Last week there was a change in the Presidency of the United States of America. Trump is out, Biden is in. There are many challenges President Biden is up against, the most pressing one is taming the current pandemic which has taken over 400,000 american lives.
One of the main reasons the United States has been hit so hard by the pandemic is because it was late to confront it, and opened up too early; and also because Trump wasn’t too fond of science. Trump famously talked down to Dr. Fauci, his science advisor, and eventually banned him from the White House.
This is about to change.
Dr. Fauci feels liberated now that Trump is out, and Biden is in.
Dr. Anthony Fauci on former Pres. Trump: "You didn't feel that you could actually say something and there wouldn't be any repercussions."
"The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know…let the science speak—it is somewhat of a liberating feeling." pic.twitter.com/r8M2EbYZ4G
— ABC News (@ABC) January 21, 2021
One reason he feels liberated? Because with Biden saying “I don’t know” is ok.
Dr. Fauci tells reporters in his first briefing under President Biden: "One of the new things in this administration is — if you don't have the answer, don't guess. Just say you don't know the answer." https://t.co/xRIwzxdMuL pic.twitter.com/saP4Drw0Xt
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 21, 2021
Of course, he doesn’t know everything. If he did, this pandemic would be over already. This coronavirus is something we’ve never seen and experienced before, so most questions don’t have answers yet. First world countries, and wealthy people like Bill Gates, have invested to accelerate innovation precisely to answer those unknowns.
Still, we don’t know what’s going to happen after all available vaccines have been distributed and deployed to people.
Innovators thrive in an environment where people embrace curiosity and open mindedness. Organizations become stagnant and fail to transform themselves when neither of these exist. Leaders will shut down ideas if people feel that there will be repercussions if they speak up; this is exactly what you shouldn’t do if you want to create a workplace where innovation thrives. Be the leader that creates the conditions where innovators thrive, one where curiosity, creativity, courage and experimentation are encouraged and celebrated.
Bottom line: Don’t shut down people if you want to create a workplace for innovators.