4 Ways Company Leaders Can Inspire a Culture of Experimentation

Gone are the days when brands could rely solely on their former triumphs or strong brand awareness to emulate past successes. Rather, experimentation is critical in the digital age. During a time when unknown brands can seemingly pop up over night and overtake competitors in well-established industries, it’s vital companies are consistently seeking new opportunities for promotion, advancement, and evolution.

One surefire way to ensure a brand’s consistent transformation is by instilling a culture of experimentation within the company.

By encouraging team members to experiment and develop creative solutions to current business problems, brands will not only witness the growth of their company, but they’ll witness the growth of their team members, too. Traits such as ownership, accountability, autonomy, and entrepreneurial spirit will all be instilled in team members through experimentation opportunities. Companies can foster this change through actions such as eliminated silos, encouragement of failure, simplified testing, and culture shifts.

Learn how to foster a culture of experimentation in your company with the four tips below.

Expel Silos

For a company hoping to evolve, nothing will kill progress like silos. In a culture that values experimentation, collaboration and sharing is imperative. This is why it’s so important that all team members, regardless of position or department, are given the opportunity to present ideas and pursue new innovative opportunities.

Oftentimes, the team members who are closest to the customer possess the greatest ideas for growth, yet they’re too afraid to come forward. By offering these individuals a platform to express their ideas, morale will be boosted and a sense of entrepreneurialism will be instilled across all levels.

For example, at Readers.com™, each department submits one experiment per quarter for potential implementation. This not only provides everyone with a platform to share their ideas and experiment, but it also allows the growth marketing team to collect ideas from a variety of sources.

Encourage Failure

A successful experimentation culture involves leaders who are willing to make and accept mistakes. It can be difficult to try something new, so leaders should encourage team members to experiment, even if leads to failure.

In an ideal world, all experiments would yield high returns, however, that’s not the reality. Instead, leaders should find ways to appreciate team members who tried news ideas.

For instance, an award could be handed out at company meetings to a team member who had the best failed experiment. While it might seem somewhat odd to reward those who don’t succeed, this sort of appreciation is very encouraging to team members and will promote future experimentation.

If the goal is for team members to aid to company growth and expansion, then everyone involved should feel comfortable to experiment – even if that means failing.

Simplify Testing

When testing new innovations, convenience is key. In order to fully implement this type of culture, it’s important experiments can be easily tested to maximize results.

Testing specifics should be determined ahead of a company-wide rollout. Whether it’s investing time to build an A/B infrastructure or using a third-party system, the easier it is to test, the more your company will be able to achieve.

Testing should also include a thorough review process that involves the team. Be sure to ask lots of questions, too, such as what did we learn? What went right? What went wrong? What data is needed for improvement?

Change Culture

Experimentation can completely transform a company for the better – and leaders should let that transformation freely take place.

Not only will companies witness growth and increased profits through this culture shift, but they’ll also recognize a boost in team member morale. After all, studies have found that happy team members are 20 percent more productive than those who are unhappy. Company-wide experimentation is one great way to increase that happiness. Another added perk is that team members will no longer have to argue when their opinions differ. Instead, all differing theories can be tested to determine what works best.

A culture of experimentation will lead to several great benefits for a company, but it will take a lot of hard work to get there. However, through initiatives like eliminated silos, encouragement of failure, simplified testing, and transformation of culture, companies will recognize the value of experimentation.

Angie Stocklin is the Co-Founder and COO of Readers.com

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