Leading a team to greatness can be intimidating, exciting, and challenging all at the same time.
There’s a mix of personalities, backgrounds and approaches to work that can be so different that they may seem like an obstacle to getting everyone on the same page and leading your industry. But this diversity can actually be a powerful asset that very few teams take the time to make the most of as a vehicle for innovation.
There are some simple ways you can bring everyone together as a team when it comes to making waves in your company and your industry. Here’s a few things you can do to build a culture of innovation and leverage each person’s strengths.
Unite yourselves around a single mission
This is the number one thing we very rarely see teams truly take the time to do. It’s so important to decide, as a team, what is your mission for coming to work each day. A good mission will be team focused, aspirational and memorable. How does a strong mission lead to innovation? By keeping the team focused on why they come to work every day, they’ll consistently be inspired by a meaningful purpose and build the ‘hunger’ for them to innovate - and be the team they need to become.
Define each team member’s individual brand
Each person in your team will carry a set of experiences, stories and networks that have brought them to where they are today. By taking the time to craft a short personal pitch and longer career narrative, you’ll allow each person to articulate the unique value they bring to the team and the company.
Clients connect with your company’s brand through your people, and it is personal stories that truly resonate. Each employee's unique slant on your team’s mission can provide a human side to the business and a sense of value over and above the products and services they’re offering. By taking the time to get this out of your team’s heads and into the open, they’ll be able to sell themselves in the market, build their networks and bring new ideas to the fold.
Look for opportunities for each person to collaborate and lead in their own unique way.
Once everyone in the team has taken the time to understand each other’s back stories and how they can be articulated in the wider market, look at ways you can leverage each other’s strengths in the team to innovate. Is someone a brilliant writer and another a closet videographer? Could they combine forces to capture customer success stories? Could a data geek and a presentation genius partner up to deliver meaningful analytics on your industry to the wider group?
By exploring each team member’s strengths that may not become evident in their day to day roles, you’ll find gems of opportunity that can lead to innovative ideas.
Erica (Davis) Liston is the co-founder of Naked Ambition, a company that designs programs to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit in teams.