Independent Employees Build Great Businesses

As we celebrate America’s birthday this month, let’s commit to a new Declaration of Independence for our employees to help them:

  • Go the extra mile
  • Explore new ideas, and
  • Achieve significant breakthroughs for our businesses

That may seem like an obvious noble pursuit, but many business leaders act like King George, treating employees like colonists, denying them the freedom to excel and punishing them if they don’t follow the rules.

The best business leaders embrace “liberty and justice for all,” encouraging employees to take risks, think outside the box, and even fail. That’s how you get people more engaged and doing their very best to help build a great company.

If you want to create that kind of culture, however, you must do more than declare independence. Like the Founding Fathers, you must establish policies and processes that encourage and nurture the values and practices that make liberty and justice for all a way of life.

Here are three actions you can take:

  • Establish a “habit for improvement.” Replace the habit of doing things the same way with routine processes for implementing improvements. Gather your people at least once a week. Explore ways to improve. Don’t treat this as a one-off, optional session. Everyone participates as a supportive team. Everyone votes. Every idea gets just consideration.
  • Simplify implementation and acknowledgment. Show people that their opinions count by supporting them in implementing improvements without bureaucratic hassle. Provide on-the-spot acknowledgement and appreciation for one another. Ditch the plaques, trophies, employee-of-the-month awards and bonuses. No perks. Just high-fives and cheers for peers in the moment.
  • Celebrate and learn from failures. Most big breakthroughs stem from reflection and lessons learned after failures. The key is to “fail fast” and “fail forward.” This means acknowledging failures and celebrating them as opportunities for progress. Once a quarter, bring teams together to examine your most notable failures of the past 90 days. What were the lessons learned? What progress have you made as a result? Have everyone vote on the “best failure” and pop a cork to celebrate.

Better yet, shoot off some fireworks to celebrate your company’s commitment to liberty and justice for all.

Free Guide Reveals the Steps to Establish Continuous Improvement

To improve your business, you and your employees must treat innovation as a continuous way of life — not an occasional activity.

In this free guide, we reveal the Continuous Improvement System: A seven-step approach designed to make ongoing improvement a daily habit of all your employees.

Organizations have experienced as much as a 300% increase in implemented employee improvements using the Continuous Improvement System.

This guide explains how they have done it — so you can do it too.

Download the guide here.