In order to innovate to the next level in your organization, to attract, cultivate--and keep--top talent, and to inspire and tap into the greatest desires and creativity of your employees, you'll need to address 4 things: their sense of purpose and contribution, their sense of creativity and autonomy, their mindset of collaboration and partnership, and their own personal nourishment and self-care so they can do all they want to do and have the impact they want to have. Here are a couple of ways to tap into this NOW.
A calling vs. a job
One of our greatest wants and needs as human beings is to contribute and to know that our life matters; we're doing something, we count, we've left a dent, and it's bigger than us. Address this with a human being and you tap into a limitless supply of energy and contribution. Therefore, you'll want to cultivate a culture where employees feel they have a "calling", not a job, that they can contribute, and that they can use your organization to be a vehicle for change in the things they care most about. Do this and they'll feed their own energy and best thinking back into your company to help create the best results, products, and services possible.
The "9-5" mentality, clock-punching, people coming to work because they have to (vs. want to), and everyone covering their own butts in order to protect their own job, won't foster creativity and innovation. Instead you'll want to create an environment where people are allowed to tap into purpose (what drives them), are matched with the right jobs to serve that purpose, see their peers as collaborators not competitors, and who have white space to think about and nurture their ideas to innovate into the future.
Ways to do this now? Get curious about purpose in your employees; What lights them up? What do they want to see different in the world? Where are they highly dissatisfied? If they could have ANY impact they want--what would that impact be? When people talk about them "behind their backs" about their impact, what would your employee hope is being said? Give them space to explore these questions. Actively engage with them in the dialogue. In the answers are themes that point to purpose. Match that purpose with the work they're doing, and you'll likely find a whole new level of energy to tap into and a workforce that comes to work because it's on fire and wants to create impact, vs. it's just there for a paycheck. You'll also find a whole new level of willingness to collaborate (vs. compete) in order to create that impact. After all, it's bigger than just them or their ego.
Hiring for purpose vs. skills
To get in front of this from the start, before they're even in the door, you'll want to hire and inspire for purpose and contribution, where people give their best to help each other be successful. Of course the skills are important, they need to be able to get the job done, and they'll need to be really good at it, but the purpose under the skills will be the fuel. So hire for that sense of hunger and purpose, check for skills to ensure they're qualified, and if you get caught up in a tie between purpose and skills, lean towards purpose. Skills are extrinsic and can be taught and mastered, purpose is intrinsic, self-driven, and much harder to teach.
Next week: Moving from a mindset of competition to collaboration and contribution.