The Challenge of Walking the Walk

When was the last time you challenged your team to embrace the value of “risk taking” or to
defy the status quo and engage in “innovative thinking?”

These aren’t just edgy statements. They’re bold calls to action, designed to inspire and guide
our teams to excel.

And yet, several years ago we asked event marketing professionals to rank the attributes their
management valued most in an employee. The top three attributes, by a landslide, were:                                              ● Positive Thinking
● Being a Team Player
● Creative Problem Solving

The three lowest ranking attributes were:
● Outside the Box Thinking
● Calculated Risk Taking
● Creativity

The disconnect is staggering. How can we value creative problem solving and at the same time
devalue outside the box thinking or calculated risk taking? Is management sending mixed
messages? Telling us one thing: “We value creativity!” And then punishing us when we step
outside the bounds: “Stick to the tried-and-true!” Perhaps.

Or, possibly, the fault lies within ourselves. We’ve all been guilty of being so focused on
checking off boxes that we don’t engage in the behavior we’re being asked to emulate. Who has
time for innovation? And so it is we, not our management, who devalue the message.

Most of the time, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

Which is why third party experts exist. A fresh pair of eyes and an independent point of view
quickly recognize disconnects. They know how to push boundaries without breaking them
because they’ve already taken the journey.