Your team is in a rut, but what can you do about it? How can you push everyone to be more creative? Where should you seek inspiration? What’s the best way to bring back positivity? And perhaps most importantly how do you prevent the team from getting stuck again?
Teams get stale from time to time for a number of reasons. After all, everyone is “seeing the same data, interacting with the same people, and having the same conversations, so it’s no surprise that the ideas coming out feel as though they’ve all been done before,” says Scott Anthony, the author of The First Mile. However you can get your team back into the groove with a little work. Here are some ideas to help you do this…
Diagnose and fix any obvious problems
The first step is to “take a step back and diagnose the problem,” suggests Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg, the coauthor of Innovation as Usual. “Observe what’s going on and ask other people’s opinions.” Think about when, where, and how your team has been most innovative in the past. Can you recreate that environment or group dynamic? “Figure out how people share ideas, and how open others are to those ideas,” he says. Also look at ideas that were generated in the past and see if any are worth resuscitating
Focus your team’s attention
Open brainstorming sessions with the focus of generating “100 new ideas are fine in theory, but in practice they are often ineffective and inefficient ending up with a lot of stuff that’s not relevant. Instead, direct your team’s attention toward solving a specific problem, for example, ways to fix a specific customer issue.
Bring in different points of view
Most of us tend to live in filtered worlds, we read the same papers and magazines, listen to the same news programs, visit the same websites, and have lunch with the same people. However, great ideas come from people who are immersed in more worlds than just their own. Create opportunities to expose your team to different perspectives and points of view. Some ideas my clients have implemented include touring the offices of companies in different industries or inviting employees from other parts of your business to regularly present ideas to your team.
Conquer your team’s fear of failure
One of the most common reasons for stagnation is not your team’s lack of ideas but their fear that the ones they have aren’t any good. This fear of failure is so common that many employees choose not to voice their opinions, which clearly hinders innovation. Leaders must cultivate a safe environment that is as tolerable to learning as possible.
Create avenues for ideas to have an impact
Ideas only matter if you act on them. Your team will get cynical fast after they empowering brainstorming session and then nothing happens. As a manager, you need to commit to moving innovation forward. For example set aside a small budget to create rough prototypes or freeing up members of your teams time for new projects.