Growth-oriented clients I’ve worked with in the past decade tend to credit much of their success to a business relationship culture of innovation. They recruit fresh thinking, develop creative outlets for smart people to collaborate around meaningful problems regardless of functions, geographies, or size of the challenge. Here are five attributes I’ve found their visionary leaders to have in common:

1. They fuel relationship passion inside and outside the organization – I’ve long believed you can’t light a fire under someone; you have to light a fire within them. A leader fuels their soul to do more than just show up every day. They understand that passion about the relationship journey as well as the outcome is an essential ingredient of innovation.

2. They celebrate collaborative ideas that are stronger – What is celebrated and what is punished in any culture establishes the social norm. Prudent risk-taking and creativity amongst internal or external relationships must be encouraged and rewarded. Relationship-centric leaders celebrate collaboration that work with praise, career opportunities, perks and periodically monetary rewards.

3. They encourage courage to fail, learn, and grow from and with one another – Innovation is about growth. It comes from experiences, which are often lessons learned from mistakes. Dad drove into me that life is too short to make all the mistakes myself; critical that we all learn from, and grow with our relationships. Every interaction is an opportunity to learn.

4. They think big, act small, and figure out how to scale – There are enormous values in being small, nimble, moving with agility, always feeling hungry, and acting scrappy when it comes to identifying and leveraging market opportunities to innovate and gain mindshare, wallet share, and thus market share. Business relationships fuel innovation with a sense of urgency, unafraid to embrace changes.

5. They maximize diverse thinking, team dynamics, and business relationships – Diversity comes in all shapes, colors, flavors and particularly in business relationships, it helps fuel creative cultures. I’ve seen great leaders create ambassador programs, tribes, job rotation programs all focused on helping individuals, teams, and the organization see different points of view, experience how to work with others who may not think, look, or sound like us.

Many leaders talk about innovation and building a culture of relationships. Wonder how they measure up to these five simple, yet critical attributes?

Make it a great week,

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