Friday, October 23, 2009

How to spot and nurture your innovative employees

Here are some tips from authors Cyndi Laurin and Craig Morningstar's book The Rudolph Factor: Finding the Bright Lights that Drive Innovation in Your Business on the qualities most innovators possess and how to bring the best out in them.

Creative. Cater to their creative natures. Do they work better while listening to music? Would they like the opportunity to bounce ideas off others in the office? Would they benefit from working more closely with a team? If you're not sure what they need, ask. You may be surprised at just how simple the solution may be and what a big impact it has on productivity and innovation.

Problem-solvers. Look for the employee expressing frustration when others are putting Band-Aids on recurring problems rather than focusing on the cause of the problem and a sustainable solution. They are great problem-solvers and have an easier time than most at identifying the root causes of problems, and because they are outside-the-box thinkers, they find unconventional - but effective - ways to solve them. Make sure viable ideas are shared at strategy meetings and that innovators are given the tools they need to be active in problem-solving.

Big thinking. These employees spend an average of four to six hours per day (outside their regular work hours) thinking about how they can make things better for their organizations. That means that they can often spot trouble issues before they become full-blown problems. Make sure that they have ample opportunity to mull over problems and solutions.

Passionate. When someone is passionate about the work he or she is doing, it shows in the finished product, and you can tell they are excited when the pace of their speech increases, they gesture more and their eyes are bright. Take some time each week to meet with your employees and talk with them about the projects they are working on or ideas they have for where improvements can be made.

Questioning. If you've ever been around a young child, you know how tiring it can be to constantly think up answers every time he or she asks, "Why?" But in a business setting, encouraging your employees to ask, "Why?" and then searching for answers together may be the very thing that makes the difference between your company sinking or swimming. Don't mistake questioning for troublemaking.

Optimistic. Innovators see the world through a lens of possibility, opportunity and potential. This is the driving motivation behind their thinking. Don't be too quick to discredit or dismiss an idea or suggestion
because it seems too idealistic. Start listening to employees who have been less than familiar with you.

Selfless. They are not typically driven by self-promotion. They do the work because they are good at it, they enjoy it and they want to do everything they can to help the organization succeed. They may appear to be loners because they have chosen not to play the traditional corporate game, but most prefer collaborating with others rather than going it alone. Be sure to reward their efforts! When someone isn't working to get noticed, they may be easy to overlook.

Proactive. While some people are hesitant or slow to start, innovators are confident to act on their ideas, sometimes without knowing the exact path needed to accomplish them. And they're often successful! Provide the resources they need to move forward with viable ideas. Let them know that you are there to help facilitate their efforts as much as possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment