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How to create a safe place for curiosity and innovation in your team

How to create a safe place for curiosity and innovation in your team.

In this transition period (which I believe will continue for a couple of years!) there will be lots of  change and uncertainty BUT our potential for creating long-lasting positive shifts during this time – to our workplace culture, systems and processes, the way we work, our relationship with innovation and experimentation – has never been more potent and achievable!

Right now YOU have an opportunity to have a say in shaping the new normal!

Does this make you as excited as it makes me?

One thing we know about change though, is that it’s not always easy.

When things have been done a certain way, unquestioned, for years (decades even!), it’s not uncommon for our cries for change to be met with resistance.

Which is why we can’t venture down this path alone.

Not only will great organisational change require you to step more boldly into your role as a Leader, you will need the support of an exceptional team who feel safe to communicate openly, explore new opportunities, take bold action, and make mistakes.

It’s only from this place of safety, that creativity and innovation can happen.

Here’s how you can begin to foster a sense of safety in your team:

One – Celebrate progress over perfection

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that great change can happen, even when it’s executed with ‘imperfect’ action.

Let me explain …

When COVID hit, organisations were forced to act QUICKLY. There was no time for detailed planning and test piloting, they simply had to respond.

As a result of this, most organisations ended up working in ways that were once labelled as ‘impossible’ – aka, working from home and running meetings via Zoom!

Did these changes roll out ‘perfectly’ without glitches? No.

But did everyone adapt and learn as time passed? Absolutely!

The same goes now – we don’t need to be striving for perfection, but we do need to be moving forward and trying new and innovative ways of working. 

Encouraging progress over perfection creates a sense of safety among teams because people feel encouraged to be curious to experiment.

Two – Embrace and learn from mistakes

Much like celebrating progress and acting before you have a detailed plan in place, I encourage you to embrace and learn from any mistakes that are made along the way.

Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to work under the progressive mantra of “giving it a go and stumbling, is better than not giving it a go at all”?

It would completely revolutionise the way we work!

This kind of mantra builds safety, supports creative ideas to flow and fosters innovation and out-of-the-box thinking! 

It’s absolutely okay not to get things right the first time – all ‘failures’ give us wonderful lessons to learn from!

Three – Get your Executive team on board

When creating long lasting change, it’s important to get your Executive team on board.

Without their support, your efforts will feel like an uphill battle and any changes made won’t be sustainable. 

Sometimes this will be easy – but not always. 

Be patient and persistent, and trust that ‘planting seeds’ will help to shift things in time.

Will galvanising their support take courage? Absolutely! Especially in those organisations where change and innovation is less embraced.

I encourage you to simply plant the ideas, allow them to sprout, and then give your colleagues the time they need to catch up and get on board.

While they do, find the people you know are going to jump in and say ‘YES!’ quickly, and invest your energy there! 

You don’t need to be a Lone Ranger, and having a support team behind you will make the journey easier and more enjoyable.


Need support knowing how best to take the lead and create a safe space for curiosity and innovation in your team? 

You can book in for a Leadership Support Session here, and together we’ll create a tangible plan to move you forward courageously, strategically and in a way that honours and utilises your strengths. 

LET'S CONNECT

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Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

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What To Do When You Feel Bored, Stuck And Unfulfilled By Your Work

What To Do When You Feel Bored, Stuck And Unfulfilled By Your Work

Is it possible that there is an epidemic out there in workplaces around the country, of people feeling bored, stuck and unfulfilled by the work they do? 

A lack of meaning seems to be causing increasing numbers of people to be disengaged and unproductive… not just for a couple of days or weeks but for huge chunks of time.

Never-ending to do lists, pointless meetings, floods of emails, unreasonable bosses, poor relationships with co-workers, lack of recognition and the overwhelming workload…. all lead to fatigue, boredom, lack of meaning and ultimately burn out.  

But why is it that so many stay stuck in this situation way beyond the use by date?

There are a myriad of reasons…  some are absolutely valid and some… an elegant justification for lack of action and personal responsibility.

The latest Gallop Poll reported that a dismal 18% of Australians say they love their work and almost two thirds of Australian employees consider themselves to be emotionally detached from their employer, and so they just do the bare minimum.  

If you are feeling bored in your job, you are clearly not alone.

If you are waiting and hoping that things will change for the better, you could be waiting for a long time.  

If you want to be more engaged and to enjoy you job more … it really is up to you to find some answers. 

Here are some ideas to get  you unstuck and into more fulfilling work. 

1. Do something new

Much of the boredom, misery, disengagement and apathy that we experience can be remedied by the simple step of doing something new.

We are hardwired to seek out the novel and challenging and without it we end up with a life that is somewhat bland, beige and, at times, unfulfilling.  Recent advancements in neuroscience have found that the brain becomes activated when we are engaged in something that causes us to stretch and grow.

Novel things make your mind jump to attention with the release of dopamine.  It snaps into “let’s figure this out mode” and is what motivates us to learn. When the novel is also challenging, our brain will stay engaged even longer.  And an engaged brain is a happy brain!

So the answer may be to ask for new responsibilities or to take on projects and tasks that push you outside your comfort zone. 

Challenge is the key to staying engaged.

