Innovation is Really important.

What do you do to encourage and implement innovation?

 

Do you have a team of Managers brainstorm in a meeting 

Do you rely on your Directors or MD to come up with something? 

Or your marketing team?

Innovation for just about every business is important.  Without innovation you just stand still and in the current market place this is not advisable. But a lot of companies struggle with finding new innovation ideas and/or implementing these ideas.

A big contribution to this is the mind set of your staff.  No one likes to be ‘told’ what to do, even children react better to being persuaded rather than told.  So why do so many companies ignore the great resources they are already paying for? The staff!

If your company does not encourage and nurture a culture of inclusion, making changes of any kind is difficult. If you involve the people who are effected by these changes and encourage their input, the change is much more organic. Staff feel valued and you will be surprised at how many things they will come up with that Managers may not have thought of.

So start right away!  Start with your team leaders, if you have them, or the most outspoken members of staff.  Explain what your aims and outcomes are and why you need their input.  Human nature is to be needed, included, valued – so make sure your staff know they have these things from you.  Get them to go back to their teams and have a chat during break times (or extend a break time by 10 minutes) so they can discuss what you need and have them report back with ideas.  They will feel they have a purpose and you will have some great ideas.   When I first started this process my first objective was to improve our Social Media postings (not my strongest skill!), my staff were a little resistant so I made it a bit of a competition – the member of staff who came up with the best post each month got a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine.  The response I got was great, it was worth the £10 I spent on the prizes!  Now it is just second nature to them, I walk through the factory and staff are throwing ideas at me, things they have seen on their way to work, ideas that came to them when they were out and about.  It is great having such open creative thinking and the staff feel much more included in the progress of our company.

Some will be a but ‘raw’ but you maybe able to use the ideas and expand on them to make a real change.

Remember as a Manager how good it feels when something you have done makes an impact on your company, get your staff to experience this same feeling, they will be more receptive to change in the future and more likely to offer positive suggestions for improvement without being prompted.

Staff are an asset you are already paying for, so utilise your assets to make positive change and improvements.

 

I would appreciate your feedback on this topic, please let any comments below. Many thanks

Team Building

team

I was asked to look at possible team building activities and locations for a client who was looking to do some thing that all his staff could be involved in.  Sounds easy right – wrong!

He has a 15 staff that have an age range of 20 to 58 years old and different backgrounds. Oh and a limited budget of course.

I spent some time talking to his staff, finding out what they liked to do and making suggestions to possible places and gauging their reactions.  This proved informative but the staff had such different ideas it was going to be hard finding something for everyone.  Added to this, my client was making it a compulsory event, always a hard sell with some staff.  There are so many beautiful places in the UK the choices are endless.  My recent visit to Betsy Coed is just one perfect example.

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Sports activities were out, travelling any distance was not received well

Sports activities were out (go carting, paintballing, white water rafting, rock climbing), not many were keen on traveling, others didn’t like the idea of being with other groups.  The negative list just went on and on.  Not a lot of positive responses were coming forward.

I then went back to my client and asked ‘What exactly do you want to achieve from this event?’  It is easy to get carried away with these team building events and not achieve what your client wanted.

My client explained that the moral within the company had been low, partly due to a down turn in business and partly due to him being stressed, leading to being less cheerful with his staff.  Basically it was something to cheer his staff up, remind them that they were a team and that they are very much valued.  I felt given the downturn in business meant that throwing a lot of money at an event would be inappropriate and give the wrong message to staff.  So I asked if my client would consider a structured event outdoors, followed by a simple finger buffet at a local pub.  This meant keeping costs to a minimum, local so hardly any travel involved and a simple buffet that I could put together myself (experience from Managing the Broadoak Hotel!).  My client really liked the idea and was happy for me to put together a proposal.

A lot of research later, I had an event planned, costed – just needed approval from my client. I put my proposal together and dropped it off for him to look through and get back to me with any changes.  I was really surprised to get a call later the same day from my client giving me the go ahead.   I had a further meeting with my client to finalise the date, time, exact number of people etc and he was happy to leave me to get on with planning the event. I only had 3 weeks to get everything in place and ready – no time to waste.

I planned several games (a couple as back-ups), booked a free function room where I could provide my own food, went shopping for catering/buffet and one event ready to go.

The day was a great success.  Staff were a little apprehensive to start with, which I expected but with some light persuasion and a lot of laughing at each other, everyone joined in the games.  Back at the function room, the staff were ready to eat and carried on laughing and joking with each other about the games and how badly their boss had done (not sure if he lost on purpose!).  It was very rewarding seeing a company come together during hard times and to remember that they are valued and worth the constant stress for the owner.

I checked back with my client a month later and he said everyone had really enjoyed the day and were asking to maybe do another similar event in the future.  He put the photos up on the notice board as a reminder and staff had been more understanding of his position, being more supportive in general.  He asked if I would be prepared to hold some innovation meetings with staff to get them more involved in the company, I was happy to help and see this small company grow a little at a time, but certainly more positively.

There are so many ways to bring staff together and it does not have to cost a fortune to get the results needed.  I believe that it is not how much you spend on these events but the quality of the event that matters.

If you feel I could help you or your company arrange an event, please let me know and I will be happy to talk through some ideas.  07478 946454 or email.