In our modern society, the marketplace is changing at an ever-increasing rate, and the ability to be flexible and innovative is key to the survival of most organizations. What can you do as a business owner or leader to ensure that your organization is a “learning organization” that values learning and has the ability to change and adapt to remain relevant and successful?
Here are four tips to help you encourage a flexible, innovative culture within your organization:
Emphasize Flexibility and Innovation. Show an appreciation for flexibility and innovation. Encourage an environment where processes and methods are considered temporary and open to growth and improvement. Processes should periodically change and evolve to meet the needs of your customers, and to help your organization run more successfully.
Promote a Systems Thinking approach. Embrace a Systems Thinking approach that acknowledges complex interrelationships within your organization. Understand that problems have multiple causes and accept that a change in one part of an organization often solicits change in other parts or departments. Keep the lines of communication between departments open to address problems and work together for solutions.
Endorse Learning from Surprises and Failures. Both surprises and failures can create better learning opportunities than expected outcomes. Emphasize the fact that some of the greatest human discoveries have happened from unexpected outcomes.
Gain Knowledge from Outsiders. A wise leader identifies the best practices of other organizations and determines their relevance before implementing them. Not all ideas from other organizations will work for yours, but by learning and observing how other successful businesses do things, you can cherry-pick what great ideas will apply best to your organization. Qualified business consultants and coaches also have unique insights into best practices, and their services can be utilized to help fine-tune an organization’s processes and methods.
Good leaders, not content with the “the way it has always been done,” are constantly looking for ways to improve upon their business processes and methods to stay ahead of the curve. By implementing the suggestions above, you can create a flexible, innovative culture within your organization.
You can never plan the future by the past.” ~Edmond Burke