9 Cultural Norms That Foster Continuous Change and Improvement, Part VIII: Inclusivity and Belonging
How can we create organizational cultures that enable shared and agile approaches to enacting significant…
“We are what we repeatedly do.” (Aristotle)
How can we create corporate cultures that enable a shared and agile approach to enacting significant and enduring departures from the shackles of the status quo?
I’m currently writing a series on the subject, 9 Cultural Norms That Foster Continuous Change and Improvement. These are cultural attributes that I have learned in my more than 20 years as a serial Change Master, ground organizations in the envisionment of, planning for and execution of transformative change.
In this blog I focus on Innovative Thinking and Action. See my earlier blogs on Unwavering Commitment, Results Focus and Resiliency at www.greatcircleassociates.com.
It has been shown that corporate culture is one of the biggest barriers to promoting innovation performance. Organizations may not value innovation, and they do not cultivate agile, outcome-focused processes for the consideration of innovative ideas.
Strong cultures are the engines that drive organizations to continuously change and improve. The importance of a strong culture is magnified during a crisis. Organizations with strong cultures will typically come together and actually perform better. This is because of a shared understanding of an organization’s purpose; trust in the leadership and employees’ individual and collective commitment to doing their part to move the business forward.
Those with weak cultures tend to lose their will to rise above; they go into survival mode where every employee is watching out for her/his own interest vs putting the interest of the organization and their colleagues first.
A culture of innovation must harmonize with an organization’s Goals and Strategies.
Communications around the types of innovative ideas that are being sought is a must, enabling employees to focus on actions that are needed and expected. And the communications should be continuous and organization-wide.
Importantly, innovation cultures have a high tolerance for ‘fast failure,’ a philosophy that values extensive testing and incremental development to determine whether an idea has value. An important goal of the philosophy is to cut losses when testing reveals something isn’t working and quickly try something else, a concept known as pivoting.
That said, Harvard professor Gary Pissano writes: “Innovative cultures are paradoxical…a tolerance for failure requires an intolerance for incompetence. A willingness to experiment requires rigorous discipline. Psychological safety requires comfort with brutal candor. Collaboration must be balanced with individual accountability. And flatness requires strong leadership. Unless the tensions created by the paradoxes are carefully managed, attempts to create an innovative culture will fail.”
How to create a culture of innovation:
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.