Facilitating Innovation With Teams Part 2: Safety and Trust

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Over these four weeks, we are covering a four-step process on how to inspire your team to think outside the box and contribute to your goals from their intuitive intelligence, resulting in more creativity and innovation. Part 1 we looked at how Leaders Go First. Today we focus on the necessity of building safety and trust inside your company culture.

Safety and Risk

There’s an interesting paradox between risk and safety. In order for a culture or a group of people to take a risk, they have to feel safe. So if you want to encourage risk taking and thinking strategically and creatively outside the box, and even being willing to look like a fool at the meeting for a moonshot idea, there has to be a culture of safety and acceptance for an employee to relax into themselves and share their gifts. 

In fact, Google conducted a two-year study and found that the highest-performing teams had one thing in common: psychological safety. An atmosphere of open communication, respect, and creativity is infectious and directly serves the company as employee participation is encouraged. 

Innovation is not exclusive to high tech companies. It exists in any business with the right mindset. A healthy company culture requires authentic communication about what’s really going on with staff, with customers, and with leadership. Building this level of trust is the basis of creating safety in the workplace and encouraging staff to take risks. If you want outside-the-box solutions or honest feedback at a bare-minimum, a place for open dialogue is necessary.

If staff are ridiculed for their ideas or taunted or humiliated publicly or privately, people will shut down and not come forward with real feedback or creative ideas that might just be the very thing the company needs to hear. Creating safety and trust has to start with the leadership if it’s going to trickle down inside the company culture. There’s always a part of us scanning for safety in our environment, and if we don’t feel it, this will shut-down productivity and innovation.

Leaders and managers who understand the importance of having everyone feel valued and respected, will get more contribution and leadership from staff members. Having your team feel safe to share what needs to be shared without consequence or retaliation, is the most important foundation for creating an innovative and forward-thinking atmosphere. 

For more information on how to facilitate more innovation with your teams, contact us at [email protected]!