And How to Fix Them
We all know culture is important. But did you know cultivating an innovative culture can give you a competitive advantage?
According to Leveling Up, companies with happy employees:
- Outperform the competition by 20%
- Earn 1.2 – 1.7% more than their peer firms
- Are 2.1% above industry benchmarks
So, what is standing in the way?
Here are three less frequently discussed cultural challenges that may be inhibiting innovation for your team.
3 Cultural Challenges That Inhibit Innovation
1. You have the shutters closed.
It’s good to have confidence in your team, but believing all great ideas will come from within is naïve. To cultivate an innovative culture, you must keep your eyes and ears open to ideas outside of your organization.
This is not to say that you should wait for your competitors to lead the way in transformation and innovation. You will risk falling behind with this approach. Instead, take an active approach that champions continual learning. For example, you should encourage your team to go to industry events to learn about trends. You could also start a book study where you spend time actively thinking about topics like business strategy. Through all of this, encourage your team to constantly be on the lookout for the type of innovation that they appreciate as a consumer outside of your own industry.
2. You are failing too slowly.
“The timing of failure is perhaps the trickiest element to get right. A good failure is a fast one… but one of the hallmarks of an innovative company is that it gives good ideas plenty of time to gestate.” – Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg
Balance is essential in an innovative culture. An idea needs time to succeed, but don’t ignore the warning signs. Before embarking on a new project or initiative, establish a realistic timeframe for idea evaluation. The specifics will vary depending on the project. If your new product or initiative isn’t delivering on its intended objectives or providing promising results by the end of your initial timeframe, it’s time to end the program. You can also consider pausing and revisiting it later when the circumstances have changed.
3. You are not integrating multiple perspectives.
Diversity comes in all shapes and sizes: gender, age, race, geographical location, educational background, and skillset. Harvard Business Review reports that employees of companies with diversity are 45% likelier to report a growth in market share over the previous year and 70% likelier to report that the organization captured a new market.
Culture and Digital Transformation: How to Make the Shift
How to Shift Your Company Culture
Encourage individual contribution and accountability.
When you build a culture that allows your employees to bring their whole self to work, you will see their creativity and innovative ideas blossom. Often, we focus extensively on building a collaborative environment, but as Gary P. Pisano points out, “Too often, collaboration gets confused with consensus.”
When individuals are encouraged to think critically and share their thoughts and ideas, you can increase the diversity reflected in your decision-making process, create a sense of belonging for your employees, and foster the type of idea sharing that unlocks true innovation.
Enable psychological safety.
Your employees will not bring their whole self to work if you have not instilled a sense of psychological safety. If your team doesn’t feel safe to speak up, fail, or bring forward an “out there idea,” you will never see the results you want.
Check out this video to learn more about building psychological safety. In the video, Jonathan Smart, the author of “Sooner Safer Happier: Antipatterns and Patterns for Business Agility,” shares what leadership behaviors and characteristics are critical for fostering success with innovation.
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