High-performing teams and innovative employees embrace discomfort when approaching new challenges.
"Fear powers innovation," says Whitney Johnson, who gave a keynote address at CUNA’s America’s Credit Union Conference in Boston.
Taking a leap and tackling new challenges can be frightening, but that’s how it’s supposed to feel, says the author of “Disrupt Yourself.”
“Disruption is scary and lonely. Once you leave your comfortable perch and the way you’ve always done things, there’s a free fall,” Johnson says. “But if it feels scary and lonely, you’re on the right path.”
To foster innovation in an organization, a leader should give employees a chance to learn, invest in their development, and give them opportunity to apply their knowledge, she says.
Furthermore, it is important to have the right mix of employees along a learning curve that features areas for employees who are inexperienced, engaged, and masters. An ideal team should have 70% of employees in the engaged phase, with 15% in the inexperienced phase, and 15% in the master category, according to Johnson.
Regardless of category, the key is to give employees opportunities to grow, Johnson says.
Employees who become complacent in their jobs end up getting bored and that doesn’t lead to innovation, Johnson says. It also increases the chances that you’ll lose employees to job opportunities at different organizations.