Why Co-Creation Pays in Business
Co-creation is the joining together of people to produce a mutually valued outcome. In business, it is the cultivation of win-win solutions where efficiency, success, and staff fulfilment march hand in hand. Team members feel respected; they know their contributions make a difference, job satisfaction and creativity is ignited and there is a positive flow of ideas. Problems get solved in surprisingly simple and practical ways and staff remain loyal and stay longer because they love what they do.
Within teams where a sense of co-creation prevails a lot gets done but stress levels are manageable and there is a sense of flow. Management are left to work on the business strategically instead of fire-fighting. Client satisfaction is enhanced and return on investment per employee is dramatically improved. From a financial perspective the business owner has a business that is no longer dependent upon him. It has its own intrinsic value and can be offered for sale when the time comes around.
Co-creation must be stimulated from the top; if the owner of the business does not want it to happen, it cannot.
How to Stimulate Co-Creation
Co-creation starts by encouraging everyone to speak out, but this can only happen when people feel they trust one another. We actively cultivate trust when we:
- Resist judgement and condemnation. Criticising others is a subtle form of attack, and it causes those on the receiving end to close down or counterattack.
- Are able to live with uncertainty and maintain faith in others when things go wrong. People respond best when they are allowed to sort out their own messes. We need to indicate we are available to help, but not step in and take over.
- Let go of all compulsion to obsessively control. As we allow others to take charge, we see their strengths and abilities, and our confidence in them increases.
- Admit our own vulnerabilities. This is an expression of our trust. It demonstrates our authenticity and opens the door for others to be honest with us.
- Listen actively to others. People often express new ideas very tentatively, and it is important not to dismiss them because they appear illogical. When we sense someone is seeking to explore something, it is crucial to allow space for him or her to expand on their thoughts.
The application of the above principles is not easy – if it was all businesses would be operating co-creatively. Far too often the ego gets in the way, old patterns of thinking take over, trust breaks down and fear blocks us from breaking new ground. It is at such times that our intuition can help us, albeit on step by step basis, but it needs to be recognised, nurtured and listened to, something the busyness of our daily lives conspires against.
John Reynard – Founder, Spirited Entrepreneur