The Power of Courageous Cultures to Change the World
You can build high-performing teams of micro-innovators, problem solvers, and customer advocates
I’ve been doing a lot of podcast interviews lately, and one thing that comes up time and time again is the importance for leaders to create work environments where employees feel psychologically safe to be themselves, take risks, and even to fail from time to time. Years ago, when I was learning to ski, my instructor told the class, “If you’re not falling down, you’re not learning.”
I did a lot of falling at the time, but I also did a lot of learning. And I improved.
The same is true in business — if you’re not failing, you’re not learning. And if you’re not learning, you’re not progressing.
The problem is that many managers and other leaders don’t encourage their employees to be courageous. Instead, employees and their ideas are routinely ignored or discounted. And in some extreme cases, employees are punished for voicing ideas that step too far outside an organization’s proscribed status quo.
According to research conducted by Karin Hurt and David Dye — founders of leadership training and consulting firm, Let’s Grow Leaders — this is a tremendous problem for businesses of all kinds. In research conducted in collaboration with the University of Northern Colorado’s Social Research Lab, they found that 49 percent of employees are not regularly asked for ideas. Not only that, but 40 percent of employees don’t feel confident sharing their ideas at work.
According to Karin and David, there are five key reasons why this is the case:
- People don’t think leadership wants their ideas
- No one asks
- They lack confidence to share
- They lack the skills to share effectively
- People don’t think anything will happen, so they don’t bother
The good news for leaders is that these workplace realities can be changed — they don’t have to be permanent features of your team or organization, forever cast in concrete. In fact, leaders have the power (and I would argue, the duty) to create courageous cultures where employees are encouraged, rewarded, and feel safe to contribute solutions and micro-innovations, and advocate for their customers. In their book, Courageous Cultures, Karin and David show leaders exactly how to build innovative and high-performing courageous cultures.
Remember: you need a constant flow of good — even great — ideas from your people to develop and deliver the very best products and services and real value to customers, while generating the revenues and profits you need to grow your business.
When you create and sustain a courageous culture, everyone wins — your people, your customers, your organization, and the communities in which you do business.
So, why not get started, right now?