We live in a world that is constantly evolving – there are new trends, opinions or changes in customer demands popping up every day. Businesses need to keep a finger on the pulse of these trends and evolutions while simultaneously working to get ahead and stay relevant. Becoming a forward-thinking, adaptable and evolving organization all starts in the same place: building a culture of idea-generators.
This part of the creative process is essential. If a business’ culture doesn’t encourage and nurture team members to generate and share ideas, it risks falling behind its competition. Business leaders need to embody the role of a visionary – always pushing teams for new ideas, creativity and innovation to achieve system-wide advancements.
Here are some tactical tips for leaders to develop a culture that welcomes and is made up of idea-generators to help take their business to the next level.
Create an Open and Accepting Environment
Having a place that inspires ideas and allows them to flourish is essential – it’s critical to create a safe space to share thoughts and suggestions. Employees won’t become idea-generators if they feel disregarded or criticized. The more accepting and supportive the environment is, whether in-person or remote, the more innovative and creative the team will be.
One component of this approach is active listening which should be woven into a team’s training. This allows people to understand the perspective and full scope of what their coworker is saying and provides ample time to give a thoughtful response or ask questions to build out the topic or idea. Most importantly, it validates the speaker and sets a precedent within the organization that speaking up is valued and respected.
Another way to create this environment is to understand, accept and appreciate a high level of openness between each employee. Personally, I always let recruits know that we welcome all ideas and opinions. They are fully educated on how Blo Blow Dry Bar as a brand is always evolving and that we want to add idea-generators to the system. I never want someone to feel too shy to ask questions, state an opinion or share an idea. Everyone should feel like they have a seat at the head table to share ideas and observations.
Don’t Settle or Get Too Comfortable
It’s dangerous to rest on one’s laurels. Commit to being a forward-thinking company that is always innovating and anticipating competition.
When a team is stuck in a rut or comfortable producing ‘just enough,’ it’s obvious and can be detrimental to the company’s overall progression. Find some techniques and create opportunities to ignite insightful conversation and the free-flow of ideas. It can be helpful to establish new processes to regularly fuel innovation such as brainstorms, mind mapping, story boards or brain writing. A team should try their hand at various processes to see what brings results and cultivates the best environment for new ideas to flow.
Set your sights on continued growth and evolution, and take active steps toward it. This will open the flood gates for new ideas and push employees to become idea-generators.
Ask Questions and Research
Question-asking promotes curiosity. If you know everything, or act like you do, how will you develop new ideas? Asking questions helps drive collaboration among co-workers and those within your broader network.
At Blo Blow Dry Bar, we have a strong network of franchisees who often consult and collaborate with each other. If something isn’t working or they’re questioning a process, franchisees utilize each other as a sounding board.
Promote looking at outside research like case studies or scholarly and business articles to help fine-tune and develop ideas. Identifying how other people or organizations are achieving success can help trigger that light bulb moment and fuel the ideation to come up with a new strategy or process.
Don’t Box People In
It’s important for employees to feel a sense of autonomy in the workplace and that they are encouraged to bring ideas to the table even if it isn’t in their job description and usual scope of work. Every project, problem and person are different – so it’s important to allow for a cross-pollination of ideas across departments and among the team. A fresh, external perspective is a valuable thing and could even be the key to success.
Blo Blow Dry Bar encourages franchisees to share their feedback and often implements some of their ideas or suggestions into our system. For example, the addition of make-up services was an idea generated by a franchisee. Allowing the room for creative freedom pushes the team, department and overall brand to prosper in new innovative ways.
Vanessa Yakobson, CEO and Co-Founder of Blo Blow Dry Bar, North America’s original blow dry bar and the world’s largest blow dry bar franchise. For more information about Blo Blow Dry Bar and franchising opportunities, visit: https://franchise.blomedry.com/.