If you were asked to come up with some techniques to stimulate innovation at your company, what would you think of? Would you:
- Write down the word “Innovation” in your company values chart?
- Run an ideation campaign and encourage staff to submit new project ideas to the competition?
- Hold a company-wide virtual brainstorming session?
These are all relevant suggestions on how you can encourage innovation. However, the most prominent B2B leaders are taking a different tactic. To truly empower a strong routine of innovation they are eliminating the culture of blame that exists in their organisations.
We like to call this “the blame game.” It happens when a company puts on a brave face to be innovative but in that same breath punishes its employees for failures. Whether a project doesn’t live up to expectations, or a new initiative falls flat on its face, there are so many ways to point fingers at the project teams or responsible managers if an innovation doesn’t quite succeed.
Worst of all, studies have found that blame is contagious. Once one employee or manager points a finger, their colleagues are more likely to do the same.
Reducing the amount of blame that gets passed around at a company is a powerful way to encourage a positive, collaborative and open-minded culture of innovation at the workplace.
Rather than employees feeling scared to take a risk, they need to be rewarded for trying new things and getting out of their comfort zone. After all, no innovation can happen while keeping with the “status quo!”
So next time you are leading a meeting with your product teams or departmental managers, try to reinforce the importance of a safe and innovative workplace culture. Encourage your teams to reduce the amount of blame they pass out and to shed new lights on failures by considering them learning opportunities.
Ideally, if a mistake happens, your company’s first policy will be to ask “how can we learn from this?” rather than reprimanding the responsible employee at the next team meeting.
By eliminating the culture of blame that persists in your organisation, you’ll be surprised at how freely innovation can spring up in the unlikeliest of places!