Want an innovative team? First you need to define what innovation means

Want an innovative team? First you need to define what innovation means

Every entrepreneur or manager has a mental image about how they’d like their workforce to look but, in many cases, they’ll expect duplicates of themselves which isn’t always good for an organisational culture. As we discussed before, diversity is a key weapon in a company’s armoury – it leads to better business performance and also promotes an inclusive environment.

Innovation is a prime area of focus for many businesses today. So, if the vision for the staff body is that they all work innovatively, that’s great. Having goals is fundamental, but so is having the skills to hit the back of the net. Just because the boss may be innovative doesn’t mean staff will automatically become creatively-minded. Similarly, if managers aren’t innovative, then they definitely shouldn’t expect staff to think inventively.

The first step in this instance is considering why you want innovation and what it looks like to you. It’s easy to buy into innovation itself because it’s such an omnipresent buzzword but you should know what you want from its implementation. Is that the use of new software to help improve business processes? Is it workers using more out-of-the box thinking? Whatever it may be, focusing on leadership development will be your starting point.

How the team leader thinks and operates will play a big role in building an innovative team. On top of your personal desires, what does innovation mean to your business overall? If the answer is not much, then you’ll need to look at changing organisational culture and that’s a top-down process, which isn’t always straightforward, but the reward will certainly be worthwhile.

Communication in this instance is what’s required to get going. As a leader, you must outline to yourself precisely what you want from the team and then translate that to them. Remember, the staff aren’t mind readers. The crucial thing following this is to lead by example. An old saying it may be but, the head of the team must ensure they practise what they preach in order to demonstrate how they would like specific tasks to be handled.

PwC’s 2018 study on preparing for tomorrow’s workforce surveyed business and HR leaders globally and, unsurprisingly, innovation was raised. 79% of respondents placed a collaborative environment as either highly important or important, agreeing “our working environments are designed to encourage teamwork, collaboration and innovation.” Seemingly you can’t have one without the other – to foster innovation means is to foster teamwork and collaboration.

Elsewhere, the report also detailed that in terms of innovation specifically, 76% claimed “we have avenues present for employees to offer innovative ideas and support them in turning these ideas into action.”

As a leader, you’re in the driving seat to encourage effective teamwork, but a roadmap is needed, so tell your passengers where you’re all heading – or, even better, ask them if they feel like there’s any other routes that should be taken on the way. Ensure they’re not sitting in silence for the journey and in doing so, the results will speak for themselves as innovative ideas will come.

At CharacterScope we’ve seen how powerful open dialogue is. And as our users have understood themselves and their leadership styles better, they’ve better communicated with their teams, who’ve better taken hold of their duties. By empowering yourself through continuous learning and leadership development, you can in turn empower your team as they learn from you.

One way of looking at it as an intrapreneur. This phrase refers to a manager who thinks like an entrepreneur – like a builder. As PwC found, “people increasingly want to feel that their contributions count.” Developing an innovative team, encouraging them to also think like intrapreneurs, can only be a positive thing that will work towards your goals.

Business Vision – Hidden secrets of the Innovator

Business Vision – Hidden secrets of the Innovator

Hidden secrets of the Innovator
Mark Loftus for Business Vision

“Managing Innovators requires care and nurture. Some will need encouragement, to be told when to push on, and when to quite. But identifying the innovators in a company is not always straightforward.”

To read the piece in full on the Business Vision website click here and go to page 50-51/112.

How can you develop your company’s inexperienced managers?

How can you develop your company’s inexperienced managers?

As businesses scale and change, often at a ferocious pace, there is often a need to promote and recruit new and inexperienced managers to lead people and drive the company forwards.

This can bring with it a range of benefits. They often bring a fresh approach, appetite and enthusiasm. There’s also the added fact that they’re often young and can be developed and nurtured. However, if they joined the business as a junior, regardless of how perfect they were for their previous post, they won’t necessarily have the managerial experience their predecessor possessed. So, what are you supposed to do?

