How to encourage entrepreneurial thinking on your team - Sergei Revzin and Vadim Revzin
Open experimentation is foundational to any team that’s serious about innovation. But what activities and behaviors actually encourage experimentation and make sure that new ideas see the light of day?
Get comfortable with failure Take a deeper look at any 10-person startup that has displaced an industry incumbent in the last 20 years, and you’re sure to find a leadership organization that prides itself on its failures just as much as its successes.
“This is a company that is obsessed with what we call experiments. Everybody is encouraged to, whatever it is that they’re working on, reimagine how it could be better, different, cheaper, faster, whatever it might be…”
Organizations should be hyper-aware of how their managers and leaders are encouraging experimentation and failure, and make adjustments as needed.
Make macromanagement a core tenet
When we trust people to get the job done, we get leaders. Macromanagement, or “management from afar”, is not only critical to encourage a leadership mentality, but it also plays a major role in helping to nurture creativity on your team. Individuals need to have a sense of ownership in order to allow themselves to try things that haven’t been tried before, and to let their inspirations morph into practical solutions. A big contributor to failed internal innovation initiatives is the lack of truly open experimentation.
Champion the pursuit of external interests
When people know that they can openly share their extra-curricular
interests with their colleagues and are encouraged to express their entire
authentic selves in their work environment, they see themselves as more than
how their job titles define them. That is a pre-condition for allowing new
ideas to be freely shared in your organization. Encouraging team members to
get outside perspectives that have nothing to do with their work can help teams
generate new ideas in ways that could not possibly be predicted.
Managers need to acknowledge they don’t have all of the answers and let their teams try to find them.
If organizations want to see more innovation, leaders and managers have to put full confidence in their teams to try new things, and then promptly get out of their way.Reflections
Building a culture where staff feel comfortable to make mistakes is important to encourage innovation. Encouraging teachers to carry out research is a good way to do this. They could trial an evidence informed strategy within their own classroom and from practical research look at the impact it is having on their pupils progress. As leaders it is important to encourage experimentation and create psychological safety so the team know that they will not be in trouble if anything they try does not work. It is important to evaluate anything new in order to ensure it is creating the impact that is desired.
Do schools have a culture where it is ok to make mistakes in order to find the best solution or innovation?
Trust is so important in order to create leaders. Macromanagement encourages creativity from everyone in the team. Do schools have this or is micro management the norm? Do leaders have to be in charge of every decision? Do they empower others to take the lead? Are staff trusted to make the right decisions? If the schools vision is clearly understood by everyone on the team then they will be able to make decisions in line with this joint commitment.
Having external interests is important for wellbeing but also helps to form creative ideas. Having a diverse range of people with experiences from a range of fields is also very useful on your governing body. The ideas they can bring from other industries can really benefit education.
Do the leaders in your school admit they do not have all the answers? Do they move out of the way and let others thrive and succeed? Providing high challenge and high support can support leaders with this process.
Sergei Revzin and Vadim Revzin, (2018). How to encourage entrepreneurial thinking on your team. -
Image - taken from the book club slides from James Potter and John Cobb, NCE.
Please tweet me with an reflections you have of your own school at @ArkinstallNikki.