It’s incredible to think about all the stimuli your senses receive every day — the sights, sounds, smells, and touches that you encounter trigger synapses throughout your mind. However, the
brain is wired to selectively filter stimuli to preserve its energy, since it requires a ton of calories to function.
Now let's apply this fact to innovation. Did you know that, as a leader, you have to actively fight selective filtering to get ideas to come to you?
Guess what: Unless your leadership culture actively encourages ideas, most employees will put their ideas through a self-imposed filter, and their ideas never make it through to leadership.
This is so sad!
Over the years, we've talked to hundreds of employees about their cultures of innovation. We've heard comments like this that actively filter great ideas.
- "That would never fly in this organization."
- "We have big priority A and B. Let's not distract ourselves."
- "It doesn't pay to rock the boat. You get ahead in this organization by not making waves."
- "That was mandated by the CEO. There's no chance it will ever change."
- "What if I fail and everyone notices?"
As leaders, we don't know what filters people use during the day. To be successful, we need to dig around the scraps of people's conversations and offhand comments, and ferret out the ideas they've squirreled away in their minds.
Most people give away hints
at what they really want to say.
It's the leader's job to dig out the juicy stuff.
Too often, we've noticed that leaders unkowingly push away creativity. Why is it this way?
Try this: Listen to hints of micro-cultural assessment of innovation. Listen for an offhand comment from an employee that relates to something they may like to change or improve.
How many days did it take before you heard one? What did you do then?
Take some risks today, and listen for creativity.
Join the discussion on LinkedIn Thursday and Friday, February 6th and 7th, 2020 facilitated by Carrie Buchwald, Sr. VP of the Lake Forest Center for Leadership.
Click Here to join the discussion on LinkedIn.