As a leader, you’ve most likely been given the mandate to create a culture of innovation. Or perhaps, you’ve been given the high-pressure responsibility to overcome today’s new challenges and unearth new opportunities. Of course, in times of massive upheaval like today, this comes with an urgent deadline and incredible pressure to perform.
Unfortunately, most leaders in this high-stakes situation incline to tap into a specific set of people that they already deem innovative. Maybe it’s someone named Helena, with her purple highlights and funky glasses, bestowed with the great gift of imagination and creativity. Her days are filled with “aha” moments and brilliant insights. Or perhaps it’s a cross-functional team of those that work in the more creative departments like marketing and R&D.
While there is a lot of good intention around plucking out the people that are perceived as being the innovators to leverage their talents, this inclination to silo innovation to the select few sabotages your innovation efforts and damages employee engagement.
Think of it this way: Why would your organizations only want to tap the power of six or 14 people when they could tap the power of all 300, 3,000, or 300,000 employees? You aren’t paying your team to keep their heads down. You are paying them to help you grow and thrive as a business. If you don’t have that expectation, you’re missing countless opportunities.