organizational culture

So Your Culture is Hospitable to Innovation? Here’s One Simple Test to Be Sure.

the joker

“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden

Before his deforming encounter with acid, Batman’s Joker (the Jack Nicholson flavor) was preening in front of the mirror and his girlfriend (the Jerry Hall version) says, “You look fine.” He turns, raises an already famously arched eyebrow and says, “I didn’t ask.”

This honest approach would serve many organizations who claim to have a culture that supports innovation, but really don’t. They ask, but don’t change anything. This is frustrating and discouraging to those souls who can’t help themselves and must look for new, fresh ways to grow. And, failure to innovate may lead to a protracted organizational illness (see John Wooden).

There are many moving parts to a creativity engine such as: championing leaders, outside the box listeners, seed time and money, obstacle steamroller, and bureaucracy flattener. These and other parts should be recognized and measured.

But there is one simple test you and I can use to see if we truly are working to bring positive change.

List below the last five intelligent failures you have celebrated.

  1. __________________________________________________
  2. __________________________________________________
  3. __________________________________________________
  4. __________________________________________________
  5. __________________________________________________

Trouble completing the test? Then your organization is probably stuck in some important and potentially disastrous ways.

Here are a few quotes to inspire us to get on with the failures so we can succeed.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

 

 

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Unleashing Diverse Talent while Working in Glorious Harmony: Key Elements

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In the hopes of inspiring further study of a complex topic, here are some keys to engaging and motivating creative people to produce their best work—in unity:

  1. See the future. Build a grand vision and work tirelessly until it is shared.
  2. Get bold. Set crazy-hard-to-reach goals and allow for groundbreaking initiatives.
  3. Paint targets. Negotiate and agree on outcomes and how to measure results.
  4. Share the wealth. Construct and publicize reward systems (it’s not always money) that are based on personal accountability and team success.
  5. Be Radar O’Reilly. Embrace the role of supplying resources and being a resource-on-call.
  6. Party on, Wayne! Celebrate the freedom to fail and try again. If people aren’t making mistakes they’re not trying hard enough.
  7. Sit on the bench. Let the players play the game, but capitalize on the occasional teachable moment by coaching.

 

Learning to lead effectively is a lifelong commitment. I hope this helps you want to learn and practice more.

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How to Write an Effective Vision Statement

A powerful, compelling vision inspires, energizes and spurs commitment, hard work, sacrifice, and excellence. You should write yours down.

How about? A world where everyone has a decent place to live—Habitat for Humanity

The first step in writing a vision statement is to realize that producing a formal document is not the end, but the beginning of leavening your culture with a compelling vision. The rigor and discipline required to produce a well-written statement will bring valuable focus and clarity. But if you do not plainly describe your vision for your company over and over again without using Jay-Leno-like cue cards, a typeset, framed sentence or two hung on the receptionist’s wall will have the value of an airbag on a motorcycle.

Or? To fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality—Hilton

Here are some suggestions for codifying what you should have internalized as a driving passion:

  • Make your vision big, bold, appealing and include a touch of the impossible.
  • Remind yourself that a vision statement is not a mission or goal statement. A vision statement describes the results if you accomplish your mission.
  • Look forward, not back; look to the future, not the past.
  • Think of the impact on customers, employees, partners, society, and the environment.
  • Paint vivid word pictures that spark imagination.
  • Write in clear, concise terms and avoid jargon.

 

NOT: Our vision is to leverage our core competencies by operationalizing our human capital to think outside-the-box and proceduralize bleeding edge products that result in transitioning the world into best practices. And, oh yeah, our employees will know they are our most important asset.

Please do not say your product will be “best-in-breed” unless you produce puppies with a dog that won Best in Show at a Westminster Kennel Club’s riveting cage-fighting event. My wife has raised poodles so I happen to know that no athletic male can watch a dog show without taking blood pressure medication.

Rather say, clearly and concisely, that you will build innovative products that lead the competition.

Or perhaps? Our vision is that all people reach their potential in fulfilling work—the McNeely Group

If you have crafted a well written, motivating, effective vision statement—congratulations! You have climbed the first of 203 steps to the top of the Great Pyramid. Unless, however, the vision becomes part of your organizational culture the statement is virtually as useless as Congress.

It is why you must become  a business evangelist–one who cannot refrain from sharing cherished beliefs.

Make your powerful, compelling vision inspire, energize and spur commitment, hard work, sacrifice, and excellence. Start by writing it down.

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