Creating A Culture of Innovation, by Kenneth Moten

Creating A Culture of Innovation By Kenneth Moten

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Leaders throughout corporations, attempting to generate outcomes at a tactical level, know they must change the way they lead. Most leaders recognize the important relationship between innovation and culture for business success, and want to move towards shaping their culture accordingly. Company culture is exclusive and arguably offers the most lasting competitive edge a company might have available for differentiating itself from competitors. To attain growth in your business and maintain its identity as a marketplace front runner—leaders must take responsibility for creating and cultivating a sustainable culture of innovation. So, how does a business go about creating an environment that encourages ingenuity and originality from employees?

It all starts at the top.

SHARE THE COMPANY VISION
Establishing a culture of innovation that thrives is no easy feat, and leaders must be clear

about who the company is—and who it is not. Getting everyone on board and aligned can be difficult so leaders need to articulate why innovation is essential and what they see for a direction. Also important is clarifying how creativity and innovation can be defined within the company—this alone makes ingenuity tangible

FOSTER A CREATIVE ATMOSPHERE
Leaders must project a positive atmosphere of inspiration, reciprocal trust, and fearlessness.

By showing drive and passion, employee engagement will increase and creativity will be sparked. If you want to exemplify your company’s innovative culture, encourage it through flexible schedules, less meetings, and with an equitable atmosphere—maybe allowing employees to work from home occasionally which will foster trust.

TRUST AND OPEN COMMUNICATION
Trust between an employer and the employee is one of the most important factors in job

satisfaction. So, open the lines of communication and lay the foundation for an environment of trust. Team members will feel more comfortable voicing their innovative thoughts and ideas. Each individual team member should feel free to express their perspective without the fear of reprisal. Ongoing feedback in both directions is essential and keep the dialogue open by listening and creating a comfortable, sharing atmosphere.

COLLABORATION
Innovation is not an individual sport, rather it takes teamwork to accomplish organization

objectives. Collaboration is essential to innovation, which means transparency. Share as much information as you can with the team and encourage cross-departmental thinking. Make the teams as diverse as possible to get a kind of melting pot of skillsets. Your innovative strategy must include a collaborative effort if you want to create an innovation driven mindset in your culture.

FAILURE IS AN OPTION
Another important thing to keep in mind is that failure will happen and is a necessary part of

growing. There is a great deal of risk involved with innovation and employees need to feel like there

is patience and leniency for potential failure. If leaders establish trust with employees, they are more likely to take intelligent, well thought out risks, that have the potential to earn the company money, as opposed to being careless.

RECRUIT THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Have a strong screening process and look for people who love big challenges and welcome a

rapidly changing environment. Look for potential leadership abilities in each candidate and make sure they have excellent cognitive abilities. At Google, they hire for capability and the ability to learn before they hire for an individual’s expertise.

Innovation happens with people, not products. Without sufficient, solid, and sustainable innovation culture, your company will yield poor outcomes—or possibly even fail. Companies that make strong innovation cultures have leaders who take charge and illustrate that revolutionary things can happen for the company with a little creativity and hard work.

LEADING IN A TEAM ENVIRONMENT

MOTEN TATE LEADERS

Leading in A Team Environment

By Kenneth Moten

Imagine a work environment filled with employees who share a common vision; set ambitious performance goals; yield high quality metrics; and hold each other accountable to achieve outstanding results. This scenario is a reality for many successful compaies who have high performance teams comprised of a cohesive diverse group of individuals who have varying skill sets that complement one another. These types of performance teams stem from the foundation of an outstanding leader and organization.

The key to a winning team is leadership. A leader that demonstrates integrity, authenticity, and competency. A leader that people trust and has formulated excellent communication skills to inspire the staff to embrace the company’s vision.

Everything starts with the leader.

TRUST AND RESPECT

A strong leader can inspire ownership into the team through trust and respect. This can be done through the simple act of listening and understanding their team’s perspective.

COMMUNICATE VISION AND GOALS

Employees must understand the company’s vision and their role and responsibility as it relates to attaining the vision. It is essential that everyone shares a clearly defined target and that leadership communicates those goals. A common goal will rally the team and get them focused. There should be a plan or a set of “blueprints” for action(s) to achieve the goals.

INSPIRE NOT DRIVE

High performance teams need not be pushed, but they need to feel inspired and of the belief they are on a mission that could change the world. The inspiration does not have to be specific and tangible—it can be as simple as connecting emotionally with an employee. Leaders should use language that encourages forward thinking and creates energy and excitement within the team. Being enthusiastic and energetic is a huge part of inspiring people but you must also take a visionary approach to affecting change; possibly by allowing employees to help develop an innovative strategy with you.

SUPPORT RISK TAKING

High performance teams go beyond meeting deadlines and staying within the budget. They go beyond maintaining the status quo being mindful not to push the envelope too much. Any risk taken will be intelligent and calculated. Leaders of high performance teams should provide latitude and flexibility that encourages moderate risk taking and other potential innovations.

REWARD AND FEEDBACK

More than anything, the leader of a high-performance team needs to treat the members like super stars while creatively rewarding them for outstanding performance. Continuously provide clear and specific feedback on an individual and team basis. Keep them motivated with incentives and praise.

A true, high performance team will over time establish norms for the team behavior and decision making. They will eventually function independently and be self-directed. They will solve problems thereby achieving results with little assistant. With excellent leadership comes the possibility of having sustainable, high performance teams that will achieve dramatic results in a short period of time for your company.

