Back in 1998, I was a support manager working at the National Institutes of Health at the Clinical Center. I was a young parent, a manager for the first time, and I was full of ideas on how to make the work environment a better place. Back then, our biggest threat was viruses coming in through email, and we were training end users not to click, helping them understand what a virus is and how they can prevent viruses from spreading. It was a different time: We fought that battle at the desktop, with virus software that had to have updates pulled from the vendor. Meeting those challenges took a lot of creativity and collaboration across the support team.
One day, the CIO invited me into his office for a chat. He said to me, “Julie, you need to get out of the government.” Of course, this was a bit unsettling, thinking I had done something wrong and that I was getting fired. He continued: “You have a lot of great ideas but very little patience in getting those ideas implemented. We are lucky if an idea that we have today is fully implemented in the next five years. You need a job in the commercial sector, where you can have more freedom and creativity.”
I took his advice. And it made all the difference in my career.
Change Can Be Tiresome, But It Is Necessary
As a military dependent, I have worked in many different jobs in different states for different companies. Each job taught me a lot about people, work culture, and creativity. In some organizations, where management was supportive, employees flourished with great ideas. In others … well, let’s just say we worked in the rooted belief of “This is the way we have always done it.” Change can be tiresome and challenging, but it is necessary to thrive. And creativity and innovation go hand in hand.
Today, I hit my six-month anniversary with Forrester. I work at a company where creativity is encouraged. I work with colleagues who also have great ideas and want to challenge the status quo. My first blog was about retaining talent with agile knowledge management, surrounded by the analogy of football. My first research paper was on knowledge capacity building. Our work culture is built around the vision of “bold at work.” And I’ve seen it play out in our research. It’s just really cool to work with wicked smart people and watch how they put their ideas into action.
Collaboration Is At The Heart Of Success
And don’t get me started on collaboration! As a consultant for many years, I tried to break down functional silos in an effort to create change. Knowledge management requires collaboration, but often the efforts were stymied when teams couldn’t work together or engage with a shared vision.
Our analysts thrive in collaborative environments. Research can be isolated to one analyst, but more often than not, it is a collaboration between analysts, each bringing their point of view and challenging each other’s perspectives. As a result, the research is stronger and more impactful. What a difference when you can see the power of collaboration play out every day.
Putting Ideas Into Action
As clients come to us for advice and guidance, we advocate for change, collaboration, continual improvement, and, yes, creativity. We stand behind these recommendations, not only because we conduct research and can see ideas in action, what works, and what doesn’t work in today’s workplace — but also because we practice those ideas to strengthen our research.
What a great place to work.
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Have questions? That’s fantastic. Let’s connect and continue the conversation! Please reach out to me through social media, or request a guidance session. Follow my blogs and research at Forrester.com.