Creating lasting enthusiasm and buy-in for new behaviors, possibilities, ideas and customer experiences requires a formal, on-going commitment from organizational leaders. You already know this. If you need your team to approach problem solving by thinking differently you must also provide powerful experiences to give them adequate time to focus on the ask. Carving out time in time-crunched, pressure-filled workplace schedules – to create a unique space to communicate and cultivate critical thinking, reflection and invite them to ask questions – requires true effort. Often this is the most critical element required: your leadership. It empowers people within an organization to deliver innovation. Your actions and behaviors act as the glue to ensure conversations materialize into performance delivered by authentic, engaged innovators.

Let’s play a short game of “Remember When.” Recall, when as young students most “formal” learning consists of following day-to-day routines – those set of expected patterns, protocols and norms such as following a teacher’s instructions and responding with appropriate behaviors (e.g., listening, participating in discussions, turning in homework, etc.) – found in the classrooms, hallways and other learning spaces of schools. Most of us can reflect and fondly recall our “favorite” times of the school day: recess, lunchtime, art or music class. Maybe because those “free” times within the walls of the learning community gave us space to just be our ourselves as we participated in games, conversations, and other types of “fun” experiential learning. Now, pause, close your eyes and recall a time, as a kid when you were outside of those walls and on a school-sponsored field trip. Most of us have a few favorite memories about there being something almost magical about the type of learning that took place outside the classroom on the special occasion of those field trips. Footnote, today’s field trips are now delivered with more variety and innovative approaches than the one’s we participated in when we were kids – and certainly more than the last group meeting you hosted. These days, the norm is less about lectures from the guide and more of inquiry-based tours to connect learners via “Aha moments” by way of conversations.

Let’s return to the here-and-now: Has your leadership team asked for innovative thinking habits without first taking the lead in investing in transforming the learning experience? How have you considered steps to encourage relatively simple ways to think differently? Accelerating growth for your team’s performance means you have to “walk the talk” to model behavior and demonstrate why learning is valuable and worth the investment of their time. Work hard to show them you feel team development is not a “special occasion event.” Slowing down to adopt a new mindset becomes a priority when being present is understood as something that is essential to performance.

On another note, if you are openly searching for models and “how to” resources to help build an organizational culture that delivers innovative thinkers pick up the recently released Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord. Why? First of all, it’s a book that lives up to the title. McCord contributed to the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix, where she was chief talent officer for fourteen years. Talk about relevance – she drafted the foundational document on culture that evolved into The Netflix Culture Deck; the deck has now been viewed/downloaded more than 5 million times. McCord’s book is a field guide and a great resource for any leader who is ready to think differently. She asks you to challenge norms and shares pragmatic and fresh ideas she applied with Netflix and other Silicon Valley leadership teams to help them rise to the top of their industry.

Why Transform? We partner with you and your team to offer customized, collaborative, visionary, solutions that improve the way your business does business. Reach out to us to connect on how to offer an offsite that promotes new approaches the problems your business to solve. As always thanks for reading. Please share this email with your friends and colleagues.