Combat the Top 5 Silent Killers of Innovation With This Holiday Gift

Looking for the Best Corporate Gift Ever?

Well here is it is: Enabling Innovation.

You can deliver this gift that keeps on giving with two Easy Steps:

  • Recognize the Top 5 Silent Innovation Killers
  • Take action against the Top 5 Silent Innovation Killers

Step 1: Recognize the Top 5 Silent Killers of Employee-Driven Innovation
(All are guilty of these from managers to peers to executives)

  1. Infamous Eye Roll Infamous Eye Roll
    giphy (1)
    You have been in the company meeting when a manager presents a problem for the team to help solve. Colleagues start throwing out ideas and some participants roll their eyes in silent objection. It’s subtle, but very powerful.
  2. Deep Disgusted SIGHEmployee-driven innovation
    This does have a sound, but it is unmatched to the impact. An innovative idea is shared in a meeting, and someone in the room lets out a sigh disguised as deep breathing, but launched like a fully loaded torpedo with these words printed on it: “Are you kidding me, that won’t work.”Immediately without warning, the vibe changes. Everyone immediately reverts to let’s-just-stay-with-the-status-quo mode and nothing moves forward. The worse part about this silent killer, is it’s lasting effects beyond the meeting. If not put in check, it is like a cancer spreading doubt and fear throughout your team and organization.
  3. Seemingly Invisible Chair TwistEmployee-driven innovation
    Hate to break it to you, but everyone notices that conveniently timed, stealth chair adjustment.You know when someone suggests something different and just at the moment he/she finishes the thought, someone adjusts or twists in his/her chair, making the ever so sly objection without being bold enough to articulate a response.
  4. Mean-Spirited Chuckle Employee-driven innovation
    This is the laugh that seems like you are sincere, only to be followed by an abrupt blunt expressionless end. Guaranteed shutdown with this one. This one is usually only pulled off by the popular peer. This is a look that can truly kill, innovation, collaboration, confidence…I mean.
  5. Arm Cross
    Employee-driven innovation

    Arm Cross


    This is one of the classic silent innovation killers, where someone sits/stands with their arms crossed. He/she either starts with this position during a meeting or initiates this position at the time a new idea is presented. Both have the same effect. This body language clearly signals NO!

Any of these sound familiar?

We all have done these a time or two in a company meeting or experienced it some time in our career. Now what to do about it?

Step 2: Take Action Against the Top 5 Silent Innovation Killers:

Don’t do it.
You set the example. Your behavior, regardless of hierarchical status, sets a tone. Be a leader by being mindful of your own actions in meetings and during brainstorming sessions. Keep your reactions in check.

Influence others to stop.
Organizations are filled with social networks. If your lunch buddy starts showing off their innovation killer tendencies, over that next basket of chicken fingers make them aware of their actions. You don’t have to be a Pollyanna, just use the old cool friend influence.

Support your peers.
If there is a good idea that seems a bit different, use the effective improv move of “Yes, and…” and build off the idea. It’s better than any Jedi-mind trick.

That’s how you deliver the impactful gift of enabling innovation this holiday season and beyond for your organization in two easy steps. First recognize the Top 5 Silent Killers of Innovation and take action to help deliver employee-driven innovation for your organization. Now go out there and deliver!

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K. Melissa Kennedy

Chief Innovation Officer, Founder, Intrapreneur. Entrepreneur. Enthusiastic leader and speaker. Teller of truths at 48 Innovate
I spent many years working for and building successful companies. I parlayed that experience into a unique process for harnessing hidden assets inside organizations and turning them into big-idea-generating, $1-billion-revenue-producing resources. (Spoiler alert: it’s the people.) I'm an internationally acclaimed expert, happy to share the not-so-secrets that have led to impressive outcomes for Fortune 100 corporations, major educational institutions, start-up companies and entrepreneurs. Working with companies like Cisco, Lancope, Arby's, Capitol Broadcasting Company New Media - WRAL, PRSONAS, Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog, REVO Communications, Erno Group, Focus Carolina, Madan Global, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, INZONE Brands, Albright Digital, Spring Metrics and NC State Kenan Fellows.

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