In many cases, companies just hope for the best. They hand over the keys to the promoted party’s position and let them learn how to lead on their own, which is not without its risks. The desire to move fast means that support comes more likely when things are broken, in the form of interventions, rather than being ongoing. When this goes wrong, it can have a huge impact on morale, culture and your organisation’s ability to attract and retain talent.

But an inexperienced individual joining the company wouldn’t be left to it, so why would you leave someone without experience of managing peers to chance? Ultimately, if you want your managers to manage, and manage well, you need to ensure they’re equipped and supported to do this as well as they can. The stakes are too high.

Sure, you don’t want to breathe down their necks every two minutes and nor do they want you to – they’re a manager now, right? But the necessary traits they possess that got them the step up the corporate ladder in the first place must be reviewed to see where improvements can be made in order to achieve the best outcomes for the team. 

At CharacterScope, that’s precisely what we’re built for – developing team leaders. Everyone is different and we know that. It’s not about changing who people are, but encouraging and helping them to be the best versions of themselves, sharpening their strengths while understanding where they can advance. You need strategy and direction to lead a business – why not have the same approach for leading a team?

HRReview – Why it’s time to disrupt talent management

HRReview – Why it’s time to disrupt talent management

Why it’s time to disrupt talent management
Mark Loftus for HRReview

“The shift from Talent to talents, from the few to the many, and from talent planning to talent leadership depends on creating and embedding and building a culture of leadership. And this must start with an organisation’s talent professionals.”

To read the piece in full on the HRReview website click here.

Want to be an inclusive company? That means understanding your staff

Want to be an inclusive company? That means understanding your staff

Diversity and inclusion (or D&I) is a topic you’ve undoubtedly read about over the past couple of years. Indeed, the conversation around it has grown considerably in that time as awareness has risen. But even if D&I isn’t something you’ve actively sought to facilitate within your own company yet, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

Although more businesses have begun recognising D&I as a workplace concept, the introduction of inclusive programmes has been less than speedy as many bosses are still unclear how these should be implemented, found McKinsey. But as part of a study released last year, the consultancy firm reinforced a fact that’s come up many times: gender and ethnic diversity is directly linked to a better business performance.

Elsewhere, in addition to improved financials, PwC has noted other benefits of inclusion. They comprise a better means of recruiting staff and more internal creativity, with people from different backgrounds naturally putting forward diverse ideas and possessing unique approaches to getting things done.

Indeed, there is an increasing awareness that the value of diversity doesn’t end there. Neuro-diversity, diversity of thought and a diversity of character are hugely valuable to an organisation. Within teams it offers complementary and different ways and perspectives to approach a range of problems and opportunities.

The professional services firm surveyed leaders in charge of D&I strategies at their companies and found that an inclusive culture was more likely to be found at global businesses than regional and local counterparts. However, worldwide organisations were also considered the type of businesses with the largest diversity barriers in the place for progression. Clearly, something isn’t adding up.

Inclusion effectively means opportunities for all, whether that’s during the recruitment stage, for job progression, team-building and so on – it’s something that ensures that people are heard, valued and contributing at their best, regardless of any differences. 

Seemingly the problem is that, in addition to the confusion McKinsey highlighted regarding the implementation of inclusion programmes, companies are misinterpreting both inclusivity itself and their employees. 

Look at the team leaders in your organisation. How well do you really know them? Are they securing fair opportunities to develop? What sort of dialogue has there been between you regarding their performance? If your answers are “Not very”, “No” and “Very little,” a change of tact could well be in order. After all, they’re the ones leading the rest of your workers.

Only by getting to really understand your staff – who they are as people and what their strengths are, can you be inclusive. This will ensure that your people are feeling fulfilled and your organisation is getting full value from them, both individually and in terms of the contribution they’re making to their teams. You will have an organisation full of people that feel understood and playing to their strengths – a culture that’s alive and inclusive.

You can only really know your staff if they know themselves. CharacterScope has been designed to help team leaders to understand and develop themselves and their teams, allowing them to recognise their strengths and to develop the ones that will best help them succeed. It helps them build, shape and guide their teams. Indeed, it’s with this understanding that you can create a more inclusive culture. The benefits are ripe for the picking.