The problem stopping most workplace innovation and change strategies, is that too many people–founders, funders, entrepreneurs, owners, and starters–have thought too little about how they personally and professionally respond and react to a culture built on change and innovation.
You get up and go to work every morning and work with people whom you have developed third level relationships. You are tasked with accomplishing goals that may have little to no meaning for you. And in exchange, you are compensated with pieces of paper with the pictures of deceased leaders on them.
Then, changes happen (or innovation arrives), both internal and external and you are required to manage the change, manage the disruption you feel about the change and manage the responses and reactions of the other people who are impacted by the change.
In exchange for expending the emotional labor required to do this successfully, sometimes you are recognized and rewarded in ways that matter to you. Sometimes you aren’t. Too many organizations are still led by managers, teams and supervisors at the middle management level who think “Well, you got a paycheck this week. So that’s good enough.” Even worse, many of those same organizations were founded, funded and continued by people with the same Industrial Revolution, Henry Ford mindset.
Some of this is mindset is changing, no doubt.
With the work that human resource researchers, behavioral psychologists and organizational experts are doing throughout the world, the workplace is gradually shifting. As we noted in a workshop that we facilitated the other day, we are all collectively exiting the hangover remaining from the Industrial Revolution.
Innovation for people and organizations, true innovation, will require founders, funders, entrepreneurs, owners, and starters, to turn the corner on two corrosive mindsets that remain, leading to all kinds of conflicts, both internal and external:
We have to stop thinking of innovation as an imposition.
People, whether employees, supervisors, managers or executives, are not prone to behaving in change-oriented ways. Because of our biology, reinforced through work, social and personal cultures, we are inclined to favor the least amount of resistance (or friction) possible. This response, of course comes from the flight and fight parts of our brains. We rationalize these responses in many different ways, but for the most part, people tend to view innovation they did not initiate as an imposition, rather than as an improvement.
We have to stop making change a “value container” for our personal issues.
People make judgements and rationalize their responses to changes in many different ways, but the biggest way is that people determine that change is really a verdict on past decisions. Specifically, an indictment. This pre-conceived judgement comes from the idea that “what came before must have been bad.” This type of thinking paralyzes people in endless meaningless arguments about the validity of past decisions, closes people off to determining how the material fact of change can be integrated into the present circumstances, and blinds people with fear about what other changes the future may hold.
Innovation and change are merely stories, told by people desiring a new narrative.
Innovation and change always comes with conflict and conflict is an incubator of change.
Without founders, funders, entrepreneurs, owners, and starters doing the hard work of laying the groundwork of wellbeing, strengths based leadership, emotional intelligence, and conflict engagement skills training in their cultures from the beginning, organizations will continue to find it difficult to innovate.
Even as the waves of external changes, buffet them back and forth across the blue ocean of business.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org
HSCT’s website: https://hsconsultingandtraining.com/