I’ve never met a business leader who didn’t talk about the need for innovation. Most leaders understand that innovation is what creates progress, and progress is how businesses get results. That being said, there’s a dichotomy between what many leaders say they want and how they actually run their business.
Many leaders say they want new ideas from people, but they themselves create a prescriptive environment where people are restricted from creating and moving forward. They want a culture that thrives on good attitude, but they themselves show up with a bad attitude. They want collaboration, but they take no time themselves to build trust. They want the business to be seen by the public as socially responsible, but they themselves show no heart, and lack compassion in the eyes of the people working for the business. You see you can’t have it both ways. You can’t have an innovative business that turns ideas and vision into reality, and choose to model characteristics that derail innovation—you’re either all in or all out. You need to make a choice. If you’re all in, you need to own it all the way.
We can’t talk about innovation without reflecting on Einstein’s quote: “Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.” In other words, you get back what you give. It’s the basic law of attraction. And you can physically see it happen in business day in and day out. If a business wants to be innovative, and if it wants an internal brand that represents a great attitude, then the people running the business need to authentically model the characteristics that create innovation and a great attitude—trust, compassion, and freedom. If the leaders aren’t modeling trust, compassion, and freedom, the business will just keep producing more of the dysfunction leaders are choosing to model, and the desire to have true innovation and a healthy internal brand will never be reached.
Here’s the myth buster. Innovation does not happen just because a business decides to create a colorful or contemporary room, or sends leaders to a workshop where they learn the latest innovation techniques. It’s only when the business builds trust, demonstrates compassion, and gives freedom that a business has circulated enough healthy energy that it can become innovative. You see, trust, compassion, and freedom create the magic pill for innovation. That magic pill is called attitude.
Giving freedom to people is critical to innovation because it turns ideas and vision into reality. Freedom cultivates an attitude that anything is possible, and innovation comes from that attitude. Attitude is how progress is born. When the business has circulated enough healthy energy to create the attitude that anything is possible, you’ll know it. It’s then that culture is at its best, people are engaged, and the internal brand becomes so strong that everyone can’t help but drink the Kool-Aid, coffee, or cocktails you’re serving. When the internal brand is the attitude that anything is possible, innovation thrives and everyone becomes engaged because the healthy energy feels too good not to be part of the journey.
Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Email Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.