During the 2017 Philly SHRM Symposium on March 30th, I had the opportunity to attend Dr. Michael Brenner’s “Raising your Innovation Quotient” session. One who has a high Innovation Quotient, or, “I-Q” has the capacity to generate, champion, and successfully execute innovative solutions. Dr. Brenner used a combination of lecture, group interaction, and music, yes, music to drive home his belief that “when people work in harmony, great things happen.” This really resonated with me; It’s time that we raise our “I-Qs.”

The notion of raising our “I-Q” ties beautifully to our roles as HR business partners as a primary focus of ours is to help leaders make strategic and thoughtful decisions that align with overall business objectives.
Successful HR professionals embrace change and adapt to innovative ways of thinking. This is not always easy when dealing with those who are reluctant to change. Dr. Brenner demonstrated through musical improvisation that when two musicians play their instruments aimlessly with without any give and take in regards to the direction of the song, the tune is not successfully executed.

When an innovative solution is needed, unification and success is more likely to occur by enabling our approach to flex and shift positions given any situation, akin to two musicians who adapt their approach to a melody based on how the other musician is playing. Kyle O’Hearn, HRSS Specialist at Comcast agrees; “In my role as an HR professional, I’ve witnessed the sheer brilliance of successful innovation occur when a collaborative mind set develops between disparate opinions. And in virtually all successful outcomes, teams of individual participants remained flexible and accepting of each other’s’ ideas toward a resolution”, Kyle said.

You may be wondering “how can this be done?” A successful business outcome can be reached when you shift your reaction to a new idea or way of thinking that seems out of the box instead of being quick to say “no.” Think about setting aside ownership of ideas and focus on what’s next. It is through small modifications such as replacing the phrase “yes, but” with the phrase “yes, and.” It can be accomplished by listening intently to an opposing thought that you may not necessarily agree with to show that you understand and acknowledge the opinion. Ultimately, have a point-of-view, but be okay with yours not always being chosen and, at the very minimum, take the opportunity to understand others.

Dr. Brenner’s session inspired me to take the opportunity to further adapt this thought process. Let’s think about a challenging conversation or situation that we will encounter. How will we approach it by raising our “I-Q?”

About the Author: Lisa Aiello is an HR Generalist at Digitas Health in Philadelphia and a 2012 graduate of Bloomsburg University. Lisa is a Philly SHRM Thought Leadership Committee member and can be reached at her LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisa-aiello-2b118b65/. For more information about becoming a Philly SHRM Thought Leader, please contact us at thoughtleader@phillyshrm.org