Promoting a culture of Learning, Respect and Innovation

Many organizations including private enterprises to the Military emphasize the importance of working together as a team. In fact, the US Army embeds this philosophy in to every soldier it trains

I am an American Soldier.

I am a warrior and a member of a team….

The US Army’s Soldier’s Creed

But are the baseline values that team members should embrace to foster a culture of Innovation? I list a few examples that I have personally experienced and offer my insights that can improve the team’s morale and communication.

Support, not challenge each other

  • Team members should be helping each other. Simply challenging team members every time undermines their efforts and can be demoralizing

Know that your team members are people, with emotions, aspirations and goals. If you treat them with respect and give them the benefit of doubt, they will return the courtesy and it leads to a positive learning environment.

Eg: Instead of saying

“You said that this would work, but it doesn’t..”

rephrase it as

“Looks like it doesn’t appear to work. Can we find out what’s going on and can I help? How can we do better?”

Aim for progress, not for unrealistic perfection

Just like most things in life are not black and white, but fall somewhere in between, most projects can never be perfect. There’s nothing wrong in aiming for perfection, but understand that progress made by your team members needs to be recognized, just as much as investing time in areas that do not appear to succeed. Improvements should be incremental made over multiple iterations

Incentivize communication about the bad and the ugly

If you always want your teams to bring good news to you and you never want to hear them complain about the bad and the ugly, by design your teams will hide all the bad and the ugly and become bearers of only good news. This hides potential problems that you need to know before those problems come back to bite you.

One thought on “Promoting a culture of Learning, Respect and Innovation

  1. Thanks Prashanth for this post!
    One of the takeaways from “Agile experience” training for me was “fail fast –>fail cheap”.
    Reverse approach – biting from the beginning for mistakes will cause snowball affects. People habit is to hide mistakes if they will be punished by making them.
    Difficult but important in agile is to set up friendly environment for improvements. All feedback should be more than welcome but needs to be constructive.
    Continuous improvement is the only way to perfection. Perfection coming as process not from initial phase.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.