Look for growth opportunities, even when you’re busy. By learning new skills, you are making yourself more valuable in your current role and improving your opportunities for future career growth and success.

2. Capitalising on your unique skills and talents

Your boredom may be a sign that you are not leveraging your unique skills and talents. Are you a square peg in a round hole? 

I know I am at my best when I have a degree of autonomy, working with people and engaged in helping them to grow. So really, it was no surprise that when I was given a role some years ago that focused on developing details around policy, procedure and audit requirements, I very quickly lost interest in the job and was watching the clock, willing the time to pass.

So what kind of work makes you feel “in the zone”, where time passes with ease and you leave knowing you are contributing the best of you to your work?  We all have unique talents and activities that engage and excite us more then others.  What are yours?

Explore ways you can align the work you do, with what you are truly gifted at, what you are passionate about and what brings you real meaning

You may be able to find more of these types of tasks in the role you are currently in. If not, you may need to consider moving on. 

3. Focus outside of you

The key to a meaningful life – at work and elsewhere – often lies in turning our focus from ourselves, to how we can help others.  As a leader, this means creating opportunities for your team, helping them to make a little bit of progress towards their own growth and development every day.

Who can you offer assistance, mentoring or guidance to, keeping in mind that this is one of the most powerful forms of motivation to keep boredom at bay and to live a meaningful life?

4. Take Responsibility

You may not like to hear this but, at the end of the day, if you are bored at work it is up to you to do something about it.  If you keep doing the same things you really can’t expect a different result!  Now is the time to take action and do some things differently.

You have more power and control over your situation than you may think. 

Remember you are in the drivers seat.  No one but you is responsible for your happiness, engagement and fulfilment, both at work and in your personal life.

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

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5 Career Critical Questions

5 Career Critical Questions

We ask ourselves dozens of questions each day: what will I have for lunch, have I got time for exercise, what will I wear to the meeting?  These questions are all important.  They shape who we are and influence the type of life we lead day by day. 

But we often don’t pause to think about the big questions; the real questions that allow us to create a life that if we were to look back on, 10 years from now, would fill us with a sense of pride and fulfillment.

We get busy and consumed by the day to day.  We get caught up in raising a family, meeting deadlines, racing from one commitment to the next without critically assessing whether this is what we really want.

Here are 5 career critical questions I ask my clients to help them to examine their career.  Take a few moments now to ask these questions of yourself.  (Warning: You might be surprised by some of the answers.)

1.  How happy and fulfilled am I with my current job, out of 10?

I love this question.  Be honest with yourself when you consider this one.  It is ok whatever the number is.  If the number is frighteningly low then we know we have some work to do and some changes to make.  At least now we know what we are working with and you can get real about what you can do to increase it.

2.  What, more than anything, do I want from my career?

Think about where you want your career to be 10 year from now.  What will you be doing? Will it be exactly the same as what you are doing now? If it is not…. what steps will you need to take to achieve this shift in your career?

Will you be leading a team? What will others be saying about how you lead and what you contribute to the team, the organisation or even the industry? 

Visualising your future is a powerful strategy for identifying a clear pathway forward.

3.  What does success look like to me?

Our “criteria for success” is different for all of us.  For some it is to secure a high paying role, for others it is achieving happy harmony at home while also contributing to a challenging role at work.  Whatever it is, it is just perfect for you.  Don’t let anyone else’s definition of success cloud your own judgment and the path you take.  

4.  What specific aspects of my work do I love?

Get clear about what you are great at and what you love to do.  They are very often the same … but not always.  We some times become really good at tasks that we actually don’t enjoy.  Some years ago I became known for my expertise in preparing for safety audits.  I was very good at it … but found the work tedious and uninspiring. 

When we find the “Sweet Spot” between what we are good at, what we love to do and what is our purpose in life… we become unstoppable.  I wonder what your “Sweet Spot” is?

5.  What can I do in the next 2 weeks to bring more joy, passion and fulfillment to my work?

This is where the rubber hits the road.  Life is too short to merely drift along.  Creating a career and life you love takes answering the tough questions of what you really want, then going out there and taking action. 

Start small.  It is often the 1% shifts that make the big difference in how much joy, passion and fulfillment we experience from our work. 

So what can you do today, tomorrow or sometime in the next 2 weeks to create the changes you would like to see in your career?  It might mean having a conversation with your boss about a project you would really love to work on, having coffee with a potential mentor or creating a 5 year plan for your career. 

Life is too short to not be happy and fulfilled by your work.  We spend so much of our time engaged in our work… we may as well enjoy it.  Take the time now to reflect on how you would like it to be and start today to take the small (or giant leaps) to move toward creating a career and life you love.

 

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businessman having stress in the office

Leading through and beyond burnout

Imagine this….

You’re sitting in the car park at work with a splitting headache and with that sinking feeling of here we go again. The 3 coffees you’ve downed already to give you a bit of an energetic lift haven’t helped; in fact, you feel more than a little shaky. Your phone has lit up like a Christmas tree with fires you’re expected to put out, yet all you want to do is book a room at the nearest hotel, close the blinds and sleep for days.

Jane Benston

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

Why we must talk about menopause…

Let’s talk menopause

Yes! I’m going there.

Why? Because your ability to lead effectively and confidently relies on you being at your best – both physically and mentally.

Jane Benston