Last week I took a half day, and went to MASSMoCA with my wife, along with two of my sisters and their fiances. I needed a break, and we had been wanting to spend time with my three sisters, who are now all engaged at the same time!
It was a great time, and I love just getting away for a while and surrounding myself with the creativity of others.
I mentioned this to a colleague of mine, and he shared with me a GREAT story that illustrates the importance of taking breaks from things:
A professor gets up in front of his class and holds up a jar full of beans. He asks his class how much the glass weighs. He gets all sorts of answers, 1 lb, 2 lbs, 5 lbs. Then the professor tells his class, “What if I tell you that the weight does not matter, but rather how long you have to lift it. If I kept holding this jar up for 5 more minutes, there will be some discomfort. If I do it for 1 hour, I’ll be in total agony. After 5 hours, you’d have to call an ambulance! So understand that stress is like this jar. You can lift some pretty heavy loads, but you HAVE to put it down every once in a while. Otherwise, you’re just asking to be put in the hospital.
So “put down the jar”, go to a museum, take a long nap, go for a walk. Get Away. You’ll be glad you did.
As a leader, setting the expectations of your team/employees is YOUR responsibility, and is the first step in creating a culture of innovation within your organization.
So, how do you set expectations? Communicate them!
It’s important to communicate your expectations clearly. These expectations should be both what YOU expect from your team/employees, but more importantly, what THEY should expect from you. People need to know that you are serious about working WITH them, NOT just serious about them working FOR you.
Let your team know that you want each and every one of them to know that their ideas and input are as valuable as anyone else’s – including your own. (Stress that last point.)
You should then clearly define how you plan to manage innovation and creative ideas within your organization. Do you have a formal process? (I’ll talk more about this in a future post.)
You then need to lead by example by you yourself meeting and exceeding the expectations that you have set for your organization. This once again means NOT bypassing the system or process you have put in place for managing ideas and creativity. If you set specific guidelines, adhere to them. If you set goals, exceed them. (or at least meet them)