Three Essential Strategies to Drive Team Innovation

Three Essential Strategies to Drive Team Innovation

Great leaders are facilitators of quality communication that drives dynamic collaboration within teams.  A strong culture of trust and respect encourages team members to share their input without fear of politics or sparking unproductive conflict.  Teams that slow down and take the time to truly listen, set the stage to encourage multiple perspectives, a diversity of viewpoints, and creativity.

The effectiveness of developing innovations increases significantly when leaders move their teams through three essential strategies:

  • Clarity of Vision & Objective – It is important to visualize the end result. Where is the team going?  What is the ideal outcome?  How will we know if we are successful?  These essential questions may appear obvious when leading a team through the process of innovation, yet in many circumstances, team members are too quick to jump into action without clarity.  Leaders ensure that the team has tapped into all information sources and questioned assumptions that may limit team innovation.

Great leaders create a strong foundation by tapping into storytelling and imagery to ensure team members are on the same page looking at the same picture.  Establishing a clarity of purpose engages the passion and brilliances of team members and sets the stage for brainstorming.

  • Brainstorming – It’s a fact that every organization needs to embrace innovation at some level to keep up with competition in today’s fast-paced workplace. Team members that are most talented at idea generation see possibilities everywhere.  Others on the team are better equipped with sifting through ideas and identifying those that have a foundation to build upon.  While others play the role of devil’s advocate, asking the ‘what if?’ questions.  Balancing communications through this process leads teams to advance those ideas which best serve the organization.

What value does each of your team members add to the process of brainstorming? Leaders with an awareness of how to leverage team members strengths recognize the importance of each person’s role in the process of brainstorming.

  • Action & Accountability – Many ideas die on the vine when there isn’t a clear plan of action driving teams towards the desired outcome. Tactical steps need to be identified and individuals must be held accountable to manage the process and move the innovation forward.  This is the team playbook.  Everyone on the team has a role to keep the ball in play.

Accountability plays a big role in achieving results.  What happens when a team member is not carrying their weight?  How does your team hold one another accountable?  Great leaders create an environment that supports: ‘ask for help’ and ‘offer to help’.  Moving forward in a dynamic workplace with inevitable changes requires team members to communicate, collaborate and connect in real-time.

Team Innovation in Action

Implementing these three strategies are sure to drive innovation and increase team engagement.  As a leader, recognize the team’s accomplishments and celebrate successes along the way. Collaboration should be fun and energizing – and it is sure to keep the team motivated.