5 Ways to Improve Your Corporate Climate

5 Ways to Improve Your Corporate Climate

Business

Have you ever encountered institutional inertia? 

The forces that arm wrestle any new idea or variance from the way we always do things?

If you know this force—the inertia of nothen your employees certainly do, too. It’s probably scaring off their most valuable thinking, the original thinking that leads to innovation. 

You may be interested in: Break Through the Inertia of No to Be More Creative

But if you know a thing or two about building a climate for creativity, you’ll be able to take the first steps to ensure that your organizational atmosphere nurtures the thinking needed to thrive.

What’s An Ideal Innovation Climate? 

The beliefs, mindsets, language, and the way things get done all interact to create a team or organizational climate—the feeling of a place, the ethos, the ambiance.

Through seven decades of research, Göran Ekvall pinpointed ten climate attributes that support creativity and innovation.

An ideal innovation climate begins with a courageous leader who values the individual creativity of team members. Paying deliberate attention to the climate attributes helps support these efforts and makes them more effective.  

Five Ways to Strengthen Your Organizational Climate

In their book Organizational Creativity, Puccio, Cabra, and Schwagler highlighted the climate dimensions that corporate groups find most important to strengthen first. Follow the tips alongside each dimension and you will be five steps closer to a healthy innovation climate.

Get the Sparkitivity Climate Check workbook to do a quick assessment of all ten dimensions of your team climate.

1. Freedom: Are people allowed to explore and experiment? Are they free to try different approaches to achieve their goals? 

Apply the childhood game “I spy with my little eye. . .” to count the number of hoops people have to go through to get things done. Are there any that you can eliminate so people have the flexibility to work in ways that maximize individual creative thinking and productivity?

2. Idea Time: Is there time to generate ideas and think things through before having to produce?

Use this best practice from creative problem solving and design thinking: set aside specific time solely for idea generation. Try to have fun with this, as you wait to judge and vet the ideas until later. 

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3. Idea Support: Are new ideas and suggestions considered positively? 

When someone comes up with a new idea, challenge yourself to pause, then point out two of its merits. One merit might be that the person is simply taking the time to think differently. Even if the idea doesn’t work, communicate genuine appreciation for their new thinking. Help them find a grain of possibility in that idea, identify the obstacles that might get in the way, and work from there to improve them. 

4. Risk-taking: Is it okay to suggest and try unproven ideas?

Introduce “prototype mode.” Prototype mode is an experimental mindset. Have a new idea for a product or service that has potential but needs customer feedback? Instead of pouring all your resources into a huge build-out, do an inexpensive mock-up and try it out with a handful of clients. The premise of prototype mode is not perfection, but continuous forward progress based on feedback and iteration. 

5. Healthy Debate: Do people feel free to engage in lively debates, offering different points of view than leadership or colleagues?

If healthy debate isn’t your climate’s strong suit, begin with anonymity. Find a fun and intriguing way to introduce a “suggestion box” so employees can put ideas in without being afraid of being judged. The key is to treat all ideas with care and be sincere about trying to implement good suggestions.

Get the Sparkitivity Climate Check workbook to do a quick assessment of all ten dimensions of your team climate.

Resources:

Göran Ekvall,“Creative Climate”, Encyclopedia of Creativity Volume I, A-H, edited by Mark A. Runco and Steven R. Pritzker, San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1999, 403-412. 

Scott G. Isaksen, Kenneth J. Lauer, and Göran Ekvall, “Situational Outlook Questionnaire: A Measure of the Climate for Creativity and Change,” Psychological Reports 1999, 85: 665-674. 


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Kathryn Haydon helps you maximize your creative strengths so you can do your best work. Through keynotes, workshops, and consulting, she trains individuals, leaders, and teams to find the unique spark that leads to deep engagement and productivity.

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