BY ROBIN GHOSH
( FORMER CHIEF ECONOMIST< BENGAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY)
KOLKATA, 22 SEPTEMBER 2022
The biggest challenge that startups face is how to steer the company in a vulnerable business environment. This is strictly speaking a leadership challenge. You must understand that you have to create a productive and innovative organization in order to respond effectively to the challenges of market and market dynamics.
A company is essentially run by a team and the team should have the freedom to question and suggest steps needed from time to time. A kind of psychological safety. Staff and workers should believe that their voice is welcome.
Amy Edmondson, the Harvard Management Guru explains this situation when she says that organizations should be ” fearless organizations. ” Such should be the place where people have a high level of psychological safety to air their views, concerns, ideas, questions and experiments.
More often than not, staff and workers withhold what they would like to say. They read the room and go silent. What a waste of time !
This is ok as long as you are involved in routine operation. But if you need innovation and problem solving then you need to build a different platform ‐- create a sense of freedom for staff to express themselves .
Now, the most important question is how you go about it. Briefly, the steps are as follows:
1 .Create the framework.
Explain to the staff that there could be failures. There is uncertainty. Many interdependent variables are involved. Clarity is required. Hence feel free to speak up.
2 .Focus on the purpose of the company. Help them to identify what is at stake. What pain points we are solving. For whom we are solving and how it matters?
3 .Welcome Participation- Create a forum to enable staff to question, listen.
4 .Productive Response platform. Express appreciation. Listen, acknowledge and express thanks. Destigmatize failure, help to visualise , strategise and design forward steps.
Essentially what we are talking about is creating an enabling environment where your staff will learn, improve the process, invent and contribute positively.