Have you created a safe culture for employees to express their fresh perspective on your company? –
The stale stench of a stagnant business is pungent. Too often a CEO is comfortable in their position and firmly believes that what has always happened will always work. Einstein called this “insanity.” You simply cannot continue to do the same things over and over and expect different results, you must have a growth mindset. This is a life- and business-changing message I learned from Mike Todasco of PayPal.
In the field of education, this idea of “what’s always been done will continue to work,” is called a fixed mindset. However, as any teacher will tell you, and any innovative head of a company will repeat, it is paramount that we create a culture of employees with a growth mindset. We foster this through our actions, our training, and our fostering of creative ideas from our employees.
“But, wait,” you’ll say. “Won’t this inspire my people to think beyond my business and eventually move on?” Or, worse yet, you might think, “Won’t they take what we’ve done here and move on to something bigger and better?” But, the real question is, “What are you afraid of?” Shouldn’t our goal be to create the best environment for our people to grow and therefore affect the greatest change in the world?
PayPal does this well. They have created an Innovation Lab that brings all groups of people from the company for ideation and creative purposes. Mike Todasco, their Director of Innovation, calls this hodgepodge, “…where the value comes about.”
And, for PayPal, it all centers around one thing: perspective. Rather than getting one group of people to create the ideas, like in a traditional company, PayPal wants to hear from people throughout the company. It works like this in Todasco’s words, “We have employees from around the globe who have, frankly, different perspectives. They have different perspectives of what customers want. What is the next big thing? What is the next great technology? And that’s one of things that’s really exciting about the Innovation Lab that we have here, as well as that this is not just a place for engineers, or designers, or product people. We want to bring in people from across the company. The best ideas we get are from sessions where we have somebody from Engineering and we have somebody from Design, and we have somebody from Customer Service, and you have somebody from Risk in there, and you have hodgepodge of all of these different perspectives coming in…”
There’s definite value in that. There’s definite leadership in that. We will set the barometer for our companies by how willing we are to listen to our employees and their ideas, being mindful—as a growth-minded CEO—of their perspective and own creativity.
People work their best when they’re free to be creative. If we want to grow our people, our profits, and our company then we have to foster our employees’ creativity. Take their ideas, allow them permission to speak their ideas, then watch as our employees take more ownership, our culture improves, and our company soars. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that what we’re here for?
In summary, Mike Todasco of PayPal inspires us by:
- Teaching us to have a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset.
- Fostering our employees’ creativity and not fearing their ideas.
- Being mindful of our employees’ perspectives on things and being willing to listen to them.
There is nothing lost when we foster employee creativity. It allows them the opportunity to buy in and to help in the process of growing our businesses to new heights.
To hear more about fostering your employees’ creativity listen to my interview with Mike Todasco on The THINK Business Podcast here.