The THINK Conference

'Tolerate Failure'

Startup guru suggests leaders 'talk last' if they want to encourage employees to innovate.

May 13, 2013


Most ideas in your credit union will never see the light of day, primarily due to a lack of accountability and/or feedback. 
But you can organize the creative world around you and bring more ideas forward, says Scott Belsky, startup guru and CEO of Behance, an online platform for creative professionals. Belsky spoke this week in Chicago at the THINK Conference, sponsored by CO-OP Financial Services. 
To do so, you must have:
  • Organization and execution. Develop a culture of capturing action steps as meetings conclude. This results in increased accountability.
  • Communal forces. Three types usually make up work teams: dreamers, who love to brainstorm; doers, who keep the train running on time and don't like to veer; and incrementalists, who can go back and forth between ideas. You need all three types to innovate but companies also must learn ways to empower one or the other when appropriate. 
  • Leadership. A simple point for leaders to remember, Belsky says: Talk last. If you begin by telling employees what you think about an idea, most employees will agree with you. And that practice does nothing to promote creative thinking.
Finally, tolerate failure. Some businesses even celebrate it within reason. And gain confidence from doubt. If everyone thinks your idea is crazy, it either is--or you're on to something, he says.