And the Award goes To…
When I worked at Target, there was a list of 16 or so “personal leadership qualities” we worked from whenever we did reviews. You would have three that you were good at and three others that you needed to work on. They were all a bunch of generic things, and I honestly don't remember any of them…except one: innovative.
It was widely understood that the “innovative” quality as a strength meant that they couldn't really think of anything else so they gave you the one that didn't matter.
And you know what, I get it, Target stores were not a place that rewarded innovative thinking. There were accepted ways to do things, and you could deviate a bit, but the best call was usually to tow the line. For my gaming friends out there, it was like an on-rails arcade shooter: you could choose where to shoot and slightly adjust your path, but you couldn't get off the designated path.
A year ago today I won the “outside the box thinker” award from my new employer Not only was I super proud to have won this specific award, but I was happy to work somewhere that considered innovative work and outside the box thinking to be an asset worthy of calling out to the whole company.