Pourquoi vos équipes ne prendront pas de risques ?

Ownership

On me demande souvent : « Comment faire pour motiver les collaborateurs ? ». Évidemment, je ne vois qu’une seule réponse à cette question : « Et d’après vous, qu’est-ce qui explique leur démotivation ? »

Motiver des individus est une problématique complexe et toute réponse rapide ne pourrait qu’être simpliste. Je pense également que la démotivation est, en grande partie, le résultat d’un environnement organisationnel démotivant.

Il en va de même pour l’innovation : qu’est ce qui explique qu’en général, plus l’organisation est grande, moins elle innove ? Bien que je ne sois pas de certain de cette affirmation (d’ailleurs si vous avez des statistiques qui le confirment ou pas je suis preneur), cela me semble être le cas dans les organisations que j’observe en France.

En réponse à cette question, qui concerne un sujet aussi fondamental que l’innovation, une autre question me vient à l’esprit : Et pourquoi plus l’organisation est grande, moins les gens osent prendre de risques ? La peur ? La peur de l’échec, la peur de l’erreur, la peur de l’inconnu, la peur du manque de prévisions, la peur de ce qui n’est pas maîtrisé et surtout, la peur du blâme… Et quand la peur du risque devient une culture, il en est fini de l’innovation et, tôt ou tard, de l’organisation.

J’en parle souvent dans mes formations : cette culture de la peur mine notre capacité à innover…

Cet article du HBR, fort intéressant, nous éclaire peut être sur le sujet : « The Reason Your Team Won’t Take Risks ». Je vous invite à le lire.

The Reason Your Team Won’t Take Risks

Par Ron Ashkenas and Lisa Bodell

Most senior managers agree that taking risks is important for innovation, but in far too many cases, they don’t act like they believe this. For example, one global organization, where one of us conducted a culture survey several years ago, considered itself to be highly supportive of developing new products, services, and practices. Yet when several hundred professionals were asked what would happen if they developed and tried “new and untested ideas,” only 17% said that such behavior would be rewarded or approved – 47% said that the reaction from their superiors would be “unpredictable.”

In other words, the reality in many organizations today is that despite the public emphasis on innovation, the underlying culture may be strongly risk-averse. As one senior manager in a large financial institution said to one of us (only partially tongue-in-cheek), “The key to success here is to never make the same mistake once.”

Unfortunately, this kind of attitude is anathema to successful innovation, which does indeed require a tolerance for risk-taking and learning from periodic failure. So how can you break out of this mode and create an environment that is more conducive to innovation? In our experience, one of the starting points is to be more explicit about what risk-taking really means, and what is acceptable and what is not. Here are four tactics for doing this:

Publicly define a smart risk. The better innovation companies distinguish the areas where risk is encouraged, and where it is not. One of our clients, for example, makes it clear that there should be minimal “execution risk” regarding customer commitments and financial results, but encourages “discovery risk” in developing new solutions to customer problems. These guardrails define the “safe zone” for innovation, and they should include specific parameters such as time (must show progress after x months) or financial impact (has the potential to generate xx revenue or costs no more than xxx).

Use the right words to encourage the right culture. Language drives behavior and creates a mindset around what’s acceptable and what’s not. For example, using terms like “experiment” or “scouting mission,” instead of “successful vs. unsuccessful project,” will signal a more open attitude toward risk. Centering innovation activities on the concept of “exploration” eases the tension associated with trying new things. That’s why Amazon’s Jeff Bezos encourages an “explorer mentality” rather than a “conqueror mentality” in his teams, so that their focus is on forging new paths rather than just doing better than their competitors. The beverage company Pernod Ricardestablished a division called the “Breakthrough Innovation Group” to experiment with new ideas. The group has a similar spirit to a Silicon Valley start-up, in that it brings an entrepreneurial, exploring mindset into the larger company.

Keep it nimble and small. Size matters, and when it comes to innovation risk, smaller – and faster – experiments are often better. Tesla keeps teams small, so they maintain an entrepreneurial mindset with a higher tolerance toward risk than older firms in the automotive industry that rely on larger teams. A similar example comes from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Unlike other government agencies, it is a lean organization with only two management layers, which enables them to move ideas and decisions with speed, because as they say, “urgency inspires greater genius.” DARPA also employs small teams on projects that move quickly and have clear autonomy – which has led to incredible innovations.

Lire la suite : www.hbr.org

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