Want to Come Up With Brilliant Ideas? Do This One Thing First

brilliant ideasThere’s no single magic formula for generating brilliant ideas. But there is a magic formula for increasing the odds it will happen. And the key is building a culture that stimulates people’s intrinsic motivation in the work they’re doing. Without intrinsic motivation, and a culture that supports it, it’s very difficult – near impossible – to generate the essential creative breakthroughs that drive a company forward.

So, how do you create conditions for intrinsic motivation to flourish in your company? 

Find the Right People.

Do what you can to maximize the odds of creative insights by finding people who are passionate about the mission and goals of your organization. This, of course, isn’t always easy to ascertain ahead of time, and it’s also obviously critical to hire talented people as well. But there typically are enough talented people in the pipeline to also select on passion. Take a cue from the master football coach Bill Belichick, who is known for selecting obscure, off the radar type football players and molding them into champions. And one of his most essential selection criteria is how meaningful football is to the player: How much they truly love the game (as opposed to the accolades associated with playing the game. 

Create a culture that enhances people’s attachment and passion in the work.

Articulate for your people how the work they’re doing has meaning. Even if a programmer is just writing code, make sure she also knows the bigger picture – how the code she’s writing is going to contribute to solving a problem that she deeply cares about. And keep her updated on the progress of the problem. Give her the whole picture. Make sure you give people insight and access for understanding the greater good that their individual efforts are contributing toward. 

Create an evaluation and reward system that enhances intrinsic motivation.

Make sure you create a culture where people receive constructive, frequent, honest feedback about their efforts. To sustain creativity and intrinsic motivation, people need to know that the dedication that they put into creating their ideas will be met with an equal level of fairness and dedication in the way they are evaluated and rewarded. Find a fair and transparent way to create rewards that honor truly creative work, and be open to changing your evaluation system based on feedback and experience, just as you are asking your employees to do with their own creative ideas.

In the end, the real brilliance isn’t in finding that once-in-a-lifetime star; rather, it’s in creating the conditions and practices in your company to increase the odds of success and creative breakthroughs happening from everyone involved.

Originally published by Inc.com


 How to Act Outside Your Comfort Zone to Achieve Your Career Goals

man-leaving-comfort-zone.jpgYou need to speak in public, but your knees buckle even before you reach the podium. You want to expand your network, but you’d rather swallow nails than make small talk with strangers. Speaking up in meetings would further your reputation at work, but…

An easy response to these types of professionally important (but personally terrifying) situations is avoidance. Who wants to feel anxious when you don’t have to? But the problem, of course, is that these tasks aren’t just unpleasant; they’re also necessary.

Watch Andy Molinsky’s session of ExecuNet Master Class to hear him explain how to succeed outside your comfort zone… and take your career to the next level!



Andy Molinsky

Andy Molinsky

Andy Molinsky is a Professor at Brandeis University’s International Business School. Andy helps people develop the insights and courage necessary to act outside their personal and cultural comfort zones when doing important, but challenging, tasks in work and life. His work has been featured in HBR, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, NPR and Voice of America. Andy Molinsky is the author of Reach and Global Dexterity. Visit here to receive Andy’s free guide to 10 cultural codes from around the world, and here for his very best tips on stepping outside your comfort zone at work.

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