When I first started with my super amazing design team at Schoolwires, I remember being really overwhelmed by how awesome all of my coworkers were, to the point that I was afraid to say anything during meetings. After a few weeks I finally expressed this meeting room fear to my VP. His response was amazing, and it changed the trajectory of my career, in a very positive way.
He simply said something like, “You’re going to have bad ideas. You’re also going to have great ones. The trick is to toss them all out there. Everyone on this team is great at what they do, yourself included. No one here is going to judge you for the bad ideas, we all have them. They’re part of the creative process. You may have a brilliant solution hiding behind a so, so one, but if you’re too afraid to speak up, you’ll never have the opportunity to impact the world with it. So, just let your ideas fly.”
That was definitely an epiphany moment for me, and from that point forward, I started expressing ALL of my ideas during meetings. As he predicted, sometimes they were terrible, but other times they were great.
As an added bonus, sometimes trouble shooting why our bad ideas wouldn’t work lead us down a path to a perfect alternate solution!
Now, I know that not everyone has the luxury of working in a completely amazing design environment where you and your coworkers are free to express ideas without fear of judgement. But if you’re a leader, and you REALLY want your team to be innovative and creative… cultivate that environment. You’d be amazed by what people are capable of once fear of judgement is removed from the equation.
(Huge thanks to @jcoudriet for being such an inspiring, supportive VP!)