By Embracing Ideas at All Levels, Organizations Can Add Value to the Decision-Making Process
In today’s business environment, in which decisions have to be made more quickly than ever before, relying on a broad network of expertise is critical to success. Reserving all decisions for upper management can not only slow down processes, but also ignore a wealth of knowledge and insight existing at all levels of a company. Traditional hierarchies have impeded people from giving feedback freely and participating in strategic conversations, but for many businesses today, decision making is beginning to cascade more deeply into organizations.
But what are the effects of gathering knowledge from all areas of an organization? And is it even possible to get people who are not in leadership roles to speak up? Beyond that, is there a way for workers to implement skills they see from the leadership into their roles within an organization?
These three factors illustrate how organizations today can foster a culture of collaboration in order to make the right decisions more quickly.
1. Innovation Helps a Company
Studies show that there is a correlation between the rate of employee-generated ideas that proceed to implementation and the company’s growth. Companies with more ideas that were executed grew more quickly. Researchers suggest that this has to do with facilitating a culture of innovation. The difference in creating a culture of innovation rather than just soliciting ideas from employees is that employees expect that their ideas will be nurtured and encouraged, rather than having to be formally asked for feedback on a particular issue. In organizations that value innovation, employees have a greater opportunity to see their ideas come to fruition and impact the company.
But how do you get employees to actively participate?
2. People Need to Feel Safe Sharing Their Ideas
Psychological safety is a key component in employee participation. Psychological safety, simply put, is “the belief that you won’t be punished when you make a mistake.” Why is this important? Psychological safety can lead to risk-taking and offering up creative ideas because employees don’t have the same level of fear that a misstep could cost them everything. According to studies, feeling safe within a workplace has a wide range of positive effects (including increasing the ability to find solutions, think creatively, and develop trust) that are the building blocks of thinking innovatively. Thinking innovatively not only helps a company progress, however, it allows employees all levels to participate in decision making. As we just learned, greater generation of ideas is related to more success. Facilitating decision making at all levels of a company has the potential to provide an organization with better solutions, growth, and innovation.
But though they may have great ideas, do employees have the right skills to be part of the decision-making process?
3. Adaptive Skills are for Everyone
Adaptive leadership promotes communication across all areas of business, developing networks, and solving problems creatively (among other skills). But these skills are not reserved for leadership. Because they help everyone function in an environment that is much more integrated and not siloed off from other areas, gaining these skills is critical for any worker. Moreover, we understand from research noted here that innovation and decision making should not be left only to leaders or those in positions of authority.
By promoting an adaptive mindset and culture across the business, workers at all levels will be more inclined to think strategically and have opinions on the direction and decisions of the business. And in a “psychologically safe” environment, people will be more confident in making decisions or expressing their opinions, rather than looking to the top of the hierarchy for answers. Developing employees with adaptive skills puts everyone in a better position to engage and collaborate across boundaries. When decision making and innovation are encouraged, organizations can tap into a diverse range of expertise and opinion that can spur solutions that may not have otherwise been considered.
Knowledge-sharing and great ideas exist at all levels of a company. Recognizing that and encouraging employees to share their perspectives can have tremendous benefits for your organization.
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