Todayâ€™s guest post is courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby, better known as theÂ HR Bartender.
Earlier this summer, Kronos recognized several companies in its annual Innovator Awards. The Kronos Innovator Awards were created to acknowledge partners that have created innovative solutions to effectively manage their workforce. You can read more about this yearâ€™s winners here.
It got me thinking. What does it take to create an innovative culture? A culture that would be recognized for its unique solutions. Then I read a book that helped me discover the answer. In the book â€œInnovation Trainingâ€ by Ruth Ann Hattori and Joyce Wycoff (ASTD Press), the authors discuss what it takes to create an innovative culture. They identify four key components.
Organizational Values â€“ We all know what values are, right? Theyâ€™re the competencies the organization identifies as being essential to fulfilling the mission of the business. Innovative companies have values that are really values. Not just words on a card for show purposes. These companies create values so they can hire employees who can embrace those ideals. They train to those values and evaluate performance based on those values.
Employee Accountability â€“ Hattori and Wycoff call this â€œpeople â€“ the source of innovationâ€ but I think itâ€™s more than just the existence of employees. Itâ€™s about holding people accountable for living the organizationâ€™s values. Being held accountable for organizational values is key to creating an innovative culture.
Leadership Support â€“ Nothing of significance will materialize if company leadership doesnâ€™t support it. You canâ€™t pressure or micro-manage people to innovate. Leaders must be supportive both of the individual and the values theyâ€™ve established. Then let people do their best work.
Learning Mindset â€“ The book defines this as â€œinnovation valuesâ€. Okay, I get their point; but I do sometimes find it challenging to use the word innovation in a definition about innovative culture. Basically, this component is about letting people learn. Because innovation happens when learning happens. Inside formal training. Outside during informal conversations. Innovation occurs when someone asks if they can continue to work on something because â€œthey canâ€™t let it go yetâ€. It takes place over drinks after work. Learning and innovation happen anywhere and everywhere when we let it.
When I thought about this yearâ€™s Kronos award winners, I thought about the innovative cultures they must have created to achieve great results. Make no mistake, these are companies focused on the bottom-line. But delivering excellent products and services, being profitable and maintaining an innovative culture are not mutually exclusive.
What do you think are the components of an innovative culture? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
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