The change you seek is the change you need to make within. Cliché? Maybe so, but cliché’s do hold an underlining truth. The hierarchical, vertical structure which dominated the work field until the early 2000’s is now becoming obsolete, and for good reason. Walls and overly assertive dominance are counterproductive and could intimidate free flowing communication and ideas. A flat communication model is one that is slowly being adopted by multimillion dollar corporations because it increases brand resiliency.
If you were to take a look at the biggest key holders, the game changers, the household brands that people aspire to land a job at, they all hold similar values.They strive to achieve a personal branding. I break it down and call it the “Triple C’s” – Communication, Community, and Confidence. Confidence meaning to have confidence in your team, which in turn will give them the confidence to churn our innovative ideas. If you were to follow the models that Google, Netflix, and even Fitbit have – you will see a pattern as to why they are continuously raising the bar in innovation and culture.
In my last article, I discussed that building a brand and digital strategy starts by gapping business and design, but that’s easier said than done. This requires a transparent work setting with evergreen communication. There is no branding agency that can build what you can create from within. For your brand to truly prosper, it needs to feel good on the inside, not just look good on the outside. Not only does this build authenticity, but it creates a band of loyal employees who genuinely want to contribute to the prosperity of the company. Rise by lifting others.
Create a Community
No, this doesn’t essentially mean have an open work space. Some even argue that may be counterproductive to finishing work on time. Like the Parthenon, there should be an open space where individuals could gather to discuss ideas and create bonds then retreat to their individual spaces to continue working. This could create interdepartmental collaborations and create the stepping stone to innovation. Extend the community beyond the walls of work; create outings, whether for lunch or a ball game. Have everyone pitch in for themed philanthropic events and create a bulletin board with employee bio's and stories.
Moreover, building a community creates stronger ties in the workplace ultimately decreasing employee turnover and underlines why so many qualified individuals apply to join this community.
Communicating Ideas From the Get-Go
Many designers don’t share their finished product until it’s almost ready. Unfortunately, those designs go back to the drawing board for revisions more than once after they are completed, which causes a big headache in the realm of project management. If there was open communication, somewhere to trace back for feedback along various steps of the design process – then productivity increases, as the first finished product will need minimal, if any, adjustments.
Inspiring Confidence with Open Classes
After graduating from college, our resources to grow our skill set unfortunately become limited due to time constraints or financial restrictions. Creating classes in the workplace not only help build a community, but it helps employees learn new skills while applying current knowledge to understand & solve a problem creatively.
This could be done internally, by using experts in their respective fields.If people are hesitant to take classes, create lunch n' learns so classes would feel relaxed but engaging. Instead of grades like in grade school, use classes as a reward system - for example, a certain amount of classes could equal free concert tickets or a cooking class.
An engine without oil will likely begin smoking up if you don’t take it to the shop. Netflix has a “take how many days you need policy” and Google even has massage parlors. The point is, employees, like engines, can’t keep running smoothly if they’re overheated and exhausted. Having the confidence to let your employees take a break, but then come back and efficiently produce work makes them eager to come back.
If the most sought out companies have adopted these methodologies, then it brings to light that there is a proven reason as to why a collaborative, encouraging, and communicative model is the future business culture. If you trust your co-workers, and want to share with them then together you will rise in self-esteem and innovation. Great ideas and progress never came from scrutiny.