thinking, scheming, and believing it’s possible.
- Collaboration: Great ideas don’t happen in a vacuum, and it’s those that are willing to get other people on the bus that do the best work. Collaboration—many minds working together—fosters new thinking and new ideas.
- Enjoy the skeptics: It takes a thick skin to deal with all the naysayers out there, but people that have the ability to use that skepticism in a constructive way only make innovation stronger. If you can take it all in, filter through the junk, and use the “yes, buts” to strengthen your ideas, then innovation is on it’s way.
- Risk Takers: You know them—they are the ones that start everything with “what if…” or “how about…” Risk takers are always pushing the envelope, ready to imagine a new scenario, and because they are always up for “if,” innovation is close at hand.
- Annoying Curiosity: Some people just accept what they are told and move on, but innovation needs curiosity to thrive. That person that asks a million questions should be rewarded for digging deep. Ask away I say, when you stop assuming and start asking you open up the world to new possibilities.
Hello, my name is Ann Tigravite…
I’m a super hero and I have the ability to defy gravity. I am im- pervious to negativity and naysayers. I just rise above it all. I can help others rise above the bulls*&! too if they let me. My impen- etrable creative armor gives me the visionary edge I need to think big and push new ideas forward. I just float around like anything is possible. If you work with me you’ll discover that you too can think big and make big things happen regardless of what others say and do.
Well hello, I’m S.L. Owdown…
I am a super villain and I ooze thick mud everywhere I go, com- plicating and slowing everything down. You will forget the pro- ductive things and get trapped in the minutiae when I’m around. I make it extremely difficult to move anything forward. When you get trapped in my mud you are trapped in the mundane and can’t get out. Your legs will feel like molasses and so will your brain.