Make it safe to fail

A collaborative leader makes it safe to fail and learn, and innovate.  And that’s also what most facilitator and dispute resolution professionals try do too.  As a mediator, I know there is no way people are going to open up, share information, and genuinely explore and resolve the issues unless they feel safe, free from bullying, intimidation or reprisal.  Most people want to be held accountable.  They don’t want to be coerced.

Give people time

It takes time to get good at something. Daniel J. Levitin, musician and neuroscientist, talks about the 10,000 rule in This is Your Brain on Music; that it takes at least 10,000 hours of practice to become a master musician.

Innovation, too, requires a long-term perspective. The roots of innovation typically involve experimentation, failure, and time.  Lee Colan (author of Engaging the Hearts and Minds of All Your Employees) speaks of how it takes 2 years for bamboo to build its roots and break ground, and then it can grow 100 feet in the next 2 years! Treat your people that way.

Make it safe

Safety is a basic human need.  People with a sense of security and belonging are stabilized for learning, creating, innovating.  A group of wonderfully cared for, confident individuals will generate great ideas.  (John Sweeney, creativity author & consultant)

Create physical environments that are inviting, that allow people to take risk; to fully engage others in authentic conversation, to suspend assumptions and enter into a genuine thinking together.  The U-shaped open to discovery aligns with the learning organization and systems thinking of Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer and others.

Pathways to innovation

Make it easier for people to build consensus and move forward together.

Make it safe for people to engage in authentic conversations and take chances,and then encourage them to do it! And, here are 39 ideas to help get you from collaboration to innovation.

How do you make it safe for others?

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