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Accountability – its importance goes without saying, but can be extremely tricky to inculcate. As – the Innovation champion — build a culture of Innovation, consider these methods:
- Give Them Enough Rope To…: The natural tendency is to dictate terms – deadlines, methodologies, etc. Let the team members decide upon the “how it’s going to get done” elements. Should they go a bit off the track, you can always fine-tune. Or, better yet, lead a discussion on how they can fine-tune.
- It’s Expected: State clearly, from the outset, that the team members will be expected to develop the answers to work-related issues – it will be their responsibility.
- We Know that You Know the Answers: Let your people come up with the solutions. When someone comes to you with a question, ask them: “what’s your recommendation?” They will find the answer. And why not: you picked great people for your team, right?
- Tread Lightly on the Gas Pedal: Initially, you may have to take a more overt role, in terms of direction, support. Once they start “getting it” and build a confidence level, ease off on the throttle. The knee-jerk reaction is to swoop in and save the day. Force yourself to ease off.
- Skinner Was Right: Positive reinforcement works wonders. It’s downright frightening to brave failure and be held accountable. When your team, or a team member, hits a home run, lavish praise is in order. Encourage. Reinforce. It works wonders.
For more see “Robert’s Rules of Innovation” by Wiley, Spring 2010