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Posts Tagged ‘speaking up’

Want More Innovation In the Workplace? Make It Safe to Tell the Truth

You’ve either seen the video or heard about the group think that happened before NASA’s Challenger exploded in 1986. One engineer felt strongly that there was a defect in the Challenger’s design. He spoke up, others disagreed. He continued to speak up, until it became very uncomfortable to do so.

Most employees don’t even get that far. Many employees are afraid to speak up at all, feeling that it’s not ok to have a counter point of view, and that those who disagree with ‘management’ are eventually fired. I honestly am not sure where this comes from. It hasn’t been my experience, and yet the fear of speaking up is pervasive. I hear it in almost every organization with which I work.

If it’s not ok to express different opinions, your organization will deliver the same-old products and services you always have. If staying the same works in your industry, great. But stagnation is a killer to most organizations.

If you want more innovation in the workplace, you have to make it safe to speak up and offer a different point of view. Saying new, different, and even controversial things must be encourage and rewarded.

Five Ways to Encourage Innovation In the Workplace:

  1. Ask for new ideas and different points of view.
  2. Wait until you get both. Don’t allow a meeting or discussion to move on until you get new, opposing, and different points of view.
  3. Positively acknowledge people who risk and say something new or different from the norm.
  4. Ensure people with new ideas and different points of view are allowed to finish speaking before they’re interrupted or before someone else tries to negate their ideas.
  5. Create a few new awards in your organization and announce winners publicly and with great fanfare. You get what you reward.

Create Awards to Encourage Innovation In the Workplace:

  1. Acknowledge the person who fails massively trying something new.
  2. Award the person who brings new ideas to the table, regardless of what happens to those ideas.
  3. Celebrate the person who willingly gives you the worst news.

The fear of speaking up and saying something new or different will kill your innovation efforts. It will also kill your employees’ ambition and ability to be creative. Make it safe to tell the truth, even when the truth is hard to understand or unpopular, and see what happens to innovation, creativity, and employee productivity and morale.

Innovation In the Workplace


Want More Innovation In the Workplace? Make It Safe to Tell the Truth

Innovation In the WorkplaceYou’ve either seen the video or heard about the group think that happened before NASA’s Challenger exploded in 1986. One engineer felt strongly that there was a defect in the Challenger’s design. He spoke up, others disagreed. He continued to speak up, until it became very uncomfortable to do so.

Most employees don’t even get that far. Many employees are afraid to speak up at all, feeling that it’s not ok to have a counter point of view, and that those who disagree with ‘management’ are eventually fired. I honestly am not sure where this comes from. It hasn’t been my experience, and yet the fear of speaking up is pervasive. I hear it in almost every organization with which I work.

If it’s not ok to express different opinions, your organization will deliver the same-old products and services you always have. If staying the same works in your industry, great. But stagnation is a killer to most organizations.

If you want more innovation in the workplace, you have to make it safe to speak up and offer a different point of view. Saying new, different, and even controversial things must be encourage and rewarded.

Five Ways to Encourage Innovation In the Workplace:

  1. Ask for new ideas and different points of view.
  2. Wait until you get both. Don’t allow a meeting or discussion to move on until you get new, opposing, and different points of view.
  3. Positively acknowledge people who risk and say something new or different from the norm.
  4. Ensure people with new ideas and different points of view are allowed to finish speaking before they’re interrupted or before someone else tries to negate their ideas.
  5. Create a few new awards in your organization and announce winners publicly and with great fanfare. You get what you reward.

Create Awards to Encourage Innovation In the Workplace:

  1. Acknowledge the person who fails massively trying something new.
  2. Award the person who brings new ideas to the table, regardless of what happens to those ideas.
  3. Celebrate the person who willingly gives you the worst news.

The fear of speaking up and saying something new or different will kill your innovation efforts. It will also kill your employees’ ambition and ability to be creative. Make it safe to tell the truth, even when the truth is hard to understand or unpopular, and see what happens to innovation, creativity, and employee productivity and morale.

Innovation In the Workplace


Just Say No to Saying Nothing – Speaking Up at Work

Unless I’m out of town or steeped in laziness, I go to a yoga class most Monday nights. There is another class in the same studio right after the class I attend. During the last few minutes of this week’s class, people attending the next class began to congregate outside the studio and were talking loudly enough that our class could hear them. The teacher walked outside and asked them to be quiet. Then she walked back into the room and told our class that she just did something she doesn’t typically do–speak up. When the class was over she went back outside and apologized to the people she’d asked to be quiet.

Why!? Why!? Why!?

What is the big deal with giving feedback and asking people to do something differently?

Unless you live in a cave, this happens to you too. People talk near your office or cubicle and it’s distracting, but you don’t feel you can say anything. Someone in your office cc’s your boss every time he wants something from you. It annoys you and makes you distrust the person, but you don’t feel you can say anything. The people sitting in front of you at a movie theater talk throughout a movie, it’s annoying, but you’re hesitant to say anything.

Again, why, why, why!?

I already know what you’re going to say. People will be angry at you for speaking up at work and will kill you off.

That may be true, but what the heck?! That’s crazy. We do stuff. It annoys other people. They tell us.  BIG DEAL!  No one died.

speaking up at work

My entire business, Candid Culture, is focused on helping people feel they can be more candid at work. Speaking up at work is a struggle in every organization. People are afraid to give feedback. They fear retribution –real or imagined.

speaking up at work

Make a pact with each other that it’s ok to tell the truth. And that people will take the feedback in the spirit it was intended –to make something better, not to be critical. Give each other permission to be candid without consequence.

The more often you find yourself speaking up at work and giving feedback, the easier it will be.


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