Good afternoon , I run a small department called iCREATE but the beating heart of the department is the culture that is within everything we do on a day-to-day basis this culture is the core component to all our success. There are lots of different ways about building your team but I find without the culture to nourish each member of the team. Failure happens in all organizations but how you handle it will ensure you meet your goals. For us we fail lots but we fail forward and are all there to help us get back up. You have to embrace failure and find where you can learn from it. I am not perfect and fail at numbers of things, last week I was working on a planning document and I was failing at putting my words down to express my top level points. One of the staff mentioned making a diagram, which changed the whole process and it improved the planning document immensely. I learned by looking at things from different points of view and failing forward you are able to get up and key trying. That is the key.
We had our 6th birthday as an innovation and entrepreneurship department this year. I was curious how our staff was thinking about our area. So I asked them
Besides equipment when you think of iCREATE what does it offer to the students, faculty and researchers on this campus?
The staff responded with the following statements
- “A friendly studying atmosphere”,
- “A workshop”, “A community”,
- “A brainstorming space for new ideas”, “A place to connect”,
- “Perfect spot to hold meetings with everything you could ever need is available”,
- “A collaborative environment”,
- “A constant reminder that any idea can be made, not just the actual equipment to do so”,
- “A sounding board for ideas and the knowledge that anything is possible”,
- “Being a place that feels okay to make a mistake”,
- “Like an open-source lab for people from any background to experiment on their ideas”
- “A place where ideas can grow and become a reality”
- “A place to get exposed to so many new things and people”
- “A place to really explore your creative self and test the limits of your imagination”
- “A space for growth”
- “A space for creativity”
I couldn’t have expressed it better, they are the life blood of the organization. They make our innovation place come together. Their statements mean a-lot since we work everyday to ensure they are supported and the more they feel we have their backs the more our members who use the facilities know we are always there for them as they take the first steps on a big idea.
I have always known you can innovate in a vacuum and you need support. I know in my life, the times I have had the most support from my wife, family and organizations have been the times I have felt the best times to take a risk. This is what we are asking all of us to do, not only during the pandemic but during your time by only embracing what is in front of us can we take the steps to the right path.
How does this happen? Is it by accident. I would say no, it’s about a few basic principles that I find that is needed to have a successful culture.
1. Hire the right team members
2. Onboard them and take your time to build the roots
3. Empowerment and Trust
4. Encourage and help everyone grow
5. Be genuine and positive as much as you can.
6. Define your language
8. Team work and positivity.
I plan to cover these topics in future posts. So we can dig into where I feel these come from and what is our basis for understanding team dynamics, leadership and this new age of constant technological advancements.
Fail early, Fail Often and always Fail Forward and Always get up again and keep Trying. You will get it right! I know it and see it everyday in the great leaders we all inspire to be.