Bright ideas to jump-start the team:
1. Open up thinking time. Consultant Joey Reiman gives employees five annual “your days” for blue-sky thinking, plus nearly five weeks of vacation.
2. Play games. Employees can have fun testing their speed and accuracy.
3. Learn from mistakes. Everybody makes them. What’s unusual is finding a pattern—connecting the dots, as Steve Jobs did—and turning failures into successes.
4. Shut off the self-mockery. We all have a part of our brain that carps incessantly. One way to dial it down is to write three pages in longhand each morning about whatever comes to mind, no editing. “It’s a mental DustBuster,” says educator Julia Cameron.
5. Reduce the fear level. Issue your employees two or more “I screwed up” cards to use when they’ve tried something that didn’t work. They should use them.
6. Don’t forget the carrots. Even a quick “great job” email means a lot.
— Adapted from “The Art of Problem Solving,” Reader’s Digest.