A blog about reputation, marketing and employee morale.

Encourage your employees to change

Posted by Janet Smith on May 20, 2008

Do you expect perfection from your employees? Or do you encourage risk-taking and innovation? Have you ever had a boss say to you: “We don’t want to keep doing things the same way we’ve been doing them, so we want you to show us new and different ways of doing things. Think WAY outside the box.” Wouldn’t that make you feel empowered and challenged to do phenomenal work?

That’s pretty much what Oscar-winning Pixar director Brad Bird was told when Pixar hired him in 2000. I read an interview with him (free registration required) in the April online issue of The McKinsey Quarterly, the business journal for the McKinsey and Co. global business-consulting firm.

So big deal, right, if a company like Pixar tells its employees to do things in a completely new way. But listen to this—when Brad was hired, Pixar was basking in the glory of Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Toy Story 2…while the movie Brad had recently directed for Warner Bros., The Iron Giant, had flopped. So far at Pixar, he has won Oscars for directing The Incredibles and Ratatouille.

Employees working in an environment of tolerance, support, and encouragement think of new and better ways of doing things. Those that fear the consequences of coloring outside the lines just keep on doing things the way they’ve always been done. When nothing changes, everyone loses.

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