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Culture Creation + Forward Thinking by Greg Phelps

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As a business executive, I genuinely believe that there is nothing more critical to the success of an organization than creating a culture of forward-thinking. And I don’t mean that in a far-out way. I’m not advocating for brainstorming huddles on the beanbags in the break room (although that doesn’t sound too bad!). I’m advocating for creating a culture within the organization that embraces change and actively seeks it out.

One thing that I’ve found works well here at CAIRS is “sitting on an idea.” Forward-thinking ideas will often come to me during my morning work out. Other times, they occur to me in the middle of a project or meeting. However, the one thing that I always do with that idea is write it down and bring it to my team. I pitch it to them, put it in their minds and let them sit on it. About a week later, I’ll check in with them about it. It’s incredible how just one idea can evolve when given to several creative individuals.

Another forward-thinking tactic that I employ at CAIRS is not always asking for permission. Sometimes, when you’ve developed an idea or plan that is really out there, it’s best to first work it out yourself and then present a tangible product to the team. This negates any apprehension of “change” and helps you sell your vision to your colleagues in a more compelling manner.

Finally, the most impactful thing you can do to create a culture of forward-thinking in your organization is to hire the right people and let them do what they’re good at. Whenever we’re recruiting new team members, the first thing we look for is creativity and a dynamic work ethic. We want our staff to be able to think outside the box and not be afraid to handle different roles within the company. You can teach an individual how to handle a database or how to manage clients, but it’s rare to find someone that you can teach to be dynamic and creative.

The most important thing you can do for your organization is invest in the future, and that all starts with you. In business, culture is created from the top down. In order for the organization to be forward thinking and ready for the future, the leader must instill that vision in others and allow their team to think freely, work dynamically and shoot for the stars.

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