If your company is like most organizations the biggest rewards and recognition often go to the most successful employees. The top sales rep. The person who led the biggest project. The team that did something great. But what about the people that failed, especially those that took a risk?
I am convinced that the reason that companies struggle so much with innovation and creative thinking is that people are scared to fail. And, if people are scared to fail, they won't take big risks. If they won't take big risks, then the odds of bold ideas coming forth are greatly reduced.
So what can your company do? Starting today you need to PUBLICLY recognize failure and REWARD people for taking risks. While this may run counter to every assumption about employee motivation, it will provide tremendous benefits to your company. People will see that it is SAFE to take risks and that they will be recognized for simply TRYING something instead of the outcome.
Try it and see what happens. Too risky? Are you afraid the effort will backfire or fail? Hmmm.