Tag Archives: experimentation

How Can We Build Self-Esteem & Confidence in Others?

Self-esteem is the foundation on which confidence can build.  People who feel valued and know their self-worth are then more able to try new things and be prepared to fail.  Unfortunately, failure has become a dirty word in business and we love to make scapegoats of those who have failed.  But in so doing we continue to hammer the nails in our own coffin, because unless we are prepared to try something new, to put ideas together that have never been put together before, to experiment with them and see if they work, creativity and innovation die.  If we stifle or kill self-esteem, we stifle and kill creativity and our success.  The three are intimately associated with one another.  The most successful and rapidly expanding businesses today are those where creativity thrives; Innocent Drinks and the Virgin franchise are just two examples. 

And where creativity is lost?  The businesses die. 

As pressures increase to be successful, we often exclude the very things that can save us.  One of those things is risk-taking, of which we are sorely afraid.  We continue to work harder at what we’ve always done in the hope that ‘this time it will work’.  Why should it if it hasn’t worked before?  If it has worked before but we’re struggling now, why use the tried and well-trodden path to the cemetery?  Risk-taking is the basis of creativity and the foundation for success.  But in order to take those risks we need the confidence, and to build confidence we need a foundation of self-esteem.

Simple ways to build self-esteem include basic rewards such as a verbal or written ‘Thank you’, recognition in front of peers, recognition of a team in a company publication, a small gift, anything that says ‘We appreciate your efforts.’

Perhaps we should re-learn the art of celebrating our failures.  They don’t have to be big announcements (there are undoubtedly people waiting in the wings to pour on scorn).  But by celebrating the failures with those who’ve tried it is possible to learn from the mistakes and to move forward.  Punishment achieves nothing apart from a misplaced sense of  dispensed justice.  We forget that the greatest discoveries affecting our lives today were the end of a line of repeated failures.  People like Thomas Edison went through hundreds, even thousands of prototypes before they came up with the end product.  Underlying that tenacity and perseverance was undoubtedly high levels of self-esteem and self-confidence which enabled them to face the failures, learn from them and move on.  These inventors would undoubtedly have been inspired and encouraged by others and needed to draw on that as onlookers criticised and ‘commented’ on their failures.  But it is their self-esteem that is likely to have held them on-course through the storms.

Sometimes we just need to let people have a go and discover for themselves.  This is the basis of my workshops.  I can show them plenty of what I can do, but in the end it only really works when each person has the opportunity to try for themselves.  Having discovered that they can or can’t do something they can move on, either to something new or build on what they’ve started.
Sometimes we need to revisit where they’ve been and help them change a wrong perception.  For example, they may have tried something once and decided that they can’t do it, when in fact they just need to try it again.

There are many ways we can help, but perhaps the biggest part is through our relationships with others.  As we develop and use these we have the opportunity to encourage, correct, draw alongside and help.  These things also take time, effort and patience, so it can be useful to weigh-up how much effort and time we can/are prepared to give.

Benefits from the results are potentially huge and long-lasting and the return on investment greater than we can ever perceive.

But we need to take that risk …

 

If you are interested to learn how we may be able to help you, please either visit our websites:

Waywood Creative:           http://www.waywoodcreative.com/

Waywood Training:            http://www.waywoodtraining.com/

Or contact me directly on

(     +44 (0)1509 553362

À       +44 (0)7814 628123

¿      stuart@waywoodenterprises.com

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Innovation: Courage to Create Success

Sometimes the first ingredient we need for innovation is courage; courage to go with our convictions, even in the face of opposition.

3M is a global company with a reputation for creativity and innovation, but anyone who has worked in almost any ‘creative and innovative organisation’ will tell you that reputation and actual practice are often poles apart.  Sure, they like to take the credit for their public successes but what they don’t publicise so freely is just how much perseverance, tenacity and sheer dogged single-mindedness the individual champions of the case have to be in order to make their individual success a company success.

I was reminded recently of the account of Richard Drew, an iconic figure within 3M culture and the person responsible for not one, but two truly innovative products that put 3M well and truly on the map, both as an organisation and later as an innovative company.

Drew joined 3M with a less than glowing background of being a college dropout who played banjo in dance bands at night whilst studying engineering through a correspondence course.  He had an entry level job as a lab technician.  One of Drew’s tasks was to take batches of 3M’s Wetodry sandpaper to a nearby St Paul automotive body shop.  At the time (1921) two tone colours were all the rage for cars, and on one of Drew’s visits a painter was cursing and swearing because he had just ruined a paint job.  There was at that time no way of ensuring a good line between the colours except through the use of glues and paper etc.

Drew saw the problem and decided to come up with a solution.

Now it would be great to say that he was supported by the company for his efforts, but he wasn’t.  3M was a sandpaper manufacturer not a tape manufacturer so Drew had to ‘go underground’ to do his work, experimenting with all sorts of oils and resins to produce a superior adhesive.  He was told to stop on at least one occasion and agreed until the attraction of his own little project became too great and he started again.  When he had come up with a good prototype, he needed to manufacture the finished article for which he needed a specific piece of machinery.  He was refused.  So he used his initiative and used a series of $99 sign-offs (he was allowed to authorise payments up to $100) which slipped ‘under the company radar’ to buy the machine.

In 1925, Richard Drew successfully produced the world’s first masking tape with a pressure sensitive adhesive backing … and the rest, as they say, is history.  Well it would be if Drew hadn’t come up a few years later with another invention of the first see through adhesive packaging tape, Scotch Tape, again after  persevering against the odds.

Of course today, the name of Richard Drew is synonymous with the innovative spirit of the company, but at the time he was making it big for the company through his determination and conviction to succeed, it was a battle; a battle which involved stepping around the rules, lying low, persevering against the odds.

Innovation is often a rough path which is only seen and appreciated by the end-results of products or processes, not during the actual process of arriving (except by those who are driving it).

So the next time we are looking for innovation in our business, we need to remember that it is often a long and winding road, and a road that will require a lot of sweat and toil along the way, not only with the project at hand but with all the devil’s advocates and ‘jobworths’ who tell us that it won’t work.  This is why we need to lok at adopting a creative and innovative culture which understands the processes, pitfalls and obstacles and which helps, not hinders the process which is the lifeblood of company survival and expansion.

 
My Zimbio

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