Energize Your Company’s Innovation Culture
Jon Katzenbach and Gretchen Anderson are co-authors of The Critical Few: Energize Your Company’s Culture by Choosing What Really Matters. They spoke with Brian Ardinger, Inside Outside Innovation founder, about innovation culture and how to tap into the behaviors and emotions that can make a significant cultural impact.
The Critical Few
Their book, The Critical Few, looks at working within an organization and drawing on a company’s strengths, rather than looking at what’s not working. Lessons are written within the story of a fictional CEO, focused on a company’s culture. While there are many universal issues of culture, Jon and Gretchen recognize that all cultures are singular and unique and that people within the company impact that culture.
Traits, Behaviors, and Emotional Connectors
Jon and Gretchen explain that we must identify what the cultural traits are within a company, behavior that is happening around those traits, and who the people are within the company that have their fingers on the pulse of the culture. These elements are the critical few areas that can impact culture. For example, within one large health care organization, the critical behavior was around collaboration. The company narrowed in on this behavior and found those employees doing it well. Once you understand what’s happening in culture, you can develop programs to address these areas. Ideas need to come from people doing the work.
Innovation Needs to be as Unique as your Thumbprint
Critical Few also refers to the traits that have emotional sources which clients can tap into to create critical behaviors. Behavior also depends on where it’s happening within the company. Focus in on a few behaviors. Follow these traits to a few specific emotions that the company can encourage. The company is reliant on specific people who have tapped into these particular emotions. When identifying cultural traits for companies that want to be more innovative, ask yourself “What would innovation look like given who you are.” It must be how an organization already likes to behave.
Innovative Companies Focus on Strategy, Operations and Culture
Jon and Gretchen see relationships between companies that focus on a broader range of metrics and their ability to innovate, and companies that are less hierarchal and their ability to innovate. Companies are saying that they must approach culture with the same effort as strategy and operations. Leaders understand things are changing. Innovation is going to be easier if you also tackle culture issues.
For More Information
To connect with Jon and Gretchen check out https://www.strategyand.pwc.com/the-critical-few. They are also on Twitter and LinkedIn where they post new research and articles they love about innovation culture.
If you liked this episode, you might also enjoy:
- Ep. 130– Canopy Insight’s Victoria Gerstman on Culture’s Influence on Brands & Semiotics
- Ep. 124 – Amy Radin, Author of The Change Maker’s Playbook & FinTech Guru
- Ep. 104 – Shane Snow – Author of Dream Teams: Working Together without Falling Apart
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