Get Creative: Take Your Organization Off-Road

A recent Articles.com piece notes that unorthodox recruiting styles may actually pay off. Looking in unique places and creating a non-traditional way of recruiting can be an alternative to the tried and true.

But how do we push beyond our boundaries? HR folks and leaders typically attend many of the same conferences and seminars, so much of what is being done becomes somewhat incestuous. Learning what has worked with others is great, but don’t let that limit your options.

Many leaders may be okay with taking a new approach to how things are done. What really gets feathers ruffled is when structure and processes are approached with the same sense of flexibility. Difficult to argue against words like “quantifiable”, “metrics”, “strategy” and others of a similar ilk begin getting thrown around. Out of fear, loyalty and “good business sense” is questioned and the feral uprising is summarily squashed.

Leadership, regardless of level and department, requires things quite different than what was necessary or effective say 10 years ago. The latest catch phrase, 21st century leadership, has some merit behind it (at least until it gets used to death). A post on The Customer Collective makes a great point.

Leaders of the future will also have to be emotionally efficient. They will promote variation, rather than promoting people in their own likeness. They will encourage experimentation and enable people to learn from failure. They will build and develop people.

If we look at many of the most successful and growing organizations, they all have at least one thing in common: Taking their organization off-road in some way. It’s incredible how the success rate of doing this seems to have little to no bearing on those still humming along in the granny lane.

Going off the map isn’t comfortable for anyone, but when given the choice between the anxiety of venturing into the unexplored and the anxiety of wondering about future viability, I’ll take the former any day of the week. I think if leadership were painfully honest, they would feel the same way.

Here are some tips to help you put on some honkin’ mudder tires and have a go with going off-road with your organization.

  • Ease into it – Nothing says you have to have your entire organization jump in with both feet and throw caution to the wind. Choose an area that could result in a significant change and get you toes a bit wet. People don’t respond well to the revolutionary dynamic of sudden and drastic changes, so don’t think you have to do everything at once.
  • Find your adventurers – Every organization has a group of them. Those who are free spirits and are quick to adopt new things out of mere curiosity. They typically get excited about trying something different just because it’s different. It will be like handing the key to the chicken coop to the fox. They will most likely drool the moment they have the opportunity to develop an alternative option than the status quo.
  • Support the effort – As with any initiative, there must be support from leadership. Consider having a member of the C-Suite, or at least the VP level, act as a sponsor so there is a little more chance of things having the freedom to succeed.
  • Give it a fair chance – It’s going to be ugly, awkward and uneasy at first. Manage your expectations. Don’t approach it from a right/wrong perspective, but rather one of “what worked, what didn’t work?” Nothing wrong with piecing together a solution.
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