Today’s Global Business Environment Leadership Imperatives

leadership   Few in the business world would deny that management and leadership have changed over the last two decades.  The rise of the global village and its impact on both business and their workforces, increased economic volatility, and shareholders has made the management of business increasingly intense.  This swift transition from local to international leader has left many managers unsure of how to tackle their roles, but by employing a few imperatives and core competencies, managing a workforce in an increasingly diverse and global business arena can be astonishingly easy.

Flawless Communications:  Information is the backbone of any business, but it isn’t as simple as being able to make your views known in oral and written communications, but also actively listen and fully appreciate any information that you are being given, so that you can best use it.   But to communicate in a flawless way goes beyond what you say and write, and encompasses tone of voice and body language; if you give a strong message, your tone and stance must say the same thing if you are going to be convincing.

Execute Actions Masterfully: When you have agreed goals, you need to demonstrate that you are pursuing them relentlessly.  To do this goes beyond simply doing your job, and embraces caring about the end product, respecting your team, and being fully committed to the customers’ wants and needs.  To execute your actions in this way, you need to be mindful of both internal and external customers, and strive to exceed their expectations.

Build Strong Networks: Connecting with suppliers, internal customers and business clients has become one of the most power tools available to managers.   The strong leader actively pursues and cultivates relationships with the people that they deal with regularly, and it has been shown that managers who have built strong alliances with their business partners are more likely to be able to push through their decisions and strategies.  The network that you build should span organizational, cultural, and geographic boundaries.

Exercise Insightful Judgement: In the competitive business environment that we now find ourselves in, decisions often have to be made swiftly, and that means there can be no margin for error.  Today’s managers need to be able to make sound decisions – that often may impact on the business or the customer – promptly, but there is little room for error so they need to be well considered and insightful, based on instinct, analysis, and sound knowledge.   The mark of a good manager is the strong decisions that they make.

Push Business Frontiers: Following on from making insightful judgements, a manager is expected to apply their experience and knowledge in order to push the boundaries of the business.  These might be in terms of the cultural, environmental, or legal aspects of the company as well as the global business aspirations.  This means that the manager should always be thinking of the possible future state as well as simply satisfying the current state, and considering how best they can help propel the company there.

It is imperative that the modern manager considers how they can benefit the company, their direct employees, and their internal and external customers at all times.  There is no longer a place for managers who simply do their job, and these competencies, are essential to be able to grow the business and service all customers beyond their expectations, and that is what good business is all about.

Steward Leaders by Kenneth Moten

leader-1The leadership at every organizational level is a steward of the resources entrusted them. They are responsible for the nurturing and care of the people they serve, development and execution of strategy as well as stakeholder investment and value.  To be an effective steward leader you have to engage your team in the following 5 areas:

Employees – Take the time necessary to recruit and hire the best possible talent and invest in their continued training and development.  Create a climate of candor were employees have a clear understanding of how well they are performing against their goals.  Reward employees in relationship to their performance.  Move under-performing employees to positions where they can be successful if possible or release them to pursue opportunities were they can be successful.

Strategy – At an executive level the steward leadership team develops the strategic directions and objectives of the organization.  All other leadership levels waterfalls the top level goal implications relative to their responsibilities and set goals in support of the top level organizational goals.

Team Review – Steward Leaders have to ensure their teams meet commitments through a process of teaming, project or program reviews of milestones regularly.  Those reviews will have pre-agreed metrics to measure the health of the project, program or organization.  Corrective actions are put in place if there are identified issues.  This process provides a laser focus on goal achievement.

Stakeholder Investment – Steward Leaders considers financial expenditures in relationship to support of Strategic Objectives. An example in a broad sense might mean that in order to hire the best talent you have to compete with market compensation rates and competitive benefits plans.  Regardless of the issues they all need to be thoroughly discussed and prioritized.

Communicate Simply – Steward Leaders can take complex strategies and communicate to employees, customers and investors in easy understandable terms.

Steward leaders are only focused on the success of the enterprise they serve not their next career opportunities or the politics of the day. They have a genuine concern for their employees and will invest in their development, opportunities, performance management, communications and reward systems.

Developing the Collaborative Culture

By Kenneth Moten

CollaborationIn our pay for individual performance the world makes it challenging to build a culture of collaboration. Collaborative cultures encourage innovation, team and organizational performance over the individual. This requires a major paradigm shift for both leadership and pay-for-performance systems.  It requires moving from a hierarchical organizational model to a more horizontal team oriented model. This shift also requires collaborative integration throughout organizational disciplines.

Although collaborative leadership styles are on the increase they are still rare. Leaders are faced with the dilemma of how they are rewarded for performance so they’re not encouraged to collaborate. Much of the struggle is around the issue of accountability.

In today’s connected economy organization leaders need to decide that collaboration is a vital part of the business. This means tailoring the organization into integrated work teams with processes and systems that support the collaborative culture. This requires an organization that is anchored in candor and encouraged to seek and  embrace the best ideas regardless of who or where they are generated.

In Keith McFarland’s book, The Breakthrough Company. One of thecharacteristics that he sees in these breakthrough companies is buildingscaffolding, in other words, reaching out –– outside of your company ––to develop these trusted relationships in order to support the companyfrom the inside.

In order for organizations to be effective they should consider the following four steps:

  • Create a team-based organization structure
  • Create diverse integrated functionally supported teams
  • Develop a rewards and performance management system that support the collaborative culture
  • Empower the teams and remove barriers