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3 Signs of a Risk Averse Culture

Time and again we hear that one of the primary reasons behind companies not embracing innovation is that they have a risk averse culture. This is not completely unexpected as we live in a culture where caution is supported and courage is questioned. With that said, risk aversion has stunted the growth of many organizations and it can lead to the demise of your own.

Think your organization may be risk averse? Then look for these three signs.

1. Few to No Ideas

The first time a manager opens his or her door to new ideas often leads to a swell of suggestions and feedback. Over time, this momentum tends to come to a sluggish crawl. Why is that?

  • Employees hear more “no’s” than “yes’s” to their ideas
  • Employees make suggestions and receive no feedback
  • Employees submit ideas but see no implementation or action

Eventually employees will stop looking for solutions to problems. They give up and disengage. This brings us to our next point:

2. Employees Show Signs of Disengagement

According to Gallup, a mere 13 percent of employees worldwide are engaged in the workplace. The vast majority (63 percent) are not engaged, while nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of employees are actively disengaged.

To put it simply, actively disengaged employees are outnumbering your engaged employees by nearly two to one.

When we look at the employee engagement hierarchy, it is clear that the highest form and most desired state of engagement is the actively engaged employee. These are the individuals who are regularly looking for solutions to improve the way they work and function, and they share this with their team.

But even the most engaged of employees are not resistant to the constant rejection that often comes with innovation. When managers do not deliver or when leadership lags or refuses to implement new strategies or concepts, those incredibly engaged employees can deflate and become disengaged.

3. Bureaucracy and Little Cross Functional Collaboration

“Effective collaboration is about maximizing time, talent and tools to create value. The old way was the pass-along approach. I do my job and then pass along my work product to you. You do your piece of it and pass it along to somebody else.”
– Evan Rosen

Many organizations are sorely known for having very little cross functional collaboration. Each team works with those within that unit, but they do little to reach out beyond their comfort zone for valuable insight or assistance from other teams.

Evan Rosen brings up the important point that each team working as a separate unit is the “old” and ineffective way of doing things. In a world where we have all never been as connected as we are today, we should not still be struggling to unite teams and band them together to create well planned high quality ideas and products. We should be capitalizing on the well-known value of collaboration, and the best way to do that is through innovation.

Harness the power of employee ideas.

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