Collaborative Inspiration (Can This Really Be Done?)

3 07 2013

There is nothing more empowering than to be inspired.  And in our lives, we have experienced it many times.  In fact, to be an Eye-Cubed leader, inspiration must be part of your wheelhouse and in the very fabric of your persona.  Without it, you will be void of innovation and with nothing to implement.  Inspiration is clearly the first hurdle to clear when achieving Eye-Cubed greatness.  However, have you ever considered taking a collaborative approach to this very personal phenomenon?  It is my contention that collaborative inspiration is not only possible, it is preferable.  It will lead to a greater number of innovations with targeted results for the operation, performance and sustainability of your organization.   Follow this four-step approach towards collaborative inspiration and evolve:

collaboration team

Step 1:  Create an environment that is open to inspiration

Solidify the culture: 

How are people treated when they are inspired?  Make sure that inspiration is embraced and rewarded.  Regardless of the results, if it is not openly encouraged, you can be sure it is discouraged. Make sure your organization openly expresses the value that stems from positive inspiration.  The best way to do this is to model this behavior at the highest levels within your organization and to practice zero tollerance for any deviation to the culture.

What will happen when inspiration takes place?

Make sure you have a clear process that analyzes the innovations spurred from the inspirations.  How do you know an idea is worthy to pursue?  How do you judge competing ideas?  (You Don’t Need A Plumber, You Need A Process) Make sure that inspirational ideas can be built upon by others in the group.  The result will most often be a more complete and robust innovation.

Step 2:  Encourage ideas that solve a specific issue

Why are we here?

There is a clear issue that needs resolution.  This should be expressed and presented at the outset.  A focused approach using collaborative inspiration towards this process will lead to the Promised Land.  Where should our inspiration take us?  We have to know where we are going in order to have a chance to get there.

What is lost without inspiration?  What is gained with inspiration?

Is your organization losing money as part of an existing process or looking to add a new stream of income?  At the end of the day, “This aint a hobby!” and we need to make money.  How much money is at stake?  The bigger the dream, the more inspired the team!

Step 3:  Allow for the time necessary to “feel it”

Inspiration on demand does not work.

“Hurry up!” is not an effective charge for the team.  Unfortunately, inspiration does not have an “on” and “off” switch.  Allow the feeling to permeate the team and create an inspirational build-up that releases incredible concepts and innovations.  A pressure cooker will result in a dinner for the team, not an innovation for your organization.

Stay with the plan. 

If at first you don’t succeed, chill out!  Do not give up on the team.  They will deliver.  Encourage them to get “unstuck” in old thinking.  Change the focus if necessary.  However, do not give up.  You never know when inspiration will strike.  And when it does, BINGO!

Step 4:  Facilitate conversation that promotes inspiration

Safe environment

It is never “bad” to be inspired.  And inspirations are never “stupid”.  So don’t even joke about it.  It is hard enough to let one’s guard down and communicate openly about ideas that reside squarely outside the box.  Never chop off someone’s neck when they are brave enough to stick it out.

Open dialog free of legacy ideas and personal agendas

Your team will remain closed to inspiration if they feel there are “white elephants” (unsaid issues), protected groups or untouchable ideas.  There cannot be a hierarchy within the group.   All members are created equal and any topic is fair game during a collaborative-style inspiration session.

Research and knowledge of what is out there now – cross industry solutions

Work needs to be done either by the group or for the group geared towards educating the participants of the existing playing field.  Look outside of the organization’s industry or niche.  Others may have solved your issue already and your team may simply need the requisite inspiration to connect the dots between what they do and what you do.

thinktank

“Think Tanks”, “Incubators” or programs with inspirational dynamics are formalized endeavors that trigger innovation.  Most companies cannot afford them.  Few innovators, leaders or executives have ever participated in them.  In the most ideal setting, they work brilliantly.  However, there is no reason why you and/or your organization cannot reap the benefits of collaborative inspiration by creating the environment described above.    With the requisite attention to the four steps toward reaching collaborative inspiration, Eye-cubed excellence is well within your reach.

Sign up for my once-a week posts and get an email directly to you when I do.  You will be sure to get part III of the series focused on collaboration with implementations.

This post is part II of a series of VII posts on collaboration.

Part I:  Collaborate To Be Great.  Work With Me Here!

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3 responses

3 07 2013
Barbara Agin (@aginbarb)

Once again, another very timely and worthy read. Thanks.

3 07 2013
Valerie

The importance of collaborative inspiration cannot be over emphasized. Recent news showed that a high percentage of Americans feel disconnected at work and without motivation. What a terrible way to face every day and what a waste for all those companies with the potential to be better.

8 07 2013
kosherlikeme

Whenever I hear that folks are REALLY happy at work, the common thread is a safe, communicative and inspired environment. Thanks for detailing how some of that can actually be achieved.

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