The Genesis Project Episode Twelve

As Shirley thought about the third leg of the creative transformation of Grace’s businesses, she knew that the traditional strategies for motivation would not work. Rewards and recognition were not likely to motivate a person to be creative. And fear certainly wouldn’t work. The approach she was going to suggest would have to be different.

She began by asking both Grace and Jim a question. “Tell me something you don’t have to do, but you can’t not do it?”

Grace had a smile on her face as she answered: “Quilt making. I have closets full of quilts. I’ve supplied my family with them. They are my standard wedding gift.”

In a similar view, Jim answered: “Stained glass. I could say ditto to everything that Grace just said.”

“And now, I have to ask you both: why is what you do so important to you?”

Both Grace and Jim had similar responses: joy of creating something, a sense of delight in others when it was given away, the time spent on just thinking, and the act of creation itself.

Shirley made a list of these and then said: “You didn’t mention money or recognition. What you did describe was the creative culture. We want to create. We want employees to experience the joy of developing ideas and seeing them accepted by others.”

“I’m hoping that the previous parts of our project will create the framework for the mindsets you need. But the ideas established from that framework won’t lead to joy unless you have an accepting culture.”

“What I’m proposing is a strategy based on the following. First, you need to give every employee the freedom to explore new ideas. Second, every employee needs to trust that their ideas will be given a fair hearing. Third, you need to help employees accept failure is not an ending but just the beginning. Finally, you need facilitators of change, not managers.”

“Grace, what I propose we do is to create a pilot test in one organizational unit. Let’s start with one of your most recalcitrant business units. But before we do much in the way of interventions, let’s let the framework from our other activities settle in.”

Grace concluded the meeting by saying: “I’m anxious to get started. I went to keep both of you involved, but give me time to start doing what Shirley has outlined in her proposal.”

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No organization ever created an innovation. People innovate, not companies.” – Seth Godwin

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