Culture: it is the foundation of all great organizations, and the lowest common denominator of performance. Your company’s culture can attract and retain the best employees, or send the best away. Your culture can encourage innovation, opportunity-hunting and responsiveness, or it can encourage employees to simply show up and not make a difference.
I was reviewing some old blog posts by author Seth Godin (I keep many of his gems on file for their great wisdom) and rediscovered his post, “Wondering Around.” He explains how he stumbled across a typo that said, “… the employees were wondering around” which should have read wandering around. Wouldn’t it be better if employees actually did “wonder” around?
So, back to culture. Does your workplace culture encourage employees to wonder:
- How to improve service?
- How to be more efficient?
- How to do extraordinary things for customers?
- How to invent new services or products?
- How to activate employee and customer loyalty?
Workplaces that have “wonder” cultures create open and honest discussions between all roles, and encourage ideas and innovation from every employee. In today’s intellectual workplace, wonder (innovation, invention, awareness) is a key component of remaining competitive. Wonder must be part of the company culture — part of the fiber of the company — because it guides, directs and allows all employees to think about how to be better.
Consider these as ways to create or support a “wonder” culture:
- Host a weekly innovation meeting such as “big idea Fridays.” Make it a recurring part of the week where the organization comes together to invent, discuss and brainstorm.
- Allow employees to participate in on-line education — then be responsible for sharing what they learned and its benefit to the organization.
- Give employees a certain amount of time each week to work on projects that appeal to them and will add value for the company. Make it part of the culture that employees constantly look for improvements and opportunities.
Allowing employees to think creatively is at the core of success in today’s intellectual workplace. Creating a culture where wonder, questioning, learning, and innovation are supported and applauded demands that employees bring their best and most clever thinking to the workplace. Wonder is a results- and profit-driver.