Another way to develop creative thinkers and problem solvers in your organization is to give your people freedom. Lots of it. Freedom to think beyond the known, the tried-and-true. And, perhaps more important, you must give your people freedom to fail.
Few people like to fail. Yet there are organizations, even industries, where failure is accepted, even encouraged. Engineering and science are two fields where failure is simply a part of the exploration process in problem solving.
One of the most overpromised, underdelivered practices I see in my consulting work is this so-called freedom to fail. It's easy for many managers to give it lip service, but when failure happens, it's often very difficult for them to live up to their words. It may be trite, but people follow the lead of what you do, not what you say.
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