The most successful Chief Revenue Officers are not afraid to think outside of the box. To have big, out-of-the-box ideas, a company must have employees who are not intimidated by creativity, innovation, and inventiveness.
It is also important to identify who on the team have innovation as a core value. There are many on a team who claim “I am not creative” when in fact they have not yet realized their full potential. There are online tests to better understand who on your team is creative, and who struggles. Check out this creativity test example >
Innovation in the workplace starts at the core of the business and is fostered by the leaders. Creating a culture of innovation and creativity - where all team members are encouraged to generate and explore even the wildest of ideas - takes commitment and direction.
Consider the following ideas to foster a culture of innovation and experimentation and drive ingenuity:
Maintain an Open Door, Open Ear Policy
When organizations are only open to receiving ideas they asked for, a problem may occur. Employees may not trust the process when they don't feel heard. As a result, they are unwilling to share any creative ideas they may have. This can be especially true when those at the top are unreceptive to ideas and appease employees by listening, but failing to take action or implement suggestions. If it is difficult to connect consistently, you might appreciate new technology or an app. Check out TinyPulse here >
Prioritize a Flat, Rather than Hierarchal, Structure of Management
Many businesses have found success in creating a culture of innovation by doing away with hierarchal titles and management structures. When people don’t have to jump through hoops and cut through red tape to get an idea from one person to the next, they are much more incentivized to produce and share. Long approval processes and a requirement to work through a complex communication process to get something done is extremely inefficient, and impedes creativity.
To help you think further about your management structure, we created a few free organizational chart templates here. They are in a PowerPoint format which you can easily edit.
Provide Unstructured Time for Idea Creation
Unstructured time, or “free time” for individuals and teams to generate ideas is a must in creative company cultures. The most famous example is perhaps Google, which maintains a 20 percent time policy. The policy encourages employees to spend 20 percent of their work time thinking about what would most benefit the company, and is based on the idea that “the most talented and creative people can’t be forced to work.” Google also provides their employees with plenty of free, unstructured time where they can work on their own projects, or just check out and relax for a minute.
Allowing employees to structure their time as they see fit not only allows for innovation, but also expresses the idea of employee value. When employees feel valued, they are internally motivated to perform at their peak.
Host Brainstorming Sessions
To ensure a culture of innovation, information should be open-source. This means that employees should feel free - and be encouraged - to share concepts with one another, and bounce ideas back and forth; the best strategies often evolve from a combination of ideas.
To encourage collaboration and open-source sharing, regularly host team brainstorming sessions. These sessions should encourage all ideas, even the craziest, and should discourage the dismissal of ideas that don’t sound feasible.
To host a great business brainstorming session, start by finding a welcoming space that encourages thinking. Offer plenty of room to move around and natural light. Further, make sure that there are ways to express ideas besides orally, such as markers and drawing boards. For virtual brainstorming sessions take advantage of online white boards and tools like Limnu.
During a brainstorming session, it is also critical that egos are checked and titles are left at the door. Nothing will squash creativity faster than one person’s idea trumping another’s based on their title or company position alone. Different points of view should be fostered, not marginalized.
Provide Room for Failure
If your company penalizes failure or discourages errors, you can be certain that those within your company will never want to take risks. However, innovation and risk go hand-in-hand; some of the best ideas fail upon testing, and some genius ideas never come to fruition because of a fear of failure. Encourage those within your organization to try, fail, and then to try again by applying the things they learned. When failure occurs, get the team collaborating to analyze what went wrong and what could be improved upon.
Simon Sinek on How to Strengthen Your Creative Skills
Simon Sinek answers "How is Your Creative Toolbox Changing?" The more Sinek practices his creative skills, the stronger his toolbox gets. As a lover of creative people, Sinek looks to try new things such as modern dance choreography and painting to get perspective on creative process.
Finally, don’t forget about your role as a Chief Revenue Officer during the entire process. Remember to give support when it’s needed. Employees may have an ability to generate ideas, collaborate with others, and be innovative, but may lack the tools and resources necessary to allow the innovation and ideas to flourish in a meaningful way.
If a team member is looking for help, provide it as needed. A hands-off approach can certainly provide employees with more creative space, but it may leave them feeling misguided, at a loss for how to transform something from an idea to a reality, or even neglected. Your availability can make all the difference.
Creating a culture of innovation is only one of the many responsibilities of a Chief Revenue Officer. More about the role is here: What is a Chief Revenue Officer - Job Description and Responsibilities.
If you are interested in taking a deeper dive with an extensive look into the role and responsibilities of a CRO, be sure to download our free ebook: